The caravan rolls into the town of Altaruk just before sundown. As torches are lit they make their way into the elven market, where Kaldras is greeted by the rest of his moonrunner tribe. As the party is waiting for payment, they notice two things: one is a dwarf beggar with a disheveled beard and a crazy laugh. The other is that the moonrunner elves are watching them, rather then the cargo of valuable iron goods they have delivered. Quofire attempts to stealthily trail the dwarf beggar, with his usual success at such tasks. Also in the market is a bored gladiator named Marok, who is watching the arrivals with interest.
Things do get interesting when Kaldras emerges from his tent and announces his plan to sell the party into slavery. A fight ensues between the party and the moonrunner elves. The party seems badly outgunned and Alden Sneed goes down quickly, but when Kaldras wades into the fight they hurt him badly. How the fight would have gone from there it’s hard to say, as at that moment the fuzz arrive in the form of a towering half giant. He declares himself to be Tellemon, captain of the guard, and he is angry that they are brawling in the marketplace.
After some negotiating on both sides, Tellemon cannot decide who he distrusts more, so he declares that elves and guards will fight it out in the arena. Guards hustle the party (including unfortunate bystander Marok) off to the dungeon to await their morning trial in Bloodsand Arena. The group is finally able to get some rest in the cells, and to play psionic mind games with their opponents down the hall.
The morning of the fight they are marched into the arena, where they will battle in front of hundreds of spectators. Tellemon declares that the team who can carry the most massive stone coins into their coffer will win the match. No direct attacks on each other are allowed. A gong sounds and the games begin. Quofire wows the crowd by telekinetically juggling friends and enemies for maximum advantage. Kaldras and his elves soon find themselves outclassed. Things get trickier when a trio of Jhakar Trapjaws emerge from the bushes to attack the party with their trap-like jaws. But eventually Kovaki loses patience and begins throws one of the elves at one of the other elves, which isn’t quite in the spirit of the rules. Even as guards move to apprehend him, however, the party dispatches the rest of the elves and the game is won. Team Jhakar FTW!
The crowd is elated by the show they have witnessed, but not for long. Cries of joy turn to screams of terror as Tellemon falls out of the stands and into the arena. He has been murdered.
The party is immediately hustled back down to the dungeon, where they retrieve their weapons. A hooded figure named Kothinn then appears as a representative of the governor. He asks that they quietly investigate Tellemon’s murder.
The trail is a difficult one, and at first they find few clues. However, bribing a nasty noblewoman named Lavole the Mouth gets them the information that they need to know – a suspicious gladiator slave was seen heading towards the barracks. At the barracks they learn that the crazy dwarf, Birk Suntouched, has also been seen in the area. With the help of their new friend Marok they determine that both dwarf and gladiator have headed toward the training pit.
The mul gladiator is indeed in the training pit, but alone. Arcane examination determines that he has been dominated by powerful magic. In fact, he is still dominated, which he proves by attacking the party. Birk Suntouched rushes in, now revealed as a practitioner of defiling magic, and orders a group of dominated slaves to attack the party.
The ensuing fight is a bloody and lethal one, seeing several members of the party go down, some more than once. But through skillful use of their daily powers the party prevails. With his dying breath, Birk claims that the town is ‘infested’ with Veiled Alliance agents, and promises that they will pay.
Dun dun dun!