Dark Dawn

Giustenal - The Beastbarrens and beyond
Epic Tier - Session 19

The party aimed to set out from Nibenay at daybreak. But upon the morning, they realised there was perhaps some more preparing to do. First was to decide the route to take. With an arm wrestle between Tiran Arslan and Ichtaca, it was decided. The party would travel the Beastbarrens to the immediate east, a wasteland of warped, horrid creatures; cannibals; and reaver tribes.

Before they could depart, Turk Garrant decided it was prudent to talk to someone who regularly engages and negotiates with the Dray. After a bit of investigating, the group headed to the villa of House Shom to talk to the house’s patriarch, Giovo Shom.

Giovo Shom was welcoming and hospitable. He disclosed that the while House Shom did regularly employ the services of the Dray clans, they haven’t done for half a year now, not since the rise of Giustenal in the east. He also invited the new nobles of Nibenay to his next rager.

The party set out with a full compliment of survival days towards Giustenal via the Beatbarrens. Flying their carpet over the yellow wasteland was uneventful. Flocks of birds and herds of beasts were occasionally spotted above and below, but never engaged the party. The group were also able to spot anomalies amongst the animal groups such as a four-winged Kestral and a two-headed Aarakocra.

It was on the third night that the group noticed they were being watched by a group of animals. On the fourth night, they were still being watched. They could make out horns in the distance, revealing the true nature of the animals as Horned Desert Fish.

On the fifth night, a day out from Giustenal, the “fish” attacked. While it’s possible Turk was wrong, it’s also possible the Minotaurs had disguised themselves as Horned Desert Fish, a clever ruse. Several Minotaurs burst from the sand, already laying in wait. A fierce battle ensured, but the Minotaurs were no match for the powerful nobles of Nibenay.

The party quickly decimated the raiding beasts which showed little intelligence beyond a beast. After taking the horns and small bits of food held by the minotaurs, the party continued onto Giustenal.

As they drew closer, the party noticed the sky drawing darker, despite being pre-noon. The city would have been large in its prime, with tall multi-story towers dotted throughout and wide roads leading towards the docks on the Silt Sea. Now, the city was in ruins with most towers collapses and permanent shadows cast by the darkened sun. The sky had turned night-dark and the sun shined no brighter than one of the moons.

Before entering the city, the party were stopped by a lone Dray standing watch from a half collapsed building. Upon revealing their identity, they were met by a group of Dray and undead and asked to relinquish their weapons. They relinquished all but the Swords of Tyr.

The party were escorted into the city and down an elevator into caverns where portions of the city had collapsed into. Here was the real city of Giustenal. It was a mix of ancient architecture and new buildings resting on plateaus framing trenches of unfathomable depth.

The undead shambled around, like silent servants while Dray families and clans moved through the streets.

The party were led to a grand palace carved into the cave wall and up stone steps into the entrance. Inside was a massive throne room. It seemed the entire palace was hollowed out from the inside. Sitting on the throne, illuminated by green light was Juan. Even as the party realised who he was, Juan shifted into the form of Sorcerer-King Dregoth.

The group proceeded to negotiate on behalf of Sorcerer-King Nibenay for a peace, even if temporary, while God-King Tithian was taken care of. Dregoth agreed to a more permanent peace provided he was given the city of Raam which would then become the extent of his reach into the Tyr Region.

As messengers between Sorcerer-Kings, the party moved to depart Giustenal, hopefully bringing Nibenay terms he found favorable.

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The Estuary - Preparations (but not for that Silt Horror)
Epic Tier - Session 18

Just north of Balic, after having escaped with the Eye of Abalache-Re, the party were weighing up their options when a small Silt Horror attacked the small cutter, sensing easy prey. But the Silt Horror was wrong, as the party fought in a way which most of its victims never get the chance too.

Cutting tentacles, left, right, above and below, the party were able to fend off the Silt Horror, but not without losing their ship (much to Turk’s dismay).

Fortunately, they were still up one Magic Carpet, which meant getting to Ledopolus wasn’t too much of a chore. This couldn’t be said about Turk’s attempts to convince the local populace of his greatness.

