Desolation

Ep. 01: The Grudge Match
When tempers flare

Pal’Tan Oneida’s Caravan consists of his own five wagons, followed by a caravan of five Cushulain farmers, a dozen or so Human slave-traders from The Warlands, a small band of four Elf craftsmen, a slightly larger band of Oruskan traders/slavers (a dozen Orcs and Goblins), and a small caravan of Desert Dwarven craftsmen and merchants, numbering six. It had been a long week-and-a-half of hard travel from Eoliane through the heat and dryness of the border between The Saikin Wastes and The Warlands. Pal’Tan Oneida’s caravan is about a day-and-a-half’s travel from a small coastal town called Rangon Bay. Evenings are usually spent around a makeshift fire near the Elf caravan and drinking, carousing, and gaming ensues.

Lately though, with the heat tempers have been rising, culminating in a grudge match between the Orc pit champion and the Dwarven pit champion. What was supposed to be a “friendly match” clearly was not as it became apparent that both sides were using magic to enhance their fighters: Dwarves with Rune-enhanced bracers, and the Orcs with Bloodrune butchery. Odinrak Lon Gairdas, a Human Sorcerer raised a protective barrier around the “arena” and this only served to get both sides much more aggressive. Mora Gul, the Human second lieutenant of the caravan guard tried unsuccessfully to quell the match, but he did manage to move it further away from the caravan itself. Then, during the fight, both fighters fell dead, each with an arrow or bolt to the throat. An all-consuming brawl erupted between the Orcs and Dwarves with the Human slavers caught in the middle. Ramolis, ostensibly a priest of the Argent Path, but actually a Necromancer spy for the Circle of Dust, used his Necromantic abilities to bolster and protect Odinrak, while he, rather unsuccessfully sought to stun the fighters into submission. Odinrak himself began to notice that his abilities were being interfered with by another, heretofore unknown Sorcerer. He tried in vain to locate the Sorcerer but could only succeed in establishing that he or she was somewhere within the caravan body itself. As the melee pushed its way back to the main body of the caravan and guards came running, suddenly the Elf wagon erupted in flames, sending its inhabitants fleeing for their lives. As Pal’Tan himself came roaring in from the front of the caravan, the Elf conflagration suddenly and inexplicably doused itself and a certain calm descended. Pal’Tan demanded an explanation for this madness and Mora Gul cried that there was some Necromancy afoot.

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(Before) The Road Less Taken
When the world was as it should be

In a time that is now known of as “The Before” all was right with the world. Magic was everywhere as a trusted tool in the hands of respected practitioners, the Ascondean Empire was the pinnacle of civilization (in their own minds at least), and people were more or less free to live their lives to the fullest.

The campaign begins in the caravan of Pal’Tan Oneida, a respected merchant who travels the Warlands and Saikin Wastes.

Currently, the caravan is heading north from Eoliane and the famed Desert Meet of the spring. This year, Pal’tan spent a bit longer at the Meet than he would have usually since the trading was especially fierce and prosperous, as were the pit-fights and the betting that went on around them. Several fighters (most often guards from competing caravans) stood out, and despite his better judgement, Pal’tan stayed out the entire Meet when several of his own men (and those in accompanying caravans) rose to fame and popularity in the pits. Now, he is travelling north to Cynosure, the largest and most developed city outside the Empire, and he is doing so later in the year than he would usually. This has driven him to make better time than he normally would attempt which has created more than a few of its own problems in terms of the mechanics of the vehicles and the morale of the crews. The land here is dry and dusty and although much of the road north to Cynosure is well within reach of the coastline, the heat and emptiness of the Southern Wastes has taken its toll on man and beast (and by man, of course, any humanoid; no racism here). It has been a long, hard month of tough travelling.

Cynosure is about a week’s travel distant, but by late tomorrow, the caravan should reach the outpost of Rangon Bay, a small settlement of Mongrels along the coast.

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