Curse of the Crimson Throne

Bug Hunt

Crown of Fangs, Part 10

A Visit to Vigil

The afternoon of 11 Erastus, 4708

Arlynn asks Egan to scry Akkuya, a bartender she knew in Lastwall’s capitol of Vigil. The druid uses the Queen’s bathtub as the focus, into which the party sees Akkuya, a Keleshite man in his thirties dressed in flowing silk, chatting with patrons in a wooden tavern called the Catapult Wagon. After plopping on his hat of disguise, Zandu studies the location and then teleports himself, Arlynn, Flint, and Kyra into the tavern.

The bartender and patrons look startled and reach for their weapons, but calm down after Arlynn announces herself to the tavern. Akkuya remembers Ser Arlynn and they catch up. He offers to buy rounds for the party but instead Arlynn buys a round for the tavern. Since it’s late in the day, the adventurers hurriedly finish their drinks and then split up to go shopping.

Zandu and Kyra go scout out shops to visit the following morning to get various magical items. As they go about their business, they are approached by a sketchy peddler offering them both a “Friendship Medal” to welcome them to Vigil. Zandu realizes that the items being handed out for free have a magical aura, while Kyra signals that she finds the guy suspicious. The sorcerer declines the offer with exceeding politeness and the two of them hastily move on.

Path Found

Zandu then seeks out the Pathfinder Society Lodge in Vigil, looking to inquire about some magic scrolls. The lodge itself is a distinctive structure, a low building of dark stone in a city painted primarily in white. Zandu enters the lodge only to discover that he is somehow expected and is led to a back room office piled high with books and papers. Seated behind a massive desk, playing with a deck of Harrow cards, is a gnome woman wearing a holy symbol of Desna.

She invites him inside and appears to be expecting him. She flicks out a card out from her Harrow deck in front of him. It is “The Liar.”

“That’s the second time I’ve seen this card drawn out of a Harrow deck for me in recent days,” Zandu remarks, thinking back on Zellara’s latest Harrow reading.

“Ooh, what an amusing coincidence,” the gnome woman says. “May I interest you in our selection of scrolls?”

She hops up onto a nearby set of shelves and after digging through a pile of scrolls and books, brandishes an iron scroll case. Zandu pays her for the scroll and compliments the case.

The sorcerer offers to assist the Pathfinders by sharing knowledge once his current quest is complete. She thanks him for the offer and tells him to ask for her, Venture-Captain Evni Zongnoss, should he ever need anything.

For Victory. For the Heart.

Arlynn, on the other hand, visits the local wizard’s guild to inquire after magical gauntlets for herself and Nox. She ends up trying on multiple styles of gauntlets so that Serithtial can get a feel for one that fits the best.

Arlynn then visits the Grand Cathedral to Iomedae at the heart of the city. She speaks with the head priestess after an evening service, to speak about the deeds and news from Korvosa. They speak in length of Arlynn’s great deeds in aiding the poor, defending the weak and downtrodden of the city, becoming a hero of the city. The Head Priestess is amazed by her remarkable progress in such a short time, as well as her mentoring of Irabeth. Arlynn is also keen on mentioning Nox and her plans to introduce a greater church presence in Korvosa. This intrigues the head priestess, who replies the church would be eager to assist in this endeavor, should the local government be amendable. Lastly, Arlynn presents Serithial and pledges to return the blade to the city once their quest comes to its end.

The four adventurers return to the Catapult Wagon at sunset, in time to witness the disabled catapult outside its entrance spring to life and hurl an illusory orc smack into the white inner walls of the city. Flint recognizes that the tavern itself was converted from an old siege tower.

Zandu also takes this opportunity to tell Arlynn about the creepy medallion peddler he encountered earlier.

Monster in the Basement

Back at Castle Korvosa, the rest of the party unwind after their battles earlier in the day. An exhausted Ashla quickly beds down. Nox takes a relaxing soak in the royal baths, and then beds down early between the crimson sheets of the Queen’s bed. Laori and Irabeth trade off use of the baths once Nox is done. Egan, meanwhile, takes earth elemental form and decides to scout out the ground floor of the castle.

