Dark Dawn

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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Nibenay - Choosing sides
Epic Tier - Session 9

With his sword drawn, Dust made the first attack against Agis of Asticles. An attack the promptly ended the party’s alliance with Tithian and would greatly impact the lives of all Athasians for centuries to come. The battle for short, despite members of the Angelic Host seemingly appearing out of thin air. Upon piercing Agis through the back and straight through his heart, Agis disappeared with a pop. Tiran Arslan was able to quickly discern that Agis had teleported a short distance away. The last remaining angel started to fly into the jungle, and the party followed assuming it would lead them to Agis. But the angel stopped just before the jungle line, choosing to fight. Just before it fell, a presence that can be assumed to be Tithian entered Dust’s mind and took immediate control. While he was unable to do any damage to his comrades, he did partially destroy their carpet, rendering it useless. This only lasted for about 10 seconds before the warding magic in the Sword of Tyr took effect, putting Dust back in control of his body and mind.
The group then went into the jungle to investigate Agis’ whereabouts and found a patch of scorched earth. But this wasn’t due to Agis’ appearance, but Defiling magic.
A quick inspection of the treehouse where Agis had been holed up revealed several notes on the ongoings of Nibenay and several possible points of interest within the city.
With their carpet ruined, the party continued on foot towards Nibenay. Within an hour, they were already passing through the Templar-controlled logging camps and another hour had them at the western city gates.
They wasted no time in telling the guards who they were, though things went slightly better than in Gulg. The party headed towards the Naggaramakam, the royal palace of Sorcerer-King Nibenay. They came upon a funeral procession marching down the King’s Road, led by Templar-Wives and the King’s Guard. It seemed to be in mourning of one of the Templar-Wives who fell at Tyr. One of the Templar-Wives broke off from the procession to speak to the group. She immediately recognised who they were and offered to escort them to the Naggaramakam as there were certain elements in Nibenay who would rather see their heads on pikes. She introduced herself as Gilesel, a Wife of the Temple of Thought.
Without delay she took them to the Sorcerer-King. While he didn’t seem pleased to see them, he was still willing to have an audience. High-Consort Bamandji seemed openly hostile while the other present High Consorts seemed passive to the party’s presence. Nibenay, while mightily displeased, gave the group a chance to redeem themselves. In return, he would be open with them as they should be with him. He told them to retrieve the Eye of Abalach-Re. Not the literal eye of Sorcerer-Queen Abalach-Re, but a giant gem infused with dark, defiling magics. While the “eye” was in a lost temple somewhere in the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes, they should be able to find information on the temple’s location in Raam.
Before the party left, Nibenay rolled them the head of Agis. Apparantly his Templars had been watching Agis for a while, the party giving them the opprtunity to finish Agis off. This would also explain Nibenay’s surprisingly cool attitude towards the party. Nibenay also requested the party attend the rest of the funerals, a single day for each Templar-Wive that had fallen in Tyr, Dust choosing to stand vigil for this time. It was only after this time that Gilesel took them to High-Consort Seimhouk, the Templar-Wife in charge of the Temple of Mind. Seimhouk didn’t share Bamandji’s hostility and if anything, offered them a form of patronage. Substituting her own funds where necessary, she offered to repair their carpet in a couple of days. In exchange, she wanted the party, while visiting Raam, to kill the Sorcerer-Queen and return with her brain and heart. While Seimhouk’s intentions were unclear, everyone agreed that this was not against Nibenay’s wishes.

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Gulg - Juggling the Judaga of the Dageda
Epic Tier - Session 8

As partially narrated by Dust

After hosting a successful dinner party, the group tried to track down Gavan Sul in Altaruk, but had little success. Using the scrying skills of Gren Lidel, they were able to discern that Gavan Sul either was not on this plane, or that he had one of the Swords of Tyr with him. After talking with various guards, they were able to discern that Gavan, after being kicked out of the city, had left through the northern gate, which leads back to Tyr and the cities of the north. Before leaving, the party shouted a years supply of beverages for Thri’ir (Three Ear) the beggar king because he seemed like a swell guy who also has a high chance of being involved with Gavan Sul if he returns.

