Chanda the Dark-Haired (KathyB) - Saabi Thief
Derori Bat Natanyu (Angela) - Shiradi Storyteller
Meheka the Wise (Ellie) - Saabi Sage, Sorceress
Menachim Bar Vidal (Mark) - Shiradi Physician
Erick Olafsson (Peter) - Orkadian Mercenary/Adventurer
(8th day of the second Ten-day of the 4th Month of the year 5997)
Chanda the Dark-Haired makes her way through Seph’s souk, looking for the small eatery that she and Menachim Bar Vidal agreed to meet at, and finds the physician already there, seated beneath a palm tree and relaxing with a dark red drink. She joins him at the table, and after she gets a drink and they order a bit of food, the two discuss what they’ve learned during their morning in the souk. Chanda tells Menachim that she’s concerned about some of the inconsistencies that they’ve heard about in terms of the missing caravans, and they discuss this for a short time. Eventually, they finish eating and Chanda tells Menachim that they’re going back to the souk to talk to someone - if they can find him. The two return to the souk.
Meheka the Wise and Derori Bat Natanyu head into the souk, and proceed to do a little haggling and shopping for some personal items. Derori can’t help but notice that Meheka is keeping an ear and an eye on the small crowds, obviously looking or searching for something. She asks her what she’s looking for, but Meheka tells her she’ll know it when she sees it. Or hears it. Derori makes her way through the crowd, and catches a glimpse of someone following them. She brings it to Meheka’s attention. The sage-cum-al-kimyat tells her that she’s found what she’s looking for. They visit one of the herb sellers in the souk and wait. Their follower comes up to them and asks to talk to them, perhaps over some refreshing tea. The man, a Saabi, tells them his name is Zayou [Ibn Yussef Abd-Al-Gallah], and after purchasing some tea from the vendor, leads the two Dragon-Marked women to a small house on the edge of the souk. He greets his daughter, Zaya, affectionately and has her go make tea for their two visitors and himself. Meheka and Derori look around the house’s ground level, admiring the small amount of wealth and good taste in knick-knacks that are to be found. After enjoying some tea, the three get down to business. Zayou tells the two female adventurers that he belongs to one of the minor trading tribes and clans, though he has made good money since he moved his family to Seph. The village is not large, but it is an adequate trading market. He tells them what he knows of the various trade caravans that have and have not come through the village of late, and says that he and the other smaller vendors and merchants are worried that their supply of traceable market goods is drying up due to the...disappearance of the caravans that were due in the village. Many of the merchants of Seph, says Zayou, have been threatened by two agents of Carrassine, and believe that the two are looking for something, something specific. The two individuals he describes pretty much match those of Shimon and Sarah. When asked, he does not know how many other agents there are, but they are said to have a small camp just to the west of Seph. The Dragon-Marked continue to chat about pleasant things with Zayou, now joined by Zaya, before taking their leave. They promise the trader that they will get to the bottom of this. Derori says that what’s going on is bad for business, and after they have left, Meheka comments that “You have a good grasp of business”, to which Derori replies, “Yes, I do… One always needs to know about matters of business, and storytelling has a way of getting to the roots of business. That, and listening.” As they head amiably back for the Sand of Imwar, they spot Chanda and Menachim talking to someone at a small eatery.
Regaining his mental equilibrium (such as it is), Edrick Olafsson heads back to the Sand of Imwar and returns to find the place in somewhat of a commotion. The supplies purchased by Chanda and Menachim have arrived, but the inn’s staff don’t know what to do with them. Edrick first tries to cajole and persuade them in a course of action, but when that fails he resorts to intimidation, which does the trick [he rolls a 9 with a Magnitude of 3]. The proprietor of the inn agrees to store the player characters’ new possessions in the main courtyard of the Sand. The stress of the experience over, he takes the time to have a small amount of Northern beer that he brought with him, even if it is slightly warm, and then prepares to head outside and back to the souk to find his new friends. As he exits the Sand of Imwar, he spots Shimon and Sarah checking the saddlebags on the two camels near them, and then after a couple of moments mount the recalcitrant animals. He quickly conceals himself in one of the tent folds of the Sand of Imwar’s main entrance, and debates following them, but realizes he is not prepared for a trip into the desert at the moment. As the two camels move off, Sarah turns back towards the inn, and he could swear that she winks directly at him.
Meanwhile, searching the souk and asking questions, Chanda and Menachim eventually come across Amar, the merchant that they met when purchasing supplies earlier in the day, who seemed to Chanda to be reluctant to talk to them. Amor tries to avoid them, but Chanda catches him up and Menachim convinces him to join them for a drink and some food. Leaving his older son, Kamet, in charge of the market stall, Amar accompanies them back to the small eatery where they were eating earlier. Over some tea and fig cake, Chanda and Amar cajole some information out of the reluctant merchant. They talk about the caravan that he mentioned having come through Seph some ten days ago, and Amar admits that it was the caravan of Charom Ibn Yussef Abd-Al-Salif. Amar says that the merchant seemed scared, and didn’t want to stay too long in Seph, though he does not know why. He remembers that the merchant talked a couple of times with a macchabah, one of the Red Lion of Shirad if he guesses correctly, but there was something “odd/strange” about him or her, though he doesn’t know what. Chanda and Menachim regard one another, and after getting a few other details that they already knew, are about to bid Amar farewell when they spot Meheka and Derori approaching them.
