Sunday, Harvester 16, 552 CY (50 AN)
Khuna rushes forward, grabs the brain in a jar, and throws it to the ground. However, it does not fall — it pauses, floating in midair, as it mentally throws invectives at her and the assembled party. Khuna lunges at it again, but feels a strange mental feedback vibrate through her head as she attempts to do so. Croitus sends the ghoul-thing wading into the army of zombies as Resh starts launching a volley of arrows towards the turbaned man at the far end of the room, apparently being Lord Book. Southie throws himself at the floating brain in a jar, slamming into it with his axe. He knocks the lid off the jar, but the brain manages to right itself and Southie suddenly finds himself across the room, face-to-face with an angry monstrosity made of stitched flesh. He tries his best to avoid the thing while antagonizing Lord Book.
Resh suddenly finds himself in the middle of a throng of the shuffling undead, and manages to vault himself out of it, but the undead start shuffling toward Khuna. As the ghoul-thing tries to hold off a throng of the undead, and Khuna vaults around the biting, clinging corpses, Nobody shoves her spear into the jar, prompting the brain to start babbling mental gibberish while hitting her with a psychic backlash so strong she starts bleeding from her eyes, ears, and nose. She disengages from the brain, vanishing and reappearing on the other side of the room with Southie — strangely, she reappears with a small pixie flying around her. Croitus leaps into the fray, grabbing the jar and managing to grab the brain in his jaws, gulping it down his throat. He learns that it is apparently the true Lord Book, and the turbaned man is just a decoy.
Meanwhile, Khuna is being surrounded by walking dead when Croitus rushes in with a shield, holding the shuffling zombies at bay as she darts out to slice at them with her dagger. Nobody and Southie engage the false Lord Book, but Resh is the one who sends an arrow through his throat, causing him to slump to the ground. As the pixie grows more annoying, she tries to swat it away, but it flutters over to the ghoul-thing and tries to ride it. Southie launches himself at the pixie, grabbing it in his hand and shoving it into his mouth. He viciously chews and swallows, and suddenly the trickster is no more.
While the others try to deal with the zombies, the angry stitched monstrosity barrels after Nobody. She and Southie engage the beast, ducking and weaving as Southie cuts off its limbs with each swing of his axe. The creature is slain when Nobody finally impales it with her spear.
The former gladiators then start carving through the zombies, finally destroying them all after a protracted engagement.
Searching through the room, they find a gold statuette among the various accoutrements. They also find the deed to the building in which they currently find themselves. They take both, and stuff all the books they see into the bag of holding. They open the door in the far wall, noting that it appears to go into disused sewer tunnels, but decide to go speak with Mr. Monkshood first. They leave the basement, returning to the second floor, and using the rope and grapple, return to the alleyway.
Glancing around, the group notes a shaggy homeless man; Croitus recognizes Mr. Monkshood under the beard and threadbare clothes. They quietly signal to him, and he crosses the street. He is surprised when he notes that Ashraf is absent; they explain about his death at the hands of a mimic. They further explain that they took care of Lord Book; he indicates that while they were silent for a day, the city guard determined they must be hiding in the ruined ward of Scandshar, and they formed a cordon around the district. Mr. Monkshood has the means to teleport them to Sorgforge so they can take out the next target, Lord Zrak. They consider going through the old sewer tunnels, but Mr. Monkshood explains tales he has heard suggesting those tunnels go through the Underdark, so they think better of it. The group decides to go with his plan.
Climbing back into the building, Croitus offers Mr. Monkshood the deed to the building, asking if his client would be interested, and if he would be willing to pay. Mr. Monkshood says he will speak with his client, and let them know; he asks to keep the deed in the meantime. The group waits while Mr. Monkshood draws a teleportation circle and performs the necessary ritual. Once complete after about ten minutes or so, a shimmering heat haze forms above the circle, and the group travels through it.
The group arrives in what appears to be another ruined building, stepping through a circle that looks a bit better established. Mr. Monkshood explains that Sorgforge is fully functioning and that slavery is illegal here, so they should not engage in any violent behavior. He explains that they are currently in Sorgforge’s ruined district, a ring of buildings surrounding the city that were attacked during the Cackledread War. The city is slowly reclaiming them as it gets the funds to do so, but it is a primarily uninhabited area. They will have to cross the interior wall into the city proper.
For now, they may rest. He prepares to draw two baths, and he has changes of clothes prepared. Nobody and Southie bathe first; while doing so, Mr. Monkshood takes Khuna aside. He tells her that he is giving her this information, but asks that she only reveals it to the group after he is gone, lest they get any ideas about killing him. He explains to her that he will likely not see the group again, but he will continue to send their payment to his banking agents in the Patenaude merchant house. Additionally his client gave three assignments, and as payment, completed assignments will yield monetary rewards and information regarding the group’s former masters. Since one of the assignments — recruitment — was only partially completed, one of the masters will go unknown. Mr. Monkshood tells her that, due to the nature of the entanglement with his client, the location of her master will go untold. She is quite upset at this news, but Mr. Monkshood assures her that it is not his decision; he would not go against the wishes of his client — he intimates his client frightens him more than the former gladiators do — and he does not know the information to betray his client anyway. He wishes her luck in finding her Lady Weogora.
Khuna storms off, and her displeasure is clear. As Nobody and Southie finish bathing, they note that something has transpired and surmise it is something Monkshood said. Nobody merely tells Khuna that she is going to sunbathe nude on the rooftop, and that after Khuna bathes, she should join her there. Southie is displeased when Khuna reveals the news, but at her behest, he does not do anything. He does, however, stand outside the bathroom, fondling his axe and his genitals and staring at Monkshood the whole time. Monkshood keeps an eye on him, flipping a knife among his knuckles. Just in case.
While Khuna bathes, so does Resh. Unlike Nobody and Southie, he gets dressed afterward, as does Khuna. She joins Nobody on the rooftop, and indicates that the most frustrating thing about not learning her master’s whereabouts is that it’s actually fair; perhaps the first fair thing that has happened to her.
Croitus would prefer to bathe in the river, but at the behest of the others, takes a bath and dresses. Once everyone is done, dressed, and ready to go, Nobody pulls Monkshood aside and tells him if there is any negotiation that will allow his client to reveal the whereabouts of Khuna’s master, she will gladly engage. He says he will inquire and let the group know what he learns.
The group leaves the ruined building, ready to move into Sorgforge proper.