The gnome druid earth glides down into a large empty mess hall. He then wanders into a seemingly-empty torture chamber, which gives off a skin-crawling sense of unease that reminds Earth-Egan of his experiences in Scarwall. Within the torture chamber he finds an enormous, gargoyle-like creature floating in the center of the chamber. Hanging lifeless from its chest is the body of the missing Abadarian priest Ishani Dhatri

In a panic, Egan rushes back to the royal bedroom to alert everyone, rousing a disgruntled Nox from his slumber. The gnome explains what he saw to the fighter and to the freshly bathed Irabeth, who made good use of the Queen’s scenting bathing oils and perfumes.
Nox says that while this discovery is troubling, they should stick to the plan but send orders to the Hell Knights to quarantine the lower levels. Irabeth notes that they shouldn’t act until the others return, but she’s not certain if they will be returning that night.

While Nox issues orders to the Hellknights, Egan hears the sonorous tones of Laori’s singing drift up the hall from the baths. Drawn by the music and eager to share his discovery, Egan barges into the bathroom to excitedly tell her. Laori takes this interruption in stride and listens attentively to his story, while the gnome comes to realize that the elf maiden is completely naked beneath her pink bubble bath. He covers his eyes to avoid staring as she rises out of the bath and wraps herself in a black towel. Laori offers to relay the news to Arlynn via a sending spell and see what the others’ plans are for returning.

Once she’s dressed, the elf maiden—looking even more fabulous than usual—sends word to Arlynn, who is startled to hear of Ishani’s fate and curses in Bekyar. The paladin urges the others not to do anything until she and the others return the following morning. Laori then bursts into the royal bedroom to relay this response, waking Nox a second time. They go over their security arrangements for the evening. Egan’s magic had blocked both stairwells in the castle’s second floor with stone plugs and a guard of Hellknights set to watch over each, along with Zandu’s alarm spells. Nox also arranges to have one of the Hellknights wake him at 3 a.m., after he’d had a full rest, so that he could serve out the rest of the watch.

Silent Night

The night of 11 Erastus, 4708

Laori invites the others to dine on some lembas and meat and veggie pies she baked in the castle kitchens while Nox and Irabeth were bathing. They then move Sabina’s bed into the bedchamber, with the remaining adventurers drawing straws to see who gets it for the night. Laori wins, but gives the bed to Irabeth. Egan beds down on the bench from the royal lounge, while Nox offers to share half of the royal bed, so long as they sleep head to foot. Laori leaps at this offer and graciously decides to leave off her hooked chainmail, sticking instead to her skull-embroidered black jammies. The elf maiden is overjoyed to be participating in a “sleepover” with the party, and after initially protesting the term, Nox wearily relents.

Despite resting in a castle still inhabited by enemies, the night passes uneventfully for the adventurers until Nox is woken by a Hellknight armiger at approximately 3 a.m. The fighter has some trouble extricating his feet from Laori’s tight embrace, but manages to get out into the lounge to don his armor without waking any of his companions. There he finds that the elf priestess also left him a single lembas as a midnight snack.

The guard asks after their status and reveals that the night watch spotted prowlers in the vicinity of the Lictor’s camp in the throne room and the Seneschal’s room on the floor below. Nox inspects the watches and provides the lantern of revealing to the guards by the throne room. After sharing some words of encouragement, he heads downstairs to visit with Neolandis.

Houses of Cards

Outside the Seneschal’s room he is briefly stopped by Verik Vancaskerkin, but after proving his identity, Nox is allowed to see Neolandis. The seneschal is awake and seated in an armchair facing the door, a crossbow in his lap. His bed, meanwhile, is piled with pillows to mimic his sleeping form.

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t rise,” Neolandis says. “My shadow might silhouette against the window.”

Nox commiserates with the seneschal over the experience of being hunted by the Red Mantis and promises to flush out the remaining assassins come the dawn. The fighter then congratulates the seneschal.

“With Togomor and the false queen both dead,” Nox says, “there’s no question that you are absolute authority in the city.”

“As absolute as the Seneschal can be,” Neolandis remarks. “I’m no king.”

“No, but perhaps a kingmaker,” Nox says.

“At this point I still need to be a Queen un-maker,” the seneschal says. “We can’t officially remove Ileosa until the heads of the Five Great Houses all come together and vote as one.”

“Do you foresee any challenges in them doing so?” the fighter asks.

“Just the rebellion,” Neolandis snorts. “The cowardly, good-for-nothing dandies are all cooped up in their respective bolt holes until the violence has calmed down. I’ve been trying to get that weasel of a headmaster Toff Ornelos to come out of the Acadamae and take a look at some of that blood you collected.”

“Do you foresee any problems with House Arkona?” Nox asks.

“In getting rid of Ileosa?” Neolandis says with a shrug. "No, no problem at all. They’ve turned coat and there’s no turning back. What comes after, that’s a whole other matter.

