Silt Striders of Balic

The Siege of Urik

Returning from Samm’s psyche, the group takes the opportunity to loot the library for any information they get gleam about their various leads, targeting info about Mara, Maddock, and the Monument. Once they had what they could get, they blew open the doors to the main foyer in a blast of crackling energy and surprised the half giant guards with ferocity. With an opportunity for vengeance, Samm slew seven of them on his way out the door, advising them to make sure the next man they kill stays dead.

Further research was still necessary, and so the group targeted new means of learning about their enemies. Through various methods including directly spying on people, assisting Del at the information broker, and setting up an ambush using Vita Tourna, they manage to learn several key facts. About Mara, they find she’s no longer in Urik’s service though she wears her uniform to make intimidation easier, that she appears to be unaware Maddock is lying to her, that her brother was once a templar who was forsaken and destroyed by Hamanu for showing weakness in the field, and that she has left her home in the Urikets to survey her holdings in the Crescent Mountains. About Maddock, they find he’s been spinning stories that Vorelixen is responsible for the plague, that he needs Gisella for her ship and not her personal services, and that he’s been buying up spell components for a ritual of immense scope. In regards to the monument, they discover that it acts as a large defiling battery, propels its wielder in to the Gray protecting it from those not similarly attuned, and that its use requires delicate experimentation as recklessness could cause a defiling backlash that would kill the user.

After the trap is sprung and one of Mara’s goons is interrogated, the group sees a familiar face in the empty tavern – Argiovinias. He explains he’s about to become very busy, as a massive army is about to bear down on Balic and likely slay the weakened city without much resistance. When he mentions there won’t be much of Balic left to save if the army isn’t stopped, the party is visited by another evil ally in Jigoku, the Oni from the Sandstone Caverns. He acknowledges that his freedom at Rikard’s hands demands a repayment, and suggests turning the army around is worthy. Rikard gives the nod after some contemplation, and Jigoku disappears to sew havoc and fear amongst the troops so they’ll return.

Trying to get the attention of the Urikite higher ups, they contact Inquisitor Randall Sapesh and his macaw familiar, the latter of which is beligerent and down-putting to the former. Presenting what evidence they have to him about Mara’s going rogue, and knowing full-well that failing to defend Urik means Maddock advances his goals, the group are brought in as consultants to hold the walls.

They gather to await the army, and when it arrives they slay the advance party of a Thrax and ghouls. They split up to accomplish a few goals. Samm finds himself having to hold the line against skeletal swordsman, leaping ghouls, and immense zombie hulks. He leads his men with a spirited speech and a manifestation of the divinity he’s touched. Rikard uses his keen eyes to hone in on the most dangerous targets as they approach the walls, so the archers and arcane casters can focus in on them. Though his unit successfully eliminates the thread of undead vultures carrying clay bombs and zombies-made-siege-engines throwing massive boulders, he is unable to stop the Lich before he causes significant damage to the walls which injures him greatly. Althaea holds back to heal the wounded and assist in the interior of the city, making difficult decisions about soldiers infected with a zombie illness, evacuating people from burning buildings, and eventually leading a team of desperate non-combatants to restrain and eliminate a massive undead war beetle flung over the wall by catapult. Unfortunately, in the mess she’s laid low, and the team of medical staff she’s working with are forced to spend time helping her stay alive. Lastly, Vorelixen leads a guerrilla assault on the catapults and trebuchets of the undead, using bloodied robes to blend in with the undead and sew confusion amongst their ranks. She instills greater fear in her elite soldiers than the undead instill in them, and she leverages it to make a clean getaway after setting the engines of war aflame.

At this time, Maddock approaches the city himself riding atop the stony platform seen in the visions and a long time ago north of Balic. With a mighty roar, Hamanu himself leaps over the walls in lion form, and an earth-rending battle begins while the group tries to hold the city against impossible odds.

Bloodied, battered, gasping for breath amid the horde of restless dead, the red sun of Athas crests the horizon, framing an army of Urikite warriors so massive its ends are not visible. Unwilling to believe he’s defeated, Maddock drops his jaw and with it his guard. Hamanu strikes a blow through his magical protections, causing a deep wound on his thigh, and he flees the battle, bringing a retreating undead army with him.

