The captured monk is taken to the Citadel, where Cressida joins the party in overseeing his interrogation. Zandu, still carousing in town, has to be retrieved by Guardswoman Remmy and spies a pair of monks following him on the way to the Guard headquarters.
The captured monk says only that his order attacked the party to repay a debt of lives owed to the person who arranged for their escape from Vudra. Cressida identifies him as one of the Iron Fists, a band of monks that arrived in Korvosa several years ago and have been acting as law-abiding mercenaries ever since.
She thinks the Cerulean Society, the city’s official thieves guild, might have more information and suggests the party ask around for them at a tavern called the Sticky Mermaid. Cressida also notes that the monks must have gotten to Korvosa aboard a trading vessel from House Arkona and says she can arrange a brief meeting with Lord Glorio Arkona the following day.
The party makes some sales at the Gold Market before visiting the Midland Orphanage as the sun sinks low on the horizon. While there, they hear an altercation on the roof and discover Faunra slaying the fugitive Chittersnap. She says that the abomination had lured several Tunnel Terrors into the Shingles and was planning on attacking the orphanage. She apologizes to Egan and the others for her harsh words when they slew Devargo, as she now realizes that both he and his ettercap ally needed to be destroyed. Concerned for the orphans’ safety, Arlynn asks Grau Soldado to check in on the place regularly from now on.
The following morning, Arlynn answers a knock at the door to find her father, Lord Alek Farima, and two bodyguards. Lord Farima, dressed in plainclothes, speaks with her privately in the alchemy lab. Though he’s proud of her accomplishments, he says that her high profile has caught the attention of their family’s enemies among the Mwangi of Bekyar. He suspects that Bekyar slavers have been supplying the Temple of Asmodeus and are now aware of the Farimas’ presence in Korvosa. He warns her to be on her guard, while he tries to take steps to root out this threat.
Dressed to the nines, Arlynn, Zandu and Egan then go to meet with Lord Glorio Arkona as he prepares to address the crowd at the leveling of a dilapidated former brothel. The young nobleman has had no dealings with the Iron Fists, but promises to look into how they purchased their passage aboard his family’s ship. Arlynn also presses him about the silver dagger, clapping a hand over Egan’s mouth before the gnome can blurt out how the blade turned into a snake.
Glorio admits that he saw his cousin Vimanda with the dagger once or twice, but it is impossible to question her as she has been missing since shortly after the king’s death. She’s run off on her own before, but this is the longest she’s ever been absent. The Arkonas had been working with Devargo to track the girl down, but that didn’t turn out well. Arlynn urges Glorio to work the party to find his cousin, but he cuts the interview short as he has a building to level.
The party watches as Glorio addresses the crowd, promising to replace the old brothel with new affordable housing for the poor, while his servants toss silver coins to the masses. Then, at his command, a pair of Acadamae students cast a spell that causes the building to implode into a single compact ball of masonry, which then falls to the ground with a thud. A moment later, the clump of masonry gets up and starts walking towards the Acadamae. The two young wizards follow after it, while their proctor tags along behind.
After stopping back at Zellara’s house to change into street gear and pick up Ashla, the four of them then trek over to the Sticky Mermaid, near the docks in Old Korvosa. The arrive in time to see the huge, scar-faced bouncer eject a pair of rowdy sailors. Inside, Zandu survives a shot of the house specialty, “fishjack,” and then tells the one-eyed bartender that they’re looking to speak with someone from the thieves’ guild. The party is directed to an empty table in a dark corner.
They are soon joined by the scarred bouncer, who drags a barstool over to the table, sets it down, looks them in the eye… and leaves. Moments later, a lithe halfling woman scampers up onto the barstool. “So, what can I do for you?” The fast-talking halfling, Kyra, explains the Cerulean Society’s practice of regulated crime and argues that it is a tremendous service to the community. Zandu hits it off with Kyra pretty quickly and suggests bringing in some more members of his extended family to serve in the guild.
When asked about the monks, the halfling explains that the Iron Fists have long been a thorn in the Society’s side, always hiring out to serve as security for those who refuse to pay the guild’s protection fees. If they’ve started to attack people in the streets, that’s all the more reason to eliminate them. Kyra says that the monks’ latest employer is a dwarf merchant named Harrad Stonebreaker who operates an import/export business not far from the tavern. If the monks aren’t there, he likely knows where they’ve gone.
Zandu, still concerned about being stalked, asks Kyra to alert her people to give the party a heads up if they notice them being tailed by monks, while Arlynn urges her to be on the lookout for illegal slavers.
The party then treks over to Stonebreaker’s Trading House, a large warehouse and attached office surrounded by a fifteen-foot stone wall. A sign posted outside reads “Beware of Dwarf.” Inside, the party is accused by two snarling dogs, soon followed by a limping dwarf armed with a crossbow—Harrad Stonebreaker.
Harrad reveals that two days ago, the Iron Fists broke their contract to protect his shop, returning all the money he’d paid them and saying that they had a previous obligation to fulfill. He is still fuming over the action, which has left him vulnerable to reprisal from the Cerulean Society. He allows the party to search the monks’ former lodgings, but tells them to hurry as he has important business to attend to. Zandu tries to purchase a copy of The Book of Joy, the goddess Calistria’s holy text/sex manual, but Harrad doesn’t keep it in stock as the positions detailed within aren’t well-suited to dwarves. Zandu says he’s just trying to make their visit profitable for the put-upon dwarf.
Turning up little, the party prepares to leave, but Harrad does pause to tell them that the day before the monks broke their contract they had a visitor. A strange cloaked figure with a backwards thumb. Zandu believes that’s a sign it was the Rakshasa.
Before the party can depart, Harrad’s appointment arrives—Lord Farima and his bodyguards. Both father and daughter are surprised to see each other, but before they can exchange many words, the Iron Fists appear on the rooftop of Harrad’s warehouse and attack. Harrad flees back towards his office, but Arlynn calls after him “What kind of dwarf runs from a fight?” “I’m just moving to a better position!” Harrad replies, taking cover in the doorframe with his crossbow.
As the party prepares to fight the monks, a new threat emerges—three Bekyar warriors on horseback charge through the compound gates, their lances pointed at Lord Farima. Ser Arlynn pushes past her father to defend him. “What in the Nine Hells are you doing, girl?” he demands. Lord Farima orders his bodyguards to protect her, then drinks a potion of invisibility and vanishes from the battlefield.
In the ensuing chaos, Egan keeps the monks tied up with a well-placed entangle spell, while Ashla circles the edges of the melee picking off stragglers. The charging horsemen bowl Arlynn over but fail to strike her despite repeated attempts. Their charge brings them into the firing arc of Zandu’s spells, who sends two of the three toppling from their mounts as charred husks. Attacked from all sides, Arlynn eventually collapses from her wounds but her father reappears to behead one of the monks assailing her. In the end, the Iron Fists are completely destroyed while one of the Bekyar warrior escapes, pledging retribution against the “traitors.”
Afterwards, Lord Farima explains that he was going to use his trade connections to get Harrad’s dwarven crafts sold to southern Garund—including several enchanted items that will spy on their family’s enemies.
As the party prepares to transport the corpses to the Guard aboard Zandu’s floating disk, the sorcerer purchases a tarp from Harrad for five coppers in order to cover the bodies. “Hey, I managed to buy something from you after all!”