Dark Sun: Grave Burden

E09: Collectors

Gibbering merchants palm ceramic coins and luring products beneath the large market tent of Fort Glamis. The air is crowded and stuffy, but the greenish tent blocks the descending sun. The multiple conversations between buyers and sellers blur together. You see a high wooden case lined with several types of armor and shields. Some weapons stand on a rack, with heads of bone and points of sharp obsidian --and some with bronze. Mercenaries are seen handing off their old equipment to those leaving the fort in need of protection. In return, these soldiers receive ceramic coins and bars, all engraved with the seal of Androphinis' treasury.


5th of Mist, Year of Priest’s Defiance

Kathaalis and Asis browse the merchant quarter for better armor and ammunition for their bows. Kathaalis purchases two suits of enchanted chitin armor, which replaces his and Asis’ old leather suits. The afidae also buys a couple cloaks and 50 corrosive arrows.

Dalamar enters the mealhall, looking to explore whatever the fort has to offer. He enters and sees only a few patrons; a female elf with thick auburn hair, a still-bodied male afidae, a male human bard playing a tyrian cello, and a couple of the fort’s mercenaries eating a meal. He approaches the kitchen to buy food, and is scoffed at by the other elf. She looks at him with utter and unprovoked contempt, then sits down at a table and eats her over-cooked meat. Dalamar asks one of the cooks (a tall dwarven male) what the problem with the other elf is. He is told by the cook that the red-haired elf hates elves. This perplexes Dalamar, but he simply asks for a cooked meal and sits down at another table.

Nataku approaches the main operations hall in an attempt to talk to the fortmaster, Bryphero. He is instead blocked by two armed guards, who tell him that the fortmaster isn’t seeing visitors. Nataku states his intent to discuss the well that is drying up, and this persuades one of the guards to enter the building to tell Bryphero. He returns and tells the water cleric that the fortmaster agreed to speak with him the next morning. Nataku accepts the meeting and departs.

Dalamar begins to eat his over-cooked meal of unseasoned erdlu meat. He suddenly feels his mind going fuzzy, and a soft voice that is not his own begins to speak. The voice tells the elf that “the Praetors are here.” Dalamar looks around, confused. The voice doesn’t seem to be coming from any physical person within the room. “…and that is not all. Another group of men seek to speak with you. Over a debt.” Dalamar now becomes visibly anxious at the voice that’s speaking in his head. He stands up from his seat. “The men are outside, why don’t you go take a look?” The elf looks about again, not noticing any indication of who is transmitting the message. He leaves the mealhall abruptly, and looks around the fort’s interior at a glance to see if the voice’s suggestion is true. Dalamar finds nothing, but he sees his companions Kathaalis and Asis looking at new equipment at the other end of the fort, and the water cleric Nataku approaching the mealhall from the fortmaster’s quarters.

Nataku confronts the elf who bought him out at Balic so that he could be free of the Criterion’s deadly arena. The elf looks visibly distressed, and so Nataku asks him what the issue is. Dalamar tells the water priest that he was hearing a voice speak to him once he sat down in the mealhall’s tavern. He explains that the voice told him that there were Balician templars present at the fort already, and that a group of other men stand outside of the gate to confront him about a past debt. The two enter the mealhall, this time with the intent of finding out where the voice came from.

The patrons are exactly where they all were, minding their own. Nataku wishes to cast zone of truth but he realizes that the spell will attract unwanted attention due to its verbal and somatic components. He persuades Dalamar to cause an unruly distraction so that he can complete the spell without drawing the wrong sets of eyes. Dalamar reluctantly goes along with the plan, and smashes his plate on the floor, and yelling out that the food is terrible etc. etc. A sharp whip streaks across the room from the human bard and meets Dalamar’s cheek with a loud gash. A sliver of blood forms on the elf’s face. Nataku completes the spell in one of the front corners of the room. The mercenaries are the only ones affected, and the afidae gazes at Nataku (seemingly realizing the cleric cast the spell). The dwarven cook tells Dalamar to leave the mealhall and never come back. At this point, Nataku approaches the mercenaries and detracts information about the well running dry and what’s going on with it from the mercenaries.

