Karameikos

Tunnels of the Living Dead

2nd Felmont
Three routes are possible. North with undead, East with a possible Basilisk and South with mould and slimes. After what feels like eons of debate, the North route is chosen.

The furry Traldar-slaying scumfraks guide the party for the best part of three days, with some of the journey being made on fungus rafts. The party is told to watch out for unnatural round tunnels – which indicate the activity of the Eye Tyrant.
5th Felmont
The faithless fleabags depart and it’s not long before the adventurer’s senses are assailed by the smell of rotting flesh. A cavern contains a pile of corpses, which a corpse light candles reveals are not all deceased! Ghouls scuttle out from the rotting pile of bodies and down from the cavern roof to attack.

Ghouls.jpg

Several members of the party suffer temporary paralysis from the Ghoul’s filthy claws, but two separate waves of the undead are eventually driven off. 250 gp worth of treasure is found an added to the party stash. An enchanted longbow is also discovered, which is taken by Tol (who also gifts cough his Rebounding Shortbow to Switch).

The heroes continue on, coming to a larger cavern with a huge pie of bodies beneath a natural funnel in the low ceiling. There is also an unnaturally round tunnel entrance…

As the party enters the cavern, a Carrion Crawler drops down to attack switch.

Carrion_Crawler.jpg

Ozzie spies another, which rushes forwards to join the attack. Memnon blesses his companions with a Shield of Faith and battle is joined.

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Hard Bargaining

18th Klarmont
The adventurers depart for Gola Keep. En route Annan soaks up information like a sponge; often emulating Ozzie (is there some latent talent there?)

After several days of Monsoon slows the journey, the party arrives at Barat Kand. To make up time, it’s decided to use Celestial Eagles to fly straight to the Firestone Bluffs and Lake Hali, bypassing Gola Keep. One horse is given to Annan along with the payment promised to him and the rest are sold.
22nd Klarmont
At night, glowing stones can be seen – a local phenomenon; Firestones. Several are collected.

On the sixth day the heroes run foul of Sahail – a blue Dragon, who demands payment for their “trespass” into her domain. After some hard bargaining and tense moments, Sahaal is satisfied with tribute of obsidian daggers, Gausite, blue shards, a potion of spirit, several corpse light candles, Ozzie’s old Orb, Memnon’s original Holy Symbol, Tol’s rapid strike bracers and Kara’s bracers of speed.

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1st Felmont
During the morning a huge sandstorm hits. The adventurers take shelter in a canyon where they encounter a figure, speaking Elven and wrapped up against the storm. The figure offers shelter in exchange for water – an offer accepted. As the heroes take shelter, it’s revealed their benefactor is a beastman! Fortunately, Memnon doesn’t go Crusader on its flea ridden, diseased, furry ass.

There are in fact several Beastmen (Gnolls) and an Elf named Brak. The first Gnoll encountered is named Shendarion. During the time spent together sheltering against the storm, the adventurers learn that an Eye Tyrant is making life miserable for this odd group of ‘Grakhali’. In time, an offer is made to help the mangy curs out by ridding them of the beholder in return for being shown an underground route to their destination. Memnon is far from sure that the risk is worth the reward, but swayed by the argument that they would be ridding the world of something From Beyond; the party sets out to achieve their task.

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Living in Sind

It’s decided a map is needed for scrying and horses and a guide is required to get the group where they need to go. Ozzy’s Comprehend Languages spell helps acquire both of the former, with the latter being found in a young boy named Annand.

The journey to the capital of Sayr Illan takes 13 days. Some strange sights are seen on the way, including huge grey beasts, so big they have tents on their backs. With legs like tree trunks, huge ears and a tentacle-like nose, the locals call them ‘Ellyfants’.

Arriving at the capital on the 15th of the month, Annan seems to be on the level, but it’s decided to test him. Annan is given some silver and told to be ready to depart for Gola Keep on the 17th. Switch (almost magically!) transforms himself into a bent double old lady and follows Annan. Annan does nothing more sinister than buy sow sweets, share them with some street urchins he seems to k now and give them the rest of his silver. Satisfied that it seems Annan can be trusted, The Hinn rejoins his companions.

