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Tag: balic

Chapter 9: The Ivory Dungeon


With Pak'Cha having distracted the guards, the heroes made their way into the inner court of the White Palace. Surprising them all, Solaris' bonding with the athame took them into a dining hall. Obviously not a normal place to find a secret dungeon.

The entrance was hidden beneath the marble table; and what a magnificent mechanical masterpiece it was! As the mosaic shifted into a spiral staircase, the party made their way down into the Ivory Dungeon.

Once in, they set about to finding Hargo and anyone else that might be worth rescuing. After a nasty battle against the dungeon guards--a group of flameskulls, hulking zombies and iron cobras-- the party found Hargo. They figured out how to pick the locks and then located the veiled alliance member. Gendra was her name.

The old alliance member begged to be killed, however, rather than saved. Her death would trigger a magical warning to other veiled alliance leaders. The party refused the kill order and grabbed a few other prisoners; most notably Harbeks old mentor, Nettle and a foul-mouthed elf named "Vulgar" Rex.

As they made their way out of the dungeon, Sanguine heard approaching guards and the party was barely able to hide before crossing paths with none other than Androponis himself! Once he was debriefed by the palace Praetor, the hall was emptied and the heroes once again made their escape.

"Vulgar" Rex suggested the party disguise themselves as Legion guards to make their escape easier. Conveniently, there was a nearby barracks empty of soldiers. While the party changed, Gendra once again pleaded to die. Solaris handed over his carrikal and allowed her the honor of killing herself. Before she died, Gendra tasked the party with locating alliance members in Tyr.

Getting out of the Palace proved to be easy with Crusher in uniform. No soldier was brave enough to question his orders. Anamis magically sealed the gates behind them and they prepared to flee. Unfortunately, they had one final obstacle; Darian Haraxes.

Across the cobblestone road stood Praetor Haraxes, his Justicator braxat, and roughly three hundred of the 1st Legion, including Prelate Lanius. Haraxes ordered the Legion to attack, but Lanius would not acquiesce. He simply stated that he'd always wanted front row seats to one of Crusher's matches. The heroes breathed a sigh of relief as Harbek shouted and charged the Praetor.

It was over in an instant. Magic and psionics clashed while weapons broke and rang out. The 1st Legion stood silently amidst the chaos. Crusher and Solaris focused on Haraxes, while Harbek and Malla kept the braxat off-balance. Anamis drew forth his hellish powers and brought low all of Haraxes' personal headhunters, while landing the killing blow against the praetor. Sanguine was a whirl of blood and shadow, striking at any enemy within her reach.

As soon as Haraxes fell dead, the braxat's mind was free from its prison. The giant beast howled in rage, then fell silent as three hundred spears found their mark. Prelate Lanius nodded to the heroes and took Hargo's athame from Solaris. he placed the sword in Haraxes hand and plunged his own spatha into the Praetor's lifeless body, "It appears we have apprehended the traitor."

Nothing else needed saying. The party made their way to Kaylen's skimmer and off into the estuary they went. Unfortunately, there were three interceptors hot on their tail. "Second Legion skimmers! They're none too happy about us leaving port without saying goodbye!" shouted the captain...
Session: Session 33 - Sunday, Jun 09 2013 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Chapter 9: Rescue Hargo Vole
Will Post Later.
Session: Session 32 - Saturday, Jun 01 2013 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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Chapter 9: The Prestige
Putting posts in order. Will update all later.
Session: Session 31 - Sunday, May 26 2013 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Dear Harbek,
I received your letter and package via courier. I am very grateful for your contribution to the cause. It is extremely generous, and will be a boon to a great many deal of our warriors. You were always very passionate about our issue, and I can see that my training was not in vain. I take it you are doing well working for this merchant, I will do what I can to gather some background on this individual you mentioned. Your letter was very vague as to why he peaked your interest, but considering your contribution, it's very fair.

