The Road to Hell

Walk with me in Hell
Mortis, 4th Low day onwards

Money was running low and there was no sight of the rubies that supposedly would be waiting in Ribcage, so a decision was made: Fox would enter the public bath room and gather any information he could.

So he did, meeting a human merchant by the name of Kirin who was visiting to sell his load of fruit and vegetables from Arborea. He told Fox about Baron Paracs who rules the city and of the five powerful families under him. He spoke about the Baron’s effort to keep his town from sliding into Baator and the rumors that this is only a facade to cover his alliance with the fiendish army that was set to invade Ribcage. Of the Harmonium he knew nothing, as in general the Factions were not that important or powerful within the city’s walls, but in response to Fox’s claim of being an adventurer, he advised him to check a poster in the markets about a merchant that was looking for muscle to protect a caravan. On the way back to the Inn for the night’s rest, he told Kamau what he’d found out, while upon reaching the gate, Kamau offered to pay for both their chunks back, to make up for his error when they first left the city walls. Passing through the market at night, they did indeed spot a poster about a merchant that was indeed offering employment, only the reality was that he wanted to set up shop in Baator. Most intriguing, as well as convenient, they decided to visit him the following day.

As the last day of Mortis, the month of the Dustmen, dawned, Fox and Kamau visited Ribcage’s markets where eventually they found the man they were looking for. The plump, balding spice merchant introduced himself as Dermont of Faunel and explained that while Avernus ,the first layer of Baator ,is a wasteland, there is a large market in the second layer, Dis ,visited by planars and fiends alike, where he would like to set up shop. What he wanted was someone to take his letter of introduction to the local authorities and return with the proper permit, in return for 5% of the first operational year’s profits. Asking for a couple of days to prepare, they took up his offer.

Next stop was the Shrine of Dark Secrets, the only functional temple in Ribcage, run by the Flamen family and dedicated to the worship of the Baatorian powers and the fiends that dwelled in the plane. Cautious of his temperament, Kamau chose to stay outside while Fox entered the dark building, illuminated inside only by the light of a few black candles burning. Used to this kind of illumination from hanging out at the Styx Oarsman in Sigil, he walked to the huge altar, which a couple of clerics in white robes where wiping clean. Meanwhile, people were entering and exiting rooms on the side walls of the temple where they flagellated themselves in the name of the powers they worshipped. Cracking whips, mixed with screams of pain and pleasure made for a gloomy atmosphere.
One of the two clergymen introduced himself as Flamen Pontifus, leader of the temple. He answered every question Fox had on their religion and even told him that they regularly sent supplicants to the hellish plane on their pilgrimage. While that sounded like a good plan to infiltrate the place, Dermont the merchant’s way sounded like one with less effort and risk, so Fox kindly thanked the priest and left.

They spent the rest of the day, as well as the following, trying to get in touch with any Harmonium agents in Ribcage. To that end, they pressed the owner of the Gymnasium on anyone she might know. The only information they managed to get from her, accidentally too, was that some other berks had passed from the city a few days ago asking questions, while their leader sounded a lot like Karris, the man who had offered to be their guide in Sigil and never showed up. Sensing that they had competition, which had already gotten a headstart too, they decided to give up the ruby hunt for now and get to Baator as soon as possible.

The following day they visited the Palace, requesting an audience as merchants in the service of Dermont, with the letter from their employer as proof. In response, they were led to the Baron who chuckled “The Rule of Three, eh? Well, perhaps your spice merchant will find luck this time” and asked for 400 gold coins to grant them passage to the portal. Already running low on cash and with great worry of how they’d have some left to use in Baator ,they visited Dermont and managed to press him to give them 300 coins for the pass and owe them the rest 100. Returning to the palace, they paid the asked price and the Baron granted them entrance, warning them to carry a source of fire with them for the journey. They were led to an empty room with a built-around corner, leaving a small gap on top. Fox climbed up first and saw a spinning pillar of silver-red smoke and light. He jumped in, but instead of teleporting anywhere, he was swung to the wall. Kamau realized they needed the portal key. The only thing the Blackguards in the room would tell them was that “they had already been given their answer”. Remembering the Baron’s advice, he climbed up the wall, lit a torch and jumped into the portal, as Fox followed him.

