Write up 11th January 2024 – A lost soul in Khanedarya pt 3

This adventure is an adaptation of Losing Face by Kevin Kulp, for Swords of the Serpentine. You can get it as Pay What you want from DrivethruRPG here.

We join our group having decided to leave the Isle of Old Grief to follow up on the leads of the hired killer they had learned about, only to find their boats gone and to be surrounded by a  number of yellow turbaned individuals armed with a selection of knives and clubs, with, thankfully, no bows, armour and only one armed with a sword. Most of the newcomers were obviously Zhuezhi, from further east even than the Mada who came and founded the Kingdom of Haraxa, and the other two look more Vaykattaran, the people who lived here before the Mada, Utana’s people, arrived.

The knife welders drew closer, as Jalabu the Fox considered negotiation or intimidating them, when, like a dervish, Farshad (occasionally known as Jalabu) waded into the fray, with sword and knife.

The Fox’s hopes of a peaceful resolution gone, the rest went in, mindful that, although their opponents were unarmoured, so were most of the group. `Fetnah flitted about, throwing knives, with Juan José acting as a meat shield, and skewering one assailant neatly. Smersh took his mace and strode forward, possibly regretting it as he found himself with two foes.

Although unarmoured, at least Utana, Juan José and Jalabu the Fox had shields, and could mitigate incoming blows, but Smersh was not so well protected, and he was soon severely injured by a vicious wound, and he was in a parlours state. Luckily the others did somewhat better and felled three of the assailants. With the slight wounds to the other assailants, the rest fled, despite the attempts of the group to tackle them. The Fox’s attempt leading to him slamming against a statue. The bodies were searched for clues as to what caused this, but apart from a superficial uniformity of dress that implied belonging to an organised group of some kind, there was not much obvious, they had a superfluity of cheap brass and glass jewellery, few weapons (Fetnah stocking upon daggers ) but, more interestingly, more money on their person than might be expected, the amount the three fallen had could pay the group’s expenses for almost a month!

In the aftermath, Juan José tended to Smersh’s wounds, but natural healing would take days of complete rest to restore him to good health, even with Juan Jo?s medical expertise. Fetnah spent time purifying herself, and made an offer to the spirit of one of the fallen assailants, a Vaykatarran, to ensure that they were delivered to their family for proper rites, if only they would speak to her. Although she felt the spirit almost give in to her offer, it split away, and would not talk to her.

Farshad scouted the Isle for any other signs left by their attackers and found signs that they had waited a while, finding wooden food boxes that had the symbol of a snake entwined around a bird branded onto it.

Thus the group left the bodies where they had fallen, and sought a way off the Isle of Old Griefs. They found a reed boat left by their attackers, and used that to head to the nearest inhabited island of Khanedarya. As they approached, they saw the two gondoliers they’d had hired earlier see them and pole away quickly.

Approached by the watch, concerned about the blood soaked Smersh, Utana flashed his agent’s symbol and got immediate cooperation. The officers promised to send a clean-up crew to the island and took the group to the watch-house. Juan José was determined to place Smersh in a cell, but the watch officers took pity on Smersh and put him on a bed in their accommodatio, where Juan José and Fetnah looked after him.

Farshad sought out some of the unionised urchins of the city, and, paying them with some of the attackers’ silver, sent them to look for the gondoliers. It took an hour, but soon they were summoned to a dock, where another urchin was distracting one of the gondoliers.

Utana laid a firm hand on the gondolier, and started a gentle, but threatening interrogation, learning that the yellow turbans offered that they left there and then, or be killed/ Utana made a similar offer, help them or suffer for it.

Thet learned that the yellow turbans are members of an organised criminal gang who control the illicit activities in part of the Zhuezhi quarter. Utana offered the gondolier continued good health if he took the three of them there, and the gondolier saw the wisdom of that offer, given the strong grip on his arm and unfriendly expression in the three.

And there we left it.

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