Under the Dual Moons

Rhotan Vor

Soon after the party settled into their drinks, a dwarf of obvious Balican bearing strolled in. He walked up to the party and congratulated them on their efforts against the elves. He introduced himself as Rhotan Vor, a trader with House Wavir. He told how his caravan lost men and goods in the previous day’s sandstorm. The party did recall seeing a storm off in the distance.

Rhotan offered the party 100gp in Balican coin to locate the missing wagon and trade goods. He mentioned that a party such skilled in battle would be handy. Clara asked if he expected that there would be trouble and he replied that “it is the desert, afterall.”

The party agreed to help Rhotan and set out looking for the lost wagon. They were able to track it into the desert, but were soon set upon by a party of Silt Runners, reptillian creatures known for dwelling in the desert. Three of the silt runners were skillful at using spears, while two launched ranged attacks from atop an escarpment. The party found the spears particularly brutal, but were able to route the Silt Runners, with one trying to flee for its life.

The party continued on, following the tracks of the wagon until it found the remains of the wagon, surrounded by Kruthiks. The Kruthiks were particularly touch, with the adult shooting poisoned spikes at the party. They were however no match for the party and soon met their end.

The party found tracks leading away from the wagon and followed them to an old ruin. They stood behind old doors and opened them to find more Silt Runners, lead by a Ssuarian. Three caravan drivers were tied up in the corner. Darwin and Zinda, making his own decision for once, entered the room and attacked, but were quickly set upon by the ragers. Their brutal spears proved too much for Darwin and Zinda and they fell. With the only skilled healers dying, Umm saw that they only thing to do was to grab their bodies and run for it. Illiana and Clara followed. Not skilled healers at all, they did their best and were able to stabilize Zinda and Darwin. They set up camp for the night to give the recovering party members a rest.

Returning in the morning with a little more strategy, they were quickly set upon by the Silt Runners again, but this time, Umm was in the lead and was able to withstand their spears with the help of Darwin. The battle lasted but seconds, and the Silt Runners were defeated.

The party freed the captives and they worked together to carry the cargo on makeshift skids and the erdlu back to Altaruk. Rhotan was pleased and gave the party a 20gp bonus.

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Kaldras's Betrayal

After setting out on the trade road, the party settled into their daily routine as caravan workers. They noticed right away that they would have to make great efforts to keep of with the elves and their long strides. The party endured, and Darwin was able to help keep tempers from flairing as the elves pushed the party hard throughout the journey.

In the rocky badlands, the party was able to spot raiders and successful avoid them. This lead to their arrival in Altaruk safe and sound.

Soon after the caravan settled down in the elven market, Kaldras retreated into his tent to obstensibled pay the hired hands for their work on this leg of the journey, however it was clear he had something else in mind as he emerged with his sword at the ready. He yelled to his family to “take them” … and “to kill his fucking brother”.

He then rushed Zinda, while the rest of his family popped out of hiding with their short bows. They concentrated their fire on Zinda and Umm, ignoring Darwin, Clara and Illianna, who, the party was uncertain as why she was on their side. A bad mistake on the elves’ part, as Darwin landed a critial hit on Kaldras, slaying him. In seconds the elven snipers, two kanks, and Kaldras laid dead. It was then that the town watch arrived, led by Tellemon. A couple of elf ‘witnesses’ spoke against the party, saying that they were escaped slaves, but Darwin, as spokesman for the heroes was able to sway Tellemon into believing the truth. He told them that he would have had this dispute hashed out in the arena, but, whereas Kaldras lie dead, there was no point. He ordered for the banishment of the Moonrunners from Altaruk and offered to by the party a drink and extend Altaruk’s hospitality.

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Introduction (continued)
Kaldras' Caravan

Now desperate for a discreet way to flee the nearly lawless Tyr, you’ve all accepted work with an elf trader name Kaldras. He needed a few able-bodied workers to guard his caravan and care for his beasts as they journey to Balic, the city-state southeast of Tyr. His plan is to make for Altaruk, and once there, Kaldras plans to reunite with the rest of his tribe, unload his cargo, and pay you 50 gp in ceramic.

