Monday, March 23, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 57

In the city of Sunn seneschal Valerian has spent the last few days trying to learn more about the undead and their intentions in the city. Partly it is out of curiosity and partly it is because grandmaster Fal-Adar has left him responsible for their actions as he is leaving the city together with the mages of his house on an errand unknown.

The following night both the seneschals and the undead are rounded upby Gamaral who claims to have important business to discuss. The mood between them is not very good but Gamaral explains it is necessary that they cooperate as the legions of Merga - his master - is closing on the city. They have already used the mountain pass to reach Pantoria and while this is why the mages are leaving Sunn Gamaral knows that it is a diversion for a smaller force heading towards Sunn as they speak. As the undead do not want the orb to fall into the hands of Merga they agree to a temporary alliance with the humans, who have plenty of reasons to prevent an undead lich from conquering parts of the Empire. Being the best negotiator Zantana hurries off to the castle to persuade the guards that an attack is imminent while the others head over to the wizard house as Gamaral suggests there might be some artifacts there which might allow him to challenge Merga's control over his minions.

The wizard house looks abandoned at first, but as they enter they are quickly surrounded by mages left to guard the place. Valerian convincingly speaks about the upcoming attack and soon the mages have agreed to help them rather than stop them. With the added hands they begin to look for artifacts while Azela and Geb sneak off to the magic library.

Zantana successfully persuades the captain of the guard that the city really is in danger and then hurries back to meet the others at the docks as they suspect the undead will try to enter the city via the river. When she arrives she finds small bands of undead already attacking panicked citizens who frantically try to escape into the city. Realizing she could make this work to her advantage she sets fire to some warehouses to create a barricade, slowing the undead. It is a mere coincidence that the buildings happen to be run by some of their merchant competitors.

Having taken what they can in the form of artifacts and usefull spells from the library the others soon hurry to face the invading undead. They join up with the soldiers who defend the main streets leading north from the docks to keep the undead contained. Unannounced, Gamaral marches in and start taking command - achiving this through an unusual show of authority and an apparently excellent knowledge about tactics for combating undead. While he remains with the defensive lines he sends Valerian and Sikra with a force to push the attackers back, with Azela joining them as a scout. Soon they begin to encounter hordes of zombies, but the soldiers hold their ground with the aid of the mages and by exploiting their uncoherrent attacks manage to win ground. Eventually the city's defenders push the invaders far enough back towards the river for Zantana to rejoin them - she however has no lust for battle and stays back to observe.

An hour later most of the zombies have been destroyed and as more members of the wizard house return to the city the battle is soon won. Zantana desperately tries to convince Gamaral they should all sneak away but he refuses and soon they all, with the exception of Azela who sneaks away, face grand master Fal-Adar who demands and explaination concerning the attack. Gamaral offers to do so, contrary to Zantana's opinion. The others are free to return to their lodgings provided they do not attempt to leave the city.

The following morning they are summoned back to the wizard house. Having spoken at length, Gamaral and Fal-Adar seems to be getting along well and have some sort of plan together. Good or bad, Fal-Adar at least seems convinced the undead are not part of or helping the force which attacked the city and thus he requests they put their knowledge at the disposal of his country to help combat this enemy. He points out that not helping could raise great suspicions against them and that they would of course receive some sort of payment for their services. Realizing they really haven't much choice they all agree - and Gamaral seems strangely content concerning the development so far.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 56

Back in Usdar, Charon and Thriatos hears a rumor that the nobles of Leupthia is gathering for a meeting and so they decide to invite themselves. Together with Horacio they alsy decide a trustworthy spy might be helpful and, since they really don't trust people, they start searching the Abyss for one. A demon at least is perfectly honest about being dishonest.

As delegates from around the province start to arrive Charon and Thriatos intend to make a grand entrance. They are however stopped by a palace guard at the very stairs leading into the building and while they manage to talk their way through the guards inform them they will be closely watched. The guards take them to the ongoing meeting where Charon can finally conclude that lord Jorian - currently speaking to the Leupthian nobles - is the same man with whom he settled his gambling debt some time ago. Jorian is quite surprised to see Charon arrive but manage to hide it quite well with only a slight stutter in his speach.

