The Burnt World of Athas

Session 17 & 18

" is an immortality of sorts"

Lucien revealed the setup after the party took advantage of Agis' boon to shape their terrain. It would be a three way fight to the death. The first group would be the accused. The second would the the Eyes of Tyr, who held an exclusive contract with Tyr that had been violated by Tithian and the Orphan Company. They demanded satisfaction and Lucien offered it to them in a chance to win this fight and then take a contract to the Iron Mines in a strategy that would win back the mines while eradicating the garrisoned Orphan Company. The third group was merely slaves thrown together to fight and, to help them out, an able commander to lead them. That commander turned out to be a captured Grinner, ensuring that at least one member of the last legion would die that day.

Mulses began the engagement with a proclamation: he freed the 5 Mul gladiators. They would fight as freemul and not slaves. The Templars and nobles scoffed at this seemingly wasteful act, since the Mul still had to fight to the death. But the Mul and the crowd saluted, understanding the significance of dying free.

The Eyes fielded an assassin, a defiler, and a Braxat, a hulking,intelligent man-beast capable of powerful psionics. Baby Jhakar and their mother, leapt out periodically. The still enamored crowd alternated raining down minor blessings on the party and banes on the Eyes, until Bright Eyes' long distance sorcery eventually riled them into targeting her. They did however continually dispel the powerful magics used by the Braxat and other assailants.

Coaxed by Mulses' gift and Grinner's command, the Mul fought viciously against the Jhakar and the Braxat. They eventually fell, except one who attacked Mulses with preternatural speed, and seemed unfazed by his blows. The crowd, and the party, was confused. Bright Eyes made short work of the enemy defiler and rained down fire on the Braxat. Kid sliced the formidable momma Jhakar while Malachi and Dragon Paw dealt with the lesser ones and the Braxat itself. 

Sliced to ribbons and burned horribly, the acid-spewing, mind-warping Braxat eventually fell, to great cheering from the crowd. The Jhakar lay dead and all that remained was a cornered rogue. The battle seemed done. Except that Malachi noticed laying at Grinner's feet was Grinner, and when he muddled a company call and response, Malachi alerted the party that there was an imposter. The pseudo Grinner smiled impossibly wide and spewed noxious gas, obscuring the field and disappearing.

Eventually, thanks to the crowd dispelling magic, the fake Grinner was revealed as a horrible construct of Kalak's, one who had laid spawn in the now dead Mul, which soon sprung out to attack. The party continued their assault, but the creature's healed impossible fast. They vaguely recognized this creature had appeared before and could tell the crowd recognized it.

DraghonPaw eventually noticed Nori trying to get their attention, and Kid remembered the story of how Nori won her freedom. Against a horrible undefeatable, shapeshifting beast that healed it's wounds impossibly fast. And she had somehow learned to defeat it with silver. It went mad when grievously wounded and in the ensuing chaos Nori escaped.

Kid beseeched the crowd for silver, and the crowd cast their tokens for life, chanting to let the group have a fair fight. No Templar acted, but a well dressed figure from the crowd threw down a small blade. Grinner quickly grabbed it and yelled out an allusion to Meridian's charge, a suicidal attack by a former company member. The creature became singularly focused on Grinner, though the Sergeant missed his chance as it leapt past. It blasted him with a fireball, dropping DragonPaw and Grinner at once.

Kid chose to engage the beast, grabbed the blade from Grinner's singed hand, and struck it deep in the abomination's gut. If reeled in pain, and as he continued to strike it he noticed its wounds no longer sealed.

Chronicler loosed arrow after arrow into the creature's hide until it finally fell, to an eruption of cheers from the crowd. He then turned to the last remaining spawn and slew it just before it clawed at Bright-Eyes' fallen body. More cheers. The party would walk away free despite having killed a sorcerer-king. 

But the cheers died down as the party rushed to their fallen friends and tense moments brought the crowd to silence. There were disappointed groans as Bright Eyes came to her feet, although she seemed quite happy with herself and at having won on her terms. She cast a smile at a Templar at Tehosian's side. Sighs of relief erupted as Malachi and Mulses stood. However as they checked DragonPaw's body, the crowd became silent again. It became clear he was not getting back up, and the arena stood in silence as the survivors conducted the Orphan Company burial rites in the middle of the arena for Grinner and DragonPaw.

Tithian eventually broke the silence to declare the party exculpated and indicated his intentions to use them and his resources to free Tyr from Urik. But Hakar interrupted. It became awkwardly clear the Veiled Alliance leader was attempting to ferment a revolution, amid mostly blank stares from a crowd still too cowed to understand. He sought to have the masses seize the city, make it their own. Malachi politely questioned what Hakar would do most immediately with the threat to Urik, and Tithian jumped on. Tyr needed a strong military leader. He already commanded the army, knew it's resources, and was most equipped to continue. But he would not become a tyrant and, at the end of the siege, would give nobles and commoners a seat at the table alongside Templars. Agis and Tehosian immediately agreed, in what had clearly been pre-coordinated, preempting any protest from Lucien or Malashastra. 

But that was not enough for Hakar, one vote for the people and 5 for the templars would mean nothing. Despite trying not to take a side, the crowd seemed clearly intent on what the group thought. Finally the anticipation was verbalized by a well dressed man, the same who had thrown the silver dagger, who stood from Voldon and Wavir's group and asked what the Heroes of Tyr believed would be best for the city. 

They demurred and said politics was not their concern, but Lady Voldon pressed on, wanting to know the position of those who had sacrificed for the city, toppled a sorcerer-king, and now stood as blameless victors. They offered a compromise: deal with the immediate siege at hand, then turn to forming a true plan afterwards. With input they suggested a committee to create a government would be decided by 5 votes, one for the Templars-Lords combined, the nobles, the merchants, the commoners voiced by Hakar, and finally the heroes who slew Kalak. All agreed.

No longer kingslayers in a derogatory term, the party was announced as the Heroes of Tyr, to cheers from the crowd that this time did not die out amid Lucien's withering stares.  With the trial concluded and a tenuous plan in effect, the entire city turned to the real threat outside its gates.



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