Our first day in Katapesh was eventful. Ezgar was found, a proposal found Lorenz, and many other discoveries followed. After Myrrh’s accidental discovery of Ezgar, I created a sanctum upon our ship, should planning commence. Ezgar is powerful, with powerful allies. I could not be too cautious.
After our discussion, I knew Hexa was aboard as well, in the Dervish’s quarters. I distracted myself with my works. I could not afford to waste time on my sister’s mistakes any longer. I agreed with Reskfar that Ezgar would be best dealt with before the auction for the sun orchid elixir. After he was dealt with, we could replace him and infiltrate the “Old Dragon Bones”, perhaps even failing at the auction in his guise. First, I would need to discover his current activities.
Ashen, nor her “Convocation” had been seen, but they had passed through the city on a northerly heading, likely following her brother, Slate. Vestin’s church of Abadar will, indeed, be at the nighstall auction. He’d also found the buy-in is an ivory pesh vial purchased at Zandrek’s Pesh Palace.
I had begun my scry on Ezgar. Myrrh had taken to places unknown. When asked, he spoke of a lady friend he had to meet, and a way to sell our aboleth-bearing gems. The captain was chuckling to himself as he left, muttering about “dung guilds”. I could clearly see at least a handful of the blasted “presto oozes” squirming about beneath his gunny sack. Vestin had secluded himself in his quarters.
My scry had found Ezgar, still wearing Aven’s stolen skin. The undead bastard wore an eyepatch, something new this time. He was seated in the Sand Dragon Inn, making tallies on some manner of table. His focus was not on the room, though. His undead form was wreathed in magic, divination, transmutation, and heavy necromancy. His eyes were damned isitoq, his eye-patch was hiding another, but it was gone! Where was it, I worried. Inside his satchel were powerful shredskins, I found.
Many wealthy patrons came and left the inn over my scry, but one is particular stood out. It was the male equivalent of Sevardomos. The white, the gold, the gloves; there was no mistake, a Kalistocrat. I wondered, but not for long. Soon after the prophet’s arrival, Ezgar noticed my sensor. Aven’s stolen lips spread apart like the grotesque facsimile of an aboleth giving birth, revealing the corpse’s grinning teeth beneath. His knowing smile revealed, the monster returned to his ledgers. Dammit.
I needed a moment to recover from Ezgar’s horrendous grin. It was just as well that Reskfar burst into my lab soon after, “Goethey boy, do I have some news for you!”
“Get this, bucko! Bought into the dung carters and sweepers guild for next to nothin’, right. Made my way into Zandrek’s, offered my services. Got in, o’ course, and let those prestos do the trick for me while I took a look around, sneakily o’ course! Get this. Some guy looks just like Kaledith shows up and demands an ivory pesh vial, though the stuck-up munthrek won’t smoke none! Silly sod by the name o’ Gilex Beorht.”
I soon knew this was the same man I’d seen in the Sand Dragon Inn.
“Crazy munthrek spent 10,000 gold on that vial! Believe it?! Bastard didn’t even smoke it, while makin’ all kinds o’ threats ‘bout "violatin’ his vows ‘er sumtin’. Guessin’ the “official” invitation is in the pesh or sumthin’. Magic maybe? Whatcha say, magic man?"
“Gilex Beorht, you say? Curious. Perhaps Sevardomos may have information on this other kalistocrat. And yes, the pesh may have properties unknown as yet. We will have to see.”, I said.
“Sure, whatever, Goethe. Let’s go visit the “Old Dragon Bones”. I found out where it’s moored, and since you know where Ezgar is, it’s the perfect time! Let’s take Vaghol too! He’ll be all kinds of useful! First though, let’s go talk to Kaledith about this Beorht character. Maybe they know each other!"
I did my best to ignore the fact the captain was nearly covered in presto oozes, over double the number mere hours before. I could do without that knowledge at this point.
“By the prophet, Gilex is here! What are the odds of that? Captain, you mustn’t tell Vestin of this. Gilex is a haughty old suitor of mine. No doubt he’s here to flaunt his wealth in the auction. Dung collector’s guild?! Begone from me! Bleghh!”, the prophetess reprimanded.
“Well, that settles that, ol’ boy! Let’s go take a look at the ’Bones!”, the captain cheered.
My sighs went unnoticed.
We found the “Old Dragons Bones” moored, but empty, unguarded, reeking of death, and for sale. It was gutted, emptied of anything and everything of value, for the living, or the dead. The hoards of how many dragons had been spent, or converted. We knew Ezgar was making calculations. We knew the sun orchid elixir was soon to be sold. The math was simple, but how was he to leave the city? We wondered.
Ezgar concerned us. The last time we fought was in the Mana Wastes. This time magic would be on our side. We would need holy weapon balm and silver weapon blanch to bypass his resistances. We would also need to keep our distance. We agreed neither of us were inclined to being skinned alive.
I needed to keep an eye on Ezgar while we prepared. The Hellknights were far more useful than the Acadamae. The imp they provided, Schlitz, was most helpful. I could not afford to put Blatz in danger, at least for the moment. I sent Schlitz on his way to monitor Ezgar. With any luck, he would not be noticed, or killed. During that time, a troubled Vestin finally emerged from his quarters, entered Sevaradomos’, closing the door behind him. Of all the manic females, Tebrilith, newly promoted to 1st mate, was the worst, exclaiming, “Aaaahhhh, I can’t take the suspense anymore! I’m going to hire another sailor – maybe someone who knows the route north.”
Soon after, Hexa, Nomawyn, and Reyna returned to their scatter-brained gossip, and Schlitz appeared with strange news. Ezgar was eating! Pork kebobs, chicken, all manner of meat-relieved skeletons were piled atop his greased-stained counting papers. His undead body was stuffed to bursting, both clothing and flesh ready to rip. His revolting form alarmed and nauseated so much as to completely clear the room. More isitoq landed next to invisible Schlitz, dancing with each other. What did this mean?
As I used Schlitz to Commune with Hell about Ezgar, Peril returned with our new sailor, Finnegan Torrentail. I suddenly wished the mana-wasted ogre had blown off my ears when I heard the merfolk speak. It was like hearing six men try to speak the same sentence, in six different languages, simultaneously. As soon as I spoke Aquan, it became much easier. Despite his linguistic…handicap, this Torrentail may make a fine addition.
The merfolk seemed headed to the Nightstalls as well. Is this the work of Apsu, or something else? He did exhibit a certain power about him, something very familiar.
It was then that Kaledith’s door opened.