Cornugon_Horned_Devil_by_ilkerserdar.jpgThey found themselves in the blasted ruins of a city not much unlike Ribcage, only this one seemed like it had been in the middle of a wizards’ fireball fight. “You – travellers! What’s your business here?” they heard a gutteral voice from nearby. Turning to locate its owner, they saw a large fiend in grey scales and wings, holding a chain whip which he cracked as he walked towards them. They offered him the merchant’s letter, which only served to make him laugh. “So, this Paracs jester thinks he can issue passes for this place? Now that’s amusing. You have made me laugh with your ignorance, and for that I will charge you really low, not like I did with those ”/wikis/berk" class=“wiki-page-link”> berks before you. I only wish I could be around to see what will happen with you two."

After they offered him one of the gems that Tonat Shar had given them when they first met, they were free to observe the town around them. Obviously a previous gate-town that had been eventually dragged into the plane, it was still populated by a few ragged survivors in the ruins who tried to stay alive in this Hell. Kamau consulted Zofiel, a mimir in the form of a bleeding skull that he had bought from Bok and assured that was specialized on topics involving the lower planes. According to the mimir, they were in the blasted wasteland of Avernus ,one of the many battlefields of the Blood War where no towns existed, save for the previous gate-towns that had slided into the plane. Due to the infinite and everchanging nature of Avernus ,the distance to the portal that would take them to the next layer, Dis as well as the way there were unknown. The only thing that was certain was that the portal lay within the lair of Tiamat, the evil deity worshipped by chromatic dragons.

Consulting their arrow of direction, they made their path across two more former gate-towns before they heard the distant sound of many voices shrieking, howling and cursing. Believing that they were followed by something, they marched even faster until they reached another former gate-town that lay on the bank of the river Styx. Too tired from a long day and an even longer walk, facing a mighty obstacle and unable to tell the time in a place without sun or moon but only a permanent bloody twilight, they decided to call it a day. Their preparation made things easier, as they dined from the tin plate they had bought from Nari and slept feeling relatively safe in the magical pocket that Fox created using a Rope Trick spell.

The thought of Tiamat’s lair haunted their dreams. They’d thought navigating Ribcage had been hard, now they were forced to reconsider. And this was only the plane’s first layer.

Under the Ribs
Mortis, 4th Low day

Cedlic_Marr.jpgFox and Kamau checked out of the Bounded Space and visited The Sill. As instructed, they asked for the fourth room on the second floor. The landlady, a golden haired, golden eyed tiefling with dark red curvy horns, gave them a delicate key made of bone and charged them a mighty price, which they paid without objecting. The room itself was small and simple, with a window overlooking the Grand Bazaar. A while after setting in, the landlady knocked on the door to check on them and mention that they “hadn’t used their key”. Kamau lost his temper and pressed her to tell them what they were missing, but she was adamant that if they were not smart enough to figure it out on their own, they didn’t deserve to get there at all. Fox however figured out the metaphor and tried to hold the bone key out of the window. As he expected, the window was actually a portal, and it’s key was the bony relic. Second thoughts aside, they jumped in before it would close.

They landed on their feet, on the base of a large mountain. Everywhere around them were black, sharp rocks with no sign of vegetation. Immediately, Fox consulted the arrow of direction which pointed them to a nearby valley. Gargantuan rock formations jutted out of the ground, long slender fingers that coalesced over the valley like the fingers of two hands on the side of the valley. Or perhaps like the onyx skeleton of a massive creature. And in the valley underneath, a large city. Definately Ribcage.

Coming closer to its southern gate, they saw plenty of corpses swinging from the top. Labels hung around their necks, announcing the reason of their execution, heinious crimes like offending a sergeant that his “buttons looked tarnished” or “being within 100 steps of the Fiquesh estate without appropriate reason”. Before they had a chance to wonder what they had gotten themselves into, a guard dressed in black plate mail, trimmed with gold, appeared over the gate. “Welcome to Ribcage!” he shouted to them. “It’s 10 gold each to enter. These fine men will collect”. Just as he finished his phrase, two more armored guards appeared from behind the gates. The visitors paid and were given two flat stones with something carved on them. “These are yer chunks” they were informed. “They’re valid for one week. Come on in and don’t cause any trouble.”

