After a night of well-deserved rest, the heroes had a moment to catch their breath from chasing cultists.
But not all was quiet.
Sym returned to his room after spending some hard-earned gold to find an ornate sword on his bed. Perturbed, his investigations revealed that this gold and silver, jewel-encrusted sword was, in fact, a Raktavarnan named Roko.
Roko repeatedly referred to Sym as his “master” claiming he would serve him “to the day he dies.” Incredulous but not turning down the offer, Sym took Roko to Grom to examine.
Grom seemed to know a thing or two about the Rakshasa and their cycles of reincarnation. Roko seemed to have been dumped onto the bottom rung of the reincarnation wheel, much to his chagrin. Grom suggested that as long as he is around, he may be of use for his ability to translate any language and perform recon. Sym needed only to say the word, and Roko would leave his service.
Altaire and Lilli went out for a romp around the town. After failing to climb a passing carriage to reach the rooftops, they fled from a grumpy noblewoman. Upon escaping her, Lilli smelled smoke.
Looking around, Altaire noticed a plume of smoke from a block to the south and they hurried in that direction. An inn was burning to the ground, and the presence of a screaming mother outside the inn was enough to hint that not everyone was out of the fire. Lilli hurried inside the crumbling building and managed to save an elven couple, two human boys, a trapped baby, and an elderly human just before the building’s collapse.
The elderly gentleman had breathed too much smoke in and was losing his breath. None of the guards who came to the scene could perform any kind of first aid, so Lilli stepped in and helped the old man breathe.
Receiving a salute from the city guard who arrived, Altaire and Lilli left as heroes.
Silhren came across Garren, who seemed to be watching Treval Bast with interest. Treval had challenged a fellow Pathfinder to a friendly duel, and a crowd had gathered at the training grounds to watch.
Garren made sure to properly thank Silhren for his help two nights previous, when he was cornered by dangerously pious men. He did not expect any salvation, and he wanted Silh and his companions to know that he was grateful.
In the infirmary, Suhaila was finishing her treatment in the capable hands of Jaistelle Alnair, a Pathfinder cleric of Sarenrae.
After enduring Jaistelle’s complaints about her companions’ lack of regard for their own health, Suhaila found Kot sitting alone on one of the beds; he was examining a mithral helmet with a flame sigil on the forehead; he claimed he knew about it, but not enough to be sure. Suhaila recognized the flame sigil as a common symbol of Ragathiel, an Empyreal Lord of Heaven. Kot started to remember a little more.
The brooding Hroth, with his luck, stumbled into Jaistelle and Khrane Bokor in the middle of an argument as they departed to take on the cultist that the heroes had reported on the night previous. Jaistelle berated Khrane about being on a couch thrown at a simulacrum, while Khrane promised her a banquet several times over. Hroth could barely get a word in.
Leaving the bickering couple, Hroth found Silhren with his ocarina in the courtyard. Puzzled by his carefree attitude, Hroth questioned how he didn’t seem to have any cares. Silhren was puzzled, but assured him that he felt there was no reason to worry. Hroth found it more confusing that Silhren could give to others to freely, but Silhren responded that he didn’t need to worry about that, either. Hroth walked away in a huff with Silhren trailing close behind him, trying to understand his reasoning.
Suhaila received an unexpected boon from Benneth in the form of a letter from Casamir Ayperi, her missing brother. The letter begged her not to join him in the chasing of the cult, but Casamir knew that this wouldn’t stop her. The letter included a special medallion, one that the letter claimed could open more than one base of the cult. He apologized for not sending her a letter sooner, and explained that it was too dangerous for him to contact her or their family, and he urged her to avoid speaking to them as well. Suhaila was elated to hear that her brother lived, and thanked Benneth. She left with a spring in her step.
While wandering about Skyreach, Hroth came across an unsettling development; he discovered a wanted poster for his arrest. A bounty had been placed on his head by his home town of Omash, and listed several kidnappings as his doing.
Hroth quickly removed the poster and took it with him, but not before noticing another poster. This bounty was almost large enough to make the Prophets of Kalistrade blush, and called for an enormous list of murders, kidnappings, attempts on the lives of royalty, moving of illegal goods, and other crimes of varying seriousness.
