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
(7th day of the second Ten-day of the 4th Month of the year 5997)
The Dragon-Marked meet back at their assigned tent, and discuss what they have learned over the course of their exploration of the area. Derori Bat Natanyu is fascinated by Meheka the Wise’s report on the water source here at the oasis. She tells the others that while she was telling stories and singing for a few coins [she managed to earn 1 GT and 3 CT during her rest!] she learned a few things as well, overheard in conversations. The Carrassines are preparing to attack another caravan in three days time, this one coming from Ishankti through Halifah, and then north to the caravan kingdom of Al-Kasir. Meheka knows of the place, having been there a couple of times, and tells the others what she knows. Edrick Olafsson tells them that he doesn’t believe that they can take on the former Red Lion’s fighting force; they are competent Agalanthian fighters and mercenaries from other places. Derori agrees with him, they need to turn the various factions at the oasis against each other, but says that he will likely have to take on Deborah Bat Miryam at some point. She’s the head of the “army”, and it needs be cut off.
Chanda the Dark-Haired tells the others of having found the section of the oasis with burnt out wagons, but that she wasn’t able to go in and examine them. The group discusses the ramifications of this, and Edrick suggests that she take him and possibly one of the others to that spot again, under cover of the night. The group agrees to this. Menachim tells him what he’s learned, the fact that the mercenaries of the ex-Red Lion have had to fight more often against the caravans they’ve attacked then they would like, and that the purpose of the attacks has been to seek out some mystical item, though they don’t know what, and to disrupt various trade factions to the Kh’saabans so that Carrassine can make more money on its trade routes. The Dragon-Marked talk, and come up with a plan for how they intend to deal with matters. Chanda says that she could assassinate the ex-Red Lion, and while Menachim Bar Vidal agrees to help her with that (using his knowledge of medicine), the others veto that, Meheka actually looking somewhat shocked.
In the wee hours of the morning, Chanda wakes Meheka and Edrick, and she leads the three of them to where she found the burnt-out wagons. The three are able to sneak past several guard patrols of Carrassines [Meheka barely making her rolls at times], and arrive in the vicinity of the wagons. Looking around, Meheka tells the others that there are very strong traces of magic here. While Edrick and Chanda keep watch, the sorceress sage attempts a[n impromptu] spell to learn what she can about the magic but fails [and is forced to spend a point of Heroism to not have a catastrophic spell result that might alert the Carrassines]. As quietly as possible, the three Dragon-Marked split up to examine the burned up wagons. Working her way to the centre of the wagon graveyard, Chanda estimates there are at least 20 to 30 wagon remains here. She finds a series of graves in the centre of the area, though she doesn’t recognize any of the names carved onto makeshift grave markers. She does commit several of them to memory. Because of the darkness and her own inner turmoil, Chanda fails to notice that the earth above one of the interred corpses moves slightly. Edrick searches the perimeter of the area to see what he can learn. He comes upon some solid remains of a wagon or two, and can make out the indentations of where weapons have struck the wood. He concludes that some of the marks were made by Agalanthian spatha [the long gladius] with quite strong force. He’s not sure whether any of the mercenaries in the current group of Carrassines present have the required strength, but suspects so and makes a mental note to tell the others of what he’s learned. Meheka searches at random through the wagon debris, letting Fate take her where it will. She finds several burnt wagons that are somewhat intact, and examining them in detail, realizes that they belong to one of the caravans that disappeared about a month and a half ago. And then she realizes that she’s being watched.
Meheka recognizes the figure as one of the sephir, the sorcerers of the Shiradim people. The man introduces himself as Solomon Bar Dariva, and tells her she’s somewhere that she shouldn’t be. Meheka asks if the remains of the wagons are his “work”, to which Solomon replies they are not. He adds that while he can use flame in that way, conjuring a small fireball over his hand as he talks, Deborah Bat Miryam’s mercenaries and soldiers have some pyromaniacal tendencies when they get carried away. He confides to Meheka that he is not with these “barbarians” out of his own desires, but rather that he’s been commanded to work with them by his Master. Whom he will not identify, no matter how much Meheka beseeches him to tell her. Solomon tells her that he will do what he can to aid her and her fellow Dragon-Marked (yes, he knows, as he too is marked by the Dragon), and tells her that there are only three Dragon-Marked among the Carrassines and their allies here at the oasis. Hearing footsteps coming their way, Solomon tells Meheka that he will do what he can to aid them, but that it will come with a favour later. She agrees, and then Solomon vanishes into the darkness. Meheka moves off into the darkness, being as quiet as she can be, and avoids whoever it is coming in that direction.