In exchange for their services during the battle, Urik recognizes the group as the heroes they are, and provides them with numerous treasures looted from the fallen combatants or wielded by now-dead Urikite soldiery. For his particularly successful work leading the militia phalanx, Samm is awarded a mighty War Crodlu, trained by the finest trainers Urik has to offer.

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A Glaive and a Prayer

Our heroes perform Hariharan’s decidedly bizarre ritual, and those who were closest to Samm appear on the decks of a silt vessel in excellent condition. A younger, more handsome Samm appears to be daydreaming, until the the lookout of the ship confirms they’ve reached Giant territory. Shrugging their shoulders, they join forces with this younger Samm to negotiate a trade of slave labor to the Giant warlord in exchange for free passage of Balican military vessels. With some clever finger-pointing by Rikard and Althaea, the Giant eventually backs down from Samm and Vorelixen and agrees to the terms of their bargain.

Finding themselves back on board the ship, they realize they are now in another part of Samm’s memory in which they are locked up under guard as slaves of the Thri-Kreen, known largely for staging fights between their prisoners and eating the healthiest ones. Samm takes the opportunity to kill his guard when he is being freed for gladiator combat, and suddenly a slave rebellion has begun. Inciting the prisoners and escaping to the deck of the ship, our heroes encounter the Thri-Kreen captain and his aides. They are quickly dispatched by a wave of somewhat cannibalistic scarabs, and the vision changes once again.

The group finds themselves flying for a brief time, before plummeting in to a busy docks district street. A young boy named Saul is trying to convince the group as adolescents to go steal an idol from a guarded warehouse. Samm, a ne’er-do-well in his youth, leads the charge and soon they have breached the walls of the warehouse. Saul loses his nerve and drops his lantern, resulting in the warehouse catching ablaze with them in it. Samm finds the box he’s searching for and opens it, finding a clock without a face, a raven’s feather sharpened to a quill with blood encrusted on the point, and two copper coins from a kingdom long since dissolved. They rest in a bowl of rust-colored glass, riddled with impurities. As Samm touches the feather, the scene changes to that of a scorched out noble’s court, but freezing cold and lightly dusted with snow. A massive throne of obsidian is here, as well as a familiar obsidian oval built in to the structure of the flagstone ground. It reads:

Blessed be a vengeance justified. Corruption falters when rage is pure.
Blessed be they who stand in harm’s way. Silence does not mean you are alone.
Blessed be the final guardian. As one story ends another must begin.

After contemplating briefly, Rikard peers in to the darkness and spots a few twisted figures. A sickly Eladrin, much like the Gimel they encountered in the library, with two faces of differing emotion. A defiling psychopath, her body alternately decaying or regenerating as she walks. A mouthless horror, gaunt and unnatural. And Samm himself, beaten, tortured, and chained dancing like a puppet on invisible strings. As the group slays these versions of themselves Samm’s mind has conjured, Samm has an epiphany, and the most recent parts of his life become visible.

The group watches a Templar and Borato conversing over the body of Samm, mere seconds after a half-giant katar pierces his lung and sprays his blood over a shelf of priceless literature. The templar is operating counter to the interests of Urik and its king, and appears to have some sort of burn mark on her neck that is constantly oozing her blood through her fingers as she massages it. She argues with Borato briefly, before eventually being convinced by him of the plan. As he says, “Balic will fall, and Urik will die,” necessitating the need of a new leader of the Balic nation.

With that, the dream ends, and our heroes find themselves once again in the library. Rising groggily, they see that Samm is once again among them, and they immediately set out to loot their surroundings for everything they’re worth.

