The Boundless Empire

the Boundless Empire

Everything started in the Hexagon, the most crowded and exciting brothel in Ysar, one of the 5 Free Cities of the South….
Etna, a sassy even if almost naive Half Orc, approached Hul, a blonde stranger dressed in leather, offering him a blow-job (for few coins), as Laertis, a gaunt elf with a really annoying crow, tried to meld into the colourful crowd disguised as an old crippled leper…

Later on, a young prostitute of the Hexagon was accused of witchcraft by the Holy Inquisition.
Etna only spoke in her defence and therefore was arrested and charged as a witch. The other prostitute was eventually burned by the holy flames of the Reverend Mother Agamede.
Admiring the courage of the young half-orc Hul and Laertis rescued her from the prison-boat of the Inquisition (burning it down and risking their own lives. Praised be the ever helpful dolphins of the sea…)

Marconius, a pious cleric whose mission is helping the prostitutes of the Old City, suggested the trio to find a better refuge than Etna’s quarter as a lot of people found her courage too dangerous. A wise suggestion indeed, as some minutes later Pythar, a ruthless nasty pimp of the Guild of the Quarry, dashed in with awful intention. Etna and Hul managed to escape through the roof, but Laertis was left back, attacked and then emasculated by the dwarf (who literally chewed his testicles).
Laertis also noticed that Etna was spied by a demon (slave of the Prince), who tasted the elf’s freshly spilled blood, stating that many people in the High City would pay to have him, dead or alive. Then the bleeding elf fainted away.

Hul (and an androgynous, mysterious cleric, Dae) saved him and managed to reach an abandoned temple that Etna found in the ruins of the Acropolis. The place revealed to be still infused by mystical energies: not only plants and flowers bloomed unnaturally inside, but also no demon was to be seen there. The elf himself experienced strange dreams, as the group discovered that the more time they spent there, the more healthy they became. Reading the reliefs on the walls they learnt that the temple was formerly entitled to Paskaitis and Zaurine, ravenous god and goddess of Springtime and Death, from the time before the Cataclysm.

The cleric, disturbed by the aura of the temple, diagnosed a strange disease in Etna and maybe in Hul too, forecasting the young girl a painful death if a cure was not found and urging the group to leave the place as soon as possible.

Stubbornly Laertis tried then to explore the place by himself and was attacked and almost killed by carnivorous plants abnormally grown in the temple. The cleric saved him with a petrifying potion, but the group also witnessed Etna displaying wild magic which grew in power according to her rage

Deep in the temple they discovered a gigantic bronze statue of a horse (a cauldron used to kill and burn victims for Zaurine) and the trace of more recent fires. Pieces of parchments and mystical symbols revealed that the place was used by somebody to perform powerful rituals of conjuration, and 2 names were found on a sketch :Achmaldech and Raphiel.

In the further exploration of the temple Hul stole jewels from some skeletons (victims left in the temple after the Cataclysm and therefore starved to death) and a ritual dagger too, the argument that followed the robbery, plus the inability to overcome a collapsed room, obliged the group to leave the dungeon, but immediately outside they were attacked by a strange girl with many tricks.

The girl was an eunuch, Shabrit the Red Parrot, working for a minor thieves guild The Masqued Ball. He offered to save Etna from her stalkers, but with a price: the head of Pythar.
The night after Hul tricked the dwarf and managed to kill him. Pretending to save him from turning into an undead he beheaded him in the very centre of the Hexagon.
Grateful (also on a personal level) Shabrit offered the group a lot of money and the help of the Guild (even if his letters where found to be at least “strange”). According to him the Masqued Ball wanted to use Etna as the leader of a revolution in the Low City, in order to overthrow the Guild of the Quarrymen, reject the Inquisition and give better living conditions to the people of the Low City. Laertis only realized that the honeyed word of the eunuch were infused by a powerful charme. Anyway they eventually accepted the protection of the Maqued Ball and tried to find refuge in the High City for a while.

Marconious informed them that a guild-guerilla already started in the streets (with the first gory murders), blessed them and gave Etna a beautiful red scarf as a present.

Hul and Etna crossed the Market Bridge and entered the High City through the Sphinx Gate. The Judge of Bridge, a red haired demon called Achmaldech, slave of the Prince, stated that both of them were somehow cursed.

Hul was then approached by an adept of the Church, a handless Northern who claimed to recognize him from his past. He led them to a luxurious Inn (the Sphinx Sapphire) and promised to come back soon. Laertis reached them in the shape of a black bird.

Needing some time alone, Hul dismissed Etna, who was posing as his maid. Later he met two disturbing twins from Lethea, antiquities dealers, who bought some of the treasure he robbed from the temple and gave him a powerful amber pyramid. He spent his money at the Wizards Market, buying a leather armlet which could grant invisibility.

In the meanwhile Etna and Laertis were tricked by some petty criminals (who actually wanted to steal the magic whip of Hul) and rescued by Achmaldech and the Prince Guardsmen. The Judge of the Bridge was really impressed by the presence of the Elf, an Ancient One, and wanted to introduce him to the Prince himself using an amber pyramid as connection device. But then he was disturbed by Etna’s dagger, claiming to recognize it from his past. He was sure that the Prince himself hid the dagger (and all its copies) with a blood sigil. Anyway he refused to touch the blade and asked the elf to take it from “his orc slave”.

Hul – reached by a magical message of Etna – found out that his fellows were somehow arrested by the Judge of the Bridge. Approached by Shabrit – who charmed him again, and told him to take Etna away from the Prince’s hands asap – Hul saved his friends as Shabrit burned down the Church tent to give them a cover action.

Later in night they went for “clubbing” in the High City. They eventually get into a party in the Lethea’s Embassy where the Elf (dressed like a charming twink) entered a sick lethargic state of mind and Hul eavesdropped the Lethean Ambassador speaking with a bearded man from the North about the “arise ot the Mantichore in the Northland”.

That night another bard of the Parrots helped them to find a better refuge, less exposed than the Inn, a warehouse by the sea with a boat to escape quickly in case of need.

Using the amber pyramid in Hul’s pocket the Prince himself managed to contact the group once again. Through the pyramid he pushed the three to take their own “true visage” and Hul suddenly entered a monstrous metamorphosis.

With her magic dagger Etna destroyed the pyramid freeing Hul by the Prince’s influence.

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EmanueleCrotti

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