The PCs’ plan goes well enough at the start. Calvin, Edward, and Jonathan make their way to the Broken Plow, while Cyan and Donovan travel with Captain Jiranee to the king’s court. Calvin and Edward are directed to a Fox Person named Viviana, who eventually takes them to meet Iosef, the apparent leader of the Yellow Candle Society. As Cyan and Donovan walk with Jiranee, she talks openly about the king and his court, mentioning how she never felt he was suited for rule and describing the nature and habits of his various minsters.
Iosef, for the most part, is nice enough, for the leader of a revolutionary group. He also admits there’s not a lot they can do, as Minster Ranganathan has spied everywhere. Calvin and Edward talk to him and mention they hope to enact a regime change, which gets his interest.
Cyan and Donovan find the king’s court impressive, but the king less so. He seemed bored with the proceedings and amazingly indecisive, asking his Minster’s advice on even the smallest of problems and rarely making his own decisions. When the time comes for Jiranee to speak, she introduces Cyan and Donovan as Lady Fortran and Lord Cobol. Their greetings fail to impress and Minister Ranganathan then asks about the status of Lady Nayantha. Soon after everything goes to pot when a drunken minster stands and demands the arrest of the traitors (i.e. Cyan and Donovan.) As Jiranee, Amal and Lata hold off the attacking guards, Donovan files Cyan out of the King’s great hall, but not before taking a wound to the chest.
Getting about half-way to Jiranee’s estate, Donovan crashes resulting in Cyan yelling for help into the radio Marcus had given everyone. This alerst the rest of the PCs to move. Billy Jo heads out to find Cyan and Donovan. Cyan does her best to administer first aid (which ends up healing Donovan,) while Marcus and Vilgerther start setting up defenses back at the estate. Calvin and Edward get ready to move out as well, after telling Iosef to gather his forces and meet them at the Flower’s home.
The PCs help Jiranee’s staff evacuate (they plan to head out of the city to one of her country estates,) then settle themselves down for the inevitable attack. The lack of technology works to their favor—messages are delivered by horns (which are heard blowing about the city) and by horsemen, one of who makes the mistake of pounding down the road in front of Jiranee’s home. Edward fires a shot from his ion rifle, which tumbles the horse, killing it and the rider in the crash.
After about an hour roughly 150-200 men fill the street in front of Jiranee’s estate. The PCs estimate nearly the entire city guard is out there, as well as a contingent of royal guardsmen. After demanding the PCs surrender (which is refused) the small army elects to assault the front gate with fire and axes. However, Marcus has placed the plasma weapon on the roof of Jiranee’s great hall, and two quick shots leave the street full of dead, dying, and wounded men. Many others are staggered and stunned, and large numbers of survivors break and run.
Soon after Iosef arrives with his ‘troops.’ Consisting regular citizens armed with whatever is at hand, they’re directed to arm themselves with whatever the City Guard et al dropped and then see about rooting out any of Ranganathan agents in the city. They disperse to do so and soon vigilantism breaks out across Virava.
The PCs then head back up to the royal palace, accompanied by a captured guard. The castle is surrounded by multiple walls, each erected when another portion was added. The large front gate is closed and guarded by a small contingent of royal guards, but their commander totally loses his nerve when Donovan files up to where he stands atop the wall. The commander drops his poleax and runs when Donovan demands his surrender and the rest of his troops soon follow. Billy Jo hacks his way through the gates with his Power Axe and the PCs then find themselves in the outer bailey, facing a second gatehouse.
Marcus uses the plasma cannon to blast the second gatehouse open and it rapidly becomes apparent people are fleeing the royal residence in droves. Certainly none of the guards wish to challenger warriors with can smash down heavy wooden gates with ease and the general staff have no desire to sacrifice themselves to defend their king. In many cases it seems the king had built a house of straw. As long as might-made-right everyone was happy, but the whole thing fell apart once someone stood up to the abuses.
Entering the inner bailey, the PCs then split up. Marcus remains out in the open courtyard, while Calvin and Cyan go into the great hall. Donovan, meanwhile, takes Edward to the top of the donjon after their captive tells them that’s where prisoners are kept. Billy Jo, for his part, climbs the chemise (the wall around the donjon) and finds the tower’s front entrance.
Inside the great hall, Calvin and Cyan find a morose and drunken Pallathu sitting on his throne. Of his minsters, servants, and guards there is nearly no sign. The hall looks to have been deserted in some haste, with overturned chairs and dropped items scattered about. Near the king are a few of his most loyal servants and one minister—Kalindi. Seeing as the king is not exactly rational, Calvin and Cyan speak with Kalindi.
Inside the donjon Billy Jo finds some guards on the ground floor and proceeds to make short work of them. Donovan and Edward find a few as well, and do the same. They also find Ranganathan, who holds a knife to a shackled Jiranee’s throat. After tense negotiations, Ranganathan is allowed to leave (Donovan ‘escorts’ him out of the city) and Jiranee is freed. Meanwhile, Marcus plaintively wants to know if anyone needs more fire support.
