A week after the devastation of Taran’s Red Lion attack sees many changes in the city for the adventurers. Krivv has been adopted into the Katar military family (after turning down a similar offer from Utuk); Acacia is setting up a project-venture with Taurion and accepting a contract from the Savian family to find the vanished Silverkin, while Gilgamesh has been advocating for the creation of a proper army to protect Urkesh. Siduri has a duplicate made of the Silver Key which she keeps in her room. The king, following Zariastra’s advice to increase his support among the people in his own way, has heralds proclaim his greatness and commissions statues of himself to be placed around the city.
An invitation to a party at the Kimah estate arrives for each adventurer as well as all the biggest and brightest in Urkesh. The Kimah estate is in the merchant district is nothing special from the outside, but the inside is almost as opulent as palace. They have many servants and the family uses clay golems and living statues for security. Ashala, the current head of the family, takes no chances with her guests and all weapons and armour have been prohibited with no exceptions—even the king’s guards are weapon-less. The family also employs an arcane dampening power or device to keep things safe.
Gilgamesh turns down the invite, not wishing to embroil himself in the political cauldron the city is becoming, and suspicious of the Kimah family in general. Krivv also stays behind, his instructions from the Katar family being only to show-up if Gilgamesh was there.
The estate’s butler, Kitu, greets everyone at the door and strictly enforces the mandate with an aplomb that leaves even an arguing Utuk incapable of armed passage. The other adventurers fair no better. Zariastra tries to hide her weapon and when she fails, fails to seduce Kitu into letting her keep them. Acacia also tries to hide her crossbow, and when she fails she sheepishly surrenders her equipment and enters the party. Siduri proves that she’s smarter than everyone else by complying with the mandate and enters without confrontation. Foostus follows behind her and tries to intimidate Kitu into letting him in armed, but Kitu is unfazed and Foostus eventually surrenders and spends the rest of the night flirting with Siduri and engaging in drinking contests he wins easily.
The party is a platform for political machinations and questionable investment opportunities. The biggest news is Gilgamesh’s absence from the party altogether, as leaders of all the different political factions wanted to make a pitch to him. Gilgamesh’s sisters (Lilith and Ishtar) are in attendance; the elder Lilith is having a grand time, while the younger is quiet and reserved. The head of the Ghorvas merchant family, Orobok, accosts each adventurer to get them to invest in his speculative mine; Foostus is the only one who shows any interest, offering 10 gold pieces and demanding a high return or Orobok will lose his legs. The dwarf is taken aback by the powerful minotaur and refuses his offer.
The leaders of factions promote their own ends. Akkar, supported by the aristocrats and military families, advocates moderate change, believing it will address the needs of the city (radical change, he says, would lead to chaos). He says that the need for stability in Urkesh is paramount and that his political ends would further this. Arzan Ummam, the head of one of the temple, advocates a ruling council as opposed to the current absolute monarchy. He has the support of the bureaucratic families (other than the military and arcanists). The final faction is headed by Ishkibal, the leader of the dispossessed, who is looking for radical change in the form of a democracy. The Arcanists are favourable to his cause, as well as one unnamed merchant family; this support, though, seems a bit unsteady as the Arcanists are more in favour of the idea itself rather than the advocate. King Gulkishar stands apart, angry that there are any factions at all, but unable to do anything about it. Utuk also stands as a pariah for his catastrophic leadership of the army.
The adventurers all have private agendas at the party. Siduri uses talks to Ashala to learn more about Kimah family’s interest in her (after failing to learn anything important from mid-level family members). She discovers that while the family is interested in her, there was no conversation at a Low Town bar for Sejanus to overhear. She admits to Kimah’s presence in the Temple of Hammurabi, saying she was unhappy with the operation, but that they were interested in what might remain in the temple and could not enter it openly. Afterwards, Lavant Diaga, the head of Arcanists, speaks to Siduri about their progress with regards to the silver key. The Arcanists have perfected a ritual to date the key’s effacement and have determined that the writing was removed no more than 5 years ago. Xandrilla of Akitu merchant family tries to get Acacia to talk about Kernig root project with intent to take over it, but Acacia politely removes herself from conversation and party after warning other members of her family to beware of Xandrilla’s intentions. Sejanus approaches Zariastra with a solution to a private problem and the two agree to meet outside the estate to discuss it.
