The elements have taken a particular interest in Tyr as the city has no state religion. They are urging clerics to establish places of worship. As a consequence, elemental temples have mushroomed in Tyr. To the dismay of the main elements, the paraelements have had the same idea...
The Temple of Fire
The temple has acquired a predictable following among gladiators. It is telling that it is housed in a building sponsored by a recent gladiator convert - and it is located close to the arena.
The dwarven cleric Uban Raxis is an accomplished healer and also knows how to really bring out those hard-earned scars...
Uban has recently 'adopted' a young apprentice, an orphan girl with bright orange hair called Shari.
The Temple of Air
The temple of air is located in a building that was partly destroyed and abandoned during the upheavals after King Kalak's failed ritual. It was re-inhabited and partly refurbished by a half-elven and an aarakocra air-cleric who loved the fact that the building's roof had partly collapsed. Using the buildings 'natural holes', the two clerics only stabilised the building and decorated the holes with patterned clay grids which would allow a lot of air to penetrate the temple.
The Temple of Earth
The temple of earth has found a following among farmers - and it also consulted for various other fertility rituals. It is located near the elven market and is maintained by the mul woman Gulad. As a mul, Gulad still faces a lot of prejudice, especially from elves and people seeking fertility advice. Occasionally she is therfore helped by a fellow earth cleric, a human named Mathis.
The Shrine of Water
The shrine of water is located near a public fountain which it is maintaining and sponsoring. Recently there has been an interest from nobles in the worship of water as they see the display of water as an image of opulence.
This interest is sustained by the head of the temple, a former noblewoman called Merthedis.
The Temple of the Sun
The temple of the sun shamelessly uses the popularity of Sadira of Tyr to draw in worshippers. The sun cleric Helia even copies her looks to achieve the desired effect...
The Shrine of Rain
The shrine of rain is the smallest of the places of elemental worship as rain is regarded by most Tyrians as 'fictional'. It's cleric, a half-elf named Aeolos, is a calm, but very charismatic person with unsettling grey-blue eyes. Aeolos is also an arist specialising in water colours. Most people find either of his professions a bit weird...
The Shrine of Silt
A small shrine of silt has been erected by a crazed Maenad called Djeru. Understandably it has little (or little sane) following.
The Shrine of Magma
A dwarf named Kassander has established the shrine of magma. He lies in constant quarrel with Uban, the fire cleric.
The Alliance Academy
The Alliance Academy is led by the preserver-psion Rabana of Arides. Rabana is a romantically inclined noble who became infatuated with the mysterious and forbidden craft of wizadry. It was hard for her to find a mentor. Most VA members were worried about her 'stability'. In the end, Rabanas promises of material and reputational support turned the winds in her favour and she became a 'trainee'. Her mentor, an older woman called Tal Shahat, a 'refugee' from Kurn, insisted that she take up psionic training, too. To everybody's surprise, Rabana proved more talented and 'stable' than everyone had thought.
Early on in her training, Rabana already asked why the VA had not attempted to found an institute for their cause where people could research magic and train as preservers - so that the likelihood that people undertake the 'wrong' kind of study is becoming smaller. Tal, her mentor, smiled and said this would be very good indeed, but she also named the reasons why this would be difficult to implement. Rabana thought about this for a long time and started to work out a few ideas how this resistance could be countered - over time. When she felt that she had become a more accepted wizard, she presented her ideas to the VA council. After months of heated debate, Rabana was finally allowed a trial - with her as a figurehead. This surprised Rabana - she knew a lot of more capable wizards than her - but she gladly accepted her task and devoted her energy (and political and buying power) to obtaining a building she deemed suitable. She was worried about the location of the building - idealistic as she was, she wanted both nobles and people from the Warrens to be able to access it. She also thought, the Preserver's district might be too intimidating for newcomers. On the other hand, this would be the best place for protection.
Rabana decided to opt for the Merchant's district as an in-between territory, but in the end, she was only allowed to have it in the Preserver's district as no-one was truly comfortable having a preserver academy - and the city council did not want to be responsible for its protection.
The next step was to acquire lecturers, teaching materials and to devise a 'curriculum', before any students could be offered a place (the idea was that students fro noble and merchant backgrounds had to pay tuition fees while students from the Warrens could obtain scholarships so that money was not a deterrant for them). This took another year - during which the academy was already advertised.
One cannot say that there was exactly a run for the academy, but there was neither the lack of interest that most VA preservers had predicted. However, also against people's expectations (one believed the 'lower classes' to be more deeply suspicious of magic than the 'higher' classes) most students were recruited from the Warrens, making the Academy financially difficult to sustain. Rabana reacted by selling some of her own possessions to finance the Academy - and also managed to talk some merchants into sending some students - luring them in with the promise of psionic training which would protect their caravans. Against the will of his parents, a nephew of Rabana's also joined the academy.
Students of the Academy have a double war to fight - they are looked at with suspicion by both the magic-sceptic people of Tyr and the Veiled Alliance wizards who distrust this 'new' system of 'mass tuition'. Every now and then, some preservers come to test some of the students inofficially. So far, the VA sceptics are impressed with the broad knowledge and training of the Academy students. They have come to think that maybe Rabana is not so deluded after all...