This face was also familiar; it was the face of the cultist who had been taken back to the Pathfinder Society in the Grand Lodge into custody for protection and questioning.
His true name was Spencer Khalim.
Sym accompanied Hroth into the dungeon of the Lodge to find the aftermath of a bloody escape. The guards had been slain by strangling, lightning, and negative energy. The blood pooling on the ground was being captured by a crude drawing of a toothy grin etched in the floor, likely to mock anyone who found the scene too late. Hroth and Sym tracked his footsteps to the stone wall around the lodge, where the trail had stopped with a teleport. He was long gone.
Within Skyreach, near the mess halls, Altaire and Lilli wandered to get some food. They were interrupted by a beautiful song coming from an unlit armory. Quietly approaching, they found Zarishu Sala, singing to herself. Lilli sneaked closer to hear more but was found. Startled that she had an audience, Zarishu stopped singing and tried to change the subject.
Altaire insisted that the song was lovely and inquired about its origin, while Lilli listened for more. Zarishu was hesitant, but explained that the song was one her mother sang during her life as a slave. She sang the song after she had given up, but Zarishu was determined to the change the solemn song into a plead to fight. She would not become like her mother.
Altaire agreed to keep this secret between them.
Finding himself at the Vial Secrets apothecary, Sym could not find the proprietor. The Old Lady was not at the desk, and the shop had a uneasy silence.
That silence was broken by voices from the back room; the Old Lady was in the shop. Sym heard half of the conversation. Th Old Lady reported to someone about improving some concoction with the wishrooms that she had asked the heroes to obtain from the Cairnlands. She seemed annoyed, as if this person was pushing a deadline on her.
Sym sent in Roko to get a closer look. She spoke to this mystery man through a divining mirror. Roko also found that she had the recipe for the infamous “”/campaign/kingdom-of-darkness/wikis/nights-breath" class=“wiki-page-link”>Night’s Breath" poison that the heroes knew all too well. In fact, she planned to use the wishrooms to improve the Night’s Breath. Roko swiped the recipe and returned to Sym.
Feeling greedy, Sym snooped about the shop and discovered a cabinet with a collection of powerful Alter Self potions that could last an entire day.
The alarm spell on the cabinet alerted the Old Lady, who came rushing to storefront. Thinking quickly, Sym donned his cloak and it changed into a regal outfit. The Old Lady only caught the backside of a rich man exiting the store. By the time she rant to the street, Sym had changed back, and pointed to the west. He smiled as she gave chase to his ruse and headed east with his report.
Now aware that the Old Lady of Vial Secrets was in allegiance with the Cult of the Open Armed, the heroes warned the First Guard of her presence, and they sent a squad with the heroes to apprehend her.
They were met with a trap. Knowing that others might come for her, the Old Lady prepared a trap, with the current brew of Night’s Breath she had. She propped it against the doorway and it fell onto the first people into her back room: the First Guards. Three of them became Nightshades instantly, while the last resisted the poison. The heroes and the First Guard were expecting Nightshades, but they did not expect the Old Lady to throw back her hood and have hissing snakes for hair.
The battle was treacherous, but everyone managed to leave alive, and the Old Lady was killed. The First Guard thanked the heroes for their assistance and returned to Skyreach with their report.
Upon returning, Silhren, Suhaila, Altaire, Lilli, and Sym found that Treval’s duels had continued. He had challenged five fellow Pathfinders of his caliber and had bested them all. Garren was even more intrigued by the boy, and after Treval’s last and decisive victory, and some healing from the Shelynite heroes, he offered himself as an opponent.
Garren made Treval a deal: if he could land a single blow on Garren, he would consider him the victor and leave him be; however, if Garren could knock Treval out, he would come with him. Treval tentatively took the bet (while Altaire set up bets behind the duel).
The duel was over in seconds. Garren succeeded in disarming both Treval’s longsword and cestus in one fluid motion. Even without weapons, Treval still could fight with his fists, but he was parried and knocked unconscious in a single blow.
Disgraced, Treval hurried to his room without a word after being brought to his feet.