Retreating from the conflict with Ninth Handmaiden of Dust, Hateful Carapace, Prophet of the Sunless Sky, and Ivory Monkey, the heroes moved through the Dark Waves Brotherhood tunnels back toward the Ivory Bastion. Surprisingly, Vali Brilliant Snow met them in the tunnel.
Brilliant Snow revealed that she enchanted a compass to keep track of Mambu and his state of being because she realized how important he was to changing fate of Champoor. The group continued to Bronze Ledger’s mansion where Brilliant Snow treated their wounds. Mambu recovered enough to use his own healing skills as well. Brilliant Snow pledged herself as an ally against the satrap, going against her mother and most of her family. She agreed to send books from the Thrice Blessed Archive to aid Mambu’s research. Mambu examined her compass and concluded that he could replicate the effect using Ninth Handmaiden of Dust’s blood as a focus.
While the group recovered, Dark Waves spies brought word that the city is once again gripped with fear of the Anathema. Rumors spread that Ivory Monkey was attacked by Anathema, and strangely Shadow Scorpions attempt to spread a rumor about Ivory Monkey working with Anathema has completely failed. The spies also say that Ivory Monkey and his aids have left the city. Ashen Atani brought similar news, though none of contacts agreed on when Ivory Monkey left for Kamthahar or by what means, which she found odd.
With Brilliant Snows books, Mambu was able to devise and enact a treatment for the mindless tiger men who had been previously captured. He summoned a demon harpist who played a song of recovering lost memories and, using a drug that linked their consciousness, he repaired the mind of one of the tiger men from within. He saw in the tiger man’s memories growing up in a tribe of others like him, hunting and fighting in the jungle, and being captured in battle with the Fair Folk. Mambu also saw glimpses of the Eldest of Wounded Earth, the same mystical tree from Vapor’s dream-memory in which he hid a page of the Labyrinthine Mind. The tiger man fully recovered and swore to repay the debt he owed for their returning him to his mind. He told them where to find them in the jungle to the north and left.
The first day of the Festival of Great Spirits, the Day of Growth, began. The Nine Venom’s Clan arrived at the Unchained facility and the challenge match began. Vapor and Mambu intercepted and interrogated a spy who was trying to find evidence of the Unchained and Ka Bar’s disloyalty to the satrap. They successfully intimidated him into reporting back that the Unchained were a normal school. Meanwhile Stone Ox did well against the Nine Venom’s champion until they gave him an illegal stimulant called Dragon’s Ichor. Mambu noticed its effects and informed Ka Bar, who stalled the match with a long speech, letting the Dragon’s Ichor run its course. Stone Ox won the match and the Nine Venom’s Clan left in shame and defeat.
On the Day of Mystery, Shadow Scorpion ensured his gang was giving proper reverence to Subtle Purpose, as his patronage was key to illegal activity in the city. Ka Bar went to discuss strategy with Tan Khari but found he had left the Ivory Bastion. Organizing a search party, the found the young sultan observing the palace from a distant, considering the weight in human lives his uprising would cost. Though perhaps too headstrong, he showed himself to be thoughtful and to have a keen strategic mind.
Ka Bar and Vapor investigated the villa that Ivory Monkey had been staying at. It had been cleared out and no traces remained. However, Ka Bar uncovered a message left by one of the servants, possibly Karos Lyna, stating that the “advisors” had some kind of control over Ivory Monkey and they had likely eaten three other servants. A brief interview with a Prasadi guard captain also revealed that the honor guard who had been assigned to the villa had been killed, but the heroes had not done that.
On the Day of Order, Mambu and the group prepared to infiltrate Perfect Loyalty‘s sanctum. Using the stolen coin of offering and the knowledge that Perfect Loyalty would be at a ceremony in his honor, they entered the sanctum. After a brief fight with guardian dogs, they searched the throne room for Mambu’s contract. They successfully recovered it, as well as the house Vali contract, a vial of oil of the mountains, a jade dog statue, and an orichalcum arrow.
On the way out, the group encountered the sanctum itself given form. They battled this entity and destroyed it, allowing them to escape back to the real world. Now Mambu can finally perform the ritual to break his (and Brilliant Snow’s) contract with Perfect Loyalty.