The Mark of Tyranny

Parallel to the Party - The Tribute to the Dragon
The Party leads the column of slaves towards the massive Dragon's Altar, the realm holds it's breath...

Give me your trust, said the Shadow King.
With your hearts in my hand, the realm shall sing.
Trust me to know, and to do what is best.
And I shall take care of the rest.
But Trust is the colour of a dark seed growing.
Trust is the colour of heart’s blood flowing.
Trust is the colour of a soul’s last breath.
Trust is the colour of death.

Iorveth adjusted her mask, and relished the feel of bone on skin. Around her, she could feel the thundering footsteps as bound giants trudged onwards to their fate. The song echoed through her skull, providing her with a chilling reminder of who else shared that space.

Almost on cue, Betresh-Lal piped up, her voice like a chime in Iorveth’s ear.

“Remember, Borys is not to be underestimated. Even with the elixir, he will be wary, and more dangerous than can be imagined.*

Iorveth elected not to reply. Checking the weapons at her belt, she let out a breath she had not realized she was holding. History would be made today. And perhaps ended.

Give me your trust, said the queen on her throne.
For I must bear the burden alone.
Trust me to lead, to judge, to rule.
And no man shall call you a fool.
But trust is the sound of the hell-hound’s bark.
Trust is the sound of betrayal in the dark.
Trust is the sound of a soul’s last breath.
Trust is the sound of death.


Mr. Bread casually sauntered through the alley, knowing that only the stupidest cut-purse would dare approach him. Listening to the call of hundreds of merchants hawking their wares, Mr. Bread could almost believe he was a boy again. Nipping through the crowd, snatching purses from fat merchants, beating his way to the top of the Gilded Street Knights.

The frivolity of youth.

Snatched from his reverie by a passing tough bumping against him, Mr. Bread reflexively reached for a dagger he kept hidden in his armor. Checking his coin purse, Mr. Bread walked on, emerging into the market proper.

“Now then, time for some commerce!”


Perusing the jeweler’s stall, Cha’ka glanced over a number of rings and pendants. They all appeared equally shiny.

How do the dras grade these? Is size the importance, or is it rarity? Usefulness as a weapon?

“May I… help you?”

The jeweler was large, as humans go. He clearly had not shied away from what feasts he came across. His eyes were wide, in what Cha’ka recognized as fear.

“This one is curious. Which of these is best?” Cha’ka gestured to the wares on the stall.

“Ah, ah… well, all of these are made from the finest lacquer from Urik, hand crafted…”

Cha’ka cut him off with a raised hand.

“Which. Is. Best?”

The Merchant floundered, clearly ill at ease around one of the Kreen.

“Err, this one.” Pointing out a jade coloured amulet carved in the shape of a scarab, the merchant’s hands shook.

“Very well, jewel merchant. I trust this will suffice as trade.”

Placing a solid Iron dagger on the table, Cha’ka gathered up the pendant, and turned his back on the sniveling dras. With luck, Elthea would appreciate it as much as she had the severed plants.


Stepping out into the boiling sun, Moiraine adjusted the robe she wore, and was uncomfortably aware of the texture of the fabric. Her wounds from the battle with Titarion’s lackeys had not healed particularly well, and grated on the coarse fabric.

But Mooiraaaaaine! Why don’t you just get a nicer robe?

“Because, I refuse to pamper myself while the people of this city suffer!”

At this, Jenora, Moiraine’s ever present silent shadow, perked up.

“What was that, ma’am?”

“Simply talking to myself. A sign of age, I suppose.”

Moiraine squared her shoulders, and glanced out over the city. The sun was just passing it’s noon-day height, and…

Suddenly, like a slap across the face, came a burst of energy from the North, like a wave of fire in the mind.

That… that wasn’t the tribute. What the hell happened?


As Elthea stood back up, she looked around, to see what could have caused such a deafening noise. Though deep down, she already knew. Stalls were scattered, merchants and guards alike, running panicked. To where, none knew.

Cha’ka. Where is he?

Spinning about, searching too and fro, she realized that in the panic, Cha’ka had become separated from her.

Well, he likely needs rescuing. About time, if he rescued me again, I’d be far to much in his debt.

Gathering herself up, she adjusted her cloak, and Elthea started her search.


Harzen grinned, insofar as a skeleton can grin.

“Somehow, I don’t think the Dragon will be receiving a Tribute next year.”

The prisoner, bound to the stone altar, had little of use to say, mostly screams of pain, muffled by a bloody rag stuffed into his mouth.

“Don’t give me that. If you didn’t want to further the cause of research, you shouldn’t have been looting the homes of those who fled. I mean… I don’t care, but the guards did.”

Muffled screams. Did this man know nothing else? Even a pained whimper would have been a pleasant change. But no. Scream this. Scream that. It was enough to consider just burning this man to a crisp and starting over with someone less irritating.

“No, no… Harzen, don’t throw away even more test subjects.”

Reaching for the scalpel, Harzen perused his subject again.

“Tell me, do you value your tongue or your eyes more?”

Silly question. It was clearly his tongue.


Betresh-Lal sat back, an exhausted grimace painted across her face.

“An exhausting endeavor, and only the first of many.”

The Black Cloaked Figure behind her stirred, and advanced a step.

“Keep your distance, I am not dead yet.”

The Cloaked figure stepped back, and resumed it’s patient vigil.

