The session began in the aftermath of TaNiik’s possession by a mysterious fire spirit. From above the party, on the upper floor of the house Brendos yelled for the guards to contain the slaves while he attempted to get the situation under control. Tom and Therai were outside, Tom looking on at TaNiik’s body with a mild disappointment, while Therai seemed stricken by the event that had led to the death of his cell-mate. Abraxis decided to take advantage of Seeshesh being unconscious from the horrible pain of his burn wounds to make use of an old trick he had mastered from his youth. Focusing his mind on a single point he caused a small flame to lick very near Seeshesh and begin to spread. The fire immediately caught Brendos, the guards and many of the slaves attention and they attempted to fight it. Abraxis convinced two of the guards to help him “save the gear” and the three of them exited the building as the attempts to fight the fire were failing. Brendos was horrified as the fire trapped him upstairs and proceed to follow him into the utmost rooms of the house. Seeshesh was barely snatched from the roaring flames as they tried to consume him. Brendos was eventually backed into a corner and had to climb out a upstairs window and down the side of the house to survive. With everyone intact (perhaps to the parties disappointment) order was reestablished as several guards surrounded them and took the gear away. Brendos, tired and angry decided to go to the house of Bruthambar, the leader of the rockcutter clan who also rules north and south Ledopolus.
When the party arrived at the dwarf’s house, they saw it was a large stone structure on the outskirts of town. They were whisked into a room with comfortable beds and what must have been a mural of ancient dwarves who possessed hair. The dwarf in the mural was standing with the sun to his back and a hammer in hand. Therai was silent in grief and would say little. Some chatting about the events back at the house and what part the stone had to play in them took place. Tom and Abraxis also questioned whether the Veiled Alliance may have known that what had come to pass had been a possibility and not properly warned them about it. The group drifted off to sleep. In the morning Brendos came to their rooms and informed them that a lucrative trade contract had been signed between the Mal house and the Wavir house concerning the silt trade in the region, mostly thanks to the success of the raid on the Tomblador house, Brendos was very happy about it. Also half the bounty from Lurash the Yellow Skull had given him greater cheer. He told the group that he understood that the events of yesterday could not have been their fault and that if they had known anything, any sane person would have informed him about it. Being forgiven the party was free to enjoy their former trust they had earned. The arena bouts would still be fought tomorrow. It seemed that Seeshesh had survived and was on bed rest, with a large section of his body badly burned. The party was free to roam the estate but not to disturb Seeshesh or Bruthambar who was busy with paper work.
After Brendos left to go into town and do some shopping, Rhamil, the dwarf trainer that Brendos had hired showed himself and told the remaining person in the room, Abraxis, that he was going to have a training session out in the courtyard. Tom had began playing a game of cards with the other Mal servants in which he liberally cheated, but was also told of the training and decided to join the old dwarf outside. Therai had disappeared and did not show for an hour or so. He told the group that he had been able to easily sneak off the estate grounds and have a small ceremony for TaNiik. He then joined the others in practice.
Elsewhere a caravan of slaves and gladiators made it’s way to Ledopolus under the watchful eye of the callous dwarf Ulruun and his many intimidating guards. The caravan had stopped near an oasis and all the slaves had been unchained from the caravan’s side. Sorrin Ambris, a elf who had had some success on the arena sands watched the fat dwarf drink down his ail and eat his haunch in a piggish manner. The slave next to her watched the rippling water of the oasis with a driving desire to slate his thirst and foolishly went up to his dwarven master to ask for a drink. Ulruun was surrounded by strong stable mul and powerful goliath. He bellowed a laugh at the pathetic request and had one of his mul guards nearly drown the man in the oasis by holding his head under the surface. The caravan packed up and traveled onward.
On the next morning, the caravan pulled into the small town of Ledopolus and everything was halted as Ulruum gave a speech to all his fighters. He told them that great favor would be given for success and that they would suffer for failure. That he expected nothing less then absolute victory.
Brendos returned from his shopping trip and gathered his team up for the tournament. The arena, called the Maladran turns out to be a large cave in a hillside which the party enters from a side door into the rock. When Brendos goes to check in his team the party sees two familiar faces a bit down a hall-way, the old man and dwarf girl from the veiled alliance see them then quickly move on. The counter clerk inside tells Brendos that their is a problem with him having only three team members. The tournament was laid out with the understanding that each team would have four members, and they cannot ask the other team sponsors to weaken their teams for his sake. Brendos is furious and demands he be accommodated. This is when a huge minotaur who reveals his name is Tanter Gorehorn exits a small back room and tells Brendos in no unfamiliar terms that those are the rules and he is just going to have to get over it. Though Brendos is blazing angry he manages to control himself in the sight of the intimidating minotaur and allows the party to be separated from him as he goes to his seat. The party is put in a small hole in the wall blocked off by a heavy rock to act as their cage before the match.
