Dressed in nondescript outsider cloaks, the Xaniqos set out on their separate routes towards The Black Chalice.
Phaedra glides through the ghettos in her green cloak. She is treated with contempt by the nobles and has to move aside for every drow. Exposed to the whims of the passers-by, she keeps to the walls whenever she can and blends in. Her brother Alvra, bigger and more muscular than the scout – the Wizard in his wake – isn’t bothered by the public. Orcs and kobolds leave them alone, figuring they are not worth the trouble. Face averted, Lilith tries to make her way to the establishment without giving away her identity. Act like an outsider! She has to remind herself almost every step. When the Cleric is almost run over by a merchant car, his rude
Get out of the way!
making her jump aside just in time, she comes extremely close to losing her temper. Especially House Vae merchants are very annoying – a fact which Lilith stores away safely in her memory. For later use. Finally all siblings arrive at the Black Chalice.
Inside the clientele is mixed: drow, both males and females, undead and other creatures. There are no priestesses of Lolth, though. The food is of dubious composition. Strange snacks, narcotics and goblets of blood are distributed around. When the Draegloth passes Phaedra’s table, she greets him in a soft voice. He snarls.
What do you want?
Only after she reveals her face, the half demon-half drow relaxes. A soft chuckle, then:
What are you doing here?
Intrigued, he sits down at the drow’s table.
Well, as they are good sources of information, I go to all kind of inns regularly,
The Draegloth replies that, though he thinks all is foul in the city, he likes the Black Chalice because there is very little drow interference.
Do you know anything about foreigners – non-drow – living underneath the city? It seems House Eilservs has lost control over this ghetto.
Phaedra leans slightly forward after her question.
Have you seen a large tower, made of bones? It is owned by a male lich Morius. Rumors are that he is not content with living in the tower anymore. A lot of foreigners have disappeared – also drow, perhaps to be used for experiments. To make more undead. The Eilservs do nothing indeed, so be careful.
From the corner of her eye, the Scout sees her sister enter the inn, a cloud of pent-up anger and frustration almost tangible around the Cleric. Lilith stomps towards the bar and orders a glass of wine. Suspicious of its contents, she first smells before taking a sip. In her rage, drinking and grinding her teeth is all she’s able to do, apart from strangling a by-stander to cool her anger. At another table many high-ranking people are socializing. There is much food, but only a few eat. A woman – a vampire – looks like she might be the inn’s owner, Nytha’ela. Phaedra turns her attention back to the half-demon.
Has Thangarth left already?
Yes, but I’m staying for a while, I have some business still.
Can I be of assistance?
No, but thank you for the offer. Until next time.
Then the powerful Draegloth grabs his scythe and walks out. Phaedra throws back her hood, moves towards the noble table and says in Drow:
Can I help you?
Would you mind if I joined you?
Yes I would!
the vampire indignantly says. When Phaedra doesn’t move, she hisses,
Are you dimwitted?
I’m so sorry, I meant no disrespect. I only have a quick question: if I wanted information, who would be the best person to ask?
An icily “Me” is the answer.
Rumors have it that undead giants are in the ghetto. Is that even possible?
You’re talking about the Principles?
Yes, have they set up a place here in the ghetto?
Truth is I’m surprised House Eilservs allows this to happen. I have some business with these Principles.
Instantly the mood turns and becomes threatening.
You want to do business with them? What kind of business? Do sit down, ‘please’.
The vampire hisses and shows her teeth – Phaedra sits and says
I just want to know where they are. Do they work for you?
No, they arrived not long ago, though they act as if the city belongs to them!
And if I say my ‘business’ would not be positive?
That does make a difference, yes. I would like to see them destroyed.
Phaedra smiles, while Nytha’ela continues.
They entered here, didn’t pay homage to me at all and now break all the rules. They are backed up by House Shi’quos. A lot has changed lately.
What if I would take care of them?
Continuing her story, the vampire nods.
They have taken residence underneath the Sarcoma Keep, a mansion that has been empty for over a hundred years. It has been used several times by necromancers and undead, and is overgrown by vegetation. The keep is enormous, but ruinous.
The Xaniqos Scout thanks the lady for the information.
If I can be of assistance in the future…?
May I take my leave now?
With that the vampire turns back to her party.