Around dawn, Grond, a dwarven scholar stopped by the boat to have a chat with Nat and Captain Stormhammer. While chatting with the two dwarves and trying to convert Dimitri to his religion (which somehow involves the idea that every sentient being has a dwarf living in them somewhere), the mugger from the night before slipped her bonds.
She seemed surprisingly affable, for having been beaten up and tied up by the party, despite the featureless iron mask worn over her face. After a chat about the current mission, Traith, Professor Aidern, Grond, and the Main in the Iron Mask headed for the river to visit the gypsies (with Grond playing the role of a collar-wearing slave).
A couple of blocks from the river, they see the “Brophetess” standing on a soap-box spouting some anarchistic, Nietzschean bullshit to a crowd of drooling boys from the university, blocking the way. The Maid in the Iron Mask took the opportunity to lift some purses while Grond got in a preach-off/shouting match with the beautiful but self-mutilating prophetess.
Once the crowd cleared, the party rolled their barrel (filled with weapons and armor) down to the barges and met Melastasya, the younger sister of Rudolfio’s gypsy girlfriend. She informed them that Rudolfio and Sezarina had fallen in with a new cult worshipping the “Chaos Messiah” (Dork Messiah as she called him), lead by the Brophetess. She agreed to take the party to their hideout on Leper Island, but insisted they wait until nightfall so that she would not have to violate the curfew.
The party hungout in Melastasya’s gypsy barge for most of the day. Grond taught the girl to read a few Mulani Heiroglyphics. Aidern examined Grond and discovered that he had contracted the Plague.
At nightfall they rowed out to the island. They passed out some food and a few coppers to the waiting beggars, then made their way up the small hill in the center of the island to an old mission house, where they found a huge party going on. Unable to pick out Rudolfio from the moshing crowd of loincloth wearing, pierced and tattooed cultists, Grond rolled up his sleeves, drew some fake tattoos on himself, shoved his way through the front door, and yelled “Rudolfio!” gleefully. The punk’s head (now sporting a huge mohawk) spun around and the raving, cultist frat-boys grabbed the dwarf and hoisted him upside down into a pair of shackles hanging from the ceiling.
Also in the room were the Brophetess, a poxy-faced hag wielding a strange flail, a pile of harem girls chained to a wall, and the Chaos Messiah himself—a pinhead cenobite with a giant Moorcockian chaos symbol tattooed on his chest.
Hiding outside, Aidern cast a sleep spell into the room, dropping a handful of cultists, and Traith and the Maid in the Iron Mask began peppering the hag with arrows. Grond twisted, turned, swung with his hammer, and then dropped himself, chains, armor, shackles and all, on the heads of the partying cultists.
The Brophetess dropped Traith with a well-placed, thrown ball of poisonous goo, only to take an arrow in the lung from the Maid in the Iron Mask. Another arrow dropped the Hag, while Grond continued to tangle with the cultists and Aidern continued to drop them with sleep spells.
The Chaos Messiah rose from his bed of wenches and waded into the fight, only to be set on fire by Grond, causing his flesh to burn away and slough off, revealing a giant, amoebic bubo of blood, puss, and lymph. The remaining cultists (Rudolfio included) bolted out the door, down the hill, and onto the boat.
Grond traded blows with the giant bubo for several rounds, while the archers outside bombarded it with arrows. Finally the thing engulfed and consumed him, only to be slain by an arrow from the healed Traith a moment later.
Traith and the Maid in the Iron Mask ran down the hill to the boat, while Aidern stayed to examine the remains of the Chaos Messiah. Traith fired at the cultists running away, while the masked lady swam out to the boat and climbed aboard. She knifed a couple of cultists, then noticed Melestasya and Rudolfio fighting side by side against the others in the back of the boat. Aidern finally wandered down and knocked all but one of the rest out.
After a brief hostage negotiation to convince the cultists that it would be a good idea for the remaining cultist and his sleeping friends to accept a free ride to Phlan, Rudolfio ran back up the hill. The party gave chase to see the remaining cultists left behind waking up and freeing the harem girls. Ruldolfio grabbed one harem girl, Sezarina, and hauled her down the hill—the others followed.
Back on Valkurs Wake a few hours later, the party learned the Ruldofio hated his father, was completely surprised that Markos would want to have him killed, and had zero interest in the council seat. He signed an affidavit witnessed by Captain Stormhammer and Traith that he abdicated all of his inheritance to his brother Markos (so long as Markos would keep sending him his stipend to pay for his partying lifestyle). Rudolfio then hightailed it out of there with Sezarina and Melastasya on their gypsy barge.
With fourteen cultists, more or less willingly, aboard Valkur’s Wake and bound for Phlan, Nat and the Captain were ecstatic. Aidern suggested that a slight nudge regarding the plague-rumors might get a great deal more people on board quickly, so he, the Maid in the Iron Mask, and Traith headed for his laboratory at Gothmagog University to snag a couple of plague-ridden corpses to stir up some trouble.
On the way they found a blood-drained corpse and a pack of ravenous children, but they paid them no heed.
They found the research wing of the Medical School already burning and a crowd forming when they arrived. A few whispers, threats, and rumors spread through the crowd quickly had a small stampede of people running for the docks, hoping to get away from the city as quickly as possible.
As the sun rose, Valkur’s Wake peeled away from the docks, packed to the gills with people hoping to get away from the plague as quickly as possible and not really caring where the boat was headed. Nat and Captain Stormhammer could not have been more pleased.