After resting and recuperating for the night, as well as gaining news of the outside world, the group pushed northward to Nibenay, making sure to entirely circumvent God-King Tithian’s forces at Gulg.

Sorcerer-King Nibenay received the Eye and announced that he would hold a festival surrounding his ascension to Dragonhood. While making preparations for this, he ordered the party to seek out temporary alliances, or at least parlays with Sorcerer-King Andropinis and Sorcerer-King Dregoth, to semi-unite against a common enemy.

While the party believed any amicable communications with Balic had long been forgone, a temporary alliance with Giustenal might be possible. The party then came forth to admit their hand in Dregoth’s freedom. While Nibenay and the natural forces of the world seemed less than pleased with this revelation, High-Consort Djena was able to interject and point out the benefits of current circumstances.

The party stayed the night in Nibenay and made preparations to set out for Giustenal at the crack of dawn.

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Balic - Escape from Balic II
Epic Tier - Session 17

With their business finished in Altaruk, the party flew onto Balic to retrieve the Eye of Abalache-Re from the hands of the Red Wing Tomb Raiding Group.

While flying to Balic was no issue, getting in was another thing altogether. The security seemed to have been reinforced since their last visit, unsurprising considering the assassination attempt on the Dictator’s life and the subsequent acts of terrorism they performed to escape the city.

There were Templars at the gates inspecting a slow procession of people and their belongings for any sign of magic. Ichtaca hid what little items he had in a sack of grain and passed through with relative ease.

Turk Garrant and Darus, with larger and more obvious magical belongings circumvented the west wall of the city until they hit the mouth of the south shore Estuary of the Forked Tongue.

Together they made their way across to the nearest silt skimmer and jumped aboard. The occupants immediately took them for pirates and gave up, surprised that pirates would attack so soon out of Balic. More interested in turning the boat around back towards Balic, they both jumped ship and tried another tactic, heading towards another skimmer.

This time they had more success passing off as port authorities. Turk managed to convince the captain to turn the ship around. With a bit of sneakery, the two of them were able to get into the city without raising the alarm.

Meanwhile, Ichtaca first went to the Thespian House to seek out information on the Red Wing Tomb Raiding Group. The information came freely and within minutes, Ichtaca was at the entrance to the raiding group’s headquarters.

Rather than go in, Ichtaca watched the entrance until a Half-Elf woman walked out who he tailed. Ichtaca had encountered this group before in the ruins of Ree’at and recognised the half-elf as Esther, second in command of the raiding group.

He tailed her across the city to the headquarters of House Tomblador. The discussion she had with the head administrator was public and didn’t seem out of sorts. After she left, Ichtaca continued to follow her and seized his chance to seize her as she walked down an alley.

He quickly questioned her as to the whereabouts of the Eye, which she said was back at their headquarters. Crushing her windpipe and hiding her body, Ichtaca returned to the headquarters of the Red Wing Tomb Raiding Group.

In the meantime, Darus and Turk had found their way to those headquarters and had engaged the group… in conversation. They had managed to sign themselves up as official tomb raiders of the group and were talking to the leader, a human named Reden.

Ichtaca soon joined them as they were inquiring into examples of treasure. Eventually the Eye came into view. That was all Ichtaca needed. He snatched the Eye from Reden’s hand and he was off faster than the regular eye could see. With some poor acting, Turk and Darus ran after him to “retrieve the Eye”.

It was a matter of seconds before the guards were called and the chase was on, a call-back to their last visitation to Balic. This time, the city seemed on a lower alert and so Ichtaca, ahead of the others, moved towards The Arsenal, their same escape route as last time.

He snuck into the Arsenal using a dead guard as a distraction (the guard being dead in the first place might also have had something to do with Ichtaca). Using the skills he had picked up on the streets of Tyr, he was able to sneak into several store rooms and blow up copious amounts of oil.

