Monday, April 29, 2013

Session Nine: The Gods have made the same mistake twice

Spoiler alert.  If you plan on playing Shadows over Ekul, do not read this.

We pick up our story months after our groups of “heroes” have left Kyros and the rebellion against the mad Autarch Ganymedes behind them.  Their wandering has now led them to Ekul’s coastal city of Shan’Ammar and the Repentant Blacksmith Tavern.  While Hawk, Sylph, Katrina, Sul’khaz and Jura are enjoying a meal, Shangor has found another way to spend the time.

A group of Lhoban sailors are also enjoying all that the Repentant Blacksmith Tavern has to offer. One of them, the largest of their group who goes by the name of The Dragon challenges Shangor to an arm wrestling match.  Shangor readily agrees.

Sylph and Sul’khaz attempt to rally the crowd to their cheer for Shangor and many bets are made.  The purse exceeds two hundred moons.  Using her stunning beauty, Sylph easily sways to crowd to favor Shangor. 

The contest begins as the crowd of commoners and sailors cheer on their chosen champions.  Despite the great strength of the Dragon, Shangor quickly defeats the Dragon.  Shangor grabs the purse in triumph but one of the mariners shouts:  “You cheated!  I saw it” At that point, all hell breaks loose

The Brawl begins

Shangor, Sul’khaz and Katrina find themselves caught in the middle of the fight, brawling with both mariners and locals.  The truth be told, no one really distinguished themselves in this fight.  Shangor and the Dragon exchanged a few blows and some of the locals got cold cocked by the some of the sailors but that was about it.  Hawk, Sylph and Jura avoided the fight all together.  Both Hawk and Sylph pointed at Shangor as he was exchanging blows with the sailors and told Jura that under no circumstances would he behave in such a manner when he grew up to be a man.  Early on a group of commoners threatened them but they were inspired by Sylph’s beauty to turn around and attack the sailors instead.  While Shangor, Sul’khaz and Katrina brawled, Sylph, Hawk and Jura began to make their way towards the door.

In a stroke that no one would call brilliant, Shangor realizes that he as a ready weapon in hand....The purse!  He swings and strikes the Dragon on the head and coins go everywhere.  Several people that were fighting dive on the floor grapping for coins.

The Brawl Ends

Before Hawk, Sylph and Jura can make their escape from the Tavern; a group of warriors enters, led by what Hawk quickly recognizes as a fellow Amazon.  As it turns out, all of the warriors that have arrived to break up the fight are amazons.  The fight ends almost immediately and, to the character’s surprise, they are arrested, but not before Shangor and the Dragon shake hands in a display of good sportsmanship.  Once again to the group of heroes’ surprise, they are brought to the Palace of the Shah instead of the city jail.  Everyone quickly realizes that there is something more going on that a a simple arrest for a drunken brawl.

The Amazon leader takes our not so noble band deep into the Shah’s palace, eventually ushering them into an opulent office where a short, plumb man dressed like a bureaucrat and a man whose features are hidden by the shadows awaits them.  The Amazon leader dismisses her soldiers and remains with the group.

 “The reports were correct, my Lord,” the plump man says in an amazed tone.  “It is incredible, Marduk. If I did not see it with my own eyes, I would not believe it.” The man in shade says, sounding equally amazed.  “The Amazon Commander bows deeply, and says “My lord, these are the people you were looking for.” Thank you, Cassandra. We can always rely on you,” the short man replies.  Then, with a deep frown, he addresses the group: “Strangers, the guards here say you destroyed a tavern at the docks, wounded several people, and in general caused much trouble. Here in Shan’Ammar we make sure the laws are respected, so many months of hard labor await you.  But his Lordship,” and he points at the man in the shadows, “Ulesir Shah, Lord of Shan’Ammar, is a forgiving person, and he will pardon you if you accept a task he has for you.”  “Your task is simple,” Ulesir says. “You must be me,” he stands up and points his finger at Shangor.  It is amazing.  Shangor and Ulesir, the Shah of Shan’Ammar are identical!

At this point, Hawk demands that the guard or guards that have made the accusation make themselves known so she may challenge them.  She also says that if they wanted them to perform a task they should have just asked them instead of lying about their deeds and attacking her honorable reputation.  Hawk harmed no one in the brawl and her honor has been insulted.  Marduk, the short plump man, chooses to ignore her for now.

“Lord Ulesir came to power six months ago, and has many enemies,” Marduk says. “The most dangerous one is his stepbrother, Korras, a bloodthirsty madman who rejected Ulesir’s authority. He now leads the savage Mountaineers of the Iron Mountains, who are ravaging the country. Korras once swore he would personally kill the Shah, and in the last few ten months many of his men have tried, so his Lordship cannot leave the protection of this palace. On the other hand, he lacks the manpower to effectively fight Korras’s pillagers. The situation can be resolved: Ulesir’s father arranged for him to marry Karmella, the daughter of Tokarim, Lord of the city of Teluk’Ammar, a week’s journey from here. Tokarim has a good army, mostly Valk cavalrymen, (Everyone groaned that the mention of the Valk, although given their last adventure, who could blame them?) and he is ready to send his troops to fight for Ulesir. But Tokarim is also a very proud and stubborn man: he wants Ulesir to travel to Teluk’Ammar and marry his daughter as tradition dictates. The wedding has been delayed but Tokarim is growing very impatient, so it is time to act. You must travel to Teluk’Ammar disguised as the Shah, marry Karmella, and bring back brideand soldiers as soon as possible. Naturally Tokarim must know nothing of this trick,otherwise he will be mortally offended, and his rage can be terrible!”  Ulesier offers the party 1000 moons each to sweeten the deal.  The group agrees to it.

Everyone is quickly assigned royal roles.  Hawk will be the body guard, Sul’khaz will be the royal taste tester, and Slyph was be the etiquette master, a role she was born to play given her noble background.  The other roles will be determined later.  Marduk and Slyph begin their task of making Shangor act like a prince.  May the Gods help them.  They will need it.

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