The Burnt World of Athas - Smoke Over Urik

Interesting Urik facts Dress:Urikites wear their hair in square cuts with elaborate ringlets. Their usualclothing is a long shirt. At night, many urikites wear scarves, the length,material and decorations of which denote the wearer's station. Only templarsare allowed to wear cloaks, which are yellow, and only Hamanu may wear a cloak with fringe, which is bleeched pure white.Laws:Urik's laws are called Hamanu's Code and are based on the eye-for-an-eyeprinciple. King Hamanu:Hamanu goes by many titles, the most common of which are a) King of the Worldand b) The Lion King. He has two standard appearances, namely as a) A tall,vigorous man with close-cropped white hair, dark skin stretched tight overruthless features, and yellow eyes and b) A 1/2 man, 1/2 lion of powerfulbuild and mythic proportions.Culture:Urik is a warrior culture, with a huge army. Its soldiers are probably thebest trained on athas, but not the best armed. Almost all their weaponry ismade from obsidian ( in contrast to Tyr's army steel weaponry ). Urik oftenfight wars and when Hamanu leads the army personally, he has never lost.Economy:Urik's resident merchant house is House Stel. It deals primarily inweapons, ceramic, obsidian and Tyrian iron. Stel maintains trade routes toRaam, Draj and has exclusive dealing rights with Makla. Stel also tradesthe plunder of Urik's armies. Usually, their caravans are huge, heavilyarmed and slow-moving, consisting of about ten Mekillot wagons, 100 footsoldiers and 30 to 40 crodlu outriders. The wagons are carrying slavearchers under mul or half-giant guards and ballistae or catapults. HouseStel has 20 to 30 of these caravans. Urik's economy depends on theobsidian that it is mined from the Mountain of the Black Crown. Urikdepends on Tyr's iron for tools to be able to mine the obsidian. Urik hasrecently fought a war with Tyr when Hamanu thought the iron trade was indanger. Makla is a client village of Urik, located on the shore of theLake of Golden Dreams. It is a supply center and base camp for theobsidian mining. It has 500 urik soldiers, 50 half-giants and 25 halflingslave hunters. House Stel has 3 fortresses. Fort Courage is located nearthe Smoking Crown. It has 150 employees and 200 slaves. Fort Iron islocated 30 miles west of Silver Spring. It has 75 employees and 100slaves. Fort Sandol is located 50 miles north of Gulg. It has 20employees and 50 slaves and serves as a trading station for nomads. HouseStel is a very militaristic organization and has over 3.000 well-trainedand equipped warriors under its command. Its enemies include House Tsalaxa( Draj ), House Inika ( Gulg ), and all elven trading tribes ( especiallythe Swiftwing tribe ). Stel has managed to keep good relations with allthe Sorcerer-kings, especially Hamanu. It has a reasonably goodrelationship with House Wavir ( Balic ). House Stel is led by Hargan StelIII. Other important characters are Tara Stel and Terric Avan. ( Moreinfo, Dune Traders )Veiled Alliance:The Veiled Alliance in Urik has split into two factions after the disappearance of its charismatic leader, Morlak. One faction is led byLeoricius the Untamable and the other one is led by Thania. The two factionsare on the foot of war with each other. ( More info, Veiled Alliance ) Army:In addition to by far the largest and best trained army in the Tablelands,Hamanu also employs 200 halfling warriors from Ogo, under agreement withhalfling chief Urga-Zoltapl, in exchange for obsidian.City:Urik is approximately 3 times the size of Tyr. Its walls are high and yellow.Hamanu's palace is called Destiny's Kingdom. Its inner sanctum is 1 squaremile and looks like a powerful fortress. The remaining area fills 28 squaremiles and contains a huge drill field, barracks, a large armory filled tothe top with obsidian weapons, stables, and a small jungle city buildespecially for the halflings. DM's note: You can use the map of Nibenay for Urik. Let the Naggaramakam beDestiny's Kingdom ( size X 2 ) and let the inner sanctum be Hamanu's fortress( size is normal ). The area surrounding the city is devoid of geographicalfeatures. At the northwest corner of the City are three hills. The northwestcorner of the city is the Three Sisters Observatory, Which has been build onthe centermost hill, Sunrise Hill.Countryside:The Mountain of the Black Crown is a huge vulcano, almost completelycovered with