The Burnt World of Athas

Session 12

For the Free City of Tyr

The group went back to deal with Cutter and get restitution of a sort. They walked in on an argument between Cutter and Miriam that was already devolving. When they entered, Cutter ignored them and discussed with some assembled veiled ones. Miriam was apologetic and embarrassed and said Hakar and Shivrin were coming back and would tend to their wounds and aid them. Cutter, not so much with the apologies, snorted at Miriam's rambling. When Hakar came back he was clearly enraged at Cutter, but restraining himself. 

Cutter meanwhile showed less restraint, beginning a tirade against the party, accusing them of being Templars since they carried steel and afagari weapons, and then sharing what he had overheard Shivrin say about Bright Eyes. Shivrin had said, in an overly flowery way, that he sensed Bright Eyes was a dedicated defiler, or at least at some point had been a defiler for such a length that she had severed some sort of connection with Athas. There was a palpable change in the room after this, everyone looking uncomfortable or disgusted. Bright Eyes defended herself, admitting that it was true but that she was working towards redemption, and that no one could be judged purely on what they had done in the past. Nori latched on to this, reminding Cutter of the horrible deeds he had committed before joining them, and the fact that it was rather convenient he would become so idealistic now that there was valuable equipment to be gained. 

Hakar deferred to the party's wishes for what should be done, and they in turn deferred to Bright Eyes, though Malachi made it clear he believed mercy was the best course. Bright Eyes agreed, stating that two of Cutter's men had been slain anyway and the party would survive. This lead to some posturing of what would have happened if Cutter had stayed to fight. Among the group that seemed to side with Cutter was a noticeably large individual, perhaps a small Goliath or enormous human, with an unclear gender who Cutter referred to as Gwyn. Gwyn had a pole arm with a half moon blade on one side and a mezzaluna like blade on the other, as well as a lacquered mask of a Gaj.  

Hakar followed the parties wishes and said he would deal with Cutter later, but Cutter wanted to be dealt with right then and there. He and his half dozen supporters stood up and Cutter stated that he was through dealing with Hakar's weakness. He asked the party to keep their steel shiny for him and walked past them to leave. The group had one more opportunity to deal with Cutter and let it pass, something Chronicler was sure would come back to haunt them. Shivrin agreed they may pay a price for their mercy, but that it was worth living a life of principle so that eventually, perhaps, the world would become a better place through example. DragonPaw scoffed at this.

As they were having their wounds tended, Shivrin led Malachi through meditation excerises meant to allow him to sense the presence of living things and reach out to them. He indicated this was an early lesson in preserving. Bright Eyes asked to join along and was welcome, though Shivrin said it would be futile, and it did turn out to be so.

They party headed out again, although their armor was not fully repaired yet. They traveled a good distance to what they believed would be an entrance to the crawl. A steep slope downward seemed promising, and they took it to a hallway where they detected a trap door and another door on the ceiling clearly holding back a great weight. After some attempts at various methods they found a safe way to blast the door, release the sand held within, and open a passage to the other side. On the other side they saw a warrens-like section of an ancient city. It had been razed and buried, but a cross section remained in the long narrow corridor. They made their way through buildings at times and former alleys at others, until they encountered a dense fog. It seemed clearly magical, had an unsettling white noise of a rushing stream emanating from with it, and was incredibly dense. After using Mulses as a test subject, they decided to tie each other together with rope and continue through. 

Once inside party was surrounded by the growing sound of many voices talking at once. They were quickly disoriented with half sure that they other half was walking in the wrong direction. But one of the halves also began to hear discernible voices in the sounds. The party rushed to continue, using spells to clear paths and relying on Mulses strength to drag party members in the right direction, assuming that those who didn't hear voices were correct in their sense of direction. Those who could hear voices could make out they were specters of people at the brink of an attack by Kalak, they spoke of the free city of Tyr, and that they would law down their lives in the fight against Kalak to keep their freedom. Later the voices seemed to prepare for battle, and finally the battle itself played out in the mists. It was a rout, with sorcerers raining down death on the former citizens of Tyr. Just as Mulses was pulling everyone through, Kalak himself appeared in the mist, not the somewhat inept, blustering politician but an imposing figure, waves of magic radiating from him, whose very sight brought Bright Eyes (the only one still seeing the visions) to her knees. 

Eventually they made their way through, and found themselves in a much larger chamber, though still a cross section of old Tyr. This chamber had large chunks of rubble strewn about and an enormous building at the far end of the cavern that seemed to extend beyond the cavern wall itself. Some investigation revealed that the rubble to the side was a single enormous statute of a figure in a royal pose, holding a scepter across his or her chest and adorned with symbols of the sun. The face of the figure had been destroyed, seemingly purposefully. The party went to the entrance of the grand structure and encountered a drake statue with an open mouth standing before a charred bowl. They made an offering to the statue of meat and the doors it guarded opened. 

Within was a single grand hall with another set of impractically large stairs. The hall's ceiling stretched up to 6 windows at the very top, one of which in the far back clearly opened to a room behind the cavern that the party entered from. the room itself was full of skeletons and mold of both varieties. Some skeletons laid about, but most were impaled on spikes made of some sort of bone or tusk. The party investigated and eventually, through carefully removing the mold, discovered these bodies bore the same symbols as the statue outside. The bodies also appeared to be decades or centuries old. They took great care to remove the mold to form a path to the stairs and up the stairs, where they encountered more skeletons and three more recently killed bodies that were still years old, but not as old as the rest. The landing on top of the stairs also had a sepulcher on it, and a single raised tomb with a relief that resembled the statute outside. It stated on a plaque: the throne of the sun god. 

The party decided to take their time and clear a path all the way to the collumn leading up to the stairs and then to climb the collumn, clearing a path along the way. This way their exit was secured in case something stirred within the tomb or if the dead came back to life upon it's disturbance. After taking precautions, they lifted the lid with rope while they were safely away, to reveal the sarcophagus was empty, though there seemed to be writing on the inside. Sure enough, the dead immediately rose, shambling about the platform in search of the disrupters. The party rained down attacks to clear a path for Hafeeza and DragonPaw, who risked the journey to read the writing. While Hafeeza rebuked the dead, Dragonpaw read the inscription: Beware the fate of all those who oppose Kalak the Great. The words were themselves magical runes, and Bright Eyes believed they reanimated the dead. He destroyed the runes, bringing the overwhelming tide of dead back to rest, permenantly. The party then discussed the meaning of the runes, it was a powerful magic and it's functioning was tied to a caster. Someone who had originally placed the spell centuries ago and who must have still been alive at this day to keep such powerful magic functioning. While there were other possibilities such as reliquaries of power, etc, it really suggested one clear and more likely possibility: Kalak was still alive.

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