Abu: Human Sandman Bard, follower of Norgorber
Abu was born in Katapesh and quickly found his skills in negotiations leading him to a very lucrative career. His most recent endeavour was the sale of Pesh.
Achmed Jabul-al-Hakim: Human Desert Druid, follower of Gozreh and Nethys(with plans to go Druid/Wizard/Mystic Theurge)
Achmed is a native Katapeshi and has formed a bond with the more arid locales of Katapesh. A former Pesh addict, Achmed is on the road to recovery, though temptation always seems to hound him.
Hakim Mysun: Suli Paladin of Sarenrae
Hakim is a young brash man, unaware of the true nature of his abilities, believing himself to be human. He is a devout Paladin of Sarenrae and seeks to spread her light to the dark corners of the world.
J'Zargo Raja: Catfolk Rogue, follower of Nethys
Having been born on the isle of Jamelray, J'Zargo traveled to Katapesh at a young age and has grown used to the desert climates of Katapesh. He only speaks when necessary and has a great dislike of being splashed or immersed in water.
The trip had been going for weeks already.
The four unassuming guards of a merchant caravan had taken the job believing the trip to be reasonably risk free. Dashki, their employer, had said so.
As they set off after the afternoon heat had diminished somewhat, old arguments came to the fore again.
Achmed tried to resist Abu's promise of more Pesh, already in debt to the man to the value of 50 gold pieces. Hakim tried to intervene on Achmed's behalf preaching the redemption offered by Sarenrae, but this only infuriated the others.
Abu moved on to try and glean more information from the mysterious catfolk, J'Zargo, managing to get the name of his birthplace, the isle of Jamelray.
As their discussion continued, Abu noticed something strange about the lay of the desert sand.
His reactions were not quick enough though.
Gnolls burst out from beneath the sand, the blankets that had been laid upon their backs being tossed back as they stood.
Abu drew his bow in reaction to this surprise.
Dashki, seeing this unfold, rushed the nearest gnoll. He attempted to grapple it, but the desert sand betrayed him and he almost tripped in the attempt.
The gnolls then moved in, warhammers drawn and began knocking out the caravans guards quickly.
Everything went black for our heroes.
When they woke up, they were in a structure resembling a prison. They quickly learnt that their predicament was worse than they had first thought. The term slave was being thrown around quite often and soon they came to the realisation that this was their fate.
A muscled and tall man often came around with a checklist, inspecting his wares and making notes as he inspected each of them.
They grew resigned to their fate.
Earning their Freedom
A few weeks into their enslavement, a rather important looking man came and inspected each of them.
The muscled man spoke highly of their abilities in combat and even the newly enslaved were convinced by his argument.
After some haggling, the slaves had been purchased by this man. He spoke to them, telling them that they are now in the employ of Princess Almah.
The man introduced himself as Garavel and answered some questions about the piece of metal embedded in the side of his skull. He informed them that it was the 'Pactmasters Favor' and that he was duty bound to protect and serve Princess Almah by it.
They were equipped with Scimitars or Falchions, based on preference, and Shortbows, arrows and armor. They were told that they would be involved in reclaiming Kelmarane, a city lost decades ago, and must be equipped for the task.
Hakim was then instructed to pull the cart containing the equipment that remained.
As they traveled through the city of Katapesh, they attracted little attention with a few sideways glances here and there.
Upon reaching the outskirts, Hakim asked where he was to leave the cart.
Garavel looked at him incredulously and said "Where I tell you to leave the cart."
They soon reached Almah's camp.
As they moved towards the center of the camp, J'Zargo and Abu spotted Dashki, sharpening his blade. They acknowledged him and he waved back before getting back to work on his blade.
Dashki had a new scar, running from his shoulder to halfway down his forearm. It seemed he had gotten away, but at a price.
They continued on and finally stopped at the center of the camp. Garavel instructed Hakim to leave the cart here.
Then, Trade Princess Almah made her appearance.
The slaves were impressed by her beauty and grace and prostrated themselves in front of her.
She then spoke to them, saying "Ah, you must be our final warriors. Come to assist in reclaiming Kelmarane. Come now, stand up, don't be silly."
The slaves all said that this was the case and stood.
She then inquired about each of them.
Abu was quick to speak and told her of his prowess as the greatest bard in Katapesh. She was impressed by this, but skeptical as she asked how a slave could possibly be a bard. He replied saying that he worked as an entertainer for his previous owners.
Achmed spoke next and betrayed himself, letting on to his former addiction to Pesh. This troubled Almah, she inquired as to whether or not this would be an issue, seeming to know something more about Kelmarane.
She then asked Hakim to speak. He told her of his devotion to Sarenrae and about his paladinhood. She was surprised to see a paladin enslaved and asked if he had a holy symbol, he admitted that he did not and she quickly rectified this, ordering one of her servants to collect one for him.
When she came to asking J'Zargo about his history, he told her of his movement from Jamelray to Katapesh when he was younger and his familiarity with the desert. She seemed impressed by his talk of desert survival skills.
Achmed then spoke up, talking of how they had previously spotted Dashki as they made their way into the camp. She told them that he was the groups guide and gnoll expert. She also noted that he was very skilled with his weapons and that he was a 'funny' man, often showing off scars at inappropriate times.
Achmed and Abu then laughed and began to describe a scene at a pub where Dashki had gotten a particularly inappropriately placed scar before thinking better of it and ceasing.
Achmed inquired about assisting Dashki, but Almah seemed convinced that Dashki was more than capable. Through persistence, Achmed was eventually assigned as an understudy to Dashki.
Almah left them then to retire to her tent for some rest before leaving on their expedition in the morning.
Garavel then led them to meet the resident priest, Father Zastoran.
The rickety old man seemed quite at ease playing with some potions when the slaves met him.
The paladin, Hakim, began by introducing himself as a Paladin of Sarenrae, to which Zastoran replied, "Surely you know that it is through magic that true greatness is achieved!"
It was at this point the party noticed a pendant hanging from the mans neck in the shape of a mask, with half of the face black and the other half white. Noticing this, J'Zargo and Achmed quickly noted their devotion to Nethys which seemed to impress the old man.
They spoke and discussed some minor things before Zastoran spoke to them, though mostly to Hakim, "I'm the resident priest here, so don't go stepping on my toes."
Garavel then took them to speak with Dashki.
They greeted him as an old friend, though were soon reminded of his poor hygiene as the smell of the man almost caused Achmed to throw up. Dashki informed them that he thought that they had died in that attack, detailing how he had fought some of them off before more had come which is when he broke free and left them, believing that they were dead.
After some minor discussion, the party decided to sleep for the night. Preparing for adventure in the morning.