Closing her eyes, Betresh-Lal began sending her mind afield, investigating what chaos her interference had wrought.

The ones of shadow and flame had been worth every bit of effort, and then some. Perhaps they would…

No, there was no profit in that line of thinking. Concentrating harder, Betresh-Lal redoubled her efforts. There was so much to do before Borys’s counterstroke.


Deep beneath the surface of Athas, a great rumbling began. Echoing outwards, in an ever expanding ring, the rumbling had faded to barely a whisper, too soft to be heard, by almost everyone.

However, deep in the Forest Ridge, a halfling, by the unassuming name of Uro, was standing at the top of a volcanic shaft right as the vibration reached it. Unfortunately, he did not speak any languages other than Halfling. If he had, he might have understood the whisper, amplified by the geological phenomenon. He might have pondered why the tube filled with hot lava had whispered “Soon.”

And if Uro had understood more about Geological phenomena, he might have realized that sensible people do not stand on the edge of Volcanic Shafts, and realized that a suitably large vibration would collapse the edge quite quickly, depositing one into a rather hot and sizzling death.

Alas, Uro did not.

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Parallel to the Party - The Assault on Under-Tyr
The party descends into Under-Tyr one last time, to purge the caverns of their infestation and rescue, or slay, their ally Losk.

Standing on the roof of a repurposed tailor’s shop, Davion looked out towards the Warrens. The sun overhead beat down, making him almost regret wearing his dark robe. But to leave behind any magical item would be foolish, he would need every bit of power he could muster.

Down below, the line of Golems advanced forward, leaving only a handful of breaks in their lines. If it weren’t for this living wall, the city would have been overrun hours ago. Up ahead, Davion spotted movement. Another attack would happen in a moment.

If only we knew where all the entrances were! Instead, we have to go hovel by hovel, not risking leaving one behind.

Suddenly, an arrow arced out from the cluster of hovels up ahead. Throwing himself to the side, Davion barely managed to dodge the missile, it embedding itself into the roof beside him.

All at once, hell broke loose. The Warrens came alive, as thousands of brain-rats, humans, and twisted abominations surged out of the buildings ahead. The largest attack so far, by a wide margin.

TAKE COVER!”


Nihlus Vor stirred the cauldron, immense in it’s size, that he had been tasked with monitoring.

This is beneath me. I am a noble, not a common servant.

Nihlus gazed longingly at his bow, propped up in the corner. Inside the quiver next to it were two very unique arrows, specially commissioned.

Soon. But not soon enough.


Well, at least I’m not on fire.

Bite’s internal reverie was interrupted by having to slice low at a particularly large brain rat. Standing at the entrance to the Citadel, Bite and his brother, along with an overlarge Lizard named Lar, had been tasked with holding the door against the oncoming horde.

Glancing at the oncoming enemies, Bite held no delusions about their chances.

Still, no reason not to do the best we can. At least we can buy them a few more minutes.

Above, Mr. Bread and Harzen rode that insidious Shadow Ray, Stormchaser, and rained down fire and death. Bite was happy to be off that beast, he swore it was trying to end him.

Once again, his inner monologue was interrupted, this time by a burrowing worm attempting to turn him into lunch.

Focus, Bite, Focus.


Moiraine sat slumped in her chair, watching the messengers and officers run back and forth, issuing orders. The wound in her side ached mightily, Adran had only been able to perform basic healing on it, though Moiraine wouldn’t be surprised if she left the pain just to spite her.

I would have done the same, but still…

The sun streamed in through one of the Manor’s high windows, illuminating the center of the room. The Dragonborn Arena Master, his plate armor glinting, stood in the center of the chaos, and barked commands to the soldiers attending him.

At the edge of hearing, there was a light keening, echoing through the room.

What…

With an ear shattering shriek, the walls came alive, and chaos reigned.


Cha’ka climbed the last dune between Tyr and the Dark Fortress. Behind him, he could hear the sounds of battle rising.

Irrelevant. This one hopes the clutch does not burn.

Looking towards the Black Fortress, Cha’ka looked for any sign of movement. There had been no word from the Black Fortress in two days. Cha’ka knew Elthea still lived, but something was wrong.

Pulling his orange and purple sash close, Cha’ka leaned on his Lotulis, and began to limp down the dune.


Titarion, through Losk’s eyes, glanced about the Throne Room.

“Is everything prepared?”

Light, it sounds weird, speaking in her voice.

“Yes, my lord.” One of the dominated servants uttered in a pleasing monotone. Two rows of servants knelt on the floor, arrayed before the throne.

On their knees, as all should be.

Focusing his will, Titarion sent a command to the lurkers he had hidden in the Tunnels leading to Under-Tyr. Soon, the usurpers would arrive, now that the Thri-Kreen’s mind was free.

A quick ambush, a bash on the head, and then they will be brought before their rightful king. To beg for forgiveness, or to perish.

Chuckling to him/herself, Titarion raised Losk’s head, to look out the window overlooking Under-Tyr. Below, the Horde waited, eager to sack Tyr.

Suddenly, a blur of fire and shadow dropped past the window. Mere moments later, a series of explosions rocked Under-Tyr.

WHAT?!”

Those light-blighted usurpers! Throne hijackers! PIRATES OF THE RIGHTFUL KING!

