“The spirits protect their own. They have tasted our blood and sweat in the desert and rewarded our perseverance”
Expech prayed to the elements for their release from the desert. Now it was up to them to survive Tyr! The foul smelling, gaudily worked structures punctured the earth and he told the rest of the Gith-attala to remain in the shelter of some caves as they obtained supplies in the city of man.
Korek waved an antennae for Expech to climb up a rocky outcropping and pointed to a small caravan winding its way up the trade road. Expech nodded in agreement and they headed towards it to see what news they could obtain from the traders. As they approached they saw it was a band of Elves en route to Alturuk. In fact the elves saw that we were well acquainted with our environs and asked us if we sought work – and offered us 50 ceramic pieces apiece if we would guide and protect them on their journey. It was too good to be true, to be certain, but still an offer as such could not be overlooked – so we discussed it briefly and took it – risky or not.
The trade route was almost as bad as being on the open desert. They needed to tend to the pack animals and avoid bandits and such. The journey was relatively uneventful and it appeared to be the easiest money the two would make till they made it into town. The elves gathered in a tent and Expech and Korek were conversing with two other guards they met who happened to be ex-gladiators from Tyr – Ilikan and Lo-Kag both half giants. They were wary of the elves as well and when they spotted them talking to some slavers in a silk tent they confronted the elves – who at once prepared to silence us. One of the giants took the elven leader, Kaldras, out with a ponderous hit from his gouge and the town guards rushed in to uphold the peace.
Tellamon – the Captain of the Altaruk town guard, who wielded a magnificent metal long sword, apparently worked as a judicator in town. The man listened as each side presented their perspectives as to what had transpired. With some excellent social skill, Toox convinced Tellamon that they, indeed, were the victims of the elven tribe.
We celebrated our victory against the elves with much libation, but, ran afoul of a Balican noble. To make up for the insult, we were sentenced to fight in Bloodsand Arena.
To the roar of the crowd we were pitted against the elves and had to get these giant ceramic coins into colored baskets on opposite sides of the arena. It was not too hard with the giants and my elementals blocking their route and the nimble tri-kreen monk with multiple appendages juggling multiple coins. In fact it wasn’t even a contest. But the crowd must have enjoyed our performance as I thought our case won – once we defeated the elves…
So then came spiders and gith and the giants squished the bugs easily enough. They seemed to enjoy it – in fact the arena was where they were raised. I merely raised their spirit and refreshed their souls with my primal magic and they could withstand the utmost punishment! Korek seemed to take to the giants as well – with them keeping the foes attention he was able to strike where it did the most damage with little fear of retaliation. There was one other that fought with us in the arena Toox and I did not understand her nature. She was a beautiful specimen who seemed to conjure crystals of force that exploded. Of course the giants did not like the shards of force that struck them as well, but, when they understood to get out of her way, the matches got easier that they had us “perform” as a grand spectacle for the people. I think if we were less impressive the event would have been much shorter.
Then, in our last bout, there was a scream from the stands—it appeared that someone was thrown from the upper balcony! There was much panic in the crowd and the guards came out and ushered us back into the gladiator pits and attempted to disperse the crowd.
While we were in the pits a half elf approached us and applauded our performance in the arena. “My name is Selonius and I work for Lord “Aris” Arisphistaneles the lord baron here in Altaruk. He was most impressed by your show today and requests your service in another manner. You saw the disturbance in the arena today I presume? Aris would like an outside counsel to investigate this matter. Aris rewards those who please him and is offering a prodigious amount of ceramics a piece. What say you?”
When the group stopped their open mouth gaping they readily agreed and they were led to a group who they were told witnessed the event. It was Tellamon who was murdered. It was also quite obvious the witnesses had already been bullied and were not cooperating. But the giants had an intended effect upon them as they most certainly saw their performances in the arena – Aris choose his inquisitors wisely! The culprit was wearing gladiator sandals and a white tunic. The group also found a dagger laced with a poison made from arcane magic – which few in the city would have access or knowledge about.
Investigating around a bit more they saw a suspicious looking dwarf running off into a shady section of town and shadowed him. Following him into an a gladiator house, they met him talking to a muscle bound brute wearing a white tunic and sandals. Surprised by our entrance, he challenged our intrusion and being forthright we told him we were investigating a murder. He saw that he could not fool us, so, he came clean; explaining that it was indeed his plot and had hired his friend here to kill off Tellamon. He went on to clarify that Tellamon was seeking to depose Aris, and that the captain was a member of a secret society called The True. Tellamon had found out that Aris was part of the Veiled Alliance and was planning to assassinate him.
Taking him at his word, we went back to Aris and exposed the plot. He was pleasantly surprised by the news and swore us into secrecy about the whole affair. He went on to propose that we be inducted into it – I don’t think we had much choice in the matter.