The Slaves of House Hezzrat

Slaves of House Hezzrat: Introduction
Priest Defiance Hexameron 8-18

The Elven Market bustles with patrons, Each one rifling through the contents of different carts and casks, somewhere within was the treasure they were seeking. Vendors call out to each passer-by, dried dates for 2 bits, a dose of water for a ceramic, fledgling Erdlu for 200 ceramic, And in the corner, a junior member of House Stel hawks slaves.

Among those for sale in the House Stel stock are four very notable slaves: The Gladiator Mir, a minotaur raised from a young age in the prestigious Kazyrian Fighting School, The bodyguard Ka’tho, a clutchless Thri-Kreen now being sold as a bodyguard and Gladiator, the Barber and Scribe Eridan, and a beaten but unbowed Laborer, Voskyn. Taking note of these individuals was Barthomar, a mul slave working for House Hezzrat, a minor noble house among the many in Urik. Purchasing the four of them, along with a Dwarf laborer, he took them to House Hezzrat later that day.

While at House Hezzrat, they met a number of other slaves, including the Slave Queen, her Thri-Kreen Bodyguard Ke’vi’kit, , a wily half elf, and the clothes washer and head of intelligence, Bornam. They were quickly singled out for their roles as either combatants or, in Nus, as he likes to be called, case, as a barber and experienced healer.

on the first day there, Wek tried to make his escape. he was, however, caught. the punishments, as they are, are brutal for runaway slaves in House Hezzrat.
Barthomar gave the following speech, as Wek was lifted upon the obsidian rack, up the high tower, punctuating it with his screams.

“You will be treated well. Fed, Watered and sheltered. Your punishments, if you merit them, will be soft. You will never be deprived of water or food, or shelter. But if you attempt escape, you will suffer the direst consequences. Your death will not be swift. Wek will be atop the high tower, strapped to an obsidian Rack, to bake there for three days. Then, he will be treated to the lash. After this, he will be fed, alive, to the masters ”/campaign/house-hezzrat-slaves/wikis/Zevek%20Hounds/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Zevek Hounds.

Let this be a lesson to all of you.
Do not try to escape. Freedom may be earned by diligence and many years of service, but none earlier. Master Hezzerat will release any children you have upon your death, free or slave.
Welcome to your new home.”

Nus tended to Master Hezzrat for 4 days before being told that they were to be a present to Master Hezzrat’s niece, Feera, who’d become the influential Vice Mayor in Urik’s bid to try and overthrow the hold that Balic has on the town. They were sent, with Barthomar as driver and leader, and a hired bevy of elven caravan drivers, on the 9 day trek. given just enough food for the trip there, they were told to make good time, and be sure that they arrived on time for her birthday celebration, his present was not to be delayed. They were also told they were to defend themselves from any bandits that appeared and would make trouble, and that were they to disappear, the entirety of House Hezzrat would expend any amount of their significant wealth to track them down, find them, and slowly have them die on the Obsidian Wrack.

The first 3 days, travelling the outskirts of the Great Alluvial Waste and through the badlands, went well.Barthomar even had Voskyn scout out ahead, trusting that he would come back. His trust was not misplaced. Each day, the group made good time, and even passed through the Wastes in good standing. Upon reaching the rocky, pre-mountainous region around Altaruk, however, they were almost instantly ambushed, set upon by a number of raiders and their battle-slaves.
The outcome was Uncertain, but battle, was joined.

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Betryal and Bloody Justice
Priest Defiance Hexameron 21

When the Elves emerge from their tents, and immediate assault the four slaves, the reprisal is swift and brutal. within seconds, their leader is lying on his back, and a call of “Stay your Weapons” Rings through the air.

Tellamon, Guard Captian of the Trade Quarter of Altaruk, interviened in the timely manner he is well known for. Mir, about to strike the final blow to Kadaras, halts her gouge mere inches from his face, sparing the elf.

Demanding to know whats going on, Kadaras immediately launches into a diatribe against the slaves, claiming that the armed slaves had obviously been attempting to run away, and that they were just doing their duty by re-capturing them to ransom off to House Hezzrat. Ka’tho Imidiatly responds with the truth, that Kadaras is a lying cheat, and that they attacked for no reason, However, tellamon’s predisposition and Kadaras’s honeyed tounge prove to much, and he has them taken into the arena holding cells for the evening, informing them that they will decide the matter “Under the fire of the sun, in the sands of the arena, as is proper.”