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The Masked Surgeon

Althaea emerges from the line of bookshelves finding herself face to face with a turbaned half-giant guard, who raises his obsidian scimitar with a smirk. Squeezing her eyes shut, she braces for a strike that never comes. With a lowered shoulder, Samm bull rushes the half-giant with such force that its spine audibly cracks, a limp torso toppling backwards in to the wall of books breaking shelves and sinking in to an awkward heap of pages and dead muscle. Shouted urgings to leave snap Althaea from her haze, and without time to think she sprints out the door. Overhead, a blast of eldritch energy topples a man headlong in to a patch of grasping thorny vines. As Rikard stumbles over the screaming guard, a firm shove is issued from behind. Samm pulls his hand back and backpedals to cover Rikard, his glaive defensively lashing out to buy more time. Through gritted teeth reddened by flowing blood, Samm issues the demand for Rikard to grab Vorelixen and get out of the library. His voice is more nasal now, his nose a broken bleeding mess as he wheezes hard to suck fresh breath in to his lungs. Steadying herself, Vorelixen places a hand on the doors as they swing shut, Samm trapped inside. As they flee, the guards break pursuit to acknowledge an ill omen – The mark of six fingers upon the library doors.

Our remaining heroes and Hariharan take cover in the darkened alleyways of Urik to evade pursuing Templar, who promptly miss the hiding spot Hariharan urges them in to. Hariharan, a stressed eladrin, begins smoking to take the edge off while the group grills him for information. He explains he was trying to uncover a conspiracy involving a Balic official named M, and was a player in the threads against Balic to try to oust this man. In so doing, he was utterly unaware he was helping Maddock, and took the news poorly. Eager to undo the wrong he’d done, he made two important contributions. First, he introduced the party to an operative who specialized in stealth missions named Tarek. Second, he performed a sort of scrying ritual using Samm’s glaive as the focus to determine the circumstances of their friend.

The scene they saw was chilling, as an insane surgeon wearing an ivory mask performed unspeakable acts upon Samm’s body. Though it seemed to voice some dissent of its own, its struggles were promptly forgotten or ignored by the surgeon. It appeared as though what was done to Eiber was being done to Samm.

Seeking an alternate method in to the library, the party and Tarek track down some leads and figure out a Templar named Kratik has been accessing the inner areas without going through the main doors. They catch him, clobber him, and remove his magical amulet that acts as a sort of key for the portalway that enters in to the library. They fight their way past some twisted Eladrin guards and traps, and come across a skirmish between warring Eladrin factions. Aligning themselves with faction that didn’t appear diseased, they met with the only survivor whose name was Boder. Boder reveals that the rest of the Tich-Yang Eladrin were actually responsible for Althaea’s removal from the library, to protect her from the impeding war on their home. They are doing battle with a sickly looking form of Eladrin called the Gimel, of whom Maddock has used as his agents in the past. In addition, here they also find books being written with the stories of their lives. They notice Samm’s has no author, Vorelixen’s is authored by Titivilus of Dis, and Rikard’s has several pages filled in of things that haven’t happened yet. Tarek is distraught, having read an account of his past that clearly shows he’s been used by every group or friend he’s ever had.

Moving onward, they eventually uncover the surgeon’s study, and with it clues about the greater schemes of the Gimel Eladrin. Specifically, plans to awaken Ul-Athra for unspeakable destruction, and references to blood sacrifice and “ultimate power.” Eventually they come across the surgeon himself, who they confirm is actually Borato. They are able to finally slay him.

Hariharan and Boder come to Samm’s resting place to meet up with the group, and Hariharan reveals he has one more trick up his sleeve but requires a psionic ritual caster to use it. Rikard volunteers to lead a ritual, and using the power left in Borato’s scattered ashes, he casts it. Disoriented, the group finds themselves face to face with a younger form of Samm, riding a silt ship in the midst of a sea of constantly changing colors and no landmarks in sight.

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Meanwhile...

Meanwhile

Meanwhile, in Balic…

Hoping to figure out what is actually going on, and determine where our heroes have gone, a group assembles to contact Kik’Oda and unearth some leads. With that in mind, Praetor Moon, Priscilla, Captain Husk, and Ared go to meet Kik’Oda on the docks. An unusually large crowd is on the docks, making it impossible to get to him before a number of distractions occur, and a wave of zombies erupts from a wagon in to the crowd of people. Kik’Oda vanishes to get away from the mess, and the other four clean it up. In the midst of it, they encounter a tusked man named Tarek who explains he has been stealing away on to boats in the docks to prevent a vision of his from occurring – an artifact gold in color bringing great pain and misery.