obsidian, which is extremely hard black glass, the residuefrom its active years. It has been resting for as long as anyone canremember. It is the largest mountain of the Smoking Crown mountains. Tothe west of the Smoking Crown mountains lies the Lake of Golden Dreams. Itis an huge swamp where thick yellowish steam constantly rises from boilingwaters. Where the water isn't too deep you can see that the bottom of thelake is laced with hundreds of tunnels and passageways. According torumor, these tunnels lead to an incredible city that lies at the heart ofthe Smoking Crown. Dragon's Bowl is a deep depression in the Tablelandsto the southeast of Urik. Reputedly,it is the birthplace of the Dragon.It's walls are 1.000 feet steep, treacherous slopes. Inside Dragon's Bowllies Lake Pit. A lake with crystal clear water covering an area of 28square miles. A rumoured "Sunken City" is supposed to lie in the submergedcaves beneath the lake. A powerful mul druid named Enola is supposed tohave the entire Dragon's Bowl as his guarded lands. PCs ----1. Auke IJsselstein playing Talora Male Elf 8th Level Defiler ( Necromancer ) NE Description: New Character. After barely escaping with his life from two villages, where his gruesome experiments and defiling had been discovered, Talora has managed to become an apprentice under Krisnar, the Archmage Necromancer of Hamanu, by assasinating, discouraging or otherwise incapacitating all other contenders for this position. Special Features: Talora is completely bald, and even though he is quite young, already looks like an old man who has just recovered from a nasty skin disease. For this reason and for intimidating purposes, he wears a white mask, which slightly resembles a human skull. He carries a grey whip and is in possession of 2 obsidian spheres. He wears grey robes. He respects his master and most of all, he respects Hamanu, who is one of the few creatures on Athas who has gained immortality.2. Martijn v/d Meer playing Pyaro Male Human 9th Level Cleric of Fire NG Description: Played one earlier campaign, Merchant House of amketsch. In this campaign he made a number of enemies. The gith around Balic blame him for the destruction of one of their camps. House Shom blames him for the destruction of their Balic department and the innkeeper of the Sandtiger's Tail in Balic blaims him for the destruction of his inn. He also made some friends, namely Marius of Amketsch, the leader of House Amketsch, and Mazarek of the Veiled Alliance in Balic. After a couple of failed assassination attempts, Pyaro hitched a ride on an Amketsch caravan to Urik to go on a pilgrimage to the Temple of Fire in that city. This temple has the Eternal Flame, a fire that hasn't stopped burning for ages and is supposed to be the purest fire on Athas. He liked the temple so well, that he has become an Initiate, then an Acolyte, and is now next in line for Council of Fire membership, the highest function in the temple. Special Features: Pyaro has Bracers of Defense AC 8, a Ring of Protection +1, a steel short sword +1 ( must be heated for use, takes 1 round ), boots of speed, a wand of Magic Detection, and a ring of Chameleon Power. He also has a Firetrapped Purse that he made himself, and a magnifying glass. His Holy Symbol is a shard of obsidian with a flame of sulphur inside.3. Benno Meijer playing Aquarius Male Half-Elf 7th Level Fighter LN Description: Played one earlier campaign, Black Flames. In this campaign he made one enemy, Terric Avan, whose son David was under his care when he was killed by a Fael. He was teaching Tarek's son swordfighting. Tarek is master commander of the troops of House Stel. Aquarius has returned to Urik, where Tarek made it clear to him that he would not forget who was responsible for his son at the time of his death. Aquarius then joined the Urik Army as a mercenary, where he has been promoted two timed now. Special Features: Aquarius wears 3 silver earrings and 3 copper rings. Has emblem of Army of Urik on breastplate. On his left upper arm is a tattoo of his current rank, lieutenant. In possession of a metal longsword, a metal dagger, a metal dagger +1, a medium shield with a Lion's Head, and a dragon tooth.4. Mark IJsselstein playing Sarek Male Human 9th Level Templar of Urik LE Description: New Character. Sarek has been a templar all his life. He started as a patrolman with the Removers of Waste, and after some years ( and an unfortunate accident which happened to his superior ) he became the Head Templar of that office. He managed to get himself promoted out of that department and became the Sewer Monitor, head of the Sewer department, responsible for the proper working of the sewers. This is still not a very prestigious office, but Sarek has recently managed to make his name known on the higher levels by destroying a Veiled Alliance cell. He had managed to have an underling infiltrate a VA cell and get them to meet him in the sewers. Sarek had in the meantime hired a powerful psionicist. He let this psionicist dominate a Cistern Fiend in one of the city wells and used this creature to ambush the VA cell in the sewers ( Cistern Fiends are undetectable when they lie still in the water ). The ambush was completely succesfull and Sarek even managed to capture two of the four preservers, the other two perished in the battle. Special Features: Sarek wears yellow templar robes and a yellow templar cloak. He also has a ceramic templar medallion. Setting - Day 1 07:00 1. Talora had been up all night, as usual, studying material given to himby his master, Krisnar. He was currently trying to memorize his newestspell in his chamber on the second floor of Destiny's Kingdom, Hamanu'sPalace. He had almost got it, when suddenly he was disturbed by the soundof an enormous explosion, causing him to loose his concentration andsuffer 6 HP damage. Furious, he walked over to the window where he couldalready see a big fire spreading over the District of the DynasticMerchant Houses. "Probably another bloody Veiled Alliance attack", heconcludes disinterestedly and walks back to his spellbook to prepare foranother attempt at memorizing the difficult spell. 2. Pyaro was on his way to the Temple of Fire to prepare for the morningdevotions ceremony, which was his responsibility as an upcoming acolyte. Ashe turned the last corner he notices something odd. The templars assigned toguarding the Temple of Fire at night are gone, and one of the doors to thetemple is open a crack. He hurries toward the temple and then slowes his pace. He peekes around the corner of the door, seeing a lot more smoke thenusual inside. He opens the door some more and the smoke slowly starts to clear out of the Hall of Fire. The temple has been desecrated ! Steppinginside with murder on his mind, he finds his first body. In addition to thetemplar guard detail outside, every night one of the three members of theCouncil of Fire and two of the acolytes guard the Eternal Flame. The body isone of the acolytes, burned so badly that his ribcage is visible. "A good wayto go", Pyaro reflects, and pulling his sword moves slowly down the AshenPathway toward the Altar of Fire, determined not to go the same way as theunfortunate acolyte just yet. Then he encounters the second acolyte, intact,except for his head, which has been ripped of his shoulders. Suddenly the smoke clears enough for him to see the altar. The Eternal Flame is out ! The Sceptre of Power has been stolen ! Faznon, the half-elf Priest who wasin charge, lies against the damaged altar, with a circular area ofdestruction around him. It seems that he has defended the altar untilexhaustion, when some THING broke through his protective spells and rippedhis heart out. Pyaro looks at the remains of his friend, swearingvengeance, when an enormous explosion makes him jump. That might be thethief, he thinks, and activitating his Boots of Speed he runs out of thetemple and toward the smoke rising above the city. 3. The drill field on the grounds of Destiny's Kingdom was more crowded asusual. Many army units were practicing manouvers, simulating a cityattack. Great driks were marching against stone walls, pulverizing themeasily, and groups of cavalry were trying to outflank the infantrymarching alongside the unstoppable monsters. Aquarius had been training 20mercenaries for the past hour, trying to determine if any one of them hadany special talent for swordplay, when he was rudely interrupted in ademonstration of a particularly difficult kata by an enormous explosion,almost causing him to loose his balance. All eyes on the drill field turntowards the smoke rising above the walls surrounding the Palace grounds.Disorder starts to breake out. Some men and women leave their units,worried about kin or property, and run toward the gates. The manouvers aregoing to