The guild departed for the military encampment outside of Milasylla. The ritual was slated to start the next day, and would take nine hours to complete. Jonar and Cedric left to do a little recon, while the rest of the guild sorted out watches.
Jonar and Cedric took a little detour to the estate of House Lyril, where they caught the head of the house with his pants down, literally. They captured him and brought him near to the camp. Jonar was about to kill him when Cedric noticed that he had an amulet around his neck, similar to those that Traveller-controlled Jueyani had been wearing in Moyarit. They summoned the rest of the guild to ask some questions of Kilian Lyril.
The first set of revelations were more on the personal side. Kilian was Cedric’s brother and had framed him for the murder of their father. (Cedric, incidentally, is really named Eron.)
The second set of answers was more disturbing. He had been given the amulet by an adviser to the Regent, as had other people of importance in the court. The Regent had not been seen in some time. While the adviser had a full set of hair, the high priest of the church of Millona was completely hairless, and the acolytes in the church had started shaving their heads in imitation.
Worse, the city had been importing large amounts of various metals and magical supplies for quite some time. Kilian did not know what they were used for, though the guild anticipated an unpleasant surprise when they entered the city. They took Kilian to the camp and left him tied up and secure.
During the night, a commotion erupted by the commander’s tent. Most of the guild rushed over. Duke Duren Kanhilas had been assassinated, and his head was missing. Telios sent a message to Berim in Karad, asking that diamond dust be sent to the camp in the morning. It was. Unfortunately, Telios’s attempt to resurrect the Duke failed. The magic users in the group considered that the Duke’s soul had been trapped somehow and could not be brought back to his body.
Leadership of the army went to the head of one of the Legions. Despite the loss of Duke Duren, the ritual and attack would go as planned. It was not long after the ritual started that cheering could be heard from the city. Jonar and Sak went to see what was happening. The crowds were gathered, but nothing could be seen. Suspecting that whatever it was might be invisible, Jonar used a Qual’s feather token to create a tree in front of the main gate. Something unseen tore it from the ground. Jonar and Sak raced to the front lines to inform the guild and the legions that something big, bad and invisible was headed their way.
It was actually a little worse. It was not just one big creature, but over two dozen animated statues. The guild worked quickly to take them down, but the statues slaughtered about 700 soldiers before they all had been dealt with.
Upon further examination, the guild realized that the golems had been created from the statues in the city—the same statues with the mind-affecting crystals that their ritual was working to subvert. The guild and soldiers worked to free the crystals from the statues. Jonar, using wind walk, crept into the city and replaced the crystals around town.
After the ritual was completed, the Broken Talons entered the city. The ritual had worked—almost everyone was sitting or lying down, unmindful and uncaring of what was going on around them. The group headed for the basilica. Most of the guild ignored the bald-headed priests who didn’t notice their presence. On the second floor, the guild found what they sought. A bald-headed priest and two guards were alert and waiting for them.
Battle was joined. Swords slashed; spells crashed, and in the end, one of the Travellers lay dead and the other two fled.