Sad story about the Balic-based group you told me. Do not blame yourself for this loss, you did what you could. We should be able to recuperate our losses with what you gave. Also in return for your generous contribution, I have sent some items of interest that you requested, plus an old training item of yours. I hope this will solidify our long-standing relationship, and your future contributions. Your aid is needed more than ever. You have a good heart, strong will and courageous soul. They will lead you to victory my friend.

Nettle

Harbek looked up from the letter, nodding with content, and sighing with relief that he had received a return letter from his old mentor. Walking back towards his bunk, he rummaged through the package. In it was an amulet that held the life and spirit of the land, a sleek pair of form-fitting boots and an old belt that Harbek used to train in his younger years. He had enjoyed his time in the merchant group, and would continue to profit. Although, he never forgot what he set out to accomplish. His failure to help the Alliance group in Balic weighed heavy on his mind, and so he had chosen to rekindle an old friendship.
Session: Session 18 - Sunday, Dec 16 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Epic × 2!
Chapter 5: No Good Deed
Post at some point in 2012. In the mean time, here's a puppy

Session: Session 18 - Sunday, Dec 16 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Chapter 5: A Very CONvincing Plan
Harbek
"I met a man by the name of Nettle years back. I think he was like you folks. He taught a lot about how to live my life. He also told me about defilers. He showed me how to use the primal energies to fight. He was a strong shaman. So let's talk about what we know before we get hasty. I'd hate to have to keep my oath and cut you down at the same time. That is, I think we're after the same thing here."


The alliance leader had heard of the preserver named Nettle. That was enough to stay his hand, and not a moment too soon. The party negotiated an alternative option, in which they would retrieve another Templar sword to trade for Hargo Vole's blade. The alliance members agreed and were just about to shake on it when Anamis and Solaris burst in the room. Praetor Darian Haraxes and a company of legionnaires were only minutes behind them. He was on the hunt for veiled alliance members. The parties used a secret tunnel that took them through Balic's sewers and parted ways. Sanguine had twenty four hours to make good on her promise to procure another Templar sword.

That was twenty five more than she needed. First, she contacted Oulestes and accepted the job he'd offered, so long as he played along with an exhibition match they were going to suggest. Next, they conned Entellis Tomblador into funding the very match Crusher wanted: An unarmed combat between Crusher and Granikkus. The idea of squashing a rival in the slave trade was too enticing to Entellis and he quickly agreed. While he and Crusher went to challenge Granikkus and House Thestis, Sanguine and Anamis handled the contract.

It was a simple ruse -- keep Oethen, the seneschal, busy while Anamis steals and duplicates his ledger using an arcane ritual. To keep the guards busy, Solaris used his charms. The former Templar turned guard captain, Brinna, took a liking to the psion and was eager to "spar" with him in the courtyard.

While they practiced all manner of duplicity and thievery it was left to Crusher, Harbek and Pak'Cha to put on an impressive fight. Granikkus was more than willing to take them on. The pomp and circumstance could not have been more pointless, but it provided necessary time.

When Granikkus finally entered the Criterion, he brought with him a surprise. Claybo, the tarek bought to Balic by the heroes stood with him. He was marked as a slave and ready for battle. When he saw Harbek and Crusher, Claybo flew into a savage rage. The battle will be talked about for years to come. Easily ranked in the top five matches in the Criterion. Granikkus leveled every blow possible at the older warrior, but Crusher took every strike as vindication that he was the superior. Nothing the goliath did slowed Crusher down. While the champions clashed, Harbek did what he could to try and calm the savagery of Claybo, with no success. Pak'Cha, however, cared little about his opponent, and the dwarf was soon knocked unconscious.

It was never a fair contest. Crusher knew what to expect from the thri-kreen and his plan was to keep Granikkus distracted long enough for Pak'Cha to begin delivering strikes. And when the dust finally cleared, the three stood victorious over a beaten Granikkus.

