The City of Absalom is abuzz with excitement. The streets are full of revelers and feasting, as residents celebrate the city’s independence from tyranny. All seem most eager to witness the evening’s biggest event, the annual Passion of the First Siege of Absalom, where hundreds dress in elaborate costume, don fake armor and weaponry, and crowd the Irorium floor to participate in a mock combat, reenacting the first siege of Absalom.
Meat juices running down his otherwise clean-shaven chin, Iago takes another raenous bite from the lamb and onion-filled flatbread. "Gods on high. Never again will I complain about big smelly cities. At least you can wash the stink away here. You there, with the wine! Come here, I have months of jungle travel to make up for, and an overfilled coin pouch."
His bulk barely hidden beneath his robes, the figure nevertheless makes his way through the crowds, largely unnoticed.
|Akhenethys Bin Lisimba|
Caellus picks up a set of paints and brushes (artisan's tools), intending to paint the scenes of the Passion from his seat in the Irorium. He then makes his way to the stadium, finding himself a good seat up high with a commanding view of the stadium floor.
Ex Bop pays his fee to enter the theater and quickly finding a seat in the back. He'd rather be outside the city, but he had a whim to see what this was about.
|Akhenethys Bin Lisimba|
"Ahhh, and fine entertainment. And just the kind I like; violent yet educational." says Iago to himself, wiping his face and hands with a piece of cloth he then stuffs back into a pocket. Looking around for a seat and refreshments, he finds the later in the person of a honey wine peddler. His tankard filled, he locates the former, trying to ease his way through gently. Too bad that armorsmith charges so much, I could have been strolling about in plate. Oh well. Next time.
As you make your way through the streets, a lean-faced man hiding behind a long cowl slips alongside.
A moment of your time He says as he pulls you aside, into the shadows of a nearby alley.
Once you seems to be alone with him and after he looks around him he adds It seems we have two things in common Pathfinders, an eagerness to participate in good celebration, and this… He punctuates his sentence by holding out an elaborately carved wayfinder, the type only granted to Pathfinders of great importance.
I assure you, its mine, he adds quickly, closing the device and tucking it back into the folds of his cloak with a quick, easy motion. Then he continues, I know a good number of you are already planning to attend the festivities this evening. I need but a casual favor. An old associate of mine, Charvion Eater-of–Bones is set to make an elaborate display of some artifact he claims to have recovered. I’ve not had contact with him in a year or so, and I’ve a curious feeling about the event.
More I cannot say; however, I’d appreciate you keeping an eye on whatever stunt he’s considering. He’s a natural charlatan that one. Just keep an eye out is all—nothing serious. Don’t let him know that you’re watching, and do not approach the artifact during the showing. Most importantly, tell no one of this conversation.
You may ask questions
"Greetings, my friend... I believe I may have seen you around the Grand Lodge on occasion, although I cannot recall your name... I am Caellus, humble priest of Shelyn and Pathfinder Field Agent!" He reaches out to shake the man's hand warmly.
"Of course I shall keep an eye out - Explore, report cooperate, yes?" Caellus doesn't ask further questions unless the man volunteers more information.
Are we taken aside separately by this strange man, or are we briefed altogether?
"Oookay...? Not used to being accosted by other agents in dark alleyways, but sure. I'll bite. What does this "artifact" purportedly do? In laymans terms please. And why are we being so conspiratorial?" asks a weary Iago, who calmly begins taking a kerchief out to wipe the grease off.
@Iago You are taken alltogether, travelling together toward the Irorium from the Grand Lodge
The lean-faced man doesn't seems to like human contact or to be fond of socialization and just nod at Caellus greetings. He turns to Iago and says
Supposedly an ancient Azlant artifact from the Mwangi Expense. It's just a feeling I have about him, nothing serious. But better safe than sorry.
Oh, OK... that wasn't clear. In that case...
One of the people in the alley is a very young man, almost a boy, slim in stature with long blonde hair tied back in a short ponytail. He wears a rainbow-hued tunic, nuder which can be seen a shirt of fine links of chainmail. He carries a painter's easel under one arm, and a stout cudgel rests on his other shoulder.
"Hello, colleagues! I am Caellus, and I'm glad to meet you all!" He looks around at the others, extending his hand to each in turn and repeating his name. "And you are...?"
Caellus spends his time during the first part of the performance painting various scenes, somewhat disgusted by the crowds. Once the finale is announced, her carefully packs away his supplies and becomes more attentive, recalling the strange old Pathfinder's request.
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
"i was wondering when you were going to introduce yourself." offers the blonde Chel with a roguish smile spread across a perhaps smug face. "Iago Dalamitri. Late of Cheliax."
Iago comments: "Good Caleus, fellow agents... Anyone else feel ridiculous that here we are, eyeing this agent with suspicion on the word of a man who we barely know, have barely seen who asks to meet with us in secret? We're about a step and a half away from believing street prophecies of Aroden's return, divined in the dregs of a goblet of cheap ale. Yes, I know what I said; it was on purpose."