Inside the walls, the city looked even grimmer. Wide, clean streets of blood-red cobblestone criscrossed with geometrical accuracy, forming orderly squares of building blocks. The buildings themselves were all made of grey or black stone, had few windows (which seemed to be closed as they passed by) and little need for beauty or decoration, except the few belonging to the rich and noble, which had some ornaments outside to declare their owners’ status. Few citizens walked the streets, which were mostly flooded with guards and soldiers. Some wore the same black and gold plate armor like the ones at the gate, and some wore tabards of varying colours and symbols. It felt like there were enough to safeguard a city twice as large.

Getting any kind of information was as hard as it had seemed it would be. The guards were not keen on helping people, rather seemed more eager to find a reason to harass them. Bystanders looked down and walked away without a word. Even relying on themselves, they had a hard time finding an inn. Signs outside buildings were nonexistent, and most places they stumbled upon were minor drinking holes, aimed at the local population. Clearly, they didn’t get a lot of tourism. Not like this was a place anyone would like to visit.

While walking around town (and dodging patrols) they stumbled upon a gathering of locals, listening to some robed figures preaching the superiority of the baatezu. Although the priests were booed away by the crowd, Fox followed and tried to strike a conversation with them, presenting himself as someone who had been touched by the speech. With some surprise, the clerics let him through their circle of bodyguards and invited him to come for further enlightenment at a place called ‘The Shrine of Dark Secrets’.

Eventually, they found an inn (with rooms at the basement) and left their stuff there. The landlord, like most locals, was not open to any conversation, but he had seen enough to know that guests like these would be trouble, so he discreetly pointed them towards a public bathouse outside the city walls, called The Gymnasium of Steam. On their way out they asked the guards on the north gate if the ‘chunks’ were cancelled by exiting. With a sly smile, the guards replied positively and collected the chunks presented. It was a pleasant walk to the Gymnasium, arguing about how they’d managed to rob themselves.

The Gymnasium of Steam was a large, marble-built building run by a tiefling woman who introduced herself as Shandrala. She kindly answered their questions on the validity of chunks (yes, they had actually robbed themselves after all) and gave them the prices for entering. Sure, they were high, but this was the only place out of town and guards were not allowed to go outside the city walls, so she had the monopoly on a much value commodity around: Privacy

Mortis, 4th Hive day

Fox and Kamau woke up to be informed by the landlord that Fated tax collectors had visited and they each owed 15 gold coins in tax. Giving 20 each, they asked him to pay for them and keep the change.

First stop was the City Barracks, where they met once more with Tonat Shar and agreed to his terms. He instructed them to visit an inn not far from the Great Bazaar in the Market Ward, called “The Sill”, and specifically ask for the fourth room on the second floor. Daneel wouldn’t be joining him, as he was recovering in his deity’s home plane in Arcadia. The gems would be waiting to be picked up by them in Ribcage. Finally, he gave them single-use portal key for any portal leading to Fortitude and the two magic items they had chosen: an arrow of direction set to point to the location of the sword and a pair of rings of fire resistance enchanted to work only in Baator.

The duo visited Nari in her shop to get some extra equipment for the trip. While walking around in the Market Ward, they ran into a human mage who called himself Karris. Word seemed to have gone around like wildfire, since he already knew about their intention to visit Baator and offered his services as a guide, as he had apprenticed to a wizard that frequently visited the plane for spell components. Not entirely convinced by his story, they told him to meet them later that night at the Styx Oarsman to check his knowledge.

Upon visiting the Oarsman, they met Aliah who was already there. They told her about their trip and unlike her usual demeanor, she reacted with genuine worry, eventually saying that she “cared about them” and hoped they’d make it back. Also during the discussion, Kamau eventually mentioned to Fox the whole meeting with Mordred and Zinnia, their invitation and how they might have been involved in the attack on Daneel.

Afterwards, they attempted to talk with Rule-of-Three, who was in the establishment, but made little sense of his ramblings. Not sure of what to do, they decided to stick with their thought that tanar’ri and baatezu don’t mix without explosions and remain silent and inactive until they returned from Baator.

Karris was nowhere to be seen until late at night, something which they considered at least unprofessional, if he wasn’t an imposter at all. Returning to the Bounded Space, they crashed for a good night’s rest before they’d start their journey.

Into the Pit
Mortis, 4th Clerk day (Taker's Day)

Fox took the day off to go shopping. Anyway Kamau would have his morning full, finally meeting the members of the Inner Circle at the Red Pony

Kamau went to the bar, which was unusually crowded for the hour. Seemed like a lot of berks felt like punching somebody after paying their taxes to the Takers. He shared a round of drinks with Rakk and was introduced to Ghal and a stray dog that seemed to like him.