Ichtaca was then able to take control of a small cutter without bringing attention to himsef. Darus and Turk, on the other hand, are very good at bring attention to themselves. With similar thinking to Ichtaca and the sign of billowing smoke, they also headed towards the Arsenal. Unfortunately, there were already a couple of Praetors and many guards about a suspicious dead body outside the fortress.

The two managed to scale the wall while dodging arrows and magical javelin. Once over, they headed north-west away from the small Balican fleet (presumably reduced by the party’s first Balican adventure).

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Temple of the Eye - Cerebral Problems
Epic Tier - Session 16

“What are you doing? That’s not the Eye,” Shiatri said bluntly as Tiran Arslan held the dangerous orb out with triumph. Dust, who had been waiting outside with Shiatri and Juan did the first thing that came to mind which was to attack it.

Tiran and Dust wailed on the Orb while Turk Garrant climbed out of the pit and, finding his cohorts missing, continued to explore the tomb. Soon enough, down a trapped corridor, he found a mechanism built into the wall which indicated that an orb-shaped device could be placed into it. Seeing thus information as important, Turk went to find the rest of the party.

He emerged from the Temple of the Eye at dusk to find Tiran and Dust throwing all their might against the Orb while it continued to zap them with multi-coloured rays of deathly delight. With an aptly-thrown dagger, Turk downed the Orb, clearly hitting the off switch.

Despite feeling a bit worse for wear, the party decided to continue exploring. Taking the Orb with them, they descended back down into the temple to investigate the alcove. Avoiding the spiked floor, Turk placed the Orb in the hole in the wall which set off some mechanisms within the Temple, causing minor earth tremors. It also set off a wave of Shaqat Beetles to come pouring in behind them.

But smashing and smooshing things is something the party does best, and they were able crush every last one of the carnivorous bugs. But not before Dust contracted Cerebral Parasites, a highly-infectious disease that feeds off psionic minds.

The mechanism within the temple had opened the top of the temple, which turned out to be a pyramid structure. Sand had spilled everywhere, but the Eye’s true location was at least revealed…. in a manner of speaking. On the dais which clearly would have held the Eye was a bit of papyrus with a calling card from the Red Wing Tomb Raiding Group.

With such an anti-climax and a diseased Dust. Both Tiran and Shiatri attempted to expel the parasites, but to no success. Tiran was able to remember that Cerebral Parasites spread via the use of The Way.

The party spent an evening under the shadow of the Temple. But Turk, feeling fine, decided to continue exploring the Temple, the passages from which the Beetles had emerged from.

Taking an advantage of a horrible situation, Dust decided to make mental contact with God-King Tithian, their bond being one born out of psionics of a Psurlon in order to spread the parasites. With his Sword of Tyr removed, Dust was able to quickly establish a connection with Tithian.

Images flashed through Dust’s mind before he could focus on Tithian. A darkened sky, soldiers marching across rocky sands, Slither floating across the terrain. Tithian was at its helm. He and Dust spoke for what seemed like two minutes before Tithian severed the connection, hopefully long enough for the parasites to spread. In reality, several hours had passed.

The party travelled swiftly to the only place they know of with helpful arcanists, Altaruk. After a night’s rest at the Sandy Sun Inn, they immediately sought out Governer Arisphistaneles, the head of the local Veiled Alliance.

With anti-scrying magic from Gren Lidel and Jema’s healing magic (unusual for a Goliath), Dust was rid of his Cerebral Parasites. While it’s too early tell if the disease has spread, there is hope that it’s currently moving through the followers of Tithian.

While Dust was succumbing to healing magics, Tiran and Turk sought out the artificer that had enchanted their items in the past, Chokom for some rare, magical delight.

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Temple of the Eye - Well that's not good
Epic Tier - Session 15

With the Angels defeated, the party knew they needed to quickly depart the Tyr Iron Mines before reinforcements arrived. They made their way past Outcrop Outpost where Tiran Arslan was able to spot 20 troops making their way from the city. Although several hours away, the party didn’t want to risk an encounter with their Templar-Wife escorts in such a state.

