Thornkeep. Lharvion 21, YK 1006.
Two days after their return to Thornkeep, the team’s morning is interrupted by the arrival of a carriage bearing the heraldry of House Kundarak. Two Dwarves, Baron Morrikan d’Kundarak and his son Rhok arrive. Morrikan demands to see Thonnak – his bastard sone – who is shortly produced, and proceeds to demand that Thonnak return to Sharn to continue his studies. It is made clear that that Thonnak’s refusal will be met with force. Rhok is clearly more sympathetic to his half-brother’s plight, but is powerless to countermand his father, the Patriarch of his House. In the course of the argument it is revealed that Rhok use to adventure with Iozef, who he knows as Fezzik. Grok also seeks news from Rhok of his adoptive father Rauthur. He learns that Rauthur is a professor at the University of Korth. Eventually, Thonnak is forced to enter the carriage, leaving behind everything, and is carted off.
Barton arrives shortly thereafter and points out that – mad as everyone may be at the moment – they still have a job to do, and their cover was just seriously weakened, so they need to move the timetable up. They need to go after Briar now.
The party briefly discusses how best to do this, and decides to see if Krenar Half-Face will reveal anything about the ‘projects’ he was working on for Briar. They find the Echo Cleft once again, and Krenar is convinced to tell them that Briar plans to deactivate the guidestones of the new Orien Lightning Rail just before its inaugural train arrives. Requisitioning magebred steeds, the party races to the rail and arrives a few hours ahead of Briar’s timetable, finding a large crowd of bandits in the dusk light.
Kalyassa disguises herself and sneaks into the camp to find Briar on his hands and knees apparently siphoning energy from the lightning rail’s guidestones. After she returns, the party plans their attack. Grok and Sayid will attack the camp head on, hoping to draw the greater part of the enemy toward them. Meanwhile Beren will drop an obscuring mist over the camp and Deyna, Kalyassa, and Iozef will sneak in, incapacitate Briar, and drag him away.
At first, all goes well. The Mist falls, Grok and Sayid attack and are soon surrounded, and Kalyassa, Iozef, and Deyna sneak invisibly into the camp. Beren is soon attacked as well, but uses mage armor to defend himself. Grok and Sayid carve through enemies and draw more, and Iozef and Kalyassa manage to stealthily silence a few as well. As enemies begin dropping, the party notices that some of them appear to be glamored to look like bandits but are actually men in robes with strange masks in the shape of eyes. Others seem to be entirely illusory.
Once she’s in range, Deyna attempts to cast sleep on Briar, who resists. She then switches to spells that will stun him. However, as all is going relatively well, a new enemy emerges, a strange man in a hooded cloak embroidered with eyes. He is soon probing into the minds of the party, but makes no attempt to stop their fighting. One by one, he draws each member’s most painful memory to the forefront for his amusement.
After a few moments of this, he appears to grow bored, and with a snap of his fingers, causes the enemies to vanish and the terrain around changes to an amphitheater. In the middle of the arena stands Briar looking perplexed with a greataxe while the strange man, who calls himself Algier, watches from the crowd. Briar attacks and the party fights back. As Sayid moves in, Briar turns and addresses him in Rierdran, referencing Sayid’s father. Confused and alarmed, Sayid asks the man “What path do you walk?” to which Briar responds “The only right one, il-Lashvatar.” In a fit of fear and panic, Sayid turns his mindblades lethal and stabs Briar through the head, killing him. Sayid immediately throws his other mind blade at Algier, who catches it and crushes it in his hand before drawing Sayid’s thinly veiled memory of his father’s death to the front of his mind. The memory and the psychic backlash of having his mindblade crushed puts Sayid on his knees.
Algier appears amused and nonthreatening for a moment and takes the time to thank the party for the show and reveal that he is a Daelkyr who escaped through the gateway in the Enigma Vaults. He then disappears, leaving the party in the arena he created. The party gathers the body of Briar and makes its way back to Thornkeep.