After Petril made Adokus Chandler’s shot go wild, striking a nearby building and setting it afire, Adokus then kicked the annoying Gnome off the walls and then disappeared inside the building. The Death Gate then attacked the Shadow Thieves guarding the gate. As the fight went on, the fire spread and the townspeople added to the chaos. Zed’rath used the chaos of the crowd to hide amongst the people and to sneak up on the Shadow Thieves to attack, while Gromel and Vistra tag teamed soldiers, and Kuri stabbed deep into the minds of their enemies to bring them down. Once most of the guards were dead, Tha’Ahel and Petril worked together to raise the portcullis. Once they heard the coming of the Town Guard, they scooted out of the gate, which Tha’ahel shut behind them, destroyed the mechanism, and then used his Dhampiric powers to turn to mist and escape the city walls.
The group headed northeast out of Riatavin into the Shilmista forest. There, they could see a small campfire hidden amongst the trees. Zed’ snuck up on it and found that it was the hirelings who were hired to transport Shaika. As the rest of the group was signaled to enter the firelight, the hirelings turned over the body and returned to the city. The group camped there for the night and set out travelling towards the Plains of Xian on the morrow.
On the 2nd night, Zed noticed that the area around them was deadly quiet, no animal noises. When he woke up Kuri, he asked her to cast out a mental web and she couldn’t sense anything except animals huddled in their dens in fear.
At the end of the 3rd day, Tha’ahel took his leave of the group as the group finished crossing the Snowflake Mountains. He was returning to Erlkazar to continue the war against the vampires. On the 4th day, the animal noises returned and the group realized that the Vampiric raids against the area must have taken their toll on the wildlife and they began to relax a little.
During the night of the 5th day of travel, during Grom’s watch, Shaika suddenly sat up and screamed “Sardis, NO!” and burst into flames as her eyes rolled back into her head and she passed back out. At that point, her skin took on a molten quality and the molten part shifted around under her fur. Suddenly, a fiery form of Shaika detached itself from her body, and stood up. Then a shifter form detached itself and stepped away from her body. Another copy of each form stepped out of her body and the Warlord had only a second to warn his companions before they attacked. Both the Genasi and Shifter forms did major fire damage to the group as they fought the incarnations of their friend. Each time one was killed, it exploded in a huge burst of fire… and the fiery Shaikas were then reincarnated as panthers that trod out of the fire to attack the group some more. The Death Gate took major damage, pulling out all of the stops to defeat them (Grom had so many fires around him that his butt cheeks were melting and becoming saggy). The grasslands and one of their tents were burnt to a crisp. Once the threat had been eliminated, the group flopped down, exhausted to rest some more. Zed’ asked Kuri if she knew who Sardis was? She explained that Sardis was the Genasi personality inside Shaka… but as she probed, the Shardmind let them know that the Genasi personality was no longer present in the battle in Shaika’s psyche. The danger was growing more pressing, so the merc’s decided to push through the day.
The non-constructs were so exhausted when the group camped for the 6th night, they fell right asleep, especially Petril who had slept most of the day in the saddle. The next morning they were still tired, but they pushed on, for their companion’s sake, to reach the plateau of Xian, rising over 1000 feet in the air. Kuri knew the way to the Shadow House and led the group to it through rarely used trails. The group asked Kuri how to find the Hermit? She informed them that he would make himself known, but Petril used Ghost Sound to announce their presence. A long, white-haired old man came hobbling out, complaining that this was why he’d moved away from the city. Once things were explained to him, he told them to bring Shaika inside, while complaining about mages messing with things they weren’t supposed to. Inside were many alchemical things brewing in beakers, bottles, and jars. The Hermit explained that Tha’ahel had helped him get this house back from the Night Barony 75 years ago… and before that the plateau had been raised by the Spellplague.
After quaffing a strong drink, and then a different one, he entered a trance and went on an “interesting journey.” When he returned from his mental explorations, he explained that the book that Shaika had been reading was trying to dominate her, but that wasn’t the greater threat. The mage that slapped her and the Genasi together hadn’t considered the consequences. The fusion had created a greater malevolent entity inside of them that was made up of the baser parts of their subconsciouses. The fusion was also unstable and the malevolent being absorbed the Genasi’s life force to grow stronger and would probably soon beat down Shaika as well. The Hermit mentioned that he could send them inside to fight the abomination. He told them that there were natural ways that he could get them inside with “certain ingredients”. Before the Spellplague most of Xian had been swampy, ruled by the serpent kingdoms of the Yuan-Ti. There was a rare flower that the Yuan-Ti kept in their gardens called a Prism Lily. Just like a prism breaks light apart, this flower breaks apart the boundaries between realms. He informed them that there was an old miner’s path one and a half days north of the Shadow House that the group could use to hunt down the Yuan-Ti tribes up on the plateau. The group then prepared to start a crazy journey, with Grom a little worried about any psychic journey that they’d have to take.