A rag-tag group of gladiators battles in the arena only to watch bedlam explode around them as news of Kalak’s death reaches them.
Your blood splashes across the sand and the crowd roars. The sound is deafening. They come to the arena of Athas for one purpose, to watch you die. You can remember nothing before the moment the warhammer smashed into your face. It is as though you were born that very moment, born in blood. Whether your past led you hear with petty crimes or political missteps or simple enslavement, all you care about now is the hammer of your enemy and ensuring it does not hit you again.
“Stay strong!” shouts an older gladiator, massive in build and scarred from dozens of battles. You recognize him as Dren Foehammer, the gladiator slave underdog champion of the arena. “We may yet live to see another day.”
The crowd roars again at the sight of death. Breath rips in your dry throat and sand bites at your eyes. High above the uncaring dark sun of Athas continues scorching the city of Tyr as it has for thousands of years. The city of Tyr sits like an infected wound in the burning sands of Athas. From his ziggurat in the center of Tyr, the sorcerer king Kalak rules over all creatures in his domain as he has for a thousand years. His law is absolute and any violation meets, at best, with death. All feel the pressure of his tyranny, those in the arena, and those in the stands.
The ground rumbles underfoot as a large cage of strangely emblazoned bone rises from the sandy floor. A serpent within hisses, and it is only after a moment that you realize you heard that hiss not with your ears, but with your mind. The cage falls away and the serpent is free. From the depths of the cage, the serpents brood slither free. Another cage at the far side of the arena opens and two more serpents slither out. “I have these two!” shouts Dren, his bone-bladed axe rising into the air. “Kill the larger one in the center!”
The roar of the crowd erupts as the serpent’s blood sprays in the air. You stand for a moment, basking in the glory of bloodlust. The crowd suddenly goes quiet as a figure stands from the royal boxes. He is robed in red and flanked by four armored men. “Ashbringer” you hear the crowd whisper. “He’s going into the arena!” Emblazoned on his tunic is the sign of Kalak himself.
“It would appear today is our last, my friends.” says Dren. “Let us go down swinging.” The gladiator veteran rushes the defiler but gets caught in a skirmish with two of the defiler’s guards.
“Kill him!” Dren shouts, his axe blade parrying against the bone swords of the bodyguards.
Something changes in the air. The sun of Athas appears to grow even darker. Looking to the crowd, you see that they see it too. Sarus screams out, reaching for the sky. The aura of desolation around him seems to fade.
“He is dead!” shouts a thin man running into the crowd from outside the arena. “Kalak is dead!” The crowd shifts in confusion but other voices soon join the first. “The Sorcerer King is slain!”
“I cannot believe it,” says Dren Foehammer. “So many years and now…we are free.” His eyes narrow as he looks to the kneeling form of Sarus Ashbringer, defiler of a dead God. Sarus looks small, thin and weak in contrast to Dren’s massive form. Dren seems to care not for the pitiful look of the hollow man. He draws a jagged bone dagger from his belt and stabs the defiler in the heart.
Two years pass and the city of Tyr has changed forever. With Kalak’s tyranny gone, factions split and blood spills in the streets of the twisted city. You find yourself in the Children of Blood, a mercenary company of twenty three ex-gladiators and ex-slaves.
Though maimed in the battles of the arena long ago, Dren found himself leading the Children of Blood. His leadership in the arena has served the Children well in the chaotic streets of Tyr. Though the Children found themselves with nearly every job requiring muscle, edge, or spell, Dren had only one rule for his band: No slaves.
With the money won in the arena and acquired from these jobs, the Children bought Red Sands, a small warehouse in the Caravan district. There the Children hire themselves out as caravan guards, mercenaries, bounty hunters, debt collectors, and many other jobs requiring muscle and teeth.
Dren smiles as you as you sit down at his table in Red Sands. "I have need of you, my brothers and sisters. Our coffers grow light. Luckily, we find ourselves with many potential tasks that might fill them once again. Choose which job you will:
Karlen, the half-giant proprietor of Karlen’s Eye, hunts down an old bowl once said to hold the blood of the Dragon of Tyr. It was lost in the ruins below Tyr but Karlen believes some of the street urchins in Tyr know of its location. He will hire the Children to investigate the rumors and hunt down the bowl.
The dead beat Fram has fled to the deserts with debts owed all over the city, including us. He’s apparently cashed out all he could and hired our rival gang, the Redbones, to protect him.Go get what you can from him and leave him as you will.
A traveler, Sosha, crossing the desert says the sand has uncovered a source of water. Confirmation and information would be worth a great deal to the Children.
Venay Wavir of House Wavir in the Merchant District, seeks baby Tembos. There is a cave rumored to be the lair of a Tembo on the outskirts of the Ringing Mountains.
Note: The group chose to find the source of water in the desert.