The set off to the immediate east across the rocky badlands. After an hour of quick pace, they were able to reach the sandy beginnings of the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes. With Dust’s Folding Sand Skiff, the party sent the Templars on their way, conjuring a local wind still being within the realm of possibility.

The party then ventured south to find the Temple of the Eye, the location of the Eye of Abalache-Re. After four days travel and a minor dispute surrounding a bag of Hejkin heads, the party came across the stone pillar marking the temple’s location. They also came across a wizened, bearded man resting against the pillar who was ‘passing through’.

Shiatri indicated that the man was a powerful magic user and that the party should be careful. The man was amicable, although very confused, amnesiac even. Tiran attempted to read into his mind and could only get glimpses of Tyr and a magical explosion. He was unable to properly unlock the man’s memories and so invited him to travel with them, to which the man agreed.

The entrance of the temple was just down at the base of the dune. Shiatri decided to stay outside the entrance and watch over the newly named Juan. Inside was pitch black, but nothing a couple of torches couldn’t deal with. It wasn’t hard to notice the innert, crouched skeletons dotted around the first inner chamber, not to mention the bug life.

Rather than sneaking, Tiran took the skeletons head on, which proved no match for the powerful party. After dispatching the enemy, the three began to explore. Turk descended into the chasm while Tiran and Darus broke though into a chamber containing what an dark, clearly magical orb.

Within about 25 feet of the Orb, Darus was zapped out of existence which set off some warning bells in Tiran’s mind. Thabkfully Darus soon reappeared, confused. After a bit of trouble reaching it, Tiran managed to use his powerful Mind Wrench to subdue the Orb, allowing him to remove it from the dais it sat upon. Now with a powerful, yet innert magical orb, Tiran ran outside to Shiatri, who immediately informed him that he was not holding the Eye. It was at this point that the Orb started to swirl with magical energy as the effect of Tiran’s Mind Wrench wore off.

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Tyr Iron Mines - Enter the Angelic Host
Epic Tier - Session 14

With ten Templar-Wives in tow, the party moved to exit the Tyr Iron Mines, yet found it unsurprisingly blocked by Angels. The angels were letting off high-pitched wails, more so when the group exited the mines with swords waving.

They made quick work of the first wave of angels, being nothing more than guards. But it still took enough time for the second wave to come flying in. Clearly their presence was now well known, although it would take at least half the night for foot soldiers to march all the way to the mines.

With Shiatri’s help, they were able to dispatch the second wave of angels. But it was delayed enough for Ramliel, an angel far larger and more sentient than the rest. The party wailed upon the hulking angel while the blows of its katars drew blood from members of the group.

Shiatri was able to rouse some of the weakened Templar-Wives to help, although their Defiling magic further weakened them. The brave adventurers might not have needed the help, but it’s impossible to tell as Ramliel teleported away when he realised the battle was lost.

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Nibenay - People to see, places to visit
Epic Tier - Session 13

The party spent an evening at Fort Firstwatch (in lieu of Truvo M’ke). Despite having a city handed to them, their sleep was not restful. The sounds of death and murder reached their ears from the city of Raam, as well as from the Mawab fortresses that dotted the landscape.

Sorcerer-Queen Abalach-Re was clearly enacting her last decree before she departed the city. The party wanted to leave straight away, but had to wait for morning because of Shiatri, who arrived at Fort Firstwatch at the crack of dawn looking as tired as the rest of the party, though noticiably more stressed.

The party departed Raam, hoping to never set eyes upon the city again. Asides from a sand storm that raged in from the Silt Sea for several days, the party made it to Bremil Pass without incident. It was here that Shiatri became possessed by Abalach-Re herself. Abalach-Re thanked them for their hospitality and planted the temple’s location in Shiatri’s mind.

A little wary of their companion, the party continued on to Nibenay, city of spires. Gaining entrance with no haste, they met Gilesel at the gate to the Naggaramakam. She said news of Raam had reached here, and that Sorcerer-King Nibenay was extremely pleased by what the party had done in obtaining Raam. He was more pleased when he learned that the party knew of the Eye’s location. As a reward he gave them treasure from his personal hoard and nobleship in the city (complete with its own manor house in the Cliff District.
Nibenay apprised them of developments in the world since they were last in Nibenay.

