The walls, floor and ceiling of the hall are paneled in gray wood, including several empty alcoves along each wall. The only obvious source of illumination is the glowing portal at your back. As she stands here, Sanaya sees shadows that seem to dance at the corner of her eye. Soft, barely audible whispers are heard, although no one else seems to be present. It is a distinct relief to step back through the portal, and return to report what you have seen. Sanaya has just stepped back into the room from wherever the Portal took her, seemingly unharmed, when a piercing scream is heard across the room.
He and Jayne turn to look in that direction, and see a crowd gathering at a table near the far end of the room. Kymrych scowls, and whispers to Talathel and Jayne to stay put.
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Then he heads on over by himself, and makes his way carefully through the crowd. Both General Vourne and the Hellknight you saw earlier kneel over the body. Even as you watch the Hellknight stands up from beside the countess and gives off a dour look. A low murmur runs through the crowd then, followed by an excited babble. Moments later orders are shouted, and marines summoned. It seems likely, you decide, that the party is over…. Upon his return less than an hour ago, he had immediately gone to speak with Zusa Parneste, and a muffled shouting match had ensued.
Standing now in the manor foyer, Kymrych eyed the clutter of baggage scattered as far as the eye could see. He knew then that his day would now be taking a rather dark turn. He bites into an apple. Only Zusa is dressed for traveling. A carriage stands ready to take Zusa to the docks. He went to see Lady Doxine this morning.
Now Zusa has been sent to an inn near the docks. And supposedly, to a ship that will carry her to Cheliax. And why so abruptly? Just hungry. But I think someone needs to tell Hartley to head into town to restock our supply. Then Zusa turns to mount her carriage, and heads off to wherever the Fates will take her.
He watches Yelen for a time, and then she too turns and heads back inside. Those two did not get along at all. There is no room for error here. Not this time. The following two days pass in a frenzy. Fancy dress garments are purchased, fitted, and prepared. Lord Iacobus makes sure that carriages are hired, and servants put in place to see to every detail.
You make an attempt to locate the mysterious Ailyn Ghontasavos, but no one by that name is to be found in the city. This, Omari suggests, means that your supposed benefactor has gone to ground, and does not wish to be found. Whatever the truth of the matter, you continue your preparations, and in time the night of the gala draws nigh, and you steel yourselves for the planned incursion. Of the group, Akorian, Kymrych and Talathel will go into the Embassy as guests. Jayne and Doxine will accompany them. Thusly, the remainder of the party — Sanaya, Evelyn, Omari and Igmar will dress in dark clothing and gather together at the manor stables just as night begins to fall.
The sky above is clear and bright, with no ill weather expected. The four mount up as usual with a terrified Evelyn seated before Omari and ride out, intent upon arriving in the area of the Embassy with enough time to claim a good hiding place before the gala starts at dusk. Meanwhile, the other party members ready themselves for a different field of battle than the one they usually find themselves upon.
The shadows lengthen as the second group arrives in the Heights, led by Sanaya. The five of you with Whisper in tow are clad in dark clothing, and have brought enough horses for everyone. Luckily, Sanaya and Igmar have already thought of this, and asked Iacobus to rent a riverside house just a few doors down from the Embassy. You enter the gated property quietly, and stable your horses there. Omari enters the house itself, and finds it completely barren of furniture, as expected.
The group files inside, save for Whisper, who stays in the stable to mind the animals. With this in mind Evelyn clambers to the roof above, and sets up a stealthy lookout. From here she can clearly see the nothern face of the Embassy grounds, and the ground floor corner bedroom the party intends to use to enter the building.
Meanwhile, a pair of carriages have been brought around to the front of Teveras Manor. Night has fallen, and the rest of you have gathered for the ride over to the Embassy.