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To Sind!

After getting used to the news, Tol’s companions help pack him off to rehab (he say Noo, Noo, Wayyy) at a temple to Zirchev. Over the course of a week, strong doses of Belladonna cure his condition.

Kathka reveals that since leaving the Feywild, she can no longer shapeshift. She also gets her armour resized to better suit her new form.

Memnon spends time at the Temple of Halav and visiting Tol. Switch gets up to Halav only knows what.

Ozzie studies at the Library and discovers that yes; there is some way of detecting the Serpent People, albeit not what it actually is. It also becomes apparent that there are other copies of the Precepts and that parts of the book(s) have been influenced by even earlier works! Gating to Knosht, Ozzie finds that Riordorn is on sabbatical, the Ice girl is isolated (see what I did there..?) and all is generally well. He retrieves a journal belonging to his father, with letters showing that his Mother was from Alphatia. Two new Guardians have arrived to protect the gate, an elven brother and sister duo of Wizard and warrior. Ozzie then uses his portkey to travel to Galfridius’ estate.

His companions have been stocking up on supplies, arms and equipment (Tol has acquired Decanter of endless Water, useful for the trek in Sind). They all Portkey to Galfridius’ Estate too, meeting their Wizard there.

The estate is modest, a compact villa, some olives and grapes being grown and a few slaves. Under Galfridius’ instruction the ‘Findozzysdad’ ritual reveals his location to be near a lake, just south of mountains in the northwest of Sind. The same mountains that are home to the Monastery whose Abbot may know the location of the Lost Library.

Galfridius sponsors the Heroes to the tune of 50k gold, with each of them taking 10K. The aged Wizard also brings some welcome news – a band of adventurers in Thyatis City have hunted down and slain a huge wolf, claiming it responsible for the recent spate of killings. Perhaps Tol can now rest easy, cured of both affliction and guilt..?

The adventurers prepare for their voyage to Sind.

The Davanian Queen sets sail mid-afternoon on 2nd Yarthmont. The weather stays fine for some time, ideal sailing conditions in fact, as the ship hugs the coastline south along the Isle of Hattias.

Within two days we have reached Grey Bay, where captain Octavius fills the ship’s hold for the voyage, prices being somewhat cheaper than in the capital. He also takes on board a Minrothad pilot, Mothradin, to guide the ship through the Seafoam Reefs.

Conditions worsen slightly but we make Gaamo on Utter Island by the 12th. Mothradin leaves the ‘Queen here, as we are now leaving Minrothadi waters.

We set sail again for Ierendi, arriving in the capital on the 17th . The 15th is a full moon, and we were relieved that Tol shows no signs of behaviour out of the ordinary (for Tol).
At Ierendi captain Octavius re supplies, and we enjoyed some shore leave. The 18th is the festival of Zirchev’s Queen back home in Karameikos, where in rural communities the villagers would select one girl to be the ‘Queen of Zirchev’ for the following year. The girl spends a night in the woods (usually well-guarded), after which she will officiate at village events. Tol, priest of Zirchev that he is, came up with his own version of this rite.

The hedonistic atmosphere of the Ierendi Islands might be appealing, but Sind awaits, so on the 19th we set sail once more.

Rough seas in the Sea of Dread slowed our progress, even with the tides in our favour, and a series of stormy squalls delay us further. While there is no danger to the ship, the captain heaves too for a while, but our arrival in Sind is put back.

Eventually the 28th dawns clear, and the Davanian Queen makes the remaining three days sail with no problem. Indeed the first of the monsoon winds seems to hurry you to your destination, almost as if to make recompense for delaying you earlier.

After the journey, the party are a bit more savvy about Sind’s caste system:

Himayas: the warrior caste, rule
Rashia: effectively clerics, provide spiritual guidance
Jagudiara: the wizards, who know how to detect the Yuan Ti
Progiai: farmers
Kuhlia: slaves

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Axetown is Burning

Whilst Tol breaks into a nearby laundry and gets sodden linen and buckets to fight the flames, Memnon strides through the fire and out into the street, marshalling some gawping locals into forming a crude bucket chain up to a nearby fountain.

