The morning of the 29th was a grim one for the Arbiters; looking for food and comfort, they went to Meg’s; Meg expressed her condolences, promising to put Nochte’s name on the plaque dedicated to those who braved “Torag’s Best Joke”. Additionally, the Arbiters decided that they would hunt down and confront the Sczarni thug later in the day, and Meg agreed to accompany them when they were ready.
Later in the morning, Altaire decided it was time for him to hire on a shopkeeper for the new store; after asking around town, he found a suitable candidate. The man introduced himself as Jod, promising that he was the best in his field. Altaire agreed to hire him on, and they negotiated a contract.
After midday, the Arbiters geared up, picked up Meg, and headed into the Puddles district; after asking around, they learned that the man’s name was Fennec and that he had a hideout near a warehouse somewhere on the coastal end of the Puddles. As they traveled through the flooded, broken-down district, however, the Arbiters found themselves ambushed by a large group of thugs; between their deadly sneak attacks, their trained sharks, and their archers, the mercenary band was able to do quite a bit of damage to the heroes. The Arbiters fought back with teamwork and mythic power, however, and they were eventually victorious.
Because she lacked the mythic abilities of the others, Meg seemed to have struggled in the combat; after careful deliberation, the Arbiters decided to offer her the chance to touch the Starstone shard, explaining the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. Meg accepted, and her abilities were heightened by the stone’s power.
After another hour or two of travel, the group came upon what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. Sym sent Roko, his rakshasa familiar, to sneak up and look inside; Roko reported that there was a sizable number of armed men inside, watching the front door. Getting an idea, Sym made himself invisible, then climbed up the side of the warehouse, through a window, and into the rafters; he carefully assessed the situation, and then he conjured a magical fireball into the room. The fireball burst with explosive force, burning three of the men to death instantly. Just after the spell had gone off, the rest of the Arbiters entered through the main door; thanks to Sym’s distraction, Silhren, Hroth, and Meg were able to make short work of the remaining combatants.
After the fight, the Arbiters searched the warehouse thoroughly, but they saw no sign of Fennec; a look ouside, however, showed a sunken tower out in the bay and a boat heading for it. Commandeering a boat of their own, the group did their best to sail towards the tower while avoiding the arrows of its defenders.
The inside of the sunken tower proved to be an abandoned temple of Aroden; to their surprise, the Arbiters accidentally activated some of the temple’s built-in defenses, and two tentacled, watery aberrations appeared and attacked them. The heroes carefully defeated the threat while conserving their resources as best they could, knowing that a far worse fight was more than likely awaiting them at the top of the tower.
Upon reaching the top, the Arbiters finally found themselves face-to-face with Fennec and his men. They attempted to intimidate him into stopping his attempts to kill Meg and kidnap Suhaila, but he was unimpressed and brandished his gun, ordering his bodyguards to kill the trespassers. The fight was a surprisingly grueling one; the Arbiters had not expected the level of skill their foes displayed, and their fatigue from earlier fights did nothing to aid them. Still, after taking on heavy damage from the gunslinger and his bodyguards, the heroes were able to turn the fight around; they defeated the bodyguards, and one powerful blow from Lili killed Fennec outright.
Triumphant but exhausted, the Arbiters took a moment to search the room and the bodies. After a few moments, the source of Fennec’s power became abundantly clear; he, too, had possessed a Starstone shard. With some additional investigation, the heroes found a strange magical device that, when activated, projected a magical manifestation of the memories of the dead god, Aroden. The one-time deity discussed the current happenings regarding the starstone shards; he told the heroes that the temple they were in was designed to be a secret vault for the shards- a vault that still existed in the basement. He warned them, however, that the wards he had placed around the vault were weakening and would dissipate before long, and he charged them with the task of finding the other shards, returning them to the vault, and restoring the wards. The Arbiters agreed to perform this task to the best of their ability, provided that it would not interfere too greatly with their current quest to stop the Cult of the Open Armed. Satisfied, the image of Aroden dissipated, leaving them alone in the temple… for the moment.