hell. Fights break out when a cavalry unit, distracted by thesound of the explosion accidently fails to miss a mercenary infantry unitthey were mock-charging at. Suddenly a half-giant shouts :"Tyr must bemounting a sneak attack !", and before anybody can stop them a fullcompany of half-giants marches toward the gate. When a templar company,trying to restore order, double-marches after the half-giants in a futileattempt to stop them, most of the other mercenaries follow. Aquarius'soldiers want to follow, but he manages to hold them back and continueshis drills. Meanwhile, the soldiers and citizens start to riot on thestreets of Urik. 4. Sarek had just finished his shift and was relaxing in the local templarhangout, next to the District of the Dynastic Merchant Houses. He was,still smelling slightly of sewer waste, recounting his succesfulloperation against the VA to a fellow templar, who was delighting Sarek bybeing quite obviously jealous of him. Suddenly he hears shouting in themarket square outside and he puts his glass of ale down on the table andlistens carefully. "There he is, get him !", he hears, followed by anenormous explosion, which rocks the bar's foundations. Right after that, aburning and screaming half-giant crashes through the plaster wall of thebar, pulverizing his table and squashing his fellow templar. "That drinkcost me 5 ceramics, dammit", Sarek thinks as he jumps out of reach of thepain-crazed half-giant and makes a break for the street. The square is inchaos. People are running everywhere, and the wounded scream in pain. Hetries to make his way through the crowd, but by the time he has reachedthe scene of the destruction, only the dead remain. He sees anotherhalf-giant, missing his entire right shoulder and arm. There are a lot ofmedium-sized burned corpses, probably freemen and slaves. After a shortsearch he finds an expensize-looking cornerpiece of a black robe withintricate gold-thread patterns woven in, which he puts into his pocket. After some more searching he finds the body of the templar whose shoutingprobably started this minor war. He has a smoking wound in the middle ofhis chest and is apparently already dead. "That's just great", he thinks,"What else could go wrong ?". Shouts of "Fire" and "Out of my way" makehim turn around, quickly enough to see a strange sight. What looks like anincredibly fast and furious fire cleric comes storming into the squarewith a mad look in his eyes. Market Square - Day 1 07:15 ( DM's note : Sage Square on map of Nibenay ) "Stop", Sarek futily commands, as Pyaro storms past him and comes to ahalt some metres further. "Who are you and what are you doing here", Sarekshouts, while quickly grasping his medallion."You...must...have..stolen...the... Sceptre", Pyaro gasps at him, while hecatches his breath. In the distance templar patrols can be heard securingthe area. Sarek still isn't sure if he's dealing with a madman or thecauser of this destruction. While they argue on, suddenly the assumed-deadtemplar coughs up some blood. Both men turn toward the still-smokingtemplar. Pyaro recognizes the templar as a member of the guard detail thatwas missing. Quickly he graps a smoldering bit of wood, presses it in thechestwound and calls on Fire to heal the templar. The templar regainsconsciousness and manages to relate his story. Templar's story Apparently, the templar was the leader of the guard detail normallyassigned to the Temple of Fire during the graveyard shift. Last evening hehad recieved a message telling him that he was relieved from guard dutythis night. The message was unsigned, but was accompanied with acode-message known only to the High-templars and the leaders of eachtemplar patrol. Being a templar, he still kept an unobtrusive eye on thetemple all night, together with his guard detail, just in case anothertemplar tried to doublecross him. At around 5:30, a figure clad in blackrobes with gold patterns on it walked toward the temple and sneakedinside. As it remained quiet and the end of his normal watch was near, heleft to get some sleep before his next watch, but when he and his guarddetail were about a block away, flashes of light from the direction of thetemple caused him to return. When he returned, the door was still slightlyopen, but the light display and occasional primal roar from inside thetemple did not convince him to go in. When it was silent for some time, hesuddenly heard