With Ashtura’s Blade surrendered – and Yeraa appeased – she led her group and the party further up the Six Kings to a plateau where she removed a bag of ash from her belt, pouring it into the outline of a large circle on the ground for the amalorkar. The changeling agent Tik (as his hobgoblin persona, Tikulti) explained that amalorkar translated to “honour fights”, a show of good sport and good conduct, and asked the party to pad their weapons appropriately so that no one would be seriously injured. Combatants were to fight one on one, with the first team to five wins claiming victory by knocking their opponent unconscious, forcing them out of the circle, or scoring a good hit without receiving one in kind. Kayde tried to bow out due to his lingering injuries, but Aruget and Quentin took him aside and insisted that would not go over well with the goblins. Tikulti overheard the party’s dilemma and stepped in, saying he would be the one to fight Kayde, much to Jak’s relief.
First up was Yeraa herself, challenged by Aruget. The dirgesinger lived up to her name and sang a song of power and inspiration, which clearly affected her fellow goblins, and managed to throw Aruget temporarily off his game before he sidestepped, returned her blow, then took out her legs and knocked her out of the ring.
Next up for the party was Lestok, eager to take part in this event that he did not grasp the seriousness of. Shrugging off his Fumigator 9000, he boldly declared that he would challenge the toughest of Yeraa’s party with nothing but his fists, and got his wish when a surprisingly burly female goblin stepped into the ring. She easily dispatched the cocky gnome, picking him up by his ankles and throwing him out of the circle.
Jak, eager to avenge Lestok’s loss, fought the large hobgoblin Lestok had tried to challenge before getting his actual competition. His quickness and agility won the day when he tangled his much larger opponent in a net, tripping him out of the ring.
Quentin fought a fellow magic user, forming the ground itself into a powerful grasp around his ankles, dragging him out of the ring and earning his respect.
Kayde fought Tikulti as promised. Right off the bat, Kayde got the advantage and pushed him back a little, then baited him to the edge of the circle and where he ran right out of it as he lunged at Kayde, earning him jeers from his fellows for how easily he was defeated.
Aruget stepped up to the ring again, encouraged by the party as being their best chance for success. Encouraged by Quentin, he taunted his large hobgoblin opponent, getting in his head. Throwing his Tiger’s Blade and charging Aruget dodged his opponent’s attack as the enchanted byeshk axe returned to his hand and he caught the hobgoblin under the chin with its haft, knocking him out and securing the party’s victory.
While the two groups mingled in the spirit of new friendship, Lestok’s opponent congratulated him on his bravery and accepted his invitation to try some of his special spice blend later, Jak thanked Tikulti for looking after Kayde, and Quentin asked his opponent Marduuk about the dirgesinger tradition while Yeraa remained standoffish. As they continued up the trail, Yeraa waved Aruget over and told him that the stories said the caves contained two pieces of the crown. They would encounter an obelisk that would teleport the goblins one way to seek out Murkoorak’s Orb, and asked Aruget that the party seek out Zaarani’s Solitaire in the moon pool. He thanked her for her confidence and she said that they had proven themselves and were sanctioned by the Six Kings themselves.
Meanwhile, Kayde got tired of everyone speaking goblin and tried his hand at a greeting, interrupting Quentin’s conversation with Marduuk, who laughed heartily at his pronunciation. While Quentin encouraged Kayde to keep talking as an unwitting distraction, he summoned a bird to pass a message to Tikulti, whom Jak was unsuccessfully trying to bond with. The group reformed and Arguet brought them up to speed, while Quentin shared with them Tikulti’s reply – that there was nothing he wanted to tell them for fear of blowing his cover. Jak, though disappointed, agreed that it was wise for himself to stop bothering Tikulti.
As they came higher up the trail, Yeraa directed them to a cave whose entrance was covered in vines, saying they would travel together until they reached the obelisk, and gave Aruget a khyber shard wrapped in byeshk that she said would allow them to keep in communication. With that, the two groups entered the cave, to face the mysteries that lay inside.
Behind the Scenes
- Question of the week: What are your feelings about the Treaty of Thronehold and the Last War?
- Tik really threw his fight with Kayde, though not 100% intentionally – that was one of the few times I’ve seen an NPC crit fail.
- The amalorkar was conducted as version of a Dramatic Task.
- Tik told Jak that Yeraa thinks Aruget is our boss. Jak thinks we should roll with it, since they seem to have a rapport.
- Speaking of Tik, Jak’s gregarious nature got the best of him. He really wants to make friends with a fellow Dark Lantern changeling, but has no idea how to go about it. Tik’s definitely not into his methods.
- Will Lestok’s burning curiosity allow him to be in two places at once? He really wants us to switch places with Yeraa and go through the obelisk…but then he wouldn’t know what the Solitaire does! Oh, the indignity!