City-State of Nibenay, 190th King’s Age, Year of Desert’s Slumber, Month of Wind, day 29
With pasty-skinned cultists surrounding the crooked house, the group does its best to defend the domicile. In other parts of the slums, they can hear the slavering, clawed monsters breaking into homes and gobbling up the people inside. The situation would seem almost comical if it were not so pressing.
As the cultists swarm the front door, Melmoth the Merciless swings his heavy weapon, doing his best to devastate every one that gets too close. Grasping talons keep digging into his flesh wherever the creatures can find purchase, but his blows continue to crush them as they press forward.
Qhorin, ever practical, flees upstairs and leans out the window, firing his bow at the creatures, to little effect.
Tikka Greenteeth uses rocks and a sling to injure the creatures, but her attacks seem to inflict very little damage on their rotting, graying flesh.
As the situation seems desperate, Kirlat holds forth a strange sigil and intones odd words. Beams of light blast out and scorch two of the creatures, causing them to fall into dessicated heaps. Then, as some of the beasts manage to scramble under a cracked corner of the house, he holds the sigil out and shouts, “In the name of Oronis, I return you to the earth from whence you came!” A wave of silver light pulses outward, and wherever it touches the creatures, they crumble to dust.
With the diseased cultists destroyed, the group has a chance to catch its breath. Kirlat’s unexpected magic display draws many questions, and he is at least somewhat forthcoming. He explains that he is a templar from a distant city-state, called Kurn, from far to the northeast. He is, essentially, a spy for Oronis, the sorcerer-king of Kurn, here to look in on the city-states of the Tablelands and eventually report back home. His mission will take him across much of the Tablelands and will not be done for years; his stay in Nibenay is simply a chance for him to experience the current tenor of the city.
The group removes the remaining corpses to another house, and they loot the possessions from a dead family across the alleyway. Finally, they drift off to sleep.
Back and Forth
The next day, Qhorin returns to the merchant house of Kuwahiro, in order to glean more information about their employer. While Qhorin speaks with Beyrak, the young noble, Tikka slips off to spy on the kitchen and Melmoth, posing as an agent of Qhorin, examines the stock of slaves in the house’s pits.
Qhorin makes small talk with Beyrak, and comes to understand that Beyrak is a likely contender for the inheritance of the house’s massive estates and wealth. Beyrak is working, of course, to undermine the rival house Norihirwat, but Qhorin susses out that Beyrak is not only working to raise his own house’s fortunes in this fashion, but to impress his elders with his resourcefulness in order to cement his hold on the inheritance.
Melmoth notes that the slave pits hold only a few humans, a pair of dwarves and a single half-giant. None of them are known to him, but after talking to them for a while (under the guise of learning whether his master might be interested in buying them), he learns that they had seen members of his tribe only a few days past! His half-giant brethren, it seems, were taken to one of the many quarries to the west of the city proper, about five miles distant, there to work on pulling rocks out of the cliff face to make new buildings in the city.
Tikka sneaks through the house and hides in the kitchen where she listens in on various rumors and conversations. Among others, she hears a rumor that Nibenay himself may visit the final night’s festivites for the house’s masquerade ball, and that the cultists of the spiritual orders are harboring a new leader who wields an artifact called the Stygian Lance with which he can supposedly command the dead. None of the rumors center on her lost relic, though, so she is only marginally interested.
Finally, the group escapes the merchant estate with many pleasantries, and they return to the crooked house to conspire for their next move. This night they have to sabotage the second night of the festival of House Norihirwat, which will take much of their imagination as they won’t be able to enter the grounds without being recognized this time.
Unexpectedly, someone comes calling at the house. Qhorin answers the door, only to discover a young templar — a wife of Nibenay. Imperiously, she demands to speak to Qhorin. She indicates that she has heard that he is a skilled trader, and she insists that he come visit her in the Nagarrammakam that night two hours after midnight for a business proposal. And with that, the diaphanously-gowned woman, Siyaad, vanishes back into the night.