someone running away and weighing his options he decided tochase the sound of the footsteps. When he and his detail reached thesquare, he saw the blackrobed figure among the early shopping crowd and hecalled out to his detail. The figure turned around and for a few briefseconds his eyes lit up under his hood. Then he pointed something and thesquare turned into an inferno. Wounded severely, the templar saw theblack-robed figure run toward the south. Market Square The templar passes out again and Pyaro shakes him, wanting to hear more,to no avail. Pyaro wants to run toward the south, hoping to catch thethief, but is arrested by Sarek ( and a few Half-Giants ). The square hasbeen completely surrounded by templars and Sarek spots Fazek, aHigh-Templar, coming his way. Sarek reports what he knows. TheHigh-Templar is clearly very anxious about the theft of the Sceptre ofPower. He orders Sarek to organize a search for the mysterious robedfigure and tells him that he is to report back to the Palace in 1 hour. Hetakes the arrested Pyaro into custody. Pyaro is furiously carried to thePalace, restrained by two half-giants, behind the High-Templar's sedan.Halfway there, one of the templars who is tired of Pyaro's endless cursesand raves about finding some sceptre or other casts a Silence-spell on himand lets the half-giants bind his arms behind his back with chains. Pyaroslowly starts to realize his situation and calms down a bit. Sarek makessure that the templar is taken to the palace for treatment and organizes asearch. The search is progressing with some difficulty, because of theriots in the city, that are however slowly coming under control. After 45minutes, he makes sure the search will continue and then goes back toDestiny's Kingdom. As he walks through the gate he spots a lone group ofmercenaries being trained on the drill field. The lieutenant seems quiteworthy of the metal sword he carries. Suddenly a voice speaks in his head.Sarek almost falls on his knees right there and then, for it is Hamanu'svoice. The message is simple : "Take the lieutenant with you". Hamanu wasnot pleased about his troops causing riots in his city and he has noticedthat one officer has managed to keep a clear head in the disorder. Sarekwalks over to Aquarius and tells him that he has been summoned by the Kingof the World. Aquarius realizes the time to move is now and instructssergeant Prozac to continue the training. Sarek and Aquarius virtually runto the palace. Meeting Hamanu - Day 1 09:30 Talora studies at night and sleeps during the day and is not pleased whenhe is awakened by a knock on the door. When he heares that he has beensummoned by King Hamanu, however, Talora gets into his clothes withlighting quickness. Meanwhile, Sarek and Aquarius have joined thestill-chained Pyaro in the Waiting Chamber. When Sarek sees the silencedcursing cleric he can't stifle his laughter. Just then, Talora walks in.Talora rarely smiles, but seeing the fuming cleric trying his best toproduce sound he also bursts out laughing. When the two have settled downa bit, Fazek walks in, acting very nervous. He regains his composure whenhe has entered the waiting room. He turns toward Pyaro and commands himto calm down. Instantly, his chains fall off and the Silence-spell isdispelled. Fazek tells them they will have the privilege of meeting theKing of the World. The party, properly cowered, is shown into the ThroneRoom. All the characters instantly fall on their faces and stay silent.Hamanu is clearly very displeased with the situation. After Hamanu hascalmed down a bit, he adresses the terrified partymembers one by one."Sarek of Urik, rise. I have heard of your recent exploits. I haveinterrogated the prisoners you brought in personally. The theft of theSceptre of Power represents a grave danger to Urik. I trust you to findthe one responsible and bring him to me, alive if possible. Tell me whatyou've learned so far." Sarek spills his guts to the Sorcerer-King. NextHamanu turns to Pyaro and rages at him :" Where were YOU ( -10 HP Pyarodue to subconscious mind attack ) when this happened !" Hamanu sees thathis anger is having physical effects on Pyaro and restrains himself. In amore controlled voice he contunues. "Pyaro of the Temple of Fire, rise.what do you know about the theft of the Sceptre ?". Pyaro notices 2 ashspots on the floor ( the prisoners ) and quickly tells his tale. Hamanuexplains