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When they reach the top of the stairs, a PC looks around the corner and barely dodges a volley of arrows from the Troika troops above the gate. How to proceed?
The party mindbender takes a peek around the corner, and sees the door to the barracks
just fifteen feet away. He opens a dimention door, and the party and Ianto troops pour
through it into to barracks room. The trouble is that everyone is disoriented for a round
after running through the dim door, and with sixty-five people running through . . . A
horrible pile of confused people results, so big that the last troops in line fall back
through the door. What a mess! Of course the Troika archers on the gate take advantage and
shoot volleys of deadly arrows until one of the PCs crawls from the bottom of the dog-pile
and shuts the barracks door.
The bad news is that twenty of the forty Ianto troops are dead or disabled, and there are sixty Troika archers on top of the gate, and another one hundred in the cave. The good news is that no Troika troops were in the barracks, and that there are enough original Ianto armor and weapons here for the forty remaining Ianto troops to arm themselves, and by the sound of it, may of the Troika troops on the ground are having a rough time keeping an enraged mekillot at bay.
The Ianto troops arm and armor themselves, and the barracks doorstays closed. No sign
of TROIKA, WAXY, OLD MAN, or any of the bodyguards or rust-troops. Nothing but a long,
quiet stalemate for over an hour. Opening the barracks door is met by a volley of arrows
every time. The mage and mindbender are expended; the mindbender thinks to meditate and
dimention door outside the fortress, but IANTO points out that Troika archers would finish
Suddenly, an angry, hungry mekillot comes tumbling from the cave-roof of the barracks, directly over the PCs, who mostly manage to roll out of it's way as it falls (making their saving throws), crushing the lieutenant and a few Ianto troops. They manage to kill it, but end up with only thirty-two "fightable" Ianto troops. After a few discouraging minutes tick by, they hear a tired female voice calling:
TROIKA: "Master IANTO, I would parley with you."
They open the barracks door and see TROIKA, sitting alone and unarmed in the middle of the cave floor, gently holding an obvioiusly drugged BERN in her lap. The mousy, blonde half-elf woman looks exhausted; her face shines with sweat. TROIKA asks that IANTO either come himelf or sent one representative to parley with her. They refuse, fearing a trick with the archers, but ask to negotiate by shouting from the barracks (she is fifty feet away.)
The party asks what she was going to do with the Ianto prisoners that were drugged and she says that she planned to give them to the dragon as part of his levy, but that was negotiable. She feared that Democratic Tyr would deny the Dragon his levy, and wanted to collect enough captives to fill it. The party mocks the idea that she was acting to save Tyr; this makes TROIKA smile for some reason.
TROIKA admits that she had a personal interest in seizing fort Ianto, and offers what seems like an amazing deal. TROIKA will
|let the IANTO, his son BERN, and all conscious allies to leave the fort unharmed.|
|pay him a four hundred silver werguild for his wife.|
|pay him six hundred silver for his fort|
In exchange, IANTO must sign a document (already written up!) stating that:
|IANTO is selling his fort to TROIKA for the four hundred silver.|
|IANTO accepts the generous offer of six hundred silver as werguild (compensation) for the unfortunate death of his wife and many of his men in a "misunderstanding" with house TROIKA.|
|Since the werguild has been paid, IANTO promises not to seek retribution by miltary, economic, or legal means, nor to make "libelous accusations" against TROIKA, or publicly complain about the agreement which he signed.|
|IANTO agrees to never deal anymore in Tyrian Silk or dyes, in exchange for twenty-five silvers, payable to a Ianto representative stationed in Tyr.|
This last provision startles IANTO. "Silk is a big market," he whispers to the PCs, "but the main market that we compete for has always been Iron." He even asks TROIKA, "put into the contract that we _can_ continue to deal in iron.
She agrees: "If you wish, but it's unnecessary: it would hardly be reasonable for me to ask you to stop dealing in iron." The provison goes into the contract.
The party negotiates for the release of their comrades, and IANTO demands every single one of his men, conscious and unconscious. TROIKA complies, and every single person is accounted for, living, unconscious, and dead. Wizard and Gladiator A are still unconscious, but even their nice equiptment is returned.
IANTO signs the contract. TROIKA conveniently has two somewhat embarrassed mid-level templars on hand to officially witness the signing was done legally and "without coercion;" in other words, that it is legal and binding. For a fee, the templars promise to scribe IANTO a copy of the contract.
Confused by TROIKA's apparent generosity, the party and IANTO leave fort Ianto (now Fort Troika) and begin the short trek to Tyr; carrying the wounded and sleeping this takes them two days.
On the second day of travel, Wizard A wakes up with the empty mind of a moronic child.
Many of the Ianto troops share the afflition; BERN, fortunately, does not.
The party approaches Tyr, which is not quite the city that they had left just three days before . . .
Careful readers may be able to guess _some_ of the changes.
When they have nearly reached Tyr, the PCs run into a freemen who are fleeing the city. The freemen will not stop for kind words or money, but by following them and asking them and persistently asking them questions, the PCs learn some interesting information:
|At dawn two days ago the iron mines were seized by an unknown force. All of the mine guards were captured or killed. The unknown army is holding the mine, and has sent no emmisaries or explanations.|
|The freemen are fleeing Tyr because for the last two nights undead have been rising from undertyr and killing randomly.|
|Because of the threat of the undead, the City guard is cannot afford the men to attempt to recapture the iron mines.|
|Agis, Sadira, Rikkus, and Neeva still have not returned from wherever they are, and Tithian still has not come out of the Golden tower. [if you want to know where they are, see the Amber Enchantress, or Year 3 in the various Official timelines]|
|Rumor has it that the Dragon is coming to Tyr.|
|Because of the undead attacks, and because the seizure of the mines has disrupted Tyr's cash-flow, most of the middle- and low-level templars are on strike, disrupting basic city services. Mobs fight for water at the wells. Slops and garbage sour in the street, etc.|
|The City guard were going to shut the city gates, and allow no one else out of the city.|
|When the Party reaches Tyr, the city guards tell them that if they enter the city, they will not be allowed back out. The guard were decimated by undead attacks the night before, and several of the survivors recieved the message that DMP, Kalak's former Chief Necromancer, was directing the undead, and that the attacks would stop for two weeks as long as no one was allowed to leave the city. For every one that leaves, the message said, two city guards and their entire families would die horribly. In fear, the guards are ignoring the orders of city council, and enforcing DMP's demands.|
|DMP's message went on to say that Tythian had promised DMP the Red Crystal of Tyr, but had never delivered on his side of the bargain, after DMP had struck Kalak's defenses with the copper-smelling bolt of magic (see the Freedom adventure) that had allowed Rikkus' spear to strike him. Tythian had two weeks to deliver the Crystal, or Tyr would be destroyed by its angry dead.|
|The PCs also learned that a group of young mercheant houses, led by Vordon, were gathering troops to re-take the mines for Tyr, but the Guards adamantly refused to let them out until the two weeks are up.|
Tyr is in a pretty mess.