The companions take some time to regroup after the loss of a dear friend, the crypts of the Hope District as good a place as any to commemorate the life of Romica. Composure restored for the time being, the group acquires the hope stone corresponding with the Temple of Gorum as they travel through the district.
In discussion with Quinn, the companions learn more about the jail beneath the Vigil District. New prisoners are sent to this dungeon for processing before they are transitioned to other areas. Quinn has seen many sent to the laboratories beneath the Charity District, although he has not seen any return. When pressed, he advises that he has no way to enter the laboratories, nor the willingness to should he have the means. He also notes several points of interest in the jail including a sealed door made of a bluish stone, a material that reminds the companions of Ironjack. Intrigued, they decide their next course of action should be to examine this door further.
Returning to the nexus, the companions push past the recently opened iron door into the Vigil District. A long hallway greets the group, the noted door halfway up the corridor. Upon investigation, the bluish stone appears to be the same as that favoured by Ironjack. Several runes adorn the portal, similar to those seen on other items accredited to the famous dwarf. The companions try their Ironjack related keys, the last one of which opens the door on hidden hinges.
The inside of the room has an industrial feel complete with a crude iron forge. The implement phases continually between planes, resulting in a semi-transparent look. Investigating further, the group confirms that it is of a similar design as the other hell-oriented relic found, and therefore likely related. Opposite the door, the wall is scorched with the exception of three forms – two of the three humanoid shapes shorter in nature – where no soot is present. The room has the smell of brimstone.
Continuing down the hallway, the sounds of a working prison – screaming inmates, rattling chains, water dripping – become clearer. The companions decide it best to use the chime of silence to mask their entry. This allows them to bypass several sets of guards on patrol. Ahead, a gate can be seen in the distance. Quinn notes that it leads into the prison commons, where many guards reside. He also points to an older looking door in the wall and notes that he was unable to open the lock. The guards appear not to pay attention to whatever lays beyond.
Their curiosity piqued, the companions use their chime of opening to unlock the door. The rickety portal opens to a converted storeroom that appears to be a headquarters of sorts. There are various food stores, equipment for a guard including a uniform, a bed, a map of the underground on the wall, and various notes strewn about. The food has gone moldy, the person that used this room has not likely used it for some time. The companions would guess the former resident was female. A detailed search reveals an old set of manacles complete with a key, as well as a hidden compartment under the floor tiles. The small partition holds a formidable short bow as well as a dog collar embossed with the name “Fluffy”. Could the changeling from the Shadow Swift have travelled to Everstand?
Above ground, an invisible Maydrane patiently waits for the rangers to fan out before charging the unsuspecting soldiers. Her vicious attack spears the lieutenant of the brigade, dropping him to his knees. The superior numbers prove a minor inconvenience for the Mistress of Blades, as the rangers are disposed of in short order. The door to the temple is barred to deter further unwanted entrants. Lando performs a detailed search of the Head Priestess Ilidia’s quarters that reveals nothing of note.
Exiting the temple, Lando and Maydrane are reunited with Briggs, who is dragging the crumpled form of Darius Pritchard behind him. He motions to the temple, Lando nods. Briggs hands over two guard uniforms, “Things are going to escalate from here, you guys will need to get a move on, I’ll take care of this mess.” Lando and Maydrane strategize next steps.
The companions continue into the prison. The group is able to gain entry to the guard room through stealth, scoping out the premises. Several guards loyal to Hercluf are on-duty. The companions make contact with the guards and bring them up-to-speed on events. The guards provide a break down of the jail as well as the prisoners presently being processed – there is a central area as well as isolated holding cells for those that are deemed high risk. Several persons of note, including an elven hunter and a wizard, are currently held there. Regarding the base of operations, the guards advise that the room was used by the leader of their cell, whom Hercluf was in touch with. She has not been seen in several months.
The companions don guard uniforms and bypass the prison commons to gain entry to the holding cells. As soon as they enter, they are addressed by the wizard, who wishes to make a deal. He introduces himself as Samdolf, a relic hunter – he has no interest in staying in Everstand and attempts to enlist the companions help to free him. The group attempts to gain knowledge from the wizard about what is going on outside the walls of the city, but Samdolf quickly bores of the conversation. With a snap of his fingers, the doors of the cells open and the other prisoners rush out.