Ulruum and his train of fighters enter the Maladran with Sorrin in toe. Suddenly Sorrin feels a familiar something call her attention to a dwarf girl (the same one from the veiled alliance) who is not calling attention to her presence. She answers the call with a proper response and the dwarf girl opens up a psychic communication with her. Sorrin asks the dwarf to get her out of here and the dwarf tells her that she will do everything she can. Sorrin is then taken to the box-room of a noble lord to entertain him for more coin in Ulruum’s pocket book. She proceeds to scare him out of his wits and he quickly releases her from the room. She is taken back to her cell (the same type as the party, hole in the wall with boulder).
The party is visited by the two veiled alliance members, the old man who is posing as a sponsor looking to buy arena fighters, and the dwarf girl acting as his servant. Both are wearing clever costumes and are treated like sponsors would. They tell the guards outside the cell to allow them in to examine these slaves to see if they wish to purchase them. The guards let them in and the old man insists that he does not have to have the dwarf hold open the boulder and can just drop it. This gives those inside the cell a measure of privacy. Under hushed tones the party is first angry and feels that the veiled alliance tricked or otherwise misled them, but the soon learn that the alliance was just a clueless as to the rock’s potential and is very sorry about TaNiik. They tell the party that they had hoped that house Wavir would have seen the potential of the group through the Tomblador raid and bought them and released them so they might do contract work. Though that did not happen the veiled alliance members assure the party that they are trying to help and that they believe that they can solve their missing member problems.
Sorrin’s cell is opened and Brendos Mal walks in with Ulruum. Brendos has somehow gained interest in purchasing Sorrin. The two make a quick deal and she is now contractually bound to the stout human man. Brendos introduces the new member to the party and tells them that they must now live and die together. (much the same thing he said when the group was first brought together with TaNiik) Then the group was taken off to their first bout. The party was led down a hall lined with similar cave-wall cells then to a large circular room with two dirty dwarves and several dwarf fighters. The two dwarves who were not caged approached and told the group to strip down to their undergarments which they did with some skepticism. The dwarves then took buckets of paint and began to ritually mark the party as the dwarves in the cages began to hum a religious chant. The party stood while this took place uncomfortable then were allowed to exit to the arena floor down a long stone hallway. On the way down the hall they saw Rhamil who gave them a tip. “Be nice” he said as they passed him. The party came out into a small circular room with seats above them filled with a packed crowd. This room looked too small to fight in, but racks of weapons (of which the party had none) were situated within easy reach of the onlookers. The party quickly realized that they were going to have to beg or entertain the crowd for a weapon. Tom was immediately noticed by two human noble women who toyed with him as he tried to charm a knife from them with his wits. Sorrin began an exotic dance to entice the dwarven and human men in the crowd. Abraxis called upon the help of a local bar-tender in the crowd who had a past relationship with him. Finally Therai attempted to appease the crowds whims. All attempts worked, but Therai’s less so.
The party saw a gate separating them from a very sandy ring open and they entered to fight their first monstrous opponents. Five Jhakars exploded up from the sand and proceeded to have a fierce contest of sword versus tooth. All contestants fought valiantly and won the battle with minor injuries. Though they attempted to invigorate the crowd with flourishes, they were unable to get the hardened group of dwarves excited.
With victory in hand the group was split up to enjoy some rewards. Therai and Abraxis were able to enjoy a hearty meal. Sorrin got a steamy message from two strong women and Tom was embarrassingly shoved into a room with a willing but dense arena bunny to enjoy himself. It was about four hours before the party was gathered again and congratulated for their excellent win.
The party was led off to a stable filled with Crodlu. The group had to choose their perfect match from the many Crodlu then fight from it’s back for the next bout. After they had chosen they were led off for a grassy ring with tall yellow stalks and several rocks. A hole in the ceiling provided plenty of light. Sorrin saw across the ring on their opponents team was the dangerous fighter Triggar, a barbarian enslaved to her former master Ulruum. In an attempt to get back at her former master, Sorrin greatly desired to kill and humiliate this fighter. The battle began and it was a fierce blitz of Crodlu claws and beaks as well as spears and axes. The party was victorious.
After the bout ended Sorrin picked up the head of the decapitated Triggar and threw it towards Ulruum and made it explode with “psychic” powers in an intimidating fashion. An announcer then called in the watchers into another room for “the main event”. The Horned Demon, whose name was revealed to be Asteron, was put center stage. A universal challenge went out to all sponsers to challenge him in four on one bouts. The winner would take five hundred gold pieces. The party gulped as they thought Brendos would jump at the opportunity.