With little time to digest Dennek’s long-winded tale of the past, present and future (and their role in it), the party is pulled from Dennek’s home by a knock on the door. A little girl appears, begging for help from “the old wizard.”
Please! Help me! she cries. They’ve taken my mother! Hurry!
Immediately, the party springs into action, chasing the improbably fast chika all along the streets of lower Daudale. Eventually, the little girl heads into the sewers. The party follows. Within moments, the door to the outside locks, and a gate drops, locking them in. They’ve been duped! After a few minutes of fruitless exploration from one dead end to another, stalwarts Aponi Brightmane and Dengar plunge into the sewer-swill and lift the gate. The party heads through, and locates a secret door leading up to a tavern storehouse. They make their way up and out through the tavern kitchen, and head back to Dennek’s. Once there, they find the wizard (who refused to help them with the “child”) gone.
There is some good news, however. As they made their way back to the wizard’s flat, they ran into Tristana, who left the Temple of the Four Winds mostly hale and hearty, rising from her healing slumber due to a bad dream. In her nightmare, Trista relived the murder of her brother, particularly the escape of the hooded figure through the window. In her dream, the face seemed to come into focus for a second. Though she could not fully make out the features, there was a sense of…familiarity…
In short order, the party begins tracking Dennek through the night streets of the lower quarter. They catch site of a Kestral spy, and race after him to the warehouse district. In something of a spate of bad luck, a bit of magic shoves the operative off a high rooftop, splattering him on the pavement below. The operative dies, granting no opportunity for the party to question him. They end up following a red herring to a Kestral cell, where the operatives there evidently have no information to offer (and indeed seem to be working on a different agenda).
Bereft of information, the group decides to head back to the tavern they found via the sewer entrance. A brief scry of the interior by stealthy Adrie showed operatives there earlier. As they stand at the entrance, considering their options, they are greeted by a familiar sight — Dennek exits the tavern. The party naturally accosts him, but the mage seems discombobulated, his answers slow and unsure. But this isn’t entirely unlike the mage they know, so when he calls on them to follow him back to the Sink to procure a “key,” the party follows (though not without suspicion).
Just as they enter the park area of the Sink, Tristana, who has been mulling over her nightmare, suddenly realizes who the face of killer is in her vision. It belongs to Dennek himself! The ruse discovered, a grinning Dennek calls on the dark forces of evil, raising a number of undead from the boggy park area. A great battle ensues, zombies, skeletons and a cold-magic wielding mage on one side, our stalwart heroes on the other. The party stoically shakes off the effects of Dennek’s first salvos, but the undead are closing.
Aponi Brightmane seizes the moment. The young paladin sprints past her undead foes, bounding across the swamp until she is face-to-face with Dennek himself. Unbeknownst to her, the party has a secret ally — the dark, mysterious Aelle, who uses the art of subterfuge to launch a sneak attack on the wizard. The combined efforts of paladin and assassin bring the wizard down, and with him, the horde of undead. Yet again, the party has won!
Of course, the question remains—what of “Dennek?” Naturally, the enigmatic Dedrick Wayne appears, and this time, he is more forthcoming with information. Dennek, it seems, has released many, many clones of himself, each created with the intention of protecting the Iron Crosses, but each also infected with Dennek’s paranoia over previous failures. The Kestral kidnapped the Dennek the party met earlier and dispatched him (as ordered by Dennek himself). The second Dennek, the one fought in the swamp (and a slightly younger version), was also a clone. Further, the party is told these dopplegangers have telepathy, and can thus glean information directly from anyone’s mind without them knowing it. Thus, the second Dennek was able to discern their names, bits of information, and so on (albeit, after a brief pause to process).
Though clones appear to abound, Wayne believes there IS a real Dennek…somewhere. How they have been created is a matter for concern, but in the meantime, the party does get some good news. They discover they are actually in possession of the real Crosses, so parts of the Dennek clone #1’s story were false. The Earth Clock DOES exist, however. And Wayne tells them there WAS an expedition, and that it did feature the group’s ancestors.
This leaves the party back to square one. Confused by recent events, and needing a rest as well, they retreat to Dennek’s flat to confer and contemplate their next move.