Afterwards, Nataku seeks out the afidae, who saw him cast zone of truth. He earnestly explains that his friend Dalamar had been hearing a voice earlier. The afidae immediately confirms that he was the one who sent the psionic message. He reveals himself to be Paalthas, and that he has a concern for Dalamar and his companions, but doesn’t explain why in detail. He tells Nataku that men are out to collect money from Dalamar.

Nataku and Paalthas exit the mealhall to find Dalamar, who is waiting outside. Dalamar seems to be a little irritated at the whole scene, but Nataku tells him that it was appreciated and he found the person who sent him a telepathic message. Paalthas explains himself once again, and tells Dalamar that he should confront the men outside, and that it would be best that he and the water cleric and anyone else they’re accompanied with leave Fort Glamis at the earliest possibility.

Dalamar and Nataku slowly approach the gate of the fort outside. Down the ramp, they spot a large bluish cilops with a reddish eye, and four bad-looking dudes standing around. A human with chiseled features and two hideous alhulaks, an ugly elf, an immense half-giant, and an uglier human with burn scars covering the right side of his forehead. The two are hesitant to approach them based on their looks, but do so anyway. The man with the alhulaks introduces himself as a collector, paid by Uriah to locate Dalamar and his companions to collect the debt they owe for stealing and destroying a silt barge that belonged to the high priest of Iax Cavaka.

Dalamar acts like an asshole about it, and dances around the subject. The man, who says his name is Abraxus, tells the two that they owe 14,000 cp, 10,000 for the silt barge, 3,500 for their efforts in tracking them down, and another 500 for the escaped halfling slave who was locked up in the barge’s cabin. Dalamar seems to try and make an exit strategy, but Nataku simply hands Abraxus 14,000 cp of his own money. The money is collected in a bag in ceramic bars. The money is part of Nataku’s own savings, which he stored in Balic before he was caught using magic and enslaved as a arcana-casting defiler would be.

Abraxus seems visibly satisfied that the debt was collected so easily. He tells Dalamar and Nataku that he knows the Praetors in Balic are looking for them, even if they are outside of the city and therefore outside of the templar’s jurisdiction. He mentions that the crimes they committed seemed to have been enough to catch the vast attention of the templars. He offers his own services if the party ever returns to Fort Glamis in the future. The bounty hunters part, and the elf and mul are left to return to the mealhall.

When they do return, they confront the bard who whipped Dalamar earlier. Due to not being able to enter the meal hall, Dalamar sends Nataku in to retrieve the bard. Once outside, the bard introduces himself as Hanibaal Demontes and without remorse explains why he whipped the elf with his bladed whip. Dalamar does not seem upset the man, and even acknowledged that he was being a bit of a kank’s ass. However, Nataku isn’t as quick to forgive the bard, much less harbor a positive view of him. Dalamar asks the bard what he was doing in Fort Glamis, to which the bard replied that he was simply traveling around till he receive news from Tyr. At that moment, Kathaalis and Asis meet the three outside the meal hall after concluding their shopping from around the fort. Hanibaal notices that they both purchased some armor he “psionicly” reinforced. He then noticed how well the group was equipped, and asked the group if they would be interested in acting as body guards for his departure from the fort. Hanibaal does question the group of the use of a stick-wielding Mul. This immediately upsets Nataku, and he attempts to show the use of his staff off to the bard, but Hanibaal dismisses notion as a jest insulting Nataku even more. With this swift blow to his ego and the priest’s compulsion to be the best, he pulls out an empty jug and begins to create water inside. Hanibaal quickly casts a hidden acid orb to destroy the bottom of the jug to conceal the action of water creation in a drought ridden fort with a dried well, but did not miss the opportunity to hurl an insult at the Mul for his foolishness. The insult proved to be the last straw for Nataku, who’s blue tribal tattoos began to glow as the water priest began using his power to summon a water elemental in the heart of the fort. Whether it was the crowd that immediately began to gather with looks of awe, fear, and desperation in their eyes or the realization of how far the took this measuring contest, he quickly sent the elemental back to it’s plane and retreating into the meal hall. The crowd lingered with questions but Hanibaal insisted it was an illusion, and gave an intimidating glare to the ones that did not listen to him, dispersing what was left of the crowd. From there the five agreed on resting for the night and meeting up in the morning before anything escalated further.

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