With the advantage of numbers, the group fought their lone assailant at a relaxed pace, even sending Catullus away to alert the guards. Although the female assassin survived the first flurry of blows, she was joined by a Drow attacking from behind. Taking advantage of his natural magic, the Drow hid within a cloud of darkness taking pot shots at the group, inflicting considerable harm with only a few shots. Of the heroes, only Aegon could refrain from doubling his efforts – remaining seated in his bed as he cast his magic from afar.
Once the two assassins were incapacitated and Byron gone to find Catullus, Silk and Mark discussed tactics for torturing their captives. The interrogation was…interesting. The elf, Thuranni, revealed that Mark was actually a female assassin in her order named Mercy, explaining Mark’s extensive knowledge of poisons from earlier. A note in the Drow’s pocket revealed that the assassins had been hired by an unknown party to kill the Hero of Byblos. Somehow they were informed of the group’s location, despite Byron’s immunity to scrying, and the presence of Mercy, despite her disguise. Special orders to kill Mercy were included in the note. Disturbed by this news and with nothing more to ask, Mercy executed the two assassins – adding a couple more soul shards to her collection.
Awaking the next morning, the group met with King Ixthion to discuss the night’s events and to receive a proper farewell for their journey. The Olympian armies would march along the edge of the desert, through Chondatha, while the group would treck through the mountain pass and desert for a more direct route. It was ambiguous whether or not this would better protect them from the Champion who wanted Byron dead.
Sure enough, when they reached the entrance to the gully where they encountered that horde of undead, there were tents of the Imperium of Man waiting. Aegon devised a plan to cast a spell of invisibility over the group then send them through his arcane gate before following them himself (where the invisibility would be extended once more to the group). His cat provided the eyes for targeting the portal. This allowed the group to approach closely to the encampment and circumvent immediately thereafter.
Getting to the other side, the group found yet another camp. There was a long debate over how to pass without alerting the guards. Eventually, the appearance of a torch off in the distance behind them, either because they were discovered or a routine transfer was underway, forced their hands. Aegon’s cat familiar was used as a distraction while the group charged through the camp before other guards could be awoken. After gaining some distance, they confirmed that they were not being followed.
That night, Byron was awoken by the appearance of a pale figure in the air above him. The man told him, “Caire under attack by group controlling dominated citizens. Chaos. Assistance required immediately. Domination contagious. Can be resisted. Imhotep suspected. Origin city hall. Guards are resisting.” And then vanished. As usual, Byron gained renewed fervor for reaching Caire after hearing that his help was needed.
Traveling far into the desert, they were suddenly attacked by a giant sand worm. Nefertai, friend to all living things that she is, calmed the beast and brought it to their side. However, the group decided that it was best not to draw attention to themselves as they approached Caire and the beast was sent back into the wild.
Midway through the day they expected to reach Caire, Nefertai noticed a black dot appear in the distance. Approaching, they surmised that it was their destination albeit surrounded by thick black clouds. Once they were standing beside the city walls, Aegon investigated the effect to the best of his abilities. He recognized the clouds as a defence system, one that would rapidly electrocute any living thing that attempted to cross – an insurmountable barrier for the group. As an aside, he noted that this storm would require far more magic than any one man or even small group could muster – only a legion of mages or a primordial could create such a large and powerful storm. Finding the city gates completely blocked by debris, the party was left wondering how they would enter Caire.