Scene 23: The First City.   Posted by Gamemaster.Group: 0
Gamemaster
 GM, 365 posts
 That GM Guy
Thu 4 May 2017
at 07:33
Scene 23: The First City
Regardless of where they go first, the Cloud People will be visiting the king's chambers very soon. Long Hair says that she will report what has happened to the Peacekeeper and runs off on her own. High Stepper shakes her head and adds, "She might drop by the Peacekeeper's tower briefly, but she won't be there long. Come, I will bring you to the Undying King."

The group is lead by High Stepper to a large hole in the middle of the village. Children carrying gourds and other vessels walk out of the hole, carrying water from below. A path cut into the rock leads down into the darkness. About ten paces down, a roomy stone cavern shields a pool of cool water from the blistering sun. High Stepper walks over a path of flat stones in the water. She moves through the darkness with grace. Beyond the pool is a sandy bit of dry land next to a small entrance to a different cave room.

High Stepper bends over at the doorway. Before entering, she cautions, "Whatever you do, do not show any fear in front of the Undying King. He hates that."

The king's throne room is lit dimly by a large glass plate above you. Sunlight shines through dirty glass but is also diffused by it into the room. A few sand people stand in a circle next to the walls. Near the room's center, a very large seat made of piled stones and mastadon tusks dominates the room. A figure sits on this crudely made throne, hunched and old but with considerable muscles. The figure is translucent yet at the same time radiates its own soft hazy glow. In a moment, it all becomes clear -- the Undying King does not die because he is already a spirit.
Vug
 Cloud People, 124 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Thu 4 May 2017
at 11:52
Scene 23: The First City
Vug did his best to hold his ground and not be shaken by the apparition.
Gamemaster
 GM, 366 posts
 That GM Guy
Fri 5 May 2017
at 06:44
Scene 23: The First City
Vug has the disadvantage of meek. It will take quite a lot of effort for him to hold it together.
Neerga
 GM, 226 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Fri 5 May 2017
at 14:16
Scene 23: The First City
Neerga tells Vug seeing him losing it already ,"Go outside and stand with High Stepper and be on your best behavior and I'll join you when I return, now."

Once closer she will stand firm and kneel on one knee, impressed by such a presence. "Undying King, I'm Neerga crafter and warrior of the Cloud People. On behalf of my Elders and in the name of good I come before you returning two of your people taken by the dread Snake People as slaves from your sands. I returned them protecting them as I would my own tribe. And will like to talk with you about an alliance with us and others to be gained against this threat as we take the battle to them and free the slaves and forever drive this threat from our lands. And after that perhaps form a lasting peace between the tribes.

The Sand People a mighty tribe and well spoken of by our first allies the Frog People would be welcomed to aid in this. We ask and for those who are enslaved and in danger including your own on the sands for your wisdom as a leader and for the call of your voice to your people to fight and for any other aid your people can give."

Vug
 Cloud People, 125 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Fri 5 May 2017
at 14:51
Scene 23: The First City
With a great sigh of relief, Vug rushed out of haunted cavern of dooooooooom.
Nin-kagina
 GM, 205 posts
 Priestess
 Ritualist, Soothsayer
Sat 6 May 2017
at 05:12
Scene 23: The First City
Nin-Kagina firmly stood next to Neerga, looking at the Undying King with a nod of respect and no more. Spirits were nothing she needed to fear. "Please forgive our friend, Vug. He is still unused to this place," she said diplomatically.
Gamemaster
 GM, 367 posts
 That GM Guy
Sun 7 May 2017
at 06:31
Scene 23: The First City
The king whispers something which cannot be heard. One of his advisers approaches the throne and bends over so that he king is whispering in his ear. The viser stands up straight and reports, "The King who does not Die has heard your request. He thanks you for returning our kin to his domain. You are commended on your navigation of the desert, and you may take as much water as you wish. As outsiders, however, you do not understand that what you request is an affront. You speak of freeing slaves, and this is forbidden. The Sand People do not set free slaves, not even those who belong to our enemies. We will participate in your raids against the Serpents, just as they have raided our people. We will send our best warriors and not tire until the Serpents have been driven out of their jungle settlement and scattered to the winds. Any slaves found become the property of the Undying King to be distributed among his lords as he sees fit. These are his terms."

