The heroes of Baldur’s Gate continued to follow up various leads while The Guild continued to hatch its kidnapping plot – in every case making delivery of payment as difficult as possible for the excuse to exterminate their victims.
J’ah Kreature continued his campaign for office and the hearts of the citizens, learning that the workers of the Outer City were agitating for acceptance into the city proper, and were planning a protest to get the attention of parliament. Aldric Longbeard furthered his study of the mindflayer captive, and during an accident with its containment, managed to acquire one of the creature’s eyes, for which he fashioned a magical telepathic scrying device on the following day. Pelagornis Sandersi IV served as the spearhead of The Flaming Fist’s Inquisitor initiative, following up on the activities of his fellow Inquisitors to ensure the quality of their work and the preservation of justice. While Nibengîl “Nibs” Orchalion found great success in his artificing, even reactivating an Iron Defender once employed by Imbraylm Skoond, he and Aldric found pressuring the public press to be a more difficult matter.
Together, Alan Whitcomb and young Tellus Casavir kept an eye on a longtime foe – House Bormul. It was discovered that family patriarch Riordan Bormul had left the city under quieted circumstances. A visit to the next eldest of the family, Rexus Bormul in his plush cell within The Seatower of Balduran yielded little information, given the rift between the brothers. It did, however, mark an end to the uncle’s comfortable lifestyle, and information that the Guild’s infamous leader Nine-Fingers was indeed, a woman.
Our heroes learned that that the ensuing peaceful protest was a target of the Guild – its agents working like a cancer among the crowd to spread discontent and violence. In anticipation, Kreature sought the aid of loyal Flaming Fist soldiers who were off duty, as well as help from a small band of adventurers: a human mage named Hunley and his cousin Nelthrope, along with their childhood friend Gregemar. On the morning of the march our heroes joined the crowd, slipping across the protest lines to reassure Ulder Ravengard. Reluctantly, the Fist’s leader agreed to hold back his riot squads in order to permit the peaceful crowd to have its sit-in. With Tellus summoning Duke Belynne Stelmane to hear the people’s grievances, it seemed the march would turn from a tension boiler to a political success.
Then shots were fired. Given an order by an armor-clad Guy Bormul, retainers of the various Patriar houses (including, much to Tellus’ chagrin, house Casavir) as well as heavily armed acolytes of Gond fired into the crowd. They would later make claims that they were summoned there to protect the upper city from a mob bent on looting, and lack of evidence and bought judges would later acquit most of the men of their heinous massacre. But our heroes sprung into action, calling on the Flaming Fist to form a shield wall around the protesters, and calming the protesters lest they attack the innocent Fist in confusion and anger. Tellus, Alan, and Pelagornis slipped across the wall into the upper city while a vengeful Nibbs attacked the patriar murderers with his self-made munitions. After a daring ruse, the party managed to capture an unconscious Guy Bormul, spiriting him away to the Seatower and learning through magically aided interrogation that his father had sought the aid of Bhaal in destroying Pelagornis and reestablishing a status quo against the social justice wrought by the party. What the young Bormul didn’t know was his father’s location.
Concerned that his own father was involved in the nefarious massacre, Tellus marched home despite his father’s warnings to the contrary. He blitzed passed the storm of questions fired off by his startled mother and household servants and stormed into Quentin Casavir‘s solar. He learned that a handful of their house retainers had mislead their patron into thinking that a band of ruffians would be slipping into the upper city to stage a riot, and they were to join a coalition of men seeking to stop it. Though confused that this wasn’t a matter for The Watch, Casavir was distracted by his impending election and so acquiesced to the request. It wasn’t until the unexpected arrival of his younger son that he realized the extent of the ruse, and promptly released the involved retainers at swordpoint.
Politics moved ahead with reckless abandon. Having leveraged his good public image, and alliance with Belynne Stelmane and a grudging Quentin Casavir, J’ah Kreature joined the elder Casavir in taking two open seats in the Parliament of Peers. Kreature soon used his newfound political status, along with some help and ghostwriting from a thoroughly sexually satisfied Coran to put forward a bill detailing policy regarding opposition to the Cult of Bhaal.