After a while, the minotaur took Kamau to the basement, where the Inner Circle met. There, they were joined by Zerr, the hound archon Ranweld who was in fact playing a practical joke, polymorphed as the stray dog from the bar, a human the others called “Knox”, an elf paladin clad in plate mail which he carefully removed, a dwarf woman, a hooded female elf and two women that seemed to be friends, Morgil and Elisa. They were joined by Rakk and surprisingly, the man he had noticed a few days back in the Fated Arena, named Ementh.

They began discussing about what had happened since their last meeting, but when Ementh mentioned that his involvement in the Inner Circle had caused him trouble with his Faction, they hesitated to continue, as the matter was deemed too sensitive for outsider ears, since Kamau was around. Still, the atmosphere was quite amicable, even as they argued who should fight with the newcomer.

Eventually, Rakk stepped up, involving his right as the host to go first, since he had promised Kamau a fight. The rest agreed, from what seemed more like courtesy than obedience to some true “right” or internal code. The fight was balanced, which led to Kamau raging in his excitement of facing a worthy opponent after so long. This excited the Circle, most of all Ghal, who pulled the almost defeated Rakk out of the fight and took his place exchanging blows with Kamau, who eventually dropped senseless.

He was brought back to his feet by Elisa, who seemed to employ some kind of healing magic. While he was out, the Circle had discussed most of their issues, but Kamau felt it was right to leave them to their privacy and returned to the ground floor for a drink that would truly put him back on his feet. The others returned one after the other and Kamau had the chance for some small-talk with them, except the elf paladin Fulgarn who left with a bad temper and a black eye.

Once he was done, he met with Fox at the Styx Oarsman for lunch and an update. Even though they felt familiar in that place, they were still careful enough not to discuss any matters related to Guardian anywhere near the baatezu, so they returned to their room. There, they settled on two things. First, they would talk to the owner of the Oarsman, Rule-Of-Three and then decide whether they would do what Zegonz Vlaric had asked of them or they would reveal his treachery to Rule-Of-Three. And second, they would accept the Harmonium’s quest, only because the Faction seemed to be in dire need of the blade, so they could reclaim it and find a way to use it to mess up whatever the hardheads were planning to do with it.

I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse
Mortis, 4th Guild day

Tonat Shar was kind enough to leave a message at the landlord of the Bounded Space instead of mobilizing another regiment in order to summon Fox and Kamau to the City Barracks. A rare case of a hardhead asking politely or was he confident enough to use less resources?

Fox answered the call and visited the Barracks. Shar informed him that they had learned the location of the sword, mounted on Dispater’s Iron Tower in Dis. The Harmonium had sent a party to retrieve it, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. A stealthier approach was required, one that Fox and Kamau could certainly apply, as they knew the case and had brought Daneel back. Well, unless they wanted to be charged with actually being the ones that attacked the paladin, that is.

In return, besides helping the glorious faction of the Harmonium as well as upholding goodness and law with an iron fist, of course, Tonat Shar offered a substantial reward upon delivery. Plus an assortment of gems to cover travel and bribe expenses, the remainder of which they could keep as a bonus once their mission was complete. Plus their choice of two out of four magic items, forged by the dwarves of Mt. Clanggedin in Arcadia to help them on their quest, with any restrictions placed to be removed upon return of Guardian

All that of course, was the result of really hard bargaining, between an aspiring taker and an established hardhead. Extremely. Hard. Bargaining.

So what did they have to do? Just go to the gate town of Ribcage, go through the portal to Avernus, find a way to travel to Dis, enter Dispater’s Iron Tower, retrieve Guardian and deliver it to the gate town of Fortitude for an important ritual. Simple enough, no?

“I’ll think about it” said Fox. “Besides, I have to talk with my associate.”

“Don’t think too long” answered Shar. “Time is a luxury we do not have in stock”

Enter the arena and hit the lights
Mortis, 4th Market day

A day expected for a while, since the Fated were holding their arena event. Fox and Kamau visited the Hall of Records and bought their tickets (in non-member prices) to enter. The place was full of faction members reuniting and socializing, as well as a few outsiders.

