Lucan confirms his identity, and the stranger introduces himself as Pethin, an agent of House Medani. There is an outpost within the city that has recently received a request from an archpriest of the Church of the Silver Flame (the predominant religious and governing entity in the nation of Thrane, of which Thaliost is part). The archpriest has asked specifically for a dragonmarked agent, and since the only ones native to the city are otherwise occupied, and Pethin himself does not possess a dragonmark, Medani uncovered Lucan's current location and waited for his arrival to extend the request to him. The contract concerns a series of assassinations that have been taking place in the city, primarily targeted at church officials. They seem to be related to Aundairian nationalism, as many in the city still feel that their city belongs to Aundair even after it was captured by Thrane in the Last War. The archpriest, fearing for his life, has commissioned House Medani to investigate. Lucan, realizing that Medani has not really given him an option, accepts, and Pethin gives him a list of locations in which previous assassinations took place. The party sets out to investigate the matter.
The party then largely moves into the Blue Gardens. Zil'dejin looks for nobles acting unusually, and obtains some suspicions about a noblewoman named Setia ir'Tanast. Stahlstrauss and Eshunu set about looking for an area with a high degree of nationalism, which they find in a particular plaza in the district. Lucan looks to see if anybody is hiring in the Blue Gardens, but people are guarded due to the Mark of Detection on his face. Elyas and Garmeth stay outside of the district, with Elyas looking for signs of nationalism outside of the district (there is nothing significant) and Garmeth asking around more reputable areas of the city to find out who has the most money. He is then arrested by the Thrane knights after several complaints from the locals.
After this, the rest of the group meets up to discuss. Zil'dejin and Stahlstrauss stake out Setia ir'Tanast's home, in an effort to spy upon her. Eshunu eavesdrops on the nationalist plaza in swarm shape, and Lucan investigates one of the crime scenes. All three of these leads point to one place: an old government building at the edge of the Blue Gardens, where something big is happening today. Elyas also tries talking to the Thrane knights, but they are of little help. Meanwhile, Garmeth manages to escape from his restraints and flees from the Thrane knights after accusing them of corruption and berating them. He manages to rejoin the rest of the Collective in the Blue Gardens.
|Lady Setia ir'Tanast|
In the government building, which is mostly deserted, they discover a gathering on the rooftop of people, a bishop of the Silver Flame among them. A rope is tied around his neck. Though they move cautiously at first Lucan eventually drives an attack against them, and the bishop is pushed off the edge of the roof, but the rope is the wrong size - he is being strangled. A fight breaks out as they try to save the bishop. After cutting through a few of the assassins and a wizard among them, they are able to help the bishop up and bring the forces down to just Setia. At this point, the Thrane knights break in and Lucan is accused of spearheading the assassinations. He and Setia are taken into custody, and Garmeth with them after some of the same knights realize his identity.
They are brought before Archbishop Solgar Dariznu, governor of the city who is widely abhorred and feared by the citizens of Thaliost. A public trial is held, and Lucan claims no affiliation with the assassins. The archbishop has him execute her to prove this, and he does so. Garmeth is tied to a stake to be burned alive for his charges. The Thrane knights then begin grabbing random citizens "believed" to be associated with the assassinations for Lucan to execute in the name of Thrane. This, he believes, is too much. He refuses, and Zil'dejin starts rallying the crowd against the Church of the Silver Flame. The crowd begins to get angry, and Lucan folds space using his powers to swap places with Garmeth, who is now standing on the platform used for these public trials. Zil'dejin fights his way to the dais and throws the archbishop into the crowd. He scrambles to free Lucan, believing him to be the most useful source of protection as the people start to overwhelm the Thrane knights. When freed, though, Lucan instantly cleaves Dariznu with his axe.
Pursued by the Thrane knights and caught in a sea of rioting people, the Collective attempts to escape to safety. Zil'dejin tries to "crowd surf" to safety, but fails utterly. Garmeth jumps off the platform and runs madly away from the crowd, and gets away along with Eshunu who does the same. Stahlstrauss uses his flaming hammer as a beacon and runs towards Lucan to get him out of the middle of the crowd, and Lucan in turn runs towards him. They are reunited, but Stahlstrauss is forced to put out the flame after his curse causes it to turn back against him. Meanwhile, Elyas is caught up in the crowd.
Zil'dejin remains stuck in the crowd with Elyas, despite their efforts to escape. Garmeth and Eshunu are pursued by a detachment of Thrane knights elsewhere in the city, so Garmeth climbs up the wall of a nearby building to escape on the rooftops and Eshunu disperses into beetles and hides from them. Stahlstrauss and Lucan push through the crowd to get out of the main body of the riot.
Finally, Zil'dejin pushes through the crowd aggressively, clearing a path for Elyas and himself. Garmeth moves nimbly about the rooftops, taunting the guards all the way, and eventually finds a sort of trap door to hide beneath. Eshunu looks for an area that can be reliably hid in, but finds nothing. Lucan looks for a good hiding spot while running with Stahlstrauss, and discovers the Medani outpost in the city. The party ducks in there.
Pethin is willing to harbor them there until the end of the riot. As they wait, a group of Thrane knights (the one that was pursuing Garmeth and Eshunu) breaks into the building, and the Collective fights them alongside Pethin. After this is done, Pethin and a few other House Medani agents bar the door and buckle down to weather the first part of the riot. The agents also proceed to teach Lucan some rituals that will be useful for a member of the house.