The Agents of Dregoth gathered with Elytas, a Warlord of Balic, and joined the procession of dignitaries marching into the desert for the ritual duel of champions for the fate of the city-state of Tyr.
On the cracked plain between the four armies, these six champions were led forward by Sadira (representing Tyr), Sumita (representing Raam), and Gosi Kokoros (representing Balic). Meeting them was a group of six champions of Urik led by King Hamanu himself.
The Lion of Urik confirmed the terms of the duel. If his champions should win, Tithian of Tyr would bend the knee and become his templar, ruling Tyr in Hamanu’s name. If his champions should lose, he would march home and not aggress the “free city” for ten thousand years.
Agreement having been reached, the representatives left the field to the champions. Urik’s champions were led by Hamanu’s high templar, filling the role of First Sword of Urik. With him were five well-trained warriors constituting his “Hand.”
As the sun touched the edge of the western mountains, a chime sounded, and battle was engaged. Dhaara moved with amazing speed to deal crushing damage to the foe while Queri-sed rained crystalline death upon all six enemies. Alekel and Najaf tried their own curses to stymie their enemy while Shahzadi charged forward.
The Hand withered and died with surprising rapidity, but the First Sword proved to be made of more resilient stuff, throwing out dark curses in the name of Hamanu and teleporting his foes as will across the field. Those he harmed with his eldrich bolts shared their pain equally with all others cursed by the Templar’s dark magic, and the First Sword shrugged off effects that would daze or incapacitate a normal person, albeit at some weakness to the power of his curses.
Eventually, however, the six champions of the allied cities overwhelmed him. As the First Sword fell bleeding on the cracked earth, Hamanu was suddenly among them. With a gesture his six champions shambled back to their feet, and Hamanu stood, awaiting his counterparts, presenting the victorious champions with a stony facade.
The three other representatives scrambled down to the field of battle, some formalities were voiced, and Hamanu departed. By the next sunrise, his army was on the move back to Urik.
The Champions returned to Tyr to much acclaim and celebration. Tithian granted them honorary citizenship. They opted to quickly retire to their rooms, however, where Mon Adderath awaited them.
He congratulated them on their victory. Something about its decisiveness had aided the ancient being to make up his mind about what to do with his errant servants. He agreed that the Ziggurat of Tyr could grant Dregoth his original goal of living godhood. He also knew that Dregoth would never submit to be in the utter power of another King, even Oronis. This meant that Dregoth would need to be slain, and his body provided to Oronis for resurrection. Mon Adderath also did not trust Oronis, and made a condition of this plan that Oronis perform the resurrection at the Ivory Palace, placing himself at the mercy of Mon Adderath and all of Dregoth’s undead forces. He considered this condition only fair.
The agents of Oronis agreed that they would bring these conditions to their King. Further discussion ensued about how to protect Raam from Dregoth’s power should he seek to consume the life force of the city in self-defense, but specific plans were put off until the agents could get Oronis’ agreement on the core condition.
Mon Adderath departed, and the agents entertained a succession of visitors. It became clear that their victory on the field against such a potent foe had interested, or concerned, a number of other Kings and Queens. The Dictator Andropinis of Balic extended his personal invitation to dine and discuss philosophy via his templar Gosi Kokoros. Shan, the Priest of the Blood conveyed the wish of his goddess, Inanna, Regent of Nibenay, that the five agents not enter her city without advance warning. A similar message was delivered by Osanje, noble of Gulg, although he himself indicated a desire to host them should they visit.
After playing diplomat, they gathered and transported themselves across vast distance to the teleportation circle beneath ancient Kurn. A servant of Oronis met them and led them up through the hidden passes, through the veils of potent magic, to the hidden city of New Kurn and its fertile valley. They presented Mon Adderath’s conditions to Oronis who tentatively accepted them, provided safeguards could be gathered to inhibit Dregoth’s power. Dhaara’s ancestor indicated he could do what was necessary, but would need to possess living flesh, which might not be up to the burden. They discussed druids of their acquaintance, as well as Oronis’ apprentice, Eloyas Ardian, who was set to emerge from the Pristine Tower any day now.
They discussed the problem of what would happen to Raam after Dregoth was gone seeking godhood. Hamanu had demonstrated his willingness to ensure that every city was beholden to an ancient monarch, and therefore beholden to the Dragon Sacrifice. Oronis indicated that Eloyas Ardian, as a changed being of the Pristine Tower, could probably rule Raam without exciting Hamanu over-much, but that would be a fairly dramatic public statement on behalf of Oronis and his faction, who had hitherto striven to remain secret.
The discussions concluded with many possibilities but none decided upon.
Queri-Sed found Najaf and informed him that if he truly wished to expand his mind, he should consume the brain of one of the People, or Kreen, and taste of their ancestral memories. In fact, if he truly wanted to understand the destiny of the thri-kreen, and the prophecy that Queri-Sed had followed through their entire association, he would do best to actually eat the brain of Queri-Sed herself. At Najaf’s surprise, she indicated that her vision, her skills, her power, and her status as queen were eternal, and would pass to the worthiest of her followers upon her death. Najaf, convinced that doing this thing would not rob the agents of their potent ally, cracked open Queri-Sed and ate the nerve-bundles that approximated her brain.
Najaf suddenly understood.
The next day, a new Thri-Kreen naming herself Qhari-Kos appeared with the group. She had the same speech patterns and attitudes toward Shahzadi’s fertility as Queri-Sed, but was clearly a different individual who nevertheless shared in the psychic racial memory imparted to her by Queri-Sed. This new Thri-Kreen was younger, and could look forward to another whole decade of life.
Shahzadi was… flabbergasted.
XP: Level 24