With the gladiator Carter freed from his cell under the arena, the heroes moved on to their second task: breaking into House Azu and stealing the powerful moonstones. As usual they ran into trouble along the way.
A woman begged them for help, saying her husband was about to be publicly executed for a crime he did not commit. Riza was quick to pledge her help, and soon the adventurers found themselves in a crowded square where a man was tied to a barrel and a hooded executioner was about to behead him.
Riza shouted above the crowd that the execution was a sham and that two other minotaurs were the true criminals. A minotaur Captain asked for evidence, and that’s when things got hairy. The Captain suspected trouble was coming and went to blow his whistle for reinforcements when a well-timed arrow from Malcer shot the whistle out of his hands. That’s when the Captain went for his sword.
Leira conjured an illusion of the fear Minotaur ghost Terius to frighten the Minotaur thugs and the executioner. The executioner and one of the thugs were so horrified that they could not move.
Over time the executioner came to believe that the “ghost” was haunting him of his past crimes and he begged the spirit to tell him what he could do to be absolved of his wrongdoing. But Leira and Thrall were both sending covert messages into the Minotaur’s mind and he became so confused that he threw his hands to the sky and yelled, “What would you have me do, seek justice of get you a cheese sandwich!”
In soon became clear to this executioner that Terius wanted him to punish the thugs for they were the true criminals. So he attacked them and the crowd erupted in cheers much to the anger of the Minotaur Captain who was locked in combat the other adventurers.
Soon the heroes emerged victorious and the crowd carried the executioner off on their shoulders chanting his name, “Hakaro! Hakaro! Hakaro!”
The woman gave the heroes a ring as their reward. It was all she really had. The heroes recognized it as a signet ring which meant this woman was likely a descendant of Akari nobles. Thrall discovered this particular ring belonged to the Wazali family who were known to possess some arcane skill. He gave the woman a simple test and confirmed that she had hidden talents. He sent her to a mage named Seymour, who could give her further training.
With the execution thwarted the heroes continued to House Azu. It was well-guarded, but Leira noticed they could use a neighboring building to gain access to the House’s upper level. The neighboring house belonged to a nasty Minotaur named Captain Nogo who was preparing to whip his human slaves. Thrall did not feel comfortable leaving the scene as is, so he sacrificed the group’s stealthiness by lighting a fire in Nogo’s house. They then used a rope to get across to one of House Azu’s many ornate balconies.
Once inside, Thrall immediately made for Razan’s chambers only to find the cowardly house leader was not at home. How convenient. They then made for the servants’ quarters which had a stairwell that could lead down to House Azu’s basement, where Thrall believed the moonstones were kept in a vault.
They found the servants’ quarters awash in the blood of the human slaves and a minotaur skull painted on the wall. A grisly scene indeed. A trail of blood led to the basement and they followed it to find four minotaur zombies attempting to access a locked door.
After a scrape with these creatures which nearly killed Leira, the heroes discovered they were not truly zombies, but minotaurs in make-up to resemble the undead. They used prosthetic claws covered in poison as weapons and the heroes took a few of these for themselves to use on a rainy day.
Leira believed them to be agents of House Minato and so planted an ornate dagger bearing the mark of Minato on one of the bodies. From such simple acts springs much violence.
Thrall found the vault but it was locked by a complex combination mechanism featuring spinning dials. He decided to guess the combination but discovered each wrong guess magically animated a suit of armor in the room which would then attack. Getting tired of fighting the suits of army he decided to fry the mechanism by shooting electricity into it. He succeeded in completed the majority of the combination but still had to guess the last dial, which after a few more suits of armor, he did.
Inside the vault were four large statues carrying a chest on their shoulders. Malcer and Thrall climbed up one of the statues and opened the chest to find a pouch containing the two moonstoones. But upon opening the chest, two of statues came to life as giant clay golems.
Wanting no part of it, the group scurried out the vault door just before it slammed shut. But the golems pounded forcefully on the door shaking it and loosening its hinges. Knowing the monstrosities would soon break free and Minotaur guard were already in the servants’ quarters above the group used a large water pipe and swam out to the courtyard.
As usual, trouble was waiting for them, this time in the form of Minotaur patrol with watch dogs. They quickly engaged the tired heroes, but soon the ground quaked and a skeletal arm emerged. Crawling out of the earth was a giant Minotaur skeleton wielding a terrible black sword. It was Terius! The Minotaurs screamed in terror as the skeleton shook with a silent laugh. Terius turned his eyeless skull to Riza and handed him the dark blade and pointed at the Minotaurs with his other bony hand. Riza understood and took the sword feeling a power he never knew a blade could possess.
Soon the paladin was slicing through Minotaurs and dogs, not only killing them, but sucking their souls into his mysterious blade. The fight seemed about won when the two clay golems came crashing through the stone wall. The adventurers overcame the odds and saw the automatons destroyed. Satisfied with the carnage that Riza caused, Terius left his blade with the paladin and slowly vanished.