The Oclides Family
This family had fallen out of favour with King Kalak after rivalries with another family ended up in sabotage acts that had an effect on the workings of the whole city. The family was punished and became a 'lesser clan'. After the death of the Sorcererking, the Oclides family seized their chance of becoming a 'higher' noble family again. Fiercely ambitious they aligned themselves with anyone they deemed necessary to achieve this goal, even if this had to be the 'new government' of Tyr.
On the outside the Oclides family is supportive of the new Tyr government, while in reality they would support anyone that gives them some kind of advantage (who cares if they are defilers, preservers, assassins or clerics?). The Tyr government accepts their support, but is aware of the ruthlessness of the family.
The problem with the Oclides family is that different family members are following different strategies which sometimes clash - one group is supporting the VA while another has established contact with dodgy people in the Shadow District. So far it has been a miracle that their plans have not interfered with each other. In fact they have somehow worked in favour of each other. This is due to the intelligence of their recent clan leader Ulaxas (male psion/scholar, NE) who is used to be responsible for cleaning up the mess that resulted from clashing plans, but after his successes in turning a mess into an advantage, is in a position to orchestrate things in advance.
A controversial income sorce of the Veiled Alliance is their recent gladiatorial venture - of course under a fake identity.
This was the idea of a gladiator trainer who discovered that his latest pupil was a preserver who wanted to protect himself better.
While some preservers make a living off healing gladiators, a lot of them despise the waste of life in the arenas. Also the bloodshed is an uneasy reminder of defiler rituals. Not all preservers think that way, though. There are a fair number of preservers who, like most other people in the city, enjoy a 'good fight' and want to be 'just like everyone else'. When, from these people, the idea was vocalised that the VA should have some income by creating a gladiator stable, there was a huge row between the two factions.
Had the VA really degenerated that much that they took on the decadence of nobles? Had not enough people lost their lives for the VA and would not the games be a caricature of these events?
A group of VA people got together and promised to the VA that they would - ironically - put on another veil by obscuring their affiliations, and open a gladiator stable to support VA goals such as the Academy or paying people to monitor defiler activity or political enemies in the city. Against all opposition, the plan was pushed through.
The gladiator stable is run by an old mul called Gyar (male gladiator, LN) who also works as a 'coach'. The administration side is conducted by a lanky VA preserver called Ares (male preserver/fighter, N) who is also one of the healers of the stable.
In our campaign, Kled is governed by the descendant of one of the founders of Kled, a human woman called Urika (female
trader/psychic warrior/ranger, LN). Urika's ancestor was the famous gladiator Jameha who became a free person through her outstanding performances in the arena, but who
caused a scandal by also using her skills to free other slaves on her way to Kled. In honour of family tradition, Urika not only
trained as a gladiator, also learning to incorporate her psionic talent.
Urika is a woman in her forties with a strong body and a strong sense of duty. Her shaved head (not all of her head is shaved: the back of her head isn't and the hair is tightly plaited into a long tail) is tattooed with an image of a black jaguar, the animal she claims as her 'totem', a huge black wildcat that accompanies her on every step. Urika has large dark probing eyes and a deep voice which she uses sparingly. When she decides to talk however, she is a very charismatic and intelligent speaker.
Fort Ianto is led by a dwarf called Yantor (psychic warrior, LN). Yantor comes from a family of gladiators. He first trained as a gladiator before his sense of duty led him to serve his city. The defense of Tyr and its citizens has become his focus.
Fort Amber is led by Cril (fighter, psi-immune, LN), another dwarf commander. The interesting thing about Fort Amber is that Cril's best friend and second-in-command is a thri-kreen ranger called Tk'k, also known as Tokat. Tokat once rescued Cril when he went out hunting in the desert and got more than he'd hoped for. The pair often goes out hunting together. In their free-time the two of them often sit together and play strategic games while telling each other about their different cultures. As Tokat has 'adopted' Cril as a clutch-mate and will protect him at all costs, Cril understands this as 'his focus'. Most people in the fort have got used to Tokat and trust him, though they find the thri-kreen/dwarf team very bizarre, and the way the two converse amusing.
Fort Skonz is commanded by a human called Khiroc (fighter/trader/WT: danger sense, LN). Khiroc is a rather strict, but eccentric leader and is always 'fighting' with his second-in-command, a human woman called Gengha (psychic warrior, LN). Although the two of them are always quarrelling about how life in the fort should be regulated, they would never seek to damage one another.
Fort Skonz otherwise still remains an important trading outpost.
Fort Iron is quite a tough place to be serving at. Its commander, Aramis (fighter, LE) handles threats to the mines with more 'rigour' (as he calls it) than necessary. Acts of unnecessary cruelty are committed while dealing with minor or only potential attacks. Under his command, innocent nomads have been slaughtered, leading to reciprocations which only gave him more reasons to send his men out. Talik (fighter, wizard, NE, his second-in-command, is no better. He is spied on by the VA as they have reason to believe he is a defiler or necromancer who uses the carnage for a special purpose of his own...
Naturally, Fort Iron and the other forts don't get on very well...