Twilight of the Dominions

3rd Saga
Part 1 - Battle of Azagara

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As life would have it, with only a month to go on the trio’s mercenary contracts with Kurdan’s Blades, the unit is hired by Mad King Ganymedes of Kyros to take part in a punitive expedition against the rebellious cities of Ghandar, a southern province of the Elephant Kingdom. Setting out immediately from Hillias, the Blades join a small loyalist army at Kyros City which then heads south to take the rebellious city of Azagara (near the Ghandar jungle) in a surprise assault.

Tasked with scouting ahead to prevent locals from warning the city of the army’s approach, not far from Azagara the heroes reach a small village and come across a fellow scout group of Valk riders torturing an old man and his young grandson. Fruz and Tymon launch a furious mounted charge while Subotai uses his composite bow to lethal effect. They defeat the Valk and honor the last wish of the dying old man by vowing to take care of his grandson Jura. In exchange he tells them that a man’s weight in silver is hidden in the House of the Red Door in Azagara. Suddenly a single Valk warrior, thought to be dead, manages to escape on his pony to the jungle outskirts – a brief chase ensues but all that is found is the mangled body of the pony in the jungle underbrush. The heroes sense primal danger nearby and decide to backtrack to chase the rest of the villagers, only to discover they have already reached the city and have warned the inhabitants the enemy is coming.

General Tunamos, the loyalist army commander, marches quickly on Azagara. Its small defense force is lined up outside the city’s low walls. The heroes deploy with the rest of the Blades on the army’s right flank and a bloody battle soon commences. The trio are instrumental in fending off a surprise attack by native warriors pouring out the nearby jungle, and the city defenders are routed after a brief but spirited defense. The mercenary units comprising the bulk of Tunamos’ army chase the fleeing defenders through the gates – eager to the loot and plunder that is the right of conquerors.

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Second Interlude
Portents and Plans

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Fruz, Subotai and Tymon return to Hillias as minor celebrities, the defeat of the evil cultists added to their notoriety as the mercenaries who eliminated the Red Nomad threat. With the contract with the Blades ending soon, the three plot their next moves:

  • The heroes are given a brief audience with Sajik Tul, a merchant-prince of Hillias and father of the lovely rescued captive Tamira. Fruz’s inquiry about the gladiator arena leads to an introduction to Kimbal, former gladiator and captain of Sajik’s personal guard.
  • Subotai learns that the old sage Poniir may be able to help the young Valk warrior-monk decipher his dreams. He finds Poniir in an old house in the foreign district, and with the wise man’s help understands he is likely being drawn back to the turmoil of Ekram, his home country. Tymon accompanies Subotai so that he can ask about the Keronian scroll recovered from the Red Nomads, Poniir suggests talking to one of the scholars at the Scriptorium of Hillias in the upper district.
  • Rumors reach the heroes that their street fight with Kradik’s gang caught the attention of the “Jackals”, one of Hillias’s notorious thieves guilds. Surprisingly it doesn’t seem the Jackals are interested in revenge but perhaps instead a business opportunity, if the right contacts can be made.
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2nd Saga
Part 2 - The Daughter of Hordan

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Heading back to the Lower District of Hillias, Subotai, Tymon and Fruz visit several taverns looking for clues to the whereabouts of Niko. At the Bronze Lion they meet the dancer Sersi and learn they should investigate an old coastal olive villa several miles west of the city. They report their findings to Gabrela and the next morning head out of the Old Gate towards the villa.

The trio arrives late in the morning, and after brief reconnaissance of the run down, foreboding structure, they decide on the direct approach – Tymon walking to the gate in the guise of a merchant. Several running fights with Tricarnian cult-guards ensue in the courtyard and interior hallways until they discover a trap door and stairway to a tunnel below the villa. They chase retreating guards through rough-hewn passages, quickly solve a puzzle allowing them to open a hidden door, and engage more cultists and a huge, spear-wielding Tricarnian warrior in a large ante-room.

