The Quiet Men made their way out of the temple, escorting Angela and Lael back to the Mayor’s home. Oz remained outside the gates, Grouse and Argent circled to cut off any attempts to flee, while Valentine and Adonia went to meet the Mayor. They took him to Oz and revealed his real daughter, and then entered to catch her replacement. The maid went to bring the false Angela down, but returned without finding her. As the others went downstairs to the basement with the maid, Oz searched upstairs and discovered the dead body of the maid. Making use of their newly acquired sending stones he alerted the others, and the ‘maid’ was captured.
Once it was clear that the jig was up, the creature began to reveal something of its nature: Once native to the Feywild, The Fluid are the things responsible for a creature’s reflection in a pool of water or mirror. Sin used the glass dagger to somehow carve the Fluid off from the normal Feywild, crafting these creatures to serve her. When the temple was sealed away they were left in a sort of stasis, without any real sense of passing time and events. Having realized that Sin was slain, they seek a purpose, and they believe the burgeoning Erathin Empire would be their best option.
The Quiet Men sequestered the creature, and began to debate their best course of action. Argent seemed quite firm that the creature was a murderer and a monster and should be slain out of hand. Grouse an Adonia counseled that it might be best for the Empire if an alliance could be made, if the creatures could be made to follow the rules of the civilized world. Oz and Valentine seemed to see wisdom in both sides of the argument, and both felt that they should hear from their superiors before moving forward.
The field communication receiver was heated up, and contact with Lieutenant Commander Sasumon was established. After a detailed report, Sasumon told the team that if she were to take custody of the creature that any decisions would become bogged down by bureaucracy, and that the question of how many rights extended to the thing would complicate things further. She extended the group the right to make bargains on behalf of the Empire, and asked them to settle things without her involvment for expediency.
After further debate, Valentine proposed that Seshat‘s role as a goddess of mystery might make her a logical choice for the Fluid’s service, and that he knows of a priestess that he trusted who had recently taken a post outside the town of Reed in the Garshen Province just to the north. The group began another round of questioning, seeking to determine if this one truly could be trusted. Since it claimed to have no name, Valentine gave it the moniker Mime, and they asked to know if he could truly negotiate for his people. He assured them that as the first to enter the physical world he could, though he would need to contact his people to explain any details- a process that would require a darkened room and access to a mirror. He did all he could to cooperate, and indicated that they would happily serve the empire if it allowed them to perform as they were meant to in safety. When Argent proposed that the knife might be used to seal away or destroy their realm (and them with it) he became more impatient to begin the alliance, but the Quiet Men sequestered him again to attempt their meeting Isabella, the elven bandit.
Paul was nervous as he took them to the meeting spot, and when it was revealed that they knew of him using the necklace he admitted that he sent feelings that she was in danger, and he didn’t think she would show up. As they approached the clearing, Valentine slipped quietly into the woods, moving toward one of the hidden figures he scented in the trees. Argent called out for Isabella and she cautiously stepped form the trees. Initially at a distance, they discussed her fears that things had gotten well out of hand, and that she just wanted to arrange what she could to protect her men. Paul was sent home, so they could question her more openly. When she was told of the dangers the knife proposed, and that her lover Lael had been replaced she gave up what little resistance she had and placed herself into their custody. She told of being hired by a Dragonborn name Kor Haleen in Ashera. Her and her band were blindfolded and after a few hours walk they found themselves in the Fields of Shae. They were sent specifically to find the dagger, and when she got Paul’s warning she sent the dagger and most of the band to meet their employer, while she remained behind to negotiate for the jailed members of the band. She agreed to lead them to the meeting site.
They traveled northeast, and as they cleared the woods Valentine caught sight of a large animal at the fringes of the trees, though it did not follow them into the fields. They followed Isabella’s directions and came upon the meeting site, where the remaining members of her band (and the Fluid who hid among them) had been cut down by physical arms and potent magic. The bodies hadn’t been robbed, though the dagger was gone. Argent and Adonia found evidence that a linked portal had been used, though it was impossible to tell what location it once led to. The trail, for now, was at an end.
The Quiet Men returned to the Mayor’s home to resolve what could be resolved. Argent confessed to the fact that he recalls having given Sin the knowledge that she needed to create the Fluid. Isabella, Lael, and the other bandits are sentenced to be put to work expanding the irrigation ditches and other projects for Abdera for a year. At the end they would be given their wages (low, but fair) so that they might afford to start their lives without being forced to return to criminal pursuits. Valentine took them aside and spoke to them of how the judgement against them wasn’t simply punishment- it was a chance for redemption. They had gotten a glimpse of what it is that the Quiet Men stand against, and the costs of defending the Empire, and he told them that if, at the end of their sentence, they wished to join he would speak on their behalf.
The group decided to keep the loose coin (950 gp) and items of magic found within the temple, but turned over the tremendous value of art and books to the town of Abdera. The spoils taken by the bandits would be redistributed to the victims as best the Mayor was able, and Paul would be denied any chance to associate with Isabella. Mime and the party set forth with fresh provisions from Abdera, their travel quickened by Grouse’s Travelling Chant, so they can arrange for the Fluid to enter Sashet’s service.