Not wanting to return to Tyr without at least one Sorcerer-King head, the party set off for Nibenay to have a discussion with Agis of Asticles… but remembering a severe hate of trees and people who built cities around them, the party stopped by Gulg.

They set down the carpet in the forest, leaving it guarded by a fiercesome duo of the slowly dying Thri-Kreen and Tiran Arslan and made their way to the gates. The Judaga guards (wearing leopard pelts) noted the Tyran insignia on Dust’s fine cape and promptly denied entry stating that all trade is banned with Tyr.

After attempting to reason with them, Dust decided to try another tactic which the group has often used to success labelled simply “brute force”. The key to this tactic was the numbers advantage which the group had, 3 to 2. With a quick outlay of strength the small group tore apart one of the Judaga resulting in the other blowing his horn … summoning two more guards. Still it was 3 to 3 and they were confident, but as the fight drew on more horns blared… and more enemies came… and these were no mere fodder soldiers. More of the elite Judaga approached, in addition to the shamanistic, Gulgan Templars, Nganga

Darus decided to flee, which is his right as a non-slave. The small yellow puddle he left behind clearly visible as he utilised a teleport/sprint combintation. Dust tactically retreated, slowly and carefully, remembering to try to be wary in the absence of Tiran. For Turk Garrant it was another matter altogether, advancing with stealth and invisibility right through the huge contingent of enemy elite soldiers and around to take a look at the impenetrable wall of brambles known as the Mopti Wall – then returning to his comrades.

Dust bade him to return past the enemies and to speak with their contact here, Lireal, who was the primary reason for there entry to the city, Turk realized his error in not meeting up with her in the first place and proceeded to re-stealth and re-invis past the now wary sentries into the outsiders tavern to meet up with Lireal. She divulged a lot of useful information (at least that’s what Turk indicated) however he only said that “she has a plan but we probably should wait for the fuss to die down” and prompted us to leave the city.

We made the best of the situation using our proximity to gather intel from the city of Nibenay, and met up with Agis of Asticles. He told a story of an emotionally wounded and quite angry Nibenay whose anger was felt by all in the area when his Templar-Wives were slain at Tyr…. The beheading of Kahlia most of all… Dust cocked his head as Agis retold the story with some glee audible in his voice and mouthed simply, “An eye for an eye.” Dust drew his sword.

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Altaruk - Feast of the Air Drakes
Epic Tier - Session 7

The party set out from Grak’s Pool towards Altaruk, towards Gavan Sul’s possible destination and towards a little potential R&R. While the Magic Carpet affords certain luxury while travelling, such as avoiding ground dwellers, it can also attract denizens of the air. As the party reached the mountain pass leading to Altaruk, they were spotted by a hunting Air Drake. Rather than fight a dangerous battle upon the carpet, the party decided to take refuge in a small indent in the cliff face approximately 300 feet up. Unfortunately the drake was able to sniff them out, attacking the party in their hidey hole. What took place was a fierce, yet precarious battle, especially once younger air drakes joined the fray. Despite the heights, and drakish determination, the party were able to avoid a dismal demise and defeat the flock.
Recovering eyes, hides, teeth, claws and two whole corpses, the party continued their journey onto Altaruk. Upon reaching the gates with their cargo in tow, a Goliath guard named Jema agreed to mind the Drake corpses (for a small fee), while the party sought out Governer Arisphistaneles. Along with Aris, they planned a social dinner with some of the more powerful figures in Altaruk, along with the members of the Veiled Alliance. Aris directed them onto Hequan, a Tiefling chef in charge of a prominent Altaruk restaurant called Hell’s Kitchen. With Hequan, they were able to broke a location and cook for the dinner.
Asides from the dinner hosts and Aris, the attendees were the local heads of House Wavir, House Tomblador and House Rees, Gavir, Dair and Furor respectively. Also there was Aram, the Mul in charge of the Sandy Sun Inn and members of the Veiled Alliance: Gren Lidel, head of the Independent Merchant’s Guild, Ilisal Laath a private contractor (A.K.A. brothel madame), Baror, a goliath at the head of the local guard and the Dwarf Thri’ir (Three Ear) also known as the Beggar King.
The party were able garner influence amongst these figures and even convince Aris to not allow the Altaruk cell of the Veiled Alliance ally with God-King Tithian (for now). They learnt that Gren had personally kicked Gavan Sul out of Altaruk. Most of the discussion centered around current events in the Tyr Region and the dinner party finished on a high, even Dair had begrudingly enjoyed it.

