Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Session Twenty-One: Helpful Friends

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

Surprisingly, Shade had no problem leaving the city and met up with the rest of the group at Serena's hut. Serena was very happy to see Alaxander and gave him some farro flat bread. Shade, Vashti, and Jamil slept outside in the wagons, because the hut could not hold them all.

Day 3, Week 1, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Shade had to return to the city to give Tavio the tax money he and Jessel had collected. Alaxander decided to go with him, while Julius and Kalino decided to follow him to keep him safe. Vashti wanted to return to the jeweler to get more gems appraised and scout some academies of the way. She decided to take Aamina. They all discussed the possibility of enrolling the will possessing children, Cara, Kyla, and Osian, in one of the psionic schools.

 When they got to the gate, Shade said he was on official business from Templar Tavio. The gate guard explained that to avoid paying the toll to enter the city, the Templar should have provided a writ explaining that Shade was doing work for the Templar outside of the city. Shade, of course, did not have a writ, so he paid his toll, along with everyone else. This time, Kalino and Alaxander made sure to only take a single weapon with them.
Once inside, Alaxander decided to go with Vashti and serve as her interpreter, because Vashti did not speak Tyrian. They, along with Aamina, went to the market, where Vashti purchased a robe for Aamina and insisted Aamina pick the color she wanted. Aamina chose a light brown robe. Vashti then picked up some sandals for Aamina as well.
Shade entered Tavio's office and gave him the one hundred ceramic pieces. Tavio was pleased, but just pushed the coins aside. He then explained that the nobles in Tyr had to be reminded that they were not above the law. The Kelstaad's in particular have been bothering him. He gave Shade the task of stealing a dwarf tree that grows orange pears from one of their homes in the noble district. Shade agreed and departed.
Vashti, Aamina, and Alaxander were harassed when trying to enter the noble quarter, so they bribed a guard five bits. They arrived at the jeweler and the jeweler's guard watched them closing, with his hand not leave the grip of his iron shortsword. Vashti presented three gems and was told one was a blue spinel worth four hundred fifty ceramic pieces, another an amethyst worth one hundred fifty ceramic pieces, and the last was an alexandrite worth one hundred ten ceramic pieces. She ended up giving the jeweler the alexandrite to cover the appraisal fee.
With business concluded, she asked the jeweler about the psionic academies in the city. He knew of three: The famous School of Thought, the Golden Institute of the Way, and the Academy of the Way. The School of Thought was easily the most prestigious and charged sixty ceramic a season. The Golden Institute of the Way charged sixty ceramic a year, and the jeweler didn't know about the other. Vashti thanked him for the information and left.
Shade found the Kelstraad home without much difficulty and tucked his arms into his expensive cloak. The home was stone with a ceramic tile roof and had a private yard in the rear. It was guarded by two guards in the front. He approached the guards and asked to speak to the Lord or Lady of the house. The guards thought Shade was someone important, due to his expensive boots and cloak. One of them went inside to fetch his mistress.
Shade was invited inside and before he left, Julius contacted him and used the way to read his emotions. The mistress of the house turned out to be an attractive woman in her middling years, much older than Shade, but Shade could not help but admire the way her linen dress clung to her curves. He was invited to sit down and asked his business. Shade then proceeded to tell the truth, that he was sent to steal her pear tree by Templar Tavio. He also explained that he did not wish to do it, but was being pressured by the Templar.
Julius turned to Kalino and said things may not be going well and they should steal the tree while Shade was acting as a distraction. Kalino did not take much convincing, as he generally did not like or trust nobles. Kalino walked up to the guard outside and disguised his magic use as the way. He hypnotized the guard into believing that he was hungry and had to use the lavatory. The guard walked inside the home, through a side entrance, a few minutes later.
Tavio must really like pears.
Julius ran up to Kalino and asked what was next. Kalino said he distracted the guard, so Julius could get into the rear yard and get the tree. Julius ran to the wall and climbed into the yard. No one seemed to see or hear him. Julius crept toward the veranda and saw two guards lounging there. A misplaced step by Julius alerted the guards and they began to look around for an intruder. They couldn't find him, but they were searching.
Just then, Kalino unstealthily poked his head up over the wall and was amazed by the greenery he saw. He let out an audible statement of surprise and the guards heard him. They shouted for him to get off the wall and ran over to him. Kalino jumped down outside of the yard.
Seeing an opportunity, Julius ran onto the veranda. He used the way to lift the dwarf tree and its pot. He then began to run to the opposite side of the house to escape. One of the guards saw the floating plant and gave chase. Julius quickly cleared the wall, but one of the guards grabbed the pot before Julius could lift it over with the way. Julius attempted to pull the pot from the guard's grasp, but was unable to do so. Once the guards indicated that they were going to chase him, he ran off with Kalino right behind him.
