The armies of Licadeis have been strangely quiet.
Cardinal Donnegal’s armies roam the countryside around Arda Namara, the Holy City, searching for some sign of the magically-cloaked army. Among them, the 701st squad.
Among the stream of refugees, the 701st find a suspicious wagon tucked between two hillocks, unmoving. After discovering a disparate group of four and questioning them, the “refugees” reveal themselves as Licadian spies by attempting to murder the captain of the 701st, Thoril Lighthammer, before he could can alert others. The remainder of the 701st, lying in wait, sweep down upon the spies and defeat them, taking the two survivors into custody.
In the back of the wagon, beneath the stacks of crates, the 701st discover an over-sized crate containing a nearly naked wizard and a foul, mystical cauldron filled with poisonous red liquid. They discover, just in time, that the wagon is serving as a base of operations for a group of invisible spies and rogues attempting to breach Arda Namara. Zystrol Larenthrial, the 701st operative from the Battety, leaps into the cauldron, which double both as a scrying device and a crude portal.
The remainder of the squad leave for the city by more conventional means, and as a group the 701st chase the assassins through the streets. At the same time, the Licadian army, revealed to be cloaked in similar magic, appear at the gates to Arda Namara and lay siege to the city.
Evading an illusory jungle-bridge that the wizard-assassins conjured, the 701st manage to eliminate three of the four assassins before following the last one up through the great Ziggurat temple in the center of Arda Namara.
When they reach the top, losing the assassin in the process, they are greeted with the sight of the combined might of the Licadian and Rastese forces both in an out of the city, surging like a black cancer up to the temple. At the very top of the mighty Ziggurat, where the 701st find themselves, is a small pocket of Nishran forces, cut off by the Licadian army.
Among them are Cardinal Donnegal, Marsina the High Guard, two Chorus members, and the Divine Speaker of Nishra himself. The 701st are barely able to contemplate their unique situation before the Licadian army’s general, a handsome, powerfully built young man walks up the stairs, alone. Separate from his army. Adorned in bright shining silver plate mail and a matching silver crown. He smiles up at the Speaker, and with a booming voice says:
“Friends! We have no need of these arms and this bloodshed! Cannot we speak as equals?”