Sasha and Grizzop continue to watch over the warehouses, while Azu and Hamid talk to Wilde and encounter a riot brewing in Damascus.
It’s mid-morning; Sasha and Grizzop are at the factory, having just seen a man holding a white flag and two hooded figures show up. At a glance, they can tell that the man’s shoulder, where he’d been shot by an arrow, is now bandaged.
Grizzop uses detect evil, revealing that the people flanking the man are evil and the person in the middle is neutral. Grizzop gives the man ten seconds before he starts shooting again, while Sasha melts into the shadows, flanking them. The man says that they just want to talk. Grizzop shoots him, and the man and the two hooded figures disappear again.
Cut to Hamid and Azu. It’s still the early morning for them, and they’re in Damascus, talking to Wilde. Wilde says that what they told him makes sense. He asks them whether they’ve received orders from anyone other than him, and they say no. He asks whether they’ve told anyone about the simulacra, and Azu says they told the Temple of Artemis, because they had Barret, but no one else.
Wilde explains that “things are getting weird,” especially in England, Scotland, Wales, and France. Communication systems are starting to break down. The riots in London have spread to Paris, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. Wilde is starting to get orders that don’t make sense, including conflicting orders from the same people, indicating that things have progressed more than he’d thought. Hamid asks whether this is the Separatists making their move, but Wilde isn’t sure; he doesn’t think it’s a coup, and the involvement of the Cult of Hades is also new to him. He’s not sure who he can trust anymore.
Hamid says that everything seemed fine in Cairo, with Apophis, but Wilde reminds them that of the attempted theft of the Heart of Aphrodite. Wilde wants to go and see the warehouse, and Hamid and Azu express that it should be destroyed. Wilde isn’t sure what to do. He wonders about whether the simulacra have anything to do with the droughts and the weird weather. Wilde says he’s going to go talk to Apophis about this, and tells the party to stay out of trouble.
Hamid and Azu tell Wilde about the man who turned up with the hooded figures, who might be related to Wellington. Wilde is surprised; the Wellingtons haven’t been involved in politics for years. He tells them to go back to the warehouses while he makes arrangements. Wilde walks out the room, frustrated.
Cut back to Grizzop and Sasha. Grizzop suggests that Sasha might consider joining the Cult of Artemis. Sasha doesn’t respond to him, but wonders whether the man with the flag might reappear at a different spot in the compound. She decides to take a watch. Grizzop wonders if he “made that weird.” The manticores are getting restless.
Azu and Hamid get ready to go back up the mountain. Hamid suggests that they get more supplies, and also that they lace the chimera meat with something to knock them out. As they’re purchasing these items, they notice that about a thousand orcs are entering Damascus, from the general direction of the mountain, as well as a large contingent of goblins coming in from the construction areas of the city, setting up in a central area. Things are getting tense.
Azu says hello to an orc, and the orcs immediately invite her to join them. They’re very excited that she’s come from Kenya. She asks why they’re all here, and they gesture to towards the goblins, who are setting up a stage. Meanwhile, Hamid successfully buys drugs, to tranquilize the chimeras, and water, which is about ten times its regular cost.
One of the orcs explains to Azu that no one is giving orcs work anymore, only to goblins. A goblin with a microphone starts talking about “the importance of acceptance” towards goblins, after years of oppression; with their work in the factories, they finally have the means to rise up. The shopkeeper serving Hamid starts closing up.
Orcs start shouting “No more!” though no one’s fighting. The orc talking to Azu explains that they’re aiming to force the Meritocrats to do something about the situation, or else shut the city down. However, the goblins have set up between the orcs and the Meritocratic offices. Azu is flabbergasted.
Hamid finds Azu, and asks what’s going on. The market starts shutting down. Azu approaches a tiny goblin, who points her towards a goblin on the stage. This goblin is dressed well, though not flashy, and seems fairly old. Azu expresses her concern about the situation. The older goblin asks Azu to tell the orcs that they’re not stealing the orcs’ water. They say that the goblins are doing the work better than the orcs did, but it didn’t become a problem until the water ran out. Azu explains that the orcs blame the employers, not the goblins, but the older goblin says that that’s the same thing, and that they can’t let the orcs take the work. There’s not enough work for both groups, and it’s not something that a discussion will solve.
Azu hears murmurs from the orcish party, who are confused about what Azu is doing. Azu suggests to the older goblin that the groups should go together to the Meritocrats, because they have a common cause. The older goblin agrees to that idea. They’re mostly going along with Azu because she’s a paladin of Aphrodite.
Hamid starts talking with an enormous orc who is standing next to him. The orc talks about the orcs’ work in manufacturing. There are only two employers, Rachet and Cranks, since the water dried up. Hamid suggests that the orcs start up their own competing company. The enormous orc says that they’ve tried, but you need a lot of water to do basic manufacturing, and the only ones with access to water are Rachet or Crank. Meanwhile, the orcs and goblins are starting to push up against one another, though they’re not fighting.
Back to Sasha and Grizzop, where it’s mid-day. Grizzop is “vibrating with boredom, awkwardness, and slight guilt” in a guardhouse. Sasha, while doing the rounds, smells rain on the dust coming from one of the warehouses that they haven’t entered. Sasha enters, disabling the door trap as she goes.
