The Whorl

Game 5 - The Blood Feud

+1440 XP = 4640 XP

Transcript of the Report of Elenwe Two-Toes, Enlightened Knight of the Royal University of Mithila, as received by the Provost-Elect of the Bardic College of Lore, Parts 5 and 6

After departing the Viridian Hive, we elected to pursue the traitorous graduate student Raj Sinhala. It was clear he was an agent of Ayodhya, and we considered the harm he might do if left unchecked to be more immediate than the concerns raised by the other sites.

Professor Pandava continued in his deep depression, although in this state many of his masks and veils were dropped. He admitted to being a warlock of the Archfiend, but claimed that such studies pre-dated his departure from the Eternal Solar Empire and his admittance to the University. He claimed not to know anything about the traitorous warlock Cinder. The primary focus of his despondence and rage, however, was Raj. I know how close the two of them were in recent years.

We made a stealthy approach to the site of the buried Titan of the Sun provided to us, as well as to Raj, by the Hive-Queen. Panja and Tavi engaged in stealthy reconnoitering while Xedris provided aerial intel with his familiar. We discovered a work camp of about a hundred people just beginning to excavate the site. It became fairly clear that Ayodhya had an expeditionary force on standby awaiting a signal from the traitor to move on the site. I was reminded of how strongly Raj pushed to be assigned to that particular prospective site, and it's geographical proximity to Ayodhya would now seem to be the evident reason.

Further reconaissance showed that about 75% of the force were slaves, being thrown bodily at excavating the necrotic sands to ill-effect on their health. The other 25% were assorted scholars, soldiers, and slave-drivers under the command of the traitorous Raj. Most of our party except for me and the Professor engaged in a "snatch and grab" attempt on two of the soldiers when they departed to forage. Unfortunately, this attempt resulted in an alerted camp. The Professor and I attempted to join the fight, but it was over before we arrived. 

Half the soldiery, along with the "famed adventurer" Shah Khan, attacked our smaller group. Fortunately, our druid used the terrain tactically to slow the charge and Vinihata incapacitated Shah Khan, stripping him of his various weapons and armor. We rendezvoused together and opted for a frontal assault on the remaining camp before they could organize. We left the incapacitated Shah Khan tied to a camel while we made our assault, which was perhaps not the wisest move. We also discovered that the soldiery all had brands on their left hands showing an obscure sigil of the House of Dasaratha… personal soldiers of Emperor Rama I

As we arrived at the camp, the slaves were all being herded out to the necrotic ruins of the mostly-buried Titan while everyone else was hidden inside tents. More soldiers emerged and distracted us while the warlock, Cinder, began slaughtering slaves in the distant ruins. It was at first unclear why until Raj himself burst from one of the tents wrapped in shadowy chains with eyes burning like coals. It was clear he was possessed by some infernal power. He ranted at Professor Pandava, seeming to connect him to the Emperor by ties of blood. As we engaged Raj in combat, it became evident that Cinder's distant slaughter was empowering Raj somehow, but Vinihata put himself at considerable personal risk to shred the ritual bindings in the rug upon which Raj stood. Although Raj lashed about himself with shadowy chains that appeared to cause significant mental trauma to all they struck, we eventually were able to put him down.

By the time Professor Pandava was able to grant us immunity to the necrotic energies so we could enter the dig site, Cinder was long gone. About half the slaves were slaughtered. We recovered the other half. They all had intricate collars entwined with mystic sigils. Xedris and Saatvik determined that these collars tied the slaves' life energies to the demon bound inside Raj. As they died they empowered him. Xedris collected all the collars for study. As you are aware, I was tasked, alongside the freed goblin druid prisoner named Tinpot, to deliver these unfortunate here to Videha. I trust suitable authorities are questioning them for any relevant or valuable information on the Empire.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Professor admitted that his distant ancestor was the brother to Rama I. He, like most scholars, seemed dubious at Rama's claims to immortality, but could not provide a satisfactory theory as to how the ruse is maintained. The Professor was most surprised to learn from the captured scholars that Rama I is apparently trying to build a Titan of the Sun from scratch, but that his thaumaturgists lack the knowledge to reconstruct a Titan's heart, the power-source and engine that runs the thing. This was the purpose of the expedition and the betrayal. They wanted to take advantage of Professor Pandava's obsessive research in order to steal a Titan's heart. 

