In the Demon’s Den


Back at the mansion, Lilith and Phaedra talk to the orc cook. He is trembling, very afraid of his life at this point, and tells them that Jevan was in his kitchen for quite a while. After the drow cook left, nothing seemed out of order, but the orc did discover a couple of jars with new herbs. Phaedra escorts the cook to his mess kitchen to point out all new ingredients and secure them.

The Xaniqos brothers bring Jevan’s body in and call upon their eldest sister to perform a ritual that enables them to speak to the dead.  Quarra agrees, dying to know more herself. She admonishes Lilith to ask only very explicit questions and then plunges into her spell, concentrating hard. The High Priestess’ hands begin to glow and soon she calls out to the spirit of Jevan to come back from the dead.

Lilith asks Jevan’s corpse, who is helplessly caught in Quarra’s spell:

What is the name of the one who ordered you to poison House Xaniqos?


Her eyes widen in recognition when she hears the eerie voice. That treacherous betraying daughter of a… In a frosty voice, she asks:

And who gave you the poisonous herbs?


Bergen is a local merchant, known for his trade in poisons.

Amalika is the betrayer, the Matron Mother’s trusted adviser! It might well be possible that the Lady Thandysha doesn’t know anything yet about the missing Mask. It could even be that she never asked for the Mask of the Matriarch at all and that the alliance with House Godeep is only based on Amalika’s lies. Amalika’s influence on the Xaniqos politiques was big, since she was the adviser in the alliance affairs. We might have to reconsider all that has happened since the Council!

Provided with six hundred gold pieces and several healing potions, the Xaniqos siblings set out – Lilith in the lead – to follow the only lead left by the assassin.

Let’s find that bitch!

They march to the Demon’s Den and are greeted by a lot of noise and commotion. The Den is packed with many half drow, bugbears, humans with green cloaks – none are wearing house insignias – and it is really busy. Phaedra mingles with the crowd, quickly hiding her Xaniqos insignia. The Demon’s Den has a main entrance, a second exit at the back of the bar and another that probably leads to the cellar. A stairway is leading up to the first floor.

The Scout makes her way to the back of the establishment, when suddenly she spots Amalika, who is in the company of three others, two males, one female. The men look conspicuously like the assassin. The female is more common. Her features are harsh and she is constantly scanning the crowd, not drinking. Phaedra heads back towards Lilith and briefs her sister on the situation. The siblings place themselves in strategic places: Alvra stays at the main entrance, the wizard positions himself at the bottom of the stairs and the Scout dives back into the crowd.

Look at her, sitting there with a smug smile on her face. Nobody makes a fool out of House Xaniqos! Straightening her shoulders, Lilith walks straight towards the table where Amalika is still chatting, oblivious to the fact that the Xaniqos have arrived. The Cleric boldly takes the chair next to the traitor and sits down. Everyone tenses, ready to jump into action. The two assassins draw their wicked weapons.

Well, well, well, look who’s here! If that isn’t our dear friend Amalika! Pardon me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you supposed to be at the Council?

Hello Lilith, so nice of you to drop by. Are you looking for something?

Yeah, something and someone!

The Cleric notices the female’s weapon, which is dripping and pulsing with green poison. The woman introduces herself as Zaetha, owner of the establishment.

I must say, Amalika, I admire your scheming. Matron Mother Thandysha of course knows nothing of the Mask of the Matriarch, am I right?

Amalika nods, content with herself.

You have played your role of trusted confidante of the House of Xaniqos quite well. But where does your alliance really lie?

Haven’t you guessed by now? My liege lies with the House Aleval.

Allied with the Second House! The Cleric assesses the situation. The common room is filled with people and lots of bodyguards are circling the room. The assassins look like they know their way with weapons, as does Zaetha. Not a good place to settle the score.

Well, then I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be leaving, but this isn’t the end of it. Until next time, Amalika.

With her head held high, Lilith marches out of the door, followed by Alvra. Phaedra whispers in the passing that she will stay a bit longer to keep an eye on things. As soon as the Xaniqos have left, the atmosphere becomes relaxed again.

Outside they find their Wizard brother, who has been sent out earlier. They return home and report to Quarra. Around midnight, a large group of drow returns to the house. The Lady Thandysha strides in, pleased about the Council. There is good news: a possible alliance with both House Godeep and House Vae. She orders her daughters to join her later with a full report.

After an hour Lilith and Phaedra are summoned to the Matron Mother’s throne room. She is not so pleased anymore, and in the corner two unhappy minotaurs are sulking, their furs bloodied. The Matron Mother stares at her daughters.

Well, why don’t you go ahead and tell our Mother Thandysha  all that has happened, Lilith?

Quarra’s voice is silken, but the Cleric’s voice is even smoother when she replies

Ah no, Quarra, I couldn’t. Will you – as the elder sister – do the honor?

The high priestess glares at Lilith, but then explains about the arrival of Amalika, their quest for the Mask of the Matron Mother and the betrayal. Lady Thandysha is quiet for a few moments and then orders:

You shall strike back at House Aleval within a week. There is a private performer in the service of Matron Mother Mevremas. KILL HER! After that you will disappear for a while, and go to Dunspeirrin.

