The Price of Power

Persistence is key

Revenge came to Athkatla recently on the blade of the Weaponmaster Drakarian. Drakarian has spent the last few days trying to find something, anything on the Midnight Edict. With some luck, his close friend Bhodi came across some info that could help him. This information led him to the home of Phileris the Leatherworker in the Trades District. When he arrived, surprisingly, the door opens and stands there is an all too trusting Taikka. Eventually they invite in Drakarian and after some conversation, he reveals that he is after the Midnight Edict due to them wronging him and his family. Because of this, he joins up with the party as they seem to share a somewhat similar goal.

The group explains to Drakarion on there current task about the Serin Traveris’ warehouse that they can not gain access to due to them not being from Mulhorand. They turn to some of their trusted contacts and friends to see if they heard anything. Finally luck goes in the group’s favor and they are told to check an area in the northern Trade District that has a small street where some Mulhorandi have migrated to. The group travels there and happens upon an establishment called “The Eye”. The group bluffs their way pass the bouncers pretending they were entertainers and servants. This actually works but not in the way they suspect. Kugaldi thought he would be able to sing and entertain while the group scans The Eye for someone of importance that can help them. As it turns out, the lack of knowing Mulhorandi music leads the group to serve food and drink.

As everyone looks around, they notice a Mulhorandi man with some guards at a corner table. Taikka makes her way over but spills her tray of drink, drawing the Mulhorandi man’s attention. He calls her over and she attempts to talk her way out of the situation and introduces himself as Ramas. Taikka attempts to get a little information and talk her way out of the sitaution but he sees through the deception and challenges her into an old Mulhorandi truth game.

Through the game, they learn that the only way to get into the warehouse and question Serin was to have a piece of cloth with a Mulhorandi symbol on it. He explains that he is a mercenary that acts as a slaver for the Midnight Edict while he re-establishes himself in Athkatla. He agrees to give her the paper as he cares less about them questioning Serin, as long as they don’t harm his business in any way. He re-iterates that harming his business will result in dire consequences. Scared and apprehensive, Taikka takes the paper and the party leaves and regroups.

The best defense is a good offense

The party makes their way down to the River District and to Serin Traveris’ warehouse once again. This time with the paper, the guards let them in and the group begins to scan the interior of the large warehouse for Serin. They spot him on the far side of the warehouse talking to some workers with his wife. Before they can speak, Serin shoves his way past the workers, knocking down his wife in the process, and runs toward a hallway that leads to the warehouse shipping tower.

Khalid quickly pursues Serin up the tower as the rest of the group stays behind to help battle some of the warehouse guards and workers. Khalid gets to the top of the tower and discovers Serin at the top clutching nervously to an activated portal. He seems scared and intimidated and begs Khalid no to kill him. Khalid tells him no harm will come to him if he answers his questions. Meanwhile, back at the bottom of the warehouse the rest of the party defeated the guards. Krakarion rushes up to the top of the tower to get to Khalid while Taikka and Kugaldi head after Serin’s wife, who ran through a doorway at the far side of the warehouse. When they open the door, they see it leads to a narrow staircase that descends into a small room. At the bottom of the staircase a cloaked figure with 2 viscous blades. The figure makes his way up the stairs and Taikka and Kugaldi make their way away from the mysterious figure and get to the top of the tower and to regroup with Khalid and Drakarion.

The two warn that this guy is coming up the tower lift and as he ascends, they can see its a Genasi with shifting elemental energy. Serin finally admits that he was a pawn for the Midnight Edict and his “Butler”, Dummik, was actually placed there to make sure business was running smoothly. Dummik uses his air Genasi ability to fly up the rest of the tower and a viscious fight ensues. The spinning dervish style of Dummik was hard to counter and ended up with several down party members. But the group persevered and a lucky dagger from Khalid killed dervish after a long fight.

The group decides to keep Dummik alive and binds him along with Serin. They escape the warehouse in their rented covered wagon with the 2 prisoners and head back to the Phileris’ house. Upon arriving they put the 2 prisoners in the living room as Kugaldi checks the bedrooms. Before Kugaldi can react he is viscously grabbed from behind and stabbed repeatedly. He soon drops unconscious and a fight ensues as the rest of the party discover a there are 3 assassins that have been lying in wait for their return. Not only were these assassins skilled with poison daggers but were able to fire blasts of energy from their hands as well as siphon the life force of others to heal themselves. After a very close battle, the heroes squeaked out another victory and realize they are no longer safe here. Once again, they load up the wagon and Khalid drives the wagon to the south side of the Center District to The Silk Eye. There he drops them off and instructs them to see Rowan while he takes the 2 prisoners away. Drakarian raises an eyebrow to this, but eventually the party lets Khalid drive off into the night.

