Safa, Dhaara, and Alekel spoke for some time after Alekel’s performance in the local tavern, mostly expressing their concerns about Najaf’s brain-eating propensity, and their worries that his absence to pursue some studies was giving him an opportunity to continue his unholy hunger. Alekel asked around and learned of an unusual series of murders wherein the victim’s head and face were excessively smashed, presumably to conceal the identity of the dead. Alekel expressed the opinion that a clever brain-eater would change his MO to disguise the object of his attacks and this may well be evidence of Najaf’s activity.
Shahzadi and Queri-Sed arrived after Shahzadi’s date and they continued to converse, Shahzadi coming to the defense of her brother. Dhaara asked for a stronger alcohol and was given a bottle of clear rice-based spirits which she, Safa, and Shahzadi started to drink. Eventually, the bartender brought a new bottle, unasked-for, which Shahzadi immediately reached for. She started to feel… not so good… but brushed it off to a long and hard day.
As the group started to leave the tavern with the aim of heading back to the Shuja estate for some sobering sleep, ten dark-clad elves fired upon them from a number of nearby rooftops while a sickening horde of disturbing rats boiled out of the nearby outhouse. These rats, the result of some ancient psionic experiment gone awry, gained in intelligence the more of them were in the swarm. The drunken agents of Dregoth were peppered with arrows and disoriented by the psychic shriek of the rats when an elven assassin with two obsidian blades whirled into their midst, mixing psychic attacks with dark blade-work. Moments later, another elf entered battle, fogging minds and sending tendrils of his own thoughts into the brains of his foes.
The agents fought back, Queri-sed flying about the battle on diaphanous wings dealing death, Safa conjuring fire, Shahzadi and Alekel utilizing their skills from the arena and Dhaara dealing the sort of death her caste would abhor. The elves, realizing they were overmatched, eventually attempted to flee, but were cut down, the assassin, gravely wounded, was captured.
The agents quickly searched the corpses for clues, and found some tattoos of the Dark Moon clan. Queri-Sed, unseen on a rooftop, gorged herself on elf flesh before wrapping up the prisoner and following her companions as stealthily as possible. Wounded and bleeding, they fled back to the Shuja compound where Padme Shuja fussed over her daughter and had her attendant apothecary see to the wounds of the group. Queri-Sed was given two burly slaves to lead her and the prisoner to House Shuja’s cells, but her hungers got the better of her. She fed upon some fingers and the prisoner’s eyes, and the poor elf bled out before the apothecary got around to seeing to him.
After it became clear that all had been done for them that could be done, Padme Shuja got around to mentioning that there was a slave-messenger waiting for Dhaara, sent apparently by her uncle. This slave indicated that she had been sent to inform Dhaara that the elf that had formerly enjoyed her uncle’s hospitality had returned with dire warnings for Dhaara and her associates. Despite their wounds and weariness, all five of the agents departed for the home of Gaurav Kelas. They arrived to find Alaa New Moon, who had been waiting some hours. She told them of her inner conflict. After she had last left Gaurav’s house, she had been actively advocating for a mercantile alliance between the Night Runners and this new “smuggling ring” run by dilettante nobles. During this time, however, other hints and pieces were being gathered by her Clan. Various individuals affiliated with this noble smuggling ring were seen in company of shady Red Crescent-affiliated members of the Iron Ring. Furthermore, Safa Maarham’s involvement cast the whole thing into doubt. Young Alaa came to warn Dhaara and the rest that her Clan, at higher levels than she, had decided that the agents were a threat, and were even now moving against them. In addition to preparing assassination ambushes against them individually, groups were planning to attack the holdings and employees of the Iron Ring and crush this nascent competition.
Safa’s keen insight into the motives of others determined that the young elf was telling the truth, but was also luring them into a trap. Yes, the Iron Ring’s holdings were being attacked, but her role was not of innocent messenger, but rather of instigator. The agents withdrew to discuss the matter where Alekel and Shahzadi almost came to blows over what was to be done with Alaa New Moon. Safa, moderating, sent a message to her brother, arranging for a group of House Maarham soldiery to come and take the young elf into “protective custody” with instructions that she be treated well. Sadly, this required the group to wait for a bit, worried all the while about the fate of their holdings and employees. Alekel departed in disguise to reconnoiter.
Aasif Maarham arrived with some guards and, with Safa and Shahzadi, tried to sell Alaa on the “protective custody” thing so that she wouldn’t feel compelled to fight for her freedom and spill blood in the house of a Saddhu. While it was clear that Alaa did not buy the “for your own good” argument, and realized fully that she was now a prisoner, she did seem convinced at the assurances that she would be treated well, and resigned to her fate, departed with Aasif while the remaining agents prepared to pursue Alekel and see to their holdings.
Thoughtspike Dagger +3 (Obsidian) (Lvl. 15)
Lifedrinker Dagger +3 (Obsidian) (Lvl. 15)
Orb of Unfailing Concentration +3 (Lvl. 15)
3,000 gp of Ritual Components