The trek back to the Arbiter’s guild from the portal started once more in the sewers beneath the Trinity. The smell was beginning to become associated with the city in the minds of some of the heroes for they very rarely had a portal go elsewhere.
Still being shadowed by the minion of the black dragon queen, they began to jump into the river of excrement below. Very quickly they found out the situation was different than how it usually went. Three large gaping maws snapped towards the heroes as they started to make their way to the edge. But the creatures were fast and caught three of the adventurers before they could make it.
A quick skirmish with the sludge crocodiles ensued but the creatures seemed to be in no mood for a prolonged fight. This was fine as the heroes were in no mood to continue a fight in the sewers.
Making their way to the guild they were approached by a messenger who had an envelope for Crim. The ninja had not joined the others, having stormed off before the portal was made. T’lemya, who was still visible even verbally upset with the ninja, took the letter and found only a plain piece of paper within.
Neo signed for the letter and sent the messenger on her way, but only after he received a kiss on the forehead. The heroes continued on their way to the guild. Upon arriving, they cleaned themselves up and several received items they had had in the making for several days.
Then the heroes visited Zell and found out that Azar had cut off his ability to watch what was happening in the cave. Learning little else of consequence from the naked half dragon, Al’ev turned to leave, but caught a familiar looking sight in the crystal ball his brother had been using. It was a hallway in the volcanic cave they had just left, but something looked off. Al’ev took a closer look and saw some sort of liquid and several objects on the cave floor. He called it to the other adventurers attention.
Everyone, including Zell, crowded around and Sindri took control of the Crystal ball and used it to take a closer look at the liquid. It was hard to see it as anything other than blood as the image grew near and the liquid took on a red tint. Sindri then directed the image to look at one of the other objects around the pool. It was a letter that was asking for the heroes to come back for the author. Another object turned out to be a red dragon scale.
Having seen enough, they asked Zell to make a portal back to the cave system. The half-dragon was not inclined to do this for them even after a bit of “persuasion” from T’lemya’s dagger. Eventually Zell relented and created a portal. The heroes piled through and found themselves back at the volcanic mountain side.
It was not long before they found the scene within the crystal ball. The liquid was blood. No mistaking it now as laying by it was an arm that was still gripping a katana. Crim’s katana.
A bit further in they found more parts of the ninja, toes, eyelids, and the list went on. A thorough search of the cave, led by Harry and his badger, revealed little more beyond a mirror that Al’ev repaired after Sindri said it had been used as a focus for a teleportaion spell that had been used to head further north into the mountains.
Knowing that there was only one way to confirm what they already knew, they asked Sindri to send them all back to the guild. Taking the mirror, they arrived at the guild, their collective mood having gone from bad to worse after losing another companion.
Goat stood waiting, as he always did, behind the front counter. Al’ev wasted no time in asking about Crim’s arbiter’s tome, asking him to read what Al’ev suspected were the final entries in the book.
Though it did not seem possible to the heroes, Goat’s face went from green to even more green, taking on a physically sick look before the leader of the guild of arbiters closed the book and proclaimed that they did not want to read that.
T’lemya beat Al’ev to it, snatching up the tome and beginning to read about the death of the ninja.
The heroes split up. Neo heading to a church to pray for a restful afterlife for his fallen comrade, T’lemya and Velius for the rooftop, Sindri to visit Zell, Al’ev to one of the bedrooms in the guild, Harry to visit with his recently rescued cousins.
The emissary of the black dragon queen sat in the guild’s reception area for quite some time alone with just Goat before she decided she had waited long enough. Goat screamed out in pain and the heroes were quick to respond.
Tense words were exchanged between the emissary and Al’ev who was in no mood to deal with this evil creature and her methods of gaining attention. The rest of the heroes hung back, ready to jump the emissary if words gave way to combat, but it was clear that nobody was willing to let it come to that just yet.
The black dragon queen still held Caramel hostage. Like it or not, the heroes still had work to do. The emissary proclaimed she had a destination for them so that they could finish the annoying task that had been thrust upon her.
As they prepared to research what town in Gnomish lands the emissary had seen, Al’ev could not help but think about which of his companions he would fail to save next…