20. Meet Mortis

After a tireless two day ride, our exhausted trio makes camp just outside Justice, figuring that they'll be no use to Tralamin if they can't hold a sword. When Feer and Jarmangle awaken, however, they discover Robyn is gone; she's left a note saying that she's gone scouting ahead.

Heading into Justice, Feer and Jarmangle are immediately set upon by a party of drow. As they struggle against overwhelming numbers, a new figure appears, in the form of a changeling mortician, Mortis. Slowly, the tide turns, and, as it does, one of the drow begins to act suspiciously like Tralamin.

Both the drow and our heroes soon realize that this is precisely the case. The drow are defeated, and Tralamin explains that, finding himself in a drow city for several days, he had no choice but to disguise himself as a female drow using his magical hat. The others are slightly miffed, but forgiving; Mortis, being on the outside, questions why Jarmangle and Feer hang around with this guy, and they have no answer.

Mortis himself is subject to questioning, and he reveals that he runs a funeral parlor/Temple of Death in the desert somewhere between Hodam and Justice. As he tends to the remains, he finds a childish drawing that Feer recognizes is meant to represent Jarmangle, Tyne, and Hanoonk. It's at this time that Tralamin reveals that, when he found himself teleported to Justice, Hanoonk was there also, and that he may have sold the goblin into slavery.

Again, Mortis wonders just why the hell Jarmangle and Feer hang out with him.

The group decides to venture into the drow city, with Tralamin and Mortis taking on the guise of female drow. Jarmangle uses the corpse of a dire tiger to fashion a Rakshasa disguise, but soon realizes that it is completely ridiculous. So, instead, Jarmangle and Feer simply pretend to be the slaves/bodyguards of the other drow.

Somehow, they manage to get into the city without attracting suspicion. Finding their way to the slave quarters, they meet a female goblin, Banvyre, who tells them that Hanoonk has entered a gladitorial tournament to win his freedom. Facepalming simultaneously, the group heads to the colliseum.

There, they attempt a perhaps ill-planned slave revolt, and find themselves needing to escape. Their salvation seems near in a secret passageway. Said passageway, however, leads to the chambers of the drider champion of the colliseum. Jarmangle finds himself locked in with the drider, and attempts a seduction. The drider is actually receptive, but tries to kill Jarmangle after the act. The others manage to get into the room, and together they defeat the drider.

Having caused enough mayhem for one day, they high-tail it to the surface, Banvyre and Hanoonk in tow. Having saved the day, they head back to the Bell of Harvest, along with their new friend, to witness the wedding of Tyne and Leesa. Captain Bergris is present, but keeps his distance from both his estranged daughter and son.

It's at some point during the ceremony that they remember that Robyn had gone scouting ahead, and is likely still in the drow city.

19. Into the Fog

Our heroes awaken on the pirate boat, docked at a fog-enshrouded isle. Tralamin has disappeared, leaving behind his magic compass Bradbury, and Jarmangle has somehow joined the others, with no memory of where he has been. Robyn, for whatever reason, does not wake from her slumber. The ship is otherwise empty, with the three pirates they had locked in the hold having disappeared. They try to use Bradbury to suss out Tralamin's location, but find that Bradbury is not properly functioning. The group decides to venture onto the island, slinging Robyn over a spectral horse summoned by Irving.

The adventurers encounter a small and rather creepy child, who directs their attention to his house, a large mansion overlooking a gated cemetery. At the house, they're surprised to find Tyne, dressed as a maid and with apparently no memory of her brother and his friends.

Other bits of weirdness abound. Feer's Mirror of Truth reveals that the lady of the house has no eyes. Said matron works a small knife into her own palm, which causes nosebleeds in those observing. The man of the house sits in his study, surrounded by fresh copies of books that are nearly a hundred years old. He alone seems to understand that there's something terribly amiss here, and tries to impart to our heroes a cryptic warning.

As they explore the house and its surrounding environs, the group splits up. Tyne disappears and reappears, seemingly without reason. Jarmangle finds himself alone with the palm-knifing lady and, despite the group's earlier surmise that she was an eyeless ghost of some sort, proceeds to bed her, much to her screeching delight. This tryst is interrupted when the group discovers that a coterie of stone gargoyles have carried off the still-unconscious Robyn to the graveyard.

The group gives chase, and battle is joined. The pantless Jarmangle is frequently knocked over as the mobile gargoyles fly by. Robyn finally awakens, and together the group soon makes short work of the gargoyles.

Exploring the cemetary, they discover the grave of the small boy they met at the dock-- much to the chagrin of the apparently alive small boy, who seems fearful of his mother. They find the bodies of the three pirates, all having met the same grisly demise: their skulls have been cracked open, and the brains sucked out. At last they decipher the father's warning: beware the illithids.

Venturing back into the house, they find a secret passageway into the basement. Strapped to a slab in that basement is Tyne, subject to some feverish torment; watching over her are three illithids: a man, a woman, and a child.

The battle that follows is, in a word, disastrous. The group huddles in a narrow passageway, firing arrows and spells into the room. The illithids move to the corners of the room, avoiding the projectiles, and sneak their way to the passage, using their dangerous psychic magics to stun the group. The lady illithid zeroes in on Irving and, considering the brain of a wizard-skunk to be a delicacy, proceeds to suck it out of his tiny skull, dropping his lifeless body on the cold, dank floor.

His friends panic, yet barely manage to turn the battle in their favor. They discover that Tyne has some sort of parasite burrowing into her brain. This, too, causes them to panic, and Jarmangle laments that Irving is no longer there to advise them on a reasonable course of action. Robyn and Feer manage to remove the parasite, but are unsure of the extent of the damage.

They return to the dock and pile into the lifeboat, as there is still no wind to power the ship. As they paddle onward, seemingly in circles, the fog suddenly lifts and they find themselves approaching the Bell of Harvest.

Tyne, still reeling and feverish, receives a mental message from Tralamin, revealing that he is in Justice, and surrounded on all sides by drow. The group pieces together that this is where Jarmangle has been, and that somehow, the strange magicks of the fog has switched the two. Leaving Tyne in the care of her bride-to-be Leesa, and pausing only to give Irving their traditional throw-the-body-into-the-air-set-it-on-fire-and-let-it-land-in-the-water send-off, the remaining trio speed towards Justice on a despearte rescue mission.