After waiting all evening and morning, fed little and baking in the red light of the sun, a quick visit by Barthomar explained the rules and challenges of the game, and then they were on the floor of the arena.

After a decently decisive game, The slaves are freed from guilt, and the Elves of the Moonrunner clan are banished from Altaruk under pain of death. Barthomar congratulates them, and leads them to the Hezzrat Stronghold here in the town, where they meet Feera. Impressed by their actions, she informs them that they have become her newest gladiators, due to their showing that day, and that they will have what they need to be the best, and bring her the most money possible.

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A Strange Murder
Priest Defiance Morrow 12

After the events in the Bloodsand Arena of Hexamaron, they were treated to a few weeks of time on their own. Each of them found their own things to do, between training for arena matches and learning the art of weapon carving.

The Fortress town of old had been wiped out by giants just dozen years earlier, forcing Wavir to rebuild once again. The old fortress walls that once housed a small settlement, now provide the paving stones for a significantly larger town. It is no luxury town, however, and everything has an eye toward functionality.

Vos, in particular, took up training Under Dershin, a crafter of weapons of the Tombalor House. While it is not cheap or easy, Vos has shown he’s up to the challenge.

With Nus practicing his combat skills, Mir exploring the town, getting a feel of everywhere, and Ka’tho looking to see if he had Kreen he could get in touch with, the three weeks passed by rather quickly.

Morrow 9, the group was infromed that they would be participating in the noon matinee on Morrow 12, and that they should prepare for the worst. this was to be a fight to the death, and they were not to disapoint Feera

The fight against the gith was swift and touch and go at some times, but eventually, the group overcame them and the surprise spiders that were hidden in the arena as well.

As they finish the fight, and the crowd is cheering, someone yelled, and guard appeared everywhere, violently ushering the spectators out of the stands, and the gladiators into a holding pen, one they were familiar with just weeks before.

a while later,Barthomar came to relieve them and task them with finding the murderer. Tellamon, one of the mercenary guard captains, had been murdered.

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A Strange Murder, Part 2
Priest Defiance Morrow 12

The group was brought up to where Tellamon was slain. There, slumped on the risers of heated stone, his body lay, and nearby a group of guards surrounded a pair of “witnesses”

After asking questions of the bystanders, and peeking at the corpse, They had discovered there were a number of leads. A large person, clothed in a white, linen robe, wearing gladiatorial sandals, had approached Tellamon. Shortly thereafter, Tellamon slumped over, gasped once, and died.

Following a Trail of clues from the forges of House Tombalador to the Black Poppy, where a sudden attack by some local thugs tossed everything into general disarray. Following a dwarf fleeing into a building, the night culminated in combat with a mute Mul gladiator, Vos’s final blow tearing open the assassins coin-pouch, spilling the ceramic coincs of Gulg over the floor, immediately before a troupe of guards poured down the stairs and surrounded the group.

Taken in custody to the Mercenary Barracks, they are asked very few questions and then let go, courtesy of the writ granted them by Feera, and a few Gulgan coins swiped by one of the Guard Lieutenants. They followed the Lieutenants to a bar near by, where they spoke to Birk, a dwarf of interest in the killing of Tellemon.

There he revealed, while not everything, something of what has happened. In his odd, broken speak, he told them that he is the most loyal of the Hezzrat household. He was sent here by Master Hezzrat a few years ago to keep an eye on his favorite niece, Feera, and to make sure that she is kept safe. He learned that Tellamon was a spy for House Wavir, and even has a small plot on the side to assassinate Feera if the chance presented itself. This was a threat that could not be avoided. He dealt with it.

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Against the Ants
Priest Defiance Morrow 23

Almost 2 weeks after the events following Tellamons murder, the group was back in the gladiatorial arena once again. In a Wavir-sponsored event for many of Altaruk’s gladiators, This specific group was pitched in a fetch game. Grab 3 large, white eggs from one end, and get them back the your side before time runs out!

