In the early morning of December 15, YV 540, Doane rides the train he’s stowed away on all the way to the Vardorborg, capital of Vardor, arriving near sunset that day. He hopes to rescue his friends in a prison car a few cars up. The party is:
- Doane Six (ByW): Level 2 Nekolyn Monk
- Lamila (BiW): Level 2 Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter
- Benquil: Level 2 Spider Monkey Animal Companion
- Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (RiH): Level 2 Halfling Bard
When the train arrives in the station, Doane carefully disembarks, seeing that the car with his companions had been cordoned off and blocked from view with tall curtain barriers. The top of a truck backed up near it can be seen, though.
He quickly crosses to the other side of the train, passing along it to the area opposite the partitioned space. He manages to find the right moment to cross again and slips under the truck.
While he waits, the prisoners are moved from the train to the truck, most of them (including Lucy) complying willingly, but Lamila, the minotaur, and the orc attempting to fight their way out, only to be rendered unconscious.
Doane rides under the truck several blocks before it pulls into a garage, door closing behind it. He continues to wait under the truck while it is unloaded and rides it out when it leaves, taking up a position to watch the building for a chance to rescue his friends.
Inside, Lucy and Lamila are interrogated. Lucy is compliant and open and before long his handcuffs are removed and he’s released into a bunk room where most of the other new recruits to the cult are waiting.
Lamila, however, is belligerent, insists on speaking orcish, and demands to speak to a god and get some answers before she’ll do much as give her real name.
She remains in her interrogation room though the night, but during an attempted escape is again subdued and moved to a different, less damaged room. When she wakes up, she has a new interrogator who somehow knows she speaks elvish. He is a dark elf that looks somewhat familiar, and what’s more, claims to have been her friend once. When she doesn’t recognize him, he introduces himself as Benquil, Champion of the Gods. She demanded to speak to a god, so they’d gotten her the next best thing.
When she refuses to cooperate even with him, Benquil resorts to a truth serum, learning that she was more a pawn than a threat, as expected. When finished, he deigns to answer some questions, hesitating, but saying that if there is anyone he would trust with the information alive today, it would be Lamila.
She learns that the gods of the Vardor Pantheon believe in leaving much of the workings of the world to morals, and that while they disagree with her mission to see the end of the magic ban, they will not stop her.
Shortly after noon, all 11 of the captured cult recruits are released, each with a pamphlet of places to seek work in the city and a good lunch in their bellies.
Doane approaches the group and they all move away into the city. Most eventually go their own way, but Lucy convinces four of the others (including Gelda Roughsole, the other halfling) to join them on their continuing mission.
Meanwhile, Lamila communes with Hilbrent with confidence from Benquil’s claims that Hilbrent knew her. Benquil has warned him about her and he is more generous with answers this time. He repeats that the magic ban is protecting the world from unknown changes, or at least attempting to, and that these extreme measures have barely been enough to begin reversing the damage done so far.
He tells her that he has hope for her attempts to find a better path, though he does not see it or believe it exists. He points her toward Ilgrind Hindrilshin, one of his more eccentric worshippers and the contact mentioned by their handlers prior to their capture as someone who could help spread their message.
Hilbrent reiterates that he will not directly try to stop her, trusting mortals to make their own decisions, and while he thinks she is wrong, he will advise as needed in their mission to find a better future.
With seven of them still determined to disseminate the knowledge of resurrection and other magic, they catch a train to Requiem, where they have been told they can catch a ferry across the Glass Gulf to traditional Gnomish lands, where Ilgrind is supposed to live.
Check out my mystery one-shot: Cult of the Sleeping God.