Andorra, along with Alec, another Snake Skull Raider, a handful of Templars and two other individuals had come to Nibenay, claiming to still be loyal to the “Stewards”.

This party had informed them that Tithian’s armies were on the move eastward, and that Slither, the walking fortress, might have been repaired and among the army.

Nibenay saw this as the perfect time to travel to the Tyr Iron Mines and look into the rumours of his Templar-Wives being holed up in the mines.

An emissary from the Kreen Khanates, Pitchekie had also arrived. On behalf of the Khanates united Atark Aakusk, he was offering an alliance to whoever could remove Sorcerer-King Hamanu from the city, by any means.

With plenty to do and plenty of people to see, the party departed the Naggaramakam and headed to their new lodgings. By no means modest, and each equipped with its own servants, the manor houses carved into the cliff face offered a small respite. But not wanting to dawdle in the city for too long, the party gathered up themselves and departed.

The first travelled over The Black Sands towards Silver Spring. There was no activity in the ruins of Zeburron’s base, always a good sign.

The trip to Silver Spring was uneventful. Makra Ianto was able to pull the party aside and warn them that their presence in Tyr would not be welcome. Old allies wouldn’t be willing to help them, if anything, they’re more likely to betray them. While the final destination of the Tyr army is speculative, most guess that it is Gulg. Makra sent them on their way, warning them not to return.

They proceeded towards the Tyr Iron Mines, travel by magic carpet making the trip a lot easier than the first time. Unfortunately, this still didn’t allow them to bypass Outcrop Outpost. Fortunately, the outpost wasn’t prepared for an aerial attack by some of the most daring fighters in the Tyr Region. This coupled with the devestating preserving magic used by Shiatri resulted in the briefest of battles.

Once the innocent soldiers of Tyr – only doing their sworn duty to their city – were dead, the party proceeded onto the iron mines. Getting to the small village on the plateau was easy enough, but getting into the mines themselves was a different matter. The entire area was patrolled by Angels. But through sheer perseverance and a smidgen of luck, the party were able to move into the mines, but entirely without being spotted. The Angel caught them at the entrance and blocked it off. If the party were going to leave, they weren’t going to do so without a fight.

Through Darus’ acute senses, the party were able to track down some voices deep into the mines. Unfortunately they weren’t the voices of Templar-Wives. It seemed some Hejkin had move in with the absence of any miners. They seemed benign at first, but upon spotting Shiatri, they attacked. The party made quick work of the Hejkin, the small aberrant, tribal creatures not even near a match for them.

While the mines opened up into multiple avenues before them, the party instead decided to retrace their steps and explore other paths. This proved fruitful as Shiatri soon detected magical traps. With a callout, it seems they had found the Templar-Wives. Out of the 50 the Stewards of Tyr had sent to the mines, only ten remained. They were starved and injured, yet hopeful at the arrival of the only help they had received in months. Now the next part was to get out.

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Raam - Politics...
Epic Tier - Session 12

With swords drawn on Mawab Shialha, the party had made their intentions clear.

With their Dwarven allies on the other side of the gate, the party found themselves heavily outnumbered. As more swords and Chatkchas were drawn, the children, elderly, servants and civilians occupying the fort ran to hide, fearing for their lives.

While a first it seemed the party had walked into a death trap, they soon gained the upperhand being the far more experienced of fighters and easily more merciless. With dozens dead, Shialha and her Elves did not yield until Turk severed her fighting hand with one his precision cuts.

Turk then went on to help the struggling dwarves outside the gate, while the rest of the party bound their prisoners. Only the drill sergent, Per Ire had survived the battle outside the gates.

With the Mawab defeated, the party then attempted to loot. But found the residents uncooperative, claiming the noble’s wealth was mostly in water and assets. Deciding not to take carpets and tapestries, the party handed Shialha over to Per and flew back to Fort Firstwatch, slightly late for their rendezvous with Shiatri.