Having defeated the giant warrior and his minions, the heroes press on, finally reaching a cavernous temple cave chamber opening to the rough sea below. Here they discover tied up and helpless some of the missing citizens of Hillias, including a very discomfited Niko. It’s obvious these captives are intended as sacrifices on the bloody altar at the far end of the cavern.

A final battle commences with the three facing off against sixteen guards, a beautiful but deadly blade-dancer, a minor Tricarnian sorceror-priest, and the most deadly foe, a six-armed snake-bodied “Daughter of Hordan”. There are several close calls – but none can stand before Tymon’s axe, Subotai’s bow and Fruz’s mace – in a whirlwind of violence the enemies are all defeated. The heroes return to Hillias with the rescued captives (including Tamira, daughter of a merchant-prince of Hillias) and also several valuable items taken from the vanquished foes.

Surely the celebration will be as legendary as the victory!
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First Interlude
Excursion to the Lower District

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Tymon, Subotai and Fruz return to Hillias as part of Gabrela’s victorious mercenary unit, looking forward to spending their pay and share of the salvaged caravan loot on the pleasures and diversions of the metropolis. The trio decide to spend some free time in the Lower District to see what they can learn about rumors of people disappearing at night from the city streets.

Lendi’s Tavern is a small but relatively well-kept tavern on Barrel Street, where Fruz cheats at a house dice game, Tymon samples the local brews with the discerning tastes of a Gis alchemist, and Subotai drinks wine and scans the crowd for potential female companionship, hoping one or the other will help take his mind off the disturbing dreams of home that have haunted him lately. The evening is rudely disrupted by the arrival of a group of thugs led by local ruffian Kradik, who goads the heroes into a street fight outside the tavern. But Kradik’s men get more than they bargained for and several are taken down before the arrival of the city watch ends the affair.

Several days later Gabrela finds the trio in the barracks and orders them to track down a missing comrade – Niko Four-Fingers. Young Thory provides the first clue when he recalls Niko recently mentioning a pretty tavern-dancer who had caught his fancy… it looks like another trip to the Lower District will be in order.

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2nd Saga
Part 1 - Victory in the Red Desert

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A few months after their adventure in the Borderlands, Subotai, Tymon and Fruz find themselves in the Independent City of Hillias. Proudly displaying the black and red sashes of Kurdan’s Blades mercenary company, the three quickly establish themselves as capable warriors and scouts. When several caravans are waylaid in the Red Desert, Kurdan orders his trusted lieutenant Gabrela the Gold, an alluring Amazon warrior, to lead a unit of 50 Blades into the desert to find and crush the raiders.

Forming the core of a 5-man scout team, the heroes locate the remains of a recently raided caravan, and then track mounted bandits west through the rocky ravines and gullies of the northwestern desert. There they defeat giant scorpions and Red Nomad warrior champions, but are about to be overwhelmed by a horde of bloodthirsty nomads when Gabrela and the rest of the Blades ride pell-mell in to the fray… In a final, chaotic battle the heroes confront and slay the nomad sorceror-leader Al’Tomesh, breaking the spirit of the Red Nomads to secure the victory.

Gabrela orders her mercenaries to load salvaged caravan cargo on spare horses and camels to take back to the city. While helping load, Cruz notices an ancient looking scroll case hidden in a bundle of silks and decides to hide it inside his shirt for later inspection.

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1st Saga
Rescue in the Black Forest

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The saga begins with Fruz, Tymon and Subotai joining forces for the first time as members of the Gray Wolves, a Borderlands mercenary unit assigned to Fort Vanguard near the Black Forest. Ordered to rescue the fort commander’s kidnapped daughter, the heroes track the kidnappers back to a remote Caled village, slaying the wildmen, saving the girl and incurring the wrath of a powerful Caled druid-shaman, Gulta Morn.

Fleeing back to the fort with the girl, the band overcomes torrential rains, Gulta Morn’s devious magical attacks and Caled warrior ambushes, eventually crossing the swollen Black Arrow river only to find the fort has been overrun by a hugely powerful bear summoned by the evil shaman. In a final battle the bear is defeated and the shaman’s power is broken. The heroes make bear claw necklaces to wear as a sign of their victory.

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