After lunch, the group meets at the Waterman to discuss the previous’ days events. They received a note from an enigmatic “Zenial” to an also enigmatic “Shane”. The group decides that contact with these figures is the next priority. Answers must be found.
Meeting with Judeth, the adventurers assess their goals. Judeth empowers each of them by granting them the Seal of the City, giving them the authority and access of a Guard Captain.
Max‘s ear-to-the-streets tells him of a man by the name of Shane who has just recently checked into the inn-and-tavern Martyr’s Handaxe. Cautiously, the adventurers scope out the tavern – blocking exits, making back-up plans, and delegating duties. Abernathy Wistershire and Max approach the shady figure in a lonesome booth…who responds with a beer in Ben’s face and a quick BAMF to the street outside.
The party chases Shane down the streets, through the alleys, and into the heart of the Laborer’s District. Surrounding him, they capture Shane and bring him to one of Max’s safehouses. A Discern Lies ritual and multiple intimidating statements forces Shane to spill his fears. He is scared of his “Masters” finding him. He “knows what we did to Zenial, and [he] won’t let it happen to [him]!” BAMFing into the street outside the safehouse, he holds a hand of blue energy to his head and blasts it into oblivion.
Putting the pieces together, Catherine suggests that the underdark races they’ve encountered – drow and duergar – and the mind flayer they slew in the sewers may be connected. The hive-mind pronouns “we” and “us” that Shane and Zenial have used could be related to an illithid Elder Brain. The references Zenial made in his note may be referring to a Mind Flayer invasion.
Tyco, contacting Catherine, said Zenial was asking for aid, acting frantic and evasive. He’s a nice guy.
Max and Jak search the streets for a drow that fits the description of the drow that captured Bharash. A barkeep in the southern city states that a drow by that description went by the letter “Z”, suggesting that Zenial did indeed abduct Bharash.
Ben and Catherine head to House Nocturne to meet with Tyco. He gives two nobles [Noble Eyha and Noble Beea] as contacts. Eyha reveals that Zenial is hiding and laying low in the servant quarters of the top floors of the tower. Beea, a vampire, alludes to turning Zenial into a vampire upon request.
Max and Jak come to the tower of Nocturne. Splitting up to increase the odds of finding Zenial, Catherine and Jak notice a draft of cold air and go to the roof. They see man crumpled over in pain in the rain and wind. As Catherine approaches, he jumps to his feet. His skin grey, his veins purple and inflated, and his eyes a flaming red, his screams at her: “You…how dare you come here! You’ve ruined everything! I tried to destroy my body and I still could not avoid their wrath. You cannot hide! You cannot win!” Without their bard or rogue, the adventurers begin fighting the drow/vampire/mind flayer.
After mere moments, Max and Ben arrive on the scene. The group withstands the wind and rain as well as the life-draining and mind-affecting attacks of the aberration. Ben triggers the final blow, magically inspiring Jak to stand in the right place at the right time. With a final shove, Ben sends Zenial into Jak’s blade, cleaving the creature in half. Part of the corpse falls off the building, turning into bats before dissolving into dust.
Later, Judeth praises the adventurers for an investigation well done. “Unfortunately,” he states, “I must do my part in protecting the city.” He knocks on the closed door to the conference room, inviting a group of heavily-armed paladins of Erathis. “Max Stirnir, I hereby place you under arrest for the crimes of murder, treason, insubordination, larceny, superlarceny, smuggling, and anarchy.”
Max is forcefully escorted to jail.