After their second match Stravos and Sult licked their more significant wounds in anticipation of their title bout supporting R’Kus and Neeva. Adding to the nerves was R’Kus cryptic instructions for the fight: “I’ll dislodge the Venerable Gaj from the top of the pyramid, and you keep it and everyone else off me after that.” Why would R’Kus need us to keep opponents off him – shouldn’t it the other way around?
Just before the combatants for the final bout were making final preparations, the floor of the arena opened with lots of mechanical noise, and a giant pyramid (of sorts) rose from the ground. At least 50 feet tall, it was square and alternated flat and sloped levels, making it impossible to stand firmly on the sloped sides. The goal was “King of the Castle” of sorts – get and hold the top of the pyramid until all the other gladiators have been defeated. Having the vertical advantage on the pyramid would be critical.
Acting first out of the gate, R’Kus lead his team directly toward the top of the pyramid, and Sult ended up using an amazingly prescient burst of speed to rush past R’Kus and knock the Venerable Gaj off the top of the pyramid. From there the fight got intense, as all 5 teams enclosed the pyramid as a swamp of flying weapons and bodies encircled the structure.
The other teams were all made of very skilled fighters, and winning the bout was never certain for R’Kus, Neeva, Sult and Stravos. The Blue team encircled Neeva from the flank, and while she is a tough and effective fighter, without R’Kus clearing out the chaff she eventually was knocked out. Sult was getting boxed around by the white dragoons and the Red half giants, Stravos was having a tough time helping his team, as a close quarters free-for-all isn’t his type of fight, and R’Kus was constantly gaining the top of the pyramid by blowing gladiators off like flies from trash, and then he would get knocked off again by the unending stream of opponents, although he did flip over a half-giant at one point with his bare hands (that was pretty cool).
Eventually combatants began to get knocked out and the space cleared. Sult and Stravos began to get a tenuous hold on the top of the pyramid, and R’Kus pulled the mytical and amazing spear off his back and began to do some odd ritualistic preparation. While this was going on the pyramid itself began to glow brighter and brighter, and it seemed to be drawing the life force from people within the stadium. The combatants, being of tougher stock, were generally unaffected, but the crowd was getting more and more panicked as people began to drop to the ground. It was difficult to tell if they were dead or unconscious, but it wasn’t good. Clearly evil things were afoot, but Sult and Stravos didn’t have much choice except to continue to fight for the top of the Pyramid. Getting knocked out of the fight now could be fatal.
Despite some interruptions that had him bellowing with rage that they were running out of time, R’Kus finally finished his preparations for whatever it was. Thankfully, and somewhat strangely, the remaining opponent gladiators stopped rushing the top of the pyramid as R’Kus got close to the end of his ritual. AS he finished he drew the spear out and pointed it into the crowd. From that exact spot a blast of magical energy flew at Kalak’s personal terrace and the piercing sound of shattering was heard as the bolt of energy broke Kalak’s own magical shield. Kalak rose and began trying to repair the shield with unknown incantations, but it was too late. R’Kus drew back, and with a mighty leaping hurl he flung the mystical black spear directly at Kalak, and impaled him directly through the chest.
Kalak’s guards immediately dragged him back and into the golden Palace. R’Kus, right before he rushed Kalak’s box, turned to Stravos and said “take Neeva and get everyone out of here.” he then sprinted off and was levitated by some magical force directly into the box. Many of the remaining gladiators followed, as did many guards, nobles and others from the boxes adjacent to Kalak.
The crowd was in chaos. People were will being sucked dry by the pyramid, Kalak had been pierced through the chest by R’Kus and the assassination was clearly on. But the templars and royal guards were keeping everyone in the arena. Sult grabbed Neeva’s unconscious body and made way with Stravos to the spectator section closest to the rendezvous point. They lept into the crowd, intending to get to the point, but a templar and his half giant saw them and yelled at Sult and Stravos to stay in the ring. While Sult looked for a “way through the side door”Stravos then took command, using the skills he had learned in earning a crowd. standing on a bench, Stravos began bellowing to those around him to turn on their oppressors and throw off the shackles of tyranny. to prove his point he did his best R’Kus imitation and impaled the half giant with his zerka. Inspired, the crowd overwhelmed the templar and the half giant.
