With Gaedren Lamm nowhere to be found, and little to point to his next direction, the siblings turned to assess the cries. As they did so, the fortune teller Zellara appeared before them, including her head – even as Novennia kept hold of the (mostly) identical severed head in a box.
Zellara appeared greatly distraught – she believed that Gaedren would be here and his absense was not as she had hoped. Apparently fortune telling is not an exact science… Zellara confessed that she had been dead even before she had gathered the three to her abode. Somehow she was still able to influence the world of the living after her head and her body became parted. Moreover, she would be able to provide some small assistance in the form of healing to the holder of her harrow deck - should she believe that said holder was acting in the interests of the city – or in the interests of hunting down Gaedren Lamm.
When they emerged to see the outside it was clear that the city was in turmoil. As they watched, a Sable Company hippogriff fell from the sky to the south of them. With the lack of information – other than that the King was likely dead – the trio turned their attention to gathering more information from the gathered children. Little more was learned beyond that there was a cloaked and hooded lady with black hair and impressive charms who visited Gaedren periodically. Whether this Lady provided the note (which looked to be signed with an A or a T – if not simply an illegible scribble) that set him on the move is still unknown.
Their next move would be to deliver over two dozen children safely to an orphanage – they selected the one nearest Citadel Volshyenek as their destination. And escort would be needed as the streets were in an uproar. Nearby, druid protestors were taking advantage of the chaos to throw dock workers into the river where a Jig-Shark lurked below. The party was most displeased with this activity, but in the end the sharks were fed.
With the druids most handily dispensed with – and some even politely chopped into chum for the fish and shark in the water below, the group continued on. Screams and smoke and fighting continued as they went, but the trio focused on keeping the youngsters out of trouble. Along the way, a young girl attached herself to Novennia, finding her speech of the power of undeath and the severed head in a box entirely enthralling. As expected, the journey was eventful – first imps took the opportunity to attempt to start a dance party of pain. Despite their native resistances, the siblings whittled away at them but not without injury. At the last House Drakes swooped down upon their prey, shouting encouragement and praise to the party for their imp slaying prowess.
Slowly they made their way further toward the Orphanage and came across a mob assaulting an injured Sable Company marine and his Hippogriff. The party intervened, dispersing the mob with calming words rather than weapons. With the help of a passing carter named Lucas, they assisted the marine, Amin Jalento, back to Citadel Volshyenek. Amin offered them a reward from the armory but they still had over two dozen children in tow and did not dally until they were safely delivered. Along the way Zhaal spoke very highly of the Blessings of Belial, tho at this point the children seemed more interested in where their next meal was coming from.
Fortunately the final destination was not far off, and soon the children were taken in. Clint offered Dodger a dagger for personal use, and donated a flail to the orphanage to be traded in on a sword for use in Dodger's future training. Catallia decided that she had no interest in staying at the Orphanage if she could be accepted as Novennia's apprentice instead. While some glances may have been exchanged between brothers on the topic, none would gainsay Novennia or the girl on the matter.
Finally they were able to turn to the matter of reward – after quite a long day they returned to the home of the Korvosan Guard to take Amin up on his offer of access to the Armory. Amin also offered lodging in the Citadel, and even encouraged the group to join the Korvosan Guard but they did not choose to take him up on the offer at this time. Instead they returned to the fortune teller's apartment – finding it to be far dustier and lacking in furniture. Despite all that it was warm and dry and had tapestries of interest still hanging from the walls. Their bedrolls setup they prepared for the next day.
With a royal brooch still in their possession, Zhaal determined to seek information about its status before approaching the castle. Despite his self proclaimed skill with his tongue, nobody he spoke to could tell him anything of it. After some shopping and the use of Zellara's head to feed the rumor mill – and with Catallia studying diligently in their newly acquired apartment, the group headed for the Castle. It was clear that the city was still in a great state of unrest, and the guards at the castle were clearly unsure of how to handle the recent change in circumstances. Nevertheless, after some discussion the group was escorted to meet the Queen's bodyguard – Sabina Merrin – who seemed entirely unconcerned that the group might be a threat. Dismissing the guards, she escorted them into see the Crimson Throne and the Queen.
The queen was veiled and in the black garb of mourning. Guards were in the room, but only Sabina and her attendant Lady Andaisan approached her. While displaying the subdued air expected of a queen in mourning, she maintained complete composure - excepting perhaps a slight widening of the eyes and a glance toward her attendant once she had the brooch in hand. Making the display of gratitude dictated by etiquette, she offered the group a silver chest with gold ingots by way of thanks, and then not so subtly steered them to offer their service the Korvosan Guard. A letter was sent ahead to the Citadel, and while once out of the castle the sibs did ponder if there would be an order against their lives thanks to their feeling obliged to perform their civic duty, their reception at the Citadel held not a hint of treachery.
Cressida was exhausted but warm, and if she knew any of Clint's reasons for having left the guard before she did not betray the slightest inkling. Instead she welcomed offered them positions as Watch Sergeants, reporting directly to her. Finding Gaedren Lamm and his "Liberators" is now one of her top concerns. As is the strange new substance "Shudder" that the three alerted her to. Gaedren's cypher text was not mentioned to her, perhaps because already she had a concern… guards have been deserting, most notably one named Verik Vancaskerkin who has gone off with five other guards to "All The Worlds Meats". Now if the team can bring him back alive for interrogation…
After a nights rest, learning more about the deserters and their new locale became the priority. With the city in chaos, normal trade has been greatly disrupted, resulting in many going without pay or food. Here, for unknown reasons, Verik and his men have stepped in, offering free meat to the hungry. Additionally, his men – going by the name of the "Cow Hammer Boys" are rumored to provide additional services and asking for "the night's special cut" is the key.