While Tomokk went to ground to avoid attracting notice, Darius and Droverson were approached by an old acquaintance. The secretive merchant, named Monterey, said he was in need of the duo’s services to move an extremely expensive and secret shipment to Chain. In order for escorting and protecting his caravan, the merchant offered the party a 2% cut of the gross profits from selling his goods. Droverson bargained the group’s cut up to 3%, but Monterey could go no higher, claiming 4% was his total profit margin on the venture. Satisfied, the young sorcerer agreed to the merchant’s terms.
A few days later, as the caravan was starting to prepare for embarkment, the group arrived at Monterey’s shipping yard to inspect the goods. Most of the party had no clue what the sturdy brown packages in the wagons were, but Hazerath identified the caravan’s payload as a massive shipment of luhix, an incredibly expensive and addictive drug which eventually killed its users. Quickly calculating that even a 3% cut of the sale of the drugs would net thousands of gold pieces, the group began preparations to escort the goods to Chain. During the trip, several members of the party investigated one of the caravan guards who appeared to be a vampire, but could detect no other suspicious behavior on his part.
As the caravan crossed the desert, the first several days were uneventful, but the peace was soon broken by yet another remorhaz attack. The group watched in horror as one of the beasts attacked the lead wagon and bit it in half, ruining a sizable portion of their profits! Tomokk charged the beast, but was quickly bitten and picked up in its maw. Droverson and Kael brought the creature down before the half-orc could be swallowed, however, while Darius and Hazerath weakened the second great beast. A nondescript caravan guard named Jimbo struck the killing blow on the second worm, getting a lucky critical with a trusty greataxe. The group salvaged what they could of the destroyed wagon and managed to redistribute its remaining payload amongst the other wagons, and continued onwards toward Chain. They encountered several more complications, including two mysterious travelers in the distance and a basilisk sunning itself on a rock, but managed to keep from losing any more of their cargo.
Arriving in Chain, the group delivered the luhix and collected their huge reward. However, Tomokk had begun behaving strangely, constantly jittering and scratching. While Kael followed the vampire caravan guard to a luhix den, the others began investigating the source of Tomokk’s ailment. Hazerath performed some first aid on the half-orc and discovered that the vampire slayer had been exposed to luhix when bitten by the remorhaz, and was in the throes of a deadly and nigh-incurable addiction. Knowing his spells would be hard-pressed to aid the half-orc, Hazerath convinced the group to take the half-orc somewhere secluded and remove all of his equipment, to let him “sweat it out” without hurting himself. The group agreed, and Darius and Kael were left as guards while the rest of the group went about their business.
The next day, Kael and Darius returned to the group’s abode with an unbelievable story – that Tomokk had died of the addiction overnight. Suspicous, Droverson and Hazerath questioned the two, and Kael began to spin a story of the half-orc dying, followed by a mysterious robed man “they met on the street” attempting to resurrect him. When the resurrection failed, the pair claimed to have sold the half-orc’s corpse to the man for a few gold. Knowing that Kael would never have given up the 10,000 gold piece reward for Tomokk’s head promised by Taxx Murgen, Droverson quickly found several holes in Kael’s story, and became irritated that the ranger would lie to him. Promising a reckoning, the group was forced to shelve the matter, as they were late for a meeting with Soelma Nilaenish.
As the party made their way through the city towards The University of Thaumaturgy, Droverson took the party down a secret back-route through an illusory alleyway onto the University’s grounds. Upon arriving, the group immediately noticed a large, unruly mob assaulting the university, led by a rabble-rousing man dressed in exquisite finery. As the group debated their course of action, the man spotted the group and shouted out “There’s some of them right there! Let’s show them what we think of them!” and the mob surged towards the group, intent on violence.
Battered by fists, rocks, and broken bottles, the party quickly began to retaliate, breaking up the mob with force. Kael targeted the apparent leader with a flurry of arrows, but the man reacted more with surprise than injury, seeming to largely ignore the ranger’s attacks. Eventually, the mob’s resolve crumbled under the weight of the mages’ spells, and the rioters dispersed. Kael looked for the leader, but the strange man was nowhere to be found.
Entering the university, Droverson quickly guided the group to the library, explaining that it would not be wise for them to wander around the school. Soelma soon appeared and thanked the party for their assistance, nonchalantly handing over a huge bag of diamonds worth nearly as much as the party’s take from the luhix shipment. The archmage also mentioned casually to Droverson that she would be needing him again for another errand soon. Flush with spending money, the party adjourned to a nearby inn, to discuss their immediate plans….including further investigation into the death of Tomokk.