After the disastrous failed parade, the party has retreated into the castle with the royal family. They immediately ensconce themselves in King Dhakus’s private tower, and easily defensible strong hold in the center of the compound. Trivolin has custody of the lone prisoner the party was able to take; a warrior monk accompanying the priests who attacked the royal family. Trivolin secures the prisoner (Binds, blinds, and gags him) in the guard’s cells on the first floor.
The rest of the party are led by a disoriented king upstairs to the audience chamber. Prince Jabarro is barely hanging on to life. Princess Zashah is trying to administer to him. After it becomes apparent that none of the party has basic first aid skills, the Princess sends Lyssin to fetch the royal sorcerer from the first floor to heal the prince. Zashah question the strangers who have come to her family’s rescue. She is suspicious, but admits she should trust them, after they have put their lives on the line to save her own. In fact, it is Sir Armand’s emphatic bleeding that convinces her.
Downstairs, Lyssin finds not the sorcerer (who appears to have been trapped outside of the castle during the hullabaloo), but the sorcerer’s apprentice, Valencia d’Shad. It is d’Shad’s first day on the job. When they reach the dying prince, Zashah seems surprised to see him, but allows him to treat her brother. Val, also not having any medical training whatsoever, heroically pulls 2lbs of sealing wax from his supply and miraculously manages to stop the prince’s bleeding. He isn’t recovering, but he is at least stable until a competent healer can arrive. Prince Jabarro is moved into the King’s chamber, with Greilin keeping an eye on him. The prince seems to be turning a strange, grey color.
The King is still disoriented from the attack, and Zashah is eager to establish control of the situation. She decides a royal proclamation is needed to assure the people of the city that the line of succession is secure. She calls for the royal librarian, who chronicles and bears witness to all the important events in the country. The loyalties of the guards outside the tower are unknown, but Lyssin again volunteers to go and fetch the needed vassal.
Lyssin uses her stealth skills (and super cool cloak) to easily evade the guards (who seem to be guarding the tower. Suspicious? Who knows? We didn’t explore this). Lyssin easily enters the royal library, where she discovers a half-elf sitting in the middle of a giant stack of books. Lyssin’s success so far is somewhat thwarted by the skepticism of the Royal Librarian Trivino, who is only convinced to follow when a royal guard appears and vouches for the Lyssin, and informs them both that he has been instructed to assist the party. Wow, that seems strange.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE TOWER: Trivolin investigates the monk’s belongings while he is incapacitated and discovers a strange, warm amulet. Trivolin takes this carefully, wrapping it in the monk’s own sash.
By the time Librarian Trivino and Lyssin arrive in the audience chamber, the king has regained his composure and control of the room. Luckily, Lady Trivino has healing experience, and can assist the prince. She heals him to consciousness. As soon as he is awake, he begins frantically searching for… something. He asks for “the stone.” He rushes into the other room looking for it. Trivino & Greilin follow him into the audience room.
Armand draws a pistol on the prince, Val notices the strange aura surrounding Jabarro which seems to drawing magic into him. He also notices another aura surrounding…Lyssin. The King tries to greet his son in relief, but Val stops him. Lyssin, surprising everyone (herself included) stabs the prince. The Prince seems not to notice the new wound.
Greilin tries to convince Lyssin to handover anything of the prince she might have taken. Lyssin makes a show of looking for something on her person, but doesn’t hand anything over. In fact, she finds herself gripping the stone she picked up during the battle more tightly, and attempting to hide it from the group.
Prince Jabarro causally removed the blade, while Lyssin tries to evade his notice. Trivolin is drawn by the noise, and attempts to restrain the prince, who shoves the ranger away with unnatural strength. Greilin questions the princess about the prince, and whether or not it is possible an imposter has taken his place. Princess Zashah hasn’t seen her brother in 15 years, but informs the party that he has been living in the mountain with an order of priests. She also tells them that both she and her brother have a very unusual birthmark, and this could be used to identify him.
Val subdues the prince with the touch of fatigue. He is examined for the birthmark, and there on his collarbone is the diamond shaped birthmark, which means he is the true prince. In typical fashion, Armand immediately asks to see the princesses’ mark.
Val tells the group that the prince seems possessed, and admits that he has abyssal blood, allowing him to know this. The Prince is possessed by a strong demon of a higher form; likely a demon prince.
Greilin and Armand tie up the prince adequately. The King orders that the prisoner monk be interrogated regarding his son’s possession. Greilin fetches the monk and throws him on the table (ala HP Deatheaters).
