While the others go home, Lilith goes straight to Potions & Poisons in the Ghetto of Artisans to get rid of the inflammable blood moss. Jharrath drags his feet after his mistress. They are welcomed by Lha’Zis Ulvira.
‘Ah, so you have returned. Did you succeed?’.
Jharrath shows him the sack. ‘We have the blood moss you’ve asked for. Do you have a place to put it?’
Watched by countless spiders, the shopkeeper leads them past the counter. The wizard sees many alchemy treasures, but the way the shop is organized, it is a small miracle that Potions & Poisons hasn’t exploded yet.
‘Just put it down here.’ Lha’Zis blows out the candles, whereas glowing gems provide enough light. ‘So much moss, very nice!’ The poison maker takes another look in the bag. ‘Fantastic!’
‘It is much indeed,’ Jharrath says quickly. ‘I presume we get an additional discount?’
As a reply, Ulvira hands him 25 knockout poison –five extra– and 20 sick stones.
‘How about the gland, did you find it yet?’
Lilith, who is observing the spiders, shakes her head.
‘After you bring it to me, it will take two days to make the virile madness.’
The cleric bids him farewell, and together with Jharrath heads home as well.
At the Xaniqos mansion, the siblings go their own way. Some freshen up and find healing. Alvra makes his rounds and talks with the guards, while Lilith spends hours in reverie. Afterward, she takes 100 gold, a bag of gems and the drow mission blade to the treasury. The blade protects its wielder from acid and gives extra luck when near a node, like in Erelhei-Cinly. Phaedra is happy with the five vials of black, gummy poison. Somewhat later, Thaldynion brings them a message from the Matron Mother: she is pleased with their actions and provides each with 8000 gold to enhance their equipment. This is a big favor from Lady Thandysha and they all feel honored.
When the drow walk into the Ghetto of Scholars, there is no open hostility, but they notice that the House-affiliated are not favorable towards House Xaniqos. They enter Nyttoris Arms & Armors, as a big sign says over the door. Nyttoris is glad to see the Xaniqos walk in his door. With a big smile, he says, ‘Well, well, well, what brings you to my place? It is good to see you again. We have many items on display today. We have boots, armor, weapons like rapiers and scimitars and many magic items. No dwarven ware though, those are not sophisticated enough.’ When he hears the drow’s wishes, Nyttoris leaves the other customers in his servants’ care and takes the Xaniqos to his private office. A young drow female takes care of food and drinks. The table is well provisioned.
‘House Xaniqos seems to be doing well. All of the requested items are present, but first I want to offer you a business deal. I am waiting for a ship with goods from the Upperworld, and it is already a tenday too late. There is no sign of it after it left Luskar. Either it sank in the Glimmersea, or it was attacked. If you can find out what happened to the shipment, and perhaps take the goods back to me, I offer you a 25% discount.’
Nyttoris shows them a map of House Shi’quos, with the safest and most probable routes. After Lilith has studied the map and accepts the assignment, he hands her the scroll.
‘You’ll get the discount when you return. You can use one of my galleys to investigate. It is waiting for you at Blessed Seahaven. Thank you for doing business, and I hope to see you back soon, preferably with the goods.’
When they step back onto the street outside of Arms & Armor, Alvra is wearing new leather boots, and his brother a new red robe with spikes on it, plus new bracers of red-brown leather. The scout has new bracers as well, and her spiked chain is continuously crackling with electricity. Her armor looks slightly shinier. Lilith has a new leather belt with a buckle with three black pearls, and on her finger is a ring with lavender glass. On their way back, Jharrath buys two potions that will help him to breathe underwater. It never hurts to come well prepared to a battle.
The siblings gather at the Xaniqos mansion and call one of the servants.
‘Tell Thaldynion that we’ve gone to Blessed Seahaven. We hope to be back in two days.’
The Xaniqos presence in the Ghetto of Outcasts is becoming more visible. Buildings are under repair, and beautiful mansions are constructed. More and better guards patrol the perimeters. As they walk through the district, they hear a loud wailing moan, gathering in intensity. It is a dreadful, very nasty sound. As they draw closer, they see a shape walking, dragging itself and its evil bastard sword forward. The dust of the street swirls and gathers around the shape.
Two Xaniqos guards approach, their weapons drawn, but the undead ignores everything around it.
‘Don’t worry,’ one of the guards says, ‘we’ll take care of it. It is probably just an escaped undead or something.’ The guards stop, flanking the animated corpse from 30 feet distance.
Alvra nods towards his men. ‘Do your job,’ and the siblings continue on their way to Blessed Seahaven. Then the eyes of the undead focus on Phaedra, its stare pure hatred. Phaedra halts. She recognizes him as Jhaelmin Shi’quos, the second son of the House, whose throat she cut in the Lair of Principles when they were searching for the Cloak of the Patriarch.
‘This is impossible! He has been dead for a long time!’ But is it? House Shi’quos specializes in necromancy…
The guards attack the Shi’quos but are immediately covered in a swarm of insects that bite and claw at their faces. The dust forms a vortex and the undead lays his hand on one of the guards. The soldier screams in pain and a moment later his armor falls to the ground. He has turned to dust, all moisture sucked from his body.
Lilith recognizes the form of a hand burned into Jhaelmin’s forehead as a sign of Kiaransalee. She tries to rebuke the undead, but the power of the Lady of the Death is too strong. Phaedra and Alvra are hurt by the negative energy of the vortex’ swarm attack. The fighter counters by throwing a javelin at the Shi’quos, but to no avail. Jharrath summons a large earth elemental, which attacks the undead. It seems to be able to damage the creature that once was a drow. The remaining guard keeps his distance, still under attack by the swarm.
Phaedra hits the undead but doesn’t hurt him. Once again, Lilith tries to rebuke, but the one who put the spell on the undead is very strong; her own level at least.
The revenant stretches his hand and under his command a wall of sand rises, covering Jharrath from head to toes. The wizard can’t breathe, is blind and deaf. Alvra steps back and throws another javelin, right in the center of the undead’s chest. Death oozes from its chest and the vortex grows stronger. Fortunately, the elemental isn’t much bothered by it. Two more javelins disappear harmlessly into the vortex.
Lilith calls forth dark fire and strikes hard at the creature. She uses her brand new belt to get another attack and dark fire again strikes towards the undead. The three pearls of the belt’s buckle are spent and turn white, but she manages to force the creature to let go of the sand wall. The undead steps forward and again the cleric counters with a touch attack of dark flames. Phaedra teleports out of harm’s way, as Alvra attacks twohanded. This time his sword attack succeeds. The elemental aids him, and the wizard follows up with a Kellgore’s firebolt. The undead finally drops his sword and falls down.
Now the left-over guard comes near and brags, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you. Well done, masters!’ The drow incredulously stare at him.
’What is your name, guard?’ The Captain of the Guard’s voice is icy.
‘I’m Eldi’nine, master.’
‘Well, Eldi’nine. Return to the Xaniqos mansion and report for duty immediately.’
Alvra will take care of this impudent guard later.
Lilith tries to burn the remains of the undead with her dark flames, but it won’t turn to ashes. She knows that she has to destroy all traces of the revenant and its evil sword, or it will come back to revenge its death once more. She takes a bottle from her pack and pours holy water on the remains. Finally, the corpse and the bastard sword turn to dust.
Alvra orders a group of four new guards to take over the control of the Ghetto, and, together with his mistress, the scout and the wizard, resumes his path.