At the conclusion of the first day’s fights against the pit, three houses’ teams had been destroyed entirely, with Half of the remaining teams losing members either through fatalities or grievous wounds.
Free to go at the end of the day, Barthomar met the Hezzrat slaves, pleased with them, and in his hands The winning purses from the fights. Barthomar explained that Hamanu of Urik himself had allotted 3000 ceramic per team for the first several fights and that it was divided equally, with Barthomar himself taking the managerial cut for House Hezzrat. He mentioned also that in the event that one of the slaves could not participate in combat and if a replacement could not be found, himself or Hurgen would have to substitute, and because of their experience and standing in Hezzrat their cut of the winnings would be double that of the slaves.
Their pockets filled, the slaves went to the market. Nusakan bought supplies to ease the travel through the desert he suspected the team would again have to make. Everyone gathered around the boy who sold the healing pears with full intent to stock up. Upon realizing his finite quantity of merchandise and rifling through his basket, they bought every last one of his pears and he ran off, thankful that his father would not beat him that evening.
Ka’thovisited the weapons merchant Lazra and spoke with her about the events that had transpired over the course of the day, talking briefly about team [[House Gboerr
| Gbeorr]] and the others that had been destroyed. Lazra explained that the first week’s fights would be against the pit. Their conversation turned towards weapons. She explained that weapons could be made from a psionic creature, and that her daughter made many other different varieties. Ka’tho delayed paying her to amuse himself. When he finally did, the woman was surprised that the team made so little. Ka’tho chalked it up to his bartering abilities and bid her farewell.
Razin went to the gambling house and spoke with Timur, who was in charge of taking bets for the arena games. The others had contributed toward Razin’s pool in Hezzrat’s favor; betting was not yet closed and they might again be able to throw in towards their suspected winnings.
Timur raved about House Wavir’s success – its mul and two Half-Giant gladiators easily earned favor with the pit, who threw at them three blood trees and then ejected them after they refused to leave. Razin’s prior grudge against Wavir for destroying his former house shone through, and the gambler promptly mentioned that bets could be arranged over whether Hezzrat would fight Wavir, and beyond that, if they would beat them. Really, he said, anything at all could be made into a betting proposition. Razin took this in and left.
The following day held another fight and again the slaves were sorted into the pens in which they would wait for their turn. Kai explained that their fight time had been moved back. Sounds of water could be heard from within the pit as Kai explained that the pit was not in control of the exit for this particular event, and that the exit doors were manned with guards.
The slaves entered the arena to grand announcements of their names and titles, their house, and great thunderous applause. They were starting to gain a small amount of notice from the crowds here. Inside the pit, they found two large and two small pools of what appeared to be blood and bodily remains. As they walked in, the blood pools began to undulate and small domes rose above the surface of the pools and spilled out into trunk sized globules on the sides that moved towards the party.
Ka’tho psionically pulled the nearest to him as it began to move. Mir cleaved a pair of globules and they melded with other nearby globs. The globule became harder and slightly larger, bolstered by the mass from the dispersed. Meanwhile, out of the eastern pool rose a giant bloody ooze, over ten feet wide. Nus, unfazed, threw a chemical bomb at it, which is shrugged off and proceeded to roll towards both Razin and Ka’tho, who were covered by the remains of two separate globs that sacrificed themselves, covering the ground and their victims with sticky blood-residue. Unable to manuver, they could clearly see their impending doom.
Mir and Razin lashed out at some of the seemingly endless wave of globs, Mir with her gouge, Razin, stationary, with his fist, and again they joined up with others of their kind. The blood mound slunk towards Razin and Ka’tho, pulling them into itself. As they began to drown and dissolve they could see bits of bone and flesh in the murk of the bloody conglomeration.
Nus destroyed several more globs with an icy chemical bomb, critically wounding the blood mound, but even more pressed forward. Mir found herself surrounded by strengthened blood constructs as Razin slid out of the mound. Ka’tho burst forth shortly after, rolling into a flanking position, and used his psychic ability to shove it away from the combat. It retaliated by surging at him and slamming into him with its whole weight.
Nus once again attacked a hardened glob with his trademark poisons and a reactive chemical that bathed his obsidian sword in flame, but was then immobilized by another globule. Mir decimated several condensed globs, showboating to the crowd and freeing herself from the grasp of her enemies. The giant bloody mound devoured her as it made its way across the arena. With a rolling kick, Razin crashed the mound into one of the bloody towers. Mir took advantage of the opportunity to chop her way free of the giant pile, her gouge tearing a great hole in its side as she stepped out. Unable to maintain its integrity, it deflated, blood gushing out of it. Sensing victory in their grasp, Razin and Ka’tho overtook the remaining globs destroying them. The Pit challenged them no more, and the gates were opened. The Slaves of House Hezzrat left the arena to the roars of the crowd, once again proving they were worthy of the tournament.
