At the Lower Quays, Ash, his chainmail in tatters, collapses, unconscious, in front of Relentless and Ehljayy. After a quick fruitless search for his axe, they decide it’s not safe to stay and begin the difficult task of carrying the large northman back to Relentless’ house.
Back at the House of the Sun, the statue of Kord’s eyes stop glowing. Grundelmar repeats his warnings about Ash to Cileth, and advises her not to pursue the worshippers of Tiamat; it’s too dangerous and he is sending for Paladins of Pelor to come and deal with it. Aurion escorts her out, lamenting that there are no Paladins of Bahamut left; when pressed, he reveals that the order was disbanded many years ago after a disaster, and their Knight Commander, an old human named Fyodor Dragocevic, has either died or gone into hiding. Cileth persuades him to help her, and he agrees, giving her a heart’s egg: a rare artefact from the former Dragonborn empire, which can be used to contact him. Cileth heads back to Relentless’ house and, finding it empty, decides the time has come to make use of her magical research, getting out her tomes and readying the tools of the Arcane Trickster. Her work does not go undisturbed, though; she hears a bang at the door, but when she goes to look there’s no sign of anyone – only a threatening note pinned to the door:
Stay out of our business. The boy is ours. If you go to the Lord Warden or the authorities, there will be consequences. – RR
When Relentless and Ehljayy return, Cileth shows them the note. Relentless feels a burning rage within her, and the sliver of dragon’s soul that mingles with her own burns hot. Her rage has awakened greater power within her, but now is not the time to use it. They all need rest, and she lays Ash down in her bed.
In the morning, Ash – his wounds having healed quickly – awakes and gazes out the window, where he sees Ehljayy practising his kata. Having grown in confidence over their previous adventures, Ehljayy perfects some more powerful uses of his ki, sending his crude practice dummy flying across the field. Relentless wakes and, while she prepares them all breakfast, Ash explains he spent the evening communing with Kord. Part of his ten-year journey, walking the lands and learning how to fight, treat with and heal other peoples, is determining how he will serve the god of battle. Last night it became clear he will follow the path of the warrior – though exactly what this means is still unclear to his friends. Cileth is shaken and angry; it seems there’s some truth in the things Grundelmar and Aurion told her about the Oleeae and their relationship with Kord.
Knowing that Capriole is in danger, they want to act, but Relentless can’t hide her fury and desire to hurt Kelson, the man who has taken him. Ash tries to caution her against doing anything violent, and he decides to return to town via the Tower of Waiting, collecting his gear and then apologising for the carnage he caused during his communion. Ehljayy decides to go with him. Meanwhile Relentless and Cileth head to the Lucky Gnome Taphouse to see if they can find leads on Capriole’s whereabouts.
The Lucky Gnome is still closed when they arrive, and they try to survey the place quietly, but there’s no outward signs of where Capriole may be. There are sounds of someone within, however, and Relentless decides she’s had enough sneaking about and kicks the door open – right into the face of one of the four River Rats inside. A couple of them are surprised, but two of them – armed with heavy crossbows – react quickly, one planting a bolt in Relentless’ shoulder before ducking behind the bar, and the other firing a carefully aimed warning shot into the wall near her head before telling the intruders to fuck off. Before things can escalate into a full-on brawl, Relentless summons her fiendish presence and makes the earth seem to shake, resulting in a tense stand-off…which is broken moments later by Ehljayy sliding into the room between her legs.
He and Ash, realising the Blue Moon will also be closed, decided en route that they should join the others in case they needed backup. Unfortunately Ehljayy’s surprise appearance is enough to break the fragile peace, and fighting breaks out. Cileth uses her new magical powers to blind one of the Rats, who drops the sack he was holding; Relentless grabs another, demanding he tell her where Kelson is; while Ehljayy and Ash rush across the room to the bar. The Rat who ducked behind the bar panics and runs out through the back entrance, but his friend who fired the warning shot isn’t so lucky: Ash, frothing at the mouth and seemingly possessed of unnatural strength, grabs him by the throat and drags him back to Relentless, shrugging off a blow from one of the other Rats. The man goes unconscious and nearly chokes to death until Relentless talks Ash down from his rage. Cileth meanwhile kills the River Rat threatening Relentless with an arrow through the throat, and Ehljayy batters the last – now recovered from his blindness – knocking him to the floor. They ask him where Kelson is and he gives them directions to a safe house on the very southern edge of Fallcrest, hidden in the small wood just inside the city walls.
Cileth empties the sack the last River Rat was holding, and finds it contains a mace, some hide armour, a lizard – which runs off when they fail to catch it – and, as it falls to the floor with a heavy thunk, an very familiar orb… Wherever Capriole is, he is without his equipment.
The four remaining members of the Five Thousand Dragons look at each other. They’ve just murdered a member of the gang who holds their friend captive, and another member of that gang has escaped, presumably running off to warn his master. They have two other members of that gang – one half-throttled to death – at their mercy. But it’s clear mercy is the last thing on some of their minds…