The party had little time to rest after the battle with the Revenant. Shortly after divesting it of its arms and armor, proof of the corpse’s identity, a flaming concoction was thrown through the window into the room full of corpses and shattered over the bar. Figures could occasionally be seen dashing past the openings, and anyone that passed in front of a window got a crossbow bolt shot at them for their trouble. The fire soon began consuming the bar, detonating jars of alcohol and making the conflagration worse. Ignomine shouted to Artas to recover the body as proof of the encounter, then
foolishly very bravely charged out the window to endanger himself harass their attackers.
Meanwhile the fire was steadily growing worse, the exploding bottles of liquor throwing shards of glass and splashes of fire everywhere. Artas tried to dodge the blast and shove the body away, but succeeded in only moving it just outside the edge of the fire and left himself exposed to the flames. Drael was preoccupied with trying to escape from behind the burning bar, while Polycarp dashed upstairs to see if he could get an angle on the attackers. Vyktor was left to try and keep everyone alive, including the incredibly
stupid brave half-orc, who was now on fire and running back and forth past the windows outside trying to chase down the assassins.
Having escaped to relative safety (i.e. away from the exploding bottles of booze) Drael was able to summon several water elementals and begin dousing the flames. Vyktor had to divide his attention between the several party members burned in the conflagration, and Polycarp, after missing his attack on an assassin disappearing into an alleyway, showed remarkable presence of mind by checking for people trapped in their rooms upstairs. Defying the flames and thickening cloud of smoke, he expertly picked the lock on the door to find a small girl overcome by smoke, tossed her over his shoulder, and made his way down the stairs.
Ignomine continued to
ineffectually harass the assassins outside while still on fire, while Drael’s elementals succeeded in containing the blaze. Vyktor shouted for Ignomine to come back in, Drael cast Invisibility on the party, and the group escaped out the back door… only to be ambushed in the alleyway. Luckily they were not able to detect the invisible group, one of the assassins even managed to smash headlong into Artas as he was moving down the alley. Taken by surprise most of them were quickly dispatched, with the exception of what appeared to be the female leader of the gang. One of them was able to be subdued for later questioning.
At a loss for what to do next, the party handed off the girl to the clerics for care and made their way back to the ship with their new prisoner. As they approached, they saw members of the Shivar city guard waiting at the pier to their ship, arguing with the Harbormaster and trying to board the Retribution. They set their conscious prisoner in a dark alleyway, asking him to stay tight, after agreeing to his terms to be smuggled out of the city. The group then advanced on their ship. Seeing the party approach, the Harbormaster directed the guard to take the argument up with them. The guards explained that two “inspectors” had boarded and one of them been attacked, and demanded to board the ship.
The party boarded the vessel ahead of them and did a quick survey. In the barracks they found the dragon finishing up the last of his meal of human trespasser. The dragon informed them that he(?) had performed his duty and guarded the ship, though the other invader was able to flee. With the deed already done the party had little choice but to praise the dragon for performing its duty so well, erase the little evidence remaining with some Prestidigitation, and asked the dragon to escape into the water to avoid detection. It did so with alacrity… apparently a meal of human had not completely sated its growing appetite. The guard were then invited onto the ship to perform their inspection, found nothing, and left. The surviving trespasser was presumably spending the rest of his time getting blackout drunk and hoping to forget he ever saw anything.
The party now had a chance to take stock and plan their next moves. They were able to squirrel their captive onto the ship (taking care to instruct the dragon, returning with a catch of large fish, that he was not to be eaten) and negotiate their deal to get him out of Shivar. He gave more information, saying that the lady was his employer and that she had some sort of arrangement with the Temple of Asmodeus. Beyond that he didn’t know much, only that they were supposed to take capture the party alive if at all possible.
That mystery still open, they turned to the events just before the attack on the Spiked Gauntlet. The letter that the Mysterious Stranger had dropped told them they could meet someone at one of the warehouses near their pier. They waited until the appointed time at dusk, then set out to meet their contact. Polycarp elected, once again, to find his own way.
After getting past the gatekeeper they were led into the back of the building. The warehouse was packed with crates and boxes, but hidden in the back was a blocked-off area with a table and chairs. Several dock workers were seated there playing cards, but the real surprise was Quint Strain’s daughter Alexandra Strain. She waved for the muscley dockworkers to leave and for the party to sit down to talk. About this moment, she called out to the rafters for whoever was up there to come down from on top of the crates. It appeared that Polycarp’s attempts to come in undetected had not been successful.
With that awkward beginning to the discussions, the conversation spent a lot of time in vague and circuitous terms, neither side revealing with whom they were inclined to ally and what their aims or goals might be. Exasperated, and to Polycarp’s consternation, Ignomine decided to lay his cards on the table. He explained that he was tasked by his Templemaster with a Quest to find out the motivations of Quint Strain and the Magistrate. He also mentioned that they had reason to fear that the ones trying to assassinate Quint’s fiancee, Jezebel, were none other than the Kharlin Blades. When Alexandra seemed skeptical, Ignomine told her about the attack on the Spiked Gauntlet, then motioned for Artas to pull out the armor and blade marked with the sigils of Avandth Wolf, recovered from his body, from the bag of holding. Artas did so… only for the princely equipment to disappear!
Alexandra immediately started to her feet, and warned everyone that they needed to get out of there. She said she would explain later, but that they had to leave the area immediately. With that, the party had no choice but to flee back to their ship.