Once everyone was stabilized, the group returned to the city to see what new treasures they had acquired. Once done, a few of the group went to Lusipher’s pub for a quick drink for a while. As the Gala was the next day, the group decided not to do anything significant. As of the day of the Gala, the group still had not thought of arranging the carriages to take them there, so several members went out and arranged for 3 carriages to meet the group at sundown in the Light Market. The rest of the day was spent picking up outfits and preparing for the festivities of the evening. Lady Arlinde gave several members of the group a quick course in etiquette, and informed them that no weapons should be taken to the gala, other than daggers or rapiers. In the end it was decided that Asgrim and a contingent of dwarves would enter one of the magical storage chambers with the groups weapons, and someone would carry the rods to open in case of emergency.
After meeting the carriages, the group arrived shortly after dark for the gala that had begun at dusk. Escorted inside Lord Wintley’s macabre estate, the group was led to a freshly built ballroom, where they were introduced to the Aristocracy of Mythrazel. The first portion of the gala was a mingle session, where the group could meet each of the houses. Trouble did occur during this time in the form of Misha and her date Balin – the mad scribe. At some point during their walk through the crowd of nobles, Balin yelled out a phrase in Undercommon. Immediately, all aristocrats in earshot of him began to sneeze. As time began to pass, the whole group of them began to show signs of illness, and murmurs of witchcraft began. Misha, however, realized that somehow the drow had done this to the aristocrats, and began to try various Undercommon phrases on everyone she spoke with – taunting the drow at the same time. Once word reached Lord Wintley, he began to get very agitated and went to investigate. While Toll intercepted him to delay him, Gwendon sent Misha home to try and curtail to the chaos. Toll discovered that all of the Aristocracy of Mythrazel goes to the same physician, an herbalist drow by the name of Pereth. In a “who’s yer daddy” show of humble but utter power, Toll healed the entire assembled crowd of all illnesses and ailments. Even the elder Dame Primera of house Van Thayre’s arthritis was cured in the wave of magic, much to her delight.
All forgiven, the gala continued, with a fine meal and a long dance that lasted well into the night. Eventually, the gala ended, much to the collected relief of the group. Lusipher even managed to bed a noble girl of house Clermont, and arrange a duel with another noble. Lusipher became very irate later when he learned that he wouldn’t even be dueling the man himself, but a hired duelist that would champion the man. Jakkara offered to duel in his place and he agreed, with the condition that she embarrass the fop’s champion utterly.
The next morning, the group discussed the problem with House Drathden, and decided that they would have to deal with it now, rather than later. At Lady Arlinde’s suggestion, they decided that an up front approach would be the best, with the party giving the Drow the truth about Gwendon’s heritage as “good faith” for the dealing. So, the group made their way through the city and soon found themselves in the study of Lord Shollock, head of House Drathden. Toll started to cast a Zone of truth, but Shollock informed him that it was not necessary. Casting it anyway, Toll was then shocked when Shollock told a blatant lie just to prove his point. Startled, Gallandro scanned the drow for magic, but saw none on him – it was eventually figured that his cloak apparently had powers to disguise magics and protect him from the zone. Gwendon explained to him that they were aware of the drow’s deceptions in the city and that she wanted to know why the Drow were above ground, and what their goal was. She further explained that she was the heir to the city, proving the point by having the great bell of defense – the Bendicole – ring in the city at that moment, dropping every gate within the walls of Mythrazel. After considering a moment, Shollock explained that he was not the person the group needed to see, and left the room.
A few moments later, a female drow appeared in the chair. She then informed the group that the drow had been driven from their homeland some time ago. They themselves had not seen the creature that had destroyed their city, but they had scryed enough to find a body that had etched the image of their attacker in blood. The symbol he etched was the same symbol that Balin had sketched weeks before during one of his periods of insanity. It was reasoned that whatever drove the drow from underground undoubtedly was the same thing that destroyed the dwarven mines of Mythrazel. The drow informed the group that the reason they manipulated the health of the aristocrats was simply a game to play to remind them of the old ways. The humans were too stupid to play games of real power, and that the drow would love to go home if it were possible.
Gwendon informed her that the group would at some point in the future enter the caverns and deal with the creature, but would appreciate a truce in the meantime. The drow concurred that there should be peace, and offered a warning that though they were able to bring back some of the dead from the caverns, that resurrection was not possible. After agreeing not to kill each other, the group headed back to the keep to plan their next move(s). It was suggested that other than the duel the next day, that the group take some time off to rest and relax from their recent ordeals. So, after Jakkara toyed with the professional Duelist the next day, finally wounding him in such a way that his blood sprayed on the noble, the group took a two week vacation – doing their own things and just taking it easy.
Two days after the Gala, the group took a two-week sabbatical – each person tending to his or her own personal needs. Of important note during the time, Toll took Vheshema as his mate, having a bonding ceremony performed at the temple of Moradin. Kobort, meanwhile, encountered the leader of the Sun Brigade – who asked to have a meeting set up between the brigade and the group. Lastly, unbeknownst to Lusipher, he was poisoned by his cook (now disappeared) during a drinking match on the last day of the vacation. Fortunately, Toll cast a Heal spell to get rid of the hangover, also getting rid of the very potent poison. Also during the time, Lusipher was able to scope out the spots of the last two Draggeth Bahn caches.
Meeting together after the break, the group talked about what they should do next. Kobort informed everyone of his meeting with the Sun Brigade, so they decided to meet with the brigade first. Then they would go and collect the eye of Tiamat and Bahamut, putting an end to the gem collection craze. The dwarves informed Toll that there should be another Dwarven Defender ready to join ranks, which should have the extra trade bar molds to up production. Toll headed to the Stone Ward to pick up the new dwarf, while the rest of the party made their way to the Luck O’ the Leprechaun to meet Duncan, the Sun Brigade liaison.
Kobort arrived at the Brotherhood Guild Hall and was ushered in to meet the new recruit. The young dwarf introduced himself as Dartel Longstroke, though his last name is a secret so forget he said it. Toll introduced himself and then cast a Wind Walk on the dwarf to allow him to keep up. The two then sped their way to the Leprechaun – where the others had already arrived. The manager told Lusipher about the missing cook, while Misha ran off one of the two human customers – the one not named Duncan. Gwendon approached the other human and asked if he was Duncan. As soon as he acknowledged that he was, she told him to go ahead and take them to the Sun Brigade. As a group, they all left the pub and headed for the Sun Market – meeting Toll and Dartel along the way.
At the Sun Market, Duncan received further directions from a contact, and the group headed to the Temple Ward, where they were escorted to a private altar room in the temple of Pelor. There they met 10 of the Sun Brigade, including its leader – the half elf woman known as Myhla Finch. From her they learned that the Sun Brigade numbered nearly a thousand strong, and that Myhla herself was once Lord Wintley’s Paladin General – but had since fallen from Paladinhood to try and further the cause of justice outside of the law as a Holy Liberator. She then made an offer to assist the group in any way possible if the group would assist them. Gwendon informed her that the group had already spoken with the Drow and came up with an agreeable solution – the drow would leave when they could safely enter their caverns. Gwen then informed Myhla that the group could house 50 of the brigade and that they should prepare over the week to ready themselves to join the group.