Fox saw Unthar in the crowd and came closer for a chat. In true Fated fashion, Fox had decided to earn himself a second chance in joining the faction despite the rules, an attitude that had impressed the factotum enough to pay attention. Unthar told him that he could apply for membership again and skip all the tests if he could aquire an item just in order to join the faction, specifically something that an established Mercykiller would value. Once again, Fox was left with more questions instead of answers, but at least he had his shot at membership.

Meanwhile, Kamau mingled with the crowd and talked to a githzerai inspecting some kind of magical circle which probably defined the limits of the combat area. His quite direct way of thinking contrasted the githzerai’s mystique, resulting in few answers.

The event began, as Factol Rowan Darkwood took his seat in one of the four thrones overlooking the room. The others were occupied by a massive guest of honour from Ysgard and the githzerai that Kamau had been talking to, while the fourth remained empty. After the introductory speech, the battles began. Fox quickly caught on the fact that they were mostly philosophical in nature and in the way they were conducted. Kamau was shocked and disappointed by what he saw as well as the crowd’s cold demeanor to what was happening.

One battle that stood out was that of a man accused of something and given a small blade to fight against a stronger, better equipped opponent. Quite reminiscent of their entry test, the fight was interesting, but ultimately the inevitable happened. In the end, the Ysgardian guest stood up and picked an opponent from the crowd, which he wrestled to victory.

Not quite sure about what they had witnessed, they left and decided to focus on Fox’s new quest. Looking for information on the Mercykillers they visited a bar called the Smoldering Corpse which they heard was popular with the Red Death, evil outsiders and anyone sadistic enough to enjoy the suffering of others. There they saw Ignus and learned of his story, understanding why the place attracted that kind of clientele. What they could learn about the Mercykillers by chatting with the barman was that their young Factol Alisohn Nilesia was sending an increasing number of prisoners to be hanged, a politic that was causing internal tensions with her second in command, Arwyl Swan’s Song, a paladin representing those members who believe the Faction should focus more on the “mercy” part of their name. Coming to the conclusion that they should probably arrest a notorious criminal or someone that had escaped from the Prison, they left the place and decided to sleep on the issue.

I'd like to ask you a few questions...
Mortis, 4th Lady day

Fox and Kamau woke up to find out that another regiment was waiting for them outside The Bounded Space. It’s leader, introducing himself as Tonat Shar joined them for breakfast while his men waited outside. He questioned them on their involvement in the attack against the paladin, which he identified as Daneel and what they witnessed. Given their feelings and prior encouters with the Harmonium they were reluctant to share information or mention Dispater and were limited to say they simply witnessed the scene before they were able to do anything. Shar grudgingly accepted their explanations but still asked them to stay in town for a couple of days, in case he needed to question them again. As an incentive, he left them a gem and departed.

Puzzled about what would happen next, the two men decided to take the day slow. Fox once again was lost in his studies, while Kamau went around town on his usual stroll from the Pony and Oarsman. Even though he couldn’t pick a fight at the Red Pony, he got his share of action on the way back, when he was (unsuccessfuly) ambushed by a small pack of Cranium Rats

The darkness stares back
Mortis, 3rd Void day

Fox and Kamau were enjoying a drink at the Oarsman and chatting with the everpresent-behind-the-bar Zegonz Vlaric. A few days ago they’d asked him what they had to do to be allowed entrance casually, without the need for the “password” (the answer to which they ‘bought’ everytime they visited the oarsman). Ever since, they never returned to the bar together, as Fox had been busy scribing scrolls to his spellbook, so now they heard the dark of things.

“As you may or may not know, I do not own this place. I am simply working here, paying back my debt to the actual owner, called Rule-Of-Three. Also, you might have noticed that this place and another one called The Tenth Pit are ”/wikis/baatezu" class=“wiki-page-link”> baatezu hangouts, while there is no place in Sigil for tanar’ri clientele. What I want from you is to… dispose of the owner, without me appearing involved in any way. That way my debt is called off, I’ll own the place and open it to the tanar’ri as well… plus you can get in without passwords and the such. How ’bout that?"

Before they could answer his question (or ask how he expected the baatezu and tanar’ri to just hang out together), they felt something shifting through their clothes, at waist’s height. Adrenaline rushed through their veins, as they angriliy remembered the pickpocketing at the Hall of Records. Kamau turned around and saw a tiny fiend, possibly an imp, meddling with his posessions. Before they could grab it, it stormed out of the place, so they gave chase. Eventually, they caught it in the beginning of a small alley. But that would be the least of their worries.