Meanwhile, Vug finds High Stepper in the pool room. She is slowly drinking a large volume of water to replenish her body. The Sand Woman notices Vug standing there, and she says, "You look at pale as the king, Vug. You must have never encountered one such as him before now. Do none of your people become such as they die?"
Neerga
 GM, 227 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Sun 7 May 2017
at 07:34
Scene 23: The First City
"We will agree if your people who release the slave and secure them I can't agree to you getting all of them. Its not just others take such risks with no hope their people can be freed and it will encourage them to act well in battle they will need to get to their people before you do after all encouraging them to fight harder. If that is a fair arrangement adding in you can take Serpent People you find into slavery they are the ones starting the conflict and they took your people so it would be fair if that is a custom of your people I mean no offense?

But for now we need to be sure they have no clue of our plans so focus on defense of your people. I'll be going to other tribes an, but since they are gained in war the Serpent People must have young and ask you have one come with us who can represent your tribe a scout would be best and when the time come they will bring the call for the warriors of the many tribes to assemble. I will work out battle plans with the leader of your tribe you send then I have ideas but any warriors should plan such a thing its wise.,"
Neerga said she didn't like slavery but they are a powerful tribe and she needed them she hoped her terms were fair.
Vug
 Cloud People, 126 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Sun 7 May 2017
at 13:44
Scene 23: The First City
Vug shook his head and drank some cool water.  "No, none of us become like your king.  We have shamans that commune with spirits, but only the gifted may see or hear them.  When one of us dies, we stay quiet unless we are called upon."
Nin-kagina
 GM, 206 posts
 Priestess
 Ritualist, Soothsayer
Sun 7 May 2017
at 14:19
Scene 23: The First City
Nin-kagina turned to her wife and considered. "My Neerga, I think you have not been listening to our host," she said. "There is a way to do this without violating his taboo - or giving him too much." She looked to the Undying King. "I propose this compromise. Each tribe involved in this war receives their own people who have been enslaved by the Serpent as spoils of war, and an even share of the captured Serpent People and the unclaimed chattels."
Neerga
 GM, 228 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Sun 7 May 2017
at 17:02
Scene 23: The First City
<Green>"Consider it this way you can say they are slaves, trade them to their own peoples for some alliances or trade goods as slaves and when done their tribes can handle the matter as they wish. If you agree we will give up our share of the Serpent People to the Sand People as a gesture of respect for the Undying King as your share to do with as you wish, giving you more slaves. My wife is a good woman and it is a good arrangement I can sell to the other tribes as more join us. Is that acceptable and remember we are also fighting for the free peoples of our lands who aren't yet slaves yet as well.,"<Green> Neerga nodded adding to her idea.
Undying King
 NPC, 1 post
Sat 13 May 2017
at 12:40
Scene 23: The First City
The king seems to nod off as if falling asleep or fading away. Then he corrects his posture and becomes more solid-looking at the same time. He whispers again. The viser leans in close again to hear, then relays the message. "The king agrees to your terms. We will reclaim the Sand People who were taken from us, and we will accept the Serpent People as new slaves. If the Serpents are to be divided among the victorious tribes, the Sand People will receive two shares and the Cloud People will receive none. If there are any prizes other than slaves, the Cloud People are welcome to the Sand People's share. We will send the Dust Eater to guide you to the lands of the Beast Riders. The Dust Eater is our best scout, and you will be given glass to trade to the Beast Riders."

"You may share our water until you wish to leave. You may take shelter in the tower where the peacekeeper watches the desert. Food will be provided for as long as you stay from the king's reserves. We will send the Dust Eater to find you. Because the Sand People are hospitable, the Cloud People will speak to the Cloud Spirits for us when they return home. They will ask the clouds to rain fire onto the desert only when the moon is dim. Is this acceptable to the Cloud People?"
Nin-kagina
 GM, 207 posts
 Priestess
 Ritualist, Soothsayer
Sat 13 May 2017
at 20:05
Scene 23: The First City
Nin-kagina nodded. "We will so ask the clouds," she said, though she did not expect a reply from. The Cloud People's religion made little sense even to the eternally eclectic priestess.
Neerga
 GM, 229 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Sat 13 May 2017
at 20:47
Scene 23: The First City
"She is our priestess and will do a mighty call to our Cloud Spirits and I will need a way to call your tribe to join us to a council to plan this properly, each tribe will have a say and in the planning.," Neerga said before leaving and letting the King rest. And she's curious to see the city and maybe she can come and trade sometime if the tribes become friendly.
Gamemaster
 GM, 368 posts
 That GM Guy
Tue 16 May 2017
at 02:40
Scene 23: The First City
Emerging back into the harsh sunlight, the Cloud People rise to the top of the staircase. Toadstool the Toad Man is waiting for them in the town plaza that is wrapped around the well. "I hope everyone made it out alive. I can't stand caves."