As Amar leaves the stand, Meheka, Derori, Chanda and Menachim have a bit of a reunion. The group sits together at the table, and enjoy a snack and some figs and dates, and catch up with each other about the events of the day and what they’ve learned. Edrick joins them on the way into the souk proper, and has some tea as well. The others chide him for his dislike of dates and figs, Chanda joking that he seems to prefer Northern fare. “It tastes better,” the Orkadian says. He tells Chanda and Menachim that the goods they bought in the souk have been delivered to the Sand of Imwar, and says it’s a good thing, since they’ll be leaving for the desert in the morning. The others ask why, and he tells them what he saw back at the Sand. The others bring him up to date on what they’ve learned, and Edrick’s face takes on a dark look when Sarah is mentioned and the fact that she’s an agent of Carrassine. Hastily finishing their food, the Dragon-Marked head back to the inn - unaware they’re being observed by a sly, thin, dark-haired man...
Back at the Sand of Imwar, Chanda and Menachim apologies to the proprietor for the problems and misunderstandings about the delivery of the goods. The two go and check to make sure everything is there, and confirm that it is. Rejoining the others, the Dragon-Marked go over things they’ve learned again, and agree with Edrick that a trip to the west is in order, to talk to these “agents of Carrassine”. Derori says that if they have one of the macchabah with them, that could represent a significant threat, based on some of the stories she’s heard about them. The group agrees that they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it, and Meheka mentions that she fails to see where the Umbral Caravan comes into the matter. Derori says she’s not sure they do, despite some of the information they learned in the souk, but adds that she feels that all will become clear. A feeling she has.
During the middle of the night, Chanda is woken by something, she knows not what, and barely avoids the khanjar that is plunged into her bed linens. Shouting an alarm, she attempts to deflect the second blow using her own choora (which is never far from her arm). She engages with the black-robed attacker and realizes that it is a man about half her age, and that he has a small sash of a turquoise colour [a colour favoured in Carrassine]. She is able to wound her attacker badly enough that he makes a bid for freedom, and she does not prevent this, having taken a couple of deep cuts to her arms [she suffers 9 damage]. Derori is woken by Chanda’s shouts, and rolls out of bed as a large weapon of some sort strikes the bed. She attempts to throw her jambiya at her opponent as a ruse, and gets to her yatagan. Defending herself more often than not, Derori estimates that her black-clad foe is not all that skilled (but neither is she!), and manages to seriously wound him with the weapon; he begs for mercy, and when she grants it in her weary state, he lunges at her, wounding her in the leg [does 5 damage], and flees into the darkness of the Sand’s courtyard. Meheka, always a light sleeper, comes awake to find someone bending over her, the gleam of a sword catching her eye. She instantly casts a spell at him, obscuring his eyes with sand, and as he staggers back, she reaches out and strikes him a glancing blow with her khanjar. Cursing her, he attempts to strike her with his sayf, aiming somewhat blindly, but she manages to catch him in the linens of the bed [she rolled a 13 with 3 Magnitude to do so]. Pinning him to the bed, she snarls at him and asks who sent him to do this cowardly deed. At first he resists her, but the power of her personality forces the name “Deborah the Exile!” out of his mouth and throat. In her anger, she utters an epithet of her own and slices his throat cleanly, and he falls back on the bed, dead. Menachim is sitting near his bed, reading a scroll, when he senses movement near the window of the chamber. Looking up, he sees a shadow moving towards him and throws the scroll in the attacker’s face, momentarily distracting him, as he grabs his sayf. The two square off on opposite sides of the bedding. “I don’t want to kill you, but I must!” says the figure with anguish in his voice, and as the two exchange blows, Menachim refutes the claim. The fight turns deadly, as Menachim kills his foe with a deft blow to the bowels, but takes a wound to his left thigh in exchange [that does 5 points of damage]. Disrobing the attacker, Menachim sees that he is one of the souk guards that he remembers seeing earlier in the day [he succeeds with a roll of 13 and 3 Magnitude on the memory check]. In his chamber, Chanda’s shout instantly brings Edrick awake, and the Orkadian swiftly leaps to his feet from the bed as a weapon swishes past his ear. As his attacker rushes in to strike him with a sayf, the Orkadian strikes his opponent hard with his fist, and after they circle each other around the room, in a smooth motion plunges his Orkadian axe into his attacker’s chest, killing him instantly. [Yes, they’re Babouche-Draggers, but so what? It’s fun!] With their attackers defeated, the Dragon-Marked check on each other’s condition, while the staff of the Sand of Imwar run around in a panic, as do many of the other guests.
Menachim treats both Chanda’s and Derori’s wounds, while Meheka treats his injuries. The Dragon-Marked characters manage to calm down the inn’s proprietor and staff, and are able to explain what happened to the Seph town guards (the closest the place comes to having a policing force). The player characters examine the bodies of the three attackers, and determine they are mostly people they don’t know, with the exception of the souk guard that Menachim recognized. Chanda tells the others that her attacker had a turquoise sash, and Edrick and Meheka confirm that the three corpses also have them. Derori says that it’s a colour typical of Carrassine wear, and the Dragon-Marked discuss the meaning of that in the context of all that they learned that day. The Dragon-Marked decide there’s not much else they can do for the remainder of the night, and after cleaning their weapons and themselves, get some rest for the night.
Friday night's session of the Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked campaign was a lot of fun, and had some good roleplaying to it and some interesting physical combat in it that kept the players and their characters on their toes (so to speak). The plot came into better focus for me and I was able to get the players more on track with it, and it showed from the purpose the Dragon-Marked characters had in their actions during the game session. The players told me they had a great time, and all of them loved the fight scene at the inn, with bed linens flying all over the place and complicating their fighting moves. Everyone, including me, was pretty surprised at Ellie's sheer violent mood during the fight and I especially liked her creative use of Meheka's magic during the fight. They are also enamoured of the red herrings that have been thrown around during the game session as well. The next session promises to be interesting, as the characters will be travelling back into the desert again.
Overall, a fun night of Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked gaming, and I'm looking forward to the next session in a couple of weeks.