Upon arrival she was waiting at the gate surrounded by the usual gathering of beggars and layabouts. She seemed nervous and said her contact hadn’t arrived yet. No sooner had she said this, a beggar approached asking for spare coin. While receiving the coin, he informed the party that Sorcerer-Queen Abalach-Re requests their attendance at afternoon tea.

Shiatri escorted the party to the gate to Queen’s Hill, but refused to enter with the party, not that she was admitted anyway. On the way, the party couldn’t help notice that the inner-city was clean, orderly and lively, though no less crowded. On they way, they saw a black-cowled individual teleport down to the street, kill what might have been a noble and teleport off again. This truly was a city in ruin.

What was most likely a Vizier allowed them in and they found themselves in an expanse of open, circular garden which looked like it could fit a quarter of city in itself. There were Mansabdars lining the inner wall, all unmoving and stoic. There were more Vizier moving around the gardens, though they could have just as much be gardeners then beuracrats. In the exact centre of the garden was the ornately-carved Ivory Palace, a small building of spires and domes made out of marble. Not a true palace but more of an open reception area with a single, long, wooden table. The building only had a wall on the opposite side to the party, with a mural of Abalach-Re’s various conquests through the ages. Abalach-Re was sitting along one long edge of the table while four chairs were stationed along the other side. There were topless, muscled serving man waiting in the corners.

Abalach-Re was more than welcoming, inviting her guests to sit down and have afternoon tea with her. The table was laden with enough food for 20. Suspecting a trap, the party hesitantly tried Pig and various foods, as well as a sweet, freezing cold dish. As much as she enjoyed the food and discussion, Abalach-Re did not invite the party to share and talk of frivolous things.

She spoke to them of their recent exploits and displayed a surprising amount of knowledge of their adventures. And then, quite unexpectedly, she abdicated her throne in favour the party. She said she had had enough and that this little ‘experiment’ was at an end and even admitted failure (unheard of in a Sorcerer-King). She was retiring to a villa (so she said) of undisclosed location with a few of her choice Templars and servants. In exchange for letting her retire, she would divulge the location of the Eye of Abalach-Re, exactly one week after she has left the city.

But the party weren’t about to let her go that easy. They were being given a city in shambles, currently ruled by chaos. Before she left, they wanted official decrees from her, but more importantly, they wanted her to eliminate the Noble class, bringing a swift end to the feudal Mawabs. Abalach-Re agreed, saying she would use her ‘last big bet’ to do so, but it would all take a week. The party agreed, deciding to wait the week out in Nibenay.

Before they left, Abalach-Re took particular interest in Dust, possibly the only manifestation of an elemental she had seen. Not one to hide her debauchery or fascination in the obscure, Abalach-Re took full advantage of Dust’s presence.

Meeting Shiatri at a nearby uptown bar, they briefly explained what had happened, though Shiatri struggled to believe it. The city was there’s, and soon so would the location of the Eye. They called a meeting with the head of the Mansabdars, the Kuotagha, the Viziers and Truvo M’ke. They appointed Truvo as city steward until Nibenay appointed a more suitable individual choice to look after his second city. Truvo seemed less than pleased, constantly trying to talk to the party about Mawab Shialha. But they ignored him, immediately making preparations to depart the city with Shiatri. They did not wish to spend any time in the city while Abalach-Re ‘did her work’.

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Raam - The Unruly City
Epic Tier - Session 11

The party woke at dawn at Fort Firstwatch, the unofficial headquarters of House M’Ker. They could see a dozen or so actual forts littered about the landscape as well black smoke rising from the far side of the city.

They broke their fast with Truvo M’Ke the house patriarch who told them small details about the city, though not much of it positive. Even as they were leaving for Raam, they could see merchants setting up their stalls and what seemed to be beggars gathering at the entrance to Fort Firstwatch. An hour’s walk to Raam’s eastern gate was uneventful, and a similar sight of lounging beggars and poor greeted them at the entrance.