The town is large (by the standards of these adventurers) and full of wonders. The Sand People make all of their buildings out of stacked stones; some are unstable looking little hovels, and others are impressive like the Peacekeeper's Tower. The tower is only two stories high, but that is high enough to offer an impressive view of the settlement and surrounding landscape. Three different hunting parties can be seen from on top of the tower right now.

The northern end of the city is full of storage buildings and merchants trading their wares. The merchants get the first look at returning hunting parties and trade caravans which approach from the north and east here. The sand people have not yet discovered pottery, but they do craft some objects out of a type of glue mixed with sand. They deal in a lot of bone here, less leather, and very little floral goods. Exotic perfumes and incense from around the known world (and beyond) are on sale here. Strange foods like roasted beetles are sold here also. Gems are accepted as forms of payment here, but they have half their normal value. The Sand People create their own gems by harvesting glass out of the desert where lightning strikes sand and polishing it into beads. They do not recognize that other gems are any better than their glass. Besides gems, the other currency that is used here are slave days. In exchange for goods, one merchant might loan a slave to the other merchant for a specific number of days.

The eastern and western ends of the city are composed of residences. More structures of stacked stone are scattered more or less randomly so that no clear streets are formed here. Children play unfamiliar games. Slaves are clearly recognizable by the hair on their heads. Free Sand People shave their scalps.
Vug
 Cloud People, 127 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Tue 16 May 2017
at 13:17
Scene 23: The First City
Vug let out a sigh of relief when his companions emerged fully alive and un-possessed.
Nin-kagina
 GM, 208 posts
 Priestess
 Ritualist, Soothsayer
Tue 16 May 2017
at 22:31
Scene 23: The First City
Nin-kagina smiled at Vug. "Be at ease. The King was unusual, but no more than that. I would not have allowed you to become possessed, in any case."

She turned to High Stepper and raised an eyebrow. "How do your hunters feed so many people?" she asked. "This is the largest tribe I have ever seen. More people than I can count on my hands and feet, or twice over!"

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:33, Tue 16 May 2017.

Neerga
 GM, 230 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Tue 16 May 2017
at 22:41
Scene 23: The First City
Neerga takes a black stone and one of her black stone arrows to show some of the merchants to see if there would be a market, noting she can craft decorative items like statues and various weapons now it is fragile but can slice through protective hides like hers with some ease. Which is why she uses them in her fighting knife and her arrow heads. Just in case she can come back and bring trade goods and stone it might be worth some time if there is a demand. Sadly due to her mission she couldn't bring trade with her.

But she will need to meet with someone else ,"And we need to meet your leader in battle, and talk, while we are here. We will rest through tomorrow before moving on and learn more about your people."
Gamemaster
 GM, 369 posts
 That GM Guy
Wed 17 May 2017
at 02:17
Scene 23: The First City
High Stepper explains, "Most of our food is imported. The desert provides locusts and beetles which are good for eating but little in the way of plants. There is a coast to the east where teams of fishers will spend days gathering and roasting seafood which they bring back here. For red meats and grains, merchants bring those tradegoods back here after they visit the Beast Riders to the north. At least once per moon, some will go east to gather swamp cabbage to northeast into the jungle where berries and fruits are plentiful. I was on such a trip to the jungle when I was captured by the Serpent People."

The dancer lowers her voice when she says, "I am not supposed to tell you this, friend Nin-kagina, but you will notice the truth soon enough. If the caravan were to stop because of raids from the Serpent People, this village would be starving with a six or seven nights."

Neerga's demonstration meets with great interest. Every trader has a loud opinion about the funny black stone and what it is worth. Some complain that it seems too difficult to work with it, and it does not capture the sunlight like their glass. Others are impressed with the stone's abilities. One trader with a glass eye offers, "Twenty glass gems for her arrowhead right now."

The city has no single battle leader. During times of crisis, the Sand People look to the Undying King for instructions. Whereas the advisers all had shaven heads, the Peacekeeper is always a slave. The king chooses a peacekeeper from among all of the settlements slaves, and this chosen slave carries the title for life. This is the only government position held by a slave in the city. Every wealthy family pays a tax of slave days to the office of the Peacekeeper. The Peacekeeper uses these loaned slaves to break up brawls, hunt criminals, punish criminals, and drive away dangerous animals. Rumors say that the king grants secret powers to the Peacekeeper.

