Disoriented by the bustling crowd, Egan gets separated from the others and finds himself alone on a strange street. The mass of people abruptly parts as another palanquin carrying the child-goddess parades past, held aloft by zombie bearers. Egan notices that whatever is inside the windowless steel box appears to be throwing itself against the walls of the container.
Before he can investigate further, a hand reaches out from the crowd and plucks him up by the collar. The hand belongs to a drow male in simple robes, who sets Egan back on the ground away from the procession.
“This is no place for lost little gnomes,” he chides. The drow introduces himself as Shar, a friend of Faunra’s who recognized Egan based on his description. When the gnome asks how Faunra came to be connected to a drow, Shar cryptically explains that he was the reason that Faunra and her father left the elven settlement in the Mierani Forest for Korvosa.
Shar helps Egan find his way back to the Sorry Excuse, though he warns that the inn makes most of its money by gouging first-time visitors to Kaer Maga. He says that he will be traveling down to Korvosa in the next few days to visit his niece and offers to carry any messages for Egan and his friends.
Before entering the Sorry Excuse to wait for the others, the gnome thanks Shar and promises to be in touch.
After their failed pursuit of Raven, Arlynn, Slim and Zandu walk back towards the Sorry Excuse. However, as they round a corner, Arlynn and Slim notice someone lurking up ahead watching them. While Arlynn marches forward to to challenge the stranger, Slim slinks into the shadows. Zandu disguises himself and steps out onto the street.
The lurker casts a spell, stopping Arlynn in her tracks with suffocation. As Slim creeps forward, he spies what lurks in the nearby alley: two surprisingly well-equipped zombies in the garb of Korvosan street toughs and a hulking flesh golem.
Stick to the shadows, Slim sidles up to the spellcaster, who proves to be none other than their old nemesis Rolth the Necromancer. The rogue deftly stabs the pale, rat-faced man.
“I’ll turn your skull into a sock puppet!” Rolth howls. “Minions, kill them!”
The two zombies, each armed with short swords, lurch forward to attack Slim. With the Varisian shadowdancer thus occupied, Rolth casts another spell consigning the breathless Arlynn to a deep, hungry pit with rippling walls that threaten to crush the life out of her.
Abandoning his own attempt at disguise, Zandu jumps down the hole, feather falling to the bottom, where he casts fly on Arlynn. The paladin then grabs the sorcerer and flies them both back up to the street—before blacking out from lack of oxygen.
Rolth crooks a finger at Slim and sneers. “Lights out!”
The rogue is stricken with blindness as he still struggles to fend off the zombies. The flesh golem, meanwhile, moves forward to attack Zandu and the unconscious Arlynn.
Despite his lack of sight, Slim closes to attack Rolth once again. The necromancer tries to stab him with a dagger and instead skewers himself, his furious cursing giving away his position and allowing the rogue to strike true with a devastating blow. Zandu flees past the golem and blasts Rolth with a lightning bolt. Arlynn’s condition worses, though the golem so far is able to do little more than pound her armor.
Bleeding profusely, badly singed, and with his hair standing on end, Rolth commands his minions to finish off the trio and then steps through a dimension door with a snigger.
Meanwhile . . .
To Rolth’s great misfortune, he staggers out of the dimension door into the common room of the Sorry Excuse. He trades surprised looks with Egan, Ashla, and the others waiting at the inn.
“What in the Nine Hells?” Rolth splutters. “I’m never staying here again!”
Egan swiftly calls down a flamestrike on the necromancer, putting an end to his evil once and for all. Ashla picks through his stuff.
Rolth’s death causes the two zombies to lose interest in Slim and abandon the fight. The golem, however, zeroes in on the blind rogue, who has great difficulty hitting it.
Desperate to help the dying paladin, Zandu retrieves wand of cure moderate wounds from Arlynn’s bag and uses it to revive her.
After healing herself, Arlynn taunts the golem, trying to provoke it into attacking her. Zandu enlarges the paladin and she lumbers over to battle the construct with her divinely infused sword. Striking hard and true, she cuts the creature down with a devastating blow.
She and Zandu then help Slim make his way back to the Sorry Excuse.
They All Meet in a Tavern
Upon returning to the inn, the trio is shocked to learn of Rolth’s demise, particularly Slim.
“What? You’re saying the fucking gnome killed him?” he blurts out.
“What do you mean ‘the fucking gnome’?” Egan demands.
Remmy is able to diffuse the situation with a bit of humor, telling Slim “I know 50 percent of what you’re going through.”
Irabeth conveys the results of her interrogation of the half-orc prisoner. A local tough hired to provide some backup for Raven, he doesn’t know where the Ambassador’s man was staying but he does know that Raven and the wizard don’t know each other well.
Kyra, meanwhile, has learned something valuable from the barflies.