As they stroll through the markets, the heroes briefly encounter a wealthy woman with her retinue. She has two armed guards and a plainly-dressed woman with her, and her rich clothing and emerald earrings mark her as an important personage.
Not far off is a reputable inn with rooms for the night. The prices are reasonable, the rooms comfortable and secure, and it’s not far from the main gate.
Continuing his quest to recover the goods of General Decius Gladium Sicerem, Lux is aware that the current Caliph of Ahgram came to power seven years ago. The former Caliph had commanded Decius to rule, but the General was charged with murder and enslaved. This is where the trail ends.
- The City Guard and most of the armed forces in and around the city dress in Roman styles, rather than the more desert nomad dress of the locals. Most of the commanders, too, bear Roman names, even though the majority of the forces have local names.
- Most people, if asked openly about General Decius, will be evasive and try to get away from the conversation as quickly as possible.
- One old, blind beggar finds the man who was asking about the General and takes him aside. He shows the tattoo of a Legatus of Ahgram on his arm, identified himself as Valarius Davo and fondly remembers Decius as a great man. He tells Lux that Decius was sold to a gladiator company owned by a man called Proximo, and fought in the arena as Blood Dancer. He hasn’t been seen in a couple of years, but if anything of his remains, it will likely be at Proximo’s villa, outside the city.
Having found two temples to Corellon vandalized, she must determine the fate of the shrine in Ahgram. She seeks to return the book Glade Whispers to the Citystate, but is not aware of anything that may have been taken from Khal.
- The Shrine of Corellon in Ahgram lies in the Palace District, which (when she arrives) is closed off, the gates shut. Sounds of a battle may be heard, and the gate guards look worried. They know no more than the characters.
- After about an hour (with crowds growing outside the gates, questions flying) the Gate Captains come to the door. Addressing the crowds, they explain that the City Guard fended off an attempted attack on the Shrine of Corellon. The attackers have been killed or driven off, and the area is now safe. The gates are opened, onlookers swarm, and life goes on.
- At the shrine, Sister Melasiel is happy to show Cora the Shrine, and to show that no serious harm has been done. She explains that the attackers were elementals called Spriggans, twisted nature spirits. They are known to be servants of a shadowy figure known as the Queen of Air and Darkness, a mortal enemy of Corellon.
- Sister Melasiel does not know much about the Spriggans or their mistress, but she does offer the library to Cora and her friends, if desired. Here they find a legend of an ancient shrine to the Queen called the Fane of the Redcap, only about twenty-five miles distant.
Knowing that the book (sometimes called Desert Shadows) she seeks is found inside the Palace of the Caliph, Ophelia must find some way to enter this heavily-guarded compound. Not only is it in the most secure district of Ahgram, but is itself the most secure building in that city.
- The city’s beggars are looking out for a female Tiefling at the behest of Mehut Shadowscale of Khal. If they have not already met, Valarius Davo presents himself to Ophelia and offers to “sell” her a “valuable necklace” – a scorpion amulet, similar to the one carried by Qasim, back in the Citystate.
- He tells her to seek the Silent Sisters at the Guild of Embalmers and Undertakers. They will be able to help Ophelia find entrance into the Palace, and aid in her quest.
- Ophelia meets the guildmaster, Hecate, and her Reader. They tell her that they will find a way.