After a long day and a few hours’ rest, our heroes returned to Council Hall in a Kaer Siyar that has changed dramatically. News that the kaer has been breached has spread like wildfire, and more than a little panic has resulted. Suicides and assaults have taken place, while other citizens have barricaded themselves in their homes. The Council has ordered martial law, forbidding residents to leave their own domes without explicit written permission, calling up ten times the normal number of guards, and requiring the streets to be empty after dark. Windlings are hoarding food (some of it stolen), elves are preparing for war, and the entire dome of Okoros seems likely to collapse into anarchy.
Their meeting evolved into a lengthy discussion of how Horrors could be found, fought, lured, or detected…and found only more questions and conflicting stories. Vunar and Tyrnea of the Kaer Council offered what insight they could to the younger adepts, but there seemed to be no simple way to discover the Horror’s presence. With a little time before their patrol shift was scheduled to start, the heroes split up to confer with their respective mentors and contacts.
Fareth returned to Shal’Minar to speak to Bessamyn, the Scout who taught him the ways of the Discipline. She and many other elves were working near the main entrance to the Shal’Minar dome, setting up defensive positions and clearly expecting trouble. Bessamyn confirmed that she had been to (unofficially) observe the damage to the Freedom Gate. She did not observe any specific tracks or other clues, but did find it odd that the Horror was apparently not trying to damage the wards, but simply the door itself. It also ignored the opening mechanisms for the door proper; though they are both complex and protected, an intelligent Horror would certainly have been able to open the door more quickly with those than by carving through the stone.
Kurz went to the home of his mentor, Xabal. On the way there, he observed a gang of ork ruffians accosting passers-by and demanding a creative act, as it is believed that Horror-marked individuals lose the ability to do such things. Avoiding such trouble, Kurz reached Xabal, who had apparently been deep in study for much of the night. Xabal stated that the “creativity defense” was a myth, and also suggested that the Horror is likely to need a lair, probably defended by its minions, where its body (physical, astral, or both) would be safe while it uses Horror-marked victims to do its bidding. Xabal also loaned Kurz a book – well, most of a book – about Horrors and the places they might lair.
Laramanus spoke briefly (by obsidiman standards) with the wizard Imosor, who was clearly distraught by the chaos in the kaer around him. Imosor had had a small amount of experience with Horrors before the sealing of the kaer, and was able to confirm some of the observations made during the initial meeting in Council Hall.
Nimue had no particular plans to meet anyone, but went to the shrine of Garlen to pray, where he encountered a weary Tolooraateth, who had just finished spending multiple hours repairing the breached water gate. She mentioned that the broken edges of the ward screen appeared quite worn, as though they had been broken some time ago, perhaps even years in the past. This, of course, raises the question – what prompted the Horror to awaken now?
Finally, Y’bbn spoke with the watchful Sesta Kura Haital, t’skrang Taildancer extraordinaire. When Y’bbn presented his plan to single-handedly find and slay the Horror to improve relations with the other Name-givers in the kaer, Sesta seemed slightly nonplussed, but he was not reluctant to share his advice. He seemed to feel that Y’bbn’s vivid personality might well make him a prime target for the Horror, and also suspected that the windling houses near the roofs of the various domes might be desirable targets if the Horror could reach them.
After gathering what information they could, the heroes returned to Council Hall to begin their patrol, having been instructed by Vunar to be more concerned with peace in the streets. Extensive discussions about possible plans took up much of the patrol, which encountered little of interest until they began traveling the Deeps beneath the kaer. A series of loud thumps near the southern edge of Khar Rhûz led them to find a half-dozen orks busily hammering at the tunnel wall with mauls. The initial confrontation was tense but peaceful until a comment by Kurz apparently triggered one of the other orks’ gahad. Thankfully, Y’bbn and Laramanus were able to subdue the enraged ork without bloodshed, and a small amount of questioning revealed that the idea of breaking out of the kaer was inspired, if not directly ordered, by the ork firebrand Jurok Ghal, whose followers apparently include several t’skrang as well as an increasing number of orks.
The session ended with a return visit to the heavily-guarded Freedom Gate, where careful observation by Kurz revealed that the Horror’s scratches seemed to carefully avoid marring the actual wards on the gate. Kurz passed this information on to the wizard Arrick, who seemed unconvinced by his theory. The heroes also advised the guards of the attempted breach in the Deeps and the connection to Jurok Ghal. With Ghal’s followers involved in an attempted breach and also apparently a source of the sort of negative emotions that Horrors so often seek, the heroes elected to infiltrate his next gathering…specifically by sending in Y’bbn and Nimue.