Ce-tan’s ultimate goal is to someday return to Katapesh as a rich and powerful man. Then use that power to financially ruin and publicly humiliate those who have wronged him, mainly Savis Tahir & Ekrum Yavus. And by doing so, perhaps he can avenge Hazlan.
To that end, Ce-tan has used the past 12 months to initiate a number of ventures that will get him to his goal. I view Ce-tan as a combination of a young Little Finger from Game of Thrones and Kenya Rosewater from the SyFy show Defiance. Like Kenya, he runs a small town bar & brothel named the Sultan’s Wish, which in my head is very similar to Kenya’s Need Want. It’s discussed in more detail below. Like the Littlefinger, Ce-tan uses his business ventures to collect information and to get involved in city governance with the goal of becoming rich & powerful. However, while Ce-tan’s priority is to himself, he is not selfish to the point of “evil” like the littlefinger character. In other words, he’ll accept and give bribes, and he’ll use lies and intimidation to get the best deal or the right information, but he wouldn’t resort to serious evils like murder.
While there is a lot mentioned below, I recognize that creating all this is a lengthy process and therefore could not be set up in a day. I also don’t see Ce-tan as a rich man, as all of his income is re-invested into his business ventures.
The Sultan’s Wish:
A Place where a weary merchant or traveler, who having just crossed the desert from Katapesh, or having travelled south down over the mountains, can enjoy some rest in a warm bath and a silken bed, the best local Hookah tobacco & Pesh, gamble and of course enjoy excellent female accompaniment.
I see the establishment as very similar to NeedWant bar from the SyFy series Defiance, with my character similar to the Defiance character Kenya Rosewater who runs the NeedWant.
The Wish started with humble beginnings, most likely nothing more than a couple silk covered wagons, but has grown into a brick and mortar establishment.
Early on Ce-tan approached the merchant Garundel about becoming a minority partner in the establishment, with Garundel using his contacts and experience to secure the tobacco & pesh needed for the establishment.
However, Ce-tan’s first order of business was securing the girls. Well, girl at first, but slowly building up the assortment over the course of the year. The girls are of decent quality, healthy and pretty enough. After all, the Wish caters to merchants and travelers, not royalty. Plus, Ce-tan (with a little help from the potion maker Zastoran) keeps plenty of potions of Charisma on hand for the picky customer.
The Kelmarane Slave Market
The area around Kelmarane is flush with pesh fields, and I image Almah will look to start leasing out or working the land directly very quickly. As such, we’re going to need laborers to work the fields.
Slaves our part of Katapesh culture, and I assume Almah has no problems with slavery (she did buy me after all). Personally, Ce-tan has no issues with slavery, but he does have issue with how slaves are treated. Slaves are very valuable property and should be treated as such.
Ce-tan has been appointed director of the Kelmarane Slave Market. As director he oversees the Kelmarance slave trade, insuring that only quality product is introduced and that they are treated appropriately.
Once a week, Ce-tan personally runs a slave auction where he puts his skills (diplomacy, bluff & intimidate) to good use and has developed a reputation for getting good prices.
The Kelmarane Bazaar
Ce-tan has secured the plot rights to the more desirable Bazaar locations, which he leases out to travelling merchants.
Typically the merchant with the higher offer wins the plot, but Ce-tan will show preference to those who show him the proper… respect.
As the Director of the Slave Market, Ce-tan is charged with insuring that the cities taxes are collected on each sale. This, along with his other business ventures, has allowed him to sit on the cities small council to consult on financial matters.
In addition, he serves as Almah’s “spymaster”. Using his influence, and network to obtain information about all the comings and goings of those who enter Kalmarane.
While his primary “Spy Master” focus is on those who come to the city, he also collects information on what is happening abroad from those who travel to the city. IE, like Littlefinger he collects all sorts of information, but he doesn’t have a worldwide network of “spiders”.
Morgiana the (Ex) Slave Girl. The first female slave acquired by Ce-tan, what Morgina lacks in exceptional beauty she makes up for with a keen mind. Ce-tan first encountered her as the property of the silk merchant Barbellion, who was not afraid to flaunt his mistreatment of his property. Outraged, Ce-tan tried to purchase Morgiana. Although Ce-tan’s initial generous offers were rebuked, he managed to secure her for a very reasonable price after the merchant suffered an unfortunate fire that destroyed his caravan and all his merchandise. (Although a few weeks later Ce-tan did come to possess a shipment of silks of mysterious origin). Freed by Ce-tan, Morgiana now runs the day to day operations of the Sultan’s Wish.