The Hunters become the Hunted

Khalid, Taikka, Kugaldi, and Zoe fled the The Tailors and take refuge with the Dwarf caravan that Kugaldi came to Athkatla with. Kugaldi’s cousin “Vin”, agreed to take them in until the heat dies down. There they questioned Zoe on what happened and how she came to get captured. Zoe explained that she was having dinner with Lord Serin Traveris, his wife, and his 2 mistresses. Zoe and Serin often have these private dinners where they share all sorts of gossip and information. When Zoe went to freshen up in another room, someone put a bag overhead from behind her and she was taken to some place underground where she was interrogated on the whereabouts of Rayle and Khalid. Zoe resisted at first, but succumb to mysterious enchantments that caused her to reveal delicate information. She reveals that there is a Hobgoblin named Brakan the hunter that is looking for them and seems very skilled.

After Zoe was done, the group decided to handle some personal business. Taikka,accompanied by Kugaldi, go back to Phileris’ leather shop where she inquires about his apprentice. Khalid, on the other hand, follows Kugaldi and Taikka. Phileris agrees to take on Taikka as an apprentice and after they leave, Khalid enters and strong arms Phileris into giving Taikka a place to stay for being his apprentice. Phileris does not have the funds to do this since he is be “shook down” by both the Midnight Edict and the Shadow Thieves, so Khalid threatens him until he gives up his large apartment in the trades district, forcing the leather workers family to move into the shop.

The next day Taikka is surprised and a little suspicious as she received this apartment simply for being an apprentice, but takes it anyway. Khalid stayed up all night watching the place, thinking that Taikka would unknowingly draw out there attackers, giving them a chance to counter strike, but nothing happened. Khalid tells Kugaldi that he should watch the shop while Taikka is working during the day, in case she gets attacked, as he is going to get some sleep. Kugaldi agrees but ends up heading to the center district to meet up with some contacts. Back at the shop, 2 Midnight Edict agents enter and attempt to shake down Phileris, but Taikka intervenes and kills one, but the other escapes. Phileris takes his family and leaves in panic, telling Taikka to lock up if she is going to stay. Taikka, afraid and alone, flees back to the apartment to wait for the others.

When all the party gets together, its discovered that the body had a small bag of spice on him with the symbol of Serin Traveris on it. The group decides to take the fight to the enemy and locates Serin’s warehouse and shipping dock. This warehouse has one of the few magical lifts that on the docks that helps move shipments around. Upon inspection, the group notices several guards at each door and on the roof. They tried several ways to enter the building, including distractions, being clandestine, and finally trying to bluff their way in. Each method failed but the when trying to bluff the guards, it seems that they are only allowing someone or some people that are Mulhorandi and have “The Paper”. Dejected, the group leaves and ponders what the next move will be.

A New Danger Emerges

Two new faces appeared in Athkatla recently, the young and happy Half Elf Ranger Tiakka and the wonderfully talented Dwarven Bard Kulgadi.

Taikka and her boar companion Gruntar travel the lands with a happy wanderlust and natural curiosity. A leather worker by trade, she decided to see what The City of Coin is all about. She quickly discovers that the roads in Amn aren’t always the safest and on the way, she runs across a caravan that has camped for the night. Although there is music, food, and laughter coming from the caravan; Taikka decides it’s best to bypass the caravan and make camp further down the road. She is awoken at night by some intruders looking to capture her as a slave and take her back to someone named “Za-ier”. Luckily she got the jump on them and defeated her would-be captors.