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Parallel to the Party - Inside the Golden Tower
While the party ascended the Golden Tower, the world continues around them...

The sun was not yet over the horizon, but already Azad could tell it was going to be a scorching day. Sitting with his feet up on the table in the Council Chamber, Azad had decided on taking Ilim‘s form today. The balding dwarf was usually busy enough that he didn’t have to worry about being discovered in the same room at the same time, and it let him enter anywhere in the manor freely, without question.

Not that there is that much to see in here, but you never know what might be worth a few coins.

With a muted creak, the heavy door to the Council Chamber drifted open. Azad’s hand went to his waist, where he had concealed his best dagger beneath his sash. His hand drifted back to normal when he saw it was the Thri-Kreen, Cha’ka and, the shadowy woman, Elthea.

Wait… I’m supposed to be a servant, aren’t I? Hells.

Azad sprang to his feet, and swept a low bow, his beard brushing the floor. Cha’ka and Elthea barely seemed to notice him. They seemed to be discussing the outbreak of some sort of sickness in the city.

Spectacular, soon I’ll be elbow high in corpses again, reeking of rot. The worst part is that this time it won’t be my fault.

With another low bow, Azad swept out of the room, transitioning his form to that of Elthea as he left the room.

She will be busy for some time. I wonder what the notes in her study might reveal…


Bite strolled down the hall, listening to his brother, Slice ramble on about a minstrel he had seen in the street. Bite considered himself an excellent listener, mostly because he found it very hard to interrupt people.

“…Absolutely abysmal string work, it’s like he mugged a real minstrel, then tried to play the lute with his teeth, while drunk.”

Nod. Tilt head. Look interested… I wonder if the Cactus flowers outside the walls are in full bloom yet. Could transplant some of those in here, add a dash of red to the garden.

Elthea passed them as they rounded the corner, looking lost in thought, a slight smile painting her features.

Wonder what she is on about. Pretty little number though… Ah well.

“…Then strung up by his own lute strings, so the children in the Warrens could beat him with sticks!”

Something tells me he isn’t going to stop anytime soon. The joys of family.


Wake up, dammit! I haven’t walked all this way just to watch you die in some healer’s sick bed!

Kes’s eyes fluttered. Aristes jumped to his feet, yelling for one of the Preserver Mages that oversaw the Hospital.

That’s my woman! Take more than a 40 foot drop and an explosion to slow her down.

When he came back, Kes had a smile on her face that lit up the whole room.


Moiraine squinted her eyes, looking out over the sandy dunes. The bleak desert landscape stretched forever in every direction. The only landmark is a dark obsidian spire, a few leagues distant.

Where are you, you bandit bastards? Justice has come for you!… That was terrible. I think I need a better battle cry.

“So… do we head towards the dunes, or towards the other dunes?” A collected female voice cooed up at her.

One of Harzen Scorchedskull’s Battle Mages had walked up to stand behind her, Jenora, if memory served..

Impudent woman. If she couldn’t rip apart bandits with their mind, I’d likely abandon her to the scavengers.

“There are bandits out here, I know it. They’ve been hounding our trade routes for weeks. They’ll show themselves, and we will be ready for them.” Moiraine turned her attention back to the vast expanse of sand. Off in the distance, there was the glint of sunlight off of metal.

The light will show the way. Hmm, that’s better.


On the peak of a wind-swept drift around a hundred miles to the north-east of Moiraine’s group, Nihlus Vor lay placidly, his eyes half-closed as he casually watched the road. Down in a hollow behind the dune, twenty Tyr guards and two Preserver Mages attempted to stay out of the sun. Without much luck.

Two days sitting on this hill, and what do we have to show for it? A few harassed independent merchants, a panicked courier, and twelve sets of perturbed refugees. Light, if there isn’t a caravan along in the next few hours, I’m aborting this little…

Nihlus’s eyes snapped open, as a plume of dust in the distance came within view.

Too large for an independent trader, too fast for a column of refugees or foot traffic.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears we didn’t come this far for nothing! Get on that armor!”


Cha’ka folded his hands, both pairs of them, and rested them in front of them. The Council Chamber, which had stood empty since Lyssandra, Leta, the Dragonborn Arena Master, and Harzen Scorchedskull entered The Golden Tower, now buzzed with discussion.

“The disease spreads too quickly for an effective quarantine, and we can’t simply let it spread unchecked.”

This from Elthea, the Shadow Genasi that led The Preservers in Moiraine’s absence.

She’s a hard woman, but I think her heart is in the right place. Despite her being a templar of Nibenay…

Elthea had confided in Cha’ka her true allegiance a week ago, after much difficult soul-searching it had seemed. Cha’ka trusted her, though he was unsure what would happen if her loyalty to Nibenay were ever in conflict with his loyalty to Tyr.

“These people have done nothing wrong, we can’t simply butcher them! Surely your healers can do something!”

Aristes, a tall and brutish Hengeyokai, stood up from his chair, his protests drowning out every other noise in the room. Beside him sat a slender woman, still wrapped in bandages, who reached up to lightly pull him back to his seat. Kes had been wounded severely during the Tournament of Tyr, and had only today left the Preserver Hospital. Aristes had burst into the Council Chamber, demanding to speak with Leta, and took a seat, refusing to leave till he spoke with her.

