(I have amended some of the ending for more dramatic effect)
After the battle against Sidell and his servant, our heroes began to search through the wizard’s lab for any information. Unfortunately, Hope stepped on a pressure plate, activating a ‘force snake’ that rampaged through the room. It struck most of the heroes but also destroyed much of Sidell’s notes and journals. Despite the wreckage, they did discover a nice cache of coin and goods as well as discovered Sidell was working on attempting to stabilize a gateway somewhere in Union; the location was unclear.
The company then headed towards the Temple District. They found a nice inn to stay at while Shimmer took Sidell further to the Temple of Io where he would question him. During the night at the inn, our heroes were ambushed by ogres bursting in through the walls of the tavern itself. This would prove most impressive as they were staying on the fourth floor. The ogres put up a strong fight but were ultimately defeated. At the end of the battle, Lyra noticed that Hope, knocked unconscious during the fight, had disappeared. Searching the room, Theristis and Jackson determined that there were two individuals staying in the room and they left in a hurry, likely carrying Hope with them. They headed to the front desk where a large crowd of angry patrons were shouting about the noise upstairs. Our heroes calmly strode in and demanded to know who was staying in the room where Hope disappeared. The owner relented and handed them the false names and a brief description. With this information, our heroes headed to the Temple of Io.
Meanwhile, Shimmer had brought Sidell to his temple where he was greeted by Crowder. The black dragon was more than entertained by Shimmer’s choice to ‘question’ the aaracockraa and even offered to lend a hand. Shimmer wrote down a small list of questions to be asked and turned the dragon loose on the bird-man. A few hours later, Crowder reemerged but covered in blood. With a smile on his face and a thank you in his voice, he handed Shimmer a crude map of Union detailing four locations in the city where Sidell knew the Dreamwalkers were collaborating from: Weaver’s Cross, The Rookery, The Artist’s Quarters, and The Library Eternal.
After our heroes arrived at the Temple of Io, they were greeted by a kobold who alerted Shimmer to their presence. Shimmer informed his followers to divert them to the servant’s quarters for the night. The company settled in amongst over two dozen kobolds in a small room, each one counting their own worthless treasures. Theristis handed five of them silver pieces to watch over him during the night but they immediately ran off into the temple shouting that they had received coin for their masters.
The bag was ripped off of Hope’s head to reveal that she was locked into an anti-magic chair and was blinded by two hooded lanterns. The scratchy voice from the darkness spoke of Hope’s memory loss and kept mentioning how “you tried to get rid of me”. The voice also promised to burn everything that Hop held dear, friends, family, and possessions. While Hope balked at the threats and mocked him, the Black Smile followed through illuminating the inverted, crucified body of Hope’s sister. As emotions began to overflow in Hope’s mind, she heard one final taunt from the psychotic murderer, “Everything that follows is on your head…”