The current Peacekeeper is a Shadow Caster, a tall and formidable woman. Her nose had been cut off a some point in the past, and she wears a vulture's beak in its place. She carries a long bone club and jewelry of buzzard feathers. She currently commands a squad of five slaves (4 men, 1 woman). Shadow Caster is expecting the group when they arrive. She says, "Long Hair told me to expect you. She did not tell what you need of me. She just reported what happened to her from when she was captured until she came back. She said that you would want to speak with me, and then she ran off, the silly dancer."
Neerga
 GM, 231 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Thu 25 May 2017
at 10:26
Scene 23: The First City
Neerga sells the arrowhead wanting some local currency to buy some things she wanted to get her wife something nice if she saw anything pretty. But added ,"It is hard to work with craft masters but doesn't that make the things made of more value, if anyone could work with it then it would hold less value."

Later meeting with Shadow Caster she sits ,"I'm gathering an alliance of the tribes to fight the Serpent Men and wanted the council of another warrior of this tribe, to find out more of what you can do to support this effort. The Undying King agreed to help so we trust you and the others will rally to the fight when called. Now we have the Frog Men in support for healing and scouting. The Cloud People my tribe is not big but we will fight hard and bring healing, my crafting of the black stone for arrow heads and weapons and my bow and my wife's mighty magic. Now your tribe to add to our combined forces. Next the Beast Riders and then the Scorpion Women.

I want to ask you as a fellow warrior when the time comes to be on the Council of War when we plan the destruction of our enemies with others, your Tribe is important and respected by me and others. This war won't be easy the enemy is strong and fierce but they must be challenged and defeated we have no choice."

Gamemaster
 GM, 371 posts
 That GM Guy
Sat 3 Jun 2017
at 04:26
Scene 23: The First City
The new player will have to catch up while we press on.

When dawn of the next day breaks, Shadow Caster makes clear how she got her name. From on top of her tower (all two stories of it), she has a commanding view of the city and the desert in all directions. Her tower of stacked stones casts its shadow far off to the west into the barren desert, and Shadow Caster's tall figure projects an extension of that shadow farther still. The travelers (Cloud People and their allies) share this view with her.

Shadow Caster listens to Neerga's proposal. She agrees, "I look forward to the fight. Keeping the peace in this place lost its challenge long ago. I feel eager to experience a real battle again."

The group is soon joined by a small figure who climbs up the tower after them. Shadow Caster introduces, "He arrived. I have sent for our best scout to lead you to the grazing lands of the Beast Riders. This is Dust Eater. He does not speak, and he does not cast much of shadow. He doesn't see well either. Instead, he navigates by smell and taste. He knows the desert as well as any of us, and somehow he can tell when a fire storm is approaching. We do not know how he knows, but he does. Dust Eater, are you ready to guide these guests to the land of the Beasts?"

The tiny man whistles once in response. Shadow Caster seems to accept this as an answer.

Shadow Caster adds, "Long Hair and High Stepper have been reassigned to my command for now. If you like, I may send one of them with you on the next leg of your journey. I certainly do not need two dancers here in the tower. Beyond the dancers, there is another traveler in the village who I think you should meet. He is a skilled fighter with a knife, and he is headed north also. His name is Bonk, and he's somewhere in this city sleeping off a long night."
Vug
 Cloud People, 128 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Sun 4 Jun 2017
at 17:16
Scene 23: The First City
"Let's find Bonk, then," Vug replied.
Neerga
 GM, 232 posts
 Cloud Tribe
 Caster, Crafter
Sun 4 Jun 2017
at 17:41
Scene 23: The First City
"Good, we will continue forming the alliance with the Beast Riders and Scorpion Women we will have enough strength to match the Serpent People. And I have ideas for crafted things to increase our advantage. I will send word to assemble through you scout and call forth the tribes to battle. Prepare warriors, scouts, crafters and workers of magic to come whatever can be spared. Lets find Bonk and I got some of their trading gems so might buy something.," Neerga said standing up and gets ready to move out in the morning, they should rest this one night.
Gamemaster
 GM, 372 posts
 That GM Guy
Wed 7 Jun 2017
at 18:56
Scene 23: The First City
Shadow Caster sends out a slave to search for Bonk. Unfortunately, no one is certain where exactly he has gone. The night passes uneventfully in the Peacekeeper's tower.

The next morning, another fire storm is raging, but it is far to the south. Shadow Caster advises that the storm is west and shouldn't be a factor in your travel north. Toadstool is acting more and more nervous all the time; city life doesn't agree with him. Meanwhile, the Dust Eater is patiently waiting outside the tower, equipped and ready to travel. The current caravan consists of Neegra, Vug, Nin-kagina, Toadstool of the Toad People, and Dust Eater of the Sand People.

Any last minute shopping on the way out?
Vug
 Cloud People, 129 posts
 Prowler
 Spirit: 9/9
Thu 8 Jun 2017
at 11:39
Scene 23: The First City
Vug packed up his things and was ready to put the sandy city behind him.