Inside, Ozzy hammers on Mentarion’s door to wake him and Kara and Switch tie a rope around Valenian, lowering him to just above street level and leaving him dangling. Switch then leaps out of the window and lands gracefully in the street. Kara marshals the building’s residents, dumping a mattress from Valenians’ chambers over the flames at the foot of the stairs and guiding them out.

With Mentarion finally leaving his room, Ozzy shimmies down another rope and into the street. There, a good bucket chain is now going and Tol is having a coughing fit from the smoke (2 Endurance check). Some bystanders have lowered Valenian down and having slipped his gag, he dominates Memnon and Ozzy.

Booted footsteps herald the arrival of Thyatian military, led by a Pearl Islander Wizard. The Wizard freezes the flames with an ice spell, ending the peril. Valenian has slipped away into the night. The general feeling amongst the crowd seems to be that the adventurers were helping to save lives and fight the fire, so the Wizard, Harubin and his soldiers are not hostile towards them. Ozzy, Memnon and Kara talk to the Wizard, warning him about the Snake People infiltration. Switch and Tol hang back amongst the crowd, whilst the others are escorted to the city’s military headquarters; the Zendrolium.

The streets are quiet. Tol and Switch follow their comrades in the shadows, finding vantage spots to rest and wait as Memnon, Ozzy and Switch enter the imposing building. There, the trio are taken to clean chambers, fed and watered. Harubin states that he believes their story. A group will go to the library in the morning and if Valenian is there, he will be arrested. The adventurers will have the chance to speak to his superiors in the morning they are to stay here until then.

Tol and Switch spend an uncomfortable night outside the Zendrolium, with the tang of wood smoke from the riots still in the air. Overnight, the other three have each had a similar nightmare; being taken to a chamber for an audience with the Emperor and having somebody present (different in each dream) turn into a Snake Man and attack.

The trio are met by Harubin and escorted to the School of Magic by a dozen Legionnaires . There, they are taken to a chamber (the same one in their dreams…) where they are taken to meet two senior tutors; Claudia and Juliius.

Tol and Switch see their companions leaving and follow, blending into the busy streets keeping a wary eye out; but not seeing anybody else following. They manage to slip into their companion’s party.
After a tense few moments, the party is reunited and all are escorted by Claudia and Julius to meet with the near-legendary Galfridius, who has come in from his estate (a rare occurrence) to see them. The meeting takes place in a dusty office, scattered with papers, scrolls and stones (Switch’s eyes light up!).

Galfridius casts an anti-scrying spell and the interview begins. The Heroes of Dymrak tell their tale as Galfridius listens and nods. As they finish, he lifts a tome up from under the desk – The Precepts! He confirms his belief in their tale. ‘They’ are everywhere. He has come across them in many lands. They seek to overthrow us all. These Serpent People are the spies for beings that have existed before men, elves and the other mortal races. Beings from beyond that seek to return and claim back what was once theirs.

Galfridius has a ring with the same symbol as Ozzy’s parents’ pendents – that of “The Seekers”. He knew of Ozzy’s father and can teach Ozzy a ritual to find him! Also – high in the peaks of the Black Mountains there is a monastery. The Abbot there may know the location of the Lost Library.

It’s decided to stay at the School of Magic for a few days to allow Ozzy time to read the Precepts. After this the Heroes objectives will be:

- Find Ozzy’s Father
- Find the Lost Library
- Learn rituals to detect the Serpent People

The Heroes belongings and Switch’s slave are sent for. The belongings arrive, but Karulala is nowhere to be found.

There is one more revelation that evening. Discussion about savaged bodies being found in the streets leads to a revelation from Tol. Ever since being savaged by a shifter in the Fey Realm –he has become a Werewolf! And fears that he may be responsible for some of the killings..!

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The Shadowhand Attack

Checking the street from the windows, the bodies in the street have been removed…

Securing the Librarian, the party is preparing to spike the front door shut, when there is a knock at it. It’s Mentarion, an elderly Elf, a neighbour of Valenian; concerned for his safety after all the racket he’s heard. He refers to these chambers being owned by a Senator and also the ‘Shadowhand , who will be “after“ the adventurers for what they’ve done.

