The five adventurers walked defensively through the chamber door, only to find not far ahead a long dead aspect of Tiamat. Talia Lancaster (Black) inferred this to mean that Isorn’t had probably lead them to the chamber on purpose to attempt to lure them to his side. In the chamber itself, droplets of the green magical residue were found, as well as cart and wagon tracks leading out into a cavern and onto the surface of the swamp. Whatever magics had once been in the cavern had been taken out long ago. Everyone pulled themselves together and decided, it was time to leave this place and it’s unfortunate history far behind them.
It was not long until an out of breath runner clutching orders from the Calican military found the heroes. Word from Belcoot was that the Meadowlands had joined the side of the Manlins. Apparently the envoys sent from the enemy had persuaded the halflings that if they took their side, the fighting would stop being waged on their turf. And that wasn’t the only bad news, troops had also stopped being sent from Sohma, one of the largest allies to the Calicans! Belcoot wanted them to investigate the Sohman problem immediately. With his orders were sent 3 scrolls of teleportation. In the blink of an eye, everyone transported just outside the hills of Sephor, Sohma’s capitol city.
Upon entering the city, immediately the problem was identified. Queen Andula, the ruler of Sohma, had been outed as a Medusa! (Her Medusa status had already been known to Talia and Kao-Tsu Quan, as together they had helped the Queen to try to “cure” her serpentine form during an earlier adventure). The city was in uproar, and immediate re-elections were occurring. Once a new ruler was decided by the people, it would be up to that leader whether or not to support Calica in the war. Already four major opponents were lined up against the queen and debating that very afternoon. Nathan Bishop instead visited the military operations while the rest of the party headed towards the Senate building. Even after his most intimidating stare, Nathan could not get any further with the military officials….no troops would be sent until the political game had been played. Angrily, he headed back to the others, frustrated at their lack of help.
From the debates, it was clear what everyone’s political stances were. The Queen was desperate to hang on to her leadership and continue to lead Sohma in what she considered to be the most important war of Nevermore. Jacobus Grakus, a blonde with a gentle demeanor who was seemingly obsessed with magic, wanted to continue Andula’s agenda but did not want her in power. Jaynus Septimus, a redheaded man, was fiery about continuing in the war, but seemed also TOO eager to go into battle himself. A dark haired wirey man, Vedris Vulcan, declared his platform as anti-war, claiming Sohma had internal problems to worry about that had prominence over the Calican and Manlin wars. And finally, Lucia Cassieopeia, a middle aged woman, coldly agreed that the Queen’s ideas were best but clearly the people could never truly trust a medusa. The people at the debate, including the Senators, seemed undecided. Indeed, whispered Kao-Tsu to the others, perhaps one of the candidates was an infiltrating manlin? More information needed to be gathered before they could be certain. Taiass tried to work the room, taking an extremely accurate disguise of an elderly senator. In the meantime, Talia, after reuniting with Queen Andula, agreed on behalf of her friends to act as a temporary bodyguards for an event that evening at the Capitolean Ampitheatre.
After regrouping a few hours later, they accompanied Queen Andula to Calitoleno Hill, center of the Bardic College of Sohma and home to many artists. The Amphitheatre was brisk with activity, as the “Artistica Maximus” was in full swing; this was an event celebrating artists and writers of all types, but especially of the trade paperback variety (or comic books, if you will). People young and old were dressed in all sorts of finery and costumes to resemble their favorite characters from the works. It was at this time Nathan noticed something odd as he passed by a teenager holding a handmade shield with a crest very similar to his own. “Cool Commander Shield costume!” the lad remarked to him as he walked by. Nathan frowned as he looked down at his attire and glanced back at the masses of people around him…..something was afoot. Why on earth were there at least 20 people dressed like him? After some quick questions, he discovered the strange truth, as he picked up a picture book and flipped through it, calling over Kao-Tsu and Talia to see. Apparently a writer named Stephanis Ditikus had heard of their adventures together and had immortalized them as three heroes: “Commander Shield”, the honorable and tough leader, “Furious Fist”, the jovial and loyal sidekick, and “The Black Widow”, the mysterious, beautiful, and scantily clad female companion. Apparently it was the most popular book in Sohma! Although flattered, the three friends agreed, they should meet with this Stephanis character.
Protecting the Queen was a little more difficult than expected, as people kept asking for Commander Shield’s autograph, the children wanted to hear more of Furious Fists’ tales of battle, and the Black Widow ignored the drooling fanboys. However, just as she expected, towards the end of the night a dagger flew from the crowds…someone tried to kill the Queen! Despite the crowds, they were able to chase down the assailant but as they tried to question the manlin, he bit down on a poisonous capsule and whatever information he had died with him. Indeed, Queen Andula had enemies….it was up to our intrepid heroes to protect her and ensure her victory in the upcoming election!