By Jeff Quick
Slaves' Escape Portal
Hethshep (N male human Wiz4) is a Mulhorand slave trader who hit the jackpot
when he found a colony of aarakocras living peacefully in the steppes
of the Hordelands. A few sleep spells later, Kohar-De had a caravan
wagon full of brightly plumed slaves for the jaded tastes of Mulhorand
bird-like creatures have been a hit. They are considered exotic and fashionable
slaves to have in one of the last nations on the continent that still
condones slavery. Many clerics of Mulhorand pay handsomely for the privilege
of owning one of these strange humanoids. Those who appear more hawk-like
command even higher prices, and are seen by some as a symbol of the gods'
of prestige, little is expected of an aarakocran slave in Mulhorand. Mainly
these expensive status symbols are kept nearby as decorative 'objects'
or as ostentatious displays of their owner's wealth. Aarakocran slaves
usually accompany their owners as part of an entourage, for both business
and social functions. Sometimes they are instructed to flank their owner
and wave palm fronds, but mainly they stand around with their arms chained
decorously to their sides to prevent them from flying off.
treated well, a caged bird is still caged. The aarakocran slaves who remember
flying freely over the steppes long for return to the life they knew before.
Fortunately, though few know it, they have an ally.
Esseylnn (CG male halfling Rgr11) is already an outsider in this ancient
land simply by being a halfling. But he would be hunted in the streets
if someone discovered his real purpose in Mulhorand. Mather was a slave
in Mulhorand himself sixty years ago. In the intervening years, Mather
traveled west, joined the Harpers, had many adventures, and now has returned
to the land as an anti-slavery crusader.
Mather was a slave in his youth, he ran away often. Once when hiding from
his master, he ran into a dilapidated building in Gheldaneth. Worming
his way farther into the building, he discovered a staircase that led
down to an odd room beneath the street. There, he discovered an ornate
room with relief carvings covering every wall. The carvings were of slaves
carrying palanquins full of gold and food through a shimmering rectangle,
from a land by water to a grassy land with magnificent buildings. Humans,
connected by long chains and dressed in animal skins, walked back through
the rectangle in exchange.
was crumbled however. From within that wall, a rectangle of light poured
through into the room. When he looked through, Mather saw a ruined city.
Frightened, but desperate, Mather walked through the portal. He
never learned what the name of the ruined city was, but today the land
is known as 'Tethyr.'On return to the land of his captivity, Mather took
some of his earnings and bought several buildings surrounding the area
where he had discovered the portal so long ago. He now lives quietly
in the slums of Gheldaneth, and runs a secret 'underground railroad,'
moving slaves out of Mulhorand to Harper compatriots in Tethyr.
goes out to the growing number of aarakocras he sees trailing about the
cities. Since aarakocras are so high profile, it's noticeable when one
goes missing. He can't move them as simply as he does human slaves. But
he keeps his eyes open for opportunities to help them escape -- or for
adventurers passing through who have no reputation to lose while attempting
a high profile liberation run.
to Incorporate the Slaves' Escape Portal Into Your Campaign
- Player characters
in Mulhorand might be hired by Hethshep to serve as guards for his caravan.
Of course, Hethshep neglects to tell them beforehand that they're guarding
a caravan of slave traders, off to grab another lucrative batch of aarakocras.
- Aarakocran slaves
are waning in popularity, in favor of other exotic slaves. Aarakocras
are being discarded or forgotten in droves. Mather needs help moving
two dozen aarakocra from Neldorild to his underground escape space.
It must all be done all in one night and completely in secret.
- It's been three
generations since Mather was a slave in Mulhorand, so there's little
chance of him being recognized. But if someone were to discover his
former slave status, the family that owned him is still active and would
be happy to have the long-lost (and forgotten) asset back in their portfolio.
If this happened, Mather's Harper friends in Tethyr would be willing
to hire good-hearted adventurers to go rescue him from his new masters.
Of course, Mather wouldn't want to leave without taking some friends
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