Since their characters had been hanging out in Niru for a while, I decided to catch them up on the rumors floating around town and recent events.
~Crime is on the rise in Niru. A lot of new faces in town. The fame and reputation of "The Dragonslayers" is spreading through other cities and a lot of folks are moving into Niru just to live in the protection of their shadow. All the empty properties in old-town have been bought up, and the tent slums are packed and overcrowded. Theft and petty crime are way up, but the Elfulan guards are overwhelmed. The Elfulans keep a good watch within the wooden palisades of old-town, but patrols going into the slums focus mainly on stopping violent crime like muggings and drunken brawls.
There was a murder a while back when the PCs were out of town. A man was robbed and killed at night, his body found the next morning in the gutter with multiple stab wounds. Three days ago (while the party was resting) there was another murder. This one was in broad daylight. Four people wearing brown robes and cloth wrapped around their heads and faces stabbed a man to death in the street and then ran off. The bloody robes and cloths were later found behind some tents, but no one can identify the assailants. The dead man was not robbed, and witnesses say that the attackers slowly surrounded him then attacked all at once with no provocation. The victim was a newcomer who had only been living in Niru for a week or two.
Last and most distressing are the lost children. Three children have gone missing in the past month.
~The troops on loan from Sippar have been patrolling the wilds outside of Niru. No one has been attacked by elves or orcs in weeks, so that's good news. Maybe that last raid on the Caves of Chaos has put those humanoids on the defensive?
~ Eeyuthezish has a new look. The Dragonslayers were disturbed by a commotion outside their home in the middle of the night. Eeyuthezish was out in the street with his robe open yelling about dragons attacking Niru while holding a giant bong. He is a few decades younger now than he was a week ago. The PCs rushed out, but there was nothing in the sky but stars. The two Elfulan guards watching over the magi just kept shaking their heads and mouthing "I'm sorry" to the PCs. Eeyuthezish seemed perplexed that no one else could see the dragons, so he started casting a spell. A fireball erupted in the sky over Niru lighting up the town. Eeyuthezish calmed down a bit after that, the PCs helped convince him that his fireball had scared the dragons away. They talked to him for quite a while, but he was hard to reason with and obviously still having hallucinations. The Elfulans eventually took him back to the temple to rest.
The next day the PCs found out what had happened. Eeyuthezish and one of his apprentices had distilled down the fluid from the cysts and used that to make a sticky green tar. The tar is highly hallucinogenic when smoked and apparently also reverses ageing. His apprentice had a bad trip and had to be restrained while he screamed and had terrifying visions. They are both fine now except that the apprentice now has the body of a 9 year old boy, and Eeyuthezish refuses to take off his "wizarding helmet".
~ The town of Urum is being led by a madman. About six months ago this man with a half burned face arrived in Urum claimed to have been sent by the "Burning God" to purify the town and it's people from the lies of the Annunaki. His message of equality and communtity seemed to resonate with the people. As he began to gain followers the magi of Urum decided to crack down on the heretic. This all escalated into a revolt and the magic of this new burning god seemed to overpower the magi and their Elfulan guards.
Duhngemezh the Prophet controls the town now. Most of the residents fled the town during the fighting, but the promise of equality for all has brought in a steady flow of people from the southern cities. Most of these newcomers are mutants, ratlings, the dispossessed, and downtrodden. Reports from the soldiers of Sippar also suggest that groups of elves and dwarves come and go from Urum as well.
The magi and their soldiers have been keeping watch on Urum. They are keen to take back the town and recover the Tablet of Fate (spellbook) within. Duhngemezh has threatened to destroy the tablet if any large force approaches the town, so small squads have taken turns watching the town and it's people. They've seen some strange things.
Urum is surrounded by a 25' tall wooden pallisade. A few archers keep watch from the top of this wall. The gate is always guarded by at least two men, usually mutants. The west edge of the town is up against the Euphrates river. The people are bringing lumber into Urum everyday, mostly from the nearby Gloamwood Groves. The people of Urum seem to be hard at work building a bridge across the Euphrates which would connect Urum directly to the cursed ruins of Kutha! No one knows why they are doing this, as it would allow the demons and vampires in Kutha a route across the river. The people of Urum seem to be having parties almost every night. Singing can be heard, and the air all around the town is filled with the intoxicating smoke from burning gloamwood.
~Lastly, there is some rumor about a village to the south where many women claim that their children are missing, but everyone else in town claims that these children never existed. They say that there women are suffering from some curse, a contagion of madness. Also, all of these missing children are supposedly the same child. It's a confusing story. Some travelling merchant was talking about it a few nights ago while he was drunk. You can ask Sam the bartender about it, he heard the whole thing.
The PCs go talk to the magi of Niru about Urum.
As a favor for the magi in Niru the PCs agree to enter Urum and negotiate with Duhngemezh. So far the magi have never been able to get any of their soldiers inside the gates of Urum. All of their agents have been rebuked and turned away by the mutants guarding the gate. The magi are hoping that some of the PCs like Ony the Mutant and Jakob the Ratling might have better luck.
...and now I've taken too long writing this, so I'll have to make due with a super brief session recap.
They went to Urum, and spoke with Duhngemezh. There is a mutant there who can read minds or detect lies or something, he is present at all discussions. Urum needs food, they'd like to trade with Niru. He will not give up the tablet of fate or halt the bridge construction. Says he is building the bridge so that the Kutha Ulu can be killed with his god's holy fire. "Um... ok". Duhngemezh won't part with the tablet because he believes it is the only thing keeping Urum from being attacked, which seems perfectly understandable but doesn't really give them a lot to work with.
A group of elves and dwarves were in town. Urum trades with them sometimes. The elves did not care for the PCs at all. Pretty sure that is mutual.
Negotiations went well, but accomplished little. No one died at least. PCs returned to Niru and I think they are planning to work out some kind of trade agreement next session.