I head to Sulatha to ask if she knows where the crystal ball is. I tell her it can be used in a spell and that Illixidor is looking for it. She looks through some books, then casts a spell. Suddenly she screams in pain, falling to her knees. I go check on her; she's holding her palms to her forehead, blood is trickling from her ears and nose. I calm her down. She says all she saw was Illixidor's face. He's blocking her sight. I ask about him. She says he is not as powerful as she is but that he's tenacious. He's a half-elf, born here but raised elsewhere were halfsies aren't treated well and he has a resultant chip on his shoulder.
She pulls out a crystal ball, smaller than the one we're looking for. It's a focus. She suggests that I ask around among the magic users in town. I thank her and tell her to take care. She says she'll head to Ketul. I head to find Fred.
It's 10-11 o'clock. I tell Fred I'm gonna ask around. He'll go with me. I have a few contacts: Gabriende, a female gnome; Maynde, a man. I go talk to Gabi first. She's all about infusing tinkered items with magic. Her house isn't in great shape because she don't care yo. Kncok on the door. She invites us inside. I ask her about the crystal ball. She starts digging in a box, pulls out a small crystal ball. I warn her about scrying, she don't give a damn. (Honey Badger etc)
She finds the location of three crystal balls that might fit. One, smallest, is in Nekil's house. Medium-sized one is in Brearkegard House. Last, the largest, is somewhere that smells awful; it looked like it was underground, shadows of people moving, it was hidden and forgotten. I thank her. She asks if I have a size seven sprocket. I don't but say I'll keep an eye out?
Fred and I discuss what to do next. Fred points out we know someone who works at Brearkegard House. We decide to talk to her after work. In the meantime we go check if Rolland is out of "house arrest". We go to "his" tavern; he has been there recently, looking not so healthy and more quiet than usual.
We go knock on the main Trash Empire entrance. I think someone is watching us from surrounding houses (rolled 1). Fred points out there's a peep hole in the door that wasn't there before. I look through it; I get hit in the face by a dart, ouch!
It takes a while before someone opens the door. It's Rolland. He says he's fine, we'll talk later. He's lying and terrified. I ask if the Emperor is still not up for visiting. He steps closer and says Barann wil be unavailable indefinately. He then steps even closer, whispers an address, then goes "Can't help, kthxbai" and slams door shut behind himself.
We recognise the address as being in the slums. I change my armour to look commoner:y. Fred disguises himself as a conartist trying to trick me as we walk to the address.
There's a dumpster. There's a hole under it. We move the dumpster without being seen and go in. We end up in a smelly (surprise) place.
It ends in a T section, a light in one end, a breeze from the other. We sneak to the light. There's a big room, like a cantina, in fromt, then to the left is a long dark hallway. To the right is faintly lit with faint voices. There's about 10 people in the big room. I recognise one of them as the thug beating on Lidan! I tell Fred.
We decide we can't leave the Trash Empire like this. First explore. We take the dark passage. Fred Messages me to keep an eye out for traps. I find a pressure plate. We step over it. It smells in here and there are big piles of unsorted stuff. Maybe the crystal ball is here? We look through it slowly. It takes an hour but we find a glass ball about the size of a child's head. I hand it to Fred to carry. We head back, avoiding the trap. The big room is calmer. Two or three Mice are caring for a fourth who's been roughed up. Four thugs are there as well.
We sneak down the right passage to check it out. It's a barracks with lines of bunkbeads. There's one person there, lying on their side on a top bunk. Doesn't look like a Mouse.
We snea up. I stab! Fred stabs! He totes dead now. I recognise the sash as Depraved Prestige. I yoink his coin purse.
We go to take care of the others. crack knuckles I aim my bow at one of them but it strikes armour. Fred throws his dagger and it hits. I change weapons.
INTITATIVE ROLL AND FIGHT!
Both Fred and I get hurt during the fight, and three of them run for it as do two mice. Fred catches one of the bandits and we question him.
I ask him how many there are and where Barann is. He whimpers that he doesn't know how many there are and that Barann is in his throne room "where he's supposed to be". He doesn't know if Barann is alive.
I tie him up.