The Marshalls of Iberia (a.k.a. the heroes) return to where their adventures first began, Madeira. After the heroes’ last visit to the city, life and trade, it seems, are coming back to normal, though some things never change. They arrive to find that Silky, the wooden unicorn merchant, is not only selling his wares in the open market but has been made the head of the trade council for his actions during “the occupation”.
The Mangold Affair
Markson returns to the temple of Imperiad to confront Thomas Mangold about the illegal Imperiad artifacts / slave trade. Under some “heated” interrogation, Mangold confessed that he wasn’t the sole party responsible for this. He went on to implicate a man that he and Markson both knew of, Damen Rhinehart who had given his own wife in trade for these Imperiad artifacts.
The Black Cat / Peanut Affair
After their dealings with Thomas Mangold, the heroes, looking for some well earned rest, are stopped by a farmer named Savorh. Savorh goes on to tell the heroes that a mysterious black cat has plagued his peanut farm. The heroes decide to investigate this problem by having Draya and Corrin patrol the fields but the night comes and goes without the slightest incident.
The next day, a hobbit named Hamil comes to Martellus, who is now set up in his cushy new office. The hobbit complains of a large black cat being seen in and around his looms. Martellus is on the job and tells Hamil that he will look into it.
Later on, a human farmer named Jonah comes to Martellus also complaining of a black cat plaguing his date fields. Enough being enough, Martellus formulates a plan to capture this black cat in Jonah’s date field. While patrolling Jonah’s date field, a fire breaks out in Hamil’s looms, apparently caused by a lantern that Hamil had set down and was mysteriously knocked over.
Meanwhile, Sage Strutter, relaxing in his room, has a frightful experience with the “black cat” and is left physically sickened by the encounter. And in light of all the “black cat” sightings, the trade council calls for their regular meeting to be moved up a day early.
After a short time and some heated discussion on the “black cat” issue, an old woman bursts into the meeting, carrying a young boy in her arms, who is completely lifeless. She went to on to say that the boy had encountered the “black cat”. It had bared its fangs at the boy and
he fell sick with fever, which has, in turn, killed him.
Without much hesitation, the old woman to lead them where she had seen the “black cat” disappear…
Into The Sewers (or Enter The Strutter)
The adventurers descend into the sewers along with their new-found companion, Sage Strutter. After winding through the maze of tunnels, they come upon this massive animated water spout blocking their way. Unable to move the stalwart guardian from their path, the party resolves to just go through this obstacle, taking some minor bumps and scrapes from the torrent of water hitting them as they pass through.
With this problem behind them, they find their way to a canvas-covered entryway. In there, they find a bags of salt and two dead bodies. The party comes to the conclusion that someone had been salting Savorh and Jonah’s fields, rendering them useless to plant their respective peanut and date crops.
The party next comes to a chamber where the walls are covered with large slugs. Though sickened by the “black cat’s” magic, Sage conjures some magic of his own and uses the canvas to create a “flying carpet” of sorts to pass by the slug chamber without incident.
After nearly an hour of continuing through the maze of sewer tunnels, they come upon the body of a man that Corrin, Draya, and Markson knew as Passant. As they are inspecting the body for clues of his demise, a large chunk of stone falls onto Draya, pinning her to Passant’s corpse. But this corpse turns out to be more harmful than it first appeared. While pinned to the corpse, Draya began to feel something trying to burrow into her abdomen. A large hookworm coming from Passant’s body started tearing through her armor but caused minimal damage to her, thanks to Sage levitating the stone away and Corrin cutting the worm off of Draya in time. With this over, they decide to burn Passant’s corpse and move on.
Some time after the hookworm encounter, they come to a divergence in the path. But before the party could continue on, they are cornered by 2 large zombie hulks. Sage uses his magic to keep one of the hulking monsters at bay while the rest of the group dispatches the other. In a short time, they manage to destroy the reminaing creature and continue on.
On Sage’s floating canvas, they follow the flow of water to a large vaulted chamber where the water flows into a hole. This is the least of their problems though. About 15 feet up on a platform, they spot what appears to be a lich on one platform and on an opposite platform, two more zombie hulks. Sage levitates the party up slightly above the lich’s level. Between Sage and the lich, they exchange a brief display of magical pyrotechnics.
After the colorful exchange, Sage jumps from the canvas onto the platform. The zombie hulks jump down into the water, which the rest of the party engages. He eventually manages to knock the lich from the platform into the water flow and after a few failed attempts, finally pushes the lich down the hole. One of the zombie hulks is pushed down into the hole, presumably crushing the lich below. The other hulk is dispatched with relative ease and again our intrepid adventurers move forward.
With the lich and zombie hulks behind them, the party comes across some living chambers, which after discovering a journal, appears to be Passant’s. The journal details the previous assault on Iberia. It also makes mention of a red wizard and a plan to attack the city again. Not really gleaning enough information from the journal, Strutter “speaks” with the remains of Passant and discovers that the red wizard mentioned in the journal is, in fact, a woman.
Going on speculation, the adventurers return to the surface to seek out the old woman’s alchemy shop. Upon entering the shop, they encounter a young woman behind the counter, who they discover to be the mother of the dead young boy, Blaise, and also the daughter of the old woman, Mika. They question the young woman as to the whereabouts of her mother. She tells them that her mother had gone away on some business but could not recall where she had gone to. Seeing through this, the party can tell that the young woman is not telling the whole truth. She eventually gives in, showing them a spiral staircase leading down into a closed room below. Halfway down, “something” crosses their path leaving Corrin and Markson sickened in its wake. Upon breaking in the door to the room, the “black cat” attacks them. They, with relative quickness, dispatch the dark feline and proceed to attack Mika. After some time, the party defeats the old woman, at which point she begs and pleads for her life. With her gruesome plot uncovered, her cries go unheeded and she is given the fair, swift justice…