Upon entering the city, the party were greeted by an onslaught of noise, rank smells and most of all, people. The main street was overflowing with a mix of humans, dwarves, elves and half breeds, the party had never seen such a small proportion of humans in a “civilised” area. The party decided to push through to the market place, not quite avoiding the greedy hands of pick-pockets.

Trash and refuse was piled as high as houses down side-streets, most houses and stores on the main street were boarded up and stalls were empty. While there were lots of people moving around, the street was devoid of the usual mummers, performers, hawkers and merchants that were a common sight in Tyr, though there was no shortage of prostitutes of all races.

At certain points, they could hear fights echoing from side streets and even saw three well-dressed dwarves take down two uniformed men in the middle of the street.

Eventually they reached the market place, the only place so far that seemed to have open stalls. There seemed to be a riot occurring in the street running the circumference of the market as merchants sold bags of grain and barley to the highest bidder. One transaction ended poorly as a man had his throat slit by a woman just as coin and food exchanged hands.

The party decided to push onto the headquarters of House M’Ke in the Coins District. This side of town seemed less populated, but this could be due to the armed guards at every door. There were beggers moving from door to door, only to he shoved back by brawn. House M’Ke was guarded by two lackwit humans who barely tried to stop the official-looking group.

Rogil M’Ke was up in his office, hiding behind his desk which was unsurprising from what the party knew if this city. Rogil explained that he had already been shaken down for “protection money” from representatives of Mawab Shialha, Mawab Maarham and Mawab Urdon-Mur, the three most dominant Mawab (warlords) in Raam. To further foster a relationship with House M’Ke, the group agreed to have a discussion with the three warlords. After reading the note from his father, Rogil told them of Shiatri, an Offspring in Ghost City known for aiding the poor, and for being one the oldest still living.

The party made the small trip to outside the city walls, moving closer to the source of the black smoke. They noticed that the buildings here were black in top from the constant fall of soot. Eventually they came upon Ghost City, a town as big as Altaruk, yet entirely comprising of tanneries, abatoirs, brick works and a crematory, the source of the pungent black smoke. While less crowded than the city, beggars still lined the streets, on which there were always several carts piled with the dead headed towards the Crematory.

Shiatri wasn’t hard to find and sensing the party wanted to discuss things in private, she led the party to a small tavern/cave nearby. While only looking in her 30s, Shiatri was quite open about her century or so of life and remembered the Eye of Abalach-Re, or more how she avoided being one of the souls that powered it. Unsure of the motivations of the group, and with little faith in Nibenay, Shiatri initially declined to help them. Tiran managed to turn her opinion, claiming that any ruler is better than the one Raam has now, and the party were the path to a better ruler. Shiatri offered to accompany the party to the temple which housed the Eye of Abalache-Re. But first, to discover the temple’s location, Shiatri would have to meet with some her contacts, and establish some more sinister ones. She would meet with the party at noon the next day.

With Rogil’s “protection money” on their mind, the party moved directly south to one of the giant forts that rest outside of Raam, the residence of Mawab Maarham. There were four dozen dwarves going through military drills out the front, but the party were able to pass through the gates with no problem. Mawab Maarham received his visitors, though didn’t seem pleased about it. He admitted to demanding protection money from House M’ke and didn’t seem too happy about being confronted about it. Less happy when his honour was questioned. While he didn’t give the money back, he agreed to help the adventurers get the money back from Mawab Urdon-Mur. He also gave them a dozen dwarves for back-up and two men to guard Rogil M’ke from further requests of “protection money”.

The party wasted no time in heading over to the fort of Urdon-Mur, back past Fort Firstwatch. Leaving the dwarves at Fort Firstwatch (much to Truvo’s displeasure), the party continued on foot. Unlike Maarham’s fort, Fort Urdon-Mur was more of an egg shell that housed several large mansion on the floor with small buildings honeycombed up along the walls. Urdon-Mur was also happy to receive his guests and claimed no knowledge of any “protection money” racket, attributing the misunderstanding to some of the gangs under his sway in the lower district. As a show of good faith, Urdon-Mur gave the party 1000 bits (the party didn’t bother to correct him) and two men to help return the funds.

