As Arrannis, Avagon, and Benn watched, most of the armed group made their way to the table in the far corner, while the others blocked the exit. The Aundairan woman stood up, perhaps expecting trouble, and she was promptly slashed across the torso by the half-elf. The human rocked back in his chair, shocked by what he was seeing. The halfling hooked a chair leg with his foot, and pulled the human back to the table, nearly impaling him with a dagger. Deftly reaching into the humans cloak, the halfling grabbed the scroll case, and admonished the human that “we know what your boss is up to”.
Avagon began to speak up, and was confronted by one of the heavily armored lackeys. At this point Crowbar rushed in, and using the double-doors as a weapon knocked one lackey prone and knocked another further into the room. The half-elf then stabbed the Aundairan woman through the chest, and she crumpled to the floor. A melee then erupted, with Crowbar jumping on tables, magic and arrows flying, and summoned winds tossing chairs, cups, and place settings all around Ellfates. When it was over, the human still sat in stunned silence, staring at the body of his companion.
Crowbar had taken possession of the scroll case, and made the decision to open it. Within, he found a 1000gp Mark of Credit, as well as a letter:
We appreciate all that you are attempting to do for the future of your country, and offer our support towards your eventual success. One day, you will help usher in a new era for Breland, and we ask only that you remember those who believed in your noble cause.
Believing the man to be an agent of the Brelish Crown, the party elected to let him leave Ellfates, and handed him the contents of the scroll case. They then made a hasty exit, with Avagon apologizing for the mess, and leaving several gold pieces as restitution. The adventurers caught the next elemental skiff they could, and headed to the Kings Citadel to report to Capt. Talleon Halian Tonan.
They met with the head of the Dark Lanterns of Sharn in his office. Talleon offered them a seat and a drink, and the asked what they had seen at Ellfates Eatery. When Crowbar mentioned that they had released his agent, Talleon stated that there was no other operation being carried out in that vicinity. After explaining what happened, the gnome erupted in a momentary fit of anger, but after a few seconds reflection began to measure his response. Reasoning to himself that it was perhaps best that the scroll case make it to its intended recipient unimpeded, he apologized to our heroes for his outburst. He then proceeded to ask them several questions about the Aundairan woman, as well as the human male who left with the scroll case.
After using a crystal ball to provide an underling with instructions to intercept the bodies at the city morgue, Talleon began to think. Ruminating on the purpose of not only the foiled bombing and subsequent attack, he reasoned that the meeting of the Brelish and the Aundairan was what they intended to disrupt. Given that the letter that Crowbar had read seemed to reference an action that would affect Breland as a whole, it seemed strange that the Swords of Liberty would be close enough to know what was going on, but still wish against whatever action would be undertaken. Talleon wished aloud that he knew more about the recipient of the scroll case, and asked the party to keep an eye out for him.
As he bade them good-bye, Arrannis asked about their promised payment. Talleon gave them a voucher for 300gp, and told them to redeem it at the front desk. He then remembered that he had something else for them, and gave them a envelope made of fine paper, addressed to The Bold Adventurers. It was an invitation to the Tain Gala, one of the most exclusive events in Sharn. Held on the first Far of every month, the Gala was attended by members of the nobility and the 60 Families, along with the occasional artist or celebrity of the day. It appeared that our band of heroes were about to enjoy their moment in the sun.
After some discussion, the party split up to engage in some personal time. Arrannis went to the Adventurers Guild, where he hoped to find some jobs to keep him busy and perhaps earn him so gold. However, the only jobs available were of the rat catcher and go-for variety, and none of them paid very well. The goliath watching the desk told him to check back often, as new jobs were posted fairly frequently.
Avagon went to speak with Delan aboard the Kordanga. Delan was quite happy to see him, as it gave him a brief reprieve from overseeing some of the repair work being done on the airship. Avagon told Delan that something had come up, and they wouldn’t be able to join him on the trip to the Shadow Marches. Delan was disappointed, but understanding. Avagon told him that he would leave a note on the Adventurers Guild Help Wanted board, and try to find him some guards for the trip. After leaving, Avagon had the idea of perhaps commissioning a teleportation for the party, and resolved to look into the matter more.
Crowbar went in search of other Warforged, and heard of a “bar” exclusively for his kind. It is called the Red Hammer, and is located in the Blackbones district of the Upper Cogs. He arrived to find a most welcoming atmosphere, as well as decent hospitality. The proprietor, a female-personality warforged named Blue made him feel at home, as well as got him a refurbishing at the hands of another ‘forged named Smith. After he finished relaxing, he headed back to the surface.
Benn went to the Drunken Dragon Inn, a very popular Clifftop hangout for adventurers. He ordered a drink and some food, and sat down to enjoy himself. After a short while, he noticed an Eladrin woman walk in, look around, and then leave. He managed to studiously ignore her. Momentarily, a familiar face was stuck in the door: Olaavi, the hobgoblin priest of the Sovreign Host that the party had befriended earlier in their adventures. Olaavi smiled when he saw Benn, and came over to join him, along with the Eladrin woman who was introduced as Faeva.
Olaavi informed Benn that Faeva was in need of assistance, and the hobgoblin thought that he and his friends could be of some help. Faeva told Benn that she was the lay minister of the oldest temple of the Silver Flame in Sharn, The Blackstone Church in Fallen. She the history of the neighborhood, and of the circumstances surrounding the fall of the Crystal Tower. When Benn asked her what the problem was, she told him that she had returned from a religious rememberence elsewhere in Sharn, and had found the place overrun with creatures with melted faces. Benn recognized from her description the monsters they had fought a few days prior, and also realized that the invasion of her temple and the ritual that the party had witnessed occurred on the same day. He promised that he and his friends would see what they could do.
Avagon and Arrannis arrived home together, only to find a bundle of rags laying at their front door. This bundle of rags turned out to be Chert, the goblin whom they had released in Malleons Gate a week before. Having been kicked out of the gang, Chert decided he would seek out his new “employers” and see what his employment would entail. When the rest of the party returned to the house, it was decided that the goblin would be their new cook. “After all, it can’t be worst than that halfling barbecue.” They gave Chert some money for new clothes, and after Benn told them of Olaavis’ request, they turned in for the evening.
The next day, after some breakfast, our heroes did a little more shopping. That afternoon, they made their way down into the Fallen district, inviting Chert along for the journey. Sitting at the very bottom of Sharn, only a few rays of light make their way down from the bustle above. Sparsely populated, it is home to scavengers, demolished buildings, rubble, and the remains of some of the earliest temples built in the City of Towers. It was here that the first church of the Silver Flame in Sharn was constructed out of basalt from the lava pools, and christened Blackstone.
As the party approached the temple, they heard babbling coming from its direction. A group of foul creatures had gathered around the building; a group of long-armed humanoid monstrosities blocked the silvery doors of the temple, and an individual whose brain case was too large for its head appeared to be giving a sermon to a gathering of people. These people were of different races, but all had peeling ashen skin, and most were missing teeth and clumps of hair. Our brave adventurers were spotted by the preacher, and it quickly called out their presence. The slavering creatures advanced on the party, and battle ensued.