Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Session Twenty: Collecting Taxes

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

The group continued arguing about what to do about the map. Julius said they should follow it, but the rest of the group was more concerned about what to do with their collection of children. Kalino said he knew he could find an apprenticeship for Kyran, but was unsure about the others. They suggested taking them to the The School of Thought, but they were unsure if they would just be enslaved again. In the end, they decided to scout the city for craftsmen looking for apprentices and not slaves.
As they were walking toward the gate, they happened to spot their old friend, Jessel. They called out to him and he joined them. He had just finished assisting some farmers and had nothing else to do.
Jessel was singled out as they approached the gate, which was guarded by two half-giants and two black cassocked templars. The Templar tried to hire Jessel to work as a guard. Jessel told him he would think about it.

 Next, the Templar asked about Kyran and Vashti told him the truth. The Templar questioned her further and she continued to tell the truth. Kalino looked at her and gave her a "stop talking" look and Vashti winced. The Templar then offered to buy Kyran, but Vashti told him that Kyran was already promised to another. Waving the boy away, the Templar was obviously disappointed.
He questioned Shade about his high quality boots on such a ragged half-elf and asked if they were stolen. Shade said no. He then asked Kalino, Shade, and Alaxander why they were carrying so many weapons. Where they planning on starting a rebellion, or financing one? Kalino and Shade said they would never do such a thing and were charged a bit for each additional weapon beyond one. Alaxander said that his extra weapons were for trade, so the Templar charged him a ceramic piece as an import fee. Alaxander was disgruntled, but paid to avoid any legal troubles. They were all then charged two bits to enter, which they paid.
Once inside, Kalino took Kyran and departed into the city. He encouraged everyone to go to the market, which was right up the lane. They wished him well and went to the market, where Vashti purchased a blue robe. She asked about a jeweler and was directed to the Noble's district. Shade inquired about an armorer and was directed toward the stalls just outside of the arena. Jessel saw a female half-giant guard, who was moderately attractive, and flirted with her. She told him that her name was Dura and that he should meet her at The Drunken Giant Ale House at nightfall.
They split up, Jessel going with Shade and Alaxander with Vashti. Shade and Jessel arrived at an armorer and made a deal to have Shade's inix shell breastplate repaired for three ceramic pieces. Just as Shade was paying, he heard someone yell at him to halt! A Templar appeared with two half-giants, a mul, a dwarf, and a human guard. He grabbed the coins from Shade's hand and looked at them. He declared that they were counterfeit and declared that Jessel, Shade, and the armorer were all under arrest.
Jessel thought about escaping through a dimensional door, but knew that it would make him a fugitive in Tyr and possibly get Shade into more trouble. So, instead, he complied with the Templar and attempted to parlay instead. He explained that they had no idea that the coins were counterfeit and they had received them in that marketplace earlier that day. The Templar was a little impressed with the eloquence of the Half-Giant and invited him to speak with him in his office.
Shade tried to follow suite, but he was less than eloquent and the Templar was not impressed. He had his guards take not only Shade's weapons, but all of his gear also. He ordered Shade to be bound, but did not bind Jessel. The Templar told Shade that his nice boots on such a ragged half-elf made him stand out as a possible criminal.
Once in his office, he introduced himself as Tavio, Templar of the markets. He explained that because Jessel was being so cooperative he was willing to make a deal with them. In exchange for three small favors, he would drop all the charges against them. They negotiated to get the armorer released as well and Tavio agreed.
The first task would be simple, go to the market place and collect a total of ten silver or one hundred ceramic pieces. They would deliver the money to him the following morning. He gave them permission to use his name, if needed. They asked about the other two tasks, but Tavio told them he wanted to see how they handled this little chore, before assigning them another. They seemed to understand and left for the market.
Vashti, Jamil, and Alaxander managed to talk their way into the Noble's Quarter and she found a jeweler. The Jeweler's shop had a single human guard, who was well muscled and had an iron short sword at his hip. He gripped the handle when they entered and, only when Vashti showed the jeweler a bloodstone, did he relax.
Vashti asked the jeweler to appraise the value of two gems. The jeweler told Vashti that it would be ten percent of the gems value to appraise them. Vashti agreed and handed over two gems. The first was the bloodstone and worth fifty ceramic pieces; the next was a rare gem called coral and was worth six-hundred ceramic pieces. Vashti gave the jeweler ten ceramic and had him keep the bloodstone.
Vashti, Jamil, and Alaxander hurried to the trademen's district to visit the warehouse of the merchant house Vordon. There, they purchased two iron tipped spears and an iron dagger, to replace the one Alaxander had stolen from him. They covered the tips of the spears with oiled hemp bags and hid the iron dagger in the folds of Alaxander's clothing. Alaxander carried one spear, while Jamil carried the other.
Back in the market, Shade went to the clothing merchant and purchased a nice blue cloak for himself, to go with his nice boots, and informed the merchant that the money was going to go to pay his taxes. The merchant complained that he had just paid taxes yesterday, but Shade and Jessel explained that there was nothing they could do. The merchant grumbled, but realized he was powerless and let the characters go.
Shade and Jessel felt regretful about taking money from a seemingly honest merchant. Then, Jessel had an idea: they should go get the money from the worst merchants, the slave traders. Shade agreed and decided that he would skim a little off the top for himself.