After an amazingly short time the ‘war’ is all over (it might have even beaten the record set by the Anglo-Zanzibar War for shortest ever.) The PCs then spend the next 4-5 weeks in Virava helping in the rebuilding and transition of power. Eventually, however, it becomes obvious the PCs should move on. Captain Jiranee holds a dinner at her estate for everyone and afterwards has the great hall cleared so musicians can play. She then returns from her quarters dressed in her finest houpelande, informing Calvin “you wished to see me dance.” Later, the two retire to her quarters.
Given new clothes, equipment, weapons, and supplies, the PCs now form a small caravan. They have four donkey-like animals, one cart, and seven people (Jonathan elects to remain in the city of Virava and work as an accountant [and fortune teller].) The PCs then start down the heavily switch-backed trade road that leads from the cliff-side gate of Virava down into the jungle below.
While making the hours-long trip from the city to the base of the jungle level, Donovan spots a rectangular area of clear jungle. Too regular to be natural, he decides to investigate. Once the PCs reach the floor of the jungle, they find an obvious road running straight out and away from the cliff, as well as a way-station—a small walled clearing with a roofed barn. As the PCs regroup, rest, eat, drink, and care for the animals, Donovan takes a 15 minute flight over the trees to check out the strangely open area of jungle.
Coming through the trees, he find a large (football field-szed) plaza made of stone blocks. Bits of ruins and debris are scattered about, but what attracts his attention is are two 50-foot tall... things. Having a body vaguely reminiscent of a crab’s, they stand atop three spindly legs and are equipped with obvious weapons (as well as what look like unit markings.) There’s also a 20-foot plus moth-like creature lying dead on the plaza itself. It has mechanical add-ons, such as a cannon under the ‘head’ and a rotor-blade for a tail, and more unit markings on its back. A second one lies in a far corner of the plaza, crumpled up, looking as if it crashed.
In due time Marcus arrives and announces the machines not really machines, but are instead mechanically-augmented life forms. Alien life forms to be specific, and unlike most everything else the PCs have seen in the Well, they have no real relation to anything seen on Earth. Lost in thought, he takes a closer look at the moth-like creature, with Billy Jo helpfully cutting the corpse open. Meanwhile, Vilgerther takes a look at the wreck in the far corner, just as a huge (as in larger than a man!) spider crawls over the corpse.
A summery of events following the battle with Pallathu's troops:
1) Master Narayanro is found alive. He’d been tortured to give up secrets he didn’t have, and spends some time recovering. His wife, the Lady Mala, didn’t survive her imprisonment.
2) Captain Jiranee is unharmed, although a bit battered from her capture and imprisonment. Amal and Lata were killed defending her.
3) In due time, Prince Pannu is summoned from the city of Bhamik, where he acts as governor. He accepts the transition of power and quickly immerses himself in undoing many of the policies his brother implemented. The selling of slaves, for example, is stopped and many dissidents are leased from prison.
4) The various minsters, with the exception of Kalindi, are dismissed from their post. Many are exiled to distant estates and their in-city property confiscated by the crown.
5) Quite a few suspected spies and informers were killed in the purge. It’s uncertain how many were guilty and how many were simple revenge and/or opportunity killings.
6) While over-all a ‘good’ man and one who puts his duties before his own wants, Pannu is less than thrilled with the PCs staying around. Although he never comes out and says it, once he’s firmly in place as the new king it’s strong hinted it’s time for the PCs to move on. He gives the PCs an open line of credit with the crown to enable them to acquire any goods they need to make this happen. As noted, Captain Jiranee also gifts the PCs with various items they’d need to make the journey.
7) Attempts to change the overall systems of government fail. The city of Virava isn’t exactly ready for democracy and/or major social change. That said, Iosef proves to be a good source as to what the common people want and spends some time in discussion with Pannu describing just that. Before you leave, Jiranee hints he is well on his way to becoming one of the new royal minsters.
8) When all is said and done, Pallathu leaves Virava to take up residence in a distant royal estate. He’ll have all the time he wants to hunt, wench, drink, gamble, and otherwise live a life of leisure, which is apparently all he wanted to begin with.
You’ve met the following people:
The King’s Minsters who were named were: Birchandra, Kalindi, Muni, Ranganathan, Sumukar, Sundar. Of these, Birchandra was Pallathu’s closest confidant, while Ranganathan was the chief of the secret police.
Iosef: A purple-skinned Farming Person with gray hair and beard. Head of the Yellow Candle Society.
Viviana: White-haired and white-tailed Fox Person. A member of the Yellow Candle Society.
Zorzs: A Beast Person bartender at the Broken Plow.
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