The cheers shook the very foundations of the Criterion. Entellis couldn't be happier. He greeted the victors and invited them to a celebration in their honor. It was impossible to decline, and seeing Sanguine give the thumbs up, Crusher figured that some wine and food were quite well-earned.

It was then that the party was stunned into silence. For the victors were approached by non-other than Androponis himself, congratulating them on a stupendous exhibition. His servant provided each of them a silver medal and the sorcerer-king made his exit. They barely had time to exhale when Entellis' brother arrived. The newly appointed High-Praetor Kaladon Tomblador was, at first, happy to hear of his brother's good fortune. All too quickly, however, his mannerisms changed. The glowing white eyes of the Templar scanned the crowd. Something was wrong...
Session: Session 17 - Sunday, Dec 09 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Chapter 5: Brawl at the Silty Dawg
Sanguine found Praetor Sarhan to be quite charming, when he wasn't torturing and subjugating the people of Ledopolus. He offered the party a job to locate a silver mine in the sea of silt. Sanguine didn't accept, but she did keep the offer in consideration.

Meanwhile, Granikkus, the current champion of the blood games, spent his time at the party goading Crusher into a match of champions. Crusher was hardly swayed, seeing how he had nothing to prove to the young upstart. It was then that Sarhan approached them, taking notice of Harbek. While he was certain that Harbek and his friends were responsible for the failings in North Ledopolus, he was up against the clever wit of Harbek. After a brief round of grueling interrogation, all the Praetor could confirm was that Harbek was likely affected by sun-sickness.

After the party had wrapped up, Oulestes came to Sanguine with a proposition. House Tomblador was into some shady dealings of late, and it looked like they planned on taking over House Thestis' business. If Sanguine could steal the seneschal's ledger Oulestes could take measures to counter their plans. It was all a bunch of political crap that was barely interesting to Sanguine, but the offer of payment and a favor was quite enticing. That would have to wait, however, as the party had other plans.

That evening Crusher, Sanguine, Harbek, and Pak'Cha walked into the Silty Dawg with one goal; kill all sum'bitches. It was a simple goal, but a well thought out plan -- what could go wrong? The shifting sands members were unprepared for the ambush and were nearly all slaughtered before their leader, Clubb, intervened. During the struggle, Clubb let slip that he was working under orders from the Veiled Alliance, not that the party cared much. He wasn't going to surrender and instead chose to run. Sanguine attempted to follow, but the dwarf was quite slippery.

However, Sanguine did have an idea of where he might be going and the party made a quick escape to Markk's Tannery. Inside, they were going to prepare ambush, but were encountered by a cell of Alliance members. Sanguine tried to lie and turn the alliance against Clubb, to no avail.

Just as the alliance members were drawing their weapons, Harbek stepped forward and offered to help diffuse the situation...
Session: Session 16 - Sunday, Dec 02 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Chapter 5: Ambush at the Dusty Jewel
Hargo's visit to Balic was quite fruitful. A team was hired to survey and protect the cistern, and some contracts were in negotiation for supply. With all handled nicely, he returned to the Dusty Jewel with Harbek, Anamis, and Malla in tow.

The trip across the estuary took most of the day, with the old cog pulling in late into the evening. To Harbek's shock, however, their arrival would not be a peaceful one. The watchtower was burning and a raider manned the polybolos, firing at the heroes approach.

Meanwhile, Crusher, Varis, Sanguine and Solaris were returning from a very prosperous hunt. Not only did they successfully kill five gorak, but they managed to capture a live silk wyrm, as well! Their jubilant attitudes were soon sundered, however, by the sight of the burning jewel. Toph ran toward them screaming for aid, but was brought low by a surprise assailant!

I'm scary... Honestly, I really am.


Bursting forth from the ground came a hunting pack of anakore hungry for hero. The party dismounted and moved to strike, while Varis ran to try and rescue Toph.