Within the next day or two she finally arrived in Athkatla by meeting up with some friendly travelers. They recommended that she see the experienced leather worker Phileris in the Trades District as he can possibly help her. Upon arriving, she was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city. She made a quick stop at a nearby leather shop and was told that if she was looking for a place to stay, she should check out the Lusty Dagger Tavern because it will accept Gruntar. She thought that was a great idea, and made her way to the Lusty Dagger for a room and received some useful information on where to find Phileris. After a quick meal, she walked across the city and to Phileris’ shop. A shady young man informs her that Phileris is at the “Tailors” Inn in the Wave District where he had some business he was attending to. With no other answers, she heads to the the Tailors to find the wayward Phileris. The Tailors is a large stone Inn with many rooms. She sees someone matching the description of Phileris talking to Khalid in the back of the Inn and looking nervous. She decides to take a seat and eavesdrop on what is going on.
Kulgadi traveled to Athkatla with a Dwarven caravan from Earthheart to try out as a singer at The Golden Dragonne Theatre. Unaware of the Theatre’s infamous history, he arrived in Athkatla with a gleam in his eye and hope in his heart. He arrived at the theatre behind a long line of performers, awaiting the chance to audition in front of the famed Air Genasi singer Jasmine that is overseeing the auditions. Kulgadi finally had his chance to perform and although he had some pitch problems, it was good enough that she told one of her slaves to show him to the general dressing room for a fitting to see how he would look in costume. While dressing in his costume, he heard a noise behind some clothes racks. He took a look and discovered a disheveled young women hiding in the back of the closet.

“Help me” She begged him. Before he can get any more answers out of her, 3 hobgoblins bust into the dressing the room. One of them says, “Get the girl, kill the witness!”. Kugaldi tried to talk his way out of it, but to no avail, the hobgoblins had their orders. A fight ensued, resulting in 2 dead hobgoblins. The 3rd one being too tough resulted in Kugaldi and the young woman running for their lives. They escaped out of the theatre and she led them to the The Tailors Tavern. She explained that she had friends there and they would be safe.
Khalid and Rayle bring the head of Inale’ath back to his superior and tells him of what happened. Khalid is told to lie low for a couple of days until he receives new orders and Rayle decides to take the tests and trials to join the same organization that Khalid is in. In a couple of days, Khalid receives orders to go to the The Tailors to meet with several people that have “business” arrangements with them and have not fulfilled their portion of the agreement.

After seeing a few people, one of Khalid’s work associates brings in Phileris the Leather worker to meet with Khalid. Phileris explains he can not fulfill his portion of the agreement due to Midnight Edict interference. As terms were being worked out, a Dwarf and young woman burst into the Tailors. The young woman notices Khalid and runs over to him and exclaims that she is Zoe and that she needs his help. Khalid eventually recognizes Zoe and started questioning her. Shortly thereafter, a group of thugs enters the tavern looking for Zoe. They are being led by that red haired hobgoblin with a wicked looking glaive. He orders them to capture the girl and kill the rest, and then exits the tavern.
A battle ensues, resulting in the deaths of the thugs as well as several patrons and the barkeep. Zoe quickly explains that everyone is in danger as the red haired hobgoblin is a dangerous hunter and never forgets a face. The three quickly agree that there are safety in numbers and the group makes their way to Khalid’s new safe house in the Merchant District.

Tales of Intrigue!

Fall 2010

The PCs learned from Trea that there is a performance at The Golden Dragonne Theatre 2 days from now so they decide to use that as there opportunity to gain access instead of trying to bypass the wards that surround the theatre. Not completely trusting Trea after learning some things about her, the PCs attempted to find other means of entering the theatre, but to no avail. Eventually, they figure they would take their chances with Trea and formulate a loose plan on how to approach the situation. When the night comes, they meet up with Trea and make their way to the rich side of town in their fancy new tailored clothes, toward The Golden Dragonne Theatre. With Trea’s help, they enter the theatre without a hitch and take their seats as the performance begins. Rayle takes the opportunity to use his Drow sneakiness to get backstage. After a few close calls being mistaken for a performer, he discovers a bedchamber at the end of hallway. Upon inspection, he luckily finds a magical doorway to an underground hallway in the floor rug in the center of the room.

Curiosity getting the best of him, he sneaks forward. The hallway goes down a few steps and into a half caved in dungeon guarded by bugbears. After killing a few bugbears, Rayle quickly realizes he is outnumbered and escapes back up the steps and through the rug. The bugbears did not follow. Rayle reports back to Khalid of his findings only to find out that Khalid is upset that he ruined there element of suprise. Disappointed, they leave the theatre and let Trea enjoy the show on her own, they were confident she wouldn’t be alone for long….

