Our heroes fate is, mostly, unknown. As the dust begins to settle over the Tyrian slave pens Thraan’s body is quickly removed by guards. Quistine
has actually escaped her bondage and has hurried into the Elven Market and done her best to disappear into the crowd. Of course a bald halfling with facial tatoos and an ill-fitting slave shift doesn’t blend in well much of anywhere. From the shadows a voice whips out “Psst! Come here”
Quistine suspiciously follows the voice and encounters a shadowy figure who beckons her into a building. Although she puts up some resistance at first the figure points out she won’t make it very far in her current state. She ducks into a small building and the figure, a half-elf who looks oddly familiar, hands her a parcel with clothing in her size, and some ceramic pieces. “My debt is repaid,” he says, and she nods in response. She changes her clothes, buys some weapons (shedding a tear for her lost and loved magic wrist razors, forever lost to the the city guards), and enough provisions to go a distance in the desert, and heads to Korvin’s
stable for her kank. She arrives at Korvin’s without incident, loads up her kank, and leaves Tyr for good, following in the direction of The Will
and her beloved forest and mountains.
wake up in darkness. Surrounding them on all sides is slightly damp but suffocating sand. Above their heads is a hard door that lets in just enough air to survive. They are naked. Haaku’s precious necklace is gone. The hole is unbearably hot and they are forced to stand in agony through heat and sweat and the long Athasian day. They are in the slave pits, and are being punished for their participation in the slave uprising.
Mina, a lithe strong young woman, had watched all the happenings of the day before. She had been in the slave pens for about a week and had noticed in the past couple of days many more slaves being brought in. She had seen the guards begin to be overwhelmed, and had been painfully aware of the decrease in daily food and water rations. She heard the moans and groans of the heat-sick and dying, and finally she had seen a scant few brave souls try to stand up to the templars. Although she had no respect for the slip-shod methods of the group, she had noticed in Haaku a sense of goodness and an aura of gentleness and she worried for him as he was unceremoniously deposited in the slave pits after being knocked unconscious by the guards. His mul companion seemed hardy, but the pits were a dangerous place for anyone, regardless of starting strength. She had seen a few individuals tossed in screaming and brought out the obligatory three days later limp and lifeless.
That night as the other slaves bedded down in the evening warmth Mina stays awake. She waits while the guards move around and watches the slave pits hawkishly. At her first opportunity she manages to lift the lid of Zar’s prison and sneak him some water and a bit of food. She hastily whispers her name to him and tells him she’s a friend. She tries to get to Haaku’s pit, but is interrupted by a guard. The next night she tries again but is unsuccessful.
Finally on the third day the two errant slaves are retrieved from the pits. Zar stretches expansively and remarks on the joys of rest. Haaku is looking a little less good. Actually, Haaku looks close to death, and his spirit seems broken entirely. His head sags on his shoulders, his skin has a grey-ish hue and his eyes are dull and stare blindly forward. The guards laugh and throw a water skin and loincloth to the two slaves and Zar helps Haaku to the water trough. Mina watches this and worries for Haaku, whose bearing has become that of a broken slave. She knows what happens to slaves that broken, and she takes her first opportunity at the trough to meet his eyes and quickly tells him not to lose heart. Her spirit is strong enough to keep Haaku from entirely giving up, but only barely. Before she can work harder to inspire and strengthen the water priest, Mina hears a scuffle in the center of the slave pens.
After the failed revolt and escape attempt things changed in the pens. Most of the work was moved from around the ziggurat and outside of the sleeping quarters to the back and center of the sleeping area. The guards could manage the slaves better and maintain a stronger perimeter here. There was one staging area between the pens and the ziggurat and a scant few crews worked directly on the ziggurat. There was also a crew that carried finished materials to the crews on the ziggurat from the staging area, and a crew that carried semi-finished materials from the slave pens to the staging area. Mina works on the ziggurat; Zar and Haaku work on the staging crew.
Mina hears a scuffle in the middle of the slave pens. Mina knows that any divisiveness between slaves is dangerous to everyone at this tenuous time in the pens and she rushes in to investigate. A half-giant is surrounded by quick and limber elves dodging in and out, taunting him and tormenting him with sticks and harsh words.
“Arrgh! Why you hurt Urrgos?” the half-giant roared as he clumsily struck at the dancing, laughing gaggle of elves. Mina jumps in front of the half-giant primed for a fight, and strikes once at the largest of the elves.
“You. Will. Stop.” Mina says with a commanding presence and a painful left-hook. The guards are beginning to bleed through the crowd and the elves melt away as the crowd disperses back to work. Mina turns and asks the towering figure if he is hurt. His simple face screws ups in an attempt to think this turn of events through and gives up fairly quickly.
“Why you help Urrgos?”
“No one should be treated the way they were treating you. I’m Mina, and I’m a friend.” She says this quickly and then urges Urrgos to get to work before he gets in trouble. She rushes off to get to her own station and the hot Athasian sun beats on as the slaves continue in their efforts.
As the day wears on Zar and Haaku are feeling the effects of the slave pits, the sun, the hard work and the lack of provisions. In a moment of clumsiness Zar trips and drops half a board, causing his whole team to stumble and make a mess. Boss, their cruel and hard slave-overseer beats Zar with his whip mercilessly. Zar has had enough. He stands up, grabbing the whip, and fights back against this final insult. Mina hears the abuse and drops her own work to jump to the defense of her new associate. As she hurries down the ziggurat she sees Urrgos and tells him to come help her, as she anticipates a fight much earlier than she had wanted one. On her way there, though, she is passed by a crazed Mul screaming and thrashing about yelling something about an army chasing him. When she gets to Zar he encourages her to lie to the guards about what just happened. She glares at him, but plays along. When the guards show up to fix whatever problem had erupted, Mina volunteers to oversee the crew for the day and encourages the guards to check her work record with her own overseer for verification. To avoid a slow-down in production the guards agree, and Mina runs her crew with inspiration and kindness, and they easily make quota that day.