Meanwhile, a riot was beggining to explode in the Lower City docks, and while a well heeled Flaming Fist responded with appropriate force, soldiers from the Watch had been called in without Ravengard’s knowledge to “assist” in containing the violence. What could have turned into another bloodbath was eventually calmed by the party, though the confusion and difficulty in communicating meant that this public disaster was much more destructive than the protest. Lives were lost, property damage, goods destroyed, and increased enmity between the Lower and Upper cities. What hand the Guild had in it was unclear, but chaos meant profit to the confederacy of criminals.
The next day a statement was to be made – criminals convicted of capital offenses (including the sneaky Imbraylm Skoond were to be marched to the fortress at Wyrm’s Gate bridge and publicly hanged. At the same time, our heroes had gathered signatories who agreed to denounce house Bormul for Guy’s part in instigating a massacre. It was agreed that executing the Bormul heir would be impertinent at this time, and so he was left in a sparse cell alongside his uncle. With half of the party’s present to oversee the proceedings, the lawful executions began without a hitch, much to the delight of the crowd. Rapists, murderers, traitors and pirates found a long drop and a short stop waiting for them.
But news turned grim as a bedraggled private in the Flaming Fist arrived with news: there was a prison break at the Seatower. When the dust had settled, several jailers and soldiers, and a few criminals lay dead. Many escaped, including Rexus and Guy Bormul, who commandeered a ship after their exit and fled south, before changing course for the north.
During the scuffle, Rexus got his hands on a crossbow (thanks to assistance from Guild agents) and facilitated the jailbreak by killing Casondra Fairweather before she could get a sleep spell off. While the man had crafted a grudging friendship with the arcanist prison guard, he did not hesitate to put a bolt through her head when it meant his escape.
The tension in the city, despite the Herculean efforts of our heroes, had reached a tipping point. Finally acknowledging how bad things had become, Duke Torlin Silvershield, Marshal Ulder Ravengard, and Guild leader Nine-Fingers agreed to a carefully coordinated peace summit.
A settlement was reached, and each faction eased their attacks on the others as the entire city held its breath. The Feast of the Moon, a festival honoring and celebrating the lives of the dead was at hand, and members of each power bloc agreed that facilitating this moment of mirth might be a good first step toward recovery. The party remained wary.
A few days of preparation for the festival went off without incident. Indeed, our heroes might have even been tempted to relax a bit after a full day of merriment. But it was as they feared: a ruse. On the second night of the weekend long festival, they gathered at the unveiling of a mobile sculpture in their honor, to be shared with all parts of the city. As Duke Stelmane read a not from the artist, it became clear that something was amiss – the note was a fake, slipped in by Rilsa Rael. It contained a threat and named her the Chosen of Bhaal! At that time a grim storm cloud hung overhead, and took the supernatural shape of Bhaal’s seal. In the same instant, screams were heard in the crowd as masked and cloaked guild assassins began slaughtering festival goers, and Rilsa Rael – the Chosen of Bhaal, appeared on a rooftop dressed in the scavenged armor of Viekang.
A vicious battle ensued in which the crowd, emboldened by our heroes, fought back! They grabbed at the assassins and held them steady for J’ah Kreature and his allies to strike down. Though Rilsa’s Bhaal-granted supernatural abilities gave her an edge, she was no match for the Heroes of Baldur’s Gate. Though apprehended, she was swiftly and summarily executed by Pelagornis Sandersi IV.
The festival ended abruptly for the night, and efforts were made by the Flaming Fist to recover some semblance of calm. With the heroes aid, the festival concluded with some measure of normalcy, and in the coming days our heroes found their efforts to restore peace and sanity easier to accomplish – noting that both Duke Torlin Silvershield and Ulder Ravengard had their actions significantly influenced by Bhaal’s evil presence.
Recovery began. Peace and progress were given a chance thanks to the triumphant heroes of Baldur’s Gate. Bhaal may be resurrected, but it would be a long time before he could threaten the world in earnest, and his efforts to re-establish worship of the murder God were entirely stymied.
But Bhaal was not the only Chosen walking Faêrun – and the champions of other evil gods were working to sew chaos along the Sword Coast. Our heroes had cut their teeth averting a citywide bloodbath, but could they weather the coming storm?