When they woke up, Fox went to the Hive Ward to scout out the location described on the note they had received. Meanwhile, Kamau visited the Armory once more, only this time he utilized his brand new Taker membership, claiming he had arrived to collect taxes, in order to cut through the crowd. To his disappointment, the Sinkers randomly distributed a single weapon to everybody, certainly of good craftsmanship, but nothing special and certainly not magical. Therefore, he demanded to see Ely Cromlich who he convinced that, as an above-average warrior, he required a fitting weapon, one he was willing to pay. Playing on his hate of the Harmonium, he managed to convince him to buy a blade made out of Baatorian green steel. He was told that it would be forged in about ten days, but until then he had to give a downpayment of 2.000 gold coins and pay 3.000 more upon receiving it. Thus, he placed the order, left the advance coin and left to meet with Fox.
The meeting point was a house with several broken windows in the Hive Ward. The doorman, after being shown the red token stamped with a slaad, guided them to the back of the building and down a hole in the ground. In that underground hallway, they met several groups of various hirelings of every gender, race and class. Some small talk later, they discovered that everyone had been invited in a similar manner to hear an offer of employment from a Xaositect high-up. Also, every group had a similar token, although colors and stamps varied.
Before long, a group of 15 Xaositects entered the room. Eleven of them were identical male githzerai, dressed alike. The rest included the plump aasimar that Kamau had met the previous night, a muscular blonde man, a towering human female and a bariaur. The latter introduced himself as Possel Peckich and adressed the crowd, while the aasimar passed around the people and gathered their tokens in a sack.
_"Factol Terrance of the Athar – gone. Factol Pentar of the Doomguard – gone. Indep high-ups Bria Tomay, Lethea and Lysander – gone. And our informers have heard of other Factols who haven’t seemed to be around during the last week or so, though that’s unconfirmed and denied by the rest of their flocks. You’ve probably seen those Eschaton berks out in the streets, proclaiming these are the end times. Well, we don’t know what’s happening. We just don’t want it to happen to us. And it won’t… One Factol is a sitting modron,. But eleven? With eleven, the promise of chaos will see us through. With eleven, the truth och chance will keep us safe.
While the real Karan spends the next few days in safety, these eleven decoys will roam The Cage in full public view to draw out those behind the – well, behind whatever’s happening. And that’s where you come in, friends; To make each look like the real one, they all must be guarded by a gang of capable bodyguards. It’d look too odd for a Factol to walk alone through Sigil at a time like this. Make it look good and you will be amply rewarded – coin, magic items, portal keys, information, whatever you want, we’ll get it for you"_
As he was talking, the aasimar had gathered all the tokens. Now the githzerai were drawing from the sack and as they announced their pick, a large image of it appeared above the heads of those it had been given to, a minor illusion used to match decoys with guards. The red token with the slaad was among those picked, actually by the eighth decoy. Once that was finished, Pekich resumed his speech.
“Eleven false ”/characters/karan" class=“wiki-content-link”>Karans. Eleven stalwart groups to defend them. Each party, step up and meet your assigned decoy, then escort him out into the city. Remember that he must be treated like the real one at all times, you never know who’s watching. Respect him and follow his wishes. Return here in three days’ time to claim your reward. And to any groups whose tokens weren’t drawn from the sack, sorry that you weren’t needed. As you leave, my assistants here will give you a little gift as compensation for your trouble."
The unmatched groups left indeed and the githzerai went to meet their groups. The one assigned to Fox and Kamau had a fake moustache and told them he was assigned to roam the Market Ward. However, once they hit the streets, he announced that he had changed his mind and wanted to walk around the Lady’s Ward instead. On the way he chatted with them to know them better, while pulling small pranks to people around him, such as giving wrong directions or baffling them with his chaospeak. Things got a little more serious when he stole an apple to give to a beggar, but his guards intervened and paid the angry merchant.
Once they were at the Lady’s Ward, they noticed several Harmonium patrols “questioning” people, especially those they deemed the wrong types. However, their escort suggested to stop for lunch at a popular place there, the Fortune’s Wheel. Upon entering, he basked at the glory of being recognized and bought drinks for everyone inside. While enjoying their lunch, they noticed Shemeska the Marauder with her tiefling guards sitting alone at one table. After eating, the decoy Karan decided that he wanted to spin the Fortune’s Wheel inside the establishment. He kept winning and winning, buying drinks for everyone around, until the staff politely but persisently asked them to leave.
During their stroll, they passed from the plaza outside the Prison, a place called Petitioners’ Square. Standing there on the gallows was Arwyl Swan’s Song and a few Mercykillers, with Duke Rowan Darkwood in the background. The paladin began a long speech about the faction’s purpose and the importance of justice, so Fox and Kamau shifted their attention to the crowd’s gossip. Nearby, a tiefling made a sarcastic comment about the Duke hiding behind the Red Death. A githyanki answered him, praising the Duke for his bravery to make a public appearance after receiving death threats from a barmy that had escaped from the Gatehouse, unlike his darling Alisohn Nilesia who didn’t show up for something that probably had to do with her own faction.
Meanwhile, Arwyl Swan’s Song announced that an “unfortunate incident” had shaken the Mercykillers to its core and caused the faction to splinter. More than 600 years ago, when the Lady of Pain had limited the number of factions allowed, the violent and brutal mercenaries who called themselves Sodkillers had joined with the noble Sons of Mercy to form the Mercykiller. Now the faction was breaking down those lines again. Denouncing the Sodkillers and Nilesia’s poisonous leadership, the paladin promised that the Sons of Mercy would uphold justice. After thanking Rowan Darkwood for his efforts to help the Sons establish themselves in these dark times, he announced that the Sons of Mercy would be reviewing over 1.000 cases of imprisoned people, releasing those who had been unjustly jailed. Furthermore, executions were held back indefinately and punishment would now be assigned to truly fit one’s crime. After finishing, he drew his sword and in a symbolic move cut the noose hanging from the gallows. The crowd exploded in a mix of cheers, booing and pleas to free a specific person, as the paladin and his team left to return to the Prison and begin the process they had announced.
The triad decided to retire for the night and think the events through. However, this was not meant to be. On their way to The Bounded Space, their escort tickled one of the boys that were lighting the street lights. In his surprise, they boy dropped his things on a nearby fence, which caught on fire that spread to the garden inside. Before there were even screams about a fire, a patrol of twelve Harmonium guards led by a lieutenant appeared, accusing the githzerai of arson. Despite Fox and Kamau’s complaints of it all being an accident, their escort surrendered and tried to calm everyone down. He was certain everything would clear out at the court, however he required that they notified Pekich of what had happened. Before he could finish his sentence, the guards slapped their planar mancatcher on him, obviously frustrated from trying to do all the process by the book.
Pekich would have to wait. Besides, the githzerai was just a decoy.