The Road to Kularni
Following the events of the previous Episode, the PC’s (Geoff, Drogo, Galadiir and Spark) were heading east into the Verdant Belt. They were looking for adventure. Along the way they had a few encounters. Firstly they met with a family of travellers; Gallmus and his family (Miriam his wife and his children Janis (F, 14) and Marius (10, Inquisitive). They were from Kyros and were heading for Kularni, to seek a better life. They agreed to travel together; the children were much taken with Galadiir and Drogo (Marius kept calling him ‘Uncle Drogo’). Kularni, the PC’s learnt, was a large caravanserai on the Salt Route to Heaven’s Gate
A day or so later, whilst out hunting wild pig, Drogo had just crept up on a prize target when an arrow from out of the undergrowth felled it.
“Mine, I believe”, called a female voice. From out of the trees stepped a tall woman, with long jet-black hair. She wore leather armour and carried a bow. At her belt hung a long sword and a dagger. Her looks did not compare to Spark’s (but then, Spark could turn the head of a blind man).
“Nice shot,” said Drogo. “Who are you”? “I am Raven”, the woman replied, slinging her bow and deftly gutting the pig with her dagger. “I am heading for Kularni, to serve as a guard there.” Drogo smiled. “We too are heading for Kularni. Come travel with us, and we can all share the pig”. Raven glanced at him; then smiled back.
When Drogo and Raven caught up with the others, they had someone else with them. Aurelianus was a scribe and scholar from the Library in Syranthia. His speciality was orchids and exotic flowers and he was here to find a specimen, so that he could progress in the Library hierarchy. He had spotted a flower and was reaching for it when his pony stumbled into a pool of quicksand. Spark had heard his desperate cries and Geoff and Galadiir had dragged him out of the pool just in time. He wore the robes of a scholar and carried a small satchel of books, parchment, pens and ink. He was not well-prepared to undertake such a journey.
That evening, as they were camped, Galadiir told a tale of how he had obtained his Sorcerer’s Staff (five feet long, the head shaped like an open rose flower with a gem at the centre). He had inherited off his father, who fought against a horde of goblins in the Brokenchain Mountains. Janis and Marius were enthralled and hung on his every word.
The day dawned dull and miserable, with light rain falling. The trail led through a ruined village, overgrown with creepers and vegetation. Raven yelled a warning as they were attacked by Caldeian slavers. Galadiir took out two with a Bolt and the third was Shaken, Drogo charged one and ran him through; Aurelianus and the family threw themselves prone. Geoff took down another slaver; Raven and Galadiir were hit by arrows, Galadiir was badly wounded. Spark ran at a bowman and killed him, a slaver on horseback charged at Drogo, his sword swinging. Drogo would have taken a deep wound if not for his superhuman reflexes. He flung his net and grappled the horseman; Geoff ran forward and killed him. The final slaver turned and ran, desperately dodging Spark’s attack.
“Run, little man,” growled Galadiir. “Carry a message to your masters not to mess with us”. He then gasped and sat down, blood running down his side. Spark moved across to heal him. “Funny,” she thought. “You wouldn’t expect a Tricarnian to have red blood like the rest of us.” She glanced up, to see Galadiir regarding her steadily. “It is not the blood that is black. It is the blackness that it carries,” he whispered.
They camped for the night in the village, with Drogo, Raven and Geoff on guard.
Next day, there was heavy rain, Drogo leading. Trail passed along edge of jungle, children were frightened but could not explain why. Towards end of day rain cleared, saw large white building on horizon, land around showed signs of cultivation but few people around. As they approached they saw the setting sun glint off large arbalests on each corner tower, with guards manning them.
“Kularni!” exclaimed Aurelianus. “I am hoping to meet with my old friend Khasis the Scribe.”
Kularni is a caravanserai, of typical design. A large rectangular building with one entrance, surrounding a central open courtyard. Within the walls are many shops and businesses, catering to the traveller. There is no entry fee, but travellers are expected to make use of the facilities.
They were met at the gate by guards and Captain Rokas. The captain was resplendent in his ornate uniform. He welcomed them to Kularni, advised them that it was under the law of Kyros. Under the protection offered by the town, in return all able-bodied fighters would be expected to aid in the defence if attacked.
“Welcome to Kularni. Oh, one last thing. You don’t have any sorcerers amongst you?”
(Cue forced laughter from Matt (Galadiir))
“Sorcerers? No, no, of course not.” The captain visibly relaxed. “Good, for consorting with demons is an abomination against God the Fisher, Lord of the One True Faith.”
Kularni (using Off-Time system 2013)
Spent most of the day looking round Kularni and getting a sleeping space in the common area. Raven went off to look around; Gallmus went off to find employment and a farm. Visited the Temple of Vardu, patron of travellers, Galadiir donated 4 Moons. Many traders in the bazaar and courtyard were selling basic items; Geoff tried to sell the armour he’d looted off the slavers but couldn’t find a buyer. That evening, they went to the tavern in the bazaar.
The following morning, they struggled awake with the feeling that they were back in the pits under the arena in Caldeia. Drogo had the hangover to end all hangovers, Galadiir found that half his money was missing; Spark had memories of a glorious brawl and Geoff awoke in the town jail; having single-handedly smashed up the entire tavern. Apparently, it took six guards to restrain him. The rest of them decided to leave him there for a bit to cool off. Later that day they met up with Gallmus and his family, who were not faring so well. They needed 1000 Moons to rent their farm from Kerim Shah, the Governor of Kularni; they barely had enough money to live. Drogo and Galadiir swore to help them and donated what money they had to help tide them over. They then went looking for employment or some way of gaining money.
Meanwhile, Geoff tried to bribe the guards to let him out; however he only had 15 Moons to offer. That evening, Sergeant Vilir came to see him, with a proposition. A caravan was due in a few days; the merchant running it had cheated Vilir previously on a deal. In return for his freedom, Geoff was to search the caravan for a small black lacquered box, sealed with wax. He was to bring this to Vilir. If there were two boxes, then bring both. On no account were the seals on the boxes to be broken. Geoff agreed and was set free the following morning. That evening, whilst having a drink in the bazaar, they overhead some men talking about the fabled Eye of Cissirus, said to be worth a man’s weight in gold. Spark went to talk to the bar tender to see if he knew anything more; he offered to discuss it over a drink later. The rest of the party rolled their eyes at this and left them to it.
The next morning, whilst waiting for Spark to join them from wherever she had spent the night, they were approached by Pulin, major-domo to Orrando the Merchant. Orrando was organising a caravan of trade goods to Caldeia. Were the group interested? The pay would be 25 Moons per day for a 10 day journey. Whilst they were discussing this, as Drogo and Galadiir were adamant that they wanted to help Gallmus; Spark joined them.
“North of here lies a range of hills, beyond these is a wooded area and in this, rising from the plain, is a cliff. In the cliff is a gaping portal; within lies the Eye of Cissirus.”
A large caravan was due from the East in a few days. Kularni was abuzz, the arrival of a large caravan was always an opportunity for trade.
“Err… guys”, said Geoff. “There’s something I need to talk to you about”