Unlike the other warehouses, this one is mostly filled with machinery and there’s a patter of water from a great height. She sees an aqueduct system running through this warehouse, and one of them appears to have ruptured, pouring some water into the warehouse. One of the creatures is drinking from the pool. Sasha can now see the creature in more detail: a large winged monster with the heads of a lion, dragon, and horned goat, and a scaled tail.
Sasha leaves the warehouse and goes back to Grizzop, whom she tells about the monster. Grizzop apologizes for earlier.
Back to Hamid and Azu. Hamid is trying to convince the enormous orc that he should sell his goods at a higher price; the orc just keeps talking about the water, and eventually Hamid disengages. Azu goes back to the orcs: she wants to convince them to go with the goblins to the Meritocratic offices. The orcs take her to their leader, an extremely elderly, very small orc who looks angry and aggressive. Azu greets them cheerfully.
- Wilde: "Have any of you been receiving any orders from anyone other than me?"
- Azu: "No?"
- Hamid: "I certainly haven’t."
- Wilde: "Okay, good. Things are getting weird."
- ―Things are strange at the Meritocratic Offices.
- Wilde: "The riots in London have spread pretty much all the way to Paris at this stage. But they’re not…no one seems to be doing anything about it. And at this stage, I’m starting to get orders which don’t make a lot of sense. Which says to me that things might be further along than we thought. And given what you’ve managed to find at the top of a mountain…"
- Hamid: "You think the separatists are making their move?"
- Wilde: "I don’t know what it is. It’s not a coup. It doesn’t make any sense. One moment I’m getting a message from one person telling me that it’s a Class 1 emergency and I need to return home, and then within hours I’m receiving a message from the same person telling me everything’s fine. Of course, that would lead me to assume that there’s a communication interception, or something, but it’s not just me. Something’s going very…weird. And this Cult of Hades thing, that’s new. I don’t…it was so much easier when all I had to do was keep prodding you to just trundle along. He sighs. I’m gonna have to go see the warehousing and I’m not sure what to do about it, because I’m not sure who I can talk to about this stuff anymore."
- ―Wilde fills Azu and Hamid in on what's been going on in London and Paris.
- Wilde: "Go back to the warehouses. Wait for me there. I’m going to make arrangements."
- Hamid: "I mean, how long should we wait, Oscar? That’s not a good chain of command, there. That doesn’t allow us to improvise based on changing situation, and also doesn’t give us something to do…"
- Wilde sharply: "What would you propose, Hamid? I’ll be there later today."
- Hamid: "Oscar! If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours, I’m going straight to Apophis myself!"
- Wilde: "Good! Do that!"
- ―Wilde closes the door in Hamid and Azu's face.
- Grizzop: "You might want to consider, you know, now that sort of you’ve…with all the Barret stuff. Look, you’re really effective, so, maybe if you wanted to join the Cult of Artemis, we’d definitely have you. You know, you’ve got the right kind of stuff, honestly! It’s really good! Gives you a real sense of purpose, honestly! It’s just an offer. Think about it."
- Sasha: "Do you think that he might teleport somewhere else in the compound and let the manticores out?"
- Grizzop: "Oh, what, that guy? I dunno, he’s got an arrow buried in his chest, so he’s not doing much at the moment."
- Sasha: "Pretty quick to heal people, innit?"
- Grizzop: "Well, yeah, but…all we can do is keep an eye out."
- Sasha: "I’ll take a watch."
- Grizzop: "Alright. She goes off walking around the perimeter."
- Grizzop: "Oh, I might’ve made that weird."
- ―Grizzop extends an offer to Sasha to join the Cult of Artemis.
- Grizzop: "Oh, um, hey…hey."
- Sasha: "Alright, it’s big in there. One of them, I just checked, and they are big."
- Grizzop: "Oh right, those things."
- Sasha: "Yeah, I don’t know if I could take…I think I could take one. Do you want to try and take one? I mean, what harm could it do."
- Grizzop: "Oh, we could do. It’s really boring…um, also, I’m sorry about earlier, realized that was maybe not good. Anyway…"
- Sasha: "Don’t…it’s fine."
- Grizzop: "Okay, cool, but, you know, consider it. Anyway, um, yeah, we could try fighting one."
- Ben: "He’s proper, like, embarrassed, blushing, you know."
- Sasha: "It’s alright, Grizzop. I just don’t like bosses."
- ―Grizzop apologises to Sasha.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Grizzop attacks the strange man twice, hitting on a 20 (7 damage) and missing on a 15.
- Sasha makes a Perception check to listen for the manticores: 17
- Hamid and Azu make a Knowledge (local) check: Hamid gets 13, Azu gets 13
- Azu makes a Perception check to recognise the orcs: 8
- Azu makes a Perception check on the goblin on stage: 12
- Azu makes a Perception check on the goblins: 20
- Hamid makes a Diplomacy check on the orcs: 25
- Sasha and Grizzop make Perception checks while doing rounds: Sasha gets 23, Grizzop gets 15
- Sasha takes 10 to disable the traps