With swords drawn on Mawab Shialha, the party had made their intentions clear.
With their Dwarven allies on the other side of the gate, the party found themselves heavily outnumbered. As more swords and Chatkchas were drawn, the children, elderly, servants and civilians occupying the fort ran to hide, fearing for their lives.
While a first it seemed the party had walked into a death trap, they soon gained the upperhand being the far more experienced of fighters and easily more merciless. With dozens dead, Shialha and her Elves did not yield until Turk severed her fighting hand with one his precision cuts.
Turk then went on to help the struggling dwarves outside the gate, while the rest of the party bound their prisoners. Only the drill sergent, Per Ire had survived the battle outside the gates.
With the Mawab defeated, the party then attempted to loot. But found the residents uncooperative, claiming the noble’s wealth was mostly in water and assets. Deciding not to take carpets and tapestries, the party handed Shialha over to Per and flew back to Fort Firstwatch, slightly late for their rendezvous with Shiatri.
Upon arrival she was waiting at the gate surrounded by the usual gathering of beggars and layabouts. She seemed nervous and said her contact hadn’t arrived yet. No sooner had she said this, a beggar approached asking for spare coin. While receiving the coin, he informed the party that Sorcerer-Queen Abalach-Re requests their attendance at afternoon tea.
Shiatri escorted the party to the gate to Queen’s Hill, but refused to enter with the party, not that she was admitted anyway. On the way, the party couldn’t help notice that the inner-city was clean, orderly and lively, though no less crowded. On they way, they saw a black-cowled individual teleport down to the street, kill what might have been a noble and teleport off again. This truly was a city in ruin.
What was most likely a Vizier allowed them in and they found themselves in an expanse of open, circular garden which looked like it could fit a quarter of city in itself. There were Mansabdars lining the inner wall, all unmoving and stoic. There were more Vizier moving around the gardens, though they could have just as much be gardeners then beuracrats. In the exact centre of the garden was the ornately-carved Ivory Palace, a small building of spires and domes made out of marble. Not a true palace but more of an open reception area with a single, long, wooden table. The building only had a wall on the opposite side to the party, with a mural of Abalach-Re’s various conquests through the ages. Abalach-Re was sitting along one long edge of the table while four chairs were stationed along the other side. There were topless, muscled serving man waiting in the corners.
Abalach-Re was more than welcoming, inviting her guests to sit down and have afternoon tea with her. The table was laden with enough food for 20. Suspecting a trap, the party hesitantly tried Pig and various foods, as well as a sweet, freezing cold dish. As much as she enjoyed the food and discussion, Abalach-Re did not invite the party to share and talk of frivolous things.
She spoke to them of their recent exploits and displayed a surprising amount of knowledge of their adventures. And then, quite unexpectedly, she abdicated her throne in favour the party. She said she had had enough and that this little ‘experiment’ was at an end and even admitted failure (unheard of in a Sorcerer-King). She was retiring to a villa (so she said) of undisclosed location with a few of her choice Templars and servants. In exchange for letting her retire, she would divulge the location of the Eye of Abalach-Re, exactly one week after she has left the city.
But the party weren’t about to let her go that easy. They were being given a city in shambles, currently ruled by chaos. Before she left, they wanted official decrees from her, but more importantly, they wanted her to eliminate the Noble class, bringing a swift end to the feudal Mawabs. Abalach-Re agreed, saying she would use her ‘last big bet’ to do so, but it would all take a week. The party agreed, deciding to wait the week out in Nibenay.
Before they left, Abalach-Re took particular interest in Dust, possibly the only manifestation of an elemental she had seen. Not one to hide her debauchery or fascination in the obscure, Abalach-Re took full advantage of Dust’s presence.
Meeting Shiatri at a nearby uptown bar, they briefly explained what had happened, though Shiatri struggled to believe it. The city was there’s, and soon so would the location of the Eye. They called a meeting with the head of the Mansabdars, the Kuotagha, the Viziers and Truvo M’ke. They appointed Truvo as city steward until Nibenay appointed a more suitable individual choice to look after his second city. Truvo seemed less than pleased, constantly trying to talk to the party about Mawab Shialha. But they ignored him, immediately making preparations to depart the city with Shiatri. They did not wish to spend any time in the city while Abalach-Re ‘did her work’.