Tallvanor’s Tales: From the High Seas to The High Temple

When last we left Tallvanor and his band of, well, ne’er-do-wells, the party was struggling to deal with the after effects of chasing down leads in Mulhussen. We’ve since gained some new party members and we realized we would need holy intervention if we truly were up against some type of unholy or vampiric influence. Ibrahim and Tilly, our newest Paladin and Cleric, joined the party, while Claudia, our bard, disgusted at the events that took place around the stealing of the annals of the Yellow King, left the party.

It’s been several months since my last report. I regret to inform his ducal lordship that we have just left Mulhussen, so any assistance you’ve sent there will have to progress to Apamea. We’ve been following a lead that points to Count Magnus somehow having influence within the city, and the hiring of several different mercenary companies – the Silver Bats and the Golden Dragons – to be deployed there in what is rumored to be some type of civil war. Rumor appears to have been absolutely malarkey, in this case. The town was well and secure, occupied by the Silver Bats, who patrolled with ease. While there were some merchant backed groups that were gathering supplies, they seemed to be nothing major. We presented ourselves as the Green Dogs, a newer mercenary company specializing in espionage and scouting. We took a job with them, as a way to gain further intelligence and inveigle our way into the good graces of the leader of the Silver Bats. After a quick meeting at a nearby hotel, we were able to discuss and plan for a possible future together.

After finding the leader of the nascent rebellion, we quickly raided the house, took down the leader, and then set fire to his trove of weapons and gunpowder. By we, I mean Maxwell. That did nothing but make a huge explosion. Ibrahim and I nearly lost our lives as we rescued the wife and children of the rebel. They were innocents in this matter, regardless of the choices of the gentleman of the house. With this mission complete, we were invited back to the same hotel from earlier, paid handsomely, and given some more intel. We shared our own knowledge about the arrival of the Golden Dragons, leaving the officer in charge of the Silver Bats surprised. They weren’t aware any other mercenary companies were coming either. That was news to them.

With this news, we began to plan for their arrival. Since none of us were certain if they were friend or foe, we prepared our defenses. Since the Green Dogs were a non-entity, we left Tilly drilling some new recruits she’d slowly been gathering since arriving in the city as new members of our ‘company’. In the meantime, we began investigating a handful of leads generated by Paul Strange AKA Gregario’s contacts with the Black Lotus. Several of which led straight to the Satrap’s Palace. After some fruitless efforts at investigating the palace itself, other than sensing something unholy and undead from within, we resolved to wait, and attempt to breach the palace during the likely chaos of the Golden’ Dragon’s arrival.

For the better parts of several hours we waited, split into two groups, one watching the dockside for the Golden Dragons, the other focusing on the Satrap’s Palace. As luck would have it, we were right, as the Golden Dragons arrived in port, a procession left the palace and headed towards the main square. It seemed like every guard in the place had come out, far outnumbering our party. We scouted around the procession, aiming for the palace, but Ibrahim’s senses pushed him towards a closed carriage in the middle of the so-called ‘Immortals’ or personal guard, of the Satrap. Oh, how I wished to charge forward and slay these miscreants, these purveyors of devious and dark designs.

But it was not to be, for the security was too tight, and our numbers too few, to take them. We ambushed a smaller, side carriage close to the palace, and discovered several coffins, full of grave dirt. Eliminating the guards, we stole the coffins and dumped the dirt amongst several buildings. Vampires, just like in Mulhussen. Glad for the holy presence of Ibrahim, we returned to the main square – Ibrahim, Poul Strange, AKA Issan, and myself. Hearing no battles from the docks, we assumed the Golden Dragons had indeed come in peace. Their vanguard soon arrived in the square.

However, while we had hoped they would simply move to secure the city and return to the palace, they instead made for the main boulevard. Recognizing the opportunity for unholy beast within the carriage to attack the undefended holy members of the temple, we raced ahead, hoping against hope to rouse some help from within the city. Personally, I thought we were unlikely to gather any concerned citizens. After all, we had just exterminated the leader of their nascent rebellion, and destroyed their cache of weapons. But with plenty of shouting and a firm demonstration of our own resolve at ambushing the Golden Dragon Vanguard, we gathered nearly two score angry citizens determined to protect their city.

Of course, the Golden Dragons had their own tricks up their sleeves, namely three elephants leading their vanguard . Despite our best efforts, they crushed our defenses and forced their way towards the temple complex. Even with the assistance of recently arrived Maxwell, we weren’t able to stop them. Fortunately, we’d already been at work evacuating the priestesses. But there were nearly 200 of them! And boy did they move slow.

We stalled and stalled, and finally were forced to fight. A brutal affair, as the enemy were heavily armored, and we were heavily outnumbered. As I ushered the priestess away, firing in support of my friends, we continued to fall back. Maxwell disappeared into the other side of the temple, leaving us just when we needed him the most. Typical scum, leaving us to do the hard work. Worse than that, without his assistance, we were even more outnumbered. Naturally, that is when tragedy struck.

At just the wrong moment, Issan took a brutal hammerstrike to the chest, crumpling to the ground. A wave of enemy overtook our positions, and we were forced to flee. I am most ashamed at losing such a friend, and it was only the plight of the people we were protecting that stalled me from returning to get Issan.

I write this from our temporary safehouse, having begun interviewing the two highest ranked priestess from the temple. The remainder we have ordered to scatter throughout the city, and to hide from our pursuers. Even now, I hear their screams as the city around us is forced into compliance.

It seems even here in the east, I cannot escape the war. I will write again with our plans.

Demetrius Tallavanor

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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