By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
Session 5: 'Bread crumb trail'
Hamel arrives early the next morning, eager to take the case and be off. Nik pushes to meet whoever paid the contract, but Hamel diverts him, and they get back to haggling over the fee. Nik makes Hamel aware of the trouble with the Chessentans, but Hamel shows a pointed lack of interest, warning only that it’s dangerous to get too heavily involved with these marks. He takes his box and departs, leaving the payment in a fat pouch in Nik’s hands.
Having had little luck discussing business with Nik at the Kythan Taproom the day before, Keldrin Sim comes to visit the Nightwatch with a bundle of papers under his arm. The Rats are divvying up their ill-gotten gains, but Nik clears them out of the way and steers Sim into his office. After some rather uncomfortable pleasantries the young eladrin plucks up his courage and lays out his proposal: he wants Nik to help him break into the ancient catacombs of the Kythan district, to retrieve a cache of lost texts from the hidden sanctum of a long forgotten cult. Nik pantomimes a struggle with his conscience over both violating the sanction on passage to the catacombs, and the robbing of tombs in general, but allows himself to be talked round with the promise of a higher fee than their last job – and of priveliged access to whatever other valuable relics they may come across in the sanctum. The ever eager Sim wants to begin as soon as possible and, with the violence of the previous night in the Curzian still unresolved, Nik is inclined to go along with that – if only to keep him and the Rats out of sight for a while.
After a day of preparation, the Rats meet Sim that night in the Kythan – armed and ready for trouble. They sneak past the Kythan collegium’s sentries with little difficulty and, at around midnight, Sim breaches the appropriate gate of the catacombs, and they enter cautiously.
Sim explains that he has discovered a hidden key to navigating the catacombs to the hidden Sanctum. The singing runes scattered through the maze, which activate and glow when approached, can be activated in a certain sequence, and the hidden entrance will be revealed. When they locate the first of the runes they come across one of the zombies that infest the tunnels. Though the creature is easily dispatched, the noise of its death rattle attract the attention of its ravenous kin and the Rats are set upon by howling undead.
They defeat the mindless creatures with no serious injury. Though some of the gloss of the enterprise is lost by the frantic encounter, it is regained when Sim completes the activation sequence and the secret path to the sealed inner maze is opened. They go deeper…