Back at the Jewel Anamis was cutting a path to the polybolos while Harbek and Malla focused on the vetran raider. Hargo Vole, however sought out their leader. A dwarf by the name of Clubb emerged from Hargo's hut and landed a few good strikes at the party's employer before making an exit on a nearby silt skimmer. Anamis tried to slow them down with the polybolos, but was unsuccessful. Harbek and Malla found success against the veteran, though they were unable to discern any information from his corpse.

While Crusher dealt with a stray anakore, Sanguine fought for her life. One of the hunters caught her by the ankle and drug the vampire deep into the dirt. The remaining anakore were giving a hard fight to Solaris and Varis, and the elf was taking the majority of the punishment. By the time Sanguine had freed herself, she was too late. While Varis struggled to climb free, an anakore struck him from behind, severing his neck. The beast then made off with his kill while Sanguine and Solaris struck down the other creatures.

By the time the party had reunited at the Jewel, the remaining raiders had been rounded up and the fire was nearly out. Hargo was quick to notice that nothing of value had been taken and it looked more like they were prepared for a fight than looting. Dashing into his hut the old trader found his secret stash had been opened and ransacked. Only one thing was missing: Hargo's Falcata.

Shiny.


With as quick an explanation as possible, Hargo told the heroes why the sword was so important. Firstly, being an iron sword, it has serious value, but more importantly, it was his athame; for Hargo Vole was once Praetor Hargo Vole. Not only that, but he was one of the select few Praetors that the Sorcerer-King Androponis trusted with access to his secret Ivory Dungeon. If the mercenaries stole the sword, it is very likely they plan on using it to free one of Androponis' most hated enemies.

The party quickly packed and shipped off across the estuary en route to Balic. As it turned out, they were ill-prepared to sail a silt skiff and barely arrived with their lives. Once there, the party set to a little business before locating the dwarf mercenary. Firstly, Sanguine and Solaris sought out a buyer for their silk wyrm, while Harbek, Crusher and Anamis purchased a dozen slave-sailors to handle the skiff. They were somewhat successful in their purchases, even getting their hands on a former thri-kreen gladiator.

Sanguine and Solaris also found much success, entering into negotiations with house Thestis' patriarch, Oulestes, an aging, but brutish man. He purchased the silk wyrm and much of the silk the party had harvested, which may have had as much to do with Sanguine's charms as it did her gaze. He invited the pair, and their entourage, to a gathering later that evening at his estate. Thankfully, they had enough money to afford some clean clothes and bathing...
Session: Session 15 - Sunday, Nov 25 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Chapter 4: The Lost Cistern
The kestrekel found the party to be quite indigestible and scattered into the winds while Crusher, well, he crushed the alpha's windpipe. A contingent of the 1st legion arrived to finish off the flock and burn the remaining spider cacti before addressing the heroes. Prelate Lanius was awestruck in meeting the famous Crusher, and the legion provided escort to the great city of Balic.



Once there, Malla was able to track down Hargo's contact and with Varis' help, they narrowed down the most likely location of the cistern. Shortly after the contact left, Varis heard a commotion outside the inn and rushed to investigate. He arrived too late, only finding the contact bleeding out on the ground and Aravek's journal missing.

The party agreed with Sanguine's suggestion to head out that evening, a well-thought plan. Under cover of darkness, they were able to avoid the natural dangers of Athas' heat, while also slipping by some roadside bandits looking for a mark.

Early the next morning they had found the small valley hiding the lost cistern. Vegetation grew wildly about the area, and a strong musty humidity was thick in the air. Inside the cave that made up much of the wind-trap were a group of gith--tall emaciated humanoids--relaxing and enjoying a drink of water. Varis startled them, causing the leader to spring into action. The gith were unprepared, however, and were soundly beaten by the heroes.

"Join the army" they said! "See the worlds", they said! I'd rather be plane sailing.


