Now in the city of Absalom, some of the heroes tried their hand at street performance. After Sym froze a fountain, and Hroth had to break the ice, the guards gave them cold looks and asked them to get out of the fountain. Silhren sat down and played his ocarina, and his impressive display drew a crowd. Hroth asked one of the guards which way the Grand Lodge of the Pathfinder Society was. The guard directed the party to the Foreign Quarter.
On the way, the group stopped by an Apothecary called the Vial of Secrets, as per Sym’s request. After buying potions and scrolls, the heroes noticed that the old lady running the shop spoke in strange speech patterns and smelled heavily of exotic mushrooms. She offered to pay them for any mushrooms they come across in the Cairnlands, for their spell boosting properties.
Finally reaching the Grand Lodge, the heroes were escorted to meet Ralpor Wales, the guard captain of the Grand Lodge. He warned them sternly that he would be watching them during their stay at the Grand Lodge, the heart of the Pathfinder Society. Ralpor escorted the heroes into Skyreach to meet Marcos Farabellus, the dean of swords. He happily showed them to their first test to become Pathfinders.
The first test was to fight a unique construct, with slots that small rods, scattered about the room in locked chests, could be be inserted to weaken the golem until they finally defeated it.
Completing the challenge in short order, the heroes were met on the other side by Marcos, who told them he knew about the Spoiled Brat and that they had survived something clearly extraplanar. He hinted that they may be able to become Pathfinders quicker than most because of their exceptional handling of the situation on their ride to Absalom.
The second test involved an unlit maze filed with traps to test young Pathfinders. The tunnels were not empty, however; the diggings of small creatures had flooded a room and created a haunt in its wake that the party barely managed to resolve before being pulled into the water themselves. Following the footsteps of these creatures brought the group to a trap-laden storeroom. On the way out of the room, the group discovered a small mob of gremlins being ordered to continue on by a man with a long black cloak and a large, white, faceless mask; upon noticing the heroes, he cast the room into deep darkness and disappeared. The party felt it best to leave the test and tell the deans that something had happened that needed to come to their attention.
The group backtracked and met with Aram Zey, the dean of spells. He had been scrying them as they progressed, and he assured them that little of what they found below the surface was meant to be there. He told them it would be fine for them to quit the test and get some rest in the living quarters within the Grand Lodge.
Suhaila got to room with the Keleshite woman, Zarishu, who had helped them survive the Spoiled Brat. They found themselves conversing in the bathhouse about Zarishu’s desire to find a husband, and she shared her critiques about the various gentlemen Suli had come to Absalom with.
Meanwhile, Silhren attracted a large crowd with a rousing song or two, and a group of bards joined in.
Early the next morning, the group woke to the unpleasant sound of structural sabotage; within seconds, the entire dormitory building collapsed on top of them. When they escaped the collapse, they found waves of gremlins tearing the other buildings to pieces. Joining in the battle with several other Pathfinders on site, the group helped repel the diminutive attackers. Rushing to Skyreach, the heroes found the three deans on their knees, opposing an equally winded man in a long cloak and large, white, empty mask. They challenged him, guided the deans to a defensible area, and engaged the evoker in combat.
The dark caster spoke of his master, the “Open Armed”, threatening his wrath should he himself fall. Before he did, his master heard his call, and granted him the power of the nightshades for a final assault.
Emerging scathed but victorious, the heroes defeated the masked man. He told them that his master knew their faces, and that they would come to fear his.
The evoker disappeared into the ether, and the deans thanked the group for saving their lives. Seeing how the party had yet again performed exceptionally, and that all three deans were present to witness it, Marcos happily pulled out a number of Wayfinders to hand to the heroes, commemorating their Confirmation as official Pathfinders.