2 ITEMS UNLOCKED
Kha’al’s escape in Chapter 1 unlocked 2 new items for the Core Box. We asked you what those should look and feel like – and we picked our absolute favorites from your many ideas (and saved the rest). Now it is your turn to pick your two favorites:
*Please note that we have to playtest these thoroughly, so they might change a bit.
Below are the stories written by fellow rebels, to continue the tale of Kha’al. Click on the name to read their contribution to the Lore of Azuhl. Please keep writing this story with us!
He runs through the crowd until he reaches the upper wall of the arena. Jumping over it wasn’t his best idea, but consider what would you do in panic, running for your life.
Even at the darkest days, there is sometimes some luck, if you will call it so. Falling down behind the wall he hits the old roof of the stables, where the horses of the nobles wait for their riders. Sadly the roof cracks and he falls right through it into a haystack.
Waiting inside the hay with a loud bumping heart he is sure that someone must have heard the noise of his crash. There is no time, the fleeing masses will come here soon. Hurry.
Jumping out of the haystack his legs entangle in an old rotten stinky horse blanket and he falls to the ground… again. It’s not his day.
A blanket… not what a lucky one would wish for, but on a day like this, knowing it’s freezing cold out there, it’s a gift. So he grabs it, hiding his body and face with it as a ugly cape and leaves the stables right in the moment when the crowd passes the corner of the stables. He becomes one with the running masses and leaves the place where the death is still lurking.
Later, after the night has won it’s daily fight against the light, he sits on the roof of the local tavern. Enveloped in his new treasure, his back pressed to the chimney, he mentions that he has got more then just something that warms him. There is a nasty itching… this ugly blanket… brought him guests… or better pets. He has got fleas. It’s not his day, and even not his night. No is not.
As Kha’al let his eyesight adjust he noticed the crowd wasn’t just confused and in a panic but more of a rage. Yes some of the imperial crowd was fleeing but others in the crowd were fighting?? No, not just fighting but killing one another as if in some kind of uncontrollable rage. Kha’al started to get the urge to join in the fighting but his years of training urged him to look for an escape.
As Kha’al looked around for an exit he noticed a Druwhn Boy in ragged clothes standing and staring at him. The boy could be no older than 12 could he?? Kha’al started to approach the boy thinking he might flee, which would be the smart idea given the chaos that has erupted throughout the crowd but instead the boy continues to stare. Now within an arm’s length the boy suddenly moves. Kha’al reacts instantly and goes into a defensive stance, but then notices the boy not throwing a punch but rather extending his hand with an amulet dangling down and the chain in his grasp. Kha’al now thoroughly confused with 100 questions running through his head can’t help but take his right hand and pull the amulet just a little closer as he has never seen a metal quite like it before. The metal was a deep dark blue yet at the same time seemed to glow in the darkness.
Just then Kha’al got knocked off his feet. It appears he is the new target of a blood spattered crowd member looming over him. The spectator swings and Kha’al catches his fist and counters much quicker than the spectator can react and lands a punch square in the attacker’s jaw. Despite the effective counter punch the attacker keeps coming at Kha’al. Kha’al thinking to himself knows he doesn’t have time for this. Imperial reinforcements will get to the arena soon and he will lose the chance of escape. As the man comes in for his second attack, Kha’al counters once again knocking the man off balance but this time Kha’al is going to finish this fight. He spins the man around and with one fluent motion snaps the attackers neck. Well they don’t call me Kha’al the Destroyer for nothing.
Kha’al then notices the amulet the boy had laying on the ground next to the dead attacker. Kha’al realizing that in the attack he completely forgot about the boy and looked around. The Druwhn boy was nowhere to be seen. Kha’al picked up the amulet and placed it over his head and as soon as the amulet rested on his chest his mind cleared. Kha’al’s entire body seemed relaxed, and in that moment Kha’al noticed multiple things.
First the chaos of the smell, darkness, and enraged crowd members all seemed to be coming from one location in the arena and he noticed there was a black urn at the center of that chaos. The urn was emitting the darkest smoke Kha’al has ever seen. He also noticed his escape. Kha’al did not hesitate and bolted for the door.
This door seemed to lead to some sort of service area for the arena. Crates and barrels were scattered throughout the room. Just then he heard more shouting and food steps approaching. Kha’al hid behind a set of crates just as a group of imperial soldiers came running through a separate door and headed for the arena. Kha’al wasted no time and headed to the direct in which the soldiers had just come.
Kha’al found himself on the street, some of the chaos had bleed from the arena to the streets as people were running frantically in every direction. As Kha’al was attempting to get his bearings he heard another Krowh voice. “You look a little lost, can I help you find your way?” Kha’al turned to see an elderly Krowh woman dressed in similar rags as the strange boy he had encountered in the arena. Kha’al not sure if she could trust the women just yet asked if she knew the fastest way out of the city. “Ahh well I do but the problem is the city was placed on lockdown with all the commotion happening in the arena. Will you be needing a place to stay?” Kha’al, having no choice nodded and at that moment decided he might have to put his trust in this stranger if he was to escape the city. The woman spoke again, “You might want to put that thing away”, as she pointed to the amulet around Kha’al neck. If an Imperial soldier sees you wearing that they will think you stole it. Kha’al totally forgot about the amulet around his neck, he then smirked, took off the amulet and placed it in his pocket. The clarity that was once so prominent in his mind hand now just faded.
