It was the day after what later became known as the Night of Ashes. Pavo and Alaria visited the smoking ruins of the Silver Star, looking for their friend Shensen. They noted a young, well-dressed man poking around the ruins, as if looking for someone or something. He left empty-handed.
That night Titus held his first Fight Night at the Forum Sodalitus. He was kept busy running Belor’s, supplying the food and drink for the spectators. Gaian had accepted the offer to MC the event to earn a few extra coins. He introduced the first animal fights as the bookies shouted the odds.
Evalyn convinced Keldor to attend the fights, partly to get his mind off the events of the previous night. Taking advantage of the alcohol, she then goaded him to enter the prize fight. “Really honey, what is the point of all that training if you don’t use it?” In a brief battle Keldor defeated a gnoll warrior, winning the main prize and staving off poverty for a few more weeks.
During the night he was approached by a young man who introduced himself as Rexus, with an offer to hire Keldor as a bodyguard. Keldor’s first task was to accompany Rexus to speak with Pavo.
Meeting in a private room with Pavo, Titus and Bug, Rexus explained he is Baroness Porcia Victocora’s son. He calmly stated his family is dead, killed in the fire which burnt down their house, and that almost everyone else he knew had been killed or is missing. He said the night was some kind of purge, and that the burned buildings and missing/killed people were all related somehow. His mother left him precious few items, but an important letter – it seems she foresaw what was coming and prepared. Rexus asked for Pavo’s help, as the bard had worked with his mother before, albeit unknowingly. At this stage, Rexus said, he had nobody else to turn to. He needed help recovering something, and asked Pavo to meet him in two days and to bring some stout allies.
The next day Barzillai made a public announcement. Under the inference of protecting the people, the new lord-mayor enacted martial law and a curfew, and announced seven proclamations which many Kintargans found troubling.
Although the majority of Kintargo’s citizens felt confused and anxious, some took matters further. Small incidents occurred: students from the Alabaster Academy vandalised a statue of the empress; disgruntled merchants blocked Bleakbridge and had to be forcibly removed; tiefling thugs assaulted an Asmodean priest; and several spontaneous protests were quickly dispersed by dottari. One report had a large group of angry rioters capture and torture a dottari patrol, though rumour had it this was actually spread by the dottari themselves to give the impression they are the real victims. Uncertainty permeated the city.
Gaian’s tours were suffering. Visitors from within Cheliax had all but stopped due to the rebellion, and from outside the nation had dwindled. Furthermore, the Greens was still off limits. More annoying, however, was the three copper per person toll placed on Bleakbridge, which ate into his small profit. After his last tour he barely made enough for a few meals.
Meanwhile Titus asked Bug to try to discover the whereabouts of Lentius – the vigilante hadn’t been seen since two days earlier. Bug headed to the Holding House, which was recently re-opened to due overcrowding in the city’s prison. Bug barely escaped being arrested himself once he admitted knowing Lentius. He reported to Titus that Lentius had been arrested, and is possibly dead.
Back at Belor’s, Mercia alerted the bar to a ghost in the cellar. Gaian was nearest, and rushed to the lady’s assistance. He discovered a secret door in the cellar which led to dark rooms beyond. Accompanied by Titus, Bug and Pavo, they found a pool of water which joined the sewer and ultimately emptied into the Yolubilis River. A large albino crocodile lurked nearby.
Gaian noticed dead bodies, brutally murdered years ago, and burn marks on the walls and the statue of Calistria. He found notes of “…hunted, they will find us hiding here soon but we will face their fire unflinchingly…” This was an old, makeshift temple to Calistria, obviously destroyed by Asmodeans. He remembered as a child his father taking him to see Calistrians burned for heresy. He felt he had been led to this place by some other power.