Having three days remaining before opening night of “The Boy Who Could Sing” at the Cloud Theater, the party looked to tie up a few loose ends. Considering their options, which included exploring the trap door that led below the Clock Tower, investigating the window in the cliff face near The Prison, renewing the attack against the Temple of the Ebon Hand, or continuing to search for Yara Etherin, the party opted to search for Yara.
Reasoning that she was possibly still in the hands of the Ennin, or that they may know who she had been sold to, the party thought best to pay another visit to the Dark Market.
Arriving at the Undercity Market, the party made way to Scouts, Guides and Porters – the storefront they had emerged from with Malkeen Balacazar just a day before. Inside, they met Travinor Rem, the owner of the establishment, who prompted them for the password to enter the Dark Market. Not knowing the password, they tried without success to intimidate Travinor, through dropping the name “Stallman Klim”. When this failed, Maur took a more direct approach and bribed him with a sack of 80 gold imperials. Travinor still refused to allow Feruch into the Dark Market, but did agree to let the other members of the party have access for a full week.
In the Dark Market, the party encountered representatives from both the Longfingers Guild and The Vai. To one side of the cavern a number of vendors were milling about, selling poisons, shivvel, forbidden magic, unholy weapons and even gems reputed to contain devilish servants! There were no guards in the Dark Market, but looking about, a pair of ogres and a massive stone golem seemed to keep the peace.
To the rear of the cavern was a large campsite. On the opposite side of the cavern the party spotted the slave market. A small crowd had gathered and was bidding on a pair of human women and an elven man. Gideon and Maur went to the slave auction, while Ian looked over the various poisons and other wares for sale in the market.
While Gideon bid on the two women, Maur tried to strike up conversation with some of the other attendants. He met little success, even losing an arm wrestling match to a man who turned out to be much stronger than he appeared, but did manage to confirm that the Ennin operated the slave market and that the auctioneer (a rather fat man wearing a black hood over his head) was named Malegoch Krill and was a ranking member among the Ennin Slavers. Maur also noted a massive lizardman, rippling with muscles, wearing heavy full plate armor and wielding a dangerous looking scimitar was keeping a close eye on Malegoch and watching over the “merchandise”.
Gideon successfully purchased the second human woman, after losing out on buying the first one to a rather rough-cut looking man with greasy hair, and briefly entering a bidding war with a trio of goblins who were not even slightly pleased with Gideon’s deep pockets.
After paying one of the ogre guards, Gideon watched the elf get purchased by a dwarf who commented “he will do well in my arena”. The elf tried to escape at the last moment, but was quickly subdued by one of the many orc guards who mingled among the crowd.
Gideon pulled his newly purchased slave away from the crowd, explaining that he intended to release her and take her back home. The woman fought back tears, but kept her composure so as not to draw any attention to them. After some questioning, she explained that her name was Paisley Tardivel and that she had seen a girl matching Yara’s description while being held by the Ennin.
The party then left the Dark Market, returning to Delver’s Square, where they carried Paisley home (on Abanath St.), as promised. She said she had little to offer them as thanks, but said that her home was now theirs, should they ever need a place to stay.
Reviewing their maps and the details Paisley had given them, the party reasoned that she must have been held at the ruined temple the Ennin had previously been holding up in. It appears they fled before the City Watch arrived to raid the place, but had returned recently, now that the Watch was done snooping around.
Choosing to use the element of surprise, the party decided to raid the temple again, but this time from the surface. They consulted with their few allies to see about adding to their strength.
Kaira Swanwing explained that the Knights of the Golden Cross only numbered nine, including herself. She told them that her order was not recognized by the Empire, and had been greatly persecuted by The Church of Lothian during the Days of Blood, for still worshiping the Elder Gods. Regardless, however, they were sworn to fight evil in all it’s forms and if given the chance to strike a major blow, such as being involved in a major raid on an Ennin stronghold, it could do much to enable the order to reestablish itself. She agreed to send their wizard Stavislav Felatt and their priestess Uetha Wolanat.
Consulting with Ronas Toyne, he and the remaining three knights at St. Gustav’s agreed to assist the party, to seek vengeance for the death of their squad leader, Braddock Farman, who died in the last raid attempt against the Ennin. The party gave a heavy sack of gold to Ronas, Brynnan and Bel to quickly go to Delver’s Square and re-equip themselves.
Lastly, the party paid a visit to Castle Shard. Having a quick dinner with Lord Zavere, he explained that he does not keep guards under his employ or any type of strike force. He recruits, as needed, mercenaries from the Order of Iron Might – a mercenary guild in the city. He offers to build a force to help them, if given a few days time to muster them. Unfortunately, this did not fit with the party’s plan which involved hitting the Ennin that night.
So as not to have the party leaving empty handed, since Lord Zavere truly desired to help regardless, he sent Kadmus to fetch a long, flat chest from the castle library. Zavere explained the chest held a number of items he had collected over the years and would allow the party members to freely use them for as long as they remained in the city, or until such time as they had no further use of them. For Ian there was a suit of leather armor +3. Maur received a periapt of health +3, Feruch received a rod of healing (18 charges), and for Gideon, a quarterstaff of icy burst +2.
With their newly acquired arms and allies, the party then made way to the Ennin stronghold in the Temple District. With Ian scouting about the seemingly abandoned grounds of the burned ruins, the party chanced upon a secret entrance in the outer wall…