“Assuming we can pull everything off as I intend,” Nox says, “and we will in short order, what do we do about the empty throne? It can’t be idle too long before the Lictor starts having ideas of grandeur.”

“Oh, he already has plenty of ideas,” the seneschal chuckles. "I don’t know whether he’d actually make a play for the throne, though.

“Not if we cut him out first,” Nox promises. “Any other challenges?”

“According to the city charter,” Neolandis says, "the Crimson Throne must be inherited by a member of the Arabasti family. Ileosa is the last lawful heir of the Arabastis, through marriage. Someone from her family might try to make a claim, but I can’t see that going too far. And of course, I can think of three of the five Great Houses who’d be interested in taking the throne for themselves. And whoever is named the new monarch has to be approved by the five houses. There’s going to be a lot of politicking and horse trading over this one—maybe more than a little backstabbing, as well. Another little present that Ileosa will have left to us.

“I must admit that I’m not accustomed to court life as much as I would like to say otherwise,” Nox says regretfully. “A lot of this politicking is not my forte. However, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m inquiring so much.”

“I’m not wondering,” Neolandis tells him. “Your motives are pretty obvious.”

“I just think a clean slate is what this city needs,” Nox explains.

“To be frank, I agree with you,” the seneschal nods. "I don’t like any of the other candidates on offer.

“Whatever opinions you might have of me,” Nox says, “just know that I am a fair man, a just man, a lawful man. None of this I do for glory, for power—I do it for service, as my family name dictates. Do you know anything about House Nox of Cheliax? We are aligned with those who commit themselves to service.”

“I don’t know anything of your kin at the moment, but I intend to learn more,” Neolandis replies. “You’ve made a good impression, Lord Nox, but I can’t commit to anything at the moment.”

“I completely understand,” Nox says. “No point picking out the drapes when the house is still on fire. In tonight’s case, quite literally.”

“I have a feeling this is starting to become a race,” Neolandis says, shaking his head. “I don’t know where Ileosa is or what she’s up to, but the fact that she’s not here worries the hell out of me.”

Nox asks how Cressida has been faring. Neolandis notes that while she took the death of Marcus Endrin and the city’s downward spiral quite hard, being able to finally take the fight to the Queen openly has returned some spring to her step. Nox notes that he had an easy time persuading Marcus’ brother Flint to join for much the same reason. After praising Flint’s archery, Nox suggests that he could make a great Commandant of a restored Sable Company. Neolandis reveals that some of the hippogriffs and their riders managed to escape Ileosa’s tyranny and are on their way back to the city. Though it will still be a long time before Sable Company is back to its former strength. Nox figures they will have to make due with what they have, and bids the seneschal a good night.

Queen Dreams

After lying down to sleep, Egan finds himself in a single, windowless room. A large bed sits in a corner, and there is a nice table with two chairs, a desk with a stuffed armchair, a lamp, and a stove. On the east wall is a glass showcase full of two dozen rare card decks, all displayed with care and competence, usually with several pieces laid face up and with a matching leather, ivory or wood case. A stone trap door sits in the floor in the northern corner, and a single toilet sits behind a partially folded screen to the south. Based on the look of the place, the gnome guesses he is somewhere high in Castle Korvosa, perhaps in an attic.

The trap door soon opens and Queen Ileosa climbs into the room.

“Eodred’s been trying to keep me from seeing you, but I had to come. I’ve seen you from afar several times when Eodred came to visit, and I’ve seen how he treats you. It is the same with me. You know he doesn’t care for you. He visits simply to lord his status over you. He has no true feelings for me, either. He whiles away his hours with whores and drunkards. He’s more of a monster than you could ever pretend to be. And truly, I have to say that since I’ve first looked upon you I have not been able to keep you out of my mind.”

Egan is confused. Ileosa appears to be talking to him, but that couldn’t possibly be right. He begins to suspect that he is seeing into a conversation from the past through someone else’s eyes. He decides to remain quiet and let the scene play out.

“I know there are some who would call your kind ugly. They’re fools who can’t appreciate your devilish good looks. And it shouldn’t matter anyway. You’re the elder brother. In a just world you’d be king. We both know Eodred’s wasted his inheritance while you’ve been trapped up here alone as he parties the years away down below on your mother’s gold. And you? How long has it been since you’ve even shared the same room with a woman?” (She draws closer)

“You should be the king. If only Eodred were out of the way. you could rule and I could be your Queen.