Umm leans against his greataxe while standing guard in the marketplace. Darwin Firstborn finishes his deal with Kaldras. Clara Negrescu eyes the two and appoaches. Kaldras smiles at the Tamwar decendant, welcoming her. He explains that his caravan is too small to hire entertainers, but capable crew are welcomed.

Suddenly, as if blown in on a desert breeze, a young woman in the garb of a dancer slides up to Kaldras. Handing him a small bag, she whispers in his ear. He looks the woman up and down, sizing her up, and then nods his head. She lilts off, enters the nearby Golden Inix inn, and reappears a few minutes later, dressed in a tight body suit. A short sword of lacquered bone and obsidian hangs at her side.

Nearby, a young elf fastens the harnesses on a kank. Kaldras looks over at the boy and with a perceptable look of contempt barks at him, calling him over. “My ‘brother’, Zinda. He works for a living.” Kaldras pushes him in Darwins direction. Zinda, averting his eyes and slumping his shoulders, gestures a hello. He looks up, his eyes gleaming and imploring, he awaits Darwin’s response.

Soon you find yourself moving out. Passing through Tyr’s Caravan Gate, a structure consisting of two marble valves, each 20 feet high and nearly as wide, banded and hinged in precious iron, you look back on the parched sandstone walls that bind a city who’s winds of fortune still blow a dust that has yet to settle.

Withering waves of heat lap at you, borne on a dusty desert breeze. It is Highsun, the hottest and most oppressive time of year. You are walking along a cracked and hard trade road leading away from Tyr. Wrapped in dun-colored traveling tunics, Kaldras and his elven family of eight take large, measured strides down the path. Two kanks—large, black, insectlike creatures often used as beasts of burden—carry the cargo Kaldras purchased in Tyr.

The goods are mostly mundane ceramic wares, and you can’t imagine they’ll sell for much in Altaruk’s market quarter. As you settle into your traveling gait, you notice the elves are competent and careful caravan guides. You feel confident that you and the other hired strangers will be able to easily fulfill your commitment over the next several scorching days.

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Introduction
Tyr is in chaos

Tyr is a city-state in chaos, and paradigms across Athas are snapping. Kalak, one of the nearly omnipotent sorcerer-kings, is dead. A band of rebels, now known as the Deposers of Kalak, laid low the centuries-old tyrant. In the wake of the great arcanists’ downfall, the city’s oppressive order has crumbled. Factions struggle for power, snatching at scraps of influence and wealth as templars, Kalak’s agents, struggle to reassert civic authority. Howls of anarchy mix with the joyous whoops of freed slaves in a cacophony that has yet to quiet since the world turned on its head.

For Umm, freedom is a mixed blessing. A gladiatorial fighter, Umm now has no Noble house backing him. Throngs of freed slaves wander the streets of Tyr in this period of chaos. How long before things settle, and the Noble’s regain their power and collect their lost property? Umm has no desire to find out.

Darwin Firstborn has quite a different issue. For a privilaged Noble and a academy trained ardent, the eruption of chaos has left Tyr unsafe. With his father, step-mother, and his half-siblings gone, the Oreites House is but a shadow of it’s former self, led by his uncle Arillius. His uncle’s particular cruel treatmment of the house slaves is of great concern now that they are free. Arillius’ loses seem great under this new regime, and while the greater houses vie for power, Oreites seems to be losing ground fast. In his last bid for power, he may have overstepped his bounds. Rumors have it that several of his rivals have met bloody ends. Could Arillius, or one of Darwin’s cousins be involved?

Clara Negrescu has found herself caught up in the chaos of Tyr, too. Last signed on under the banner of the green inix, House Ianto, a small merchant dynastic house engaged exclusively in the slave trade, Clara has found her employers are on the verge of colapse. Indeed, no Ianto caravans will be leaving Tyr any time soon, and while Ianto scrambles to deal with its fate, Clara sees it is time to move on. The more familiar markets of Balic seem more appealing than staying in a city of chaos.

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