Their work in Ahgram done, the party deliberated about their next move. They knew that Proximo’s villa lay to the southeast, and they suspected the Fane of the Redcap to be south of Ahgram. From the few clues she had, Ophelia estimated a rough southwesterly direction to the Tomb of the Subtle Prince, but she had not yet unlocked the puzzles of Desert Shadows.
Thorn suggested a loop from southeast to south to southwest, allowing Ophelia time to figure out the code in the book, and the others agreed. They set out for Proximo’s place at once. Lux reminded the party that the primary goal was to recover the armor of General Decius, but he also wanted to free the enslaved gladiators. A rough plan was drawn up after they scouted the layout of the complex.
Ophelia and Thorn waded into the river to approach from the water. While Ophelia crept to the gate to admit the party, Thorn made a sniper attack on the wall guards as a distraction. Once inside, the fight was intense but never in question. Between Freya’s powerful assaults and Cora’s radiant attacks the guards had little defense.
Thorn and Lux were not quite as fortunate. While Ophelia used both stealth and skill to free the imprisoned gladiators, Lux (hampered by his heavy armor and need to await Ophelia’s lockpicking expertise) waited at the villa residence’s main door. Thorn, cut off from his friends by a narrow alley, was being attacked by two guards and suffered extensive wounds.
Once the residence was opened, the party was met with guards and an enormous, hulking figure, wearing the armor of a hoplomachus. He identified himself as Proximo Lanista. Instead of joining the fray, however, he directed his men to hold the doorway, shouted commands and jeering at the party.
Once the guards were done, Lux squared off against Proximo and tried to keep his attention. This allowed Ophelia to creep behind him and land several devastating blows, even as Cora and Thorn peppered the behemoth at range.
Despite a grueling battle, Proximo was finally felled. Lux found the keys to the armory and discovered the longsword of Decius and his breastplate and helm.