Savage Sun of Athas

An expedition, a raider lair, and a death

Rook convinced the others to seek out potential sites of elven ruins by themselves instead of mining for more information from villages in the vicinity. They came across a shallow canyon that held rumored ruin. Carefully scouting the canyon, sure enough there were columns and smooth cut stone along one section of the canyon wall. As the party carefully watched, several Ssurann were observed mounting Inixes and riding off. Seeing their opportunity, they explored the ruins below.

Inside they were met with a minimal number of Ssurann guards and Baazrags. Despite the low numbers and bolstered by a pack of guard lizard Baazrags, Rook was slain in a frenzied melee. The group decided to press onwards and explore the ruins more, eager to get what information they could before the remaining Ssurannn returned.

Deeper in the ruins they came across a chamber with wooden and bone cages. Inside one cell was a half elf woman, Jeila. She claimed she was from Tyr and a resident of the Warrens. She was kidnapped by a street gang and sold to a larger trade house. She was secretly taken from Tyr with a group of other slaves to be sold in Urik. Enroute, the caravan was raided by Ssuraan. She was one of the few that survived and kept to be sold to other raiders and slavers.

Realizing that Jeila would likely not survive the trek back to Tyr or a neighboring village without help, they offered her to return with them after exploring the ruins further. Jeila agreed and showed some eager curiosity to why the group was there and what they sought with the walls that were covered in old elvish script.

The group found sealed entrance in the floor of one chamber. Inside was a narrow tunnel covered in a thick layer of dust. The only disturbance was the corpse of a Ssurann that looked as if it had been dead for months. Apparently whatever had befallen the creature, the others decided it better to leave it and seal the entrance, rather than retrieve their dead Ssuraan comrade.

The group decided that they were too close and suffered too much to turn back now. They explored deeper, seeking to find what information they could on the dimensions of the sand funnel.

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Seeking Elven knowledge

The group quietly left Tyr days later. Rumors swirled abound of someone similar to their description responsible for the theft at the merchant meeting. To tie up any loose ends with Lucero in case leaving House M’ke was final, they wrote up a detailed report of the general situation within Tyr and with King Tithian, and sealed the report in a lockbox as instructed before leaving.

The group traveled north and east along the border of the Alluvial Wastes on foot with a kank in tow for carrying supplies. Rook wanted to skirt the border of the wastes and visit what free villages he could. Under the guise of a silk merchant, he suggested selling wares and trying to find more information regarding the stone necklace, and in particular if there could be any ancient elven ruins which dotted the wastes.

As elves are nomadic people, the ruins of their people would surely be more unique and stand out with many others that littered Athas. In one village in particular, they spoke with elves that suggested some possible locations. One elf was willing to provide a bit more history regarding why elven ruins existed.

Long ago, it was recognized that elves needed key locations to serve as houses of learning and a written record. Elves build citadels of knowledge which were to be archives of their accomplishments. Some elves suggested that what the group was looking for was the equivalent of finding out how long a mile was, or how heavy was a pound. The funnel was a means of recording the passage of brief periods of time. While that knowledge was lost on the precise standard size of a sand funnel, it would most certainly be found among these elven archives.

More tales were told in the villages regarding the history of elves. Elves began to record their arcane knowledge including the practice of preserver magic. This type of magic was rumored to not draw life from the earth and instead draw energy from the wisps of magic that flowed through Athas. This was viewed as a threat to the sorcerer-kings, which sought to have the elvish citadels razed. The practice of writing was abandoned as it furthered strife between the elves and other Athas races. For a period, many clans were ruthlessly hunted by armies of the city-states, seeking to slay all elders which knew of preserver magic.

The group decided to explore the landscape following remarks from a villager on a rumored elven ruin location. After a few days journey they came across a suspected ruin. Investigating further, they found it a lair of large centipedes. Clearing out the nest they discovered several rooms with elvish script, however some walls were collapsed with sand burying much of the lower levels. Despite the stone inscriptions having fragments of history and information on the physical world, they could not find any information of the dimensions of the funnel. They were bolstered though as they seem to be on the right course of action. It would only be a matter of time searching in the right ruins to get this key bit of information.

