Savage Sun of Athas

A trade house, a gladiator competition, and a ritual.

The Open Hand Trading Company began its start as the group moved into the newly acquired residences and toured the ground warehouses. Naomi began her preparation to enter the competition, while Dekra Blueheart began coordinating with her longtime friend, Fen, the excavation work in lower Tyr. All the while the remaining members of the group fretted about the sudden gladiatorial games in Tyr. The new found knowledge of sorcerer kings prolonging their lives through a sacrificial ritual worried them.

Simic strongly suggested that they approach the templars, or at least one they would trust. The group decided to speak with one of the old captains that they had dealt with in the past. The same templar captain which was contacted about exposing the slave gang in Tyr. The company decided that if he was forthright in bringing that to the attention of the noble senate, he’d likely do the same if this was a true threat to Tyr.

The captain listened dourly to their tale of exploring the ancient elvish ruins, and learning of the secrets that the sorcerer kings used to prolong their lives. The group plainly spoke that they were concerned with the suspicious nature of Kalak’s body never being recovered, something foul might happen at the gladiator games. The captain stated he would talk to those he thought appropriate, however many of the templar guards would be providing security for the event. With it happening the next day, he was unsure what could be done but said he would make sure that the other templar officers knew that something sinister might happen at the arena, and to be vigilant.

That evening Dekra returned and stated they had made a lot of progress in the past few days under the ziggurat. Interestingly, they also found a small side tunnel that went into the lower levels of the arena. It led into the base of the creature pens. As it appeared to have been deserted decades ago, she suspected it might have been used to throw events in the past. Possibly, to sneak in and poison creatures within the pen, making them weaker for spectacle fights.

The following day the group rallied around Naomi to cheer her on as she entered the tournament. Tyr was practically empty. Nearly everyone was at the arena or outside it. Templar presence was high and the group was unable to spot the captain they spoke to. However it was very likely he might be overseeing security on the other side of the arena. The group entered the arena and began to watch the games. As promised, King Tithian oversaw the games from his pavilion on the steps of the ziggurat.

Naomi took the field for her events an excelled. Throughout several events, in between the death matches of criminals, she finally won the citizen event. Even though it was a series of bloodless melee, the crowd adored her fights. After her victory she was escorted to the lower bowels of the arena to clean up and be presented to King Tithian for congratulations.

The group in the arena caught sight of a group of elves shifting through the cheering crowd behind them, with none other than Lismuuk leading. As Naomi was entering a ramp leading under the arena, approaching from the opposite direction where the party sat was another group of humans, roughly pushing their way through the crowd. The group in the stands noticed that these humans had necklaces with a gristly trophy, a single severed toe.

The group charged into action, leaping down towards Naomi. Both the elves and human gangs produces short swords, slings, and hand crossbows. A pitched fight broke out with onlookers scattering. In moments though the brawl was overshadowed by something else.

King Tithian stood and began chanting and gesturing. Dark, yellow, billowing smoke poured from his mouth and seeped down the steps of the ziggurat. It churned forth and seeped over the lower stands of the arena, slowly climbing higher. The people trapped in the fog began choking and gasping, collapsing in heaps. To the group’s horror, they finally noticed that only a pittance of templars were now in the arena. The two main gates were shut and remained closed as the crowds vainly tried to open them.

Simic cast a shimmering bolt of light towards King Tithian. At first he appeared unharmed, but then coughed up a small amount of blood. He hunched over, continued chanting and fled up the steps of the ziggurat. At the top he stepped inside flanked by several guards. The poisonous smoke still swirled around the arena as the heavy stone doors to the ziggurat slammed shut.

The company ran as quickly as they could to the lower arena levels and made their way to the secret passage, fighting off any pursuers. Breaking through the thin stone on the floor of a lower pen, they entered the narrow tunnel and followed its path. A path that lead right below the ziggurat foundation.

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