“They give you this but you pay for that,
And once you’re gone you can’t ever come back,
when you’re out of the blue and into the black.”
-Neil Young “My My, Hey Hey”
Our heroes rested at the Squinting Coin, a reasonably priced inn staffed by slaves. Jinora, still recovering from the loss of her hand, sought to discuss the actions of Rothgar’s imp with Shakaari, who continually avoids her. Both Marigold and Shakaari discover strange glyphs painted on the doors of their rooms; it turns out the people of Kalach have serious issues with arcane spell-users.
Out of the blue, the druid Elvira returned to the fold, with no explanation for her absence.
Taking on the role of a foreign elvish noblewoman, Akiara, the pseudodragon Robspierre on her shoulder, took up the task of negotiating with local merchants to acquire the gear and mounts the party would need for their long trek across the tundra. Marigold met up with and hired Evgeni Stanav, a half-orcish ranger, who reluctantly agreed to take them to their destination.
Rothgar and Shakaari conspired to rob the Slaver’s Guild, over the objections of Jinora, who spent the day trying to get the wizard into a private discussion. Shakaari told Jinora to trust her and go find Marigold but the cavalier would not be abated. Finally, cornering the two of them in a clothing store, Jinora frustrated the conjurer to the point that she tells Rothgar that, rather than robbing the guild, the two of them should just teleport directing into the throne room and assassinate the King. Rothgar, confident in both his skills with a bow and Shakaari’s arcane abilities, agrees. Shakaari angrily sends Jinora away and leads Rothgar to a spot adjacent to the palace.
Rothgar placed his trust in Shakaari to deliver him to the throne room, and was betrayed. The wizard cast her Dimension Door spell, but instead of taking them both to the presence of the King, she shifted them both 740ft straight up. Protected by a Fly spell, the Draiman woman watched as her former ally fell to his gruesome death. As his last act, the ranger fired an arrow into the wizard, but refrained from firing the second and third shafts that would surely have taken the woman from the mortal world with him.
The people of Kalach witnessed this murder, and a horrible chanting rang through the streets. Shakaari flew out into the icy plain to wait for her allies and explain what she had done.
Seeing the place where Rothgar fell, a rage-filled Elvira stopped and collected some of the shards of his rent bones.
The Champions of Yerth fled the city, meeting up with the wizard miles away. Shakaari explained that Rothgar had effectively become a servant of the Enemy, and that he could no longer be trusted. She explained that she could not risk Mexis, the imp, discovering what she had planned. She explained that she had no other alternative but to kill him — too many lives were at risk to let him go.
Her explanations just weren’t good enough.