Last week the party...
- met the Deathless King Quenyara, a vampire lord attended to by a court of twelve other vampires. The King offered to pay the party 600gp in exchange for handing their employer - who turned out to be a prince of this kingdom - a false mummified hand. When the Prince attempts to use the hand, they are to subdue him (or, failing that, extract his heart) and bring him or it back to the King.
- agreed to the King's terms, and sealed the contract by dripping their blood into an iron bowl. The King sent another adventurer to travel with them: a rogue that, like the party, came in search of the hand but, when the rest of his former party died, decided to surrender to the Deathless King.
- met a vampire courtier that, unlike the rest, did not transform into a swarm of bats and fly back to their respective stone temples. The courtier offered to pay the party 1000gp in exchange for warning the Prince about the false hand and aid him in whatever he required. The party said that they would think about it.
- left the kingdom and returned to the Lich's Pride. Along the way, the rogue finds a heavy lead amulet etched with the face of an ilithid on one side. They would later identify this as an Amulet of Detect Thoughts with 2 charges remaining; it is capable of being recharged, but nobody knows exactly how that would work.
- met the Prince and, after some blustering from the barbarian, showed him the mummified hand. However, when the Prince asked them what the first thing they saw in the temple was, they failed to come up with a convincing story and chose instead to capitulate to his side by warning him that the hand is false.
- learned from the Prince that he was exiled for attempting to steal the hand and perform a coup. This time, he tells the party, they are in luck: his father "trusts" them, and that trust will allow them to get close enough to his father to strike. Right before they storm the great hall, they are to send a flare up (from outside the great hall) to signal the Prince's men and let them lead the attack.
- agreed to the Prince's terms, and received 500gp as a downpayment. After resupplying, they head back into the swamp, this time taking a roundabout route (of five days instead of three) to avoid crossing into the Immortal's territory.
- met with a small hunting party of lizardfolk that almost kill them, but through sheer luck and dogged determination they manage to finish the hunters off and chase the shaman accompanying them.
- are currently right outside the Deathless King Quenyara's territory when something happens...