Having given the Rod Of The Veranites to Samuel, we returned to our original task of looking for a way into the castle.

We checked in again with Shane, and now he had something for us. Namely, he’d set up a meeting with a Sharri, one of the king’s personal bodyguards (all monks, by the way, so obviously, not people to fool with).

Shane had overheard a small part of a conversation this monk had with another, where he mentioned “not trusting Tarnn”. When we got to meet him – his name is Tidus – he protested that the phrase was heard out of context.

We weren’t able to get anywhere with him, until finally Shane spilled the beans about who we were and what we believe Tarnn is, namely a Servant of Solanor.

That gave us all a bad moment, but it did seem to relieve Tidus of his anxieties about us. We picked up some useful information, part of which confirmed our suspicions that Tarnn was manipulating the king and the nobles.

Tidus had no way of getting us into the castle, though, and suggested we work through Kaeri. His idea was to have her get us in to see the king as emissaries from Samuel.

After he left, Shane chatted with us about philosophical matters, mainly the absence of Soladon, the good god. He firmly believes Soladon is gone forever, something Taralyn, and perhaps others in the group, isn’t ready to accept.

Before we left to see Kaeri, Shane told us to ask her about Samuel and someone named Tarmael. And that, after hearing her story, we should return to HQ and get the rest of it from him. Apparently, he knows something it’s better she doesn’t.

So we went to Kaeri’s place and asked her. Turns out Tarmael was a good pal of her father’s, but went off the deep end when his wife died. He started a “religion of love” that was simply a disguise for legal prostitution.

It grew amazingly (no surprise), and finally Kaeri, Samuel, and others researched it thoroughly. They learned vampires were involved, and that the cult had a secret area in the sewers.

Kaeri, her father (the Duke), Samuel, and some guards went down there to confront Tarmael. Samuel seemed to be in great pain, even near collapse, on entering the room. In some way, Tarmael caused the guards to vanish (disintegration, perhaps?).

Then he sent some sort of bolt at the Duke. Samuel jumped in front and appeared to absorb it without any ill effects. Tarmael was totally flabbergasted, said something about “It can’t be! There are none left”, and took off.

Later he was found totally insane, and ended up dying in an asylum. That concluded Kaeri’s story. It was getting late by that time, so we decided to stop there for the night.

Next session, we should hear Shane’s part of the tale, and then ask Kaeri to get us in to see the king. None of us is happy about that. It puts us in a very dangerous, very vulnerable, situation. Tarnn is pretty much in control at the castle, and we’re not exactly a powerful group. Next week is going to be…interesting. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be fatal.