Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 61
|Derennan||Dwarf level 2||A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.|
|Barad the Bald||Magic-user level 1||Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.|
|Basso||Halfling level 2||A stable boy whom got tired of shovelling horse shit.|
|Gwendin||Cleric level 1||A follower of Bondor, god of swords, carrying a sacred silver scimitar.|
Willowind 7th, Waterday
Brent Goose, Llyfed, Basso, Gomm, Derennan stood in front of Doral, Hara's jeweller, all sweaty and dirty after their five day expedition to the ruined tower and back.
“Yes, these seem like globes of pure silver. You could probably get between 500 and 2000 gold coins for each.”
People of Hara observed the party with great interest as they made their way to the jeweller. There is no doubt that the word of their newly found riches is spread fast.
Since each orb weighted 172 lbs, carrying them required great effort, leaving little means to defend oneself. And they had nine.
“Tell you what. I'll offer you 500 gold coins for one right now!”
“Make it 800 and you have a deal. I hope we can have a long and prosperous business relationship.” Derennan countered.
“500 and I'll appraise your next haul for free.”
“Fine but you’ll need to accommodate us while my companions run some errands. We’ll be in your shop until they return.”
“Of course, be my guests. Perhaps I could interest you in some of the wonderful rings and necklaces I have on display?”
Basso leaned in to take a good look at the necklaces.
“Ya these look mighty pretty if you don’t mind me asking do any of these have any sort of special properties?”
“They make all the women fall in love with you!” Doral leans towards Basso and adds “Yes, even the halflings!”
Painfully aware of their situation the party decided to use their proceeds from one silver ball to procure wagon, two draft horses, and twenty mercenaries.
Basso, the stable boy, went looking for horses, while Gomm ran to the Fighters' Guild to find some muscle. The rest stayed at Doral's store.
An hour later, the halfling returned with horses and wagon, while the thief brought along three ill-equipped, but tough looking, men.
They purchased nice silk sacks from Doral, put a 30 inch silver orb in each, and then loaded them up in the wagon. And then they began looking for ways to liquidate them.
Dwarven armourer turned them down, for he had no use of silver. “Too soft to protect you from stabs.”
Human weaponsmith couldn't afford one. “Do you know how long it'd take me to pay it back!” he stopped as he counted fingers on both of his hands “This much!”
“Brent, what about that girl of yours? The one from rich family that became your cultist–erm, follower?”
Indeed, that connecting was sufficient to gran them access to the Pleasure Palace, a private club for wealthy merchants, travellers, and nobility. It was also a home to Pilter family, third richest one after Imraell and Namelin.
Derennan and Basso took it upon themselves to lead the negotiations. Rest of the party found a safe spot by the city walls and waited there.
Short duo was first made to wait an hour or so. Then they were let in, quickly scuttled to upper floor, and led into an opulent foyer. There they waited for an hour more. Basso was increasingly aware of how filthy and unrepresentable he was. He tried to clean himself with some spit.
Suddenly a lithe, buxom woman stepped into the room. Her long blond braid was like a whip; her piercing blue eyes like two daggers. She wore a dark blue dress and a face full of contempt.
“I am Zarifa Pilter, the oldest daughter of Pilter. I do not approve of my sister's foolishness, nor that cult of yours. State your business, midgets!”
The duo did not allow her insults to sway them. They presented their case with conviction, and spoke in great detail what kind of dangers they had to overcome in order to return them to civilization. They might've exaggerated a thing or two.
Either way, although Zarifa's disposition remained unchanged, she was professional enough to offer a representation agreement. She would take the orbs—should they pass quality control—to Tarantis or City State of the Invincible Overlord and sell them for an attractive price. It'd be commission based, for 40% of profit.
She believed each orb could fetch anywhere between 1500 and 2500 gp. The process would take three to five months to complete.
Negotiations were long, filled with jabs and racist insults from Zarifa, but Derennan was unrelenting. He read every line and all the small text.
“What is this here?! We are liable for all expenses even if you lose the goods?!”
“Oh! So you can read!”
Finally, a good deal was struck to satisfaction of both parties.
“Do you often go to dangerous places and return with such interesting objects?”
“Yes, that's what we do for living.”
“Then I have another deal to offer you. If you come to me—first thing after each expedition—to look over the interesting goods, we will represent you for 35% commission.”
“Beware. Should I learn you went to someone else first I will have your balls removed. And I'm not talking about your silver orbs.”
The duo went to shake hands with Zarifa, with the dwarf saying
“Pleasure doing business with you.”
The steely woman rejected their approach, rebuffing them “No, not at all.”
They could feel her icy gaze on their back as they were leaving the chamber.
“How about 4000 gold coins for seven orbs, right now? Cash on hands.” she shoot just as they were to close the doors.
The duo agreed. They will be paid after all the orbs have been tested, which was to take a week.
“Guys, I think we need to get ourselves a base of operations!”
Willowind 12th, Waterday
Derennan spent a week recovering and healing up.
Basso, on the other hand, hit the streets looking for properties on sale!
This is what he found, from cheapest to most luxurious:
- A 150 square feet dilapidated cottage in western Hara, just behind the Fighters' Guild. The family there fell into destitution after husband was slain. They were all sold into slavery and their cottage is being sold for 100 gp.
- A 400 square feet, single story cottage in northern Hara, flanked by Thieves' and Assasins' Guilds. The planks are still drenched with blood of previous inhabitants. 250 gp.
- A 800 square feet, two story townhouse in east Hara next to Imraell's mansion and other important establishments. Owned by an adventuring party which left for far away lands. Current owner has decided to retire and is selling it for 3800 gp.
- A 1200 square feet, two story villa with terrace, by the river. Previous owners was a merchant who gambled it away. It is available for 5400 gp.