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Recent events in Tyr and a trade logbook stolen

The group settled into House M’ke without incident and began to explore Tyr and the Merchant District. During their few days of roaming around the city, a few notable rumors and concerns seemed to be common with the citizens of Tyr:

House M’ke Oadim confided with them that the tradehouse has hit a streak of bad luck in the past 2 years. Many caravans coming out of Tyr have been raided, and a handful of those originating from Raam. It has hurt the house immensely. He suspects that there may be someone providing information on the routes and goods for caravans under M’ke’s trade banner. He asked the group to keep their ears and eyes open to anything suspicious.

2 Piece Movement – Many of the former slaves complain that freedom has only continued slavery under a different name due to low wages. Whatever they make during the 10 day week is lost to costs for food and housing. They wish to have a standard wage of 2 pieces a week which would allow them more funds to save for a better life. This is universally viewed among merchants and the craft guilds as a disaster. Increasing base wages to 2 pieces (or 2 silver) would wreck Tyr’s struggling economy.

Some merchants are secretly conspiring to have the leader of the movement, Eldra, killed. A minority feel that a counter offer should be given instead. There is no official standard wage for Tyr. If a standard of 1 piece was made an official decree by the king, many free citizens would be able to have a few more bits per week to have a decent meal, a bath, or enjoy a pitcher of broy. This might be enough to erode support of the 2 piece movement among the free citizens.

Rumors of slavers – Within the Warrens, rumors swirl of a string of disappearances for some free citizens. While slavery is outlawed in Tyr, other citystates still practice it. Some whisper that other city trade houses may be paying criminal gangs to abduct people to sell as slaves outside of Tyr. It may be possible that some criminal gangs could be dabbling in the slave trade directly also.

The fate of Kalak and Ziggurat – The ziggurat is guarded at all times. Some rumors claim that Kalak retreated into the structure during his assassination attempt. Other rumors tell that his body was not found. However this is all hearsay and no one has stepped forward with concrete information. However it is a mystery why the interior of the ziggurat has been made off limits to others, including members of the noble senate, and that King Tithian has claimed that only he can access the structure.

King Tithian – Many nobles worry how he will keep things together. Some claim Tithian is seeking to be another tyrant king. This view is popular as the Templars feel he is the right person for the job and has the backing of the military. Yet, others recognize he is in a difficult situation and is doing the best he can. Tyr is in the shadow of many City States of Athas envious of its iron mines. Most agree Tyr needs to show strength under a single leader to stave off any threats of future war.

Rook’s stone amulet – Another small merchant in House M’ke has approached the group about working with him to decipher a stone amulet in his possession. Rook claims it is to a secret elven cache of treasure, however he is unable to read the coded ancient elven text. He is in need of a few partners with unusual skillsets to help with this endeavor, and is willing to split the haul 50-50 with them.

Upon agreement to at least help in deciphering the amulet, they agreed to accompany him to an important elven merchant leader in Tyr, Lismuuk. Lismuuk claimed that while he could not read the amulet, he does know of elders which could. However he required a favor in return. Weekly, Tyr merchants meet to talk of trade and other matters. Usually some of the major trade houses for the other cities are also present. He requested that they steal a logbook of trade goods from one of the major houses. If they did this, he would provide elders which could interpret the amulet code.

The group set about to complete this task. The following day they posed as minor Tyr merchants and gained access to the compound where the meeting would be held. During intense discussion among the merchants, they snuck upstairs to try and break into one of the offices for a major trade house. After slaying a few guards, they broke into an office for House Tsalaxa taking one of their trade logs. Making a daring escape with an arranged diversion outside, they stole off to Lismuuk. Provided with the trade house log, Lismuuk arranged a meeting with elven elders which could interpret Rook’s amulet.

The elders claimed that to the east and north were a set of ruins which would provide dimensions to a funnel along with varying amounts of sand. The sand would pass through the funnel like a simple timer. With a known location and time provided by the sand funnel, a direction and distance could be calculated based on the passing of a shadow from a pillar of stone or some other natural landmark.

Rook was very excited. He knew of the location of the landmark and the time when to watch the shadow, however he had no idea how long he should wait or the expected distance. With information gained at the ruins along with his amulet, he was certain that he could discover the location of the treasure. The group agreed to accompany him and made preparations to leave Tyr and House M’ke.

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