The party wrecks a curio shop and encounters a very familiar face.
Goodmonth 2, 591 CY
Having dealt with an ambush on their way to investigate the curio shop owned by possible dancer-murderer Damiz Tavarek, the party catches its breath and waits for the sole surviving assailant to regain consciousness. Searching the fallen, the group finds neatly 400 gp and several useful potions, suggesting these attackers were more than just your average Pellak street toughs.
There's also the mystery of how Dook -- last seen comatose and being escorted by Thora Kaeda back to the Twilight Grove for further examinations by the council of druids -- has just reappeared by sprouting out of the cobblestones and growing into his full-size self, much less how the ogre was able to produce his trademark tree/club by seemingly growing it directly out of his arm. Unfortunately, Dook being Dook, the ogre can't provide much useful information. He explains that he was asleep, and then he was with a "pretty tree lady" in a forest, and then he was here because he somehow knew his friends were in trouble. Puzzled, the group files it away on their to-do list of things to figure out later (alongside that devil's mark most of them are carrying).
Dook, meanwhile, immediately mistakes the red-bearded dwarf Orrin for "another Kiffan/Kyffin."
The remaining assassin is eventually slapped awake and interrogated, but she proves even less of a font of information than Dook. Telling the party her name is "Sonja," she concedes that someone hired him and his men to waylay the party on their way to the curio shop, but insists that she never knew the identity of that employer, and even if she did, she would take that knowledge to her grave. The party debates whether they should employ "enhanced interrogation techniques" to try to get more out of the assassin or just turn them over to the city guard, with Arya suggesting she just wildshape into a dire wolf and eat the woman (a plan which Orrin argues against).
Lavis, meanwhile, finds something on one of the assassins that tips the scales towards simply surrendering the assailant to the guard: one of the attackers carries an emblem of the Moquollod Consortium, a massive trading company and rumored criminal enterprise that is based out of Zeif and which controls many of the major trade routes between the Bramblewood Pass and the fringes of the Celestial Imperium to the far west.
The Consortium, Lavis informs Strymir, is not a group they would be wise to pick a fight with. And if the Consortium was responsible for sending these assassins, they'd best keep a low profile and watch their backs.
After a bit of debate, Orrin finally takes Sonja and hands her off to a local guard, also directing them to the scene of the carnage in the nearby alley. Their letter of writ from Baron Nanjari ensures the guard doesn't ask too many questions
Continuing on into Old Pellak, the group soon finds the curio shop owned by the family of Damiz Tavarek, the rumored lover of Kali, the murdered dancer whose body the group found hidden in her room the session before. All the evidence points to Damiz and Kali being directly involved in the theft of the Baklunish, Oeridian, and Suloise unity totems that the party has been hired to locate. However, the shop seems to be closed, with its windows covered and its only door sealed. From the outside, at least, there is no sign of anyone inside.
Kiffan succeeds in picking open the lock on the front door, but in the process activates a defensive glyph that detonates the front door and blasts several of the party members backwards. The group charges into the smoking curio shop and finds Damiz alongside several allies. No one seems in the mood to talk, as Damiz and the others attack the party.
Telo'Mir immediately takes out one of their opponents' heavy hitters, casting Banishment on a sorcerer before he gets off an attack. The rest of the group engages Damiz and his allies, with the battle destroying much of the shop in the process. Finally, after several of his allies have fallen, Damiz throws up his hands in surrender.
He seems hesitant to talk at first but once he learns that Kali is dead his demeanor changes. He admits that he did indeed oversee the theft of the totems and that he and Kali recruited the other Baklunish dancers from her troupe to help distract the guards during the theft. He wasn't the mastermind, however: that, he insists, was a Kettite merchant named Ikraam. He regularly runs caravans between Ket, Bissel, and the lands beyond, and he had most recently arrived in Pellak the week before, but the theft had been in the works for several weeks.
When asked who else may have been involved, Damiz seems frightened and hesitant to say more. Lavis correctly guesses that Ikraam may somehow be involved with the Moquollod Consortium. Damiz simply nods and repeats a common Baklunish warning: "The Moquollod leave no footprints."
He doesn't know the location of the other two totems, but he says that he has one in the shop's back room, below the floorboards. He offers to turn it over, asking only that he and his surviving allies be allowed to slip out and flee the city. The murder of Kali confirms that he is now a marked man, as Ikraam is undoubtedly removing any loose ends.
The party is considering this offer when suddenly tendrils of black shadow extend out from the back room. Damiz is suddenly yanked backwards into the shadows, followed by sounds of a struggle.
A hooded figure emerges from the back room, wielding daggers and a mask pulled up to conceal her face, but not the single strand of blonde hair that falls into view from beneath the hood. The figure cautiously takes in the party -- her eyes widening as they fall onto Arya Moonglade. Shocked, the figure pulls down her mask and lowers her hood to reveal a familiar face -- that of Arya Moonglade.
The two Aryas regard each other and then say, in unison, "What the fuck?"
From behind the new Arya, a singsong voice drifts out from the shadows, saying, "It's a mystery..."