As always in a gladiator fight, however, something was going to try and kill them. as they stepped out onto the blood-caked floor, devoid of enemies, they knew something was afoot. Strewn in groups throughout the battlefield were tangles of Witchbriar, a vine with a natural numbing poison coating its sharp, numerous, large thorns. As they advanced through the arena towards the struggling eggs on the other side, they were unsurprised as giant ants burst from the ground!

tackling these ants, and some of them running for the eggs, they fought off the horde, until, as one, the ants dove back into the tunnels they came from.

given a moments respite, they caught their breath, and when ants, again, started pouring out, they were ready.

they were not ready, however, for the enormous Ant Queen that appeared moments later. The crowd roared with this rare spectacle, and roared even louder as one by one the gladiators dropped to her and her horde, but, as the sky slowly darkened by a growing sandstorm, the great beast was taken down, and Barthomar came into the arena and drug out the unconscious and wounded into the cells below the arena.

when they were finally released from the cell, the landscape had changed. Sand covered the town in a gritty blanket, and as the storm raged and abated over the next two days, people spoke of great magics, and the rage of the spirits of the land, a storm like this had not been seen in decades.

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A Missing Caravan
Priest Defiance Morrow 23-26

After the sandstorm a disheveled wagon handler arrived at the gates of House Hezzrat. Bringing a supply of grains and mineral water to the House from Balic, the wagon handler was the only one to make it back to the fortress-town. Feera is unable to spare anyone important from the town, and sends the group, with the wagon driver, Rastrom to recover the remnants of the caravan that got itself lost in the desert.

Chasing Rastroms last hints of where he was headed, he leads them into the bleak badlands surrounding Altaruk. While out there, Ka’tho scouting and Vos leading the way, they encounter a camp of Wavir mercenaries dragging out into the desert the remains of the supplies from a Hezzrat wagon. The fight was over quickly as the gladiators made quick work of the ill-trained mercenaries. Moving onward they were attacked in the bleak lands by giant sword-beetles: A mother beetle, and a horde of smaller ones feasting on a kank’s chitinous shell. The beetles quickly gained the upper hand, the mother spewing toxin-filled barbs nearly continuously. Though Mir and Nus were both battered by the beetles, after Vos and Ka’tho finished them off, they were able to patch up Mir. Nus, however, succumbed to his wounds, the poison infecting his system such that others were unable to aid him.

Picking up their friend, after a debate they decided to quickly get the contents of the wagons back and see if there is anything Feera could do to assist the deceased Nus. They followed the tracks to a crumbled tower, where they found the Wavir mercenaries, this time lead by a half-giant. When the mercenaries finished unloading the last of the caravan goods they disappeared into the tower’s basement. With surprise on their side, the Slaves decided to strike….

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Timely Meeting in the Tower

The remainder of Hezzrat’s slaves, Mir, Vos and Ka’tho, accompanied by the caravan driver Ramdros, slipped inside the perimeter of the tower with the intent to ambush the House Wavir raiders who had made off with the caravan’s goods.

At the same time, the Half-Giant shaman Alkali sat poised in the basement, having been called to the tower by a spiritual summons. He had arrived even before the raiders and set up camp in the basement. Hearing the sounds of battle overhead, he ascended and found the Hezzrat slaves and Wavir raiders in combat. Among the number of Wavir, he recognized a fellow Half-Giant, Sumaran, who had plagued Alkali’s village before. Alkali summoned his spiritual companion Tacia and charged into the room to have her do battle.

When all was done, the Wavir raiders had been defeated at the cost of Mir’s life. Alkali conferred with the Hezzrat slaves, exchanging stories, and revealed that his village leader was capable of returning spirits to their physical vessels. Ramdros would return to Altaruk and call for merchants to pack up the retrieved goods. Ka’tho would remain at the tower, and Vos and Alkali would travel to Alkali’s village with the bodies of Mir and Nus. In the meantime Ka’tho made jerky of the elven defiler amongst the Wavir slaves, and Vos descended into the tower’s basement, returning with an obsidian sword held by a mysterious stone arm.

In the morning Ramdros and the party went their separate ways, but not before dressing up the entrance to the tower as a deterrent for visitors. The bodies of Mir and Nus were recovered, and Alkali led the way, muttering to something no one else could see. Time would tell if they could rescue their allies.

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To the Grey and Back

Alkali successfully led the Hezzrat slaves to his village, called Tadoro, and there confered with his tribal leader, Fermos. the party learned that the cost for resurrecting the dead was high. Vos pooled the money of his deceased allies with his own and would be able to reimburse the village leader.

Alkali conferred with the spirit of Mir, who had become trapped in the Grey. She was freshly attached to her body, still, and time appeared to pass much more slowly than in the realm of the living. Vos met some of the villagers, not letting on that he had attempted to memorize the way to the village.

The village leader returned with the necessary rare herbs to perform the resurrection. Alkali and Vos observed as Mir was struck back to life. Nus was not so lucky, having been in the Grey for a while longer. To him it felt as though he had been there for years, running from horrors not native to the realm of the living. His skin had lost its color and his muscles ached; it would be a difficult trek back to the tower.

