is tired, sore, and generally feels defeated. But, Kindrok
is alive, and Haaku
is happy. Kindrok is conscious, but not well, so Haaku delightedly uses his newly reacquired necklace to help Kindrok, and he becomes capable of work, but not much more. Kindrok is broken, and Mina talks to him, trying to inspire him and bring him out of his fugue state. This mostly works, but Kindrok is very upset that he was forced to inform on his friends. Quistine
, and possibly a third person were mentioned by name. Kindrok tells Mina he’s worried that they may have taken thoughts from his brain. Mina and Haaku assure Kindrok that he did what he had to do, and that he is still their friend and ally regardless of what he said or did.
As the regrouping trio moves toward the water trough there is a deeply unsettling scene. Urrgos is no longer tied to the whipping post, in his place are three corpses and one is Granj. Mina, seething silently with rage, scans the crowd for Cruerex. There is a Templar standing in front of the bodies and he says, “This is what happens to those who plan escapes!” Not seeing Crurex, Mina attempts to hide in the crowd and says “What about the halfling?” Unfortunately Mina has a fairly distinctive voice and presence the crowd begins to turn to look at her. Haaku notices this, and manages to distract the attention of the slaves by performing water rites.
While getting water, Mina hears a psychic voice asking her to meet him after the day’s work is concluded. Being suspicious at this point, she thinks back “Who are you?” and receives no response. Also while getting water, Kindrok is approached by a slavish Mul, sidling up. “That son-of-an-Inix Verrasi got you too, eh?”
“Who?” Kindrok asks.
“They dragged me here after that…altercation” The mul answers somewhat cryptically and Kindrok tries his best to puzzle out a way that this makes sense. Suddenly, after a moment, the cloud passes from his face and he exclaims,
“Wait! You’re the fruit guy!”
“Yes, he was awful. Yes.”
“I’m Hamash, anyway.”
Mina hears the voice again, and though she doesn’t trust it, she tells it via thought that she doesn’t kill anyone on sight, so coming to her camp is, at least, not innately dangerous.
The ziggurat is almost completed. During lunch Varis, an elf that strangely spends his time apart from other elves, feels someone tugging on his waterskin. He turns to discover the elf Ramachil trying to steal his waterskin. Ramachil is ready to fight. Varis’ overseer intervenes and whips both elves. Varis feigns and gets Ramachil to attack, and the overseer punishes Ramachil severely.
Mina discovers that Cruerex has been appointed overseer of Granj’s old work-crew (brick makers). When the day’s work is done, Haaku, Mina and Kindrok head back to camp. Urrgos arrives and acts as if nothing ever changed. Mina talks with him a bit abou the unfortunate incident with Zar. Mina decides to share the details of her conversation with the Tyrian citizen with Haaku. As they talk of what to do next, and how to direct their plans, they are approached by Marc and Varis. Varis, being an elf, is instantly looked on with disgust and disdain by Haaku, “So, I assume you’re here to try to take my ears or some such foolishness.” Scoffs the half-elf, but Varis’ response is surprisingly un-elf-like. The elf says, “I am not acquainted with many of my kind. By choice. And though I cannot apologize for my race, I can assure you that I am not like them.” Mina is struck by the difference in this elf from the other elves she’s encountered. She is less impressed, though, with Marc, who she recognizes as a noble. Mina’s experience with nobles is that they use money to get whatever they want, and they are rarely trustworthy. After some time with Marc, Mina, and Haaku playing trust games, Marc begins to feel the time slipping away and presents his proposal to Mina. He wants her to take over Granj’s old crew. She agrees to meet with the other factions of the crew, and let them decide. Mina knows that a leadership role taken by force is a position that will only last until someone is brave or strong enough to challenge that lead. A lead won through trust and inspiration is stronger, lasts longer, and is more effective. She will try to win the hearts of this crew, not just their obedience.
Havash the dwarf, Marc the human, Cavasaideen the mul, and Niave the half-elf are the four faction leaders. Mina meets them at an appointed neutral spot. Haaku, Varis and the half-giants stay behind at the camp. When she gets to the spot, she listens to all the points of view. Havash wants to escape tonight; Cavasaideen insists that escaping is hopeless and they should fight the guards, dying with honor in battle; Niave thinks planning is pointless, and everyone should just go their own way. With Granj dead there is only fracturing between these representatives of the factions. Marc wants them to listen to Mina. She, essentially, agrees that all of them are right, but that a combination of these plans is the best approach. After much bickering, they decide they have to take the decision to the rest of the crew. Mina convinces the four to allow her to come speak to the rest of the group.
Depending on what the group decides, whatever will happen could well happen tonight. Therefore, Mina and Marc agree that the group they left back at the fire needs to come as well. Mina is concerned about the risk caused by having the two strongest groups in the slave pens, both of whom were suspected of escape attempts, meeting together. They would attract too much attention. After a moment of thought, Marc comes up with a brilliant solution: Haaku could perform a water ceremony to honor Granj. Mina hurries back to camp, and convinces Haaku that even if the crew doesn’t come expecting to actually participate, that they are in grief and in confusion and they need Haaku’s guidance. He agrees, and the plan works brilliantly. After Haaaku finishes his ceremony, each faction leader stands up to speak, to argue his plan as the only plan. After all of them have spoken, Mina stands to speak.