Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 53

Back in Sunn, Gamaral takes seneschal Valerian to the side and asks him to contact the local wizard house as their help will be needed in the future. As Valerian has already spoken to them he plays along and agrees and he and Sikra leave the warehouse heading there. With the two mages gone Azela, Kael and Zantana places Gamaral against the wall, requiring him to explain the situation. Having dropped or surpressed his anti-social behavior, Gamaral explains that he is simply trying to serve the emperor of Zhengdi. His current master, Merga, is trying to claim the orb they now have in their possession along with two others similar to it. Together they make up a set of artifacts known as the Necromancer's Legacy - created at the height of the Kingdom of Zhengdi by the emperor with his people helping to fuel the powerful magic involved. Telling the story af if he was there, Gamaral eventually confesses that he was an Imperial prince who studied magic under the emperor of Zhengdi. It was he that one day took one of the orbs and bought it to his father, the emperor of Ankh in the city of Háomas. But his father set out to use the powers of the orb to transcend himself into a lich - a powerful undead being - but in a single outburst of necromantic energies the souls of the people of Zhengdi where sucked into the Realm of Unlife, with only those of great mental power able to resist. While his father succeeded with his ritual the surge had transformed Zhengdi with only a small fraction retaining their souls and finding themselves commaning a vast horde of undead. These undead now set out to reclaim the orb to undone what had been done and so invaded the Empire. Gamaral explains that "the rest is history" and that he is simply trying to return the orbs to their rightful owner, the emperor of Zhengdi, so that things can be put right. He has spent the last weeks creating protective wards all around the city to keep his master from dicerning the orb's location. Not knowing what to make of it all, Zantana and Kael head off to deal with the business of the day.

On their way to the store Zantana and Kael discover a huge caravan is assembling at the city's bazaar. Apparently the wizard house is massing an expedition heading east, but no one - not even many of the mages - seems to know where they're going or why. Valerian and Sikra is also at the scene but fail to get any satisfying answers.

The undead gather together later that evening only to find Sikra exploring their hideout. Apparently she was let in by Gamaral and was fascinated by the undead workforce, though the undead have their doubts about her motives. Zantana decides to involve her in their plans for the night to put her to the test. Gamaral's story has certainly put a different perspective on things, but they feel they must continue their mission and several trading partners have recently gone back on their deals and Zantana suspects this is due to blackmail from some other party. Having gained the address to one of the traders she's planning to find out more. The group don their adventuring gear and head out.

They have just left their hideout when they notice two suspiscious looking men in an nearby street corner. While the others make a distraction Azela sneaks up on them and finishes them off. This time it is Zantana who gets upset that there is no one to question but Sikra points out that one of them is actually alive. Using a healing spell they get the man in good enough shape to talk. Apparently they are working for a man named Javaar - one of the crime lords of Sunn - who'd paid them to keep an eye on Zantana's business. He doesn't know where Javaar is but a woman named Kara is waiting for a report at the Hungry Spire tavern in the docks. They decide to let the man live and employ him themselves and Kael takes him back to the hideout to heal his wound. Failing miserably the man perishes during the night.

Not knowing about this, Azela, Zantana and Sikra continue through the city. They sneak into the home of the merchant and his wife and begin to interrogate them. Unfortunately, they soon learn there has been no threats - and that it was Zantana's decision to try to expand into a new market which made him question if the current deal was as solid as he had first thought. The merchant explains that he is more than happy to resume business rather than risk his life and despite Zantana's assurance their visit have no direct link to his business dealings this is Pantoria and this is how business is concluded. They leave the pair alive and instead head towards the Hungry Spire in the docks.

The tavern turns out to be one of the worst drinking places they've visited in the city. Zantana and Sikra enter it first and must quite forcefully keep the male clientele off their backs. This however allows Azela to sneak in undetected and Geb, who as an undead is quite a large man, gets left alone. Having reached the bar, Sikra notes two men and a woman not engaged in the same level of drinking most others seem to be. She and Zantana walks over under the watchful eyes of Geb and Azela. The woman is indeed Kara and she doesn't seem surprised to see them. Zantana wants to do business and Kara agrees to take their proposal to Javaar. The four head back out into the night.

As they start to wander home they almost walk straight into Rutkar Bloodaxe who is accompanied by a large group of armed men, apparently heading towards the Hungry Spire. All but Geb manage to slip by unnoticed and he gets off with a few curses and threats as the men seems to have their target clear in sight...

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