She reaches out and traces a line with her hand just above Egan’s head. “Is it true what they say about a tiefling and his horns?”

The gnome shivers. He realizes that he’s being mistaken for Venster Arabasti, the king’s secret bastard brother. Neolandis had told the party Venster went missing shortly before the king’s death and asked them to keep an eye out for him in the castle.

“Can you help me be rid of this brute?” Ileosa asks, her breath hot on his cheek.

Egan continues to play dumb, hoping to learn more of the Queen’s plans.

“I’ve come up with a plan,” she half-whispers. “You can help me escape from this true fiend on the throne. It would not take much at all.”

She produces a little vial of a thin, clear powder. “Just coat the tops of your cards with this powder when he comes next to play his little game with you. That’s all you need do. Then he will sicken and die, leaving the throne to us. You will be freed from this cell and able to walk openly to claim your birthright with me at your side.”

Egan doesn’t recognize the poison in the vial, but suspects it’s some alchemical concoction. With Ileosa looking at him expectantly, he reaches out to take the vial. She responds by leaning in and kissing him, much to the gnome’s distress. As her attentions grow more passionate, Egan reaches around behind her empty the vial of poison powder down her neck. This causes the Queen to suddenly go rigid. A moment later, her eyes flare a piercing blue and she snarls at Egan with a mouth full of sharp teeth. Before he can try to riggle out of her grasp, she crams a brick in his face and he wakes up, startled.

A Vigilant Morning

The morning of 12 Erastus, 4708

As dawn breaks over Vigil, Arlynn seeks out her old friend the Watchknight Tiran Maksev, a thin and pale elf covered in tattoos. She finds him at the same bakery he always visited each morning during her time in Vigil.

“Ser Tiran, is that you?” Arlynn asks.

“Well, who else could I be?” he says, turning around.

“No one else has tattoos like that,” the paladin says with a smile.

“Well if it isn’t little Arlynn,” he says, looking up at her.

“Good to see you my friend,” she says as they embrace.

“What the hell are you doing here back in town?” he asks her.

She brings him up to speed on her mission in the city and then tells him about Zandu’s encounter with the welcome medallion gifter. Arlynn notes that he and Kyra did not trust the man, with the halfling getting “no good vibes” from him. Arlynn regrets that she was not there to detect whether the man was evil, but trusts her friends’ instincts. She uses a hat of disguise to give Tiran a look at the strange man’s description.

“Well, I don’t recognize the man,” Tiran grumbles, “but his handing out magical trinkets and passing them off as welcome tokens could be any number of bad things. I shall have to investigate—it could be another plot against the city.”

“I wish I could help you,” Arlynn says, “but as you now know, Iomedae calls me to a different battleground.”

“I understand,” the Watchknight nods. "I wish you’d change your mind, of course, but we each have our own calling.

“By the way,” the paladin asks in parting, “is Berdred’s Armory still the best smithy in town?”

“Och, yes, if anything, they’ve gotten better,” Tiran says, bidding her farewell.

At Berdred’s Armory, Arlynn acquires an enchanted suit of Adamantine Full Plate, in exchange for her current spiked armor. To her pleasant surprise, she is able to negotiate a favorable trade.

Flint then asks about obtaining an enchantment for his bow. Berdred politely declines as she isn’t a spell caster, and directs them to the wizardry guilds. This fish-out-of-water moment annoys Flint, who is not used to bartering for his own equipment.

Zandu on the other hand inquires at the Pathfinder Society regarding the creature Egan saw, and is provided with a wealth of information about its weaknesses. After all the errands have been met, they teleport back to the castle.

Egan informs them of his dream. Zandu tries to determine what poison the Queen used, but it is a toxin that he is not familiar with.

The adventurers wonder about the dream’s significance and whether it is connected to the mysterious disembodied voice that had whispered “Save me… Game room…”

It’s Almost a Trap!

Based on the revelations in the dream, the party resolves to march to the 3rd floor, to see if they can find the late King’s older brother. They moved up the central staircase, with Egan, Ashla and Kyra scouting the area ahead. Arlynn, meanwhile, remains on the floor below, gazing up a the third floor balcony.

The wooden floor, walls, and ceiling of this large hall present a rich and harmonic scheme of decorations. The ceiling is supported by pillars and partially hidden by a hanging forest of silk draperies in the colors of autumn. Near the walls, these draperies reach down to the floor in foamy cascades. Crimson circular couches sit around the base of the pillars, while in the middle of the hall is a dance floor and a balustrade opening to the stage hall below.