The woman led him back to a refugee camp and into her tent. She had a hot cauldron of what smelled like soup and directs him to a rolled out blanket on the floor next to the fire. “It isn’t anything fancy but it will fill your belly and then you should rest” as she handed him a bowl of the soup. I have a friend that can show you a way out once the city opens again. Kha’al not arguing with the woman starts to eat but then pauses for a second and looks up, “by the way, what is your name?” The woman smiles, “I go by Pheon’ox”. Kha’al proceeds to eat in silence as he processes everything that just transpired. Who was that boy and is he somehow associated with Pheon’ox? The timing of some of this boy and woman showing up is all too convenient. Was this planned all along? Could that Urn be the one of ancient legends? Now with a full stomach and an exhausted mind and body, Kha’al begins to doze and he lets this now peaceful darkness fall over him.
Flagging quickly from his hurts and the expenditure of his last reserves of energy, Kha’al didn’t have the strength to fight the panicked crowds trying to find a way out of the arena. Fresh pain erupts each time a blinded body stumbles into him or lashes out in horror. Maybe being trampled by the Ironhoof would have been the better way to die, because it seemed he might meet the same end within the press of bodies, just more slowly.
Try as he might to stand his ground, the jostling eventually sorted itself into a concerted effort to leave the arena, perhaps finding light again outside it’s walls, and he was carried away in the flow. Weakly he stumbled along until, his knees buckled and he fell, viscous kicks and stamping feet finding his wounded side tearing roars of agony from his throat. Curling into a ball to gain what little protection he could he rolled until he bumped against a wall. Exhausted and completely spent, Kha’al passed out as the maddened masses rushed down the streets and alleyways, their cries faded into the distance.
Waking groggily an unknown time later he groaned as he tried to uncurl from the fetal position. Breathing was difficult but he was able to find a threshold just shy of sending burning knives through his side, which left him feeling like he was drowning slowly. Despite this, he did feel stronger, and with a great effort he groped to his knees. He blinked his eyes, then again and again, but the darkness was still all around. Putting out a hand to try and find the wall to help himself stand, he suddenly pulled it back with a sucked in breath. He’d stabbed them with something in that direction. Reaching out again slowly he found the blade of a dagger. Having abandoned his own, now mostly useless sword in the arena, he didn’t hesitate to arm himself once again with this find. Placing the dagger in his belt, he reached out again and found that he had apparently rolled himself behind a merchant stall. There were other items here, but none as obvious as the dagger in the darkness.
Using the stall to gain his feet he lurched back into the street. He could now hear the keening cries of people from farther away. He must not have been unconscious for long, or this sudden darkness was lasting a long time due to some sorcery. He could see no point in staying where he was. He might finally have his freedom, if he were able to get away from this place while the chaos held. Trying for a slow deep breath he filled his lungs as much as he could, then took up a weary trot down the lane.
After a few dozen yards he was brought up short as he slammed into another stall that had been dragged or thrown into the roadway. He muttered a curse as his hands came down onto the flimsy wood to push it out of his way. At the same time he noticed a familiar pungent odor coming from a bundle of what felt like herbs, the stalks of which had broken under his palm. These were healing herbs that he could maybe make into a poultice for his broken ribs. Shoving these into a pouch he continued on, more cautiously this time, always heading away from the sounds of screaming people. If he could just reach the outer walls while this darkness held, he could be free once again…
Kha´al escaped from the arena because he had killed the former best gladiator there: Geredikt. A black Knight on a black horse, well known for his fighting abilities with his morning star and speaking some kind of magical language Kha´al never heard before. Now after Kha´al realised this monster had died he took 2 items from his prey.
– Kha’al gets out through the dump tunnels where dead bodies are thrown after the fights.
– While in these tunnels, he finds a passage leading to a back door leading from the underground Disciple’s temple where sacrificial rituals are being made (The Disciples often use dead or near-dead victim for experiment, sacrifice, reading omens, etc.)
– Because of the panic, most sacred priest chambers are deserted – Kha’al was able to found these items there.
– He meets a female priest that knows the truth of what is happening. She knows everything is lost and that all living will need to fight together to lift the curse. She was against the ritual, knowing the risk of the path of destruction that could spread.
– She helps him to get out of there and join him in his fight
A hooded woman beckoned for Kha’al to follow her. Unwillingly and without an alternative, he dashed after her as well as he could, with her whispering to him along the way as they moved further away from the crowds. She led him into a privy and as he followed her in, a secret tunnel revealed itself as the ground dissipated. The woman lithely landed on her feet while Kha’al landed with a painful thud. He groaned as he followed after her, quickly navigating through the crammed tunnels that seemed to branch out along the way. She hissed for him to follow whenever he lost track of her in the growing darkness. Kha’al rushed along until he bumped into the woman’s hand. She then slowly lifted the ceiling above them and a warm orange glow invited them in. They crawled out from the tunnel into another privy that reeked of shite and piss. As Kha’al turned to the woman with questions, she placed her hand over his face with a whisper and he fell into a deep sleep.
Kha’al saw the masses panicked. People overruned by frightened men, women cried in fear and agony and Kha’al immediately recognized those beings wont be alive long enough to get out of this bloody mess. But not him, a warrior of might, of pure strength – he would not die, not here, not now. Kha’al took a deep breath and readied himself for this fight against those hopless souls. Then he grabbed the first two things solid enough to use as weapons and he swung it over and over again. After an endless time, whipping his tools of destruction, covered in blood and surrounded by lifeless bodies, Kha’al found himself outside the city. Alive and strangly more powerful as he felt ever before. He looked down to the things he hold in his hands. An guttural laugh rised his throat, as he realized what helped him escaped death – a leg of a youngling wripped apart by the panicked masses and some kind of wooden tool, which was used for cheering the fights in the pit, before the dying started.