Stopping only a moment to tend their wounds, the party charges forward into the courtyard where they are met by several Eladrin and their fearsome shadow hounds. Bravely the party charges into the fray, unfazed by the shadowwalkers that slip in and out of sight. While pinpointing their location is difficult, the party manages to shatter their magical amulets, preventing their invisibility. The hounds are quickly dispatched and the shadow witch’s dark magics are unable to protect her.
Finally they reach the eastern nave, where 11 pedestals line the walls. Standing over the only occupied pedestal is an old, familiar face – the Buyer. He chants something in an unknown language, then chortles with glee and snatches up the mask that was displayed. Clapping it to his face, he draws a long, curved scimitar and charges the party. As the party charges into the room to face him, they are quite surprised to encounter several guards stationed just inside the door, who bring their swords to bear on the first members. The party recovers quickly enough though, and without much difficulty, takes out the Buyer. Again on his death, he is enveloped in a bright flash of light and disappears, leaving only his mask behind him.
As the commotion dies down, several monks enter the room, their bows drawn shakily. “P-p-put it back!” one commands. “That mask is a holy relic!” With some soothing words, Baern manages to calm the monks. Brother Bernard shakes his head and decides that they must speak to Devoted Father William. As they go up the stairs, Baern examines the mask he holds.
Brother Bernard leads the party back through the monastery and up a flight of stairs to a large, airy chamber. A man, frail and withered beyond imagining lies upon the bed, attended by another monk. The man nods and makes a shooing motion with his hand, and the monks retreat, leaving the Devoted Father alone with the party. The man’s skin is translucent, showing the pale blue tracery of his veins beneath his skin. When he speaks, his voice wavers and tremors up and down. “You have saved and returned one of the Faces of god to its place, and for this the Brotherhood owes you its gratitude. But I must ask of you: speak of this to no one, for the full knowledge of what you saw here today would cause a panic greater than the Catastrophe.” The party looks at the man lying on the bed and recognizes it as THE William the Bald – the personal spiritual adviser to Garrick the Forger and the founder of Unkard. He doesn’t look too bad for a 120+-year-old.
Unfortunately, the Devoted Father doesn’t know too much about the masks either, simply that they are a fragment of immense divine power. Their arrival in this world is fairly new; the Brotherhood acquired this mask shortly after the Catastrophe. Slightly reluctantly, he gives the keeping of the second mask into the party’s hands, as the Brotherhood has proved incapable of defending it. But with that, he becomes too tired to speak more on the matter, asking the party to bring back any other masks they find so he may have more pieces of the puzzle to work with.
Back in the city, a guard stops the party as it is entering. “You all are wanted in the council chamber.” he says gruffly.
The party makes their way to the chamber and the page leaves them standing at the door. “If you’ll wait just a moment,” he says in a tremulous voice. The reason for waiting is clear – even through the closed door you can hear a heated argument.
”…And the Guard isn’t enough!” a female voice calls out. “When the city was smaller, yes, we could do without, but the sheer influx of refugees has driven various crimes up by nearly 200%”
“I must agree with Nia” another female voice joins in. “Your… charity… isn’t going to be enough Arhdal. We need to take a stronger hold over the people that look to the city for help. And the first way is to get control of these slums that are springing up. Let us put the people to good work.”
“Good work! Huh! You’d make them slaves!” a male voice calls out, and there’s the sound of breaking glass.
“Dalibor! Enough! This matter has already been decided by majority vote and it’s high time we moved on to the next item on our agenda. Cuall, show them in please…” the first female concludes.
A terrified looking page opens the door and Nia gracefully motions to the council. “Natalya Grettisdottir, the floor is yours for the discussion of the Vertland crisis.” Nia sits down and looks attentively at the dwarf. In the corner, Kirk is hastily cleaning up what looks like a broken ink bottle.
Natalya addresses the party: “In this time of crisis, Unkard has been called upon to look out for not only the well-being of those in our borders, but the entirety of the Thrannish Empire. A scant hour ago, we received an urgent message from one of the teams we sent to investigate the rumors of the dead rising in Vertland. As you have proved your worth, we again will employ your talents to supplement the strength of our city. Go to Laconia and assist the team we sent there.”