In the wake of the gladiatorial proposal, the agents returned to the Jeweled Scarab to prepare various personal agendas, while being careful to keep an eye on Najaf. Dhaara visited her uncle where she continued to work toward reconciliation with her family and her caste. Her uncle indicated there was a half-giant Saddhu family interested in possibly marrying their son to her, provided she demonstrated… suitability. She promised to meet with the young man, and was told that her estranged parents might even be convinced to attend such an event.
Alekel and a disguised Najaf moved among the refugees from Tyr. Tyr has been suffering the anarchy of a mysteriously vanished King and the Templars’ loss of all magical powers. Slave revolts and violence have been reported, but what really started the flow of refugees was the news that King Hamanu of Urik was marching his armies on Tyr. Legends speak of the last city conquered by Hamanu, the hapless Yaramuke, and the devastation that accompanied it, and so those who could afford to do so took up with any caravan that would have them. Najaf took the opportunity to recruit more skilled individuals for their nascent smuggling group the Iron Ring while Alekel spread some money around the less fortunate and learned news that his family was actually making it through the chaos in Tyr relatively well. This news reminded them that they had sent a smuggler named Sumita off to Tyr some few weeks previously. Najaf arranged to contact her magically where her job suddenly changed from smuggler to official diplomatic representative of Dregoth to “King Tithian”, apparently a former Templar attempting to unify the chaotic city to defend against Hamanu.
Safa Maarham went to a high-society party hosted by Deliss Hanafi where she inquired into House Shuja, hoping to feel out the opinion of the nobility on the would-be marriage alliance between her brother and Shahzadi. She learned that House Shuja’s reputation was not a good one, generally presumed to be on its last legs. It was generally assumed that this prospective marriage between Aasif Maarham and Shahzadi was a clever ploy by Jai Maarham to absorb and destroy house Shuja for his own enrichment and benefit.
Shahzadi and Queri’Sed went to the gladiatorial arena where they purchased some promising middle-tier gladiator-slaves and publicly freed them, thus establishing a “stable” of free gladiators working under Shahzadi’s patronage. Later contributions by Najaf brought the number of gladiators to seven. There was one male thri-kreen, a hard-bitten elf who would wear only the color brown, a mul, and four humans. Shahzadi threw some money around to rent them accomodations and Queri’Sed put some effort into ensuring that they bonded as a “clutch” and worked out amongst themselves who their leader would be.
After these activities, Najaf proposed to his fellow agents that they all accompany him to meet with Ismail. Najaf had decided it was time to get an expert opinion on the psychic parasite in his mind. Ismail was, clearly, fascinated by what Najaf had to tell him. After some negotiation with the flagrantly amoral Telepath, they reached an arrangement they both felt they could trust, and they parted promising to arrange a lengthy session of investigation in Ismail’s laboratory.
The agents then set about a weekend retreat to House Shuja’s rural estate, accepting the invitation of Jahandar Shuja for Shahzadi and her would-be husband to spend some time together. They all arrived and were welcomed with all due accord and respect by the reclusive patriarch of House Shuja. As they went to their own rooms to freshen up, Najaf had a moment alone with a slave girl. The next thing he knew, he had her backed against a wall, terrified, as Queri’Sed entered, breaking the spell. It was clear that the parasite was still hungry, and willing to take Najaf over even while he was conscious if left alone with anyone the parasite judged vulnerable. This caused a bit of a stir, and resulted in the first communication with the parasite who informed Shahzadi and Queri’Sed that it was hungry, and if fed, would lapse once more into quiescence. A conversation ensued about whether animal brains were sufficient, and it was determined they were not.
Meanwhile, Dhaara, Safa, and Alekel had polite conversation with Jahandar Shuja. They all rendezvoused in time for Aasif Maarham’s arrival. After some polite chit-chat, most everyone excused themselves to a nearby room to give Shahzadi and her would-be husband some time alone…
Total: 70,331 – Level 16