Those two seem to be two sides of the same coin. Sweet and idealistic, but ultimately unable to make hard choices. Still, this one is not one to criticize standing up for your ethics…

“If my lords and ladies will excuse my input,” the dwarf butler Ilim interjected, “But it seems like these sick folk could be a handy weapon. Why not ship them off to Draj, let whoever survives the journey infect that whole mess of a city?”

That’s odd. Ilim is not one to suggest something as drastic as weaponizing the ill. Great One preserve us, he is not the type who even speaks unless spoken too.

“That’s horrifying! These are people, not objects to be so casually discarded!”

Slice was looking more agitated than he ever had, and Cha’ka had known Slice for almost a year now. His brother, Bite, stood alongside Slice, their Orange and Purple cloaks matching Cha’ka’s own, marking them as guards of The Council. With an exasperated click, Cha’ka stood, and took on a bit of his old persona, one he thought he had left on the other side of The Ringing Mountains.

“Silence. This one must speak, and the clutch will listen. These sick, these infected, they are an immediate danger to the pack, to Tyr. If we do not cut out the infection, the city will suffer. They must be removed, swiftly and painlessly, with no exposure to the healthy. They have been rounded up into a manor, and all guarding the manor have been warded. They must never leave. For the good of the pack. It is decided.”

Just this once, and this one can leave it behind.


Losk scrambled over the low wall between buildings. The chittering behind her increased in volume, frustrated at the difficulty of finding her.

Ha, that’s right, you bastards. The Warrens are MY lair! You’ll never match me in here.

With a sudden jump, she flipped up onto a short building, then crouched down behind the edge of the roof, and watched the street below.

Two large, many legged shapes skittered down the streets, their pink shells glittering wetly in the afternoon light. One of them raised up it’s head, and cast about searchingly, seeking their prey. They skittered on, looking in alleys as they passed.

Why are they after me? There are ex-slaves they could gobble up everywhere, but they stay focused on me. Once they are dead, I shall have to speak with the whore. Her magical talent has it’s uses at least.

With a grin, Losk unsheathed her twin daggers. She was going to enjoy this.


Adran leaned back in her saddle, surveying the city from a bluff to the north of Tyr. Underneath her, Tulli, her Inix, grunted, and pecked at a nearby bit of plant growth. Adran waved her hand, and the growth flowered into a full fledged meal for Tulli.

So easy to aid the growth of new life, yet without tending, it will wither and die, before it can even truly begin.

That is why the choking weeds must be cleared away! The cleansing fire is required! Only then can this land be born anew!

With a sigh, she turned her attention back to the city. The sun was starting to set, and the shadows from the mountains were covering the city. The Golden Tower was the only area still lit, it’s reflective stone catching the light.

This city is the closest to redeemed of any in this land, but I fear for it. Assassins, Undead, Gladiators, and Mages rule it. And yet…

Adran cast her gaze towards the farms outside the walls, newly built and heavily guarded by the city. Already, crops were starting to approach harvest, aided by the mages of the Preservers.

We will see what will happen. We will not act until we are sure, but these upstarts may be the salvation of this land yet.


With a gust, the wind blew out the candle.

“Light! Where is a bloody light?”

Casting about in the darkness, Titarion waved his hand, conjuring an orb of blue light to hover in the air. With an annoyed sigh, he stepped out of his tent, he looked around. His men were still hard at work, picks and shovels biting into the dark stone and loose soil underfoot, their once white uniforms stained by hard work. In a nearby giant of a canvas tent, his mages pored over what artifacts they had found, searching for something to aid them in their mission.

Titarion eased his temper, unable to conjure up much energy to be angry at his men, hard at work as they were. It was not their fault, he was simply frustrated at his lack of findings. Looking up at the starry sky, Titarion sat down on a large nearby boulder, arranging his chainmail for comfort. With a muttering, he opened the water damaged book again, trying to find where he left off.

…The Green Age…The Teachings of Rajaat…The Red Age. Hmm, a bit between there. Ah yes, The Citadel.

Titarion adjusted himself on the boulder again. It was too nice a night to be trapped inside anyways.

Come on, you infernal tome. Reveal your secrets to me. There is much to do, and so little time.

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The Adventure so far...
Prior to the Ziggurat

A flame-haired genasi, a shadowy shapechanger with the spirit of the fox, a Ziggurat built by a dead sorcerer-king, and an elemental cowing lizard named Waffles. How did the party reach this point? Well, let’s look back, all the way back to the inciting moments of this adventure, and see if we can’t piece together how it came to this.

The adventure of Leta and Lyssandra began, as things do, in a small village named Shazlim. The party was broke, dehydrated, out of supplies, and in Leta’s case, sunburnt from exposure in the desert. Desperate for supplies and money, the party took the only paying job in town, escorting a merchant named Rhotan Vor of House Wavir to find Vault of Darom Madar in the Canyon of Gothay. Rhotan was nervous for the majority of the trip, believing himself pursued by assassins seeking to stop his search for the vault.

On the way to a town named Silver Springs, where the party seeked to gain more knowledge of the Vault, the party encountered a group of bandits, led by a Dwarven Sunpriest. Upon slaying him, the magical wards on a nearby oasis began to weaken. The party then progressed to Silver Springs, claiming the bounty on the bandits and earning the rough location of the Vault from the mayor of Silver Springs.