The Merchant Garundel. Once a lowly purveyor of drugs for the Kuldis, Garundel has profited greatly from his association with Ce-tan. Garundel keeps the Sultan’s Wish well stocked with quality merchandise, and Ce-tan keeps the creepy little man well stocked with women. It’s a match made in paradise.
Street rat Ali Ababwa. Ce-tan first encountered the young, mischievous Ali Ababwa, selling tickets to sneak a peak into the women’s bath chambers at the Wish. Rather than punish the boy, Ce-tan rewarded his initiative by giving him a job. Employed as Ce-tan’s personal messenger, but still living on the streets, Alladin serves as Ce-tan’s eyes and ears on the happenings of Kelmarane’s under belly. Ce-tan is fond of the boy and could see himself one day leaving Kelmarane in Alladin’s capable hands.
Almah. While Ce-tan’s relationship with Almah has remained positive, he knows that their relationship can never be more than friends. She is a noble and he an ex slave. Plus, Ce-tan is still in love with the memory of his lost love, Hazlan.
Glarth, feeling the settling of the dust on his adventures for the time, turns his attention back to the insatiable curiosity and wanderlust which fed the early years of his adventuring. Though left physically weak, bitter and tired from his near death experience during his brush with The Bleaching, his experience with the mysterious fallen warrior, Tempest, and the Templars of the Five Winds impels him toward a far reaching search for information concerning the group. His entry into the pathfinders sends him back to Katapesh to this end.
While in Katapesh, upon entering the Pathfinder society, Glarth finds himself meddling in the affairs of the society’s librarian, Ladroban (a human almost as crusty as the old gnome), during his search for information. Unimpressed by their cataloging method, while the librarian is away on travel for a few days, Glarthobbalvot takes it upon himself to reorganize, classify, and index the entire collection to the absolute furor of the returning proprietor. The librarian’s craftiness, however, surpasses his rage, and instead of exploding in anger, profusely thanks the gnome and gifts to him “an exceedingly rare tome for his efforts” thereafter excitedly watching the gnome retreat to his quarters, the curator listens intently for the tell tale exploding crackle of the spell it was cursed with.
Glarth spends almost a month in a coma; however, though outwardly appearing catatonic he is very much conscious and is forced to enter a deeply meditative state and begin an exhaustive investigative-search of the properties of the mind and the magical spell under which he is entrapped to stave off the looming threat of The Bleaching faced by his unforeseen stagnancy. Using this method he’s able to avoid the imminent danger. He emerges physically weak but with a new outlook on the joys of the mind and the experiences which can be found therein. Glarth finds the entire situation inexhaustibly hilarious and befriends the clever old librarian. The librarian, however charges him for the cost of the “rare” tome. This outstandingly backward logic after such a well executed “prank” only ends up further ingratiating Ladroban to the old gnome.
Following this episode, for a time, Glarth travels about, both researching for himself and the pathfinders, mostly investigative and scholarly work. To fund himself, he purchases two carts/carriages and camels for each. He uses his alchemical knowledge, quick wit, and charisma to set up an alchemical and general goods traveling trading operation specializing in old and rare items, largely mundane antiquities which Glarth is able to glean from unsuspecting wares merchants who lack his incredible breadth of historical knowledge (though odd or rare magical items and specialized tools are also not passed up in his trade). To maintain the more mundane aspects of trading while not at hand, he hires a local halfling, Adok, to help tend shop after watching him fool a local merchant into purchasing an item at three times the price Glarth estimates its value. As it turns out, between the pair, they find themselves incredibly successful. Even by obsessive gnomish standards. After hiring an assistant, however, Glarth finds he himself with too much time to spare and, spurred on by his experience of the Breath, the incident at the library, and bothered by an unexplainable urge, Glarth begins to spends much of his time attempting to recreate effects of the Temple gas for his research. This leads to a nasty pesh addiction, sapping a large portion of his earnings and impelling him back to Kelmarane and the source of the mysterious gas.