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Walis - The gold must flow...
Epic Tier - Session 6

Pulling down the Balican flags, the party retook Walis… again. The future of House Aureus had been crushed between the great hammers of fate, and the lucrative gold mine was left without an administrator.
The first steps of the party was to establish a new overseer, someone who would keep the gold flowing. All the slave drivers had been killed along with the Balican forces. So, after a flat out refusal by the inn keeper of the Yellow House, Tiran decided to push towards a Tyr model. The party freed the slaves and gave them all the option of leaving. All but three stayed. Then they ran all the slaves through a series of logic and numeracy tests and pulled out two of the more intelligent slaves (most likely not born into slavery), Frooth and Seiche-Urshal. These two were appointed as administrators to mine and were in charge of coordinating the mining efforts and selling the gold.
Satisfied that the mine was being left in capable hands, and that Balican forces were out of the region, the party decided to return to Grak’s Pool to jump back on the trail of Gavan Sul, but before helping themselves to about 400 pounds of gold, as was there right as Tyr’s most renowned ambassadors. They flew straight to Grak’s Pool to talk to the merchants still gathered there. The party were surprised to find that the site of the massacre was still widely used by travellers, perhaps taking advantage of the now-free water.
Tiran took this opportunity to take a bath, while Ichtaca and Turk investigated Gavan’s whereabouts. They discovered he had left for the north, for Altaruk. While this was happening, Tiran was attacked by a mysterious, black-clad, lone assassin. Despite being unarmored and unarmed, Tiran was able to fend off the assassin and stun him. But before they could gain any useful information, the man bit his own tongue off, drowning in his own blood.
Disturbed by this unexpected and unusually unidentifiable attack, the party decided to move on from Grak’s Pool, no longer a safe haven

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Grak's Pool - Act of War
Epic Tier - Session 5

After causing enough collateral damage to bankrupt a decent-sized Merchant House, the party made all haste towards Grak’s Pool, soon ditching their military cutter and travelling the rest of the way via carpet. The reached Grak’s Pool in just under a week, hoping to cut off the Praetor force. Unfortunately, the Praetors were well ahead of them by several weeks from the onset and instead, they arrive at a the site of a massacre. All of Grak’s mercenaries had been killed in battle and even a couple of merchants who had gotten in the way. Swinging from the stone gateway was Grak himself, alongside Caliph Arslan. This was a clear message from Andropinis to Tithian, “Keep away from my stuff. Just because the dead were everywhere doesn’t mean the party were alone. Merchants were still resting in the small caravanserai and using it as a stopping point. There were also two Praetors waiting, presumably guarding the ships. With vengeance in their hearts, the party quickly slew the Praetors.
”/characters/turk" class=“wiki-content-link”>Turk Garrant used his remaining oil to burn all of the Balican ships docked down at the jetty while the rest of the party buried Grak and Caliph. Retaking Walis had become more than a political issue, it was now a matter of pride, principles and revenge.
The party continued onto Walis. There were no guards at the canyon’s entrance but they had presumably gathered at the Yellow House, the inn and saloon located at the base of the spire. Their carpet wouldn’t be able to fly up high enough from the canyon floor so they resorted to the next best thing. Using his incredible ability to jump, Ichtaca was able to reach the top and lower ropes for the rest. While they climbed, Ichtaca disabled the winch, which normally allowed the bucket to be raised or lowered, and sent the slaves scampering.
When everyone reached the top, they were able to survey the situation. Things looked grim. It wasn’t just Praetors at the top, but also Balican soldiers including a handful Minotaur Reavers, one of the trump cards of the Balican military.
But the party did not waiver, throwing themselves into battle with ferocity, slaying the Balican forces with precision and efficiency. It wasn’t long before everyone else was dead (except the slaves). Instinctively knowing the rest of the Praetors were in the House Aureus headquarters. The party tried to convince them to come out and surrender. The chances of that were nil, so as a skilled negotiator, Dust entered the building where they had killed their first Praetors several months ago. Cydle Aureus was tied to a chair, bloodied and beaten, surrounded by two minotaurs with great hammers near his head. The Praetor on the second floor balcony above have the party an ultimatum, leave or the merchant dies. Taking a risk, Dust charged the nearest minotaur but was too slow. The minotaurs crushed Cydle’s head between the hammers like a Regis Fruit.
The rest of the party wasted no time in entering the house and engaging the remaining forces, slaying them and ending Balic’s brief retaking of Walis.

