Bound and trapped beneath an upturned, sinking boat-hull, Samael Thrushton III, Haldis the Sage, and Hasnim ebn Alzi ebn Is’a of the Fallen Moon Tribe face a breathless death. The troupe manages to free themselves from both rope and spell, but the dangers of drowning and powerful priestesses above them remain. Boldly, they break through the shoddy, wooden tomb, flooding their last, airy refuge with cold canal water. As they swim desperately for the surface, the three men prepare for a fight they cannot possibly win.
Breaking the waters and at their most vulnerable, they find… nothing! No guards or waiting clerics. Only the sound of battle nearby.
Outside the Hat-in-Hand Boatwrights, an elite squad of powerful adventurers, hurriedly hired by Vadran, priest of Fyros, dispatches the unruly mob, sinking magical blades into the wicked cult witches while spells of mastery silence their dark prayers forever. These saviors came at a high price in gold, but take victory with ease. They lead the bewildered three back to The Adventurers’ Guild, where a smiling Vadran patiently waits.
Reunited, save for Miched Sanel Dufraine, the party turn their attentions to Overlook Hill, where that wayward companion has been sequestered for far longer than is necessary, merely if he were scouting for trouble. They go there, calling on Her Ladyship Marsa Crimwall at Proudfire Manor, who informs the companions that Miched and two servants, Devon Miller and Peele, have, only moments before, gone across the avenue to Gildengate mansion in an attempt to rescue the elderly Margravene imprisoned therein.
Rushing to help, they barely arrive in time to save Miched and his hapless warband from being overwhelmed by the trained killers inside the house. Striking on two fronts, the heroes confound the enemy despite their numerical advantage, sending them scurrying from the top floors into the dug-out basement, where an excavation marks what surely must be more of Gray Lord Ravenix’s foul work.
The fight is a bloody one, and few remain unscathed. But Margravene Tessy Hallowday flees to safety while the adventurers press on and down. Beneath Gildengate lies a massive, buried complex that once was Fort Overlook — a grand, five-walled fortress with outbuildings and stone keep, now caved-in and crumbling. The last of the kidnappers takes flight to the innermost chamber and are coaxed out without much effort, having seen too many of their peers slain beforehand.
Within that chamber, another Seal of Surzil is discovered… this one far more complex and certainly more powerful than the one in The Canal District. But a strangeness prevents Haldis from learning more. An ice-like formation of magical crystal shields this second seal from tampering, and the group deduces rightly that the Gray Lord might be learning from his earlier mistakes.
But more is gleaned from Fort Overlook, for like the houses built above it, it was not the first thing mankind put upon the earth, here. Below Overlook Hill sit eight ages of history, each one boasting a structure of some kind built above the abandoned remains of its predecessor. From Mausoleums to Labyrinths to things beyond ancient reckoning, there must be many secrets hidden below. Was one of these what Gray Lord Ravenix sought when he dug up this place? Or was he interested only in The Seal, itself?
Only time will tell…