The first slaver they visited tried to sell them a "fresh new half-elf girl for all of their needs." Jessel frowned and told him that they were there for the taxes. They demanded thirty ceramic and the slaver balked. They invoked Tavio's name and threatened to interrupt the Templar's work, so he could come down and collect the taxes himself. Sufficiently bullied, the slaver handed over the small fortune.
The next slaver they visited informed them that the auction wasn't until tomorrow, but they could look over the merchandise. That's when Shade interrupted him and told them they were there to collect a tax of thirty ceramic pieces. The slaver huffed and puffed and accused the characters of being thieves posing as tax collectors. As with the other slaver, Shade promised that if Tavio had to come down to the market himself to collect taxes, he would not be in a good mood. The slaver handed over the ceramic coins.
On the way out of the slaver's tent, Jessel and Shade saw Vashti and Alaxander wandering the marketplace. They informed them of all that had transpired and they all got a laugh out of extorting the "flesh peddlers." Vashti and Alaxander offered to join them, but they decided that there was no need.
The next slaver was expecting them, as word travels fast, and handed over a small pouch and told them to leave. Inside was ten ceramic pieces. Shade and Jessel told him he was twenty ceramic short. The slaver howled in outrage and told them that Tavio would hear of this and the two characters simply agreed that he would. The slaver then handed over the ceramic pieces, while grumbling under his breath.
The last slaver in the marketplace seemed somewhat jovial and said he would pay without a fuss. He then began counting out ceramic pieces somewhat loudly. Shade and Jessel looked at each other, then back at the slaver. Jessel reached out and grabbed the slaver's lower jaw, sticking his giant dirty thumb in the slave trader's mouth. The slaver tried to pull away, but Jessel held him fast and looked very, very angry.
Jessel asked if there was anyone waiting for them outside. The slaver indicated the answer was no. Jessel asked again if someone was waiting for them to step outside after collecting the coinage. Again, the wide-eyed slaver indicated no. Jessel released the slave trader.
The slaver declared loudly that there was no one waiting for them and that no one was going to cause them harm. He then handed over the rest of the clay coins. Jessel and Shade left the tent and Jessel saw a human sitting outside tuning a pendura. They made eye contact and Jessel made sure that the human knew he saw him.
Now, the two characters had one hundred twenty one ceramic pieces. They decided to return the one ceramic to the clothing merchant. They, of course would give Tavio the one hundred ceramic coins for tax money. However, the remaining twenty was a point of discussion. They eventually decided to go buy the half-elf girl that was offered to them by the first slaver.
Walking back into the slave seller's tent, he gave them a sour look and asked them their business.
Aamina, by Stephanie Brown
They said they were interested in purchasing the half-elf girl. The flesh peddler's demeanor changed to one of cheerfulness. As he called the slave, whose name turned out to be Aamina. She stepped out and they all agreed she was quite beautiful. The slaver tried to sell her for thirty ceramic, but Jessel and Shade offered twenty plus healing services. The slaver agreed and led Jessel into the back.
The slave keeper had a dozen more slaves, male and female, dwarf, half-elf, and human. Jessel was led to a human slave girl, who had hurt her shoulder in some sort of accident. Jessel grabbed some dirt and rubbed it on her shoulder. The slave and her master were awed by the brown-green glow that enveloped Jessel's hand.
The slave girl proclaimed, with some surprise, that her shoulder felt much better. The slaver asked Jessel if he was an earth cleric, but Jessel would not give him a straight answer. He did not want someone as despicable as a slaver to have have more information about him than was necessary. The slaver gave Aamina to him and told Aamina that Jessel was her new master. She began to cry.
Once outside, Jessel informed Aamina that she would not be harmed and would be set free, as soon as they left Tyr. Upon meeting back up with Vashti and Alaxander, Jessel handed Aamina to Vashti and told her how they had come to possess her. Vashti gave some honeyed grubs to the half-elf girl and told her not to worry.
Jessel and Shade returned to the clothing merchant and returned the ceramic they took from him. Shade let it slip that they had taken all they needed from the flesh peddlers and honest merchants didn't need to pay. The merchant told them that they were unlike Tavio's previous tax collectors and thanked them with a free scarf for Aamina and a piece of information. Her told them that Tavio is never seen without his pet user of the way, Utza. As he understood, she got her tuition reduced at The School of Thought for her civic service. They thanked the merchant for the information and the scarf.
They next visited an ale tent and bought some blue cactus ale from the vendor. Jessel made small talk about the ale and then casually mentioned Tavio. It was obvious that the ale merchant did not like Tavio and told them that he was nearly impossible to bribe, unlike the other Tempars. It seemed that Tavio had unlimited funds and even had his own house, instead of living in the Templorate. Jessel thought this information was particularly interesting.
The group milled about the marketplace, visiting various merchants and casually speaking with them about Tavio. They learned that none of the merchants liked Tavio, but they were forced to work with him. As it neared nightfall, Jessel began his walk to The Drunken Giant Ale House to meet Dura. Everyone else decided to head back to Selena's hut, where the children and Julius were waiting.

Join us in one week 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.
 Special Guest Star: Jessel: Half-Giant male earth cleric. 30 years old. Played by Nate. Speaks Giant and Tyrian. 

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