The party then went to retire to the only inn in town, and discussed their plans with Rhotan. While there, they saw a suspicious looking man in black and gold clothing, who vanished after the party had gone to their rooms for a short bit. Lyssandra also managed to insult the bartender in primordial, prompting a near altercation that was defused by Rhotan.

The next day, the party went to leave Silver Springs, but noticed a giant waterspout coming from the direction of the oasis the bandits had been encountered at. Rather than hang around to discover what happened, the party chose to make their exit from the town. After a hard day of travelling, the party arrived in the correct arm of the massive Canyon of Gothay. Rhotan Vor and his caravan remained camped at the entrance, while Leta and Lyssandra searched the canyon.

Inside the canyon, the party encountered a deep lair of poisonous baazrag, an altar with the symbol of Nibenay, and finally, the Vault of Darom Madar. Inside, the party encountered a giant mechanical and magical door that required a keen understanding of trap disarming and magical runes to open safely. As the vault sprang open, the party was attacked by the wraiths of the remnants of House Madar. After dealing with the wraiths and looting the vault, the party met Tyron Tsalaxa, a member of House Tsalaxa who had been assigned to study and open the vault. Tyron asked the party to investigate a trapdoor uncovered during the fight in the vault, while he gathered pieces of arcane rubble that had dislodged in the fight.

The party descended into a cavern under the vault, and discovered untold numbers of psionically attuned crystals, worth a small fortune. They also found a shrine that attracted the arcane rubble from the vault, that when triggered, eviscerated Tyron as he carried some rubble away.

The party took Tyron’s corpse to the Altar of Nibenay they found earlier, and using a spell found in Tyron’s journal, sacrified his body on the altar, triggering the altar’s magic. A shade of Nibenay appeared to the party, and offered them a position as Templars in his service if they came to the city of Nibenay. Nibenay then magically branded them with his mark, a tattoo that glows light blue in the presence of defiling magic, and also gave them some limited defiling abilities. The party then went and told Rhotan Vor about the crystals below the cave, then began to escort the caravan to Tyr to sell the crystals.

On their way, the party encountered earthquake, silt sinks, murderous tribes of bipedal lizards, bandit elves with hearts of gold, and a fort with a poisoned well. The most important parts of the journey were finding a stone spire with the Id Fiend Lar, who the party convinced to accompany them in search of a better food source, and encountering Folketh Tsalaxa, the assassin who had been following Rhotan Vor for weeks, planning to rob him once he looted the vault, to bypass the vault door and defenses. The party managed to capture Folketh, and despite multiple escape attempts, kept him in custody, through a silk wyrm attack, multiple fires, and the rigors of travelling the Athasian wastes.

The party then arrived in the city of Tyr, completing their escort of Rhotan Vor. Rhotan paid the party, and bought them two riding crodlu for their trouble. Rhotan extended an open invitation to the party to visit him when he retires in Balic. The party then ransomed Folketh back to his family for a sum of gold and gems. Lyssandra went to investigate the city and arena, while Leta struck out to assassinate a malicious slave owner that the party had heard of.

Leta and Lyssandra competed in a cross city race put on by The Preservers, with Leta coming in first, and Lyssandra in second, with almost all of their opponents meeting with accidents over the course of the race. Their win earned them an audience withKing Titarion, self-proclaimed ruler of Tyr and leader of the Preservers. Titarion asked them to investigate The Bloody Hand, another faction in the city, who had an uncanny ability to kill any double agents that Titarion attempts to place in the Bloody Hand. Titarion’s one remaining agent, Xander was told to help them infiltrate the group.

However, before approaching Xander, the party went to join the arena, craving gold and fame. Taking the names of Sunsoul (Lyssandra) and The Demon (Leta), the party pulled off a series of impressive wins in the arena, gaining considerable respect with the other gladiators, as well as the arena-going public. The gladiators Bite, Slice, Cha-ka, Rowan, and Crusher took a particular interest in the party, being of the opinion that gladiators need to stick together. The leader of the arena, the Dragonborn Arena Master gained a considerable amount of respect for them as well.

The party decided to go break into the Tsalaxa mansion in Tyr, due to their animosity towards the Trading House trying to kill them repeatedly. While breaking into the mansion, the party ran into Content Not Found: jossi-tsalaxa, a female member of the house. They also accidentally caused several members of the house to mutate into hideous ooze creatures, and had to grab Jossi and escape the house. Jossi then asked the party to go back to the mansion and rescue Folketh, and stop the oozes. The party returned, hustled Folketh to an exit to the sewers, and slew the oozes that resided in the house, preventing an outbreak. Folketh grudgingly paid the party, not knowing they caused the oozes in the first place, but grew ever more resentful of them, blossoming from hatred for the kidnapping and murder of his brother, to full grown loathing.

The party continued to gain prestige in the arena, and several times attempts were made on their lives, though the source was unclear, until a group of psionic duplicates of civillians ambushed the party. One of the duplicates was controlled by Haneth Tsalaxa, head of House Tsalaxa. He offered the party a job to pay off their debt to him, for causing him so much grief. When the party turned down the offer, his psionic puppets attacked.

