Last week on the Tuesday game...
Taking the role of lead interrogator, Chant began badgering their poor captive with a barrage of questions. Through a series of Messages and general gestures, the cultist revealed that he was once but a simple farmer who had lead a simple and carefree life until his farm was raided and burnt by bandits. A week later, members of the Cult of the One-Eyed Dragon approached him, and with nothing else to lose, he decided to join up. In the temple that the party had infiltrated, he had his tongue cut out and nailed to the altar in a gruesome initiation ceremony.
The cultist swore that he knew nothing about the cult's goals or aims, or even what they worshipped, but he did confirm that the leader of the cult had purple eyes, and that the party had indeed slain the cult's leader in that fight within the temple's halls. Beyond that, he was just a cog in a machine far larger than him: orders came from up high, and he just obeyed them. Seeing how there was nothing else they could get out of him, the party decided to let him go about half a day's ride away from the village as they travelled back to Iskar.
After four long days of walking across desert and dunes revitalised by the tireless efforts of the undead, the party finally arrived back in Iskar, where they promptly decided to crash in the grain merchant's home. Although his apartment was situated in the richer parts of town, a few blocks away from the Tradesman District, it was a small house, barely large enough to hold three people, let alone five swarthy adventurers, and he wanted them out by the end of the week.
Upon returning to the Meat Market, they found that the whole place was eerily deserted, with not a living soul in sight. Collaring a nearby guard, they learnt that about four days ago - about the same time that they were fighting the leader of the Cult of the One-Eyed Dragon - the Weird Ones suddenly went insane and began attacking not just their slaves, but the other slavers as well. The guard said that the whole affair was especially gruesome, but the one thing that he remembered clearly was that one of the Weird Ones' eyes had suddenly turned purple right before the slaughter began...
That lead more or less dead, they decided to chase down their next lead: the Temple of Lloth and its rapid expansion. While the rest of the party went off sniffing for a way into the Temple, Chant decided to visit the Temple of Hruggek, the patron deity of bugbears. Before a humanoid figure dressed in spiked black plate, Chant initiated himself into the cult of Hruggek and, in exchange for the ability to draw upon primal rage, gave up a small portion of his soul to the lesser god of warfare and violence.
After successfully deceiving the door guard at the Temple of Lloth - a small rickety wooden building wedged between two larger temples - the party made their way into the main prayer hall, where they found four smaller statues of the greater drow pantheon and a door leading into a private chamber. Through the door, they were able to hear what seemed to be a one-sided argument taking place.
As the party crept closer to the door, Kiara - as she attempted to peek through the keyhole - accidentally tripped and caused the door to swing open, revealing what appeared to be a drow priestess and a hooded figure. The priestess demanded that they leave and threatened them with the whip, but they refused, and when the priestess cracked the whip at Jandar, Chant initiated hostilities with a Hold Person spell.
The fight, however, did not last very long when Hagren tried to grapple the hooded figure and discovered, to his horror, that it was a mindflayer. With a single strike, the tentacled horror drained the life from the dwarven warrior, whereupon he was once again confronted with a visage of the King in Purple; now powerful enough to not only address Hagren directly, but to also manifest a heavy iron crown and a goblet of wine. However, their conversation was quickly interrupted by Kiara's judicious use of Healing Word, and Hagren dragged himself back into the fray once more.
Matters were further complicated when the priestess managed to free herself from the Hold and managed to blanket the entire room in Darkness, forcing the party to fight completely blind. The situation had turned, and the party decided to beat a hasty retreat... but not before stopping to loot the votive offerings left at the altars of two lesser drow deities (whose statues were a large spider and a male drow swordsman respectively).
Beaten and defeated, the party returned to the grain merchant's house, where they asked if he knew anything about their last lead, the Blackwalls. The grain merchant said that while he had done business with them in the past, he knew nothing about them beyond the fact that they controlled all of the city's transportation; if you wanted to get anything moved from one end of the city to another, chances are you had to deal with the Blackwalls somehow.
If they wanted to get into Blackwall Manor, the grain merchant said, he could be of some help, but once inside, they were going to be on their own. Seeing how this was the last lead they had remaining to them, they agreed, and each of them began whatever preparations they thought best.
Downtime Action #1
Jandar explores the city as a mouse, keeping his ears open for any signs of druidic activity. Just as he was about to give up, while crawling through a mousehole he noticed something interesting: a brief snatch of Druidic, crudely carved on the inside of the mousehole so that it was visible only to something in rodent form, that read: "Strength, brothers. Ninthday of every month, at the Dancing Bear. Look for the sign of oak."
While the rest are out on the streets, Kiara prays to Cimayi for strength and guidance in the grain merchant's house. Although she could still feel a connection to the goddess, it was weak and tenuous, almost as if something was interfering with her communion. Nonetheless, her prayer fills her with an inner sense of peace and calm, and she feels more rested and refreshed than she has been for months. [Gain Inspiration]
Chant searches through the city's main library for blueprints to Lloth's temple, but as such information was restricted only to urban planners and civic administrators, he was not able to get very far in his research. However, the tiefling overheard an interesting snatch of conversation between two gnomes about how understaffed the library currently is, and how they can never find a librarian around midday, presumably because most of them are on their respective lunch breaks.
Qillin visits her patrons, the Morellis, and tries to find out what the family might know about the Meat Market. The family's chief steward, a distinguished-looking elf by the name of Ricardo, gravely informs her that the family did not specially buy from any one slaver gang in particular, and that they did not have any problems with the Meat Market right up to the "unfortunate business that happened recently".
Hagren, in a bout of self-hatred and despair, takes to drinking himself under the table. He eventually gets to know the bartender, a tough-looking halfling who calls himself Mick the Knife, on a first-name basis, and the two of them swap war stories about the battles they've been in. After his second night of hard drinking, Hagren wakes up in the grain merchant's shop with absolutely no recollection of the past two hours... [-2gp]