After arriving in Altaruk no one in the group is in the mood to confront the elves. They are weary and tired from the journey. So they decide to head to the inn and get some rest. At the Inn the group gets several rooms and arranges for the stabling of their Kanks. Most of the group relaxes, eating and drinking before heading off for a wash and some rest. Lucan decides to head off to the elven market of Altaruk, which is well known to him. He meets up with a few friends and finds out about the arrival and location of the Wildrunner’s as well as makes arrangement for the sale of the goods the group took from the House Shom Argosy, and subsequently drug across the desert on their wild elven chase.
As he leaves the elven market a young elven woman steps into his path. He vaguely recognizes the woman from the attack on the argosy a few days back. She smiles coyly, “my name is Aliea Fairwind, tell your friends that if they want to take revenge on Kaldras, they must act quickly. He is already preparing the tribe to leave Altaruk. If we get into the open desert, you know that you and your friends have no chance of catching us.”
Lucan eyes her suspiciously, “and why do you divulge this information to me and my new associates.”
Aliea smiles and replies “well, it would not be upsetting to everyone in the tribe, perhaps even me…if Kaldras were to be ambushed and killed by your friends.”
Lucan eyes the Wildrunner’s witch hard “What’s in it for me if I get my associates to deal with Kaldras, especially since they have declared that they no longer wish to seek revenge on him or the Wildrunners.”
Aliea scoffs, “I can hardly believe that have forgiven Kaldras, just biding their time more likely…but I will make it worth your while if you can speed things up” she says flashing a wicked smiling and giving Lucan a wink.
“I have no desire to be your next husband witch” replies Lucan “I deal in goods and coin, perhaps you can supply with one or the other, perhaps even both.”
“that is a pity” replies Aliea, “I could use a decent house slave”. She sighs “very well then, I will give you a pair of Wildrunner boots as compensation for this task…but I want Kaldras dead by the end of the night, once he is dead, I’ll be in charge and will call off the warriors of the tribe”.
The two nod in agreement and head their separate ways.
At the Inn Red receives a visit from a Jozhal who looks to be a dune trader or possibly a merchant,and wishes to speak with you about the possibility of hiring the group for some work. In a quite booth at the back of the booth, they dune trader buys Red a drink and they begin to discuss the details. After a bit the man peers around cautiously and tells Red “my patron is a member of those who wear the veil. He has heard of you from a mutual friend in Tyr, and knows of your reputation as a defender of Athas and of those who would be enslaved. He wishes to discuss with you, in private, a secret mission to freeing slaves from the sorcerer kings and the Dragon of Athas himself.” the man eyes the room nervously “If you have any inclination to meet with my patron, then come with me. I am to lead you to a secluded meeting place.”
Red eyes the Jozhal hard, but is unable to read him, he gets up and follows after him but fears that he may be heading into a slavers trap.
The two walk quickly and quietly through the streets of Altaruk until they reach a section of town that is older and more run down than the rest. They approach an dilapidated, crumbling building and the man motions for Red to enter “my patron waits inside, through the second door”.
Red unslings his his mighty hammer and scowls at the man “if this is a trap, I will crush your skull when I am done with whomever waits inside”, and with that he tightens his grip on his hammer and enters the abandoned building.
Inside he finds the room dark and cool but can clearly see a door at the back of the room after the momentary adjustment of his eyes to the darkness of the room. He grabs the rope handle of the door and then is suddenly blinded by a flash of light. His vision returns quickly and he finds himself in large opulently decorated room. A well dressed, regal man sits at a table sipping a glass of wine.
“Sorry if the portal disturbed you, it is a bit unsettling if you are unaware of what is about to happen, please, have a seat”, and he motions for Red to sit. “Do you know who I am?” the man asks and Red shakes his head no. Introducing himself “My name is Arisphistinales, the Governor of Altaruk, Balican noble, and high ranking member of the Veiled alliance”. “we have learned” he continues, “that the Tithian fully intends to pay the Dragons levy, despite his pledge to the contrary, and is seeking to make himself a sorcerer king. He is of course attempting to do all of this secretly. He has dispatched his agents to the other city states across Athas, with orders to purchase slaves to fill the levy. No doubt bankrupting Tyr in the process. We of the Alliance have dedicated ourselves to his defeat, if we can insure that the levy goes unpaid that Tithian will have little chance of obtaining his ultimate goal. Soon after we learned of his plans we had one of our members pose as a slave and attempt to find where the levy will be paid, and to try and organize the slaves to rebel. Unfortunately, we have not heard anything back from this man and we fear that he has been discovered and killed”.
