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.
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.