Ashla, Bat-Egan, and Kyra fan out across the room, cautiously. As Ashla passes by one of the pillars, a dagger drops from the curtains above to land near her feet.

Nox is struck with a sense of déjà vu that has him realizing this is an ambush, to which he chugs a potion of fly, and tosses a flask of alchemist’s fire high upon the drapery. The others take up defensive positions as they await the Red Mantis Assassins’ somewhat botched ambush.

Several assassins drop down to attack Ashla. Nox charges one of the assassins, mauling the Red Mantis with his sword. Kyra chucks two daggers at another, severely wounding it. Arlynn flies up and cuts down the one Kyra wounded. Zandu also flies out and dares the assassins to attack him.

A door at the far end of the room slightly opens but only Flint and Bat-Egan notice. Flint fires his arrows and kills one behind Zandu and the one in front of Nox.

At this point, the barbed devils come out, and try to grapple Nox and Ashla but fail. Ashla slashes at one with both her swords, loses her shortsword but manages to wound the devil in front of her. Bat-Egan calls a lightning storm, dealing decent damage against one. Zandu bites a solid chunk out of the Red Mantis assassin in front of him. Irabeth activates fly and charges the devil in front of Nox, landing a solid blow. Laori charges the other assassin flanking Ashla, but does not cut very deep through its chitinous armor.

The Red Mantis confronting Zandu deftly slips away from him and retreats into the folds of the curtains beyond the sorcerer’s blindsense, while below another Red Mantis flees from Ashla, leaving the fight to the devils. Nox proceeds to dismember one of the fiends.

Kyra tries to hunt for the missing Red Mantis, but can’t determine where they went, and instead throws her dagger at the barbed devil. Arlynn then swoops down on the fiend, striking him with her sword.

Around the room, the air shimmers and giant red mantises materialize in the room to menace the the adventurers. A sickly cloud of greasy darkness washes over the party, leaving Ashla sickened. The giant mantises attack the party, slashing Flint but having trouble striking the others.

The barbed devils, seeing that the fight is turning against them, teleport away.

Arlynn nearly slays one of the giant mantises, while Bat-Egan kills one with call lightning.

Zandu casts haste upon Arlynn, Irabeth, Nox, Ashla, Egan; then he tries to hunt for the missing assassins, swooping around the back of the room, but fails to detect them. More Red Mantis assassins appear in the main room, attacking Nox and Arlynn with thrown daggers.

An invisible foe deals grievous wounds to Nox. Arlynn, using her mask of the mantis, spies the red mantis commander attacking Nox.

“Like Cinnabar before you, you too shall bite the dust.” Arlynn charges the commander. The commander deflects her attack with her sawtooth sabre.

“Strike at her from this position and we can flank her!” Arlynn calls out to Nox and Irabeth.

The commander attempts to acrobatics away, but Nox, Irabeth & Arlynn are able to strike at her. Arlynn’s blow lands, even as the woman seems to momentarily fade from view of even the paladin’s true seeing. The assassin runs up the side of the wall and seems to vanish into the conflagration on the ceiling. The fire is now spreading down to the wooden floor, singeing Arlynn and Ashla.

Flint continues to attack the enemies near him, killing the remaining giant mantis and attacking the assassins, killing one.

Ashla tries to track the unseen commander. She spies tracks on the ceiling, but they abruptly end at one point.

Bat-Egan flies out to investigate further, then kills another assassin with call lightning.

Zandu, floating ten feet in the air, moves up and senses the commander’s presence with blindsense. He casts a quickened true strike and tries to cast enervation on her, but fails to land a finishing blow.

Nox charges up into the air to attack her, striking a solid hit.

Irabeth rushes to join in, growling “Cowardly, backstabbing lûb-ob shatraug frangîzûrz” Unfortunately, her sword strike fails to land.

Laori goes to assist Flint against the remaining assassin. The two surviving assassins disappear.

Finish Her!

Arlynn flies up to attack the commander, striking a devastating slice with Serithtial that leaves the commander bleeding out. Bat-Egan quickly stabilizes the dying woman.

“Don’t kill her!” Arlynn calls out. “We need her alive in order to see that justice is done. Irabeth, take her down to Laori. I hear she’s good at binding things.”

“Ooh, yes,” Laori giggles, reaching for her masterwork manacles.

With Bat-Egan perched atop the assassin’s mangled body, Irabeth carries the unconscious Kayltanya down to the waiting elf priestess.