Basso took copious notes so he can report the news to rest of the adventurers.
“Let's collect our coin from Zarifa.”
Derennan, Barad the Bald, Basso, and Gwendin went to the Pleasure Palace. The reception was as chilly as before, but all the coin was there.
“How would you like to fetch me a ring? A nice, gold ring with a big chunky ruby attached to it? Some of you might die, but that's the risk I'm willing to take.”
“Sounds like a job for us! Say more.”
Zarifa produced a parchment with map to the burial mound of long forgotten barbarian king. It was just few miles west of Hara.
“Try to avoid attention from the locals. They still think this dead guy means something.”
The quartet loaded up and marched west.
“It should be right here.”
“See, a mound straight ahead.”
Indeed, a simple earthen mound laid lazily in front of them. It was covered with bushes and overgrowth. A copse of woods sprouted by its east side.
The party circled the mound first. The copse had footprints of a large canine leading off into the woods. The only entrance was on south side, a simple slabs of stone acting as pillars.
Heading down, they discovered a weird looking skeleton. It was vaguely human-like. It was taller, with weird legs, and canine shaped head.
The corridors were simple packed soil framed with stone slabs and wooden pillars. They were narrow, barely five feet in width. Any dwarf would be insulted with shoddy construction.
Following further down, Basso activated a crude axe trap. Just as he stepped of the last stair, he felt something soft. An axe sprung from the ground, hitting him in the chest. Luckily, he was a stout halfling so it meant nothing to him! Nothing!
Moving on the party decided to explore the t-shaped junction before checking the closed doors. Another set of stairs. East were leading up, to a plinth with a basin. West were leading down, turning into darkness.
This time Derennan took the lead. He went up the stairs, pressing each stair with the polearm. Basso followed behind.
The moment he stepped off the last stair, three openings revealed themselves on the basin. A spray of thick, oily substance covered both the dwarf and halfling.
“Are we dead?”
“No, it doesn't seem so.”
Well lubed duo descended back down, and backtracked to the closed doors. To be honest, it was more of a stone slab blocking a passageway than real doors.
Derennan carefully removed the latch and then prodded the slab open. He felt something was off, hence he quickly jumped to the side. Basso did the same. A big flash was seen; no sound whatsoever.
“Wow, that could've blinded us!”
The chamber was completely empty. Dwarf theorised it might've been a temporary chamber to house excavation tools and similar.
Deeper they went, taking the west stairs. Now they found a corridor with long stone slab with carved figures of warriors fighting.
Another stone doors were to their left, a t-junction in front, and stairs leading north. Checking the doors revealed a room full of upright skeletons holding greatswords.
“Let's close this one, yes?”
The junction split into stairs leading down straight ahead, and leading up to the right. A relief of warrior with wild hair holding a greatsword above his head was just at the bottom of the stairs.
“The stairs leading up surely lead to secret exit!”
Indeed, the long, winding passageway terminated with a round stone slab, very similar to the one they've seen on the north entrance.
“Should we open it now?”
“No, we don't want anything coming in. Let's head back down to that relief.”
At the bottom of those stairs were two stone slabs, each mortared shut. Basso scrapped the mortar off of the east slab. He could feel unnatural cold as he worked. Then he pressed his shoulder, and forced the slab down.
Pushing with great force, he tumbled forward, stepping over the slab, and landing in a simple chamber. A skeleton with flowing red beard, dressed in an expensive looking chainmail, stood in front of the opened stoned sarcophagus.
Basso hit him, but his weapon bounced right back off of it. Then he felt terrible, terrible coldness as the undead grasped him with an iron grip.
“Gwendin! Pass me your silver scimitar!”
Alas, still recoiling from the horror, this time he missed. The roaring undead did not miss. Everyone witnessed Basso shrivelling in front of their eyes. It looked as if the undead sucked the soul right out of him!
Gwendin picked up her holy scimitar and faced the icy doom.
“Derennan! We must flee!” Barad cried as horde of greatsword wielding undead poured out from behind them.
Dwarf and magic-user quickly ran up the stairs, towards what they believed to be a secret exit. They poured some oil and set in aflame.
Gwendin, locked into combat with the undead that wasted Basso, failed to spot incoming horde. By the time she realised there was someone—something—behind her, it was too late.
Skeleton cleaved her in half.
“You stood there bravely, daughter.”
Booming voice echoed.
A powerfully built man with blue skin and long white hair towered over Gwendin.
“Prove yourself worthy or spend an eternity suffering.”
Gwendin stood on top of her corpse; an angel of bright light; holding two burning scimitars.
“Take vengeance. You have thirty seconds.”
That was all the instructions she needed.
Her first attack did not connect—this incorporeal form took time to get used to.
Her second attack turned the skeleton into a pile of bones.
Her third attack beheaded the skeleton with red beard.
“You did well, daughter. You shall spend an eternity in my harem.”
Derennan protected their back while Barad ran up.
“Oh, no! The doors are stuck! Oh no!”
They didn't even budge under the magic-user.
Derennan chucked more burning oil. This was a narrow tunnel; he could fight the skeletons one by one.
First one burned to crisp. Second one was shattered to pieces.
“Switch! Maybe you can force them open!”
They move a bit.
They move a bit again.
A skeleton jumped out of fire, swinging at Barad.
The chinless wizard miraculously dodged.
Even more miraculously, he managed to knock off the skeleton's head with the pommel of his dagger.
Doesn't matter, result was the same.
Derennan flew out as the stone slab tore through overgrowth.
“We must flee now; but we shall return to avenge our friends!”
Barad knew a thing or two about that, having just recently fled a major city in the Barbarian Altanis.
Will he have it any better in Hara?
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