After regathering their wits, they discover that a new templar, Praetor Gregor Udema, has spirited away something from one of the boats (coincidentally, the one with undead nearby) bringing it to the arena district. Sensing something foul is occurring, they head to the primary arena with great haste.

Arriving, they find themselves outwitting guards by showing up in disguise, fast talking, bribing, luring beggars as a distraction, and sumo wrestling. They easily overpower two guards and find Gregor in the basement of the arena with a mysterious cloud of purple swirling gas. Praetor Moon and Priscilla beat the bajeezus out of Gregor while the gas forms up in to the form of a Djinn, as well as the artifact which the groups infers is a ticking time bomb. Husk takes a nap while Ared teleports the bomb out of the room and distracts the Djinn with chaotic fire.

With Gregor dispatched, Husk wakes up and the group tears off through the city with a cart and kank that Tarek has procured. Husk takes the reins and madly rushes forward while Priscilla and Moon persuade common folk to get out of the way. Ared reasons with the Djinn with very timely success, and citing a favor owed, the Djinn teleports the group safely away from the cart before it crashes in to the city wall, detonating and blowing out a huge chunk of the city wall.

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The Royal Library of Urik

The group arrives in Urik, but the fact they are here with a Templar of Balic and have to continue evading Maddock’s spies causes them to consider their cover story. Dressing Vorelixen as a slave, they approach the main gates and Rikard tries to talk their way past the guards. The half-giant they speak with gives Rikard a little sass, but backs off when a Tiefling woman calling herself Vita Tourna claims the group are here to buy and trade goods from Merchant House Matylos.

She explains that the party sticks out like a sore thumb, and though they might survive without her help, they’d be in much better shape if they agreed to work with her and the people she works with: The Veiled Alliance. Vorelixen is prickly about it, but Rikard and Althaea are interested and Samm is largely nonplussed. Vita also explains that the Veiled Alliance has observed Urik’s military positioning oddly, which due to Urik’s rigidness is a major red flag. She requests the party try to figure out why by shaking down one of the halfling leaders of the Crescent Mountain contingent Hamanu maintains.

Using their wits and a hefty dose of streetwise and history, the group manages to evade the guards cordoning off the halfling section and sneak in to the encampment. They are able to determine that the halflings were being fed information discretely by means of a message hidden in the hilt of a sword of elven make. Immediately the name Del springs to mind, and they set out to the foreign district to perforate him.

Del attempts to escape, and without too much fuss the party is able to restrain him and ask some questions. He explains he’s been paid to disperse some military orders to various agencies by means of selling items with notes inside. He doesn’t have any names because his method promotes anonymity, but he does say he has a contact who is an Eladrin that operates out of the Royal Library. Vorelixen, over the course of the interrogation, scars him slightly on the face, and they turn to confront his contact.

They arrive at the library knowing this is not the sort of place that they, except Althaea, really fit in. With that in mind, they fast-talk their way through the doors, and then elude notice amongst the endless shelves of books, scrolls, and science reagents. While the party scours the place, which is much larger than it should be able to be, Althaea bumbles about using Del’s code words in conversation with everybody she comes across. She eventually through some stroke of luck finds the correct Eladrin, who leads them in to a back room. Hariharan the Eladrin chastises them for risking everything he’s setting up here, explaining he’s here to blend in with a cult with the intent to subvert it. All is not as it seems in the Royal Library. Unfortunately for Hariharan and the group, the library itself is a spy and upon hearing this forms a golem of errant pages. The group is able to dispatch the golem, but not before it smashes open the Silence-spelled doors, spilling commotion out in to the library proper.

The group snatches up Hariharan and makes a break for it. They try to communicate to navigate past waves of guards, and fast-talk past others. Samm tries to cling to a balcony to evade detection and then attack half-giants as they pursue the group. They make the most of it and flee from the building, leaving Samm inside. As the doors swing shut, the last thing they see is a half-giant about to strike the still swinging Samm with a Katar.