The party went for a nice relaxing lunch at a fancy restaurant, and after knocking the waiter unconcious and fleeing, the party saw Folketh’s crodlu across the square at an alchemists. The party rushed over, as Folketh left the shop, and promptly fled when he saw the party. After a chase full of civillian casualties, due to the alchemical reagents Folketh had picked up, Lyssandra managed to tackle him to the ground. Rather than face his father after getting captured, Folketh committed suicide with a psionic bomb potion, attempting to take out the party with him. After his death, Lyssandra captured his soul in a magical helmet she had gained from the Dragonborn Arena Master.

Folketh’s pockets contained a note detailing a meeting place that night, and a plan to destroy Tyr from within, by instigating riots and burning the Arena district to the ground. The party impersonated Folketh, with Leta taking the place of Folketh, convincing a group of mercenaries and hexers that she was the young Tsalaxa assassin. Leta endeavored to delay the mercenaries by leading them on circuitous routes, while Lyssandra went to gather forces in the Arena district to repel the attack. With the help of the gladiators and Dragonborn Arena Master, as well as a violent and deranged old lady, the party managed to thwart the Tsalaxa plan, embarrassing Haneth yet again.

The party was approached by an elaidrin shrouded in red silk, who, having seen the party fight Haneth’s puppets, decided they would be able to help him. He asked them to delve into the underbelly of the city, and find out why one of the largest fountains in the city had run dry. The party made their way to Under-Tyr, and discovered a large sprawling ruined city that the current city had built over. Through miscellaneous encounters, the party made their way to a tower in the center of Under-Tyr, stretching up to the ceiling. On the way to the spire, Lyssandra befriended a Z’tal that she named Waffles.

Through miscellaneous encounters and strange interactions, the party made their way to the top of the spire, with Lyssandra supernovaing as her sun powers got away from her, and Leta finding an encoded note, indicating the location of the prison of an ancient primordial. At the top of the tower, the party encountered a captive silt elemental, that absorbed the water from the fountain, and converted it to magical energy. Through some clever tactics and taunting the party managed to capture the egotistical silt elemental inside 3 glass vials, which Waffles chriped at menacingly.

The party went to leave Under-Tyr, but saw several dozens civillians with torches and simple weapons roaming through the ruins. Deciding to avoid them, the party came across a Demogargoyle, which they promptly lassooed and captured to sell to the arena. While Lyssandra attempted to drag the Demogargoyle through the ruins, Leta ran interference, turning into a fox and distracting and leading away the roaming parties, almost getting captured, but always slipping the captors at the last second.

When the party reached the surface again, the area was curiously quiet. After appropriating a cart to transport the now stone gargoyle, they began towing it back to the Arena district, when a heavily armed mob spotted them. As it turns out, Haneth Tsalaxa had put a ridiculously large bounty on the heads of Leta and Lyssandra, such that the city had descended into all out anarchy as the thousands of starving ex-slaves, citizens, and merchants started snatching any women with red hair off the streets. Riots broke out, and the different factions of Tyr had to pull back to their respective districts to prevent anarchy from breaking out there as well. The mob chased the party all the way to the arena district, where a line of gladiators repelled the mob as the party pulled the gargoyle to safety.

After selling the gargoyle to the Dragonborn Arena Master, the party set out to restore order in the city, quashing mobs, defeating those who seeked to exploit the chaos, and otherwise attempting to fix the city. Eventually, the Dragonborn Arena Master came to the conclusion that without rallying the different factions of the city, Tyr would tear itself apart, there were too many things going on for their small amount of fighters to fix and keep the Arena district safe. The Dragonborn Arena Master rallied a few of the gladiators to head towards the Preserver district first, to attempt to persuade them to band together.

On the way to the Preserver district, the party noticed that The Ziggurat of Tyr was unsealed. Agreeing that the Ziggurat was important, the Dragonborn Arena Master agreed to stand outside with his gladiators and guard it while the party searched the ziggurat to see what was going on.

The party descended into the Ziggurat, where they saw hundreds of sandstone panels on mechanized tracks, moving in some sort of pattern. The party set off in one of the four directions out of the main room. Fighting several giant bugs, encountering numerous bound elementals, and disarming deadly traps, the party now stands at the edge of a man-made pit leading down deeper into the pit.

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The Adventure Continues.
Since the last Adventure Recap.

The party continued exploring The Ziggurat of Tyr, freeing a bound devil, finding an ancient Tree of Life being used to supply power to the Ziggurat, and battling through countless horrors. As they descended into the lowest levels of the Ziggurat, they came across a half-crazed skeleton, perpetually on fire, working on the Device, and about ready to turn it on. Through some difficult negotiation, the party negotiated a truce with the skeleton, who introduced himself as Harzen Scorchedskull, an ex-templar and designer of The Device. Harzen asked them to test out the device, and in exchange, he would help them. After assuring them that the device was perfectly safe, they used it, seeing strange visions of times long past, listed in Dreams and Visions Compendium. Harzen claimed the Device was to tap into the source of Arcane magic, and it would take a suitably powerful magic-user to do more than touch the surface safely. Additionally, sealed into a nearby vault, the party found fragments of The Heartwood Spear, exposing the one that Titarion wields as a convincing fake.

It was here that their gladiator ally, Cha’ka ran into the Ziggurat, to warn the party that the forces of The Preservers were raiding The Ziggurat, and had already apprehended the other gladiators who had stood guard. Harzen showed them an alternate way out of the bottom of the Ziggurat, dropping hundreds of feet into Under-Tyr. After a few mishaps, including rescuing Cha’ka after he fell into a building on the way down, the party escaped and ran to The Severed Arm, which had been turned into a Preserver hospital for those wounded in the riots. The party put Cha’ka into the care of the mages, carefully making sure not to reveal that they had been in the Ziggurat. Cha’ka was put into the care of the female elf preserver manning the hospital, Moiraine, the second in command of the Preservers.

