Part 2 - A Tale of Two Cities
The Nephilim began the six week journey to Ekbatana. On the way, they traveled through several cities with familiar names like Kish, Nippur, and Susa. Although the names were familiar, the cities looked very different. It had been after all, roughly 1300 years since they had last been to those places.
After several weeks of travel, they met up with a guide named Thevis. It was his responsibility was to get them the rest of the way to Ekbatana while filling them in on what they needed to know about the local politics and society. He also filled them in on the lives of their simulacra.
They also learn that they had some allies in Ekbatana. These included Morad, the Zoroastrian high priest, and Insu, the Chief Magus of the city.
They arrived at the city in late fall. They spent the winter months acclimating themselves to their new lives and new families. They did what they could to avoid drawing attention to themselves or having anybody notice that they were now acting differently.
Kagen began his duties as an instructor and Letizar began working as a doctor. Letizar had a brief but intense relationship with a woman named Inharus.
Once spring arrived however, they decided it was time to take action. Busker arranged for a merchant caravan to journey to the city of Zarrod. Kagen would stay behind and continue help teach the students at the school, while the others would join the caravan When the caravan came close to use Zarod, the they broke off from the caravan and instead headed to the city of Kerma on the edge of the Red Wastes. Kerma was only a couple days travel from it.
They found that the small town was full of mercenaries and adventuring types. This was because the Red Wastes were an extremely dangerous place to travel through, but contained an extremely valuable resource that men were willing to risk their lives for. Throughout the desert could be found fragments of a strange purple crystal, which people were willing to pay greatly for to be used for jewelry.
They were able to examine one of these valuable crystals, and realize that it was a fragment from one of the great purple obelisks they used a standing in Ibnath They remembered how Ervanzo had attacked Ibnath and driven out the Selenim, he had the obelisks destroyed. Apparently their fragments had been scattered about the desert.
They learned that the locals had no concept of what a Selenim was, but they feared the city of Ibnath nonetheless. They said the city was full of dark necromancers, and that its ruler Arhiman was the greatest necromancer of all. Others stated that while powerful, Arhiman was merely a steward of the city. The true ruler was the Undying King, who at the end of days would take back the throne and bring darkness to the world.
The three decided to head into the Red Wastes to get a closer look at the city of Ibnath. While traveling however, they were attacked by bandits. The bandits themselves were an easy foe to defeat, but it turned out they were only a distraction. Coming from the other direction was a band of desert ghouls that descended upon the group. Busker was knocked unconscious, but Letizar and Therin were both killed, sending their Nephilim into Stasis.
When Busker awoke, he found himself in a familiar cave. A man who called himself Sidra watched over him. The two seemed vaguely familiar to each other. Busker realized that he was at Dragon’s Claw Rock, and that the man standing before him was an incarnation of the Nephilim Sahdi. Sidra explained that Arhiman had spies throughout the desert supported by the desert ghouls. He explained that Busker and the others had little chance of ever getting close to the city.