Previously, the heroes descended into the ancient waterways in order to find the headquarters of the night master. They had found signs of combat between the rogues of the Steady Hand, the aberrant lords, and the insidious skaven. They managed to find the entrance to the headquarters and made their way inside, cloaked by Emrys’ veil of invisibility.
Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)
The heroes were unsure on how to proceed. They were fairly confident that behind the closed door they had found, deep inside the guild headquarters, they would find the night master, and with him hopefully Hamish too. As they contemplated on their next steps, James heard the soft whimper of a woman echoing down the corridors. It was not coming from beyond the door, but from back towards the way they had come. Behind them James still saw the two rogues pouring over the map that the mercenary had left behind. He concentrated intently and could also heard a man grunting in pain and discomfort, though the sounds seemed disconnected.
When James shared what he had heard it seemed that something inside of Luca broke as he wondered whether it was Hamish that was being hurt. Luca’s voice rose in consternation and immediately James untethered himself from the rest of the group in an attempt to distance himself, afraid that Luca’s emotions would get them discovered by the rogues. Emrys, equally concerned by Luca’s increasingly unstable behaviour spoke to him and got him to focus on the task at hand; opening the door in front of them. “Either Astrid kicks it down, or I will burn it down,” Luca said, not easily placated by Emrys. Quentin, calling upon the powers of his new patron deity commanded Luca to calm himself, which worked. Once the panic was broken in Luca he found that it was easier to restrain himself.
Emrys found a keyhole in the door through which a bit of light shone. He knelt and peered through the hole and noticed that on the other side there were some people, at least two. One of them was pacing, while the other one was stationary, but it was unclear who the two might be. When James was asked to take a look at the lock in order to unlock it he found that after several, frustrating attempts that the door was already unlocked. Swiftly changing tactics he pretended like he managed to unlock it, making quite the show of it in order not to look foolish.
The heroes managed to open the door at a crack and peer inside, seeing a man standing at a desk and hearing him talk. Next to the desk stood Hamish, blank faced and impassive. Close to Hamish stood one of the strange, dog-sized, fleshy animals, ostensibly guarding the pacified Hamish. They tried to listen in on what the man the heroes assumed was the night master was saying:
David, I know our friendship has… cooled in recent years, but I still feel compelled to warn you that we have been infiltrated.
Whoever it is, they waited until this place was almost empty, which leads me to believe that we have been betrayed.
I have the mage and I will be taking him to the Upright Man. I can no longer protect him and I don’t trust the tentacle-faced scum any further than I can throw them. I know there will be consequences.
The man in question was beyond his middle years, but tall and wiry, dressed in blue cotton trousers and a black and blue, striped doublet. His face was cold, with fair skin, dark brown hair, and a regal, aquiline nose. He wore an amulet on a silver chain around his neck. The amulet bore the crest of a raven, which some of the heroes recognised to be that of house Ravensbourne, to which the ward that they were underneath had gotten its name.
The heroes decided that it would wise to cause a distraction which would draw the attention of all the rogues in the headquarters, leaving the heroes to deal with the night master. It was decided that Astrid would be that distraction; she was the fastest and crazy enough to do it. She drew her swords and started running towards the entrance, dragging the tips of her swords along both walls, sending sparks flying.
It worked, and it drew the attention of all the rogues in the complex. The rogues in the opposite room who were pouring over the map were instantly alerted and started to head towards the entrance, following Astrid. The night master was startled and reached into a drawer of his desk to retrieve a conical statuette into which he placed a crystal. He turned around and faced the wall behind his desk. On two sides of that wall were statues that looked like gargoyles with their mouths agape. Into one of the mouths he inserted the statue and instantly the wall transformed into an black, oval void from which the light could not escape. A sound of an ever retreating wave emitted from the portal.
When the night master made a move towards his impassive friend, Luca could no longer contain himself and rushed in. He ran for Hamish and tried to teleport away. His first attempt failed as he did not pick the destination with care; the translocation spell required an unoccupied space as the target, which Luca could not secure. Temporarily dazed, Luca cursed himself for his stupidity, especially since he had lost the veil of invisibility in his attempt to rescue Hamish.
In that moment, the fleshy dog attempted to attack Luca, but was met with a hail of the night master’s personal items as Emrys used his kinetic magic. Both Emrys and Luca were now visible, and the rogues in the other room set their sights on Emrys. Quentin saw that the fleshy dog was still a threat and ran in to finish the dog with a swing of Róisín, also losing his invisibility in the process.
While Emrys was engaged with the two rogues, Luca made another attempt to translocate himself and Hamish away from the headquarters, but this time he chose a safer location; the entrance of the headquarters. While Luca and Hamish disappeared, Quentin was left with the night master and watched as two aberrant lords emerged from one of the walls of the chamber, as if they had been merged with the very stone of the ancient waterways themselves.
All the while, James had joined Astrid in the lobby of the headquarters, both engaged with the rogues at the entrance.