The red mist comes down over Tuakiin’s eyes. He lays into Javier with his glass staff, striking him to the ground, and before anyone can stop him he slits Javier’s throat and misty steps out of the nearby window. It is an upper story window, but Tuakiin’s feather fall means he drifts gently to the ground. He just has time before he passes out of sight to see Sal pleading for calm, Illyria surrounding herself with her armour of Agathys – and Mortimer leaping to Javier with a healing spell, saving him from the brink of death.
Sal is the first to react, running through a gap in the guards and smashing out of a window before feather falling to the street below along with Tuakiin. With a cry of “What are you pussies waiting for, get after them!” Illyria follows her, reaching the ground first by dint of falling at full speed, landing with an acrobatic roll and pulling her demonic glaive from thin air as she stands waiting for Tuakiin to descend.
Mortimer’s attempts to explain himself are to little avail as the room empties around him. No Name also goes out of the window, holding Jonathan by the hand, letting Jonathan feather fall with Tuakiin as she turns into a bird. The Vizier teleports himself and the King to safety, and Ella, Jenneth and Javier follow suit. Left in a room full of heavily armed, if somewhat bemused, guards, Mortimer sighs and dimension doors himself and Lubash to the Craven Raven.
On the street outside, Sal reaches the ground and runs off at prodigious speed. Tuakiin cast a haste spell on himself with a view to doing the same, but Illyria reaches him first, holding him at glaive-point. Tuakiin still has his glass staff in hand, and a stand-off ensues, with Tuakiin threatening to murder Illyria if she tries to stop him escaping and Illyria speculating on whether she’d find it easier to convince the King she had nothing to do with the attack on Javier if she had Tuakiin’s head in her hand. Neither is budging, and the stand-off looks set to go on indefinitely until No Name, back in her usual form, talks both of them down. They lower their weapons and agree to go to the pub to talk it out. Tuakiin dashes off towards the Craven Raven, but Illyria catches him up and dimension doors them both directly there. She is quite clear that it is Tuakiin’s round.
Alarm bells are now ringing out. No Name and Jonathan find a convenient alleyway, where No Name transforms herself into a small dog for Jonathan to carry, on the theory that the guards won’t be looking for a lone halfling carrying a dog. This theory appears to hold when Jonathan emerges from the alley, and any look of concern on Jonathan’s face is easily put down to the occasional small bites the dog insists on giving him. They follow the others to rendezvous at the Craven Raven.
Sal quickly makes it to the dovecot (which perhaps we should start calling an owlcot). She is able to persuade the owl-wrangler to spare four owls for a short trip north, carrying the teleportation chest with them.
In the Craven Raven, the party have a quick but expensive drink on Tuakiin’s tab as the sounds of alarm bells get closer. A heated conversation ensues, in which it is decided that their best option is to go north and try to take out Azarr Khul, leader of the enemy force. As guards arrive at the door and speak to the concierge, Tuakiin leads the party upstairs to his room, where he has stored the magical carpet he looted from the hunting lodge several seasons ago. He unrolls it and hangs it up on the north-facing wall, revealing the countryside full of refugees some five miles north of the city. The only problem is, if they go through this, there is nothing to stop the city guards from following them. Illyria solves this problem by going through last and conjuring a wall of fire behind her as she goes, to incinerate the carpet.
They arrive in the midst of the refugees, conspicuous by their unusual clothes and badass attitude. Soon Sal arrives with the owls and their wrangler. Unfortunately, the owl wrangler is reluctant to send his owls anywhere near the enemy, but he is eventually prevailed upon to take the party a few hours’ flight northwards before returning to the city.
[In the city, the maitre d’ weeps as the flaming ruins of what was once the finest drinking establishment in Theria collapse in fire and smoke.]
This gives the party the opportunity to spend some time resting, telling scary stories to scare the Owl wrangler and planning. While the others rest and ponder their options, Sal settles into a trance and has an interesting chat with her patron about his plans. The rest of the group decide some kind of teleport to a place nearer the enemy would seem to be in order, but planning this becomes a fraught process. Mortimer has never been anywhere near the territory they have to reach, and although Illyria is sure she once played in a pub close to where the enemy forces must be, he is unwilling to trust her memory, given her penchant for drink and drugs. However, he does scry Venomfang to find out how she is getting on, and sees a vision of her flying over a farmhouse – and this is enough to give him a target.
The party teleport to the farmhouse a few hours later. It is deserted and looted, having clearly suffered the depradations of the enemy horde. While the others search the premises, Illyria attempts to scry Azarr Khul, but a curious thing happens. The spell seems to work, but shuts off before she can see anything. Is some form of magical protection at work?
Evidently, remote intelligence gathering will not work. Instead, Sal and Illyria head out in the direction of the horde on a reconnaissance mission, while Tuakiin contacts Venomfang (via Mortimer’s spellcasting), letting her know his location.
The scouts manage to locate the enemy horde – it isn’t exactly difficult – but it is large and they are only able to clearly see the squads on one flank. While they are on their way back, Venomfang swoops down to the farmhouse. She converses with Tuakiin, and you don’t need to be fluent in Draconic to tell she is unimpressed. The fact that Tuakiin is skulking out in this farmhouse indicates to her that the deal she made to fight for the city is worthless – and she doesn’t seem inclined towards easily forgiving people who she thinks have messed her around…