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Balic - Flee!
Epic Tier - Session 4

Not the first time, the party were forced to flee a city in high alert to their presence. Dust had rescued the party from their failed assassination attempt and were now flying high above Balic to flee over the walls. If they had listened to Sadira earlier, they would have known that there a magical barrier surrounding the walls, preventing their escape.
A new tactic was needed. The party regrouped at the The Olive Tree to grab their belongings and formulate a new plan. They decided to investigate the Great Gate as it’s the only gate into and out of Balic. With Ichtaca and Turk Garrant scouting along rooftops and Dust, Tiran Arslan and Darus, moving through the streets, they were able to avoid Praetor patrols and reach the gate unseen. As to be expected, the gates had been closed with a large troop led by several Praetors guarding the exit.
The only other option, to Turk’s glee, was to sail out of the harbor. Moving through the streets in the same way, the reached The Furled Sail, a sailor’s bar in the Harbor District. Even though the city was on high alert, patrols through the street and soldiers pouring out of The Arsenal, sandy old silt dogs were still bent on drinking away their earnings. Tiran and Dust questioned some of the patrons, to see if they know any ways out of the city. The information they unearthed was far more insidious. Many of the sailors hadn’t heard the news of the assassination attempt, but instead assumed it had something to do with the small troop of Praetors Andropinis sent to Walis several weeks ago to retake the gold mine. They had traveled up the Estuary, the best and quickest way out of Balic. This gave the party and idea.
So the party devised a cunning plan. Turk would go down to the merchant docks and using his many gallons of oil, would create a fiery distraction. He would then use his unnatural abilities to run across the silt harbor to commandeer one of the military cutters docked at the Arsenal. Meanwhile, Dust and Darus would sneak up the Arsenal, scale the walls and take out any lookouts who weren’t patrolling the streets. Waiting at the Furled Sail, Ichtaca and Tiran would move towards the Arsenal once the merchant ships were on fire and use their own psionic abilities to balance across the silt to reach the ship Turk had chosen.
The plan was going smoothly, until Dust and Darus failed to take out the sentries. Bells sounded in the Arsenal, alerting half the city to the presence of enemies. Dust and Darus legged it to the ship already occupied by the other three. They both made leaping jumps onto the already-moving ship and headed towards the blockade being formed by the newly-alerted ships.
Between Turk’s sailing abilities and the rest of the party’s keen eye to avoid mortar fire, the party were able break the blockage and with a cry of triumph, set sail for Grak’s Pool, their first stop on the way to rescuing Walis.

