Upon their return from the town square, the heroes thought they’d get a moment to peacefully feel guilty for assisting in thievery… they were wrong. A fight broke out between two acolytes: Fisto and Grimy. Fisto beat down Grimy for ripping his robes under the false assumption that Grimy was trying to ruin his chances of promotion. Attracted by the sound of the violence, Jack entered the barracks and immediately left. It wasn’t long after that he returned with a violin in hand.
Jack didn’t care who was responsible and exerted dominance over the room, causing all to shake in fear. He took to stomping down the acolyte in a twisted “hoe-down” and insisted that his champ, “Big Guy” finish the job by beating the crap out of Fisto as he lay helpless on the ground. Christian obliged, if only to keep his cover and maintain his standing in Jack’s good books. Two solid punches sent Fisto’s face slamming into the floor mashing his features. Those who witnessed were obliged to clap in fear.
The remainder of the day was spent in what had become routine. Endless sermons, back-breaking labor, and mind-numbing transcription of Razmiran texts. Some midnight sneakiness and diplomacy on Lance’s part revealed that there were rumours of a party at the Snuggly Duckling tomorrow night. The party decided it would be their best chance to explore what was known as “The Chamber of Delights.”
Their sixth day entailed working with Jack outside of the temple to collect “protection money” from a local baker who had been holding out on payment. Jack insisted that whether or not the man willfully handed over the 100gp owed, someone must cut his face or he would cut one of them. He revealed his diamond-tipped adamantine rapier to show that he meant business.
Jack sent the heroes in while he and acolytes Lloyd and Chunk turned away all customers at the door. Welton Grompus, the baker, quickly took to begging and pleading with the heroes when they declined his offer to take some bread and come back in a week. Cornered and outnumbered, Welton tried to run away through a door to the south but was quickly stopped by the party who tried to calm him and explain to him how they were actually “helping” him not be disfigured in the process. They convinced him to hand over and the money and sit idly as they damaged his bakery, punched him and used raspberry jelly and coals to make his face look cut for Jack’s inspection. Their plan worked well enough and the baker was spared from a greater loss. Perhaps the heroes could make it up to him when it was all over.
The heroes were tasked with cleaning the dining hall from top to bottom as Jack said tonight the acolytes and he would be “cooking”. With Jack and many acolytes cooking up a local specialty drug called the Tears of Razmir, and many priests partying at the Snuggly Duckling, the party, once again, bribed their way into the eastern basement, though at a higher cost.
Each had their own image of what a “chamber of delights” might entail, but none were prepared for the sheer opulence of the room. Silk drapes hung along the walls and from the ceiling, pillows, water pipes, expensive censers, and a gilded throne where there, and the smell of many nights of excess hung in the air. Searching the room revealed a hidden door to the south, behind a silk curtain.
The door, which later revealed the temple’s treasury, was magically trapped and summoned strange earth-like humanoid figures that took to smashing the heroes and sinking in and our of the pillars and floors. The heroes smashed back and dusted their foes, only to have their remains disappear moments later.
The treasury held a lot of coin, and some information though not damning in of itself. Most interestingly were strange coins from an unknown land, bearing a haloed face with pointed ears, and also the wrapped and chained magical broadsword of a cleric or paladin of Iomedae. A little disappointed, the heroes found that the sword seemed bound to a person with a certain moral code, and that they might not be able to use it to its full power. The heroes took some potions and a single strange gold coin and planned to return at a later time as they covered their tracks. They returned and slept.
The seventh day went by uneventfully. The party did their best to not draw attention to themselves and went through the motions one last time. Christian fatigued himself after a week or being pushed to the limit, despite any “friendliness” Jack always found a way to up the ante with work. Gwyn fell asleep during a sermon and was swiftly hit by Jack as punishment. The time spent in the temple was taking its toll on the party and when night finally came around, they bribed the same guard with promises of a “favor” at a later date; both parties felt satisfied with the deal. The priest unlocked the door, returned to his post and faced away while the party carried their equipment through the door as they made haste towards the tunnel.
Unhindered, the party made it outside the back of the Snuggly Duckling. They removed their masks and robes and took in the fresh air and the sweet taste of freedom, no matter how fleeting. They pulled the fatigued Christian along as they went to the Welcoming Wench to meet with their Returner contact, Ronfar Lacklan.
They found him there, disguised as Veronica once again and he took them outside to discuss their week.Logan jumped into Gwyn’s arms, happy to see his half-elf companion. Gwyn released the captive raven Quoth, finding newfound pity for trapped creatures and celebrated his freedom while anxiously awaiting her own. When presented with the paintbrushes, Ronfar explained that his old partner Raoul had infiltrated the cult months back and must have been caught and murdered. He’s been in hiding ever since. Gloria then revealed herself in quite a literal sense as she popped out of nowhere exclaiming “Sensei Raoul!” in mixed shock and sadness. Gloria is a Returner as well, having completed her trial three months prior. Raoul was her trainer, and he and Ronfar have been like uncles to her for more than a year.
Resolved to get this mission finally finished, Ronfar reminds the heroes that time is of the essence. They must quickly plan their final moves and return to the temple before they are missed.