Despite the exhaustion of being awake nearly a day and a half, the adventures outlined a plan to investigate 3 Sugar Row. Kayleb disguised the tieflings to look human and Albi to appear as a clerk (cleric?). People started sleeping in shifts. Maggie’s rest, however, was interrupted by a rapidly developing fever. She awoke with a blackened hand and redness creeping up her arm. Kayleb diagnosed a magical fungal affliction (Vorel’s blight!). Maggie along with Kayleb and Malcanthet sleepily trudged across town to Pharasma’s temple for healing. Kayleb magically healed several petitioners in line causing a stir, but ultimately Maggie was treated and the heroes returned to Foxglove’s townhouse for some much needed rest.
After dark, the group headed out for the address written in Foxglove’s ledger. They found an unassuming duplex near the Justice Court. Maggie and Kayleb snuck to the back alley entrance, while Malcanthet and Ito watched the front door. A short time later Verne, Ironbriar’s secretary, arrived and entered the home. Then, Albi and Ragnok approached the front door. Albi knocked and met a kindly, gray-haired woman. He explained that he was Foxglove’s new bookeeper and noted that a routine weekly payment had not been met recently. The woman offered to have “the Master” contact him about business matters during more appropriate hours tomorrow. Albi scuttled off.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Kayleb assumed the worst and picked the lock on the back door. Slipping inside, the tiefling found an empty office but nothing of import. They both returned to Foxglove’s townhouse and found the rest of the party waiting.
After discussing several options, the heroes decided to return to Verne’s place and question him directly. Maggie again slipped into the alley entrance and ushered the others inside. Several tiptoed past the kitchen where the matron worked happily and then upstairs. The house was otherwise empty. In the bedroom, Albi found a slender case beneath the bed containing a purse of 100 gold and a curious letter. The contents filched, the party retreated into the night.
The next morning, the party left en masse intent on finding Verne. When leaving the house, Malcanthet caught a glimpse of an unassuming women in a clothier across the street. She appeared to be watching the party. Mal darted across the street and into the store, but the woman rushed to the back. Mal pursued and found a changing area and noted a swinging window. She peered into the neighboring stall and found the suspicious woman within. She began making a scene so Mal left with only a threat.
The party watched the store but never saw the woman leave. Kayleb, however, had his familiar, Mordaki, tail the woman. The trail led to a fine estate neighboring the Pediment Building. Mordaki waited yowling at a gate that read, “Home of the Chief Justice of Magnimar.” Kayleb detected a powerful magical ward on the gate and walls, so all except Maggie retreated to the townhouse. The tiefling rogue stealthily climbed into the boughs of a nearby oak and watched the mansion.
Nearing the townhouse, the heroes found the place crawling with city watch. They headed to a nearby tavern, while Kayleb went to gather information. With his childlike innocence, he schmoozed a guard who offered that the guards were looking for dangerous people staying at the house who had left and that the house was being prepared for auction tomorrow. Advised to run along, Kayleb did so.
At dusk, Maggie saw Ironbriar return by carriage to his home with two liveried guards. She returned to the party and reported her findings.
Early next morning Maggie and Albi returned to Ironbriar’s manse. She quaffed the gnome’s invisibility elixir and vanished. She waited near the gate until Ironbriar approached and muttered the passphrase. She waited for him to depart by carriage and returned to the party triumphant.
Now with a way in, the adventurers decided to explore Ironbriar’s home while he was away. Using the passphrase, they slipped into the yard unhindered. Up a flight of stairs Maggie popped open the lock. Within the mansion, they found a bedroom containing a frightened butler. Intimidated by the tieflings and Mal’s crackling bow, he described Ironbriar’s daily routine. After clearing Ironbriar’s study of magical trappings, they laid in wait for him to approach his gallery. Ito waited in the bedroom to sneak up from behind. The heroes had to wait only until nightfall.
Outside the door, the party heard the butler say, “…and I shall fetch platters for your associates as well.”
The gallery door opened and Ironbriar entered flanked by Justices Kernwell and Chaddov. Chaddov looked livid and Kernwell startled. Ironbriar just smiled at Mal and said, “Ah yes, the woman that accompanied Miss Kaijitsu. And some new friends. While I am obviously delighted to see you, it is more normal to make an appointment and attend my chambers at the Court during working hours.”
Albi boldly stood forward and piped, “We have something you should hear.” He started reading the incriminating letter found in Verne’s bedroom. No sooner than he spoke the name Thorlass, Kernwell unexpectedly leapt at the gnome transforming into a faceless stalker!