9 months having passed before his return to Kelmarane, the old gnome spends the remainder of his time investigating The Breath of Nethys, the relationship between Pesh and magic, and the origin and use of the Summoners Circle found within the structure.
His interest in the Breath and the relationship between drugs, magic and the inner workings of the mind continues. As does an unfortunate pesh addiction.
Composed of two medium wagons and two camels, the carts are built to facilitate quick setup and tear down.
As mentioned, the trading operation specializes in the discovery of specialized tools, the odd magical item (more of interest for their ‘odd’ or ‘noteworthy’ nature than their magical properties or sale price), and items of antiquity found gleaning merchants wares who are unaware of their origins. The target audience of the operation is wealthy collectors and self-important individuals seeking to enhance their perceived status.
Ladroban is an old pathfinder who, well beyond his years of adventuring, serves the organization as local proprietor and book keeper. His voice cracks with age and his demeanor is friendly, non-threatening… hiding his deviously charismatic and calculating core. He is likely just as extremely knowledgeable as Glarth, yet his “young” age causes the gnome to view him as “in need of [his] assistance”. Initially the two characters butt heads due to Glarths infuriatingly constant suggestion of “improvements” which could be made to the library. This all boils over with what Glarth would forever after refer to as “the prank in the library”. After the coma, Labrodan is surprised by the gnomes unexpected response to what was, in the mind of the library, certainly no “prank” and can’t help but find Glarth’s view of the whole matter intriguingly perplexing. Being a practical man, however, he still charges for the book.
Adok is a local halfling who lives within the city of Katapesh. Prior to meeting Glarth, he made his way tending to an inn, however the eyes of his heart have always been set on bigger and better things. He has a bit of a wanderlust and loves to see new places and things. With an eye for his potential, Glarth offered him the position, to which he quickly accepted, leaving behind his old job without so much as a note (much to the chagrin of his employers). Adok has an unusual eye for spotting valuable items, unlike Glarth however, this is more of a “instinct” than a study, he’s also a shrewd negotiator and possesses an uncanny ability to dazzle people with smooth words (and blatant exaggeration).
Glarth over the course of the researches the Summoning Circle, the Breath of Nethys, the relationship between Pesh and Magic, the Mysterious stone inscription found in the Sanctuary in reverence to its “cleansing” and any information relating to the story of the Templars of the Five Winds.
As she had been the one to set me free, I would help her in kind. Haleen and her ways have been fickle and adjusted to life on the run. I have noticed that since our separation she tends not to speak about things of the past, shunting the present into an eternal encompassing moment. This thing, this “One Source Guild” has bewitched her into frightened effects. As she had left to find refuge from the dangers of back alleys, she would find what feels to be a lesser evil from her time in Kelmarane. Though her mind and tongue are held close as a hand of cards in Ketapesh, I will see if she can answer a few questions I now have. She is the type of person that perhaps can be pressed by me – and only by me. In this, I will pry if only for her own good.
The city has been reclaimed and its new inhabitants prosper. This bounty of Haleen will be paid in gold. I shall see to it. Though I do not believe her chase will end with simple payment, Ketapesh is known for its vicious and voracious nature, there will be an end by my hand.
Ce-tan had asked me to escort him to the city proper as a bodyguard. His business sounds as Haleen’s was and its doings remains his own. I do not care for questioning him. But we had agreed on a price. The price was his silver tongue for my service. For my arm and ability, I shall receive more information on this guild that hunts Haleen. His cunning is perhaps matched by Haleen’s and he will be able to fair better now that he has become free of the shackles of servitude.
The heritage so given to me at birth is my honor to Irori. The quiet tempest and rage of the many storms of my elements within is questioned and challenged by the forthcoming harbinger of storms Tempest. Much of the leisure afforded to me, when not assisting in the patrol and contruction of Kelmarane, has been to meditate and balance the memories inhabiting me from Vardishal and my own temperament. The mark of the slave brand remains as does the mark of Vardishal when merged with Tempest. It is an understanding that will be achieved. As the Master of Master before me, I shall be as determined.