Fermos called Alkali away for an important discussion, having seen the kind of company he found himself keeping. Nus took the obsidian sword from Vos and cut his hair short with it, muttering something about “not being able to see them out of the corner of [his] eyes.” Mir spoke with a villager who made it clear that while they were not particularly unwelcome, it would be best for them to leave, and soon. Mir was given several healing fruits for the journey. The party, they found, would need them.

Vos succeeded in guiding the party back to the tower. Just short of arriving, their progress was halted by a giant centipede. Mir and Nus fled towards the tower while Vos led the beast off on a harrowing chase, which only ended with what the others assumed to be his demise.

Ka’tho greeted them around the same time as the merchants from Hezzrat arrived, gathered the goods, and made for home.

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Give Back Twice What You Get

The Hezzrat slaves arrived back at Altaruk, shaken by the loss of their recent comrade. after arriving at Hezzrats stronghold within the town, they were each taken to a cellar dungeon. While the story of Vos’s disappearance and likely death matched, the truth, by law, had to be extracted. In turn, each of them were brutally tortured to determine the truth. This did little to assist Nus’ mental health, but he and the others seemed to recover with the introduction of a new party member, a Human monk and gladiator named Razin. The slaves tested his ability to fight viciously and found it suitable for their tastes.

The party was told that they were to participate in a series of gladiatorial games off in Velmiran, a small town at least nine days away, and that a Mekillot caravan would arrive to facilitate the trip. About halfway they were to stop at an oasis out in the wastes. Several days later Barthomar revealed that no caravan was coming and that the perilous journey would have to be made on foot. He and another Half-Giant slave, Hurgen, would join them, both for managment of the tournament and for assistance in the trip.

Several days out the party was assaulted by Aarakocra, the vulture-men of the wastes. Their arrival had been heralded by kestrekel, small black birds that are a sign that death is on its way. The Aarakocra assaulted the party, wounding Mir and Nus and slowing progress. Their numbers were so great and they were so persistent that no one would sleep for several nights.

Nus tended to Mir as the remaining slaves happened upon a caravan towards the end of an Aarakocra attack that resulted in the death of the majority of the travelers. The only survivor was a teenage psion, who managed to fend off the Aarakocra with the party. She joined them, having no other way to survive the wastes, and continued onward

Very soon their progress was again halted by the Aarakocra, but this time it was a force too large to count or defeat, and included their supposed leader, an elder Aarakocra whose feathers had grayed and who carried an obsidian staff. In stilted common, he gave the party an ultimatum: if they left their food and water, they would be able to go on unassailed. Otherwise, the Aarakocra would descend and kill them all. The party was split as to what to do and unable to deter his threats. The Aarakocra thus left in order to give them time to muse. By dusk, however, they would return, and their choice was to be made.

The party could not come to a unanimous decision regarding what to do with their goods. Several options were posited: they could alter their packs to conceal some supplies, bury others poorly in order to distract the Aarakocra, or disguise whatever remained that they would not give as something else. Razin posited that Nus could poison the food they surrendered. Impressed, Nus conceded and everyone set about making the plan happen, poisoning all of their food, and hiding and disguising as much water as they figured they could get away with.

The Aarakocra eventually came for the supplies, thinking themselves smart for discovering the poorly buried goods, and left. The Hezzrat slaves continued on towards the oasis while their supplies lasted. In total, they had saved perhaps a days worth of water. maybe more.

Some time later the angry cries of Aarakocra could be heard off in the distance, seeking vengeance. The final contingent contained several spearmen, the Aarakocra elder, and a shaman, each of whom assailed the party with a wide variety of attacks. The elder summoned a pair of desert elementals and split the party such that they could not organize themselves.

The ensuing battle saw the fall of nearly the entire party, save Ka’tho. Between the efforts of Mir and Razin the Aarakocra elder was defeated and the last remaining spearman fled.

Everyone healed and righted themselves, thankful that no further Aarakocra threat would plague them. They continued on towards the oasis, confident they would make it there with the supplies they had kept.

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Silver and Gold

The Hezzrat slaves were faced with a decision – soldier on, pressing forward in the hopes that they could arrive at the oasis with their scarce supplies, or attempt to rest and delay their travels further. They decided to press on for several more hours, but not before Ka’tho opted to take some Aarakocra meat for the trip. The rest of the party was not so desperate.

