The party settles in for another 9 day journey, this time with the leaf from the Caiman Bush in tow.
When they arrive at Arcanum, they go through the usual routine of presenting their writs from High Priest Valyrian Syr that confirms that the group is friends of the church and permitted to carry weapons inside the city. However, the guard on duty seems shocked when the party presents the papers to him and begins nervously motioning for the guards in the gatehouse to come assist him. When his friends arrive, the nervous guard straightens up and says, in the most authoritative voice he can manage, “By decree of the Lord Mage, all those who associate with the traitor Valyrian Syr are to be arrested on sight.” The party is shocked by the sudden revelation but Hermi has the forethought to quickly hide one of his daggers and his thieves’ tools before allowing the guards to search him.
With everyone in restraints, the party is led toward the familiar temple where Valyrian once resided. As they approach, a voice calls out for them to be blindfolded and for Aarissa to be gagged. The party recognizes the voice as belonging to Bishop Belmer. The party begins throwing out several questions like “Why are we traitors?” and “Didn’t we help the church?” but Belmer dismisses most of them. When Koil refers to him as Bishop, he quickly corrects him and says “That’s Archbishop to you, traitor.” With that, the party is marched further into the temple, hurling questions and insults the whole way.
When the restraints and blindfolds are finally removed, the party finds themselves in a dimly lit dungeon, each of them in separate cells. A familiar voice welcomes them; the voice of Valyrian Syr. The party questions that man and he begins revealing everything that had happened while they were away. The Cult that the party thought they dealt with apparently had the entire thing planned out. The Crown of Carrikos was enchanted with a spell that caused those who touched it to fall under the suggestion of some outside figure. At first, it began with just initiates and maybe a bishop or two. At the end of it all, Valyrian believed that at least four of the High Priests were under the spell. It all happened at the worst possible moment as well since the election to appoint the new Lord Mage was held in the party’s absence. It was the first ever non-unanimously elected Lord Mage but he still received the seven votes required. No one was quite sure who the man they were voting for was but many assumed him to be qualfied simply because the Church of Carrikos doesn’t make mistakes. This newly elected Lord Mage then began hoarding the city’s talented mages.
Valyrian informed the party that he was here because he noticed the signs and moved to stop it. He resigned his position so that he could move more freely and began to work in the shadows. However, when the new Lord Mage was elected, Valyrian was quickly labeled a traitor and was unable to elude the city’s templars. Since his capture, Valyrian has been stuck in the cell. The new Lord Mage doesn’t have the support required to order his execution but can’t risk having Valyrian alive so he simply ordered Valyrian to be locked away and forgotten about.
After being informed on the situation, Hermi made his move and began expertly picking the locks on each individual cell. Armed with just Hermi’s dagger and Aarissa’s magic, the party pressed on to find a way out.