The Relic of Tur’dar, Part Thirteen: Within Arm’s Reach

The Relic of Tur’dar, Part Thirteen: Within Arm’s Reach

After a week of recuperation in the Warm City, our adventurers regroup to try to uncover the secrets of the Relic of Tur’dar. A series of puzzles lies in their path, and as they explore their surroundings they begin to realize the ancient and complex nature of their dilemma. As they grow closer to the realization that the relic is real and it is indeed somewhere in Cyopolda, they travel all over the city, meeting numerous people who offer information and goods that help them piece together the steps they must take to reach the relic. Following clues will lead them toward a venture that lies beneath the city. Along the way, some in the group find refuge, opportunity, and wealth.

The following player characters networked their way around Cyopolda:

  • Sookta, the Djenndan blacksmith, played by @xsubnuke
  • Hodjai, the Djenndan warrior, played by @evan
  • Bubby, the human survivalist, played by @Terri
  • Nysteld, the human seer, played by @saelbrin
  • Jamia Copperdrum, the Pulnagá mercenary, played by @katherinehunter77

We began our session after the party had spent a full week in Cyopolda, recovering from their wounds after a harrowing fight with Aiden and his goons along the path of the Great Giants. They parted ways with Entan, who collected his fees, sold some of his animals, and found a tavern to relax before traveling south toward Pelmora to make his trip all over again. Roth’is booked passage toward Rendalia soon after the party arrived in the Warm City. Not one for long goodbyes, he thanked the group and quickly disappeared into the crowds of the northbound thoroughfare. The rest of the party found their own refuge throughout the city. Dyrakos and Kishsahat had quickly located an inn toward the center of the city, quite near the Free Square, where they established rooms and safe boarding for their animals and supplies.

Cyopolda is a city like no other south of the wilds. It is clear that there is evidence of an older world culture here; the structures of the city as they are populated day to day rest rather temporarily on the ruins of the past. There are many large-hewn stone remains of larger structures that outline the center square of the city. Atop and between those ancient stones are fashioned newer building materials made of wood and leathers. The people of the city live a busied life focused around market exchange and bringing foods and crafts in and out of the city center. But the residents seem uninterested in preserving or investigating the larger ruined structures on which they build their daily necessities. The Warm City, as it rests on the ruins of the past, uses the ancient stones like an unmovable landscape, and the result is an odd conglomerate of a faceless history, silent ghosts that provide the setting for more a recent settlement and civilization.

The city is an enterprising one as well. Merchants in the Free Square exchange goods and resources, and artisans peddle their wares throughout the streets in between. Cyopolda draws nomadic settlers and provincial travelers toward its central location, making the population surprisingly cosmopolitan. Some in the adventure party quickly realized the opportunities that could present themselves in trade and the expansion of their holdings. As soon as the adventure party arrived, Dyrakos found quarter for the group’s wagon train and then immediately set out to expand his wealth and resources by networking in the city. Within the week, the scholar was decked out in new robes, had claimed ownership of the “Boar’s Breath Lodge,” a large restaurant, brewery, and nighthouse that draws a crowd of common citizens and wealthy merchants alike. By the time the group had met near the Free Square to discuss selling their haul of krasolyte ore, Dyrakos was clothed in fresh Olympian blue and had the command of several people in his employ.

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The adventurers were well rested after their week’s stay in Cyopolda, and they seemed delighted to see one another. Nysteld was particularly impressed by Dyrakos’s enterprising and his new outfit, and asked where he received his tailoring work. It became clear that Cyopolda had numerous things to offer for those who might be able to afford it. But that reminded the group of one of the main reasons they decided to meet in the market square–acquiring a share of wealth from their krasolyte. Each in the party decided to keep a few pounds of ore to themselves as a nest egg of sorts, and when the remainder of the ore was collected for sale, there were several hundred pounds. Dyrakos offered a pound of the ore to Bubby as a gesture of good faith, and then he ordered his workers, two young Djenndan, to carry the chest of the rest of the ore along with their group as they traveled around the Free Square to find a buyer.

They approached an Uskelian merchant who seemed interested in the ore. After many flowing words and slippery epithets, the Uskelian offered Dyrakos 10,000 threnns for the haul of ore. Dyrakos took no time to think, and spit his disapproval toward the merchant. The man lost his poise momentarily before finally asking that the adventurers take their leave. But Dyrakos was already walking back into the square. From there they continued to ask around for interested buyers. Dyrakos saw a wealthy geode mason across the square, and so the adventure party walked to meet him. The Djenndan boys who were carrying the chest began to sweat from the weight of it in the mid-morning sun. Finally they arrived at this next merchant’s hut.

After examining the quality of the ore, the merchant looked extremely interested, and they finally negotiated a better price. Dyrakos took a broker’s fee, and then split the remainder of the threnns between each still among their group who helped to procure the krasolyte. It was enough money for each of them to live lavishly in Cyopolda for a year without want. The glee of the merchant purchasing the ore also made many in the party happy that they decided to keep a few pounds of the ore for themselves. Perhaps in another locale it might be worth even more per pound.