Having been assailed for a number of nights, the party was only exhausting themselves further by continuing to travel. When they finally broke camp, Ka’tho overslept his watch and Mir awoke expecting to begin hers but instead watching the sunrise.

The journey continued as hot wind and sand blasted the slaves, breaking their pace and forcing them to try to shield themselves from the elements. Barthomar had become feverish just as Mir had some days previous, but refused all treatment. After some deliberation and assessment of the placement of the sun, Nus discovered that the party had been going in the wrong direction for some time. They found themselves at the edge of the Alluvial Wastes, and would have to go South in order to catch the trail again. They rested that evening under the protective shield of a table of boulders, while the wind whipped the sand all around.

The next morning, the wind and sand rose into an undeniable storm, slowing the party further, and draining the last of their water. What had once been confidence in reacting the oasis before their supplies ran out, reach a final, deflating, end. The storm finally broke as they happened upon an impressive set of ruins, featuring sandstone walls up to 20 feet high. Deciding to camp in this shelter, they explored the area for threats and found a massive pair of wooden doors facing East. Nus inspected the architecture and deduced that this must have been the fortress-town Gibbid, which had been a successful farming town in the Green Age. In the Red Age, the city was seized by the warlord Matach, who drew a great amount of tribute from the surrounding area. Legend has it that the other area warlords banded together and hired an army to assault the city from an even greater warlord. The leader of the army, Kamid, razed the city and took whatever treasure he could find, but stories are told of treasures being found by looters and adventurer, persist to this day.

The party split up into groups of two as Ka’tho searched for a well he knew should exist within the town. He inspected what looked like barracks and found a carpet underneath a fine layer of sand, and beneath that a stone slab which led to a passageway below. The party assembled at the entrance of the passage as he explored the hallway, finding rooms with doors who had been torn off of their hinges brutally and a pile of bones with the skull split nearly in half. Mir and Nus joined him to explore further as Razin, Barthomar and Hurgen decided to look for an alternate route.

Ka’tho’s party found what looked to be a large library, with remains of books and scraps of paper strewn everywhere. The age of the room had shown as they entered; papers disintegrated as they trudged over them. Four bodies lay strewn about as well, but Nus was enthralled by a familiar sight – an upper thigh and hip made of obsidian, granite and wood, resting against a wall. He collected this artifact and stored it with the arm and sword Vos had given him earlier.

Ka’tho found a secret passage on the left side of the room, the opening of which forced a great wind and stench of mold out, the likes of which Razin and the others could hear topside. The papers in the room were destroyed by the blast.

Razin’s party found a spiral staircase which led down into some similar underground passages. The stumbled across a large, empty room first, and later, a large bath, with a stagnant pool at one end, of muddied condensation. at the end of the bath, they also found a set of latrines. They would even find the remains of a sauna.

Ka’tho entered the secret passage and found a room in which a box had been pushed or pulled by a pair of people, the only remnants of which were mold outlines on the floor. He found a small, slowly source of water dripping from the ceiling providing a slow but steady flow of water, probably enough for a single person to survive on, but definitely not enough for 2, let alone the half dozen that they traveled with. Inspecting the box, he found nineteen bars of differing substances, seven black and 12 brown. Scraping the residue on them revealed to the party that they were gold and silver, respectively, a fortuitous discovery in the wastes.

The parties met back up and exchanged what information they had found, after some deliberation on the slaves’ part as to whether they should reveal the existence of the gold and silver to Barthomar and Hurgen, who were their maters-on-site. Barthomar informed them that they had found the treasure during their errand on behalf of Hezzrat to participate in the gladiatorial fights, and thus anything they found would be theirs to keep, per Hezzrat law.

After a night sleep, they had to move on. Out of water, out of food, and barely able to stand the beating sun and scorched air, they had to continue on. During the evening, Ka’tho deduced that someone had likely found the stash of treasure and would be returning for it. Given the party’s disturbance of the room just before the secret passage, and of course their new possession of the gold and silver, someone would know they had come and want to find them.

They decided to set out and divided the bars amongst themselves, following the road west. They came upon a wide gorge, and debated whether or not they should try to cross it, risking a long fall, or go around, delaying themselves further.

Nus fey stepped across and had the party throw a rope to him, over which they slid the bags of gold and silver. Mir, Ka’tho, Razin, Barthomar and Hurgen all made the gap in good order, and everyone continued on.

Not long after, they believed that they saw traces of green off in the distance…

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