Since then, a lot has happened.
After receiving word that the cultists’ plan to bring their dark god into the world was nearly complete, the party traveled through the sewers to the central warehouse out of which the cult operated.
Their plan? Simple: blow up the warehouse from beneath to cripple the summoning ritual. Kiliko, his goblin crew, and a team of bombardiers from the Thieves Guild went along with them to set up charges at the four corners of the building along with a huge central payload.
Just as the party was set to escape, a spectral serpent welled up from within the dark depths beneath the warehouse and attacked the party.
The charges set, Kiliko began the detonation sequence and warned Siobhan, Carwyn, and Sacha to run for it. Unfortunately, the party blacked out trying to escape and Kiliko was lost in the explosion.
Upon waking, the party found themselves back in the Guild, resting from their injuries. Devi arrived to inform them that their plan had worked—and better yet, the scheming Duke of Marlais’s corpse was found among the rubble and his entire estate was seized by the state. The cultists disappeared along with the Duke’s Black Guard.
All seemed well.
Too good to be true, in fact.
After recovering, the party began to notice that things were not all that they seemed. Carwyn outright attempted to slay a young member of the Guild in an attempt to provoke a response from what he perceived as an illusion—and yet the world around them held together.
Investigating the ruined and abandoned holdings of the cult revealed them to be abandoned, while an investigation of the central keep’s courtyards revealed strange inconsistencies in reality: birds flying backwards—water flowing in reverse through a fountain.
And through all of this, the strange notes of a flute echoing in each adventurer’s head.
The prince was set to be crowned later in the day after a funerary service to Orlandon V, and naturally the party decided that this would be the best place to test the boundaries of the world they lived in.
Upon arriving at the ceremony, the prince and his guard invited the party inside to celebrate. The feasting hall was closed off and the trap sprung.
Out of the bodies of the prince and his guard emerged hideous serpents made of bone—and out of the fireplace a specter of the dead king himself astride a nightmarish horse.
After a desperate fight with the creatures, Ziva manifested herself inside of the illusion through the calling sound of her flute. The party managed to survive, waking up in a dark, dank room in one of the cultist’s churches about the city. The burned corpse of the Eyes of the Serpent, yet another of the leaders of the cult, greeted their view as the illusion was broken.
There was still much work yet to be done.