While Mistress Kelstraad was offering drinks to Shade, she was informed by her Dwarf assistant, Javo, that a group of two men just attempted to steal her pear tree. She rose, pointed a finger at Shade, and accused him of distracting her while two of his accomplices stole her property. Shade genuinely denied all knowledge of the attempted theft. Mistress Kelstraad wanted to believe the seemingly honest half-elf, but ordered him held by her guards.
In the meantime, Vashti, Alaxander, and Aamina were touring the three psionic schools. Vashti decided that the School of Thought was much too expensive. When she discovered that The Academy of the Way was supported greatly by the merchant houses and only charged forty-five ceramic pieces a year, she resolved to talk to the rest of the group and Serena about the prospect of helping the children.
Julius and Kalino returned to Serena's hut and resolved to go rescue Shade if he was arrested, or otherwise detained in the morning. Vashti, Alaxander, and Aamina returned as well. Kalino explained that Shade was given a job to steal a tree from a noble, but went to talk to the noble instead. He admitted to being unaware of how things were going. Vashti could tell that they knew something more, especially when Julius described the tree in detail. However, Kalino and Julius went outside to help with the farro before she could question them further.
Shade was treated well in his limited captivity, drinking wine and sitting on soft cushions. After a few hours, the Kelstraad psionicist Simon arrived and Shade allowed him to read his mind. Simon informed Mistress Kelstraad that Shade was unaware of the attempted theft and was sincere in his hatred for Tavio. Satisfied, Mistress Kelstraad proceeded to negotiate with Shade about the release of her tree.
She did not like Tavio at all, but would not risk her house standing against him. She knew that Tavio would find another stooge, or stooges, to steal the tree if Shade did not. She agreed to let Shade take the tree, but only if he promised to steal it from the Templar and return it back to her when his tasks were complete. Shade promised that it would be done. She then had her Dwarf assistant hand over the tree to him.
Shade took the tree and left. Unbeknownst to him, a human man began trailing him as soon as he left the noble quarter. The human walked close to Shade, pulling an obsidian dagger from the folds of his cloak. Tyrains were crowding the streets as the man attempted to stab Shade in the back. He missed. Shade did not notice. The assassin attempted to stab Shade again, but the knife slipped and cut his own leg. The assassin gasped and then fell over, succumbing to the poison on the blade. Shade walked on, completely unaware.
Shade entered Tavio's office and left the tree inside. Tavio laughed and told Shade to return in the morning for his final task. When Shade did not move quickly enough, Tavio rudely ordered him away.
Shade returned to Serena's hut. The group then began discussing the future of the children. Serena was reluctant to take too many, as her food and water were limited. Vashti explained that she could pay their tuition for four years and have enough money left over to give Serena sixty ceramics to help raise them. In addition, she would leave forty pounds of the dried sand crocodile meat to help with food. Serena agreed. So, Cara, Kyla, and Osian would attend The Academy of the Way. Ben and Dean would stay with Serena and learn to be farro farmers.
Julius, who was the son of merchants, explained to Vashti that she should request something stating that tuition had been paid for an extended period. This would ensure that everyone remained honest.
Vashti and Alaxander took the children with the will to The Academy of the Way and paid their tuition. They received a piece of vellum with the children's handprints and marks indication how many seasons were paid for. Satisfied, they returned to Serens'a hut for dinner.
Then, after dinner, the group got ready to sleep. Vashti, Jamil, and Shade slept outside again. Shade woke in the night to find a couple of Elves investigating their wagons. He chased them off with a yell.

Day 4, Week 1, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Without anything else to do, the entire party decided to go with Shade into Tyr. In addition, Vashti had everyone hide ten pounds of dried meat in their backpacks. Her plan was to trade it for water, which was running low.
Once inside the city, they went straight toward Tavio's office. Shade went inside, while everyone else milled about outside. Tavio was smiling, munching on an orange pear. As always, he had his half-giant bodyguard and Utza with him.
Tavio explained to Shade that he needed him to serve as a bodyguard for a meeting he was having with some Elves that afternoon. Shade was to report back to him just after high sun. Tavio suggested hiring a couple of street toughs to make him look more intimidating. Shade agreed and was dismissed.
One outside, Shade told the group what had happened. Kalino and Alaxander decided to serve as his street toughs. If something went south, Kalino could send a one way message to Julius for aide. Vashti was suspicious and mentioned that it all seemed too easy.
They then went to a few of the cities wells and traded their sixty pounds of meat and three bits for thirty gallons of water. They struggled to carry the barrel back to Serena's and were charged six bits as an export fee to take the water out of the city.

Join us in five long weeks for another exciting session of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.

2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters and other Major Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 17 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Played by DM. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.
Jamil: Human fighter,  24 years old. NPC hireling. Speaks Gulgish and Nibnese.

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