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Akorian looks splendid in the crimson and russet colors of House Sarani. His rapier is belted at his side, and he is bedecked with gems and baubles as befitting his status. For his part, Kymrych looks imposing in his black armor, black tabard, and dark cloak. His armor gleams in the torchlight. The ladies who will accompany you are even more impressive. None of you have ever seen Jayne dressed as a proper lady before now, so it is very easy for you to forget that she is noble-born. But not tonight — her gown is spun silk, blue to match her eyes and with low-cut bodice bedecked with borrowed pearls gilt with silver.
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Her honey blonde locks are piled high above her head, and her smile is uncharacteristically radiant as Talathel gives forth the most formal bow any of you have ever seen him attempt. Doxine Barontine is dressed in a gown with a flame red bodice, and cream skirts and matching sleeves. Her curly auburn hair is bedecked with sapphires, and held in place with a delicate mesh.
She is lovely beyond compare, and she smiles at each of you in turn as she enters. Save for Akorian, who she honors with a brief and businesslike nod. Note that social convention prevents both Jayne and Doxine from going to the gala armed, save for a dagger or two hidden away somewhere. Should be go? The Chelish Embassy is located down by the river, along a stretch of property occupied by ornate manor houses, vast parkways, and the largest temple dedicated to Asmodeus in all of Varisia.
The dark spires of the place can be seen in the darkness across the way as you dismount from your carriages and gather together for the walk in from the main gate to the embassy grounds. Dozens of red-on-black liveried servants stand post to greet the arriving guests and you pair off as needed, and stride towards the embassy itself. To your eyes the building is gray and lifeless looking in the ruddy half-light of dozens of torches. This is no mere house, but rather a bloated near-castle of ochre and black, ringed with rusting iron gargoyles dancing along its gables.
Bright lights burn from every window, and white smoke boils forth from the nearly two dozen chimneys atop the black-slate roof. Other guests have arrived as well, and together you walk down an awning covered walkway to the colonnaded main entrance to the manor. There more liveried servants offer to take your hats and cloaks, and a well-dressed, regal-looking woman of middle years greets you with a broad smile. Long may Our Dark Prince rule over us, and bring peace, prosperity and righteous domination to our great Infernal Realm. Akorian bows, and thanks her graciously.
As do you all. Then you climb the steps to the entrance foyer, and enter the building. Richly paneled and deeply carpeted, the halls of the manor hang with paintings of the Empress and her forebears, former Ambassadors, and various Infernal saints. A gay hubbub fills the air as dozens of arriving guests doff their cloaks, and head on through a set of double doors at the far end of the hallway.
Here the sky above is always cloudless, and sparkles with myriad pinwheeling stars far overhead. It it truly a beautiful sight, and largely maintained by powerful magics. Two thick wooden pillars support the roof above, and are carved to represent tangles of serpents — continually animated to seemingly writhe and twist by more powerful magic.
The room is already rather crowded. Servants wend through the crowd, bringing refreshments, and at the far end of the chamber you see a bearded devil standing post, garbed in Chelish livery and bearing its signature barbed halberd.
Most of the guests intently stay away from this obvious reminder of Chelish might, something the hosts of this gala likely find very amusing. You all glance at one another, and then enter into the melee before you. In some ways, the Night Swords are very famous here in Korvosa, and many of the guests recognize you on sight. Within moments you are inundated with greetings and well-wishers, some people you actually know. And many you do not.
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The introductions come at you faster than you can manage, and many of those names are lost forever as a result. Talathel soon finds himself with a pretty girl on each arm.
And also because she can easily handle any attempts at unnecessary conversation. Akorian, on the other hand, dives into the sea of humanity with nary a pause.
Doxine is right by his side, of course, and together the two begin to speak at length with a great many people. His Lordship also appears to drink a great deal, although Kymrych knows that this is largely an illusion. Kymrych turns to find a tall, well-built man standing beside him. Two pretty young women are with him; one looks rather bored, while the other eyes Akorian and his companion with obvious interest.
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Both girls wear identical swords sheathed at their sides.