Without a plan and the element of surprise, they turn to a very unlikely contact that they had ran across earlier. This Drow hunter was first hired to kill them, but when confronted by her, she confessed that she only took the job to meet Rayle as he was the only other Drow that she’s seen in Athkatla. They took a chance and convinced her to help. Since she was knew the ways of the underground, she navigated them through some of the vast tunnels under Athkatla until they found another entrance into the rear of the dungeon that Rayle first discovered. They found the bugbears again, this time with the element of surpise, they defeated the vile creatures. Further into the dungeon, the worked stone gives way to large subterranean cavern. It is there they battled an Ettercap, in which the PCs fought a frustrating battle. With perseverance, and some luck, the Ettercap was defeated.

As they continued, they found some alcoves that were being used for storage. They continued forward until they heard voices. They hid to keep from being discovered. Up ahead, there was a large stone door that was open, and leading a group of slaves and a group of bug bears was none other than Inale’ath! The PCs walk out of the shadows and Rayle begins to question Inale’ath about why he would he would kill their Grandmother. Inale’ath gives a bit of a cryptic answer and then orders the bug bears to attack. The battle was viscous, but soon the cavern lays full of dead bugbears. The PCs take the fight to Inale’ath, but Inale’ath’s Time Magic allowed him to easily speed up and slow down time, giving him the advantage. The fight traversed different rooms and went back and forth, with the PCs getting more and more beat up as they could not find a strategy that could counter Inale’ath. With Rayle close to dying and when it looked like all was thought to be lost, the PCs noticed a weakness in Inale’ath’s attacks. They used this opening and moved in to attack. Inale’ath’s time warp abilities were being countered by our PCs superior position. Inale’ath eventuall falls, gasping and coughing, quite the bloody mess.

As he lie there dying, he tells Rayle a most dark secret. One that changed the landscape of everything they have done up until this point. Inale’ath eventually dies in Rayle’s arms. Khalid asks Rayle what Inale’ath told him, and was shocked by what he heard. Khalid and Rayle, now more determined than ever, face this new information with a new found purpose.

Mid-Summer 2010

The PCs decide to not attack the changeling, as he/she will probably know the whereabouts of Baron Zora. Upon questioning, the changeling thanks them for sparing says to meet him/her at the Sleepy Fox Inn tomorrow at noon on the East side of the merchant district and more information on Baron Zora will be revealed. The PCs make a quick escape from the grounds of the manor and get some much needed rest. They agree that they will meet up tomorrow and make plans to go to the Sleepy Fox Inn.

When they finally arrive, they notice that the Sleepy Fox Inn looks more like a lodge than traditional Amnian inn. They enter cautiously and attempt to be incognito while looking for their contact, although they do realize that if it is the changeling they are suppose to meet, he/she can be anyone in the room. It becomes apparent to them that they were expected, as they were greeted to a meal and discussion by a stern looking human female named Mashai. The meal is short lived however, as they soon find themselves groggy and pass out. Having been poisoned twice in less than a Ten Day, the PCs begin to wonder whether its safe to eat anything in Athkatla anymore. They awaken in a small stone antechamber where they are interrogated by Mashai and some associates. After proving themselves not agents of some Athkatlian spies or from the Cowled Wizards, Mashai reveals this to be a hideout for the Emerald Cabal. She reveals that they had captured Baron Zora a while ago, and were using one of their agents in his place to discover what ties he has to this slavery ring and to the Cowled Wizards. Mashai and the PCs seem to be on good terms, so she agrees that they can ask him a few questions. Rayle volunteers to do the questioning while Khalid stays outside with Mashai.

Baron Zora reveals that he only seen Inala’eth a couple of times and he was mainly used as a distributor of slaves for the Midnight Edict. To help with the capturing slaves, they were given a liquid that would knock a slave out, or for some weaker cases, put them in a coma like state to make it easier for shipping. The last contract he got from The Midnight Edict was to ambush and capture all of the caravans coming from Crimmor, Esperaltan, and Eshpurta over the past Ten Day. He stated that he didn’t know why they wanted to capture any of the passengers in these caravans, but they were very specific instructions. As Rayle continued the questioning, Baron Zora admitted that he meets with an Illuskan named Salymead that pays him for holding the slaves until they can transport them. He also knows that Inale’ath has ties to a “companion” named Trea that works at the Khalid and Mashai heard strange sounds in the darkness of the hideout. Suddenly, emerging from the dark, a horde of zombies rush the PCs. In the back of the horde, stands a vile necromancer, pulling their undead strings. In the chaos (and by Rayle’s hands), Baron Zora is eaten by zombies as the group fights their way to the necromancer.

