Players: Joe, Chris L, Oliver
Azam tries to find the last book he needs. Early the next morning, he poses as a scholar and knocks on the door of the guild of Rabah ibn Falar, but a sleepy guildman tells him Rabah’s out. Azam goes back to the Hand and tells Fazzik, who offers to help out. Fazzik scopes out the building and sneaks in, grabbing the book and a few gems but inadvisably releasing a sand-demon that lunges for him. He flees, losing the demon as it feasts on a guard.
Farouk decides that the Herald of Tiamat the foreign priestess spoke of needs to be found and stopped. He brings in his criminal contacts, his friends in the city, and the gossipers on the street to try and find any strange cults that may have cropped up recently. Thus he finds himself in one of the covered markets, standing in front of a ruined old temple that the market-goers are giving a wide berth.
He enters the temple, seeing that it’s packed full of the deranged and the homeless. A robed figure stands on a makeshift stage ranting, and Farouk blends in to get closer. The figure, the Herald, is ranting that the time has come for the city’s true rules to rise up, to come back in glory at the head of an army of followers. He exhorts those present to go out into the city, and find the divine relic of the goddess, a white marble box, and there’s something supernatural in his words. Farouk fails to resist it, and somehow begins to feel that this request is perfectly reasonable.
Azam now has all the information he needs, and sets about buying things. He wants:
- An infant, as an alarm spirit will not make an alarm in its presence.
- Silver, to pay the watchman at the front door between sunset and sunrise.
- Oil, to immerse anything he’s stealing that a tracking spirit is watching over.
- A way to scratch out the symbol of a warrior-spirit on the room it guards.
- Knowledge of the nearest running water near the tower, to cross and stop the assault of a vengeance spirit.
He sets about buying the more mundane things, but the silver and the infant will require more work. Azam heads to the outer city, to find the rest of the items needed. First, he visits the augur who was identifying his items, because he knows he at least has a silver breastplate there. The augur unfortunately didn’t find much else of interest, beside a skullcap that improves your night-sight and some items that are supernaturally durable.
Farouk has come back to the guildhouse, and is poking around looking for the box. Fazzik is bemused, wondering when this plan turns into a good idea, but helps him out. Farouk digs up the box and dumps it on the cart to take it to the market, but is happy to let Fazzik come along and kill the herald. Farouk isn’t quite sure how logical this is, but there you go. They pull the cart to the market, and Farouk heads in to fetch the herald and his minions while Fazzik takes up position on the roof.
The herald is exultant, and he and his minions sweep out of their makeshift temple. He’s directing his follows to bring the box to him and stepping into the street to oversee them when an arrow goes straight through his head. He slumps to the floor among his screaming followers, but even as he falls his robes start roiling and billowing. Fazzik climbs quickly down to confirm his kill, and finds just a pile of steaming robes – a tunnel has been burnt into the street below, only a foot wide. Farouk feels his mind clearing, and wonders why he considered it such a reasonable suggestion.
Then, there’s the baby. Azam skulks through the poor district, waiting for someone to leave their baby alone. After 10 minutes or so, he sees a mother pop out to buy some food leaving a baby back in the house, and takes her face with Mask. He then nips in, grabs the baby, and makes his Child-Rearing roll to keep it quiet. He then heads back to the guild. He manages to convince the rest of the guild that he found it abandoned, and decided that the guild could take care of it. Even when Farouk runs into the mother frantically looking for the baby, Azam is able to convince them that the Hand can produce a far better life for the child than the mother could, and promises to make sure it’s raised properly.
Finally, Azam is prepared to break into his master’s tower. All the preparations work absolutely fine, except when he momentarily forgets the thing with the warrior-spirit’s symbol. He bursts into the upper room, and finds his master with a gaping head wound and covered in strange growths. They both start casting, but Azam gets the drop and paralyses him. He grabs the staff and prepares to beat him to death with it, but Rashouk’s Turn Aside the Blade stops that. Azam, ever-inventive, breaks open a lamp and douses the entire study in lamp oil, and sets it alight as he runs away. Fazzik hears the screams and comes in to help, but even the protective charms Farouk got from Mara cannot protect him from the spirits. Deafened by the alarm-spirit, laboring under incredible heat, and coughing and blinded by one of Mara’s powder bombs, he’s only saved by Azam grabbing him and pulling him out of there.
Leaving the burning tower behind them, they head back to the Guild. There is still the matter of the people on the barge, and the translation Farouk has promised the Hand and the Eye he’ll do. He tries to put together a guide to the language with subtle flaws in it to teach to the others, but his language skills are more instinctual than anything else and it’s beyond him. Although he was just planning to skip the next day, Fazzik decides to stage a distraction and ensure that negotiations aren’t going to continue. To do this, he decides to set the barge on fire. He skulks along the rooftops across the river and opens fire, landing a burning arrow on the barge. The soldiers are panicked, but the officer returns fire, and a tense battle ensues. He kills two of the foreigners even when he fails to set the barge on fire, and flees before they get a look at him.