Morg spent the next day going around the city, looking for anyone with more knowledge on the failed House Wavir expedition. Much what he heard confirmed the rumors of a failed journey to find the Vault of Darom Madar and the economic hardship that the house was was under. Eventually he was able to locate the only other survivor, a man named Kelvor. Kelvor told Morg the story of the caravan being ambushed by members of House Tsalaxa and the death of all the members except himself and Rhotan Vor.
Kelvor was asked to look out for Morg and his friends in the hope they would take the opportunity to find the caravan and return the treasures to House Wavir. By doing so they would help restore House Wavir and punish House Tsalaxa, who is well known for nefarious deeds. Morg, keenly interested in helping Rhotan and recovering the treasure, agreed and the two started making arrangements.
Morg was still concerned about the difficulties he and his friends had in overcoming the lightning traps in the Face in the Stone. He felt that if they continued to explore the ancient ruins in Athas, they would surely need assistance to deal with other such obstacles. With a little luck, he found a few candidates that appeared to have the talents for such adventures. One in particular, Merric, stood out as competent and possessing the right personality.
As the two agreed upon a fee for his services, Merric proposed an intriguing offer: He had discovered secret entrance to the Ziggurat of Kalak. Merric felt that Morg and his companions were better suited to deal with the dangers that likely lurked within, while he was the most skilled to deal with the traps. They could explore it together and share in whatever treasures were found. Morg, while extremely interested, felt it might be best to wait before embarking on that exploration.
The Veiled Alliance
Gwyn spent most of her time exploring the city and making contact with the other tattoo artists. Her natural charm was more than enough to over come the distrust that any had because of her elven ancestry. She was pleased that, in a small way, she was a part of the resurgence of art in Tyr.
As the evening approached, Gwyn made her way into the Under-Tyr to meet with her Veiled Alliance cell. The focus of the meeting was Divulgence – should the alliance end their secretive ways and go public. Both supporters and opponents of divulgence spoke with great passion but they could not reach an agreement on how to proceed. Gwyn felt that divulgence should happen, but suggested caution to make sure public would not react violently, after years of being told to hate all arcane casters. It was clear that the debate would continue for some time.
After the formal meeting, Gwyn spent time with her main contact, Jarvix whom she told of the adventures at the Face in the Stone (although nothing was mentioned about the Crown of Dust). The appearance of Yarnath was disturbing, as defilers such as he are the primary reason wizards are outlawed and hated. Jarvix introduced Gwyn to another member of the cell, an elf named Kivrin. Kivrin knew something of Yarnath and suspected that he was searching for the Crown of Dust, and may have already obtained one piece of it. Anxious about such a powerful artifact in the hands of the defiler, Kivrin thought that a small group might be able to sneak aboard Slither and steal the artifact. Gwyn said that she would consider such a quest, but needed to confer with her friends.
After several more hour discussing various magical principles and how she might apply them to her tattoo work, Gwyn, Jarvix and Kivrin let the Alliance meeting and went drinking at the Stiff Wench. They drank broy late into the night and the next morning Gwyn awoke with a massive hangover, and a new tattoo.
Communing with Nature
Vinara spent two days in the desert outside of the city-state conversing with the Wastewalker. The enemy turned ally was most interested in her story of the Face in the Stone, uncovering the fragment of the Crown of Dust and the appearance of Yarnath. The Wastewalker knew a little about Ul-Athra and thought that the creature could be a powerful ally against the Dragon, but cautioned that the primordials are creatures of chaos and very unpredictable in the actions.
The pair was joined by a halfling that the Wastewalker introduced as Nok. Nok had traveled far to bring news of a possible ancient Tree of Life that might exist outside of the sorcerer-king’s control. Such a tree could be used for nearly limitless power for a defiler, such as Yarnath, and must be found and protected at all costs. The Tree might also be used to construct a Heartwood Spear that would be a powerful weapon against the sorcerer-kings. Vinara was to be mindful of signs and dreams about this tree and seek it out, before it is discovered by the wrong people.
A Conflict of Interests
Castri stayed behind at Free City Tattoo and studied the fragment of the Crown of Dust. He had hoped to learn more of its secrets but all he received were strong urges to seek out the other fragments and use the Crown to restore Ul-Athra. Feeling that he had learned all that was possible for the time being, he left the parlor and wandered around the street of Tyr heading towards the Artisan District.
In the district he used some of the money he received from Karlen to commission some art work for the tattoo shop – a statue of himself. He found a skilled Mul stone cutter named Xalos who was looking for work and the two arranged a fair price. As he was leaving the artists shop he was approached by well-dressed man who greeted him by name. An agent of Murter Dyan, the man, asked if Castri could be of service to House Dyan, an enemy of Castri’s former noble house. The service was to search out a potential water source that had come to the attention of Murter, a place call the Cistern of Aravek, so that the water could help the citizens of Tyr. In exchange for location of the Cistern, House Dyan would furnish Castri and his allies with a precious metal weapon each. Cautious, Castri agreed to look into it.
On his way out of the Artisan District, another familiar face Khalos, an agent of Agis, hailed Castri. The pair made their way outside of the city to the House Asticles estates where he met with Agis himself. Direct and to the point, Agis asked if Castri could help locate the Cistern of Aravek, located in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains. Agis desired to control the renewable water source so that all within the city of Tyr could benefit from it. Agis promised to reward Castri and his allies with favors from his House.
Intrigued by the turn of events, Castri made his way back to the tattoo parlor where he was reunited with his companions. Each explained their day’s activities and discussed how best to proceed with the many options in front of them. After a lengthy discussion, they agreed that searching for the Cistern of Aravek was the best choice, after which they would head to the east in an attempt to find the House Tsalaxa caravan.