In the wake of what the adventurers learn from Sejanus, they decide to have Helen moved to the temple to investigate the incision they’d discovered earlier. Her father, found raving and frothing at the mouth, is also taken there for examination. All return to their homes to sleep.
The next morning, King Gulkishar orders the execution of Sejanus and is ready to round up all the tieflings in Urkesh to submit them to scrutiny. The leaders of all three political factions protest his racial profiling, but the king is swayed by Gilgamesh’s suggestion of less extreme measures: the process will be gradual, will involve everyone, and each group will investigate internally using Lavant and his arcanists as a resource. They learn Sejanus execution is a moot point—the tiefling died shortly after questioning, going into rapid convulsions before expiring (much like Jesse near the end of the Red Lion war).
Siduri gets a tip from the Kimah family about Kara’s whereabouts. She’s been handed off to gnolls who are on their way back into the Rimanik Wastes. Gilgamesh arranges for a second party of his troops to follow behind them with soldiers and healers in case any of the people he saves need attention, then he asks the lizardfolk in the city what they know about the gnolls. They say that they don’t get along, but they have had dealings with all three tribes (the Whisperers in the south, who are the most cunning—attacking villages in the night; the Skull-riders to the north, who are the most aggressive of the tribes; and the Sandwalkers, who only irregularly raid from the depths of the wastes.
After securing camels for travel, the party embarks on the trail after the gnolls. Acacia has no trouble finding the trail and after two uneventful days of travel the party comes to a closed in path between mesas where five Sandwalker gnolls and a hyena are preparing an ambush. The keenly perceptive adventurers are not surprised, but the gnoll soldiers quickly move in to attack and crowd around Acacia as she scouts. Gilgamesh tries to lock them down so that she can flee, but they still manage to knock her into unconsciousness. Siduri moves around behind them to flank, heals Acacia and gives one of the gnolls a heavy blow to the head. Krivv moves in next to her and kills the soldiers as Zariastra fires from a more secure position. Gilgamesh moves ahead to attack the gnoll mage while the hyena charges in to attack Krivv. As the battle ensues, Zariastra kills one of the archers and Acacia moves around a mesa to attack the other (not the best idea as she falls and Siduri must move around the bend to heal her again). Once the final archer falls under Gilgamesh’s sword, the group takes a minute to recharge while Acacia climbs one of the mesas to get a look at the plateau ahead. In the distance she can see a gnoll camp well ahead. There is cover from the mesas within 300 yards of the camp. From this position, Acacia can see there are between 100-200 gnolls.
Siduri prays for a little divine intervention and the party decides to advance to the edge of the mesas to get a better look. Again Acacia climbs, but this time with better results.
|There are close to 200 gnolls in the camp from all three tribes. She can see the prisoner area with three cages along the western edge of the camp. There are a total of five prisoners among the cages – one small figure in the first cage, one large figure in the second cage and three human-sized figures in the last cage. There is a recessed area within 50 feet of the cages and another raised area on the opposite side of the camp. The cages are monitored by a party of 4 gnolls and a hyena. The camp patrols circle the area with a 20 minute window at any point along the perimeter. Each patrol is composed of 4 gnolls and a hyena with a rider. After a bit of discussion, the party decides to leave the camels at the mesa line and creep forward under the cover of darkness towards the dip near the cages. Zariastra’s Shroud of Darkness will cover the party as they carefully advance to free the prisoners.|
The party waits on the edge of the light. Acacia fires two shots into the camp, destroying the nearest sunrods and limiting the gnolls field of vision. One of the gnolls goes deeper into the camp to fetch more light and Acacia checks out the locking mechanisms on the cages from a distance. Determining that they are too difficult for her own skills, she looks for the guard with the key. Although she can’t find him, Gilgamesh and Siduri do. Knowing their target, the party advances as one and prepares to attack the guardss. The gnoll soldiers crowd around the cloud of darkness and hit a little more often than desirable. The archers fire blindly at the cloud and hit Zariastra. Once the soldier with the key falls, Gilgamesh uses his psychic hand to pick up the key out of the dirt. The party moves forward towards the cages. When the last archer falls, they shuffle over to the camel enclosure and liberate enough camels for everyone and then move over to the cages, releasing the first three prisoners (humans) and directing them to mount and start moving away from the camp. The second cage holds a badly beaten gnoll, who they also free. When only Kara remains imprisoned, reinforcements arrive and Siduri and Krivv stop to kill these new threats while Gilgamesh frees Kara. When two of the new gnolls fall, the final one tries to flee back towards camp and Acacia kills him before he can summon more help. Kara mounts behind Siduri and the adventurers flee the Gnoll camp.