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Session 8 (Aidan)

Played on 2003/07/20

Startled, I awoke with a shock. Where was I? Groping around for my stuff, I quickly found them, but instead of the soft cushions of a posh Desert Kingdom inn I found myself on my hard sleeping mat. I triply cursed my memory again. Again I forgot! How many years will have been gone from my memory now? What quests will have I gotten myself into now? What beautiful women will I have met and stupidly forgot about again now? Quickly checking my belongings it seemed as if things had not changed too much. I seemed to be in some kind of collapsed tent, which was pressing heavily on me. Quickly I scrambled to the exit, but I found it blocked by heaps of sand. Some digging luckily brought me to the surface of the sand.

It seemed I had been asleep, or perhaps knocked out, in an encampment which had been covered by a thick layer of sand. The routinous actions of the Desert Kingdom people, the desertkingdomians, gave me the distinct impression that this was not too much for me to worry about. With their desert knowledge and a little bit of help we quickly restored our group which seemed to be a caravan of Prince Ayyam and his court to bring him to the Lord we pledged our mission to. It was a mixed company; some where soldiers; some where attendants; some seemed ladies which attended to some other of Ayyam's needs. Ah, well probably some of the perks of being a prince I guess. I wonder how we ever persuaded Ayyam to become king in the Seven Lordships, but, well, probably Phaedra unleashed her womanly charms upon him. I quickly banished that thought from my head when Phaedra noticed the grin on my face.

After quite an eventful journey through the desert we arrived on the green grounds of the Seven Lordships at last, allowing our horses to pick up speed again. We travelled as swift as possible, but were often hindered by the local inhabitants who had never seen such an opulent caravan from the Kingdom. Even further into the Lordships, people had never even seen camels. I think the desertkingdomians call them the sheep of the desert, although I can't begin to wonder why. They hardly have any wool to speak off and they reek even worse than Crhel with a hangover. Speaking of Crhel, he and Bertus seemed to be a bit worried over the strange "camel brew" the Kingdomians have given them instead of beer. I myself suspect that it has not been brewn of camels, but was probably brewed by camels.

Steering clear of the major cities to avoid a holdup we soon ventured upon the glorious city of Rorn, which had been becoming our base of operations. I kindly suggested to Ayyam that it may be wise to set up their camp a little outside the city to allow their arrival to be announced. While he gave out the necessary orders noble Phaedra, discreet Rase and myself travelled to the temple of Faria to report to wise Pythia. I hoped to find her alive and fit instead of the frail and sick woman we left here in Rorn.

After we were admitted to Pythia's chamber by a particularly cute apprentice, I was glad to see Pythia fit and in fully diplomatic action again. She seemed to be sharing tea with a diplomat I did not recognize at all. That struck me as odd as in my travels and diplomatic exploits I have met my fair share of diplomats. I guessed it must have been a new appointee of one of the Lordships which have had internal struggles of late. Phaedra however seemed to recognise him, but was so keen to report before her high priestess that she quickly told Pythia that Ayyam had arrived. I would wish that her zeal hadn't led her to this impulse, because it later seemed that this man was a representative from the Meltimen! Not only was he a Meltimen, but also a man we had fought with on our last exodus from Askane, although we considered him to be a simple wandering highwayman at the time. Pythia introduced him as ambassador Tibahba. Phaedra luckily quickly realised her mistake and apologised to Pythia who did not seem to be too troubled by it. Pythia was glad we brought him to the kingdom, but seemed to be less happy with our opinion of Ayyam. None of the three of us saw him fit to be a king for the Seven Lordships in any sense. I even dare to say that the Desert Kingdom is very lucky that he refused to reign there. Once more I proposed Pythia that with this bleak alternative she might as well claim the throne herself. I think the great share of Faria believers in the Seven Lordships would support here and Faria herself will probably be very pleased! Also, capable warriors like noble Phaedra and strong Irtek could easily function as a royal guard. Alas, she would not hear of my plan again. She is really a woman of principles, as I guess he has to be. Sometimes I wonder if I should make a gambit for the throne, as everybody else seems to be reluctant to take it. As we parted, she told us Lord Forlorn would summon us tomorrow.

The rest of the day was not ill spent. We wanted to find this Tibahba again as we were all sure that he had not changed his ways. We were even afraid that he may not be a diplomat from Askane, but simply someone posing as one. Ayyam reluctantly agreed to instruct some of his men to look for Tibahba when they went into town. With this help we located Tibahba after some time. Sneaky Rase was the one to find Tibabha in, of course, the Askane embassey. This official affiliation quelled at least one of our worries. Rase and myself had a stake-out at the building almost all the night. When we detected little activity in the building, Rase and I tried to acquire information in a somewhat alternative way. Rase's skills at breaking and entering undetected could be very useful indeed. But, alas, even our master thief seemed to be unable to enter this obviously particularly well secured building. Our exhaustion forced us into our beds soon afterwards.

