Fresh from a victory against Vecna cultists, the party prepared to press onward to find the traitor Robin Goode at the Bolt’s secret meeting-place in the Shorehold catacombs. Noor placed a dainty diadem on her head and muttered about how it was more suited for G’Yest. As they pushed forth, though, G’Yest stumbled and began to stagger—his recent resurrection was catching up to him, and perhaps the Raven Queen was drawing him a little too eagerly toward her bosom after the bloody death he had just sowed amongst the cultists.
But as G’Yest toppled backwards, a figure stepped from the shadow to catch him—T’kar! Having finished up his business, he had been smuggled into the city and been sent along to catch up with the party. T’Kar strode forward, letting G’Yest fade into the background to rest.
Winding through dark and crumbling tunnels, the party eventually approached the meeting place: a room behind an iron door, with VICTALYSSA written across the top of the doorjamb, with a statue of a blacksmith and a generic fancy person statue flanking it. Without G’Yest to sneak in, the party resorted to a noisy, Kramer-like entrance: T’Kar used his magic cantrip to open the latch and Torinn kicked the door in.
The party found themselves in a small crypt. Behind one of the sarcophagi crouched a single man, pointing a poisoned crossbow at the party. He boldly shouted for them to freeze and asked who they were.
It soon became clear that he was Robin Goode, the putative traitor. But he seemed to be taking refuge here, not waiting in ambush. And where were the thugs the party supposed would jump out at them at any moment? Nowhere to be seen. Goode, it seemed, believed the traitor to be Gertha. After some discussion, the party decided to disarm him and walk him out of the catacombs, quickly, in case foes were descending on their location. Goode reluctantly went along.
Because the party discussed sneaking out of the city, Goode led them towards a cache of documents they could use to safely pass through the gates. However, as the party approached the section of the catacobms where the documents were hidden, Goode stopped. “Why is that door closed?” he asked. “The Bolt always leaves the door here open.” Compounded with the foul smell coming from the doorway, the party knew some horror lay beyond and prepared for battle. Torinn threw Robin his rapier back and warned him that he better not betray them.
Kicking that door open, the party darted into a room full of staggering, rotting corpses, skeleton archers, and a hooded man riffling through spread-out papers on a sarcophagus. Whirling around and seeing them, the man snatched his papers, gestured at the undead, and fled. The monsters moaned and began to attack.
Noor leapt onto a dais to better position herself. Big mistake! That disturbed a horrid offalian, which wormed its way toward her and grabbd her with a mouth made of the teeth and jaws of many people.
While Robin and Noor struggled with the offalian, Torinn laid about him left and right with his holy axe, slaying zombies. T’Kar activated his repulsion armor and kept the monsters at bay, using his thunderwave to great effect to blow them to smithereens three at a time while being ventilated by shitty bone arrows fired by a skeleton archer. Finally, Torinn charged the archer and slew it while Robin and Noor finished off the offalian.
The hooded man had long fled, but had left some papers behind—scrawled with strange writing, nobody could make them out. The party retrieved the documents from another room and left the catacombs, wondering how they would figure out who the traitor was.
Robin led them through secret alleys toward Quoven’s place of business. Pushing in, they found Gertha still weak, and outraged that they had not slain Robin. The party pitted Robin and Gertha against each other, demanding they accuse each other to their faces and explain themselves with their accuser present. Robin claimed Gertha had betrayed the Bolt because she had been stealing from merchant houses using Bolt resources; Gertha claimed Robin was using the Bolt as a route to power and had been disowned by his father after being caught stealing. Robin admitted his father had disowned him, but said it was because he had stood up for the rights of peasants.
The party asked them why they shouldn’t kill both of them to save the Bolt. Gertha protested that most vehemently, saying she would claw out their eyes if they tried. Suspicion continued to grow that Gertha was the traitor. Finally, T’Kar suggested that Quoven use a magical ritual to help uncover the truth. They tied the two hostages together, back to back, and Noor told them that the ritual would cause unimaginable pain to the traitor and only the traitor. Torinn helpfully added that it would cause their limbs to burst into flame, hence the ritual’s name “Liar Liar Pants On Fire”. Gertha snorted at this, but once the ritual was complete, she found herself magically compelled to explain that she didn’t MEAN to betray the Bolt, that she had been caught by Lucas Clayacrell of House Fell and forced to return gold the Bolt had stolen from him earlier and then been used as a spy.
The party tossed Robin his rapier and told him to do the deed, since it was his life Gertha tried to ruin. He impaled her and she fell dead.
The party discussed the need to strike back immediately and visibly at the government, to show that the Bolt had not been broken. They discussed assassinating the Duke or his son, but that seemed like it might provde too difficult—and besides, T’Kar refused to kill families. They discussed burning the noble docks and the barracks, but Noor was worried that killing commoners’ husbands and sons would turn opinion against the Bolt. They decided to case the merchant houses of Fell and Gambon and find a high-ranking merchant they could assassinate, while G’Yest took the scraps of Abyssal writing they had found to the temple of the Raven Queen to learn more about the Vecna cult.