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Balic - More than you can chew
Epic Tier - Session 3

The party flew to meet their first contact, Sadira. The half-elf, ex-slave was one of the original Deposers of Kalak and had represented the ex-slaves of Tyr before Tithian went through the portal. She was difficult to recognise as despite being middle-aged, she looked like she was in the prime of her youth. Her features had changed slightly since they had last seen her.
She had little information to give on Balic and its Sorcerer-King, Andropinis. He imposes his absolute rule through a Senate of Praetors that are elected by the people (provided you aren’t a slave woman or non-citizen). The election process is dubious in nature as it’s mostly nobles, the rich and powerful that are eventually elected. And even then, Andropinis is most likely behind the scenes hand-picking his favorites (which no-one is yet to prove… or accuse of him). Due to recent unrest in the region, Andropinis was currently conducting an inquisition of sorts in his city, seeking out any sources of magic to try and root out the Veiled Alliance. Sadira warned their magic items might draw unwarranted attention. She also mentioned Andropinis’ two advisors, Bernike and Batheus, powerful defilers in their own right.
The party rolled up their carpet, and set off by foot toward Balic’s westernmost gate. Entry to the city was easily bought and the party immediately found an inn to shack in. They then spent a month in a Balic to gain information and root out weaknesses of Andropinis. Unfortunately, their investigating involved going to the Criterion and drinking broy (between gambling and drinking, they broke about even). All they managed to find out was that Andropinis doesn’t have many weaknesses. He is incredibly cautious and will not rise to a challenge when provoked. The people believe he is their connection between them and their ancestors, communicating with the spirits and the land itself. The party also discovered that the population of Balic is about 40% slaves and that Balic was a city of guilds. Not just merchant houses, but in Balic there were guilds for just about every form of business where there was more than one of.
The best course of action appeared to be to seek out the Veiled Alliance, likely allies and supporters in their plight to defeat the Sorcerer-King. First the party sought out the headquarters of House Wavir, hoping to use it’s connection to Tyr to garner some assistance. Unfortuantely, the administrator of the Balican house, Makir, couldn’t help as city politics is bad for business.
The party’s search for the Veiled Alliance eventually led them to the Thespian House and to a young man named Ladeus. Tiran was able to convince Ladeus to lead them to the Veiled Alliance. The party were led to the Villa Precinct, to the house of Zaetheus Nauripides. Zaetheus, while the owner of the house was not the leader of the Balican cell, that title belonged to Ramphion. He informed them that while they couldn’t offer weapons, they could offer a way in. Gendra Zaldanis was a praetor who had turned coat was now supplying the Veiled Alliance with information via a magical link.
Ignoring this information, the party decided to scale the cliffs to breach the Megalaneon and assassinate Andropinis the ol’ fashion way.
Getting to the top was easy enough and the party were fortunate enough to come out behind the Temple of Heroes, hidden from view from the rest of the Megalaneon. There were still a few of the elite moving above in the torchlight, so the party started to sneak towards The White Palace, Andropinis’ place of residence. Tiran, not known for sneaking ability, decided he would use the path and bullshit his way to their destination. Unfortunately, Tiran’s noble regalia, silver tongue and dashing good looks were not enough, and several nobles called High Praetor Aditus and so the battle begun.
Fighting off praetors, Ichtaca used his super Thri-Kreen speed to run into the palace and into The Ivory Dungeon with two dozen short swords. Rather than finding an army, Ichtaca found three prisoners only. Ichtaca freed and armed them.
One, a human woman in a ragged preator immediately slit her own throat, bleeding out on the stone floor. Another, an elven introduced himself as Vulgar Rex and promptly ran off, even faster than Ichtaca. The last was Krolgar Ramhammer, who was massive even by Goliath standards. For freeing him, he agreed to fight.
The party fought heroically against the High Praetor and his forces, but their numbers seemed endless. It wasn’t until Darus ran into the Temple of Heroes that they realised the trouble they were in. Andropinis and his two advisers had been there the entire time. Once they joined the fight, the battle was more or less over. Darus was knocked unconscious and Turk was almost killed. Dust managed to swoop in with the carpet at the last moment and save them from a certain death.

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