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House Eyrnoeld

Our heroes have seen on the horizon the torches and war preparation at the ruins of Ledopolis, where Maddock gathers his undead horde. Eager to prevent the catastrophe from their visions, they begin the dangerous trek through the desert with no guide, no stormwatcher, and no roads. Light on food, they begin to weaken, and a vicious desert Tembo assaults them in the night to take advantage. The Tembo is easily deterred after an horrific beating, and scampers off in to the desert using its natural camouflage.

Shortly thereafter, a sandstorm picks up, and the group finds themselves taking cover in an old ruin out in the desert to wait out the storm. Althaea notices an elven-made longsword with an etching on the blade, and with a little research the party determines this place is at least a few hundred years old and hasn’t been touched by looters yet. They elect to become the first, and head down the stone stairs to explore while the storm rages above. They find a number of curious landmarks within this building, which appears to be the estate of some minor noble. They loot a jar of honey from a kitchen pantry, which has endured the years well, and eventually come upon a small glowing orb on a pedestal in what looks like some sort of a receiving area lobby. It calls psionically to Rikard, who mentally projects a conversation with it until it persuades him to loot it. When he takes the orb, the group finds themselves able to see the multitude of ghosts haunting this estate, acting out the final moments of their lives.

While Rikard and the orb chit chat, Samm and Vorelixen look through the rest of the home, and determine that at one time, the patriarch of this house lured a bunch of guests to his home for a party, and used their life force to power a devastating defiling ritual with the goal of benefitting his daughter. The result was killing himself and the party goers, creating hundreds of unhappy ghosts, and turning his daughter in to some sort of arcane fueled abomination with the mind and guise of a 9 year old girl.

While they sort out the clues in the estate’s basement, the orb reacts with fear to the presence of the girl above them, and the group makes a break for the little girl’s bedroom to complete the ritual and send her to her eternal rest. With Althaea and Samm nearly overcome by ghosts, Rikard and Vorelixen complete the ritual and release the spirits.

At this time they complete what looting they were after, and head upstairs to find the storm has ended. They continue their journey to Urik, continually followed by the sounds of bells in the distance. They elude whoever is ringing them, however, by evading the maw of a hungry sand worm and awkwardly hitching a ride atop it most of the distance to the city proper.

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A Little of Dis, a Little of That

The group, including Argiovinias, is led by Titivilus to his home by the Iron Tower. He ushers everybody in and they sit at his massive banquet table. Hooded figures begin providing courses as Titivilus introduces to the group his daughter – Alnurac, the head of the law firm the group must put down. Awkward conversation ensues as the party tries to survive the devilish meal, including some sort of viscid alcoholic beverage, seared unicorn flank, twice roasted wing of Hell wasp, boiled basilisk soup, the eye of the beholder (a beauty, that), chilled ocher jelly parfait, and Kalidnay crocodile tail. During the meal, Alnurac makes predatory glances to Samm, and most of the devils refuse to acknowledge Vorelixen.

Having survived, Titivilus insists that they regroup in a few hours for dancing, but pause to let the food settle. They discuss their tactic, and eventually settle on spending some of their soul currency to buy something to aid Samm in his mental defense, while he tries to seduce the succubus Alnurac. The dancing becomes a competition, and Samm and his dancing partner are quickly eliminated. The succubus takes offense to this and storms off, locking herself in her bedroom and ignoring Samm’s attempt to gain entry. Meanwhile, Rikard and Althaea perform admirably until the final round, where a subpar performance from Vorelixen and Titivilus is enough to win. After the dancing, Vorelixen talks her way in to Alnurac’s room, and leaving the door unlocked behind her, the group is able to rush up and dispatch her while the party rages on noisily downstairs.

They make convenient excuses to leave, except for Samm who descends from a balcony, and they head towards Argiovinias’ estate to regroup after a successful mission. Along the way, the scents of the Malebolge overwhelm them, and they are subjected to another dream-like interference by a ghostly Rikard. He spouts some cryptic nonsense, his face rotting as he speaks, and in a moment he is gone. They shrug it off and rush back to Argiovinias’ home, meet up with him a few hours later, and he makes good on his word by returning them to Athas.

