The Heroes of Pakkin’s Folly quickly realized getting into Jakkra City without its undead residents and rulers noticing was going to be a tall order. Caiphon was quick with a solution, though. Recalling his days as a teenaged low-level street thug, he suggested they sneak in through the sewers. They made the trek to the outskirts of Jakkra City and entered through a large sewer pipe.
Inside, they found the line littered with decay, ichor, and effluvia—the remains of the vampires’ insatiable hunger. They covered their mouths and noses and soldiered on, only to encounter an offalian, carcass eaters, forsaken shells, and a bloodroot, all feasting on the decaying remains. Their attempts to sneak by were thwarted, and they had to fight their way past.
From there, they searched for a way into Jakkra City, discovering one sewer line covered by a magical trap, which forced them to backtrack and search for another way through rather than risk trigging the trap while attempting to disable it. Eventually, they found an area where a wall had collapsed, providing entrance into the basement of a tavern.
They ventured upwards, finding the building ransacked and abandoned. Peering outside, James saw shadowy humanoid forms moving through the street, several of them appeared to have no purpose to their movements. James realized they were the undead.
The group managed to elude encountering any of Jakkra City’s undead residents and, thanks to Caiphon’s memory, located a building that was used as a front for The Bloodghost Syndicate. As they neared, however, they noticed a lack of undead presence, along with several well-lit buildings. It was clear the Syndicate had been restricted to this part of the city, free from the Vampire Lords’ reach.
Caiphon investigated and discovered the same undead ward they had in their possession was used to sequester this portion of the city.
James snuck up to one building and risked a glance through the front window. Inside, several bugbears idly played cards, almost oblivious to the fact that the rest of the city was overrun by the undead. The group stole to the back door, and after putting up the hood on his cloak, Jarek angrily banged on the door. The eyeslit rapidly shot open, and fur-rimmed eyes stared back at him, momentarily going wide when he saw a human glaring at him.
“W…what,” the voice barked.
“Miroslav sent me,” Jarek said, invoking the name of the highest-ranking Vampire Lord.
And then, he did something quickly, that the bugbear could see, but his companions couldn’t, his face concealed by his hood.
The bugbear’s eyes went even wider.
“We didn’t break the truce! I swear,” the bugbear said desperately.
“I don’t care about that. I’m looking for Jarmaag.”
“He’s not here. Is he in trouble?”
“No. I just need to talk to him.”
“You can find him three houses down. Look, if you talk to him, you tell him I was helpful. I don’t want any trouble, all right? You tell him Targ helped.”
The eyeslit slammed shut and Jarek returned to his friends.
“Who’s Miroslav,” Caiphon asked.
“He’s the Vampire Lord who masterminded this entire takeover,” Jarek said, emotionless. “His name gets results around here.”
“Apparently,” Caiphon muttered.
They quickly moved down the alley to the house Targ indicated and again banged on the back door. Again, when the eyeslit opened, Jarek did something quickly that his companions couldn’t see.
“We’re here to see Jarmaag,” he said.
The slit slammed shut and Jarek could hear muffled arguing from behind the door. The eyeslit opened again, a separate set of eyes peered out.
“We didn’t break the truce,” the voice growled.
“We just need to see Jarmaag. Miroslav sent us.”
The slit closed again. There was more arguing. Eventually, the door opened. The companions were led down a hallway, lined with heavily armed bugbears, to a reinforced door. They were hurried inside, where a Kobold, wearing ornate robes and carrying a staff, sat at a table. Behind him stood a hulking dragonborn with a jagged scar running from the back of his head on down under his chin and a very tall, very imposing and beautiful woman.
The Kobold introduced himself as Jarmaag Fireseer, the Dragonborn as his bodyguard Druel Spikefist, and the woman as his concubine, Galaria. After some brief negotiations, Jarek managed to convince Jarmaag that he and his friends were there on behalf of the Vampire Lords, and that the order to kill them was in fact a test of the Syndicate’s loyalties and abilities.
Jarek also managed to get Jarmaag send his bugbear guards out of the room. Druel and Galaria remained. From there, they got down to real business. Jarek elaborated on the fact that they knew (thanks to Caiphon) that Jarmaag wished to unseat Rathos Bloodghost as second-in-command of the Syndicate. Jarek said he and his friends wanted to help that happen.
Before he could continue, Galaria interrupted. She had been staring at Caiphon intently since the start of the meeting and finally revealed why. She recognized Caiphon from his time in the syndicate years prior. The Avenger tried to downplay the notice, but Galaria was insistent and he finally admitted that he was a former member.
Jarek explained this would have minimal risk to Jarmaag. If they were successful in their attempts Jarmaag would run the day-to-day operations of the Syndicate. If they failed, it would look like a band of humans broke in and attempted to kill the gang boss.
However, Jarmaag was still skeptical.
“What’s in it for you,” he asked. “Because every deal has two sides. I know what’s in it for me, but I want to know what you and your friends want.”
Jarek paused, and then asked his friends to step out of the room. Confused, they eventually complied. Jarek called for them to return moments later. Back inside the room, they found Jarmaag with a very smug look on his face.
“Your friend here just ensured you have my cooperation,” the kobold said. “If anything, I’m going to give you the location of Rathos’ hideout for entertainment purposes. Regardless of your success or failure, I look forward to seeing the results.”
“Wait,” Caiphon interrupted. “Are my father and my sister still alive?”
“Ahhhh,” Jarmaag sighed. “I’ll look into that and give you an answer if you’re successful in your attempt to…neutralize Rathos, Caiphon.”
And with that, Jarmaag provided the heroes with a map to Rathos’ hideout.