As the meeting continues Horacio has received a letter from consul Quadrata herself. Apparently she sees it fit to reemploy him - although given her words it would appear he was never dismissed in the first place. This can however wait, as his research into the demonic arts have finally given result. He has found a succubus and decides to get to action. Summoning the demon it appears quite willing to perform the service in return for training in illusion magic. Horacio agrees and offer some clothes, money and instructions before he lets the succubus out into the city.

At the palace the delegates are enjoying a grand banquet and Charon and Thriatos split up to try to mingle with the other guests. Charon has some success in learning about the different sides of the debate while Thriatos get stuck with grandmaster Marcia who questions him about his presence and seems quite annoyed at finding the two in the palace. As the dinner finishes and the meeting resumes they both find themselves closely watched by both guards, servants and Marcia. While they stay and listed for the rest of the meeting this prevents them from doing any successful inquiries.

Back at the wizard house Horacio has successfully reacquainted himself with some of his old friends and gained some useful contacts. As his two colleagues return they share the news of the day and start to make new plans for how to proceed. A messenger then arrives with a letter for Charon. Apparently its an invitation by no other than lord Jorian to an estate outside the city on the following day. As Charon and Jorians history is not well known by Thriatos and Horacio he explains that he once had a gambling debt to the crime syndicate Zamatspire - a syndicate he knows to be controlled by no other than consul Savvas - and that Jorian is working for them. With this new information they decide to accept the invitation and also start to prepare themselves to deal with poisons and outright attacks.

Renting as grand a coach as can be found in Usdar they head out. While many of the nobles attending the earlier meeting are also on the road heading home their luxurous entourage attract many gazes.

Arriving several hours later they are shown to a dinner table. They are introduced to their host lord Caesar along with his guests lord Jorian and Carius and served food. Thriatos first action is to secretly try to detect any poison present using his magic skills, but finding none they hesitantly start eating. A few drinks (thoroughly checked) later the mood is quite pleasant. Eventually the drinks run out and while a servant is sent to fetch some more he doesn't return. Lord Jorian offers to check up on him and leaves...

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 55

In Sunn mage Sikra retire for some sleep while the undead continue their business throughout the night. Setting out to repair their damaged business relations and progress their plans they are eventually interrupted by Gamaral who carries a written note from Rutkar Bloodaxe who wants a meeting at the old ruins in the city center on the following day. Kael head out immediately to scout the grounds. As the meeting grows close Zantana is still away in business to Azela, Geb and Kael are forced to take care of it themselves.

Meeting up with the dwarf he offers to let them in on a deal where he settles a score with the crime lord Javaar by taking over his business, giving a fair share in return for some economical backing. Seeing a good opportunity to gain a better foothold in the city they agree to fund Rutkar's plan. He will attack Javaar's base at the Hungry Spire the night after tomorrow and they all decide to join him. As they return home Zantana is still missing - returning first late in the evening. While initially a bit worried when hearing about the meeting she finds their agreement to her liking. However, unlike the others she has no interest in any violent activities.

A day passes and as the attack draws near Kael, Azela and Geb joins up with Bloodaxe and his men. The well-equipped and trained fighters make short process of the tavern guards and joined by Kael and Geb they stomp out all resistance in the drinking hall. Meanwhile Azela climbs the wall to the upper floor and just manage to enter a window and hide as Kara arrive, trying to flee the battle below. As she opens a secret passage way Azela strikes from the shadows, stabbing her in the foot and then quickly overpowering and tying her up with a rope. As she finishes up Rutkar and Kael arrives up the stairs. Exploring the passage together they find a hidden room containing some valuables along with documents and ledgers apparently tied to Javaar's business. An open window leads to the city's roof tops and Azela spots a running man trying to make his escape. She stops him short with a throwing star and Kael quickly retrieves the wounded man back to the building. Revealed to be Javaar himself, Rutkar holds a short interrogation and then executes his former boss. Using the money collected on the scene he makes a first repayment of his debt to his new allies, informing them that he will have to go underground for a while after the night's fighting as the city guard will be looking for him. They decide to keep the old ruin in the city center as a meeting spot, should they require each others' services anytime soon.