As the time rolls forth and fate calls, I must honor my wish of the dead and bear to witness the quest set upon me. For time is precious, and shall be spent wisely.
Khatovar has mostly remained in Kelmarane as a protector and extra muscle to help rebuild the city, thanks to Almah. As the city has just been taken, word travels quickly in many circles. Bandits, raiders, rankled Gnolls try guerrilla tactics to pick at the new bones of the city in the beginning, but are thwarted time and time again until the caravan employed more guards to protect the walls and streets.
The slave economy that Ce-tan is bringing forth into the new found city is troublesome. There are shady people coming and going and require careful watching. As Ce-tan and Khatovar were once slaves themselves, Khatovar respects the ability for freedom and has a strange indifference toward it; mainly because since under the service of Haleen, the lines of freedom and servitude were blurred.
The Battle Market still stands as a firm reminder of the darker Kelmarane that once was. With new paint and stone and repairs from the previous battles, the Battle Market is now open to sportsmen and gamblers alike. After the battle with Kardswann, the talk of the Champions of Kelmarane’s Rebirth spreads. How you may ask? During the intrusion 3 merchants, fighters and gamblers alike, who were eager for the blood sport of the arena witnessed the grand speeches by Ce-tan himself, issuing Khatovar their Champion – calling out Kardswann. They had witnessed the mouth dropping acrobatics and death defying feats of bringing down a harpy woman mid-flight, the mauling of amassed Gnolls, and the battle cries and crash of the Shadowstealer from the 3rd floor to the arena stage below. Yes, this was a new place with new tenants indeed. As the protectorate position against bandits and raiders tapered off after a month, Khatovar asked Almah to place control of the Battle Market in his hands. He now watches over the Battle Market as Kardswann had, but unlike him it was to ensure that sportsmanship remained in the arena. The honing of one’s own abilities was of great import to the Master of Masters, and so it shall be recognized by those who step forward.
After one of his trips into Ketapesh, Khatovar successfully pays Haleen’s bounty off. Though she doubts he had the knowledge to find someone of the One Source Guild without help; Haleen is doing her best to lie low. Unfortunately her dislike of the sedentary life since her exile of Ketapesh and lack of commerce irks her in the beginning. She can’t sink her teeth into much out in the boondocks. Since Khatovar began control of the Battle Market, she has been placing bets and running a few games to keep the edge off. As the year progresses with Ce-tan’s business ventures bringing in pesh and slaves, a bit of her old self comes through as she starts trying to make small deals here and there and acquiring a bit of power. She is able to feel in control again toward the end of the year as she now helps overlook the Battle Market with Khatovar, bringing in new revenues from entries willing to test themselves because he was never the business type to begin with.
Ketapesh & Points Commerce
After Haleen’s confession of refusing to give Khatovar up to them because of his heritage, he is worried that the Guild will keep coming if not sated with at least the bounty. His fondness for Haleen grows as after months of being apart, her selflessness and sacrifice in the face of death reveals the vulnerabilities she had for him even more than he had imagined and begins a campaign to unearth the mysteries of the One Source Guild.
Khatovar’s deal with Ce-tan proves fruitful, as he with Ce-tan’s aid, finds a few informants and rumors circulating about the One Source Guild. Dieresh, a small time and shady back-alley informant becomes a priceless contact. Keeping himself in the middle yet at a distance, he is able to accurately navigate around guilds, nobles, and blackmarket dealings with the precision that Ce-tan wants to acquire while staving off daggers and misdealings. As long as you have the proper payment (mostly gold) he will “honor” the deal. Upon giving the right kind of lubrication, he reveals the proper people to see in regards to the bounty of Haleen. Though these people were not members of the Guild themselves, they served their betters in hopes of attaining their own place. With Ce-tan’s silver tongue, and Khatovar’s stoic brutality behind him, he deftly staves off fighting amid transaction and acquires Haleen’s freedom from their “dutiful” leader Mariev; her bounty for 3000 scarabs and the provision of Haleen’s exile from Ketapesh – no more and no less. All the while finding new contacts and branching out his tendrils to the exciting prospect of the One Source Guild.
While unneeded for the certain dealings of Ce-tan, Khatovar looks in to the Templars of the 5 Winds trying to dig up more information on Vardishal himself. The remaining 3 Winds are a looming possibility that they too have been corrupted by the very thing they have been fighting against for years. The findings were minimal at best.
