29/7/1472: 03:10 – 03:20: The group find more information in the journal, and discover that apparently, Kheshan had been obtaining the “green dust” from something he accessed through the “Chambers of the Great Maw”; an honorific, the priest realises for some high ranking member of the cult.
With some idea of where to go next, the group make to leave the room – and immediately run into three of Santheil's men.
“We gonna' have te' frisk ye.” Announces one of them.
“But you didn't frisk us on the way in.” Replies Jaeger, “So how can you know if we have taken anything? No offence but this feels like a set up.”
The Dohr'Khustan just glares, and his two allies move forwards, crossing their arms over their barrel chests.
“Santheil say we gotta' frisk ye, so there be no point in tryin' to get outta it...*aaak*”
Grigori unleashes a blast of radiant magic right into their faces, the stink of cooking flesh and burned hair, as well as the screams of the three men suddenly filling the air. Screams of fear and surprise ring out from the rooms that lead from the landing on which the group battle, and down in the main introduction area, more guards leap to their feet, whilst a few sleepy patrons and dozing prostitutes leap up in shock.
The battle that ensues is fought in a very tight area, and being used to fighting on board ships, the Dohr'Khustans have something of an advantage; using the fixed features of the balcony and steps to their advantage. However, although more and more guards begin to turn up, the group fight at their best, the argent forming a solid heart to their offensive, a flickering aura of quiet, bolstering, psionic power surrounding her.
For a moment the group fear a deadly foe may have joined the fray, for having heard the commotion, Santheil himself appears, along with three more of his kin folk. He unleashes some kind of dark spell against Grigori, surrounding him with a whirling column of slashing sharks teeth, which rip continually at him and prevent him from moving. However, as soon as the pimp sees the sheer carnage the group are sowing, he shouts “Keep them off me” to his men, before fleeing back towards his room (and, it is discovered later, out of a window).
The men manage to hold their nerve a little longer after the shock departure of their leader, and several are taken down, the swordmage seeming to come into his own, his deadly blades flickering like metallic lightning through their ranks; deflecting incoming attacks, and opening up deep wounds in their bodies. However, when the assassin calls upon his dark power to summon up four phantasmal entities who mere presence weakens the enemy and rots their flesh, their morale sinks into their boots, and those that are not cut down give up.
03:21 – 04:00: The group realise that their actions will probably be seen very differently by the cities security forces when they arrive, and so they take steps to get out of this place as quickly as possibly – though not until they get all the info they can. The guests are forced into the rooms, and the assassin maintains his summoned shadow things as gaolers, their tenebrous forms keeping the terrified men and women cowed and passive.
Lia and Grigori interrogate two of the surviving guards, the former using her diplomatic skills, the latter, his raw, unholy presence to intimidate. Reluctantly at first, but then with growing speed and volume, the guards confess that they had no idea that their boss had any ties to the Shadrakuul cults (Grigori feels they are being honest about this), and that he has a safe hidden under a rug in his office, where he keeps “All his important stuff”. They also tell the group that he has a locked footlocker at the end of his bed, which contains a trap who's poison he has to top up occasionally, though they have no idea what he keeps in there.
With these words, the two guards cease to be of use to the group, and Lia is sent away with Varracuda to “find a means of escape”, whilst they are executed, their blood warming the insides of the Ulnyrr and priest.
04:03 – 04:08: As he begins to drag furniture to the Gusset's front doors as a barricade, the swordmage hears the steady, measured approach of armoured feet outside. Up in Santheil's office, the assassin and priest also hear their approach, and move quickly to search the room.
It seems that some of the guests have also realised that the cities security forces are moving towards their position in force, and some begin to scream and shout for help from their rooms.
The safe is located and opened. Within are found gold bars (10,000 gps worth), an enchanted ring of ivory and gold (which is later given to Lia, its magic enabling her to shrug off death's touch with greater ease should she become mortally wounded), and a curious egg of cloudy crystal, which appears to have delicate lengths of silvery thread suspended within it.
The footlocker is simply thrown in Grigori's latest bag of holding, there being no time to try and disable its warding trap.
04:12 – As the guard smash their way into the Gusset, the group slip into the tunnels Lia has found lie beneath a capped off drain in the cellar. Varracuda makes efforts to hide the fact that they have passed this way (the Ulnyrr having smashed the ceramic cap that prevented vapours and vermin from below drifting up into the wine cellar), and as the Aurymite forces swarm into the bar above, they begin to pick their way along the briny, basalt tunnels, splashing through what appears to be brackish water (this is clearly not a sewer per se, though the distant aroma of effluence suggests that at least some folks are using sections of it as such).