He cranes his neck to get a better view. "So, this thing really Azlanti? I thought they all sunk in the Arcadian ocean a long long time ago. Not exactly anywhere close to hot, sweltering Mwangi with it's bugs, snakes, cats, murderous kobolds and enraged dinosaurs. At this point, I'm willing to bet this whole contraption is nothing but a fancy cage he bought in Katapesh and a gnome illusionist behind the curtain."
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Knowledge:History: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
|Akhenethys Bin Lisimba|
The hooded figure steps up.
"I do not know what else we can expect but let's us assume that the warning is true. Should we not at least mingle among the crowd and see if anything untoward happens?" he looks up from beneath his cowl and scowls.
"Getting closer might be a better idea too." as he moves at a leisurly pace meant to allow his companions to move along with him.
The lean-faced man says My name is Osprey before he transforms into an a small bird of prey, and flies off, leaving you alone in the shadowy alley.
Akhenethys seems to recognize the man, as one of the agent of the Ten.
After the strange meeting, you continue your way to the Irorium but unfortunately, you were only able to obtain tickets for the mezzanine seats, the cheapest...
Taking a lok at this ticket, Graff scoffs.
"Better than nothing......"
You seat together on the mezzanine seats and watch or participate at the mock battle and waits to the end of the Passion.
The Irorium has five public entrances, the main gate and four side gates. A sixth gate to the south is a work entrance reserved for gladiators, arena workers, and other performers.
Main Gate: The main gates face north. On the mezzanine level, a 20-foot-wide stone arch opens onto an equally wide marble stairwell that descends out onto the street. The stairwell corridor is 300 feet long. At street level, the corridor can be barricaded with a pair of barred iron gates.
Side Gates: There are four side exits, all connected to the mezzanine level. Each exit leads through a 20-foot-wide stone arch that opens to an equally wide marble stairwell, which in turn descends out onto the street. On the mezzanine level, the stairwell corridor is 300 feet long. The upper level stairwells are 500 feet long. At the street level, the corridor can be barricaded with a pair of barred iron gates.
Service Exit: The service exit is located on the arena floor, just behind the makeshift stage. Only Irorium workers and performers are permitted to use it; anyone attempting to pass through the doors without permits is denied. All would-be trespassers are sent off by a platoon of surly guards. Beyond the entrance, a main passage connects to side chambers used by gladiators and arena workers. All creatures, gladiators, workers, and others involved with events use this route to gain access to the arena floor.
The Irorium has four seating levels. To avoid undue attention, the Society has provided the PCs with seats according to their stature, based on the group’s Tier status. The highest tier is proved with field level tickets. The remaining Tiers are provided with mezzanine level
seats. Those with field tickets may sit anywhere. Those with mezzanine seats are permitted to sit anywhere in mezzanine or the three levels above. There are no specific assigned seats; seating is general and all seating consists of stone or wooden bleachers.
1. Field Seats: These seats are on the lowest level, closest to the ring. They are reserved for important and wealthy attendees. Field seats are accessible by descending staircases from the mezzanine level.
2. The Mezzanine: This level sits just above the field seats, though it is entirely separated from them. The mezzanine has a slight overhang that extends over the last two rows of field seats. These seats are open to the general public; however, they cost a couple of gold pieces apiece (depending upon the event), and thus their occupants tend to be middle and upper class citizens. The mezzanine is the central hub of the Irorium, providing access to all other levels as well as the most of the exits. It connects to five of the Irorium’s exits: the main gate and the four side exits. From the mezzanine, several sets of stairs climb to the upper levels as well as descend to the field seats.
3. Terrace: The Terrace consists entirely of open-air stone bleachers carved into the structure of the Irorium. The view of the field is still good enough to observe events. A terrace seat usually costs a few silvers. Stairs from the mezzanine provide access to the terrace.
4. Grandstands: This level consists of rickety wooden bleachers. Seats cost a few coppers, or are sometimes free, depending on the event. Stairs from the Terrace provide access to the grandstands
5. The Ledge: The top level of the Irorium is a broad, 15-foot-wide railed ledge that encircles the entire arena. It is so far away from the arena floor that it provides only a pitiful view of events below. Stairs from the grandstands provide access to the ledge.
Charion Eater-of-Bone is now the center-piece of the crowd attention.
Charvion’s onstage assistants aid him in taking questions from the crowd so that he might ask them of the spirits.
What do you do Pathfinders ?
So are we in the grandstands or on the ledge?
Catching up with the intro before rping where we are at."I'm Ex Bop. A ranger." With rapiers at his side and a crossbow with bolts, he probably isn't the image of rangers most would have.
Ex Bop moves just about as close as he can get, being mindful that we shouldn't approach the demonstration.
"Graff Leogil." Graff explains.
