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The Siege of Kadesh

Day of the Hare (1st), Murderer's Moon, Year of the Lamia [13/6/2002]

Kadesh

MORGAN'S STORY

small map of the
Old CoastFor the last two years Morgan of Vil-Ning has lived in the Port of Kadesh. Kadesh is a warrior's town on the semi-desert eastern coast of the Sea of the East, south of Ilthmar and the Old Coast and quite a busy port. The city is ruled by the wily and ambitious Prince Muburuk. It is no secret that Muburuk one day hopes to rule a mighty empire from Kadesh.

Two years ago, pirates betrayed and murdered Morgan's captain, Captain Yarm of the 'Vilarosa'. What is worse, they set Morgan up to make his crewmates believe that it was he who had committed this deed. He was forced to leave Lankhmar City in a hurry, on board the 'Green Parrot'. During that voyage, he was attacked by more pirates, but his daring and skill (and that of two other adventurous passengers) was enough to repel them.

Since that time Morgan has been working in Kadesh. There has been much need for his sword-arm. Prince Muburuk has many enemies, so there is always mercenary work available. If it isn't desert nomads from the east, it is gypsies or Diamond Knights to defeat. Even within the city there are many factions who often need protection.

Not that he considers himself a mercenary. No, it is the sea which calls him. He has used his pay and his limited knowledge of Eastern Tongue to beg, borrow and buy tools, space and timber to construct a small ship. Morgan's skill at boat-building is limited, so there have been many mistakes and false starts. Now however she is almost finished.

THE GYPSY SIEGE

A few days ago Kadesh was besieged. The Gypsy Nation, a vast group of wanderers have encamped around the city and will not allow anyone egress. No-one is sure of the reason for the siege. The gypsies normally wander seasonally from north to south relatively peacefully. Some say Muburuk has offended them (the Gypsies take honour very seriously) Prince Muburuk is apparently unconcerned; Kadesh's walls are strong and it is a port city. The Gypsies have no boats. Nevertheless when the Kadeshites see the size of the Gypsy encampment, rumours and unrest murmur around the city. Currently, there are still stockpiles of food and water, but people are worried. Naval transport and warships have become top priority, and Griarr, the master of the boatyard where Morgan has been spending his off-hours is no longer happy to have his (not quite finished) vessel in his shed.

Morgan looks lovingly at the boat he has been working on for so long. One tall mast, and wooden planks gracefully tapering to a point at bow and a skeg mounted rudder hanging over the stern. While the fit out is incomplete, the hull should be seaworthy and the rigging should only take another days work. Morgan would hate for rioting to breakout, as he knows the boat yard will be swamped with frightened people looking for a way out.

KADESH PORT

Still a problem often presents an opportunity. A few water barrels, a map, compass and 2 weeks provisions and the 'Grey Owl' will be able to sail to the next town. There must be others in this town wishing to leave before things get worse, and quite prepared to pay for the privilege.

Morgan stalks towards the shipyards chandlery to price the required provisions and equipment. Morgan bargains shrewdly with the ships chandler, who owes him a few favours. He gets three water barrels, 2 weeks food, a map and a compass for the excellent price of two hundred bronzes.

Later at the Desert Rest tavern (or one of the other port side drinking establishments), Morgan encounters a mysterious individual swathed in dark robes, only his (?) eyes visible. The individual identifies himself in a low voice as Bra'haa, "a man of private means. This siege and this town hold no interest for me. I am anxious to leave Kadesh and return to Moorsh." He opens his black-gloved left palm to reveal five gold coins (500 bronzes). This is probably a fair price considering the rudimentary conditions onboard the Grey Owl, and this Bra'haa seems honest enough in spite of his mysterious robes. Morgan vaguely recalls that Moorsh is a small town on the east coast of the Lankhmar Continent, across the Sea of the East though he doesn't recall ever visiting there. Consulting his map he estimates that Moorsh is about 2 and three quarter days more or less due west with good winds. He plots a rough course through the northern Sea of the East, avoiding three islands along the way, two to starboard and one to port.

Kadesh's courtesans are doing a fine trade on the waterfront; it seems that some activities are not curtailed by the siege of the gypsy nation. Morgan spends an amusing evening with a feisty wench named Brandy (or was that what he was drinking...?) The sea is solitary mistress, and he plans to get some variety while he can and has a few bronze coins to pay for it :)

Morgan is not really sure what Kadesh has to offer as far as mercantile goods go. He is aware that there are large numbers of goats and olive trees in the semi-arid lands around the city, but he has spent most of his time here either as a mercenary or a boat-builder. No-one seems willing to entrust any messages for Moorsh to an unknown Vil-Ningian who speaks poor Eastern. All that aside he is happy to get out of the boatyard at the earliest convenience. Griarr is pleased to see the boat out of his shed. "Sail well comrade," he grunts in his halting Lankhmarese. As the 'Grey Owl' slides into the Bay of Kadd Morgan feels a sense of achievement. She may not be much, but she's his and she's the result of two years of toil.

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