to him that he holds the Temple of Fire responsible for thedanger Urik has been placed in, because, he claims, the Sceptre was stolendue to incompetence on the part of the priests. He tells Pyaro that inorder to redeem the Temple of Fire in his eyes, Pyaro is hereby ordered toassist templar Sarek in the search for the Sceptre. Next he turns toAquarius. "Aquarius of Yaramuke, rise. I have great trust in yourcapabilities. I have appointed you to assist templar Sarek in his search."Aquarius swears on his life that he will not fail Hamanu. Lastly, Hamanuturns to Talora. "Talora of the Grey, rise. Your studies have shown greatprogress recently. You have also been appointed to assist templar Sarek inthis matter." Then Hamanu turns to the group as a whole and tells theLegend of the Sceptre of Power: ...Before the Athas turned into a desert, Urik was a city of plenty. Whennature changed, conditions in the city became harder. Then the Mountain ofthe Black Crown erupted, the sky turned to night and it rained ash andfire for days. Many fires broke out and many lives were lost. Then, one ofthe first, some say The First, Cleric of Fire went to the mountain andnegotiated a pact with the elemental Lords of Fire. The elemental Lordsgave the Cleric's staff amazing powers of Fire and told him that if hewould build a Temple of Fire in Urik and with this Sceptre would light anEternal Flame there, then the mountain would return to rest in exchangefor worship. The temple was build and the sceptre has kept the flameburning for thousands of years, and for the same number of years theMountain of the Black Crown has slept... "Until now. The Eternal Flame has been extinguished. The pact is no longervalid. Urik's economy depends on the obsidian mining of the mountain. Ifthe mountain becomes active again, I can protect Urik, but its economywould crumble. Find the Sceptre, and relight the Eternal Flame, so yourKing commands. You will have the highest authority in this matter. Ifthere is anything you need, ask for it now." The party does not have anyrequests. Hamanu then announces that he will personally prepare apowerful artifact to help the party retrieve the Sceptre of Power. He alsoexplains that the Sceptre will only obey a Cleric of Fire completely, andthe Cleric must be a powerful one, or he will be overcome by the power ofthe Sceptre. Only very powerful other beings can touch the Sceptre ofPower without dying instantly, and they can never completely control it.The Sceptre will never stop fighting for control with the individual. The Temple of Fire - Day 1 12:00 ( DM's note : one of the Noble Houses next to the Temple of Earth on the map of Nibenay ) The party deliberates and decides to go to the Temple of Fire. Sarek asksAquarius to round up a sizeable escort ( with the riots and all ).Aquarius marches to the barracks and awakens half-giant sergeantGoenigoegoe. Aquarius tells her to round up twenty half-giants on thedouble. Goenigoegoe is quick and efficient and the troops are ready forinspection in no time. When Aquarius detects that two of the half-giantshave forgotten their swords he gives them twenty pushups as punishment,tells them to get their swords and then marches the entire companytriple-march to Sarek, Pyaro and Talora. The group proceeds to the templewith the two punished soldiers taking point. When they arrive there theentire area around the temple has been sealed off. With Hamanu'sauthority, they manage to get through. When they get inside the temple,Talora notices that his master, Krisnar, is also present ( he had beenaway on a mission for Hamanu for a week now ) and is talking to Fazek, theHigh-Templar. Krisnar is wearing black robes with the same goldthreadedpatterns as on the fragment Sarek found in the marketplace ( Sarek hasn'ttold the rest of the party about that yet ). Krisnar's robes do not appeardamaged, however. Talora goes to his master and asks to speak him inprivate. He forgets to call him master and gets zapped for 2 HP damagebecause of imputance. His master agrees and tells him he'll meet himtonight. Sarek talks to Fazek, who appears even more concerned as he wasin the morning. Fazek has found a corner of a piece of parchment, the onlythings that can be read are "Deepest Regards," and it has the officialHouse Stel seal on it. The party returns to Destiny's Kingdom to thinkthings through and see if Hamanu has prepared the artifact. Hamanu's