As the party and Harzen rested in their room, Moiraine came up to the room, with a proposition. Moiraine had grown disillusioned with the leadership of Titarion, noting that he had turned to defiling and domination tactics, and she felt that another change of leadership was in order. She offered her aid, along with her lieutenant Elthea, in rescuing the apprehended gladiators and unseating Titarion.

Moiraine directed the party to Fort Ianto, where Slice and Bite had been taken. The party snuck into the fort, rescuing the two Mul, but not before they had been subjected to a macabre ritual, carving runes of domination into their flesh. They were brought to Moiraine in the hospital, for healing, and the plan to unseat Titarion and rescue the Dragonborn Arena Master from captivity. Titarion was working to break the Arena Master’s will in his manor, and the party put into motion a plan to get in and dispose of as many guards as possible.

Using a few hired goons, Harzen’s knack for the pyrotechnic, a wagon, some alcohol, and hay, the party were able to lure out then explode a wagon, eliminating 15 guards in one swoop while they snuck into the back entrance, which had been cleared by Moiraine’s lieutenant, Elthea. The party fought through the manor, ultimately freeing the Arena Master, battling an Earthquake drake, and defeating Titarion. Rather than slaying him however, Titarion promised to leave the city in their hands, if they let him go free. They agreed, and let him flee with a tome from his study.

Moiraine, the Arena Master, and Harzen teamed up with the party to run the city, running it from Titarion’s old home, now known as “The Manor”. There, they tackled a number of problems of the city, including throwing a celebratory Tournament of Tyr, investigating the supposed kidnapping of Lyssandra, despite her being remarkably free, and taking an impromptu trip to the Grey when a portal to that realm suddenly opened in the market district. In this time, Lyssandra and the Dragonborn Arena Master, who revealed his name to be Bahamut, though he preferred not to use the name, began a relationship, and grew quite close.

While investigating the kidnapping of Lyssandra, the party met some unusual characters. Qarin, a kenku mage and tailor who had been hired to break Lyssandra’s will, to turn her to an unknown purpose, but took pity and freed the one mistaken for Lyssandra. Azad, a shapeshifting assassin, who had been hired to loot the Ziggurat, and to kidnap Lyssandra, but ended up working for them, for a princely sum. Aleyn, a sun elemental from the Ziggurat that had taken mortal form, and looked very much like Lyssandra. And finally, Stelle, a shadow elemental freed from the Ziggurat who took the form of Leta. Ultimately, Azad started working as a spymaster for the party, Stelle took up cooking in The Manor’s kitchens, Qarin is staying at the Severed Arm for a short time, and Aleyn started contemplating opening up a store, fascinated as she was by how mortals placed so much value on small discs of metal.

In the midst of all this madness, the party’s ally, Cha’ka, went missing. On a hunt to find him, they were drawn down into Under-Tyr once more, only to find that the small packs of Ustilagor that roamed down there had since multiplied to swarm the entirety of the lower city. Cha’ka, along with the gladiators Rowan and Crusher, and the leaders of The Voice; Davion and Content Not Found: verin, had been struggling for days to survive against this psionically gifted threat. The party sprang to their aid, leading them out through an ancient Titan burial chamber, accidentally awakening one of the Titans buried down there. They escaped at the last moment through an ancient stairwell, leading to the top of a nearby mountain,, that they trekked down to return to Tyr.

When the party went into the Ziggurat on a mission to find Stelle and Aleyn, they discovered something troubling. Concealed in the outer areas of the Ziggurat was an army of 200 stone golems, poised to awaken, that were made to serve Kalak once he ascended to Dragonhood. They also found evidence that something important had been removed, books on golem construction and the like, by Azad, on orders of his mysterious employer. The party determined that the golem army was a major threat to the city, and opted to break into the Golden Tower, to find the golem control rod that Harzen mentioned must have been made by Kalak to command such a large army of constructs.

The party fought their way up the Golden Tower, finding all manner of crazed templars, foul abominations, and intriguing treasures. On the first floor, they found the crown of Kalak, and fought off a giant undead chef, animated by some fell sorcery. On the second, the Great Library, they fought off an abomination that kept the library in order, and discovered a rare book collection, filled with ancient rituals they may use. On the next, they found a small lab that Harzen claimed as his, with countless diagrams and pieces of tech, and a vat made to cause a test subject to experience sun warping, a failed experiment to create powerful sunwarped soldiers at will. The fourth floor held a number of mad templars, turned to cannibalism to survive in the locked tower. On the fifth was a large statue of Kalak, holding aloft a crystal sphere that a series of checks revealed to be a prison for a caged phoenix. Over the course of a fight, the statue was dropped on the Arena Master, but thankfully only broke his leg, which was healed shortly through magic and rest.