In the alley, a large man clad in chainmail was swinging a glowing longsword in a losing battle against a group of fiends. He was surrounded by three monsters that looked like gargoyles and a humanoid wrapped in chains that he wielded like whips. They were led by a 12-ft tall insectlike horror, with it’s second in command, another humanoid that was clad in banded mail armor, close by. They had him surrounded, outnumbered and seemed to enjoy harassing him, as if they were toying with their prey. Once they noticed Fox and Kamau, the armored figure ordered the rest to block the alley, while the huge insectoid monster got down to business, ripping the warrior’s sword-arm from his shoulder. “Forget them and let’s go” he said in an outworld gutteral tone. “We got ”/wikis/dispater" class=“wiki-page-link”> Dispater’s prize, our job here is done". Before they all teleported away, Kamau caught a glimpse of the armored figure’s face. For some reason, he was almost certain that it belonged to Zinnia… which would make the chain-swinging figure to be Mordred? They were left with confusion and a man bleeding in an alley.

“Guardian..” the man whispered, before he passed out. A quick search revealed that he was wearing an amulet with the symbol of the hardheads and his armor was emblazoned with some kind of holy symbol. How did everything snowball into this? Could it get any worse?

Probably, if they left him in an alley to die, they thought. So, they decided to carry him to the Barracks where his faction buddies would take care of him.

Deep inside, they had a feeling they would come to regret this.

Try just a little bit harder
Mortis, 3rd Low day

This was the day they had been expecting for a while. Fox and Kamau woke up early to prepare and go to the Hall of Records for the tests that would allow them to become members of the Fated.

After some clerk checked their names in a list, so as to make sure that they hadn’t applied (and failed) before, they were allowed to enter the dining room at the Hall of Recreation, which had been specially retrofitted to accomodate the written exams that would assure that future Fated members would be above a certain minimum of intelligence and knowledge.

Once that was over, the successful applicants were taken to the Training Halls for their physical test. Every one was some kind of a duel, with various stipulations that eventually transformed it into a combat riddle that could be solved by applying the faction’s core beliefs.

Kamau went first, given two daggers to fight against a greatsword-wielding goliath. With a ferocious leap attack, Kamau dug the blades deep into his foe’s neck, dealing a nearly killing blow. To his surprised, the giant smiled as his flesh rapidly healed and spat out the daggers. Kamau kept fighting a losing battle, until he noticed that his opponent was wearing a belt with a single large gem at the buckle, which shone with magical light while his wounds healed. However, he was struck down before he had a chance to dive low and deprive his foe of the magical healing.

Fox was next, he and his opponent given a longsword each. Before the duel began, the referee struck a bell and absolute silence filled the hall. Suspecting a silence spell at work, Fox evaded his foe’s blows as he staggered around the arena to discover the edge of the spell’s area. What he didn’t know was that the spell had been cast on his sword, not the combat area. He never had the chance to find it out, as he was beaten senseless by his opponent.

Restored to consciousness, their failure was announced.

They left without a word.

Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name
Mortis, 3rd Hive day

Fox and Kamau were surprised to find a regiment of Sinkers outside their Inn. They were asked to follow them for a chat and were led to meet Eliath, in the flesh. After pressing him to admit the truth, he told them that he’d gone insane after reading a magical book in the city’s library, somehow died in the Hive and met his deity, Lathander, who sent him back to life with orders to join the Doomguard. As for the key of the portal leading to the Isle of Black Trees, which was what Gedramak Ironfist wanted to learn from him, Eliath said he knew it, but forgot in his insanity. He remembered finding the key in the letters of the wizard Talmizar, which were gathered in the collection of Rhaunades.

Certain that something weird was going on, but with no clue as to how to investigate it further, they decided to let the case be, until they had something fresh to follow again. Fox returned to his room, hellbent on making up for the time he’d wasted the previous day, wanting to copy a scroll to his spellbook. Kamau visited the Oarsman, where he stumbled upon Aliah conversing with two fiends. Bringning everyone to the same table, she introduced him to the flirty Zinnia and the mysterious Mordred, two natives of Dis. They all conversed for a while, and the fiends made him an open invitation to visit their home before they left. “You just made a huge mistake,” commented Aliah once she was again alone with Kamau. “Mark my words, they will cash in on that invitation sometime, and you won’t like it one bit.”


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