Now with a cohort of almost 40 Tyrian citizens, Stravos and Sult made for the rendezvous point, but as they reached the concourse there was another problem. This time a more powerful templar and two stronger half giants were commanding stravos to turn back into the arena. He wasn’t having it. With the same bravado as before Stravos commanded the guards to step down. confident in their abilities, they didn’t, and stravos and many of his crew were drilled with two vorpal sweeps, one from each half giant. But luck was one Stravos’ side, as half giants, confused by the commotion and very half witted-half, cut down their templar commander in the same vorpal sweeps. With no leader, Stravos “convinced” the half giants to step down, which they did.
When Stravos reached the gate at the rendezvous point, imagine his relief when he heard Krafke call out to him from the other side of the huge stone block covering the gate. Krafke told Stravos he needed to crank the block out of the way from the control room. Running to the room, Stravos found another half giant (jeesus! how many of these things are there??!) just sitting against the block, stopping it from moving. Additionally, the crank chain was severed. Clearly someone meant for nobody to escape the arena that day. Stravos, using the same “convincing” bravado as before, sent the half giant away to help “somewhere else” and the block was released. Using Krafke’s mental powers of manipulation the block was slid out of the way of the gate.
Stravos and Sult burst out of the stadium, leading a motley mob. The remaining guards outside the gates were already confused and wanted nothing to do with this bunch. No sooner had they been reunited with Krafke and Darian than a strange psychic or magical shockwave of unknown origin knocked almost everyone near the stadium unconscious.
Assuming the blast originated in the stadium and fearing more of the same, the group dragged each other as best they could away from the stadium and into a nearby building for shelter. The group was debating what to do when they heard Tithian’s voice booming from within the stadium.
Neeva insisted on racing back into the stadium, accompanied by Stravos. The others waited in the building, and ran into Xanyon, who joined the group. Tithian showed Kalak’s crown as proof of the sorcerer-king’s demise and announced a Tyrian new order. He would lead the city, along with Agis of Astocles, a leading noble. Kalak’s emancipation of all slaves would be honored.
Tired and injured, the group needed to rest before reacting to this news. They took shelter in the nearby house Fenek stable. Even if there was looting and rioting, who would bother attacking quarters holding nothing but slaves eager to fight?
After much planning that night, the group decided that the city’s first priority needed to be food and water supplies. Infrastructure would start to break down in the confusion, and mass dehydration and famine loomed. Whether out of charity or avarice, the group decided to propose a plan to the city’s new rulers: they would recruit newly freed gladiators as mercenaries, and use this force to secure wells and farmlands which had fallen into chaos. These supplies would then be sold at fair prices or distributed equitably to Tyrian citizens.
Rather than just marching into the palace, the group needed to present their plan to friendly ears. They returned to the Guild of the Hammer, which they found had become a new government center. Eventually they found their friend Melanda, who listed receptively.
Declaring the plan to be above her pay grade, she took them to the palace. There they checked in with R’kus and were eventually lead into the main hall itself, where Tithian was holding court. Some interesting news they were able to pick up:
- Tyr was generally in chaos—the transition after Kalak was not well planned.
- The arcanist who brought down Kalak’s barrier was a pretty half elf named Sedira
- Sedira planning to leave with R’kus soon for mysterious reasons.
- R’kus had a pivotal role, but did not know many details about the rebel assassination plans or future expectations.
- Tithian does appear to be the new ruler of Tyr, but does not appear to be a sorcerer-king in the mold of the other rules of Tableland cities. Sedira and Agis appeared to be second and third in power.
- Melanda and Etheros are both knowledge runners, who were 3rd tier leaders of the rebel.
- Banther, a templar and rebel, was the most influential person the group talked to. He seemed sympathetic to the group’s plans, but warned them to wait until the leadership decided on a course of action.
- The new government appears to comprise two competing groups: Kalak’s templars and the rebel leadership.