Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 2
After a few weeks of odd-jobs and low-level gladiator bouts, neither of which netted the group any more money or supplies than they needed to survive from day to day, they decided to be more active.
Beren put himself forward in a solo-championship challenge; whilst the others (except Magnus, who had disappeared a few days earlier, muttering plans of revenge upon Kaldras) put themselves forward for a high-risk, high-reward challenge. In this battle, they faced off against four gith savages, with the restrictions on killing removed. The battle was fierce, and for a moment, victory was in their grasp, but a lucky hit on Kuoroar! took him down, and by the time there was only one gith left, only Tak-tha remained to oppose him. Moving from pillar to pillar, the thri-kreen tried to evade the javelins hurled at him, hoping for the creature to run out, but his wounds caused him to be too slow, and the match ended with the arena medics running to stabilise the fallen team.
They were not the only ones to fall that day - Tellemon, the local captain of the guards, was murdered; the poison used fast-acting enough to prevent anyone from interfering. Being outsiders, the bruised team was asked to search for the murderer on behalf of the Governor, Arisphistaneles. He feared it was an inside job, and promised to reward them, should they find the culprit.
Tak-tha didn't help much when it came for questioning witnesses, the kreen continuously falling back to his native tongue. And Kuoroar!'s knowledge of anatomy lead to a great study of Tellemon's feet (instead of the puncture wound by his kidney). But together, and with the aid of Gretchan and Zadusic, they located the murder weapon - a dagger, coated with poison, and empowered with arcane magic. They also tracked the murderer to the gladiatorial quarter, and eventually confronted him and his dwarven accomplice in a deserted barracks. They put up a fight, but were eventually overpowered, and brought before the Governor...who recognised the dwarf as a friend...
It turned out that Arisphistaneles was the head of the Veiled Alliance cell in the city, and Birk one of his agents. Tellemon had been part of the True cabal (a group of individuals who were quite the opposite of the Veiled Alliance; they wanted more power to the Sorcerer Kings, and revelled in the power that Defiling brought). He had recently discovered the Governor's ties to the Alliance, and planned to assassinate him: Birk had caught news of this, but didn't have time to pass it on before the attempt was to be made, so took matters into his own hands.
Arisphistaneles was most pleased with the group's work, and as well as a future friendship, offered to look into certain matters that the party were struggling with currently. He also rewarded them as promised, and gave them a fine set of armour made from Kank hides, which fitted Zadusic quite well.
With high spirits after a job well done, the group returned to their camp, rested, and then re-entered the arena, intent on winning! There, they faced a half-giant who was almost large enough to bring great question on the "half" classification. He was fierce, moving about the battle quickly and dealing a lot of damage, but they slowly worked him down, and in the end, he fell with a thud - atop Kuoroar! and Tak-tha, but fell all the same. The team had won, allowing them to regain a little of the crowd's favour after their last loss.
After the battle, a familiar figure approached Gretchan, congratulating her and asking for a word. This was Garidias, a former servant of her father's whom she last saw when their caravan was attacked, back before she was made a slave.
Garidias had also been made a slave, although apart from the small mark on the inside of his left wrist, one might not notice. His way with words and insightful grasp of tactics had kept him well in the past months. His 'owners' had been part of the caravan that had gone missing in the recent sandstorm; he alone had made it to the settlement. He asks Gretchan (and the others, should they be willing) to help him search it out: there was a rare item in the caravan that he would hate to see left to the desert... As it happens, Rhotan Vor has increased his asking price for help to 170 ceramic pieces, no doubt in part due to the difficult nature of finding the caravan at all, should many more days pass by.
Aside from this, the only other offers of work are Karlen's desire for treasure hunters to claim rumoured artefacts at a fabled ruin; and generic caravan guarding duties. Sadly, none of these are returning to Tyr, as the turmoil over there (because the Sorcerer King, Kalak, has remained absent this past month, fuelling the rumours of his death) has caused many merchants to fear for their safety in the unruly city.