The next day Forlorn quickly had us summoned. At the palace we were admitted to his chambers withour much troubles. Inside, we found Lord Forlorn, High-Priestess Pythia, Prince Ayyam, and three Rorn officials. I regret that I have forgotten their names, but I hope to renew their acquaintances when I return to Rorn again. Lord Forlorn forgot to congratulate us on a job well done and hastily put two new quests before us. When I posed him some questions, he seemed unwilleng to give any information on what will be done with Prince Ayyam's ascent to the throne. Lord Forlorn instead started to tell us about recent pirate raids on the Camlee coast. It seemed pirate raids had increased the last weeks and they had started to become more brutal. In the past, the pirates had merely stolen goods and had kept pillaging, murder and general mayhem to a minimum. But recent attacks had completely burned down villages with little to none survivors. High-Priestess Pythia however considered the barbarian of our dreams more important. After a short democratic interlude we decided to help Lord Forlorn with his pirate problems first instead of chasing after our dreams. Lord Forlorn thanked us and rewarded us by giving us our own rooms at the palace. So we would have our own place to stay. This room in Rorn may not be much, but it is as much as a home as I have had for years and I am very grateful. It also allows us a place to give our horses a rest as well as a place to store the spoils from exploits. On my request, Lord Forlorn wrote a document testifying our coast-cleansing mission with an official lordly seal. This should make our travels a lot easier. Lord Forlorn would also have a ship readied for us in two days.

The time waiting for our ship I spent in and out of bars and trader's halls. I tried to pick up as much information about the burned down villages as could be possible. In one of the seedier taverns, I found a survivor from Trevalne we lost everything short of his life there. I pitied the man, but unfortunately his information was useless to me. He had not been in Trevalne during the attack. Although that had saved his life, this also caused him to not know a thing about the attack. I regret now that I have not spared him some coin to rebuild his life anew. I must remember to find him once I return to Rorn, if only I could trust my memory. The other information I gathered were all rumours and gossip but they seemed have a lot of similarities. For one thing, everyone thought the sailors to come from the south and they all noticed that they had become a lot bloodier as of late. I myself reasoned that these may be different pirates, but the sailors refuted that. Everybody seemed to know of the five burned-down villages. All other gossip does not seem plausible enough to write down.

After two days we came to meet Skaythe, the captain of the ship who was at our command. We quickly set out to sail to the nearest burned-down village. We could have travelled by horse, but we hoped we had more chance to spot the pirates like this. I just hope we and the crew will be tough enough to withstand a ship full of pirates. The deep waters are merciless to those we lose such a battle. Anyway, I am glad to lead at a whole new kind of adventure! I never have been at sea and any chance to see its wonders will be great. I think it is a shame we only have to travel to these villages. I hope that we can strike at the pirate's base of operations so we can have a true sea adventure!

As we arrived at the first village, Trevalne, we noticed that truely nothing had been left intact in the village. It was a worrying, depressing sight. Dead bodies strewn about, left there for the maggots to feed on them. With heavy hearts we began searching for any clues of the pirates. We did not find any single dead body of a pirate! Rase, however, found clues of dragged bodies, so we suspect they take the body of their dead with them. Probably for a proper burial at sea. Not much information could be investigated from our search besides that they had been quite thorough. Nothing lived, no building stood unscathed and no ship floated in the harbour. Phaedra's investigations of the dead indicated that trained well-armed warriors had killed these men. So, at least, none of the barbarians from the south have been harrassing our coastline. Phaedra, Irtek and I wanted to give the poor people of Trevalne a proper funeral, but the rest of the group convinced us to leave this for another group. Alas, we might stop the burning of more villages if we haste our mission.

We sailed to a second village, Rumbrugt, which had been famous for its smooth whiskeys. I fear I will taste it never more as the sight of smoldering Rumbrugt was as horrendous as the sight of Trevalne. I can not imagine what kind of beasts have dared to violated life so! The village was as depressing as Trevalne and we could not unearth new information. I write this now, with these horrid images in my mind still. We are now travelling towards the next village and I dare not imagine what we may find there. I hope we may find some of the poor souls alive and can direct them towards the hospitality of Rorn. A just lord like Forlorn will surely help them start a new life. And if not, I will surely arrange that all the Seven Lordships hear of it...

A tale in its making, Aidan

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