The Burnt World of Athas

Session 8

Have we not already been beset by thieves?

The seven began in a strange situation, well within the city of Tyr with no memory of how they cleared the final entry checkpoint. An examination of their belongings revealed everything was there and intact except for Malachi's and Hafeeza's staves, which were both broken. They examined the situation but went ahead to their company's informal headquarters, a floor of the "Wailing Winds" in the merchant district. 

Glamor, one of the company's two established spellcasters, greeted and debriefed them. She urged them to continue their contracts as she reached out to inform the city-state of the impending army and contact the Captain and nearby Company members. 

The party passed the mostly completed zigurrat and the brickyard. They saw masses huddled to get free water, part of the month-long build up to the Festival of the Soaring Sun. The party knew this was a necessary release valve given the recent brutality of Kalak's slavers. There were also guards burning bodies, which the party learned was due to an outbreak of wasting sickness within the city.

In the Smith's District the party was ushered in to House Voldon to meet a wizened old lady. She urgently inquired about the family carrying the chest and was distraught over news of their death, revealing that they were her child and grandchild, and the heirs of House Voldon. She eventually became convinced that the party tried to protect her family. The chest was opened revealing black rocks: carbon to combine with iron ore and make steel. A weighing confirmed that everything was accounted for. The lady provided 7 vouchers and an escort to the levels below the house where the party could hear the tell-tale sound of a smith. 

They were stopped at the door to the smithy by a quartermaster. He tried to talk the party out of honoring the vouchers and in doing so revealed that they were as the party hoped: permission to purchase metal items from Voldon's forge. After exchanging words they took their leave temporarily, first providing a tip to Lady Voldon about the likely upcoming clash.

The party continued to the High Templar's keep. On the way Bright Eyes saw a familiar face she couldn't quite place. After first being asked to disarm, a well equipped soldier allowed the party to enter, making it clear that he had no concerns over safety from the likes of the group. Inside the party was warmly greeted by Tithian who apologized for the security. The party shared their journey, including the battle with the Templar, which interested Tithian greatly. While Bertrand, the mocking soldier from earlier, questioned the party's capabilities, Tithian reminded him of his own failing in stopping the Templar. The party was elated at Tithian's reprimand, although mostly because of an unnoticed magical effect.

Tithian listened attentively to their recitation and was so impressed by what the party accomplished that he wanted to enter into a further contract. This show of confidence from such a mighty figure (and some more magical effects) again swelled Malachi and Kid's impression of Tithian. Kid wanted to use the chance to get authorization to carry metal. Although Mulses and Bright Eyes started to believe that the two were being unusually friendly. Bright Eyes discovered powerful psionics were the origin of a strange sensation she had during the conversation. This lead to further inspection by her and the realization that it seemed Tithian had surrounded himself with psionicists, which struck her as unusual.

Kid was sure he had the authority to make a contract for Grim and Glamor and the seven of them, as Tithian wanted. But the skepticism of the rest of the party dulled him somewhat. Even in their state the party could tell Tithian seemed to be showing a particular interest in spellcasters. Coupled with his strange retinue they assumed he wanted powers independent of Kalak's and that they had value to him, something he reaffirmed with an earnest plea of their worth.

Eventually an agreement was reached whereby the 7 members would serve Tithian during the siege. He then  left the part to enjoy the room and his free-flowing fermented nectar. As the party left they no longer felt punch-drunk, but still believed they had stuck a fair deal with a powerful patron, and secured an unheard of permission to carry metal arms within Tyr.

The party left for the long walk to the merchants district and saw the city had changed. One huge crowd swelled around the brickyard pushing into the coliseum. They heard from rushing passerbys that the King had ordered the games honoring the Festival of the Soaring Sun to begin immediately because his zigarut was completed early. The opening night promised free food, drink, and prizes to all who entered as well as entertainment from renowned gladiators. 

The streets were nearly empty, it seemed the whole city was at the arena. The party noticed smoke in the distance from the direction of the Urikite army, signs of a large fire, likely burning structures. Astounded that games would be going on despite an imminent siege, they continued along to reach the walls and investigate. As they did so, they felt a passing feeling of pain and weakness which they recognized as defiling. But they could see no circle nor any source for the defilement. 

 

The echoing cheers in the street had given way to chaotic screaming. The party waited for entry to the wall and began to encounter individuals running from the center of the city, most to their homes, although some were banging at the gates. They overheard the commotion at the gates. People were begging to leave and insisting that King Kalak was dead. Incredibly, they believed he had been struck by a spear and killed. The assassin was one of the gladiators, a man named Sukir. The watch captain who had been with the company ordered everyone to their homes and stated a curfew was in effect. 

The party went to their room and learned Glamor had left shortly after their meeting and not returned. They visited company safehouses in the Warrens and found her. They discussed the events: their fruitful negotiations, Tithian's possible motives, the unbelievable rumors of Kalak's death, the possible death of Sukir, and decided what to do next. As the party prepared to step out they saw the soldiers enforcing the curfew peering up at the sky where words appeared written in clouds: throw down your chains and be free.

Comments

Gello10

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