From the Journals and Papers of Arialwen Faranae
The last day has been so full of things that I can hardly remember them all.
After resting at the temple, we decided to go to Gabel’s School, to try to recover the chest from the student there. Because of the bounty on magic users, there were crowds in front of the entrance gate. Fortunately, they did not bar our passage and, with Pyotr as our guide, we entered into the school grounds.
It was strangely empty. Most of the students and teachers were gone. One of the more senior students, Diogenes, greeted us. We told him of our situation and quest. He said that the elf we were in search was Shealis Amlauril. She had met with several other Shahalesti elves, and since then, had hardly left her room the last day or so.
I decided to speak with her. It might have been a foolish impulse, to see if I could persuade her to give us the chest. The talk didn’t go as planned, but better than it might have. Shealis confirmed that she had been the one to take the chest, and she had given it to others in her spy ring for safekeeping. She was a patriot, and refused to tell me anything that would lead me to the chest—indeed, she tried to recruit me to the Shahalesti cause. She had a simple, yet elegant plan to escape Gate Pass. She intended to use spells to make her invisible, and then fly out of the city.
I relayed this information to the rest of my team and Diogenes, and we tried to think of a plan. Eventually, we determined that Diogenes would challenge Shealis to a wizard’s duel. Once defeated, she would be unconscious long enough for us to search her person and room for clues.
Shealis accepted the challenge. My companions jumped into the fray in a most unsporting manner, though our participation ensured that Shealis lost. I stayed with the wizard while everyone else headed to her room. They didn’t find much of interest there, but had more luck when they looked at her spell book. There, tucked in the pages, was a map and some cryptic lines. We took the map but left Shealis her book. After all, she had only been doing what she thought best for her homeland.
The map lead to the Elven Quarter. As we travelled, Yadrian noticed that a raven appeared to be following us. We perhaps might have paid more attention to this, but we were set upon by yet another group of bounty hunters. They did not listen to my warning to desists and retreat, and most ended up dead. We continued on our way.
The map led to a seeming dead-end alley, although there was some sort of puzzle to be worked out. We matched the cryptic lines on the map to the drawings near the wall, and a way forward opened.
I went first, shield at the ready. My companions had a very odd, one-sided conversation. I am still unsure what it was about.
[Editor’s Note: That conversation was with an imp who had been sent to fetch the chest for its Ragesian master. The deal reached was that the imp could take the chest, but the Resistance fighters could take what the chest contained.]
Upon entering a room, we found several Shahalesti within. We gave battle, and eventually our enemies lay defeated before us. We opened the chest and removed the tome from within.
Our next move was to head for the home of Erdan Menash, a shopkeeper and member of the City Council. He was the most outspoken in his refusal to accept Ragesian terms, and was our best hope for a way out of the city. It was not hard to find his dwelling once we reached the more aristocratic section of town. It was painted in garish purples, greens, and yellows, a reflection of the type of awful gear he sold to adventurers. (To be fair, the gear itself was fine. The horrendous décor and paint on them was deliberately awful, a way to ensure that all who saw those hopefully victorious adventurers knew who had supplied them.)
We were granted audience with Erdan, and told him our tale. He was rather delighted, and offered each of us a small item from his shop. We were to spend the night there, and in the morning, our passage out of the city would be ready.