Palace - Day 1 14:00 When the party reaches the Palace, Talora goes to the Vault where he hasbeen told the artifact would be. When he arrives there the Vaultkeepertells him that Hamanu is still preparing the artifact and this will takesome time. Sarek, meanwhile, orders two hapless templars to search all theNecromancers' quarters for implicating evidence. The first of the twotemplars is vaporized as he touches the doorknob of the door of the firstroom ( not Krisnar's ) and the other templar dies inside the second room (also not Krisnar's ), because the doorknob had been poisoned. No visibleevidence of the attempted searches remains in the hallway. Then Sarektries to find the templar who was wounded in the market square. After somebureacracy Sarek manages to find him. He is scared to death, because hethinks he has failed Hamanu. The templar says that the note was in hisbreastpocket and so was burned in the inferno. Sarek, after only slightlyreassuring the templar, returns to Aquarius where Talora soon joins him.Ater some discussion the party decides to return to the Temple of Fire fora more thorough investigation. Temple of Fire - Day 1 16:00 After an uneventful journey ( order has been restored in the city ), theTemple of Fire is reached. The temple is cleared out ( Fazek and Krisnarhave already left ) and the party starts its investigation. Talora usesPlane Lore and Spellcraft to study the damage and the bodies and managesto determine that a powerful Elemental has killed the Priest and hascaused all the structural damage, and that a magic-user has tried toremove all the evidence of its presence. The magic-user is alsoresponsible for the death of the burned acolyte and the beheaded acolyte.The magic-user has left 4 inch-deep grooves in one of the granite bencheswhen he beheaded the acolyte. Aquarius remarks that this could have beendone with a wrist razor. The smoke comes from the battle and the ash-markscould have been caused by anybody present at the time ( including thepriest and acolytes ). In the palace it has been decided that Pyaro willattempt to communicate with the spirit of the deceased Priest. He calls onhis element and casts "Speak with Dead" on the Priest. The Priest's eyesspring open. Pyaro asks four questions: 1. What killed you ? -...Huge...Water... 2. Was there a magic-user ? - ...Yes... 3. Whatattacked the acolytes ? - ...Death... 4. Was there a priest ? ...No... ThePriest's eyes close again. Pyaro goes outside, looking for the Council ofFire. He finds the remaining two members talking to a half-giant guard whowon't let them pass. Pyaro lets them pass the cordon and tells them all.The remaining members, Argnar ( mul Priest ) and K'zer ( dwarf High-Priest), are shaken up and give official approval to Pyaro to find the Sceptreand to return it at all costs. Argnar and K'zer start inspecting thedamage. The party sticks their heads together and makes some plans. Sarektells Talora about the possibility that his master, Krisnar, might be theguilty party. Talora angrily denies that possibility, but concedes toasking his master about the robes when he meest him tonight. Sarekannounces that he will investigate House Stel. Aquarius decides toinvestigate the Temple of Water. Water and Fire clerics are not on veryfriendly terms in the best of times and the investigation seems to implythat a powerful Water Elemental killed the Priest. Pyaro decides to stayat the temple to cremate the death and help re-sanctify the temple. Taloradecides to check out Urik's underworld in the evening to see if anythingunusual has happened lately. Pyaro spends many hours cleaning andresanctifying the Temple of Fire. When night falls, the clergy goesoutside and the High-Priest, K'zer, makes a moving speech about how thePriest and the two Acolytes have fallen defending their Element, themighty Fire. Afterwards, their remains are cremated. Pyaro spends a greatdeal of the night resanctifying and then goes to sleep. The party hasdecided to meet at the Palace at 7:30 next morning. House Stel - Day 1 18:30 ( Located next to Mekillot Gate on map of Nibenay) Sarek suspects that House Stel is being paid to smuggle the Sceptre out ofthe city. He goes to House Stel and asks about caravans leaving the City.As a matter of fact, it seems that House Stel is going to try to break thespeedrecord for a caravan travelling from Urik to Nibenay. This caravanwill leave in 