The streets were bustling with activity as Yanika made her way to the tavern she had invited Emine Ada to for their date. A soft happy smile covered her face even though her heart pounded in her chest in anxiety and anticipation. She was looking forward to spending the evening with the beautiful woman, but was nervous, not knowing if it would work out. Dressed in her best set of clothing, and having had her hair done instead of just pulling it in a ponytail, she knew she looked beautiful, but what if Emine didn’t think as such? As she moved along the streets and weaved her way through the crowd, she mused back on the happenings of the past few days to distract her mind from such awful questions.
The evening after all their investigating, they had done their ambush at the guildhall, but it had not gone as expected, having been outsmarted by Estar’s impostor. They had put up the ambush, all hiding away while Ace, disguised as Maerissa, awaited Estar’s arrival. He had appeared shortly after and they had a short conversation, after which we sprung our trap and attacked. It didn’t take long before Estar surrendered, being overwhelmed by our group. Interrogating him quickly taught us that this was the real Estar, who had no clue how the sending stone had ended up with him. He had received a message from a courier to come to the guildhall, not a message via sending stone. They had verified this later with Helix and Zaela. The impostor was a lot smarter than they had thought, having seen right through their plans. So they had needed a new plan, and Kayne had suggested there had been some foul play by Maerissa. But before investigating any of that they had waited for Dagmar to show up in the morning so they could ask him about the old entrances from the sewers to the previous guildhall. He had explained that they had been blocked, but could show us some of the nearby entrances, even though he dissuaded us from going there as they led to the Black Maze.
Early in the morning they had split up to cover some ground. Ace and Zebular had gone to check the note’s handwriting to Maerissa’s, Spade and Majid had headed to the messenger guild to see if they could find the courier, a bald hobgoblin, and Kayne and me went to the “Right Ingredient” to get some antitoxin for the Black Maze and some information. Our trip to the Right Ingredient had resulted in some decent results, though not the ones we had hoped for. Getting a map of the Black Maze was impossible, but the owner had saved us a lot of gold by explaining that antitoxins and such didn’t work against the fumes in the Black Maze. He also had no information on who had been buying large supplies of laboring equipment, but had provided us with the address of the warehouse we should go to. We went there next but they told us the only ones who had been buying such supplies in big numbers was the artificers’ guild.
Ace and Zebulor went to talk to Maerissa, to check her handwriting and see if the sending stones functioned correctly. They quickly learned that Maerissa’s handwriting and the one on the note were completely different. The test with the sending stones confirmed that they matched, and that Maerissa could now sense who sent her a message through it, which she hadn’t been able to previously. In the meanwhile Spade, Majid and Aitlas had gone to the messenger guild, only to find out that there had been no record of the message ever having been sent. So the uniform must have been faked.
Yanika moved through the crowd and stopped along the way to buy some more flowers, a small bouquet this time, just as a small gift to the woman she had a crush on. She was nearing her destination and was getting more and more nervous, her cheeks burning with anticipation.
The group had met up to share the information they had gathered, and one of the most important bits had been the appearance of some nobleman from out of town who had shown interest in the Arcanist guild. And he had perked up our interest because he had been dressed in the same style as the weird appearance at the graveyard the other day, long black clothing and tophat. Spade wants to investigate him more while Kayne objected strongly to this. Either way we decided to make some more doses of the mirrorsheen and this time Yanika had used them to find out if there is someone posing as Estar. This had given her a vision of a man standing in a room with several mirrors, and of them had been a reflection of Estar. So we figured it was someone posing as several people, not just Estar. After that meeting, Yanika had gone home to sleep and get read for her date.
She stood in front of the tavern where she was supposed to meet Emina Ada, shaking a bit in her boots as she was nervous to meet the beautiful elegant woman. With a deep breath she pushed open the door and headed inside.
The streets were largely abandoned as Yanika made her way home several hours later. The young girl had a wide smile on her lips and half walked, half skipped as she moved along the streets. While the date had been a bit on the awkward side, she considered it a success, especially as Emine had agreed to do it again. The woman didn’t seem to have any interests besides her job, or maybe just no time for them, which had made conversation a bit difficult, but knowing this now, Yanika was sure she could tailor the next date more to Emine’s liking. Plans were already forming in her head, all she needed to do was find the perfect place with a good view of the city, and some picnic with delicious food and wine. She would save no effort to court the beautiful woman. She started humming a soft tune as she moved along, her heart racing at the thought of spending more time with Emine.
The next day had been one of meetings too, first with Ravan dox, the guild leader of the Arcanist guild. He informed the group there had been no more disappearances, and they shared the information we had about Estar. He also informed them that the newly arrived noble is from Esterdale, far to the East, and he has an interest in investing in the guild. The other important meeting had been with the giants, concerning the old opera house. They told an interesting story of how they had lived on the mountains well before the dwarves had shown up. They had watched them tunnel into the mountain and build a city on its slopes, including a temple where now cliffside hold is. After a while all of them disappeared mysteriously though. The giants had demolished the city after the dwarves had disappeared, in the hopes that this was the end of it. Years later though, humans showed up and built a city right on the same spot where the dwarven city had been, and they opened the tunnels again. They performed a ritual where they commited communal suicide, which caused the toxic effect in the Black Maze. And now again humans have settled on the same spot. This story had them wondering whether there still is a temple inside the Black Maze, so the next meeting was going to be with the mining guild.