The party rests for the evening. The next morning, during breakfast, Rod learns that Rolston is also from Marakfell, Rods home town. Rolston then leaves to go to plead their case to Koro.
A little while later, a Labreyan woman bribes the guards outside to let her into Rolston’s home. She introduces herself as Reva, an elder of the Labreyan community in the underground city. She is with two other Labreyans – a middle-aged man, Aitu, and a much older woman, Peaura. Kuhita seems to know Peaura – they greet other affectionately. Kuhita asks if he and Murad may come to visit them later. She warns that some of her people are suspicious of other Labreyans, but she promises to bring his request before the other elders. The visitors then leave.
After some confusion about what was going on, Zia gives her understanding of the history of the Labreyans:
When the Ulgar captured the western side of Calmuth island, over 100 years ago. most of the Labreyans there fled to the other side of the island. However, some 300 Labreyans on the island of Tokano (Kia to the Labreyans) remained. The Ulgar never removed them and they kept to themselves. After the Ealdurans arrived, these Labreyans made an agreement with the Ulgar. The Ulgar would provide the Labreyans living with them with protection. In exchange, the Labreyans agreed to never try to make contact with the rest of their people, living among the Ealdurans. When the Ulgar left for the underground city, these Labreyans came with them. The agreement stands to this day.
Elrew explains that he is unable to receive guidance from his god with regard to the falling star. He suggests that one of his superiors, such as Patriarch Castance, would be more able to divine Galus’ will on the matter. Elrew expresses doubts about the falling star. Quintin tries to explain the science behind it, much to the horror of the party.
Rolston returns. He provides some alcohol and explains how things went with his meeting with Koro. Rolston’s impression is that Koro would be willing to let the party leave, as a favour to him. However, he is politically unable to do so. The other chieftains would see it as betraying their people and one or more of them may use it as an excuse to depose him. Rolston fears this as that would most certainly end his stay among the Ulgar and prevent him from learning anything further about the Children of Zepha.
Rolston explains that there is a way that Koro will be able to let them leave and keep his position. He wants the party to partake in a mission for them. Koro wants them to find a “witch” who is believed to be in the area of Tamba, the abandoned settlement that the party visited on Gilkish. She is believed to be a threat to the Ulgar – she might reveal the hidden loaction of their city to their enemies. Koro wants her eliminated. p. Quintin has misgivings and wants to know “why, and why us?”. The explanation from Rolston is that Koro does not wish to associate himself with the operation should it fail and that he may consider the party to be “expendable”. The party discusses it with Cam Rewyn. They decide to undertake the mission, but plan to capture the witch instead of killing her. Rolston warns that it might anger Koro if they don’t carry out the mission as per his instructions.
A young Labreyan messenger arrives to inform Kuhita and Murad that they may come with him to the Labreyan quarter. The three of them leave.
Murad visits the Labreyan quarter
The young Labreyan guide leads Murad and Kuhita to the south-western section of the underground city. They are accompanied by two of Koro’s warriors that had been stationed at Rolston’s. This part of the city has more densely packed stone buildings and has less vegetation than in the city centre. They arrive at a slightly larger building with a relatively lush courtyard. Reva emerges from the building. She asks them to wait there until she returns with the other elders. Murad notices that the Labreyans here speak a slightly different dialect than he does, although he is still able to understand them. As they wait, a small crowd of onlookers gathers at the margins of the courtyard. They display a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.
Reva returns with Aitu and two other elders, Heia, whom Murad previously saw at the initial meeting with Koro, and Tearri. Tearri questions Kuhita about his earlier stay with the Ulgar. Murad notices some exchanged looks between Kuhita, and Peaura, who is now amongst the crowd. Kuhita confirms that he stayed with the Ulgar in Timargo, on Calmuth island for many months, in his youth. He met some of the Labreyans among them, including Peaura. When he left, he swore never to reveal to anyone else the existence of these Labreyans. He kept his word – Murad verifies that even he was not told of them until he arrived here. Heia then asks why they have come here and why they continue to support the Ealdurans after all they have done to their people.
Murad explains the war situation and that he wishes to use it to negotiate a better agreement for his people. He also expresses his desire to one day reunite the two Labreyan peoples. Aitu interjects, suggesting that perhaps one day the Labreyans remaining on the surface be allowed to join them here in the underground. Heia voices her doubts and Tearri reminds him that the Ulgar must decide on that. Decades ago, these Labreyans promised the Ulgar that they would never try to reunite with the others that were separated from them. Tearri does not wish to anger the Ulgar. He also warns Murad that there are some among his people that would frown on such a return as they view the Labreyans that live with the Ealdurans suspiciously. Murad has difficulty understanding this.
Reva thanks Murad and Kuhita and asks that the elders be allowed some time to ponder the matter. She says that perhaps the two of them may be able to return to discuss it before the rest of their party leaves. The Ulgar warriors escort Murad and Kuhita back to Rolston’s home. Murad gets the sense that the warriors understood at least some of what was being discussed in the courtyard. Murad asks Kuhita why some of these Labreyans would view their people with suspicion. Kuhita believes that it may be that they feel some generational sense of abandonment after they were left to fend for themselves when the Ulgar attacked a century ago. Murad considers this as they make their way back.
Back at Rolston’s
Rolston questions Loku, one of his servants, to tell what he knows about the obscured ancient writing found in the underground. He says that he knows of an “evil” place on the way back to the surface but has been told to stay away from it. After some convincing from Rolston, he reluctantly agrees to show the party where it is. The group will take a detour to investigate it on their way back to the surface.
After Rolston arranges to have their the weapons and gear returned, Loku leads the party out of the city and up towards the surface. About half way up, he leads them off the path to another set of caves that ends abruptly at a 10’ circular room. Rod searches the room and finds what seems like a narrow passageway that has been sealed with rock. He finds and disarms two magical traps. Murad then removes the stone from the passage using Stoneshape. After about 50’, he finds a metallic stone door. It has a fire bat symbol etched into its surface. Manuel strikes the door enough times that it breaks.
Beyond the door, they find a large room. There is a stream running through it. The other end of the room seems to have been sealed off by a cave-in. The course of the stream has been altered by some rubble, which is diverting it around a large ornate basin. The basin itself is dry. A faded fire bat symbol can be seen at the bottom. Lying broken inside the basin is a large metal brazier, that seems to have fallen from the ceiling.
Quintin uses Ant Haul to move the rubble dam and redirect the stream back to its original course through the basin. He proceeds to examine the stream bed that no longer has water running through it. He sees a small patch of cut stone, that looks different from the surrounding gravel bed. He clears more of the gravel to reveal a 5′ × 10′ patch of cut stone. He begins to remove the stone. About 3’ down, Quintin finds a stone slab, about 5’ wide by 6’ long. He lifst up the slab.
Using Darkvision he can see beneath the slab. Lying there are two Labreyans – a man and a woman. He finds this strange. As he calls to Murad to tell him this, the woman opens her eyes. Surprised, Quintin drops the stone slab…