A long moment passed before the performer entered the room. In order to please the Dragonborn’s reptilian senses, she was adorned with a snake, which she used as part of her performance. Entranced by the act, Eskiath and Carybdis could hardly look away. Vonin, shapeshifted into a small spider on Carybdis’ back, skuddled away under a door when no one was looking.
Meanwhile, Gildor and Sir Gareth was still trying to assess the situation. Finally they decided to enter the establishment themselves under the guise of looking for nightly companionship. The guards informed them that only one girl was currently available, and that another should free herself in some amount of time.
Gildor opted to take the currently available one while Sir Gareth would stay to enjoy the spectacle. Gildor asked a couple of questions to the girl who presented herself as ‘Stardust’. He had heard from before that Bella was pretty capable at finding fresh faces from unknown sources, and that one girl in particular, who started recently, was called Daniella. Stardust confirmed that she only very recently joined the house, and that Bella was a very kind madame who she knew from their time at Madame Vala’s bawdy house. But she said that about a month ago Bella had changed quite considerably and became much more ambitious, opening this place to start her own business. After it became obvious to Gildor that Stardust was just a naive but not ill-intentioned young girl, he stayed a while longer with her.
Sir Gareth took the opportunity to ask Bella a few questions. She was hesitant to give him much details on the comings and goings of clients. But sensing his insistence and concern, she admitted that a young man fitting Denis’ description had come in here recently but had simply left with a smile. Maybe something happened to him on the way back home, she added.
All of a sudden, Vonin, still in spider form, decided to run out under the door he had entered and into another. But the bright sheen his transformation gave off alerted Bella and he barely had enough time to exit through the window before she inspected the room he had entered. Becoming increasingly suspicious, she ordered everyone out in order to get to the bottom of this.
Once outside, Gildor shared his concerns with the rest of the party. He also said that he sensed a magic item from the school of enchantment on Bella, and a transmutation magical item coming from Daniella’s room (who was busy with another client while the party was there). The party decided to take care of things in a more drastic manner. After Vonin came back from a tumble with a rather homely street prostitute, Gildor attempted to put the guards in front of Bella’s bawdy house to sleep. He succeeded but not before one of them let out a warning cry and alerted the women within, as well as the rest of the Red Light District.
Once inside, Bella was not the delicate flower she had appeared to be. She called upon her snake snaring colleague to aid her in fending off the party. The fight went on. At some point, Gildor entered Daniella’s room, who was quivering in a corner, and ordered her to remove the magical item that was on her. She didn’t react other than begging him not to hurt Bella.
The courtesan duo clawed and bit their bloody way to what seemed to be an advantageous position. Their fangs were capable of sucking nourishing lifeblood that brought them energy, and the party was taken by surprise. After felling Carybdis, the party did manage to down Bella, prompting the other Vampire Spawn to flee.
At this point the town guard had been alerted and were approaching the area. Gildor had barely enough time to retrieve a magical potion from Bella’s body before the party was ordered to stand down and drop their weapons. Daniella ran to embrace her dead lover, wearing what appeared to be a peculiar belt.
The city guard had reports that a group with a dragonborn was seen barging in and attacking a bawdy house in the red light district. The party tried to explain but judgement would have to wait. They were sent to the barracls where Janis The Just was less than happy to see them in trouble once again. He ordered them to sleep in the barracks while an investigation was undertaken to find out what happened.
While they were resting, Gildor managed to identify the potion as a Philter of Love, and during the night the party heard the sounds of bones rattling from the sewer hole in the dormitory they found themselves in.
In the morning, the group was summoned to be judged by King Henrick himself. Janis ordered them to be on their best behavior and show proper decorum while in the presence of the King.
Once in the ornate throne room, they saw Heironimous and another man they had not seen before. The King let out: “So this is the group of trouble makers. Councillor Mullen, you may leave, you won’t be needed in judging these lowly hooligans.” Mullen (the other man at the King’s side), was taken aback, offered some resistance, “I have always served his Majesty with the best intentions”, but eventually left the room. Janis ordered some of the guards away as well.
“So, you have shown yourselves to be troublemakers. I do not approve of taking the law into your own hands, but I understand you were trying to help your friend. Where is he anyway? He doesn’t remember much of what happened.”
Dennis entered the room. Heironimous pointed out that the young man had been enchanted by the vampire Bella, and was made to put on a cursed Girdle of Masculinity-Femininity and do her bidding.
King Henrick asked the party to introduce themselves and told them of the real reason they were brought in front of him: to aid him to locate his daughter Sophia. She had gone missing about a month ago without a trace. Attempts to scry on her to find her location went in vain, but with the aid of the Sphere of Amber, a magical component capable of housing a very powerful scrying spell which can bypass protections against scrying, the party are to find her, dead or alive, and bring her back. When activated and calibrated to find a particular individual, a dot of light can be seen at its center of the Amber Sphere, which will grow in size as the ball comes closer to the individual. It contains a number of circles centered around its core to help with tracking the size of the dot.
The sphere was tested and it is estimated that her approximate location is North, somewhere in the Forest of Eyes. However the calibration does not last forever, maybe only a couple of weeks, so the party is to make haste. The King then asked what compensation each party member was looking for individually for the successful completion of this extremely confidential task. No one is to know that Princess Sophia has disappeared, it is a matter of security.
Janis warned the party of the dangers of the travel they were about to undertake. The plains
North of the city are home to ferocious orc tribes. He suggested that while the party could go on horseback until the northernmost watch tower, it would be unwise to travel so high and loud on the plains, less they be rushed by dozens of orcs. He warned them to avoid confrontation with large orc gatherings, but if spotted by a scouting group, to attempt to kill them before they reported back.
He told them to be careful when lighting fires at night, and to instead attempt to seek shelter in the valleys and caves of the foothills. But be careful, those are also the favored resting places of orcs.
However this wasn’t to be the most dangerous part of the journey. The Forest of Eyes is extremely dangerous, inhabited by all manner of carnivorous creatures, active both in the day and at night. Finding a place to rest in that hornet’s nest is an undertaking of its own, and he was glad the party had some knowledge of nature to aid them.
To help them, Janis filled their stack of potions to 6 for each party member, and gave them a rare and valuable Lesser Rod of Resurrection, to be used in case of emergencies.