Arriving back home, they find their district deserted. Exploring, they find that the area is under Balic quarantine, that their authority is not recognized, that Tulnis has been missing, and that a lot more time has passed than they thought. Furthermore, a huge hole has been blown out of the wall facing out, and evidently the city was affected by some sort of fast-acting magical plague while they were gone. They are approached while resting from their dealings in Hell by Ared, who has beaten the quarantine by repeatedly being slain until he could reach your office. He brings word that Maddock’s spies are everywhere in Balic, and that your friends and contacts have had to lay low and go underground to escape their scrutiny. Further, it seems that Maddock himself has looted a museum of artifacts in the plague zone, and claimed some sort of powerful psionic instrument with purpose unknown.

Piecing together the visions of undead armies clashing with Urik banners, the party moves quickly to check the site of the ruins and finds it inhabited by a Broken Builders wizard and his undead minions. He summons some sort of demonic plaguebeast, but the group is able to eliminate them without much fuss. They discover the ruins are just gone, leaving a gaping pit in the sand, and head off to the grove to resupply before trekking to Ledopolis. Still miles away, the army of the dead can be seen sacking the settlement and they decide instead to turn to Urik and bring warning before the vision in their dream becomes reality.

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Argiovinias of Dis

Regrouping at the office, Samm’s business card from Argiovinias flutters to the ground and ignites with a burst of hell fire. Some sort of arcane text is etched on to the card by the flame as the group watches, and it is a somewhat cryptic message from the Vizier devil with a time and meeting place.

Arriving at the Olive Branch Inn, they meet with Argiovinias who describes a little bit about devil culture and how compacting works, which Althaea is able to confirm with her knowledge of history. Before the meeting has gone on for too long, it becomes obvious that the group has fallen in to a trap of sorts. In some fashion, the door they’ve walked through brought them in to Hell itself. Argiovinias gives them the tour of Dis’ districts, pausing momentarily to speak. The primary highlights are the bustling market district with souls as currency, the Garden of the Malebolge, and the Iron Tower wherein Dispater resides. Argiovinias also explains why you’ve been brought here – Maddock has compacted with other devils that are more powerful or have more political sway than he, and he wants to strike at them but cannot do so directly. Holding the party’s desire to return to Athas hostage, he sends them out to gather information under the radar and sort out what nonsense Maddock has been up to.

They head to Fool’s Hope, a tavern for the Damned, and have a look around for clues. What they find is Elgo, dead and Damned, and in his rage for sending him here he lashes out at the party, starting a bar fight that results in his transmogrification in to currency. They are able to dig up some clues about where to start with the trail, and find that a Cambion named Kostitchie was flapping his mouth about compacting with a powerful man in Athas.

The group evades devilish notice from the disturbance at Fool’s Hope and arrive at Kostitchie’s estate. They rapidly dispatch the Cambion and his minions and loot his home, finding a number of clues that point to Kostitchie’s involvement with a devilish law firm headed by Alnurac. They return to tell Argiovinias what they’ve discovered, and while doing so an important looking devil approaches making Argiovinias look uncomfortable. The important devil introduces himself as Titivilus, Nuncio of Dis, and insists that they all join him for dinner at his home by the Iron Tower.

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Circle of Equals

Meeting at the office to discuss plans, High Praetor Tulnis approaches for his post-mission update and to suggest that an annual event, the Circle of Equals competition, could draw the attention of someone under Maddock’s employ. The prize for winning the Circle is to acquire freedom if you’re a slave, or wipe someone’s legal record clean if you’re already free. Furthermore, a messenger brings word to Samm that his father is ill, and his mother requires his services.

The group heads to the Udema estate, which is poverty stricken indeed. His mother explains she lured him here by lying, that his father is fine, but his uncle is where their only source of income comes from and he’s under legal scrutiny for some sketchy business dealings. They pay a visit to his uncle, Lennard Udema, and try to get a handle on what’s going on. Seeing an opportunity to derail one of Maddock’s plans and benefit the Udema family, the group agrees to register for the Circle of Equals.