3 days. Sarek asks if he could let the caravan transportsome cargo for him. This isn't a problem, provided he specifies size andshape. He further asks if House Stel trades in robes. After some recordsearching it seems that a cargo of black robes with intricate goldenpatterns have been placed on the Elven Market 2 weeks ago. Sarek alsodiscovers that all the important House members are in the city, but thishappens regularly and could be coincidence. Sarek returns to the palace. Temple of Water - Day 1 19:30 ( see map of Nibenay ) Aquarius has first travelled back to Destiny's Kingdom. He has arrangedsome blue robes and he removes all items from his person which mightimplicate him as a soldier for Hamanu. Then he travels to the Temple ofWater. When he has arrived there, he sees that the usual city guard at thetemple has been tripled. He also notices that the temple has just closed.He manages to intimidate the guard detail into letting him pass. When hecomes near the entrance to the temple, two Priests who guard the templewalk over to him. Aquarius tells them a hartbreaking story about havingtravelled all the way from Nibenay to Urik to see the Holy Water. ThePriests are convinced and impressed by such devotion and let him prayalone in the Inner Sanctum of the temple. The Inner Sanctum has a squarepool, with Holy Water in it. Above the pool is a delicate mechanicalcontraption with a lot of lenses, which makes it appear as if millions ofstars are reflecting of the pool. Aquarius fills a flask with Holy Waterand searches the Inner Sanctum. He doesn't find anything unusual. When heis leaving the two priests who have joined him again comment on thesimilarity of his name and that of their High-Priest, Aquanon. They saythat it is unfortunate he has left on a pilgrimage to Lake Pit 3 days ago,or Aquarius could have met him. Aquarius thanks the priests and returns tothe Palace. The Twilight Inn - Day 1 19:00 ( Somewhere in Hill District on map of Nibenay) Talora has gone to the Twilight inn, an underground bar in the Bard'squarter filled with the scum of Urik. It is more crowded as usual. Peopleleave in twos for one of the dark side niches. sometimes none come back,sometimes one, and in rare instances both come back. Talora takes a placeat the bar, and after a while an old "friend" of his, Nark, an upstarthuman Necromancer who poses as a thief, comes over and chats with him.>From him Talora learns that something evil is stalking the streets ofUrik. One of the most famous burglars, Nightmaster Lizon, has been foundhalfeaten five steps from his front door. All "night business" has come toa stop. After some more chitchat, Talora leaves for the Palace. The Palace - Day 1 21:00 Aquarius meets Sarek at the Palace. Together they decide to go to theWaste Disposal Department and see if Krisnar or one of the otherNecromancers has disposed of his robes. After some bribes and bureaucracy,they manage to find Krisnar's discarded robes. They are identical to thefragment Sarek has found, but apart from some wear and tear, Krisnar'srobes appear intact. After some more discussion about Krisnar they decideto call it a day. The Palace - Day 1 23:30 Talora has returned to the Palace. He casts Hallucinary Terrain on hisroom. At the stroke of midnight, his master teleports into Talora's roomand look around in mild suprise as he finds himself in a endless maze ofobsidian hallways. " have learned much, Talora", Krisnarcomments with a tiny smile at the corner of his mouth as he snaps hisfingers and dispells the illusion. Talora is pleased with the praise. Hismaster regurlary "tests" him by boobytrapping something in his room.Talora greets him reverently and asks about his masters suspicions.Krisnar also suspects that a Greater Water Elemental has killed thePriest, but he wonders how, as the summoning of a Greater Water Elementalrequires the presence of a large amount of water. He does not know who hasstolen the Sceptre of Power. Talora uneasily asks his master about his oldrobes ( Krisnar is now dressed in very dark blue robes with red arcanerunes woven in them ). Krisnar tells him that he has disposed of his robesthis afternoon, because they had become too worn. After some furtherspeculation, his master leaves. Talora casts Darkness 15' radius, andsleeps sweet dreams of immortality and infinite power in the absolutedarkness.

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