The night after Slim was introduced to the party, the residents of Korvosa are rudely awakened to the sound of a trebuchet firing near North Bridge. Stumbling out of his room in the Sticky Mermaid, Slim is able to glimpse a sleek brig burn and swiftly sink into the wine dark waters of the Jeggare River, just shy of North Bridge. Ashla, on patrol in the Shingles, also hears the commotion but is unable to see anything.
The next morning, gossip buzzes throughout the city and fanciful tales run wild. Slim and a bleary-eyed Zandu stumble into the Sticky Mermaid’s common room to find Kyra ordering her men to find out more about what happened to ship. The halfling woman tells them that while the local speculation is that it was an attempted raid by pirates from Riddleport, she’s sure that’s hogwash. But all she knows for the moment is that a single ship tried to sail up the Jeggare and the Guard shot it down. Slim is suspicious of how easily it seemed to have sunk and ventures out to find more information. Zandu returns to his room to sleep off last night’s entertainment.
Ser Arlynn and Egan meanwhile head to Citadel Volshyenek to try to get more information from Cressida, but discover that she is tied up in a meeting. They speculate as to whether she might be the latest recruit for the Gray Maidens and joke about the Queen’s motives for forming an all-female unit. Arlynn is stonewalled by the other guards, but Egan is able to find one who was on duty the previous night. He says that a sinister-looking ship refused inspection as it sailed into the river. When it neared North Bridge and still refused to make its intentions known, the watch fired on it and sank it.
The pair then head for the Sticky Mermaid, pausing along the way to track down Faunra. The Elf druid says she’s spoken with some of the river’s animal inhabitants. They report that there was no one on the decks of the ship and no bodies in the water.
Slim, meanwhile, tracks down someone in Old Korvosa who was watching from nearby as the ship sank. The witness reports that there appeared to be no one on board the ship—but that the ship was lit with a single eerie lantern. Slim reports this back to Kyra, who pays him 100gp for his trouble. The halfing remarks that her father was a sailor and she’d learned from him that a single yellow lantern is a nautical signal that a ship is under quarantine for plague or other infectious conditions. Kyra abruptly loses her enthusiasm for looting the wreckage. Slim and Zandu bring Arlynn and Egan up to speed when they arrive, but by then the day is far gone enough that there is little else they can do.
Ser Arlynn does a quick sweep through the city on horseback before dusk, coming across a crowd of about two dozen threatening a well-dressed merchant. The merchant, a supporter of Queen Ileosa, had criticized Blackjack, earning the ire of the mob. Arlynn is able to convince them to break it up shortly before a pair of Gray Maidens arrive, dressed in plate mail, faceless helmets, and bright red capes. The Gray Maidens brusquely thank the paladin for her assistance and then escort the merchant home.
That night, Ashla again patrols the streets, but the only evil she turns up is a con man running rigged games of chance.
The next morning, uncertain of what else to do, the party—sans Ashla—heads to speak with Dolgrin Deepdelver about investigating Rolth and the Bekyar slavers in the sewers. The dwarven engineer has an office in North Point overflowing with maps and blueprints of Korvosa’s labyrinthine sewer complex. Unfortunately, Dolgrin says that Rolth’s potential hiding places are too numerous to count, but he’s betting the necromancer is set up somewhere in the Thassilonian Vaults below the regular sewers.
Regarding the Bekyars, the dwarf agrees that there’s likely a hidden entrance to the Temple of Asmodeus in the sewers. However, the area below the temple is particularly thick with some of the sewers’ nastiest “beasties,” making any investigation of possible entrances very difficult. But it also means that any slaves brought through the sewers would have to be moved under heavy guard, potentially leaving enough in the way of tracks for Ashla to follow.
The Half-Elf Ranger, meanwhile, is woken by the sound of someone thumping on the door. It’s Grau Soldado, who is looking for Ser Arlynn with an air of desperation. Ashla tells him the last she knew, Arlynn had gone to the Sticky Mermaid. Grau thanks her and sets off. A few minutes later, the rest of the party returns with a map of the sewers around the Temple of Asmodeus. Ashla sends Majenko to recall the guardsman and upon his return, Grau lays out the situation.
His niece Brienna is very sick, broken out all over in red pocks and barely able to keep food down. Her mother, Tayce Soldado, is talking about going to the Bank of Abadar for help, but Grau knows that the family can’t afford the prices the clerics will charge for healing magic. So he is asking Arlynn and the rest of the party to help save his niece’s life.
The party travels to the Soldado home, a squat two-story house in the impoverished Varisian enclave known as Trail’s End. There they find Tayce’s two healthy sons playing in the living room and a priest of Abadar, Ishani Dhatri, preparing an herbal remedy in the kitchen. Grau heads upstairs to argue with Tayce about bringing in the priest, while the party talks with Ishani.
The Abadarian cleric says that Brienna’s illness is very serious, but its combination of symptoms is unknown to him. The tenets of his order forbid him from providing magical healing without charging a price he knows the family can’t pay, so he has been preparing herbal remedies instead—though he’s doubtful they will be enough. It falls to Egan to remove the disease from the girl and Arlynn to restore her to health. An overjoyed Tayce pledges eternal gratitude to the party for saving her daughter, gripping everyone in a tight embrace—except for Arlynn in her spiked plate mail.
Once Brienna is awake, the party questions her about when her symptoms first emerged. They tease out the fact that the girl found a small wooden coffer full of silver coins which had washed up on the river shore the night after the quarantine ship sank. She then raced off to spend the windfall at the markets in North Point until she began feeling ill. The party fears that whatever infection was on board the ship has gotten loose. Ashla investigates North Point and spies several ailing merchants while the rest of the party fruitlessly searches the shoreline for the empty coffer.
The party rushes to Citadel Volshyenek to bring the matter to Cressida, who admits that the Guard recognized the quarantine light but had hoped whatever contaminated the ship destroyed with it. She will alert the Bank of Abadar and the other temples to organize against the plague.
Upon returning home, Zellara manifests to perform a Harrow reading for the party. The cards warn that despite the party’s successes, Korvosa remains trapped in a hypnotic facade, unable to perceive the dangers all around them. The Harrow Deck tells that the party has unmasked a threat to the city that could claim many lives. Gazing into the future, Zellara can see that a buried secret from the past may be key to overcoming this threat, but it may require great sacrifice to do so. Most worryingly, the cards warn that the very pillars and firmament of the city will crumble. The reading connects Slim to the secret, Ashla to the sacrifice, and Egan to the collapse. Zellara’s reading also suggests that Arlynn will perservere where others falter while Zandu will grapple with sickness or corruption.
Zandu and Egan try to research the disease using the books confiscated from Rolth’s library, but cannot identify it. The disease bears symptoms from several different plagues, but appears to be something new and especially virulent.
With those grim thoughts in mind, the party goes to bed. They awaken to a cryptic message from Vencarlo Orisini, summoning them to visit him at his fencing academy.