They do some sparring in the dust put set up in front of the arena, and Samm embarrasses Captain Husk in a quick duel. They then begin the first event, known as the Pyramid. A lantern is hung at the top of a magical stone pyramid, which occasionally becomes a dangerous wall of traps. Rikard and Samm scramble for the top of the pyramid while Althaea and Vorelixen hang back and support them. As it appears another contestant is getting too close, Althaea sprints in and fey steps up, giving Samm cover to take the lantern and putting herself in place to win points for being close.

Between rounds one and two, there is an evening pause. During this time, Samm finds himself having to recruit the group to help him subvert some Thri Kreen mobsters that his uncle has gotten in deep with.

On day two, a magically booming voice announces the day’s event. An historical representation of the fleet of Balic engaging a Nibenay armada, with the scales tilted very heavily in favor of the Balic fleet. The party is divided across the teams, and Samm and Althaea must battle Rikard and Vorelixen. Althaea quickly gets knocked off a pillar and eliminated from the event, and eventually Samm is overwhelmed by Rikard’s druidic grasping powers.

To follow up the event, there is a Gauntlet the remaining competitors must cross. A veritable army of the defeated combatants has been armed with all manner of practice weapons, and they are encouraged to beat on those who eliminated them. Samm, Rikard, and Vorelixen manage to emerge from the other side but Althaea is eliminated.

During that evening, they discover that Vorelixen is actually ineligible for the final prize and needs to withdraw because of her government ties. However, with a little bit of political string pulling, she and Althaea can man the trap stations under the pit in the final event. Arriving the next day, Samm and Rikard find that the arena has been set up with a half dozen massive flying mounts for a flying joust of sorts. Samm mounts a giant fly and Rikard takes a pegasus. After eliminating the rest of the combatants, Rikard convincingly throws the fight to Samm and the party reaps the rewards of first and second place. Samm uses his prize to eliminate the legal circumstances surrounding his uncle, and reclaims what holdings he still has to distribute amongst the more responsible family members.

The rest of the holdings of the Udema estate departing his uncle’s ownership under shady terms, which were reveals in the aftermath of the event. A man introducing himself as Argiovinias of Dis handed Samm a business card, indicating he could make arrangements for Samm to recover his holdings.

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The Red Scarabs

Samm had pointed out that an active gang in Balic, the Red Scarabs, were seemingly left off Maddock’s gang activity board with intent. Electing to follow up on that, the group calls everybody together to investigate the gang and do some good for the city in the process.

Samm and Ared worked together shaking up some trouble in a rowdy tavern.
Rikard and Kik’Oda harmonied their psionic instincts, quietly observing activity in the city.
Vorelixen and Anguish teamed up to use their mastery of deceptive and captivating craft to get an in.
Althaea and Captain Husk played some good cop, crazy cop with captives needing interrogating.

Confident the leads they had were solid, the group met to kick in the door at Red Scarab headquarters in an abandoned government building. An out of place Eladrin ducked out by fey stepping through a hole in the wall while the gang upper management engaged the party. Their lives nothing more than a speed bump, the party chases after the Eladrin through the busy district. After a long and merry chase evading storefronts, wagons, tight crowds, rolling barrels, fences, wild animals, and some good old-fashioned rooftop jumping, they successfully tail him to a mortuary in the center of town.

Upon arriving, the Eladrin is revealed to be more of a ghoul than a fey. It performs some necromantic ritual to raise the dead waiting to be cremated, and though the party was able to contain and defeat the threat it took the lives of a couple who was here to mourn. They also were able to interrogate the Eladrin, who was able to tell them that the Red Scarabs were targeting wizards fed to them through an informant, who all seemingly had ties to the Veiled Alliance. Further, a tiefling with government sanction to cast was the next target, by the name of Ella Tourna.

The party arrives seemingly just in time to keep the gangsters from killing her, as they’re only in her home for a few moments when the group arrives. They quickly dispatch the threat, and persuade Ella to go underground for her own protection, with the request she make herself available to them for information when possible.

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