Under the Dual Moons

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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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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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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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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Crimson Oasis

On the way to Silver Springs, the party makes a stop at the Crimson Oasis. Noting the alert that there is a band of raiders at the oasis, they are vigilant. They also realize that if they can rid the oasis of the bandits, they will be rewarded in Silver Springs.

The party’s alertness pays off when the see a small figure running toward the oasis. It is one of the raiders, a halfling. No one is suprised to find raiders at the oasis, and they were able to quickly defeat them. The party continued on to Silver Springs.

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Silver Spring

After several days journey, the party makes it to Silver Spring, where they request an audience with Toramund. Toramund, the Silver Spring Elves’ leader holds important knowledge regarding the location of the Canyon of Gothay. Also, the party can claim their reward for riding the trade route of the Crimson Vipers. Finally, the party has a message for Toramund.

After proceeding through a maze of underground passages, the guide shows them to Toramund, who meets the party alone. Darwin’s insight into his demeanor, especially in meeting the party alone, is that of mildly or even moderately insulting. To the elves, meeting someone alone shows that they feel the party is insignificant.

Darwin, enraged and forgetting that Toramund has vital information for the party, exclaims that “We don’t have to take this!” and leaves. As he exits the room, he is smacked upside the head by the flat side of the guide’s longsword. As Darwin prepares for a fight, Clara quickly reminds the hothead that Toramund has vital information for them. Umm worries as he knows that this leader could not have arrived at his station without being able to hold his own in a fight. The display costs the party some of their negotiating leverage.

The party delivers the message to Toramund, who tries to conseal his concern. Darwin begins to negotiate with Toramund regarding the location of the Canyon of Gothay. Surprisingly, Toramund is impressed with his diplomacy and reveals all he knows regarding the location. The party then offers to help with his son Ravee in Tyr when they arrive their in the coming weeks. This impresses Toramund, and, while he sarcastically wishes them good luck on their errand in the canyon, he does truly hope for the best for them.

Before arriving to Silver Springs, the party had been attacked on the road by assassins, elves with a particular tattoo. They inquired around and found one man who would speak of it. He informed the party that the marking indicated the Dark Moons clan. This clan is almost legendary as producers of the finest assassins amoungst the elves. This surprises the party, as they were able to have defeated their assailants. They decide to let their contact leave, but seek him out again later, only to find him in his tent with a crossbow bolt through his neck.

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The Canyon of Gothay and Vault of Darom Madar

It was an easy task to find the Canyon of Gothay on Toramund’s advise. The party was able to search the canyon looking for posible locations for the Vault of Darom Madar. After finding a potential match, only for it to turn out to be a Gith cave, they found the entrance of what could be the vault.

The entrance was littered with the remains from a battle. It was clear that this was the last stand of House Madar. The dead were not rested however, and rose to attack the party. The party was able to put them down however and procede to open the vault. Darwin found a sword, which turned out to be a Sunblade, a useful find for its radiant damage is known to be effective against the undead.

Upon entering the antechamber of the vault, the party was set upon by spirts. An artifact known as the sorrowstone lie in the center of the room, generating spirits which fought the party. The spirits of the wife and sons of Darom Madar attacked the party for violating their tomb. They were laid to rest by the party.

The party then found a complex portal into the tomb, they were able to decipher a way to open it and entered the tomb. Amongst the treasures of the house stood a terrible undead visage, Darom himself as a lesser oath wight. The party engaged the testless dead and was able to bring it down. As they were picking through the vast wealth, the fiend rose again from the dead and began attacking again. They were able to put it down once and for all.

They rested.

Upon leaving the vault, they were set upon by another set of attackers. Umm was able to draw one into the middle of the party and this was his demise. The rest were quickly routed and the party victorious. They were able to then find Rhotan Vor and help load the skiffs with treasure.

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The Aluvial Sand Wastes and Beyond

With the skiffs laden with treasure, the party having picked up some magic items and coin, the party headed toward Tyr. In the sand wastes they were attacked in the middle of the night by a Silk Wyrm. The foul creature was unseen by Illiana and Umm and was able to poison Illianna and Darwin. Umm’s skill as a warrior proved too much for the wyrm, as it was unable to feed from the helpless Darwin and Illiana.

Continuing, the party made it to the edge of the badlands and within sight of Tyr when they were assailed by a Draji warrior and two Dark Moon elf assassins mounted on Crodlus. The Draji warrior was arrogant and cocky, but this ultimately was his downfall, as he was no match for Umm. Darwin however fell admidst the combat and was saved by the healing skills of Zinda. Zinda eventially had to administer Darwin’s healing fruit, to revive him so he could save Illianna. Illianna was thankful the Darwin revived her, and perhaps demonstrated that she had some feelings for the half-elf.

The party arrived in Tyr and Rhotan was able to negotiate a fair price for the trade goods. Upon paying the party, he bid them fairwell and disappeared amongst the streets of Tyr. Umm was troubled and went into the Golden Inix tavern and inn to have a drink. Clara followed eventially and finally Darwin, with Illianna and Zinda in tow. Clara spoke to Umm and asked him if he wanted to talk in private and they left. Illianna and Darwin played a game of cat and mouse, Darwin trying his best to read her while she remained coy. Eventially, Illianna spoke to the proprietor, Rowan the Half-Elf, and proceeded to get a room. She then told Darwin specifically she would be in her room. Darwin, after a small grace period, joined her, while Zinda sat alone drinking his Asticles wine. Umm and Clara eventually joined him and figured out what was going on. Umm proceeded upstairs to listen in, still not trusting Illianna’s intentions. Upon hearing the expected noises, he returned to Clara and Zinda. They eventually got rooms of their own to spend the night. Umm woke early so he might hang out across from Illianna’s door, just to be certain. As he stood, Rowan the proprietor delivered a message to Darwin. Darwin generously tipped the proprietor, who was uncertain as whether or not the size of the tip was a proposition. He assumed, as with the presence of Illianna, that it was just an advance for breakfast for the party and he returned downstairs.

Darwin read his note, appearently an invitation from his uncle Arillius. He gathered the party at breakfast and asked them to support him. Umm was disturbed and told Darwin some of his past regarding his cousin and his uncle. This disturbed Darwin, but he was not upset with Umm, as he knew of the cruelity of he uncle. The took some time, then proceded to visit his uncle’s manor in the afternoon. They were greeted by guard and servants, and asked to wait in a waiting room while Arillius spoke to Darwin.

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Arillius

Arillius pointed out all of the strife and chaos following the fall of Kalak and how his house lost much power. He then told Darwin that he was member of a secret order called the True, who aimed to restore Kalak to the throne. This seemed a little far-fetched, since Kalak was killed, but, having seen the dead walk before, he knew their were all manors of things his uncle could be alluding to. He told his uncle that he could not join his cause and returned to his friends. He had them finish up their meals and quickly gathered them to leave. They found the nearest inn, pretended to be drunk and got a room to party in. Darwin then explained what his uncle had said and told the party that they needed to get out of Tyr. He was reminded of his commitment to Toramund regarding Ravee, and was dismayed to know he’d have to be in town longer. Also, Illianna mentioned that the man who had tipped his goblet towards the party when they entered was Haneth Tsalaxa, whom the party had decerned in the desert was behind the attacks on them.

The party remained uneasy and they returned to the Golden Inix to stay one more night.

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