The Professor, as well as the remaining members of Team Eka, have established themselves at the site of the Titan. He requests that the University send support staff and manpower to aid in its excavation. 

You sent me on this expedition partly because of suspicions about Professor Pandava. Those suspicions seemed well-founded. Nevertheless, despite learning that he's a minor warlock of the Archfiend, and that he's a part of the royal family of Ayodhya, nothing the Professor has said and done contradicts his insistence that he is an exile from the Eternal Solar Empire, dedicated to the scholarly pursuit of uncovering the pre-war Empire's culture and art. The ranting of the traitorous Raj even seemed to confirm that Emperor's desire that the Professor "return to the fold," something the Professor was clearly unwilling to do.

Although these revelations canno help but impact Professor Pandava's reputation, he has yet to demonstrate that he is a spy or an enemy of the state. The academic value of his find cannot be underestimated. I recommend that the College, and the greater University, provide him the funding and manpower he requests, especially considering the site's proximity to Ayodhya.

Comments

Loot List:

(I’ve left magic items vague as specifics will require Xedris to decide whether to spring for Identify spells…)

On the Great Shah Khan!:

  • x2 daggers +1 (magical) – (claimed by Tavi)
  • x2 daggers (nonmagical) – (claimed by Tavi)
  • studded leather armor (nonmagical) – (claimed by Tavi)
  • Flamboyant reversible cloak of tricks (as per Gray Bag of Tricks) – (claimed by Tavi)
  • 4 vials of poison (nonmagical) – (claimed by Vin)
    176 charges – (claimed by Xedris)

On the traitorous Raj Sinhala:

  • Antique Suryan Ritual Dagger of Necrotic Infection: 1x/day, a creature stabbed with this dagger must make a Constitution save DC 15 or be cursed with a necrotic infection. The cursed individual cannot regain hp, and its hp maximum decreases by 10 hp for every 24 hours that elapses. This condition can be removed with Remove Curse or similar magic.
  • Leather Armor of Necrotic Resistance: as per DMG p. 152
  • x2 Candles of Communion: When lit and the smoke is inhaled, it forges a two-way telepathic link with a specific entity that lasts so long as the candle burns (1-hour maximum). The entity these candles are attuned to is Rama I, the Eternal Solar Emperorx2 red candles inscribed with arcane runes (magical)
  • Short sword and short bow (nonmagical)
    79 charges

On the Scholars should you choose to plunder them:

  • Assorted handwritten notes and formulae
  • x5 scrolls of Detect Energy (identical to the scrolls Pandava brought)(see below)
  • 6 holy symbols of Surya (nonmagical)
  • Expensive and flamboyant clothing (non-practical for a desert)(nonmagical)
    932 charges

On the slaves:

  • x74 Collars of soul-binding (not magic items, per se, so much as material components for a spell)(probably extremely valuable to the Wizard’s Guild in Videha)

In the Camp:

  • Travel rations for a hundred people for a week
  • x3 fine-quality pavilions
  • x6 big shitty tents
  • Assorted valuable luxuries the scholars couldn’t live without

Detect Energy
1st level Divination (ritual)
Casting time: 1 action
Range: self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

For the duration you sense the presence of a variety of energy types within 30 feet of you. If you sense energy in this way, you can use your action to see a faint aura from the energy and you may learn its energy type. Energies detectable by this spell: force, radiant, necrotic.

Game 5 - The Blood Feud
ardhanari

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