Tempest is a feat in and of itself. It seems to understand every movement that Khatovar wishes to make as if it had a life of its own. Not surprising that it would since Vardishal and his key memories flooded Khatovar not some time ago. As Khatovar would partake in his own events at the Battle Market, the rush and release of staff-fighting became fluid. The memories of Vardishal using many weapons in the past was confusing, and with Khatovar’s limited training he would not be able to master such things as swords and axes without sacrificing his self-honing path. So he trained and meditated as he thought his own path would take him. Tempest shadowing his inner essence and mental movements, Khatovar poured his own life energies into the staff during combats. After months of sparring, challenges, and the bursts of life energy Khatovar channeled through Tempest, he felt like it had awakened something within.
Khatovar felt a pilgrimage toward the mountains come upon him as Irori had. During the months toward the end of the year he set out toward the closest mountains, through the pesh fields they were cultivating, slashing, and burning. Amid the setting sun and rays breaking through the wisps of pesh smoke with prismatic color, Tempest shimmered cooly in his hand. Khatovar knew his journey to his mountains was over. And so he sat, within the tall stalks of the pesh fields with residual smoke flitting about the atmosphere. There he sat facing North, with his pack of food at his left, water to his right, his backpack behind him and Tempest gently laying on his lap.
The memories of Vardishal and the Templars rushed onward again and again. Rewinding and lapsing as quick as the first time it had happened. This time, Khatovar began cultivating control of the flood, damming bits and slowing mental time to slow motion capture. The feeling of ages passed within his own mind as he reached out toward the phrenic north with Tempest. Khatovar prepared himself and stood amid the clouds of mental sky and dawning light practicing the various forms he had learned while fighting so many, fusing the metals of staff with the spectral flesh of his fist. The turbulence amid Tempest seemed to level, much like the opposing elements that welled inside of the Suli. In the eye of the storm, the spiritual Tempest bent and melted and spoke not in words – but in feeling. Its sentience understood and melded with a foreign outside world and Khatovar’s inner life energy.
As Khatovar awoke, 3 days had past since he last saw the sun set. His water and food scarce. His pack coated with dust and debris of the blowing sands. Upon his shoulders and covering his head, a silvered kaftan/scarf – cool and refreshing as an oasis spring sat; Tempest no where to be seen. A pang of panic suddenly appeared as Khatovar felt remorse for having been entranced for far too long and losing a precious artifact. The stalks stirred, the pounce was fluid and exact. Alone and so far removed, Khatovar faced the fanged teeth, keen claws, and rake of a ketapeshii leopard. Far too long the world stood still as though a breath was held and kept from escaping for an eternity. But in that breath a sublte wave of storm blew into Khatovar’s mind. Urgency, alertness, excitement pressed on him beckoning a survival instinct –
fight… fight… FIGHT!
The ancient rite bear down upon him and called forth from him a new discovery. The fire blazed upon him hotly as Khatovar struck forward, eyes locked into the center of the beast, muscles rigid and dogged with excitement. His disbelieve unending as he watched the scarf, that had so bundled him as he recovered from his long trance reflecting the harsh light and heat of the sun, melt into streams and solidify as metallic bracers as the meeting of his flesh to the striking animal’s united.
The intense fires aware and complimented by a frozen waste exploded forth from all the weight behind a stone fist. The damage was too great from recovery. The shock of the streaming metal – mesmerizing. With a single praising clap, as Khatovar’s hands met the bracers melted toward his fingertip, streaming forward and sticking together. As Khatovar’s arms widened with distance, the staff known as Tempest reemerged with it’s cool shimmering beauty. A feeling of understanding and elation washed over as Khatovar inspected his changling companion. Eagerness, readiness, alertness waved forth as for the first time, Khatovar realized the truth that was hidden in plain view.
Though smaller than the lycanthrope, the leopard in front was similarly ferocious when it was alive. To note his trial, he gave thanks to Irori, Tempest, and Vardishal, plunging the dagger deep into the heart of the beast. The fire made and ready Khatovar did eat of him and from his pelt a sash to remind him of his pilgrimage to speak with a new ally.