Before interrogating the monk, Trivolin and Val try to determine what magic the monk’s amulet possesses. It seems to have a locating spell on it that directs the wearer to a certain object, but they aren’t sure where. The amulet does seem to be warmer the closer it gets to Lyssin & the Prince.
Armand removes the monks blindfold, making sure that he can see the barrel of his gun pointed towards them. Greilin removes the gag, and the the monk immediately starts praying, “There shall be order; the chaos will be defeated.”
When questioned, the monk states that the prince is no longer the prince, the demon must be defeated, and that there shall be order. He references his other brothers and their sacred duty to thwart the prince and contain the demon.
Lyssin blames the priests for putting the demon inside the prince, but the monk says that it was brought about by the princes own choices. The party starts to realize that Lyssin is acting strangely, but she denies it and becomes defensive. Lyssin has a moment of clarity and throws the amulet she was hiding in her pocket onto the table.
The monk starts thrashing as soon as the amulet appears. The Prince also begins pulling against his bonds. Lyssin tells the group where she acquired the stone. The group seems to be enthralled with the stone, and ignores her. To save them from their thrall, Lyssin leaps on the table, grabs the stone in an attempt to give it back to the prince, since the last time she remembers him acting sane he was in possession of it. As soon as the stone is out of sight, the rest of the group regains their right mind. They re-gag the monk, and the prince gasps and looks up. He asked forgiveness from his father.
Now that the stone is back with the prince, the monk’s amulet is glowing really brightly.
Aramand asks the monk if he can help the prince, and the gagged monk nods emphatically.
The prince speaks and tells the group that the priests have been hunting him for a while. He used to be part of an order that hunted magical items and kept them from releasing demons into the world. The priest is part of a counter order that wants the demons released. The stone is one of these items that the prince recovered. the 15 years of training the prince received while training with the order he lived in gave him the power to control the objects. The prince had planned on continuing his quest after reuniting with his family. Because he’d been carrying the stone so long, it became bonded to his life force. He can no longer be parted from it.
Several of the party view this explanation with skepticism. The prince realizes this, and tries to assure them that his life force is all that is holding the demon back. Greilin and Aramand attempt to take the monk downstairs.
Everyone attempts sense motive on everyone else. The prince is lying, the king is good hearted and wants to believe his son, the princess is biding her time, and the priest seems to be telling the truth but definitely means harm toward the prince and possibly the rest of the royal family.
Greilin & Aramand finally succeed in taking the monk downstairs. The king asserts that the monk is facing a death sentence for his attempt on the lives of the royal family. The place the monk in the guards’ chambers.
There, they remove the monk’s gag in order to learn more from him. The monk pleads with them to kill the prince, otherwise he will travel through the 9 lands collecting the 9 stones and releasing the king of demons. The brotherhood on the island can help destroy the stones when they are collected. The monk tells them that his name is Brother Mercado. He doesn’t know the ultimate leadership of the brotherhood since it is a private order. He only knows the brothers who were on the quest with him.
Upstairs, the prince and king are preparing for the prince to continue his quest to find the stones and asking the party to travel with him as his protectors. There are still questions regarding the prince’s motivation, but there is truth behind the need to keep the stones out of the wrong hands. Trivolin tries to talk the king out of this plan, thinking that a more powerful party should be sent. However, the king does not trust his guards or the priest and believes a small party is the best way to avoid detection. The princess finally speaks up and demands to go along if a quest is sent.
Downstairs again: The monk tells Greilin that the only way he had of communicating with the brotherhood is the amulet he was wearing, which tells the members when they are near (it glows blue in the presence of another priest). The stones had long ago been placed in the possession of the royal families of each of the 9 kingdoms in an effort to protect the stones and unite the land in a common cause.
Full party reunites downstairs to look for the secret passage out that Val sensed earlier. Despite not wanting to take the prince with them, they are forced to in order to serve as ambassadors for the other royal families, and to protect the king and princess.
A long discussion commences about what to do with the monk. After negotiations, the king agrees to keep the monk alive until the party has secured the stones. The monk is still under a death sentence, but it’s commuted so he can serve as a hostage until the quest is completed.
The king plans for the group to leave undetected. He will let the country know that due to the attempt on the lives of the royal heirs, he has sent them into hiding again.
The king equips the party with information, items, and gold. They prepare to escape through the sewers.