Barthomar later greeted the party and once again gave out the purse for victory. The party waited out the remaining battles, hearing the cheers, applause and occasional gasps that accompanied them. The games ran so long that two of them persisted into the night and were fought by torchight and bonfires.
The party returned to their tents outside of the city proper to attempt to clean off. Dieber invited everyone to the tap house, but only Ka’tho and Mir took him up on the offer. It was time to enjoy their winnings and another day that ended with them alive. He explained to them as they followed him that two more teams were taken down by the pit, one of them steamrolled for five minutes by one of the bloody mounds and slowly dissolved. when they arrived at the tap house, inside was a wall of noise powerful enough that nothing could be heard. Nothing needed to be said, it was a party to celebrate the fact that you, still, were alive.
Razin returned to the gambling house as instructed by Timur, but found the door closed and no one in attendance to answer it. Miffed, he walked back to the Hezzrat tents and saw Nus exit his tent completely clean and free of blood, having secretly used magic to do so. Beyond the fire and in the shadows of the distance Razin saw a dozen or so figures in the sand dunes as an arrow flew out of the dark, hitting Nus in the back and puncturing a lung. In the span of several moments Razin calculated that what had to be a raiding party was about three hundred feet away and he leaped forward, pulling Nus to the ground and intending to bide his time.
At the tap house, the raucous celebrations were halted at the arrival of the guardsman Lionas, who opened the door and collapsed wordlessly into a bloody pile on the floor. Dozens of people poured out of the tap house and scattered into the town as alarms sounded around Valmiren. Mir and Ka’tho made it out quickly, noticing just ahead of them one of the house Wavir Half-Giants rushing out into the night brandishing a huge sword. As they ran they looked back inside and saw the other Wavir gladiators still seated at the table, drinking their drinks.
Nus and Razin lay on the ground on the far side of the camp. Nus, knowing there was little he could do about his severe wound, reached into his pack and drew out several of the sedative-lined quills he had harvested from the party’s previous encounter with the pit’s dangerous flora. Barthomar and Hurgen charged off into the night, each to fend off nearly twenty raiders on their own. Razin waited for an opportune moment to strike as the raiding party broke off into several groups. As the raiders entered the camp he leaped to the far end of the line and strafed them with a flurry of blows, knocking several out into the darkness and landing solid blows on the Dwarves that remained. He was immediately flanked and shoved to the ground by shield bashes from both of the Dwarves. Nus was similarly flanked, but managed to roll out of the way of his attackers and dispatch one of them, drawing out his sword and bleeding from the stress of the movement.
The Half-Elf raider captain sidled up to Razin, trying to stab him; an archer at the edge of the camp shot at him as well. The monk kipped up and rolled out of the way, knocking one of Nus’ attackers prone. The Dwarves again surrounded Razin and dropped him to the ground, whereupon the captain walked over and stabbed him in the chest, knocking him unconscious.
Ka’tho and Mir arrived to see their party members assaulted and to see Nus, gasping for air, heal Razin using the arcane. They both noted this and charged into the camp, Mir towards the archer and two Dwarves that moved into flanking position to attack her. The archer got a prime shot at the gladiator as Ka’tho moved to blast back the captain and archer with a blow that thundered through the small camp. Nus charged behind the Kreen and flailed at a lone Dwarf, finding his armor too hard to pierce.
The two sides brawled for some time on equal ground. Razin, recently revived from near death, was stabbed as he approached the archer and tripped the Half-Elf captain in such a way that made her grievously wound the bowman. Mir cracked the armor and collarbone of one dwarf as she was pulled to the ground and assaulted by two more. Ka’tho and Razin gained the upper edge as they killed more and more opponents and had to fall back to tend to Mir and Nus, who had both fallen unconscious due to the severity of their wounds.
Opponent morale broke and the archer fled, cursing the party. The last remaining Dwarf failed to be apprehended by Ka’tho and Mir, who wanted to take him alive.
As the rush from the battle died down, the party fell in to tend to their wounds and gather their composure. Nusakan grimly concluded that he would not be able to participate in further gladiatorial games in this condition, suggesting that a replacement for him be found. Hezzrat had four days to find a final member of the team…