Kara checks outside, finding sooty handprints on neighbouring properties and a clean patch on Valenian’s… Mentarion soon leaves and with the door spiked shut, the heroes settle down for the night, with Tol on first watch.

First watch passes without incident, but on Kara’s second watch, several thugs storm the stairway and batter the front door of the chambers down. Tol is clobbered by the door, Memnon sleeps through the intrusion but Ozzie’s reflexes are sharp (Natural 20!)and he blasts several thugs back into the hallway with his beguiling strands.

The thugs soon barge back in and more swing in through the window. Memnon finally wakes up and the chambers erupt in general melee. Switch fells one opponent, Memnon another, then a hulking half orc enters the fray, bludgeoning Kara as he enters the room.

Tol pushes one member of the Shadowhand out of the window, Ozzie blast another (who lands on his feet in the street; cat-like! The half-Orc bellow “Do it!!” and seconds later, the adventurers realise other members of the Shadowhand are setting fire to the outside of the building. The Half-Orc is staggered by Kara and stabs himself with a dripping balked, saying no secrets will be taken from him. Ozzie leans out of the window and blasts several Shadowhand away, but the building is alight..!

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After Dark in Axe Town

Leaving Karulala at the Inn, the adventurers head into Axe Town for the rendezvous with the Librarian, Valenian. Mood on the street sis subdued. Smoke drifts in the air. Closer to Axe Town, there is an underlying air of menace.

Switch dons Koala’s pendent, taking on his appearance. Both he and Switch can sense eyes constantly observing the party and separate, taking to higher ground. At the address given for the meeting, there is a wine seller opposite. A dozen denizens of Axe Town congregate there.

Whilst Memnon waits outside, guarding the door, Kara and Ozzie enter the dark property. Guided by Ozzie’s light spell, they find their way upstairs and to a study room with sleeping couches and other furniture of a (repaired) good quality. Valenian sits behind a desk, greeting the two heroes and introducing them to his compatriot, Fabio.

Outside, the drinkers call for Memnon to buy them a drink, which he does, returning to his post afterwards. Inside, Valenian quizzes Ozzie about the Precepts, voicing his concern that the knowledge it can grant the reader may destroy him. As the conversation continues, Ozzie slowly realises he is being dominated and wit starting swiftness, Fabio is attacking Kara, shifting form to that of a Snakeman! Valenian bellows and outside, the majority of the drinkers at the wine sellers drop their drinks, draw weapons and charge over the Memnon. Three get past him and upstairs before the Cleric kicks the door shut and starts to fend off the foe.

From their vantage points, switch and Tol open fire. Tol misses, but Switch’s shot strikes home, and the enemy takes on a more serpentine aspect. Switch leaps from the rooftop and joins Memnon in combat as the Cleric shifts into diabolic form and consecrates the ground, laying several fanatics low.

Ozzie turns his beguiling strands on Kara and the three fanatics charge in landing several blows too. Outside, as Tol lands awkwardly in the street, burning his hands on the rope, Memnon and Switch finish off the fanatics and rush into the building. As they arrive at the study, Ozzie shakes off the domination and begins to fight back against Valenian.

The heroes make short work of the three minions (with natural 20s from Kara and Ozzie and two from Memnon) but as Tol makes a spectacular entrance through the study window, Valenian dominates him and begins to seep a noxious yellow gas as he is bloodied. Tol knives Ozzie and twin strikes Switch before shaking off the domination. Kara is healed by Memnon and slays Fabio as Switch grabs hold of Valenian until realising the battle is lost, the Snake Man goes limp.

The adventurers bind and blindfold the Librarian, before searching his rooms. The adjoining room to the study is a shrine of some kind. Ozzie’s spells allow him to comprehend some of the strange symbols on the walls and notes on the desk in the study, although it pains him to try and do so. When quizzed, Valenian only says that the shrine is to “none of your immortals”. Ozzie thinks he determines the name “Yurgh-Thal: He Who Must Not Be Seen…”

Several books from the library are found and stashed in a bag and the desk yields a pouch with five rubies, which switch estimates are worth 2,500 gp each. Each member of the party takes one, before preparing to secure the rooms and spend the night at the study with Valenian as their prisoner.

