As our heroes left the meeting with Huugan, they were stopped at an overpass by a swarthy goblin, who demanded that they pay a toll to Daask. Daask is a gang that is relatively new to Sharn, but they have already earned a reputation for a willingness to resort to violence. When the party responded in a sarcastic manner, the goblin called to his two enforcers: a pair of Ogres. Crowbar attempted to catch the goblin unaware by pretending to hand over their toll and then striking him with a bag of coins, but the goblin was quicker than the warforged anticipated and dodged his clumsy strike easily. 4 Gnoll Archers stood up from their hiding spots on the overpass, a bugbear rushed into the fray from a nearby building, and the fight began in earnest.
When the fight was over, a building and the overpass were demolished, 3 of the gnolls, both of the ogres and the bugbear were dead, and the goblin begged for his life. The party showed him mercy, with Crowbar stating “You work for me now.” When the goblin was certain he was not going to be struck down from behind, he ran.
A week of relaxation followed, in which our heroes made themselves comfortable in their new home in Clifftop. They decided on their rewards from the Kings Citadel, and sent their requests in through the proper channels. One month had passed since they were hired to rid the Tain foundry of the Kruthik infestation, and their bright future stood in stark contrast to their ignoble past. However, comfortable though their new home was, they doubtless itched for excitement to return to their lives.
There came a knock on their door at the end of that week. Capt. Talleon Halian Tonan of the Dark Lanterns had come calling, bearing not only their requests but also a bag of holding, and a set of more subtle Citadel badges for situations when their Brelish blue cloaks would ill serve their aims. Sitting on the couch, Capt. Talleon thanked them again for their service to Breland, and congratulated their good fortunes. It was then that he asked if the cared to take a mission related to their actions in Graywall against the Swords of Liberty.
It seems that the package they retrieved from the bomb workshop was not only meant for a specific location, a little omelet house in Olladras’ Kitchen called Ellfates Eatery, but also for a specific day and time. Such a target was not of much value to the Swords of Liberty, and the precision of the delivery date suggested that something of interest was to occur at that time. Talleon asked that they stake out Ellfates on the arranged date, and see what had earned the ire of the Brelish terrorist organization. Our heroes agreed to this undertaking, and Talleon told them to be at Ellfates in 3 days, at the toll of the Sixth Bell in the afternoon.
After making these arrangements, the gnomish agent left. At the same moment, Delan d’Lyrandar paid his comrades a visit. Much impressed with their home, he asked if they would mind taking him out to eat. When they agreed, he suggested a nearby restaurant called Kavv’s, and they headed out the door into the evening. The crowds of Clifftop were out in force, and the darkening sky was clear.
They got a seat before the rush at Kavv’s, and they ate a fine meal. During after dinner drinks, Delan asked if the adventurers would be interested in acting as muscle on a delivery to Zarash’Ak in the Shadow Marches. He promised them 500 gold for their efforts, and a deal was made. After a few more drinks and a generous tip, the party left the restaurant with a slightly drunk Delan in tow.
As they made their way through the crowd, a scream and several shouts were heard from area of the tower of the Esoteric Order of Aureon, one of the wizards circles of Sharn. Rushing to investigate, our heroes witnessed the finishing syllables of a foul ritual being performed by two humans clad in the threadbare clothes of refugees. A sickly green glow was replaced by a sudden darkness, which extinguished the nearby everlasting lanterns. In that dim light, it became apparent the ritualists were undergoing a grotesque transformation.
When the party brought their own lights to bear, they found two deformed figures with a caul of skin over their heads and gnarled clubs in place of their hands. As they watched, the air was split by the appearance of 4 creatures best described as floating masses of tentacles. They were fell taints, and they had doubtless been summoned from between dimensions by the same ritual which changed the refugees. The deformed wretches screamed beneath their fleshy hoods, and rushed to attack the nearest targets: our heroes.
Battling these creatures took a toll on their psyches, but our brave adventurers prevailed. As Avagon gathered the transdimensional slime from the tentacles, and Arannis searched fruitlessly for a coin purse, Crowbar and Benn discovered some identifying features on the bodies. Both were dressed in clothes that were fashionable in Cyre at the time of The Mourning. One bore a tattoo that indicated he was a member of an elite Cyran scout unit called the Forward Blades, and the other had a scar on his back where a dragonmark had been flayed away. Such an punishment is called excoriation, and is only inflicted on individuals guilty of a truly heinous transgression.
It was then that the City Watch arrived and, after determining that the party were not at fault, sent them on their way. Collecting Delan from the watching crowd, they made their way home. The next morning saw the captain of the Kordanga a little worse for wear, but in high spirits. He made them breakfast, and made arrangements for the trip to the Shadow Marches.
Two days later, our heroes waited at Ellfates Eatery at 6 bells. Benn and Arranis waited inside, while Avagon and Crowbar suffered the mediocre barbecue of an overeager halfling merchant on the skybridge outside. They witnessed an attractive half-elven woman enter the premises, dressed in the popular style of Aundair. Subsquently, a gnome approached, followed shortly by a human. They both entered, and Avagon took this opportunity to join his friends within. The gnome sat at the counter, while the human and half-elf sat together in an out-of-the-way corner. They traded small talk, discussing the differences between Fairhaven and Sharn, and the short journey from Zilspar to the City of Towers. As they spoke, Arranis noticed the woman pass a scroll case to the man under the table.
Outside, Crowbar patiently explained warforged physiology to the persistent merchant. As the halfling made another pitch, a group of seven armed individuals made their way towards the Omelet House. With a half-elf in the lead, 4 humans in heavy armor along with a halfling in a cloak and a man armed with wands entered Ellfates. Crowbar made his way to the door just in time to hear the half-elf say to the waitress on duty, “We aren’t here to eat.”