As the krasolyte deal went down, the adventurers asked around the Free Square for any information that might help them. They were looking around for rumors that would give them more clues about the Relic of Tur’dar, and who might know more about it here. The only pieces of the puzzle that they had thus far was the common knowledge that this relic was worth more than the Warm City’s wealth, and the piece of parchment that Sookta had found way back in the capitol city, which as far as they could ascertain stated, “The Relic of Tur’dar is ******* in Cyopolda.” One of the words on the fragment of paper was illegible, or perhaps too archaic to understand. So the party asked around for directions to a few locations in the city that might prove to help them uncover this mystery.

The information they collected gave them some possible leads. Cyopolda is home to two scholarly orders–the Scholarly Order of Potai and the Scholarly Order of Sordal. The word on the street said that those two locations housed the wealth of historical documents that discussed the region in any longstanding detail. Most commoners they met on the streets of Cyopolda, regardless of whether they were Djenndan, human, or ais’lun, citizen, or traveler, all seemed to have heard the tale of the Relic of Tur’dar being worth more than the wealth of this city, or that one, but none seemed to know much about the origins of the thing. It seemed funny the way the stories of the relic had abounded, but little was known about what it actually was. Sookta remembered back in the capitol that the woman who gave him the parchment seemed to think that the relic’s worth outweighed Cyopolda specifically, and the Warm City was the one referenced on the parchment, but those who spoke of the relic on the streets of the Free Square had a multitude of stories regarding its exaggerated worth.

The other information that stuck out to the group included a reward that the Lord of Cyopolda, A-Chut Tridat, was offering to whomever would find the relic in his name. It seemed that Lord A-Chut had little regard for rumor and did not believe that the relic actually existed, but he offered a reward to anyone who might recover it just to be safe. Others claimed that the Lords of neighboring cities offered the same reward to their subjects. Other rumors pointed the group toward a Swuskwah Temple situated on one of the larger stones in the north part of the city, and finally, some people spoke of a delegate from the Ancient Kingdom of Scorth who has been asking around about the Relic of Tur’dar herself. There were a number of choices in front of them, and the seer suggested they visit the Temple of Swuskwah to begin their search.

The Swuskwah Temple was easy to find beyond the Free Square and the city center. The temple is situated atop an impressively large, flat, square stone that must be several hundred feet across. Large logs are anchored at each of the four corners of the floor stone and angled toward each other meeting in the center above the stone floor where they make a tall point. The walls of the temple are strips of bark lattice and leathers, with flaps to let in the light at points. Inside the structure, candles light the perimeter, and the floor glows with a calm ambiance. The stone of the floor is clearly one of the ruin structures, but here it has been buffed by the acolytes of the temple to a smooth, almost glass-like surface. The shimmer of the candle glow along the dark, rich stone floor makes the stretch of the temple seem like the surface of a lake in the stillness before dawn. The simplicity of the temple, too, was beautiful; there were no partitions or separate rooms, simply the open expanse of the stone floor, where prayer took place toward the center, and study, meditation, and discussion took place along the perimeter. From the point of the ceiling above, the effigy of the god Swuskwah–the god of the hunt–swung gently from its braided cording. The symbol was a simple semicircle of Joza wood from which stretched a great piece of leather.

As they entered the temple and their eyes adjusted to the diminished light, they noticed that the floor was surprisingly warm as well as smooth. The temple felt at least ten degrees hotter inside than outside. A large Djenndan supplicant greeted them along the edge of the building and asked how he could help. The adventurers asked if they could ask the man some questions about the relic, and he asked them to follow him toward the southwest corner of the temple. Bubby and Sookta took this opportunity to step away toward the center, where they knelt and offered respectful prayers with other supplicants under the grand Swuskwah effigy.

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The Djenndan who greeted them along the perimeter of the temple introduced himself as Loket, and invited them to speak freely and openly about what it was they sought. Nysteld asked Loket first if he had heard about any relics, to which Loket noted cryptically, “A relic can be many things. Which relic do you seek?” Nysteld and others in the party were hesitant to share their information at first. They knew little about this temple or about what to expect from letting anyone know they were seeking the Relic of Tur’dar. But Sookta, who had returned from offering a prayer at the center of the building, decided to entrust their information to Loket. “I know that people of heard of the Relic of Tur’dar, but something told me that the relic is tied to this place. I’ve come seeking information.” This piqued Loket’s interest. He freely shared what he knew of that relic. It seems that Tur’dar is tied to the stories of Swuskwah, and that in their texts one particular line stands out from his studies. Loket repeated the following passage to the adventurers:

“The Relic of Tur’dar: lost to time somewhere under the city, but the relic belongs atop the ancient temple, designed as a beacon of some kind.”