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Ozzie's troubled thoughts
Ow my head hurts

Ozzie’s head was thumping from translating the ancient arcane language on the wall.Migraine2.jpg His thoughts spinning around in a whirlwind of conjecture. Valerian had met his father, and for some reason had captured him and more than likely sent him to Sind. But where?

Going round and round in the back of his head…

Two and two are five
Five and five are eight
Eight and eight are thirteen
Thirteen and thirteen are 54

But that’s wrong, it should be

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are 16
16 and 16 are 32
Inchworm, inchworm

Ozzie! Order your thoughts, Marshall your powers, command this battlefield…..

The writings on the wall are a series of mathematical formulae, but their meaning is not clear. In addition the formulae also include several apparently random words. There is meaning here but the stress of battle and strangeness of the language means their interpretation is not immediately clear.

Two and two are five
Five and five are eight
Eight and eight are thirteen
Thirteen and thirteen are 54

Some of the words Ozzie can pick out are

Rasthz the Many-Mouthed,

badge_of_rasthaz.jpg

That Which Must Not Be Seen

badge_of_the_one.jpg This may not be correct?

Yurrgh-Thal

badge_of_yarrah_thai.jpg

Finally there is a phrase “‘AN-CHAGGOTH MWATH-KHEM!’” Which remains meaningless to Ozzie.

So, what could be the consequences of presenting Valarian to the emperor? He could charm them and get us executed or jailed is the worst scenario, one that must not be allowed to happen. How to mitigate this?

* Present the creature dead
* Present the creature so wounded that he can’t polymorph…. Is this possible?
* Present the creature gagged and bound with a bag over his head…. Probably not,

Two and two are five
Five and five are eight
Eight and eight are thirteen
Thirteen and thirteen are 54

Aaargh, focus.

Torture Valarian until he tells us what we need to know…. Which is

* Where is my father being held
* Where is the Lost library
* Who was the note for
* Who are those who came before?

What will frighten Valarian the most? The loss of a limb, putting out an eye or two? How else can we get the information as torture isn’t a great way to do it.

Two and two are five
Five and five are eight
Eight and eight are thirteen
Thirteen and thirteen are 54

What does this mean? Is it a clue to the calculations on the wall? What are the calculations on the wall for? Why are they there in plain sight?

Something is missing which we haven’t found. Ozzie re reads Valarian’s note

Aaah some things are clearer now:

  • those that came after* are us…. which begs the question who are those who came before?
  • Could the "one who is closest to our secrets be the person we helped leave the city? and was he also referred to as Galfridus Cassius Cato in reference to the author of the Precepts of Akh-all
  • Who are the Flaems? Could they be the Alphations in reference to the conflict Thyatis is engaged in with them?
  • A ha! Valarian knows of the ‘library’ this can only be the Lost Library

    Two and two are five
    Five and five are eight
    Eight and eight are thirteen
    Thirteen and thirteen are 54

    What are the books from the library we found here? Ozzie goes off and wakes Tol to get the books. He also thinks the apartment needs a further detailed search for notes from the people Valerian’s note was destined for and that he must remember to examine the staff for magical properties. Now what were those books held here?

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    The Bread Riots

    Inside the Colesium, Switch and Tol sense panic beginning to spread at the far end of the building. It soon becomes clear that there’s a disturbance, with shouts and sounds of smashing clearly audible outside and smoke visible. The games in the arena stop. Thincol’s son, Usebius, makes an announcement (boosted by magic) for everyone to remain calm and stay inside the Colesium whilst order is restored.

    Out on the streets, angry citizens complain about the poor quality of their bread. Random fights and looting are prevalent. Ozzie, Kara and Memnon cautiously make their way along doing their best to avoid trouble. Memnon spies an injured man and goes to his aid, moving him into the shelter of a looted shop (and sensing scared citizens hiding elsewhere in the premises, reassures them they are safe). Ozzie and Kara join the Tiefling, as more mobs surge through the streets, followed by soldiers and soon after, the sounds of melee and people dying.