Before they dropped into the cistern, Varis suggested they keep an eye out for their would-be pursuers. Sure enough, after about an hour of watching, they spotted a group of soldier-slaves entering the valley. The heroes set an ambush when Varis confirmed the leader was a Templar, likely from Urik.

When the party struck, they did so with deft precision. the dwarf conscripts were separated from the rest of the party while Crusher and Sanguine focused on the Templar and his bodyguard. While drawing forth his short sword, the illusion faded showing a gleaming steel blade, forcing a shriek of terror and hatred out of Anukim, the Templar. Recognizing the blade, Anukim sent his gladiator to claim it, but Sanguine tore the man to pieces. In mere moments, the valley fell silent once more.

Beaten and tired, the heroes descended into the cavern to confirm the cistern's existence and stake their claim. Unfortunately, as Malla would soon say, they were not alone. A tembo had taken up residence in the cave, and it was not interested in moving. It appeared to Solaris that the creature may have been smiling when it saw the party, a fact that did little to calm the party's nerves.

F*#@ that kitty!


The beast lunged into battle, moving lightning fast and striking at the heroes multiple times in rapid succession. An aberrant beast of pure evil, it took everything the heroes had to overcome this foe. In the end they stood victorious over the beast's carcass, though Harbek and Solaris would carry wounds that would not heal for some time.

With the cistern now captured and contracts signed, all was done. Hargo met the party in Balic with a big smile and heavy purse. He would remain in Balic for a few weeks to handle more of the business and requested the aid of Malla, Harbek, and Anamis. Crusher, Sanguine, Solaris and Varis were to head back to the Dusty Jewel and handle things in his absence. Things were finally looking up for the party...
Session: Game Session 13 - Sunday, Nov 11 2012 from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Epic × 2!
Chapter 4: The Road of Legions
The road to Balic was a nice departure from the struggles of the past few weeks. The crodlu did their job well, and made up for the lost time in Ledopolus. In fact, the only struggles so far came in the form of a stampede of raging inix, sent in to a fury by a hungry cilops!

Has anyone seen my contact? It fell out over here...


Unfortunately for the cilops, Sanguine was in no mood for distractions. One deep slash of her talon-like hands and the beast was skittering about while oozing defiled blood.

After scaring off the inix, the party salvaged some of the cilops for future use and continued their journey toward the City of Silt. On the third day, Varis spotted some Tarek on a nearby cliff, performing some sort of exile on one of their kin. After much debate, the party decided to investigate and tended to the dying Tarek's wounds.

Claybo was his name, once a shaman to his tribe, and soothsayer of the Jabahl Sagh. He was exiled in favor of Thur'roq, a follower of the fire god, Ramah. Claybo accepted party's offer to take him to Balic, as he had nowhere else to go. The party now numbered eight as they continued onward.

Just as they were reaching eyesight of Balic's alabaster walls, Varis caught wind of a putrid smell. The rotting carcass of a Mekillot waited around a curve in the road. Surrounding the beast's body was an entire flock of Kestrekel. Varis readied an arrow, but was hit by something else! A spider cactus ensnared the elf and began pulling him closer and closer. Before anyone could react, a giant kestrekel alpha sprung up from the mekillot's gullet and roared in anger. The other kestrekel followed suit and the party was soon under attack.
[center]
Look, Flaps, first I say, "What we gonna do?" Then you say, "I don't know, what you wanna do?" Then I say, "What we gonna do?" You say, "What you wanna do?" "What we gonna do?" "What you want..." Let's do SOMETHING"!

Crusher was ripped from his mount by the alpha and pulled high into the air before he pinned the beasts wings and brought it crashing back to the ground. Claybo, Sanguine and Harbek set to breaking apart the swarm of birds while Anamis and Varis struggled with the cacti. Solaris attempted to help Crusher, but was nearly brought low by swarming kestrekel. All looked quite dire for the party....
Session: Session 12 - Sunday, Oct 28 2012 from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM
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Tags: Balic , Chapter 4 , Recap