While en route the tiefling sorceress examines some of the objects taken from the nautiloid, finding that the ring from the well dressed mind flayer, it’s robes, and the two crossbow bolts removed from the corpses all radiate magic. Meanwhile Lenata translates the scroll discovering that it, along with a sash and a seal which were not found, denotes the bearer as the illithid ambassador plenipotentiary from the Illithid Continuum to the Neogi Empire.
As the crew recover from their battles on the trip back to the Rock of Bral they discuss their findings and what research they need to do when they get back. Sapphira stresses that the carnage on the mind flayer ship was obviously a “hit” and professionally done.
Reaching the city they disembark, Vedis noting the extremely tense mood at the docks and in low town. Everyone seems on edge. They escort Kenari to the Library of the Spheres (she drew the short straw and has to do research this time) stopping in the middle city at Balic’s Blades to see if they can identify the workmanship of the bolts. To their surprise he readily IDs them as the weapons of enforcers from the Tenth Pit.
Dropping off the felinoid at the library the rest head back to low town for a drink. Deciding something rowdy is in order Vedis and Lenata take the others to the Rockrat. As they enter their weapons are collected by a huge, formally dressed, ogre named Grinder.
After a few hours of drinking there is a commotion at the door. A haggard group of humans come in and Ef Utan notices tendrils of mist trailing in along the floor behind them. The newcomers go to the bar and begin stalking animatedly with the barkeep. The excitement and unease seems to leap through the crowd, and as our heroes pay their tab the barkeep looks Sapphira up and down appreciatively and warns her to “be careful out there, looks like the Red Masks and the Yakuza are throwing down tonight.”
Exiting onto the street they see the low mist slowly spreading through the streets and figures furtively running through it. For a few moments they fear that it is the same mists that took them all to Ravenloft. Deciding that retrieving Kenari is of paramount importance they ready their weapons and head towards the middle city.
As they move through the currently deserted street along the edge of Shou Town the noise of weapons, and the occasional spell, ring through the streets around them. The only sign of the Bralian Guard is the corpse of one lying on the street corner.
Suddenly a small group of humans burst from an adjacent alleyway on the Shou Town side and run towards the docks. Behind them figures advance through the mist, figures that are not even vaguely human. Looking like man sized blobs of melted wax the vaguely humanoid figures slowly advance into the street. Sapphira looks icily at the oncoming figures for a moment and then shouts to the others, “They’re Fiends! Oni, a breed of Tanar’ri from the Abyss!”
Chaos ensues as the Oni slog through the street after the fleeing red masks, some of them engaging our heroes as they do so. The violence erupts when one of them walks past Sapphira and then strikes her from behind.
As the tiefling responds with a magic missile all hell breaks loose. Ef Utan, blades flashing is flanked by Lenatta with her dragon pistols and Kenari’s scream and leap. Fortunately for them the majority of the Oni ignore them, continuing after the departed Red Masks. As one particularly ugly fiend
As the melee roils Vedis notices a large number of halfling sized figures lining up along the rooftops on either side of them. While the silhouettes of crossbows can be seen in their hands they do not fire on either set of combatants.
As the last of the Oni are dispatched and our heroes start to leave, another group of figures burst from the same alley entrance. A group of humans wearing the now familiar red bandanas over their faces.
The Red Masks are running at full speed and they hardly take notice of anyone not directly in their way. As they turn onto the main thoroughfare a hail of crossbow bolts rains down from above as the halflings open fire. Several starwheel shots ring out as well, Red Masks dropping with each one.
With a nod and a wave from the halflings above our heroes head up the street and manage to avoid any more direct engagements between there and the Middle City.