    At the Colesium, gladiators and guardsmen form a line of defence on the sand. Some of the audience begin to vocalise their support for the rioters and begin to speak of joining them. Tol and Switch sidle away, trying to make their way closer to Usebius, ready to be of assistance to ingratiate themselves with the Emperor. Warned off by the guard for getting too close, they find a safe distance between the gladiators and the muttering members of the crowd.

    In the looted shop, the sounds of fighting have moved away. The trio of adventurers decide to head for the library and see how it is faring. The streets are littered with dead bodies, and the wounded, both citizens and guardsmen. The rioting has spread city-wide. Water towers have been knocked over. Palls of smoke rise in many locations, especially by the harbour. Fortunately, the library is shuttered and looks to have escaped the attentions of the mob.

    The Colesium is now ringed by protestors, chanting “Bread! Bread! Bread!” There are also calls for the emperor to show himself (although Thincol’s has already left). Some of the crowd inside proclaim themselves in support of the mob and surge forwards, only to be brutally subdued by the guards.

    Outside, more and more soldiers enter the streets and a mass cavalry charge breaks the mob surrounding the Colesium, driving it to the harbour. By late afternoon, the fighting is over and the streets are clear. A stunned silence hangs over the city. Kara, Ozzie and Memnon head back to the Inn, walking past the bodies of men, women and children.
    Switch collects his slave, ‘Karulala Nuar’ and he and Tol rendezvous with the others at the Inn. Memnon is far from happy to see Switch has acquired himself a slave and makes his disapproval very clear.

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    Bread and Circuses

    At the Colesium, Switch and Tol are separated by the crowd, sitting on separate tiers. Switch lifts a couple of purses to pass the time (gaining 4 Lucinus/Gold and 30 Sisteri/Silver) only to find out he too has been pickpocketed in turn.

    At the Library, Ozzie. Memnon and Kara seek information on their new tattooed friend, discovering glyphs from Hule that match some the man’s tattoos. None of this rings any bells for the Tattooed Man himself. Ushered in to meet Valenian, the Heroes are given a polite refusal to their request to sview the Precepts of akal. A vouchsafe from a senator, member of the royal family or Colleg of Magic would be required. However, a cryptic clue and the exchange of 100gp gains an address and a the time of one hour after dark.

    At the Colesium, Emperor Thincol’s Birthday games get off to a start. A group of lawbreakers, bound at the wrists, do battle against a pack of wolves with but a single blade between them. A lithe female Pearl Islander is the only survivor, using great athleticism to avoid the wolves until the game is called to a close.

    It is announced that this woman murdered her master, before she is offered up for sale. Switch and Tol bid in an attempt to raise the amount of coin paid for her, but Switch ends up (thanks to tricky wordplay from Tol) as the ‘proud’ owner of a new (murderous) slave.
    More games take place, gladiators battling an Owlbear and Hydra, until one giant blond Northman remains. The Emperor then leaves, to continue his celebrations elsewhere.

    The library shuts for the day as Ozzie, Mem and Kara leave. Their tattooed friend is becoming distressed and says he needs to leave the city so he can think more clearly. Taking him to the nearest gate, he accepts 2gp towards provisions and sprints away before he can be given any more, leaving the three adventurers puzzled.

    The address they have been given by Valenian is in ‘Axe Town’. A shady neighbourhood, but one where few questions will be asked. Wulf, one of the guards at the gate seems to recognise Ozzie, calling him ‘Hans’ and striking up a conversation (he appears to genuinely think he knows Ozzie). All the guard look a little.. off. Tunics scuffed, buttoned up incorrectly, eyes glassy. Not what would be expected from a unit of Storm Soldiers. To extract himself from the conversation, Ozzie invites Wulf to meet him later at the Gaudy goblin pub, before the trio sets off through the streets, which seem to be increasingly filing with people. An atmosphere is in the air…

    At the Colesium, the serious betting money fights have begun and star gladiator Anaxabius is fighting. Yet over the cheers of the crowd, Tol and Switch realise there is a great deal of noise forming outside the arena.

    In the streets, and angry mob has formed, heading towards the heart of the city and the Colesium. Chanting about the bread they receive, brandishing rocks and pieces of wood, a bread riot seems to be rising (!)

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