Dunspeirrin, also known as the City of Sunken Spires, is one of the wealthiest and best known Duergar trade cities of the Underdark. It has been fighting with kingdoms and groups around them for centuries. They war against Illithid every now and then, but are constantly engaged in a struggle against the Shield Dwarfs.

When Lilith asks her mother if Amalika could be double-crossing them, the Lady Thandysha replies that it might be possible, but they will take the risk anyway. Lilith rushes off to find her brothers. They should prepare as soon as possible for this trip, that will take several weeks.

Hide Away


While Amalika heads back to the Council of the Eight Ruling Houses, Quarra hurries towards the Throne Room, Alvra and her sister close on her heels. She is greeted by chaos: the room is covered in sticky material and her siblings and an unknown, immobile male drow are glued to the ground. Cursing, Quarra dispels the magic web and – after listening to Phaedra’s report – sends the assassin off to the torture rack.

Quarra seems a bit nervous. Her door has also been tampered with, causing a fire spell to ignite. The situation is getting out of hand.

Once freed, Jharrath and the Scout start searching the mansion for the missing Treasury guard. They find him, cuffed, gagged and poisoned. The treasurer awakens – dizzy and nauseated – and tells them he left his post for food. When he came back, the other guard was missing and he was attacked from behind. The Scout senses there is more to his story and takes him to the interrogation room too.

Left your post for food? Your duty was to the Treasury, you miserable worm. You can take your turn when the other prisoner has spilled his guts.

Lilith sends the guard into the room, where Quarra and a bugbear overseer are interrogating the assassin. After extensive torture, the assassin finally breaks and mumbles ‘Demon’s Den’. Soon after he dies. The Treasury guard – next in line – soon admits to accepting a bribe and looking the other way. That seems to be all he knows though.

Phaedra once again sets out into the mansion, in search of the other missing Treasury guard. When she enters the Armory, she notices fresh blood on a large chest. She opens it and discovers the body of a drow warrior; she has found the missing guard, who has been stabbed to death, greenish poison oozing from a deep wound. The Scout pulls the body from the chest and orders a passing guard to secure the room and get slaves to clean up. She then checks the family kitchen. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, but she gives the order to leave everything as it is anyway.

In the meantime Alvra patrols the house, while the Wizard mingles with the guards to find out all they know about the Demon’s Den. Though the establishment is well known in Erelhei-Cinlu, it is not much spoken of. The Demon’s Den is a favorite hangout for rogues, situated in the Ghetto of Outcasts. It is led by Zaetha, a female drow who fell out of favor with Lolth after the Priest Wars. Zaetha is neutral and pragmatic, even for a drow.

The two guards Lilith sent out earlier, return to report to the Cleric. Although they haven’t found the missing cook, they did discover that Jevan has taken refuge at the Hide Away. Lilith sends slaves to find her sister and brothers with the orders to have them come to her room. When they arrive, she quickly informs them about the news on the cook and inquires after their knowledge of the Hide Away. Alvra and Jharrath know that the address changes every three months. Anyone can hide there; the only thing needed is money, much money. The fake inn has secret walls and double rooms and is run entirely by males. Females are not welcome there. The Hide Away is owned by Melash d’Valla, a half drow slumlord. After a short consideration, the Cleric sends the brothers into the Ghetto of Outcasts to bring back the cook, preferably in one piece. She withdraws thousand gold pieces from the Treasury in case they need to bribe their way to Jevan and orders them to hurry. They need to have more information on the Mask of the Matriarch before the Matron Mother returns.

The brothers go quickly, hiding the Xaniqos house symbol beneath their piwafwis, and arrive somewhat later at a nondescript house. Few people are sitting in the common room of the small tavern. Melash d’Valla walks up to them, almost dressed like a drow noble. He has quite an air for a half drow. Jharrath quickly comes to the point and offers Melash money in return for information on a fugitive drow who is known to be hiding at the Hide Away. The inn keeper looks puzzled and pretends not to know anything about it.

When the wizard’s diplomacy skills fail, he slams a bag of gold on the counter. The owner acts outraged at the allegations about hiding a runaway slave , but becomes more lenient when Jharrats threatens to expose his ‘secret’ business. The Xaniqos males are quickly led into another room, where they agree on the sum of eight hundred gold pieces for handing over escaped drow: four hundred in advance, the other half after they catch the run-away.

They follow Melash down into the cellar and find Jevan behind a hidden door. The cook – alerted by their voices – tries to make an escape. Jharrath quickly summons an earth elemental, which rushes Jevan against the wall. Alvra blocks the exit. Melash throws the wizard a rope, but before the cook can be bound, he tries to take a flask from his pocket. Alarmed, Jharrath calls out to the elemental and the creature immediately attacks. Jevan slowly collapses, the flask spilling a yellow, awful smelling liquid. The Wizard recognizes it as the skin of an Umberhulk, an uncommon poison.

Well, that brings the gold down to four hundred. This is a useless corpse. We will take the body with us.

Alvra accepts a sheet of canvas from the tavern keeper and wraps the former cook in it. They ascend the stairs again towards the common room, where the atmosphere has turned grim. The fighter carries the corpse back towards the Xaniqos mansion.