As Irabeth lays out the wounded murderess on the floorboards, the two remaining Red Mantis assassins reappear, poised to toss their daggers at their fallen leader. Flint brings one down with several swift arrows, striking the blade from the killer’s hand, while Irabeth throws herself atop Kayltanya to shield her from the other assassin’s knife. Nox and Kyra rush in to finish off the last assassin before he has time to fade back into the shadows. Bat-Egan puts out the spreading flames with create water.

Interview with a Mantis

With their enemies defeated, the Crimson Blades consult on what to do with Kayltanya, ultimately deciding to bring her before the Seneschal in his chambers. There, Egan revives the prisoner with cure light wounds.

“You assassins have been trying to kill us for quite a while,” Arlynn observes. “Cinnabar disliked the killing of innocent civilians. I wonder, what did you think of her? Do you share her beliefs?”

“I thought that Cinnabar was not living up to her family legacy,” Kayltanya says. “It’s why I gave her the important task of hunting you lot down. Clearly, she is more of a failure than I anticipated.”

“Clearly, someone else is failing to live up to the Red Mantis Assassin reputation,” Zandu bristles, his draconic fangs and claws extended. “You’re just another one of these weaklings we’ve squashed like ants at a picnic.”

“You may be right,” Kayltanya shrugs, her manacles jangling. “I certainly can’t disagree with you, sitting here trussed up like this. But the thing about the Red Mantis is that we never give up.”

“Your minions were trying to kill you,” Zandu replies.

“As they should,” she continues. "For each of us that perishes, three more shall take her place. Again and again and again, until the contract is served.

“You guys did actually manage to kill me off once,” Zandu acknowledges. “It’s not a very permanent thing.”

“That’s a terrible way to run an army,” Flint observes, “sacrificing all your experienced members.”

“We’re not an army,” Kayltanya replies. “We are pilgrims following the footsteps of He Who Walks in Blood.”

“Well, whatever organization you are,” Flint continues, “if you get new guys that don’t know what they’re doing, you’re only going to be less effective going forward.”

“I’ll take your criticisms under advisement,” the Red Mantis leader sneers.

“Do you know what other horrors may await us in this corrupted castle?” Arlynn presses her.

“How would I know?” Kayltanya replies. “My place has been on the third floor. There are defenses I’m aware of and defenses I’m certain I’m not aware of, and no knowledge of how many you’ve run across so far.”

“How many assassins did you bring with you here?” Zandu asks.

“Only those you’ve encountered were those who remained,” she tells him.

“Were you the ones last night who lit the crown fires and prowled around my companions as they slept?” Arlynn asks.

“Of course we were,” Kayltanya replies. “Who else would be in a position to scale the castle walls?”

“What does the fiery crown mean?” the paladin demands.

The Red Mantis leader rolls her eyes. “Do I need to explain elementary symbolism to you? Crowns, queens, rebels against the queen. You cast this message proclaiming the queen slain. Then a blazing crown appears atop the castle. What do you think it means?”

“Symbolism that we burned the Queen’s body?” Zandu offers.

“Maybe a signal to an army we have not yet encountered to try and quell our rebellion,” Arlynn says. “Or could it be something more?”

The paladin casts zone of truth on the chamber. Kayltanya replies by keeping her lips shut.

“Your silence is all I need to know,” Arlynn says. She cocks her head at the Red Mantis leader. “Cinnabar abhorred the killing of innocents—would you be the same, by any chance?”

A Killer’s Ransom

“I am a high value prisoner for my order,” Kayltanya announces. “If you sought to ransom me back to the Crimson Citadel, there would be a high reward—and perhaps our order would set aside any disputes in Korvosa.”

“Would that include your obligation to try to kill us?” Arlynn asks.

“It very well could,” she says.

“We might want to consider it,” the paladin says, glancing among her colleagues. “But until then, I urge you to share any knowledge that can help protect innocent civilians in this city from unnecessary bloodshed. It would be taken into account in your sentencing.”

“For now, our contract with Ileosa still holds,” Kayltanya declares. “I will not go back on that.”

“Can I knock her out yet?” Zandu asks.

Arlynn looks to Neolandis, who steps forward to ask his own question: “Did you help Ileosa kill the king?”

“Our order is sworn never to strike at true monarchs,” the Red Mantis commander tells him.

Arlynn and Neolandis then share a nod and Zandu knocks Kayltanya unconscious with a single smack.

“So, how do we go about ransoming her?” the sorcerer asks as her head lolls forward.

“We probably have to talk with her about that…” Arlynn trails off as they both look down at the unconscious woman.


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