After a grueling fight, the necromancer is defeated, and he too, has the mark of the Cowled Wizards. The PCs realize that this cowled wizard was here to kill the members of the Emerald Cabal. Mashai tells them that this hideout is compromised and will get them out. She takes them to the surface through a secret exit and tells them to be careful, and that if their paths run afoul of the Cowled Wizards, then they are destined to meet again.

The PCs decide to pay Trea a visit. They make their way to the The Silver Throne Brothel, where Trea works. They used Rayle’s exotic looks to get a special meeting with Trea. When finally introduced to Trea in her penthouse, things took an interesting turn. She told them that she would tell them all the information she knows, but she is magically imprisoned in her penthouse. If they would help break the enchantment, she would help them. She gave Rayle specific instructions on what to do and he had to pull some big favors to satisfy Trea. After Trea has been freed, she reveals that Inale’ath is moving slaves out of the The Golden Dragonne Theatre in the Wave District on the Northwest side of Athkatla. She does warn, however that facing Inale’ath is not wise as he is an accomplished Time Mage. She also reveals that the theatre itself is highly magically warded and that only someone of status can enter with guests. Of course, she suggests herself to accompany are heroes.

The PCs then decide to see what information Salymead has. They decide to follow him and the discover that other than keeping some nefarious company, he is quite taken with a young woman that runs an herb shop in the Trades District. The PCs buy their time, and follow him from the herb shop to a small boat in the Harbor District where he hangs out with some thugs. He soon leaves and the PCs attempt to gain information from the thugs which results with all of them dead. The PCs once again follow Salymead, but this time they are spotted. He makes his way to the rooftops, and a daring chase involving acrobatics, jumps, as well as dodging around various obstacles. They finally corner Salymead and he proves to be a formidable opponent. Rayle had fallen off a roof and Khalid was forced to fight Salymead alone. Just when Salymead seemed to be getting the best of Khalid, Rayle made his way back up and the two were able to defeat and kill Salymead. This was done in haste, as they failed to get any information from their new victim.

End of Milestone 2

The PC’s level to level 3. The PCs have survived many attacks and have uncovered major plot points from Baron Zora. This opened up new avenues in the story which enabled them to make their way to the The Golden Dragonne Theatre.

Early Summer 2010

The beginning of this campaign focuses on the Drow Rayle Auvryneld of House Auvryneld and Khalid whose family business is based in Athkatla.

Rayle had travelled from Athkatla to the neighboring city Crimmor on family business. This happened often as Rayle’s family were established architects and designers and have designed many of the more exotic manors and buildings in Athkatla, unbeknownst to most everyone. Rayle was not there very long as a matter of fact as before he could even conduct any business he was met with a strange message. While standing in an alley watching merchants and caravans set up shop, a small bird fluttered by and landed at his feet. Before he could react, the bird winked out of existence and its place lay a small folded letter. The contents of the letter urged him to return to Athkatla and to House Zillen, House Auvryneld’s close contacts and allies. The Matriarch of House Auverneld, Rayle’s mentor and grandmother, had been murdered. Rayle immedietely looked for transportation back to Athkatla.

Khalid had travelled to Crimmor on personal family business. His family has had dubious business affairs in various parts of Amn. Some say they are ambitious traders, others say they are nothing more than slavers. From a young age, Khalid has been a valuable instrument for his families success. This time, was no different. Khalid was in Crimmor on reasons only known to his father and himself. While navigating the streets of Crimmor and conducting business, he was met with a business contact. This contact gave Khalid a delicate looking note. The note gave him instructions to meet with an ally within House Zillen in Athkatla. Met with new orders, Khalid looks immedietely begins to look for transportation to Athkatla.

