Emon previous scouted around town, but what he was able to accomplish so far as scouting while important, wasn’t very deep. He collected a rumor or two from each house.
- Lady Greymane (The matron and true head of House Greymane) had not been seen in weeks)
- Lord Stonebrook, the leader of House Stonebrook and extraordinarily important figure in the Faith of Pelor as well as the Acropolis, has been mired in scandal regarding the rumor that his son is an oathbreaker.
- House Auburn has been stockpiling a very large cache of… something, in one of their warehouses. And further probing by Emon saw that it was very heavily patrolled by what looked like ordinary house guards (as opposed to heavy, bought muscle).
- Rosalia is potentially facing a near cataclysmic schism, if the University if patrons, headed by a powerful wizard, Naxus, separates itself from Rosalia.
- In House Zahran, Shiek Aashir has been seen frequently in heated debate with his uncle, Caliph Junayd. The cause of the disagreement is unknown, but Junayd has spared no curse for his nephew.
Back at the conference, the players spread out a bit to hold conversation with the heads of the houses of Lere. Emon approaches Duke Auburn, and decides to conduct a test of the man. Does he know The Cant? For a man of rather high stature and nobility, Emon discovers that yes, he knows the cant. And the two share a brief but clandestine conversation in public. Emon attempts to continue the conversation, but Duke Auburn seems uninterested, and resists answering further questions in Cant.
Toro approaches a wizard of Rosalia, but finds the person to be just a tad racist (or curious!), and leaves him alone.
Torinn then wrestles Toro for the right to ride the sarcophagus. However, he is shaken off and a brief melee ensues as others look on. Tharious sits and waits, and after a time the Governor of Wamor, Elik, arrives.
Only instead of Governor Elik, the man who steps out is apparently Governor Reynes, the Governor of Governors.
The man seems perturbed that the houses are meeting at all, and implies it was intentionally to leave out the proper “head” of state. Perhaps even to bully the weaker willed Elik into accepting the things the houses wanted to talk about.
The meeting begins and the first thing they talk about is that Barrow Hills was assaulted by a skeletal force led by the lich who they know as Zeiram. Some floating skeletal sorcerer accompanied the assault of undead. During the melee, the magician raised thousands of undead buried beneath the mounts of Barrow Hill. As soon as retrieving the undead, even though they were winning the fight, they retreated.
Taeiseach Greymane resolved himself to learning more about the barrows.
Up next was the question of Lere’s leadership, Premier Rosalia seemed upset about something when he came forward and suggested that Rosalia be promoted to de facto leader. As they accomplished the task previously set upon them, and also retrieved the corpse of the king, they are the most honorable and worthy.
Toro and the others comment that the ritual they gathered the ingredients for was the downfall of the city, therefore it’s not really appropriate they be rewarded for it. Also Lord Stonebrook chimes in to say the ingredients were lost anyway, so it was moot.
That’s when the party decides it’s probably time to reveal that they were able to recover most of the artifacts. The rest are in awe, and they want to discuss it further, but Aashir interrupts. He has something he wants to discuss.
See, the houses all believe they’re entitled to a piece of House Xiao’s assets as reparations for the damage caused by the cultists (which House Xiao assisted in). However, Aashir notes that there have always been 7 houses. So they find themselves in need of a new House to replace Xiao. And given the times ahead for Lere, it stands to reason, he argues, that a more… “heroic” house as at least a temporary aid against Lere’s threats might serve them quite well. So he nominates the Heroes of Lere to inherit the titles and lands of Xiao.
Duke Auburn steps forward, as does (begrudginly) Premier Rosalia. Governor Reynes is outraged and proclaims his right to break ties. However, the houses Overrule him, declaring Lere a temporary Oligarchy.
They’re escorted back to Zarhan’s Manor after the Governor storms off, where they collect their things and are brought to their new home.
Once inside they discuss how they plan to clean house when an old, hunched woman announced she’d like to bless them with a card reading. She is clearly a charlatan and nearly outed as such. Emon pickpockets the cards she’d planned on using for Torinn, the final reading. However, when she pulls a card, it is The Dragon. She is confused and a little worried (that her ruse was going to be discovered). Then she pulls the Death card. She’s positive she’d messed up and tries to explain away the card as a good thing.
when she pulls the next card and it is another dragon, she begins sweating and swearing that someone is messing with her. The cards are wrong, and she apologizes and tries to start another reading. However the next card is Death again. She drops the deck as if it bit her and runs out of the room screaming. Every card reveals itself to be Dragon and Death. The message to Torinn is clear. However, to cement the horror that is tracking them, Soveliss shows up. They think he might be able to give them some good news.
However his stomach is ripped in half to form a macabre mouth out of his ribs, and a sinister and familiar voice comes through the gore, “Two down, one to go.”