Slaves of New Arkos
Bugbear Barbarian, Bezerker Build
Gungidum was born in the caverns deep in the mountains behind New Arkos. His mother and a few
others made up a small bugbear community – the Gung clan. The Gungs lived through raiding and
occasional mercenary work for the goblins, dwarves and whoever else could pay. As soon as he could
hold a weapon, Gungidum began to hone the skills required to silently stalk his prey. Truth be told, he
also developed a deep satisfaction in making a single strike kill, which his natural stealth and growing
strength made ever easier.
Three years ago, three dwarves came to the Gung clan cavern, bringing with them an upworlder –
a fierce looking dragonborn. They learned that this dragonborn was named Tiagash Chandrish. He
was wealthy and anxious to hire a mercenary for a more or less permanent job on the surface. Most
of the young bugbears were eager to take the job, and Lord Chandrish set up a series of tests to
determine the most promising warrior in the bunch. In the end, it was Gungidum’s combination of
stealth and explosive kill power that won the day. Making a hefty payment to Gungidum’s mother as
compensation, and giving Gungidum himself a sizable advance, Lord Chandrish lead the young bugbear
up and out of the caverns, past the Shade Customs House and into the upworld.
“What do you think of New Arkos, son?” Lord Chandrish asked as they were climbed out of the caverns
at last. Gungidum’s eyes struggled to adjust to the light, and he thought he could make out many run
down looking buildings along each side of the river stretching into the distance. His eyes widened as
his gaze began to rise up the sides of the cliffs on each side of the river, and he saw dwellings and shops
carved right into the side of rock. The higher his eyes rose, the grander these seemed to become. At
last he could lift his eyes overhead and saw mountains of rock floating in the air high above, with what
looked like grand palaces or temples built on some of them.
Gungidum’s mouth dropped open and he answered, “I don’t know what to say, sir. It’s like nothing I’ve
ever imagined. I feel like I’m going to fall up and out of the world.”
“Huh. I suppose it would look like that,” said Lord Chandrish. Then after a moment he continued, “Do
you know anybody besides me here, Gungidum?”
“No sir, no one!” Gungidum responded.
“Is there anyone here that can you trust at all?” continued Lord Chandrish.
“Only you, sir!” Gungidum replied.
“Right! Just you remember that, son” said Lord Chandrish, and fell silent for the rest of the journey.
Lord Chandrish proved to be a tough but fair master. He demanded courage and sacrifice from his hired
mercenaries, but it got it as much by his own example as by position. Gungidum came to trust him and
admire him, and worked all the more to please him. As a result, Gungidum quickly rose in the ranks of
Lord Chandrish’s operation, and he liked to think that Lord Chandrish was coming to rely on him more
After a few months, Lord Chandrish brought Gungidum into a part of the house he had never seen
before. He asked again,
“Who can you trust up, Gungidum?”
“Still only you, Lord Chandrish!” came Gungidum’s instant reply.
“I believe you mean that. And because I do, I’m going to trust you as well. What I’m about to tell you is
a secret that can get us both killed,” said Lord Chandrish. He then unfolded a large parchment, showing
the family tree of the house of Redden. He explained at Sirivistra Redden is not the rightful monarch of
New Arkos, and that he and other patriots were secretly working to bring the rightful heir back into the
city to claim his throne.
“The name of the true heir is our most closely guarded secret – we simply refer to him as Alagondar (The
Chosen One in draconic). Those who work for his return and ascent to power are the Sons of Alagondar.
I want you to join us.”
“If you ask me to, then I will do it, sir!” replied Gungidum
“Do you take this task freely, and will you die before disclosing our secrets?” pressed Lord Chandrish.
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Then from this day forward, your name among us will be Tiametim. You are forever bound to us, and
us to you!”
Tiametim’s life continued on the surface much as before – guard duty, transport security and serving
on Lord Chandrish’s body guard. But now were added the activities of the Sons of Alagondar – secret
combat techniques, which all the Sons had to master; secret meetings with allies or potential allies;
clandestine shipments of money and weapons; covert surveillance. Increasingly, this last became
Tiametim’s specialty among the Sons – there were none among Lord Chandrish’s group who could
match his stealth and patience.
It was while he was charting the size, rotations and patrol patterns of the Ground Defense League that
the catastrophe struck. It was nearly three years since he had first come to New Arkos. He had a home
with Lord Chandrish and mission with the Sons of Alagondar. But it all came crashing down. Of course
he noticed the plume of smoke as he headed back toward the Chandrish estate that evening, but he
dismissed it – could be a particularly big bonfire in the rubbish field, or any number of things. But as
he neared the grounds, realization dawned on him – the street wasn’t right, the sounds weren’t right.
He saw the main gate open and groundies standing out front where the house guards should be. He
broke into a run, forgetting about stealth, forgetting about everything else except getting between Lord
Chandrish and whatever threatened him. He burst through the first wave of groundies like they weren’t
even there and bounded through the main entrance of the great house. Out of the corner of his eye
he saw a group wearing uniforms he didn’t recognize, including tiefling aiming some kind of stick in his
direction. Then a flash and his feet simply stopped moving. As he fell, a net was thrown over him and
he looked up to see himself surrounded. He reached for his weapon, but at that moment he heard the
voice of Lord Chandrish, sounding strained.
“Don’t do it, son! This is not that time!”
Tiametim looked up to see Lord Chandrish being led toward him in shackles. Tiametim dropped his
hands to his side and stood passive as he too was shackled.
Waiting in the dungeon, Tiametim learned that it was on information given by Lord Chandrish’s sister,
Lehaya Chandrish, that led to the capture and arrest of Lord Chandrish and group.
Tiametim’s “trial” was over almost before it started. Nearly naked, he was hauled into an ornate
room in which everyone but Tiametim seemed to know what was going on. Two of Tiametim’s fellow
guards were brought in – each looking fearful and beaten. Each one was questioned briefly by Lehaya
Chandrish herself. Each one gave the same testimony – almost word for word. They said that Tiametim
had recruited them into a revolutionary group of unknown name, that Tiametim had taken great care
to conceal his conspiracy from his master, that Tiametim had been planning a coup against Queen
Sivinistra and the four stewards. Tiametim wasn’t even given a chance to speak before Lady Chandrish
turned to judge for his verdict and sentence. He brought down his gavel.
“Guilty,” he said, and continued, glancing at her, “The punishment is death by beheading, to be carried
out at dawn unless someone steps forward as redeemer.”
“I will redeem this prisoner” said a voice behind Tiametim. He turned to see a wealthy-looking dwarf
stepping forward to hand to the judge a sizable bag of gold. No one looked surprised.
The dwarf left Tiametim in chains, and led him from the courtroom down into the darkness of the
Shade. Within a few minutes, Tiametim found himself chained in a line with several others “prisoners”
from New Arkos. An ugly looking dwarf yanked the chain and said,
“Move out, slaves. Welcome to the rest of your life.”