The next morning, the Dragon-Marked wake relatively refreshed (except for the three who had their nocturnal meanderings). Over the morning meal, Chanda, Meheka and Edrick fill Derori and Menachim in on what happened the night before and what they learned. Edrick is pleased to have a seeming ally in Solomon, but Meheka tells him that her instincts warn her there is much more to him than meets the eye. She felt there was a… darkness to him that she did not understand. Chanda tells the others about what she found at the centre of the burnt out wagons, but none of the other characters recognize any of the names from the grave markers, other than Derori. She tells them that some of those names are of caravan masters from the past. Chanda lightens the conversation somewhat for a bit, and then the Dragon-Marked get serious once more about their intentions and plans.
Derori spends much of the day talking with the Carrassines and the mercenaries, telling stories and singing and playing some music, and spreading a bit of dissension in the ranks. Menachim continues to tend to the wounded, several injuries of which are quite severe, and learns more about how the various mercenaries and Carrassines feel about their mission. Most of them express fear of the ex-Red Lion, but some of them find their current assignment to be very “distasteful”. This gives Menachim some ideas about how to prevent the attack on the next caravan. Edrick talks to a variety of the soldiers and mercenaries during the course of the day, also engaging in some combat training exercises with them, and learns the lay of the land. Many of the soldiers that he talks to, especially the Agalanthians and some of the other northerners, are chafing a bit under the command of the ex-Red Lion but are in terrible fear of her. However, several of them tell the player characters that it’s more fear of the wrath that she can call down on them through her pet sephir, Solomon Bar Dariva. One of the soldiers, a young man called Idris from somewhere in Aragon, seems taken with Edrick’s words, and starts to try and talk his fellow soldiers into not working for the ex-Red Lion any longer. Chanda, meanwhile, accompanies Meheka and talks to some of the entourage of people that follow the soldiers and mercenaries around. All agree that the oasis is a good place for safety, food, water, and shelter, but that it seems…tainted by the presence of the ex-Red Lion. They would leave with their friends and loved ones if they could, but the will of the Gods is at work here.
Over the evening meal, the player characters discuss what they might be able to do, but are interrupted at their meal by the arrival of Deborah Bat Miryam and several of her loyal guards, as well as Solomon Bar Dariva. She informs them she’s heard what they’ve been doing during the course of the day, and that their seditious behaviour and talk must cease. She calls forward Idris, one of the bodyguards, a relatively young man from Aragon, whom Edrick recognizes as being one of those who took his words to heart during the day, and tells the Dragon-Marked that this is what happens to those who listen to them too well - and then proceeds to slice his throat in a rapid fashion and with blinding fury with her suyuf. Edrick had moved to stop her, but Meheka held him back, saying there would be a day of reckoning. She notices that Solomon is watching her, and he nods his approval. The ex-Red Lion tells the Dragon-Marked that Idris’s death is their doing, not hers, and orders her bodyguards to dispose of his corpse. She tells the characters, seemingly focused on Edrick, that her soldiers got paid that morning - and reaching down to Idris’s body, pulls out a pouch of coins and tosses it at Edrick. “Here’s his ten pieces of gold,” she says. “Keep it, you’ve earned it!” she adds, and then walks away followed by her people.
Last night's game session of the Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked campaign was a pretty good one, with the players and their characters put in a position of having to use their wits to manage the situation. The players were absolutely shocked at the final moments of the session, no one more so than Peter, Edrick's player, and Ellie said that "the evil lady's got to go down!" when we were done. Kathy, Angela and Mark liked the fact that there was a ton of tension in the session with some very conflicting moments, but there wasn't any real physical *violence* to it...well, other than the end bit! :)
Overall, a pretty good session of the Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked Friday night campaign, and I can't wait to run the next session in two weeks.