Outside the party the other adventurers are also pursuing their own goals. Krivv gets a message from Lilith to meet him in her suite at the palace, where she then seduces him as is her wont (Krivv offers token resistance, but the princess if very persuasive). In the midst of their tryst he notices that Lilith wears a golden key around her neck that is the spitting image of the silver key. Krivv tries to steal the key, getting himself kicked out by the royal guards with Lilith’s disgust as his prowess hurled at him as he leaves.
Gilgamesh is prepping patrols when a messenger arrives with news that the townsfolk in Mari have captured a lizardfolk who is asking to speak to him. The Lizardfolk’s name is Zissren and he is from the blue tribe. Gilgamesh meets the prisoner outside the city to avoid prying eyes.
|On her way home from the party, Siduri is attacked in alley by a Drow rogue and three minions who (she learns subsequently) bear the mark of the left hand (ala Jesse and Foopi). Foostus arrives from the alley behind her and jumps into the fray. She lets out a burst that kills two minions while Footus brutally slams the rogue into another minion hard enough to kill him. Siduri follows up with a blast that kills the drow.||On her way to meet Sejanus, Zariastra is attacked by Utuk’s men looking for revenge. The four soldiers surround her, but she’s able to knock them back. Sejanus arrives on the scene to help. Zaraistra attacks the soldiers’ leader and Sejanus finishes him off. Zariastra and Sejanus trade blows with the rest of the enemies until combat ends. Afterward the pair continue on their private mission.||Acacia wanders along, minding her own business when she is confronted by stumbling crazed man who attacks her. She uses Archer’s Stairway to climb to the roof of a nearby building to attack him from above. He follows her up with a mighty leap, still foaming at the mouth and gibbering. Orobok arrives and tries to bribe Acacia into investing in his mining operation in exchange for his help. Acacia slides enemy soldier off the building to his death and flees Orobok’s overtures.|
Gilgamesh arrives at the prison transport and releases Zissren, the blue tribes diplomat who suffered greatly at the hands of the townsfolk he approached. Zissren tells Gilgamesh that Ssorgess has allied himself with a black dragon and is readying to attack the villages while the city is recovering from the Red Lion attack. The blue tribe is seeking an alliance with Gilgamesh—they want normalisation and are willing to assist in battling Ssorgess as a sign of good faith. Gilgamesh asks Zissren about the tribes’ relationship with the Kimah family and the lizardfolk tells him everything he knows about it and the Kimah family’s ventures in the swamplands—all the tribes trade with them, mostly in information and in any trinkets or artefacts washed down from the river (including an Iron Key) worn by Essuri of the black tribe). He also learns that the blue tribe traded with Taran’s Red Lions and he asks Zissren to help him make contact with the survivors in the forest. Zissren mentions that dealing with the legendary Behemoth of the forest might help.
Gilgamesh gathers the important folk of the city (post-party) and makes the argument with his brother that they must seize on this alliance and eliminate the present danger. Gulkishar is persuaded and the companions grab a night’s rest.
|The following day Gilgamesh organizes an expedition with his fellow adventurers into the black tribe territory, Zirrren acting as their guide. As the party approaches the cave entrance, Acacia and Siduri spot sink holes among the trees and black tribe lizard folk in hiding. The lizard mage casts an immobilizing zone that bursts among the party and dramatically changes the battlefield. Siduri spends most of the battle immobilized; only healing Krivv, who falls twice under the attacks of the scaly brutes. Acacia and Zariastra hit the mage hard and he falls. The rest of the enemies quickly succumb to the adventurers once the zone and its affects disappear upon the mages death.
Acacia sneaks into the cave and down the tunnel. She sees 8 Lizardfolk milling around the sleeping chamber. They are quick to react to the party’s arrival and the mage dazes them in their opening attack. Once again the battlefield shifts and the party flounders in the wake of status effects. On a high note, Zariastra’s chaos bolt hits four enemies in a row and once this mage is killed, the rest also follow quickly.