Distributing the funds appropriately, the party dined with Rogil M’ke before retiring to Fort Firstwatch for the night. At the crack of dawn, the party gathered at Fort Maarham to rouse some hungover dwarves. With help from sergents, the dwarves were soon in fighting formation and along with the party, marched quick pace towards Fort Shialha. It wasn’t long before they were spotted by elven nomads, who followed them all the way to the open-air fort of Mawab Shialha. Despite having two dozen dwarves in tow, the party were let into the compound. Shialha came out to meet them, but the party had no intention to negotiate.

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The Nibenese Road - The trials of House M'ke
Epic Tier - Session 10

The party left Nibenay with a new carpet and a new purpose. They set out on the Nibenese Road towards Raam to find the location of the Eye of Abalach-Re, most likely from Sorcerer-Queen Abalach-Re herself. Flying their carpet for several days they came to resting spot on the south-western shore of the Bay of Maray, near Dragon’s Neck Pass. They planned to jump over the bay the next day, circumventing the mountains and cutting several days off their journy.

While Turk was on watch, he spotted an unlit caravan moving through the night along the road towards Nibenay. With natural suspicion, the party travelled to a spot on the road in advance of the caravan to meet it head on. There were only two wagons pulled by kanks with only a couple of guards. The party stopped the caravan in the name of Nibenay to discern its intentions. The leader, a merchant by the name of Fromor said he was merchant for House M’Ke escaping a bandit attack in the mountains. After a bit of favouring, he said two of their wagons was destroyed by the Red Scarfs, bandit group notorious in these parts, their red scarfs an ironic emblem, signifying the amount of silk they had stolen from traders over the years.

The party agreed to get rid of the bandit menace, in return for a reward. Fromor was more than eager to agree and gave them a letter that could be taken to the M’Ke headquarters outside of Raam.

Flying into the mountains, it wasn’t hard for the party to spot the smoking wreckage of the caravan. It seemed that Fromor wasn’t lying. There were two wagons destroyed and looted, along with a dozen dead guards, kanks and only a handful of dead Red Scarfs. The party decided to track the bandits into the hills, not a hard task for Turk and Darus.

They were able to find the bandit camp in a small, sandy basin. Fortunately, they bandits have a watch and were all asleep, clearly not expecting an attack. But upon closer inspection, the bed rolls had been stuffed and the bandits, rather than being asleep, were behind the party. The adventurers had failed to notice the stalking eyes since encountering the wrecked caravans.

A battle ensured, but it didn’t take long to realise the bandits were outmatched in skill and power. The party cut through them like a knife through Inix grease, Dust ripping scarfs away before his foes had even hit the ground. The battle was almost too quick to give the last two survivors a chance to surrender. A human male and Half-Elf female threw down their swords onto the sand and went down to their knees.

Tiran promptly ended the man’s life when he refused to tell the party where the bandit’s stash was. The woman was a bit more obliging. She the party to the back of the camp and promptly disappeared into hole beneath the rock. Turk, as the leanest of the party, went in after her, but found himself in a small, narrow cavern system… and the half-elf gone. He could hear the faint trickle of water, most likely a small reservoir that kept the bandit camp well-supplied.

With all the red scarves they can find, the party flew onto the House M’Ke headquarters as directed to by Fromor. Rather than being in the city, Fort Firstwatch was located a small distance from Raam. Turns out the headquarters of House M’Ke weren’t the official headquarters, but rather the House patriarch’s place of residence, and a safe place for trade and adminstration away from the strife of the city and the attacks House Tsalaxa and House Stel. The psuedo headquarters were more of walled market with a large central building than an actual fort, especially compared to the dozen or so actual forts littered around the landscape like lone mountains.

There they met Truvo M’ke the patriarch of house M’Ke. He admitted that due to the house’s current financial standings, he was unable to reward them properly. But he offered them lodgings, food and most important, a connection in the city. Truvo’s son, Rogil M’Ke was currently looking after the holdings in the city and is known to associate with Offspring, the bastard children of Abalach-Re

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