The 2 wayward travelers met up with an unsavory fellow named Za’eir. The hefty bearded human was the only caravan leader that was transporting to Athkatla as a rash of caravans seem to have been disappearing on the roads as of late. Za’ier agrees to take them on as guards in trade for fare. The road to Athkatla seemed pretty quiet for the first few days, as the passengers and cargo garnered more suspicion than any caravan raiders. On the last night Za’ier offered a meal to everyone as a good gesture to making it safely this far and everyone seemed in good nature. A few moments later, everyone felt drowsy and blacked out. When Khalid awakened, he was in a cage with a few passengers. He noticed there were a few other cages that held other passengers. Everyone seemed unconscious and Khalid determined that they dead. Rayle was actally hanging from a tree upside down and stripped of his belongings. They been betrayed! It seems Za’ier had other plans for his passengers. After a daring escape which involved killing their kidnappers, Za’ier made an escape of his own and fled into the night. Khalid and Rayle then stole some horses and made their way to Athkatla.

They stopped by Khalid’s family estate and stayed there for the night. It was there that Khalid’s father instructed him to help House Zillen as they are business partners and their favor will help his father’s business. Khalid agreed and the next day they made their way to House Zillen.

At House Zillen, the two PC’s met up with the head of the House, Aletath Zillen and the Captain of his guard, Neros. Neros and Rayle are close friends from youth and was greeted well. Aletath seems worried as he had sent messages to his allies not only from Crimmor, but from the cities of Esperaltan and Eshpurta. It seems that only Rayle and Khalid survived coming to Athkatla. This could not be a coincidence. Aletath tells them that a new organization known as the Midnight Edict has surfaced in Athkatla and is causing problems, and is probably responsible for all of House Zillen’s allies disappearing. They also have had their hands in many nefarious acts, most notably running slaves illegally and assassinations. They are consistently interfering in the affairs of many existing guilds, houses, and organizations. The kicker is that this organization was led by none other than Rayle’s brother, Inale’ath Auvryneld. When Rayle’s grandmother found out, she tried to stop him but he killed her. They were instructed to do whatever is necessary to stop The Midnight Edict from gaining a greater foothold in Athkatla.

The PCs hit the streets and talked to some of their contacts on information on The Midnight Edict. Eventually they got information on someone who can help, Briggan the Bold. Briggan was a bard of dubious reputation that hung out at a bar on the southside of the merchant district. After a very interesting meeting with Briggan, he revealed that he knew of a Textile warhouse that was a front for The Midnight Edict. The PCs made their way there, and with some careful planning, executed a plan that ended up with many dead Midnight Edict agents. They searched the warehouse and found a secret tunnel to an underground bed chamber. In this bed chamber, they found an invitation (1 person and guest) to a Masquerade Ball at the infamous Baron Zora’s Manor a few nights away. The PCs wonder what connection the Baron has with The Midnight Edict. They Pc’s set up a strategy and attend.

Parties at Baron Zora’s are known for many things and the greatest debaucheries in all of Athkatla can be found here. Many of the “who’s who” of Athkatla show up to these events, and the PCs even spotted some of cities more notable thieves, bounty hunters, and criminals there. The PCs had a few very surprising moments when they opened doors to rooms that should have remained private. After Baron Zora made his grand entrance, the PCs remained patient and trailed him around his manor until he made his way into his hedge maze on the west side of his manor. They had some trouble finding him but eventually determined that he made his way to a large tree at the center of the hedge maze. When examined a little 2 closely, the whole tree itself began to animate and attack them! To make matters worse, strange insects also emmerged from the tree and began to attack the PCs as well. After the battle, they found a staircase under the tree, but Rayle had fallen in battle and could not be revived by Khalid. In desperation, Khalid contacted one of the aformentioned “notables” and asked her for help as she was a cleric. She agreed for a price that she would determine at a future date. Despite the chilling tone in her voice, Khalid knew he needed Rayle’s help. They made there way downstairs and discovered a subterranean cavern where they find Baron Zora and a human that they have never met before that commanded a giant scorpion. The PCs are soon discovered and are attacked. This human that commanded the scorpion turned out to be a magic user and quite a challenge. After he was defeated, they discovered a marking on his forearm that revealed him to be a member of the Cowled Wizards! The PCs corner Baron Zora and begin to question him. Trapped and nowhere to go, Baron Zora features quickly changed into that of an elf and the PCs knew that this was not the real Baron Zora but a changeling.

End of Milestone 1

The PCs leveled to Level 2. They progressed the story, uncovered some key plot elements, used their brains to strategize, and used their blades effectively in combat.


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