"A follower of he who destroys though there's really good reason for that."
Caellus smirks at the cheap charlatanry, nodding at Iago's colorful description. "Indeed, such trickery is in poor taste. ONe needs no such device to speak with spirits," he observes.
Still, Osprey's warning... I have heard of him, and I do not believe he would worry for nothing. Best to stay alert...
Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (10) + 0 = 10
To Graff: "He who destroys? While I don't recognize that name, I regret whatever has happened to you that has driven you to such a path, fellow Pathfinder. Perhaps I can show you another way, a better way, that causes less harm and creates more joy?" Caellus is easily distracted from his task of watching to enter into conversation with a lost soul.
"Its a path I fell into that resonates deep into my own soul. The big Guy has a poor rep but he's only just misunderstood. He's not too fussy on what we destroy and its a matter of perspective. Nevertheless, being with the pathfinders gets me missions to destroy things........." he grins.
"or people who can't take a hint." he adds in the last darkly.
Iago winces. "Not to be a party pooper, but could we avoid the theological discussions? They tend to end poorly. Trust me, I'm Chelish."
He sighs dejectedly. "Can't really see anything from here. Let's try to walk on down closer to the... Whatever you'd like to call this. By the way, and this is a question I will surely regret; what does one need to chat with spirits?" he asks as he makes to get up and move on down a little closer.
"Why Certainly. Though one must why would you have a need to speak with spirits?"
Caellus raises an eyebrow at Graff's reply. "Well, of course, there are many ways to be a Pathfinder... but please don't destroy everything before we get a chance to examine it!" He gives Graff a slap on the back and lets the issue go.
"Iago, isn't every decision a theological discussion to some degree? I always find such discussions are best held on our days off, like today, rather than while hanging from a rope bridge over a boiling pool of lava or something. I like to know what I can expect from my colleagues. For example, I just learned that Graff here, while a priest, is probably not someone I should ask to heal my comrades if I can't get to them. Useful for me to know."
"Uh... Yeah. Sure. Nonetheless brother Caellus, if we could keep them brief and without anyone getting burnt to a cinder in the aftermath, I would be very grateful." concedes Iago, who then takes a long drink from his jug. "Damn place is packed tighter than a Razmiri faith barge on national "grab a heretic" day" he comments, his attempts to get closer for a better look foiled. "HEY DOWN THERE! IF YOU CAN SEE SHAROWSMITH COULD YOU ASK HIM WHY HE DIDN'T RUN THE OTHER WAY?" he shouts down at Charion.
As Iago voice get past the noise of the Irorium, several heads turns to him, and a young assistant of Chavion came to him with a paper.
Can you write your question Sir ? Chavion seems interested to your question
After Iago write down his question, the young assitant go back to the stage and give the question to Chavion.
After a few seconds, Chavion's eyes turn white and with an hollow voice he says.
I... WANT... TO... BE... FAMOUS... AGAIN... TO ... LIVE ... ONE ... MORE ... TIME ... TO FEEL ... TO BE ... A PATHFINDER ... AGAIN...
Other question are passed to Chavion who respond with the same hollow voice, it seems that the artifact is quite real or that Chavion is quite good !
You can make me a Perception check if you want
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
"Gentlemen, agents and affiliates of the Society... Did Venture Captain Sharrowsmith blow me off, or was his answer an unsecured teleport away from where my question was?"
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
"I have no idea who Venture-Captain Sharrowsmith is, so I really couldn't say," replies Caellus, "but I'm fairly sure you were just speaking to a lunatic in a cage, and not the spirit of someone long-departed, anyway."
Caellus tries to understand whether this is a valid demonstration of something occult or just a cheap parlor trick. Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
"I thought so. This guy is a fraud. What's the point of this then?"
Caellus is momentarily stunned by the raw pow and majesty of the dragon. The apparent attack on the Grand Lodge shakes him out of it, though, and he immediately heads for the nearest exit, intending to return to the Grand Lodge and render what assistance he can.
The dragon's flyby startles Iago, so much so that he spills the rest of his drink across his face, armor, and seat. "Brother Caellus, was that a thrice-damned dragon? Brother Caell... Callistria's shining tit; WAIT!" he shouts, scrambling after the younger man as swiftly as the press of the crowd and the bulk of his gear allows. "Pathfinders! On me! Quickly, before we miss the dragon's theological statement!"
|Akhenethys Bin Lisimba|
"I don't think we have a theological statement to look for," Akhenethys grumbles as he gathers his robes and stands up to follow Caellus. As he moves, he will pull out his wand of Mage Armor and cast to protect himself. (I don't think anyone else can benefit from mage armor?)
"Urghhhh" Graff's exclamation is light on the expressive side but it gets his point across, even as he starts moving. His are swings into his hands by midstream.
Looking at the deadly weapon with its widespread wings, he sighs
"I'm going to need a bigger axe. "
You are all surprised by the horn blowing