He stares at Red, “we have decided that sending one of our own, a mage, might have been a mistake. While an excellent wizard, the man lacked certain leadership qualities, that in retrospect made him a poor candidate for the task. You on the other hand, are a warrior and if you choose to be, a leader”.
Arisphistinales pauses as if hesitant to continue, “we want you to go in, find the location they are keeping the slaves and organize them into revolt. Once you find this place, if you can manage to get word out, we can send our people to help, but otherwise you are on you own. It will be dangerous, and you may well fail and become fodder for the Dragon. So if you are disinclined to take on this task I fully understand.”
Early in the evening the group awakes from their rest and meets in the tap room of the Inn. They are joined shortly by Red and Lucan, who have spent the afternoon in other pursuits. Lucan tells the group that he has made arrangements to sell the cargo from the House Shom Argosy for 200 Talons of gold. The group is pleased with this and order another round of drinks. Red meanwhile sits quietly deep in thought.
Red begins to speak “I have found us work”. The group quiets and looks at Red for further information. “honest work” he continues “noble work, freeing slaves, and it pays”.
The rest of the group moans, “not the slave thing again” growls Abraxus “because it worked out so good for us the last time, traitorous elves, and lets not forget almost dying of heat stroke on our way here.”
The rest of the group nods in agreement. Abraxus pulls something out of his cloak, “I have a better idea”. Abraxus smiles “While you were all resting, or off getting into business you shouldn’t have” he stares at Red, “I found this”. He unrolls and ancient papyrus scroll on the table. “It shows the location of the Vault of Darom Madar” he smiles greedily.
Now it’s Red’s turn to scowl “where did you find that? down in the Elven Market I have no doubt. Now who is being a fool! Do you really believe that thing is real?”
Lucan takes a hard look at the map “it doesn’t look like Elven work to me”, scrutinizing it more closely, “it looks rather authentic and old. Not to mention I know all of the huckster who are in Altaruk right now and none of them are known for selling bogus treasure maps. So I can almost assure you it didn’t come from the Elven market”.
“See, I told you it was real” Abraxus smiles. Red is still incredulous that a treasure map would simply fall into the hands of the Dray and questions him on where he obtained the map. Abraxus will not divulge where he found the map, and things begin to spiral further into futile arguments with Red attempting to brooch the subject of freeing the slaves again.
Lucan finally breaks the tension “well I know one thing we can all agree on”. He says “Kaldras cheated us and he deserves to pay”. The group agrees, and Lucan continues “I learned earlier today, from a trusted source, that the Wildrunners are already packing up and making ready to leave Altaruk. So if we want to deal with him and recoup some of the money that is rightly ours” he corrects himself “I mean yours, then we have to act quickly. If the Wildrunners get out of town I’m afraid it may take months or even years before we could catch up with them again.”
After much debate and assurances by Lucan that the Wildrunners witch Aliea will aid them, the group decides to confront Kaldras and his band of elves in the Elven Market of Altaruk. They group first decides to check the lay of the land before ambushing the elves and finds the elves still lingering in the market. Lucan and D’Ander attempt to move into position unnoticed by the Elven guards on the rooftops, but Abraxus decides there is not time and little use for stealth. He enters the crumbling old building the elves are using as a headquarters on the pretext of setting up another raid. Inside he finds Kaldras drunk and seemingly incapacitated. The elf leader is flanked by only two guards and Aliea. He quickly levels his spear and attacks Kaldras without warning before the guards can attack. He lands a solid thrust to the shoulder, a blow that would have killed most any other man. Kaldras, though drunk, manages to stand and stumble out a side door while his warriors move in on Abraxus. Abraxus follows after Kaldras moving past Aliea, who stabs the Dray and chides him on his failure to kill Kaldras outright. Outside the others move toward the building to aid Abraxus or take out elven warriors on the roof tops. D’Ander is cornered outside the building and beaten unconscious by two elven warriors. In the alley, Aliea teleports in front of Kaldras, who is now stumbling and bleeding out, but still alive. She grabs him by the face and begins to suck the life out of him. In the market, Red can see Aliea’s defiling of the old elven warriors spirit. He is torn, while he has sworn to protect Athas from defilers, he has no love for Kaldras. He decides to wait and see what happens when Kaldras is dead. If the witch continues to defile or doesn’t call of the remaining elves, he plans to kill her. Thankfully Aliea is true to her word and orders the elves to retreat after Kaldras is dead. The rest of the elves believing that she was trying to save Kaldras, follow her orders and flee.