The sixth floor of the tower had dozens of bizarre traps, put into place to keep the mad templars from reaching the seventh floor bridge to the Observation tower. On the seventh, the party joined in battle against the mad templars alongside an 8-foot tall man with a deep and jolly voice who was revealed to be Kalak’s necromantic High Vizier. On the eighth floor, the party slipped into a pocket dimension that Kalak used as his Menagerie, with Kirre, Rampagers, and all manner of other creatures kept in this eternally shifting plane. Finally, they made it to the Eyrie, the last floor before Kalak’s chambers, their target. There, they found a woman who called herself D’huk, Kalak’s daughter, who turned out to be a vicious Thrax with a pet Shadow Ray. After she was slain, Leta took to the Shadow Ray, attempting to befriend it. In the eyrie, a portal was found that the party was able to open to Kalak’s chambers. They prepare to venture inside…

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The To Do List

1) Find Cha-ka
2) Visit Xander
3) Arena match
4) Tournament
5) Re-take the Golden Tower
6) Buy milk

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Parralel to the Party - Events in the city, during the riot
As the party descends into the Ziggurat's second level...

The sun rose high above The Ziggurat of Tyr as King Titarion looked out of his sitting room’s window.

Today was going to be a hot one, but what day isn’t in Athas? The fires in the city were already spreading uncontrollably, and he dare not send more than a few patrols out to quell the riots, far too dangerous. The Preserver district was safe, along with his loyal subjects. The rest, anarchists, defilers, mercenaries, looters, and villains…

The city could fend for itself for a time, and then their savior, King Titarion, the God-Slayer, would deliver them from evil. Yes, that sounded good, he would need a herald to announce him as such. God-slayer!

“…and the citizens already in the district are starting to demand we take back the residential areas, so they may recover their belongings. Naturally, this is out of the question, but may I suggest… My liege?”

Ah yes, Titarion was almost able to tune out his reedy-voiced aide. Ilim was an aging Mul, picked only because having an ex-slave at his side convinced the slaves they had a chance at advancement and power…

A rapping at the door interrupted Titarion’s reverie, followed by a young elven preserver poking his head through the threshold.

“My lord, we have reports of fighting atop the Ziggurat. It sounds like the Arena rabble may be making a move. We aren’t sure who they are fighting, but the half-wit giant is definetely there.”

…Hell.


The dwarf was crouching behind an overturned wagon, and was managing to be, at the very least, a nuisance with his crossbow. The glint of gold hinted at the origins of this particular weapon. Where an ex-slave like him had found such a magnificent weapon was not important of course, but Rowan tended to wonder about the trivial. The dwarf’s beard was braided in three parts. Was that significant? Perhaps it indicated who his owner was, or his ancestral tribe or…

Rowan let the arrow he had been holding fly, knocking another before the arrow had made it halfway to the dwarf at the base of the ziggurat. Beside him, Cha-ka held his breath in anticipation.

Hmm, where did I get that arrow? It has red fletching. Was that from the Quivering Bow, or the Straight Shot?

The dwarf popped his head up quick enough that the arrow caught him in the throat instead of in the eye. Cha’ka let loose a whistle that almost made Rowan jump.

“A target the size of a Z’tal’s eye, from in the sky! This one knows the hunt!” Cha-ka’s chattering descended into a series of chattering clicks that Rowan had come to recognize as laughter. Scanning for other targets, Rowan set his eye on a half-giant in a loincloth charging the Ziggurat’s stairs….


“Repent! This is the god’s judgement, for turning against them! Reaffirm your allegience to your one true god!” A street preacher yelled out over the crowd before him, in what was one of the markets. This same scene was playing out in over a dozen different places all over the city.

This city is little better than a swamp. Filth always rises up, no matter how you attempt to stop it. Still…

With a motion, Adran motioned her riders forward. Levelling their weapons, the elven cavalry charged…


With an annoyed sigh, Davion released the scrying ritual. Adran was beginning to get on his nerves.

That woman has the subtlety of a giant in an apothecary. Forget finding out which of the civillians are actually listening, or who is going to turn on the preacher and take him down, or who is just there because they have nowhere else to go! No, kill them all! Purge the corrupt! But mind you don’t step on that flower while you cut down the children.

Davion began to weave the makings of another ritual. His agents in the city were being cut down one by one, and he was damned if he was going to lose the last useful one…


“…almost unguarded in his mansion. With a small team of infiltrators, we can reach him before he suspects a thing, and make him our offer. If he refuses, well…”

The wiry half-giant in front of her grinned, his broken teeth shining in the mid-morning sun. Although Losk had to look almost straight up to even see his face. Losk adjusted her blades, and looked out over the city from her perch on the walls.

“Get in position tonight, but don’t be seen. The last thing this city needs is more chaos.”

As Losk spoke, her eye caught the reflection of something gleaming at the top of the Ziggurat, before being obscured by a pillar of smoke. Without turning to her half-giant lieutenant, she gestured out over the city.

“Get a second squad to watch the Ziggurat. Tyrion is exactly the sort of fool who would choose now, of all times, to unseal it.”

As the half-giant turned away, Losk turned to watch him go, a worried expression on her face.


Bloodied and exhausted, {{:gamlan|Gamlan]] crested the final hill. Below him sprawled the city of Tyr, though it was far from what he expected. Dozens of pillars of smoke rose up from the city, and even at this distance he could hear the clash of steel. The Golden Tower rose up above the smoke, standing free of the chaos.

“Father, what’s happening?” Cyne came up behind Gamlan, the bandage across his temples beginning to droop.

“I’m not sure. But this is our last hope, so down we go!”

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