We started out with a brief rest in the inn where we planned our next move. Tristan, of course, feels duty bound to fight the Nameless One cult, and he offered to re-hire us to locate the head and stop the cultists. Of course I said yes. I haven't had enough time to observe these people, and am certain they are a treasure trove of solid writing inspiration. And, honestly, I'm pretty sure that whatever the cultists are planning is pretty bad stuff. Maybe fighting isn't so much my cup of tea, but I wouldn't miss this for the world. Vixen said we would be Foxes for the day, and I asked whether I could have a temporary tattoo to match hers. The others weren't too keen on the idea, but Vixen and I sure enjoyed it. A Member of a thieves guild for a day!! Whee!!!
Anyway. We all agreed, even the new party member, Tikaani. Oh!! I should mention her. I found her myself. She's a tribal warrior more than six feet tall and was facing down a group of heavily tattooed Thorwaler pairates. When I noticed it the Thorwaler was yelling at her and trying to scare her. Well. She showed him. Instead of backing down she spit in his face, then loomed over him and asked directions again. I think he nearly wet himself! When she stalked toward the inn I grabbed her arm, introduced myself, and showed her in. As you will see, she turned out to be quite useful.
We concluded that the best plan would be to win the race for the foxes, which would give us a chance to examine the fake head because they would be given custody of it. Tikaani was tasked with carrying the head in a backpack. Tristan and Ilcorn would clear her way. And I volunteered to provide a distraction. I set up shop in the market square. There was a little sinking feeling beforehand. How would I be able to distract so many people from the race they had been anticipating for the entire year?? As the head was brought forward I began my performance.
Well, as usual, the nervousness was unfounded. I haven't come this far by being unskilled at my work. I distracted a full quarter of the marketplace, and even one of the Otters carrying the head itself!! It was just enough of a rouse to give the other members of the party an opportunity to snatch the head from under their noses.
Tikaani was off like a shot, Ilcorn and Tristin following closely after. They first encountered the Cat Guild, a group of women who attacked them with perfume bottles filled with something that blinded and numbed the senses. Tristan used his magic on them--something with a blinding light again, he does like that move. I had snatched my not-inconsiderable earnings and followed after, which was fortunate because about the time I caught up Tikaani, who had made good progress up to that point, fell prey to one of the traps. With Ilcorns help I was able to nab the head--much to the surprise of the other competitors, for remember the head is about 60 lbs and I was still in my dancers regalia! The variety of traps and subtleties the other guilds had created was remarkable--pits, false way-stops, distractions, road blocks, etc. But the four of us made it through to the end, one way or the other.
As I wish this to be an honest account, there is one rather unflattering detail I must include. At the very end of the race no one recognized me from the guilds, and the priest asked me who I was with. (I can feel my face flaming again as I write this). My mind had been so stuck on the Daggers and their evil plot that the first thing I blurted out was "The Daggers!!" The look of abject horror on my companions faces was enough to make me realize that after such a long and successful race, I had made my first terrible misstep. I quickly raised up my wrist--thank Phex for the tattoos!--and shouted, "I mean the Foxes! We're with the Foxes! I'm part of the Fox Guild!!" There was a confused silence from the crowd, then uncertain cheers that finally grew. That was a close one.
Upon being led into the temple, the head was placed on the pedestal--Tristan asked to speak alone with the head Priestess, Delia, and she had everyone leave the room. Tristan explained that this was a fake head, and showed her the plastered over area on the bottom. He also explained that our understanding is that the object in the fake head had to remain in the temple for 13 hours before unleashing whatever evil the Daggers had planned. She said it was important that no one knew of the plot, and suggested that if we found the real head--probably somewhere in the Otter's lair--we could then replace it without anyone being the wiser.
We thought this was a good plan, and agreed quickly.