Loket seemed very specific about his words. The group meditated on these thoughts for a while, and then they took their leave of the tranquility of the Swuskwah Temple and traveled to the west of the city to find the embassy of the Ancient Kingdom of Scorth, where they hoped to speak to the delegate who was visiting. In a short time, they found the embassy, which was essentially a large open leather tent built with large logs and situated against a series of flat standing stones. At the entrance opening were situated two long tables populated by numerous workers who busied themselves over scrolls and books. At the center of the room behind the tables sat an ais’lun, regally dressed, speaking to one of her assistants. And guarding the front entrance on either side stood two, stone banded warriors, with large axes and stone-guard shields.

The adventurers watched the embassy workers go about their tasks for a time, before they stepped forward and gathered the attention of one of the workers at the table. They wanted to speak to the delegate from the Ancient Kingdom of Scorth, and soon they were being greeted by the ais’lun at the center of the room. She introduced herself as Ens’ye Yontal, a noble who had dedicated her life to finding the Relic of Tur’dar, something that she claimed was from a civilization that far predated the Duchy of Torland. Sookta mentioned to Ens’ye that they, too, were searching for the relic based on a fragment of a scroll they had acquired in the capitol. Ens’ye explained that she was searching every city like Cyopolda, where there were remnants of these large stone structures. She had matched rumors of the relic’s worth to Torlish documents that describe older cities in the locations where these current settlements exist. Ens’ye asked to see the scroll fragment that Sookta had. The group reluctantly showed the noble the parchment. To their surprise, she noticed something.

“I think I’ve seen this word before,” she puzzled, pointing at the illegible word before the Alldedan script meaning “Cyopolda.” Ens’ye ordered one of her assistants to retrieve a book whose name sounded unfortunately Torlish. After several minutes, the young man returned with a dusty tome that the noble proceeded to thumb through. Finally she found the passage. It was next to a strange diagram. There was no reference to the Relic of Tur’dar, or to Cyopolda, but the word in the passage was clearly the same word used on Sookta’s fragment. They discussed the word for a time, and Ens’ye concluded that based on the context, she thinks the word could mean “vital.”

It was an exciting connection for Ens’ye and the adventurers, and Sookta took the opportunity to share that his scroll also seemed connected to the Temple of Swuskwah in some manner, repeating the phrase that Loket had shared with them. This was all new information for Ens’ye, who had only arrived in Cyopolda as one of the many cities she was searching for evidence of the pre-Torlish society and its connections to the relic. Now, it seemed, the evidence was connecting the relic to Cyopolda specifically.

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Ens’ye launched her research team into work mode. “If it lies beneath the city, we’ll have to find a way down there,” she said to the adventurers, thanking them for their help and information. The adventure party took the opportunity to try to convince Ens’ye that working together made the most sense. When it seemed to the party that the noble was only interested in pursuing her own quest, Hodjai stepped forward and persuaded her that it is in all their best interests to find the relic together. Ens’ye seemed hesitant, but agreed. She proposed that they part ways for now and meet with the adventurers tomorrow at dawn, where they can begin to search the caverns north of the city to see if they might lead toward some path below.

The adventurers left the embassy with a new momentum for finding the Relic, but also a bit of paranoia over Ens’ye’s goals. They decided to make one more stop in Cyopolda before gathering their supplies for the trek beneath the city–the Scholarly Order of Potai. Situated in the south districts of the city, the Scholarly order is a collection of overgrown ruins in which many detailed wooden beams and artfully grown trees make up the outlying structure. Inside the order are many scrolls and books organized by era and script. While there are several different subjects of interest within the Order of Potai, they are first an order dedicated to preserving the historical knowledge and rhetoric of Torland.

The group met Kitari, a viantu scholar, just beyond the entrance of the Order of Potai. Kitari was extremely talkative, and claimed to be the only viantu in Cyopolda. With little prompting, Kitari expounded in detail about her life story to Bubby, who simply wanted to know where any scrolls on relics might be found. Sookta interjected and asked Kitari about the history of pre-Torlish societies. After clarifying the type of information they were looking for, Kitari directed the group to a man named Perdan, to ask him about natural disasters recorded during the Duchy of Torland’s height. The adventurers found little else of import, with the exception of interesting Torlish accounts of a disaster that seemed to befall the society that held claim to this region before the rise of Torland. The day was growing late, so the adventurers decided to gather their belongings to prepare for the next day.

Nysteld, specifically, wished to commit her newfound resources from the krasolyte deal toward improving her weapons and armor, as did Kishsahat and a number of other members of the party. Additionally, two members of the group decided it made sense to recruit help for their journey. By the end of the day there were seven new people enlisted to help their company. Dyrakos retired back at his establishment, and the group agreed that on the morrow, they would find a way toward the depths below the city where they would discover the source of the Relic of Tur’dar. Join us next time as they continue their adventure!

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Fractalform is the gaming handle of Bret Woods--ethnomediologist, author, and lead developer of Augur's Lore RPGs. Bret is Thing 1 at http://descrypt-studios.com.

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2 Responses

  1. Dennis Hammack (Sookta)

    Excellent retelling of the events! My hope is that all GM’s follow this example. Really brings the game to life.

    Thanks!

    • mountaintree

      Aw, thanks! I appreciate that very much. Looking forward to more great story from the coming sessions! 🙂

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