As soon as the show is over, the Xaniqos siblings pick up their gear and go outside. When they see Charicide leave the Hall of Shadows, they follow her and the troll to the Silk Curtain. The streets are crowded with mostly Drow nobles, but there are also a couple of non-Drow and a few Duergar. Such a contrast with their own district.
The Silk Curtain turns out to be a very big, luxurious house of pleasure, where one can find more than just carnal joys. Again Aleval solders are patrolling the neighborhood. Guttural sounds and cries – either of pain or rapture – fill the air. The four hide their house insignia’s and boldly walk past the two men who are guarding the door. At the top of the stairs is a big white salon, where an albino Drow is entertaining the guests. Spicy aromas, comfortable chairs – the whole scene breathes an air of luxury. On the second floor a hostess approaches. Lilith asks her which offers are currently available in the Silk Curtain, and it seems there are plenty of possibilities; even a surface elf is to be had. The Cleric demands the best private room in stead, so she can decide on her entertainment for the evening in peace, hoping that room will be close to the Bard’s.
A male Drow leads the way to their quarters, upwards, past a lot of rooms. Not many guards are around, and there are only one or two bouncers. He opens the door at the end of a corridor and reveals a big room with table, huge bed, a dancing-or-other pole, brazier, a torture rack, handcuffs and other useful stuff. The window opens onto a balcony. The room in the opposite corridor has probably the same design.
The siblings are going to use a ruse: Lilith is very ‘bored with her two males’ and wants to exchange them for some fresh meat. Silently Phaedra checks out the hallway: only servants and three guards who are enjoying a glass of wine. The Cleric sweeps out of the room into the corridor and boldly walks past the guards, into the adjacent corridor. When a female Drow – whip in hand – approaches Lilith and asks her to lend her the ‘slave’ brothers, the Cleric refuses, declaring she still needs them, and moves on. ‘Maybe later!’
On the other side, the bored looking troll is sitting outside a door, similar to their own. The giant takes up half of the hallway.
I want to speak to your Mistress, Troll. What is your name?
I am Zorg.
Well, Zorg, open that door!
Can’t do that, Mistress, my Mistress will be very displeased with Zorg.
I’m sure your Mistress is very interested once she hears of these two tasty and strong males.
Though the giant hesitates, Lilith can be very convincing and manages to sway the troll. When Zorg knocks on the door several times, it opens and a melodious voice shouts ‘I told you I do not want to be disturbed!’ A male Drow slave is bound to the pole, handcuffed. The Cleric uses her diplomatic skills and offers Alvra in exchange for the already used and drugged slave. The Bard assesses the Fighter – strong, with much stamina – and agrees to let him in. The door closes again.
Inside, the woman introduces herself as Ariana. Alvra estimates her as beautiful but deadly, gracious and cunning, not overly muscled. But then her voice sounds again, very sweet and alluring this time, and his attention wavers.
Now, male, you may lay your clothes and gear on the table near the window. You are going to undress for me…
Meanwhile the others are still outside, with a giant troll in front of the door. Lilith tries to talk Zorg into getting a drink at the bar – he must feel very thirsty and hungry? – but it won’t work. Next she pretends to hear his mistress in distress, but the troll is stubborn and stands his ground. He is not going to disturb the Bard again. When Lilith tries to put a blinding spell on the troll and fails, the giant gets suspicious.
What are you doing?
I’m trying to enhance your hearing, you deaf troll! Your Mistress seems to be in danger.
Zorg would hear more if you stupid woman would not talk so much!
Outraged, Lilith lashes out at the giant, who stumbles backwards and falls straight through the door. The Xaniqos follow it into the room and find their brother, dancing and slowly undressing. He’s in a total trance, oblivious to what is happening.
A massive fight erupts. Phaedra tumbles past the troll – getting hit in the process – and slashes at the Bard. Charicide counterattacks and casts an enchantment on the Scout, so Phaedra feels the uncontrollable urge to giggle and bursts out laughing, unable to stop. The Wizard, still in the hallway with his Cleric sister, evokes a puddle of slime underneath Zorg’s feet and the massive beast drops down. It won’t stay down for very long though. The Cleric unleashes a spell that negates Charicide’s magic, so Alvra stops dancing and the Scout can control her laughter. Shaking his head, the Fighter finally comes to his senses. He snatches a javelin from the table and aims it at the Bard. It narrowly misses. Suddenly faced by an angry Scout and a deadly Fighter, Charicide’s magic flares again and four more illusionary Bards appear around her.
Jharrath is battling the troll with a ray of flame, which seems to do much damage. When the Wizard subsequently fails to summon a monster to help them out, the troll regenerates and attacks Lilith with full force. She throws a bottle of acid in the giant’s face and steps back. Jharrath’s second try is successful and soon Zorg is surrounded by three creatures, who keep it busy.
An eerie sound fills the room – Charicide has gotten her hands on her lute – and again Alvra falls for her spell. He sits down dreamily and sways to the music. Phaedra keeps a clear head this time and slashes at the five ‘Bards’. She manages to destroy three illusions, while Lilith heals herself and then fires bolts at the troll. Jharrath summons two more elementals to try and take the troll out.
The Bard screams at Zorg to come and help her, but the giant is too busy defending itself. She changes her song to encourage the troll, causing the spell on Alvra to fail. Together the Wizard’s creatures manage to kill the troll and Jharrath finishes it off for good with Kelgore’s fire bolt. No more regenerating for this troll!
Lilith climbs over the carcass and gets out her flail. Alvra – his wits once again restored – activates his piwafwi, jumps on the bed and attacks the Bard from behind; he destroys the last fake image. But the Bard is not defeated yet and casts a spell, after which the brazier sparkles into huge fireworks: colored lights fill the air. The Fighter jumps off the bed and continues his fight, blinded. Charicide is surprised and steps back, giving the Scout the opportunity to lash out. Finally she kills the Drow.
Phaedra also slices the throat of the drugged Drow, who is still tied to the pole, bars the door, and then the Xaniqos escape from the balcony. They disappear into the night and manage to leave the city without being recognized.
>> what came before