Emmirus took a vial of true water, and promised them ample antidote to Tonic addiction in three days. He also said he would, at that time, tell them the favor he needed of them as payment for his services. He also sold them a handful of quartz crystals that Thala needed to work the purify ritual she’d been considering.
The party had to avoid some guards on their way back towards The Gap, but nothing of particular note occurred until they were about the cross back into The Muck.
The Gap, they were told, was temporarily closed while the crews prepped the hole for being reinforced. Several muckers had been harmed, it seemed, during the closing, and the party escorted them to the West gate, through Westrick and onto Old Warwick. While navigating the ruin-riddled block, the party noticed a commotion which, when investigated, ended up being more trouble by Borm the Bloody, Butcher of Westrick. Brom, as was often the case, was blustering and bellicose. His target, an unassuming, slender man that the party had seen around the Quarter with his pig, was angrily, if somewhat apologetically, claiming that Borm had stolen said pig. Borm, meanwhile, asserted that he’d purchased the pig fair and square.
Predictably, when the party sought to intervene Borm became immediately belligerent and defensive, proclaiming loudly that if he couldn’t even buy a pig without worrying about getting swindled by its eladrin-giver owner, then the Shade’s protection really wasn’t worth much. Meanwhile, the pig-man, whose name ended up being Tram, swore that Borm had given him no money at all, and had simply stolen the pig.
The group, after some tense moments attempting to ascertain the truth, eventually paid Borm the price of the pig, and had him give the pig back to Tram. Borm made fun of them for it, but ultimately took his money and left, with a stern warning from White Kaijo about taking better and cleaner care of business. Meanwhile, Tram, who the party quietly decided was some manner of agent for the Ix’iil, claimed to want to join the Shade. Kaijo told him to meet him on the Stalls the next day around mid day.
Upon returning to the Grey Manse, the party began discussing how best to implement Thala’s plan to purify all the Tonic in the Quarter, enlisting Danae’s help in planning the ritual.
Thala explained that they would need to position eight crystals, one near the center, mystically speaking, of each block. Those crystals would have to be left completely untouched from the start of the ritual to the end, about ten minutes later. The magical ramp up would, she said, definitely draw attention if the Ix’iil had as much mystical involvement as it seemed. She expected every crystal, except, probably, the one in the Grey Manse, would be attacked by some Ix’illan or another before the ritual was over.
They discussed setting a whole crew on each crystal; they discussed splitting up several crews to go 3 Shade on each crystal. Ultimately, Danae felt, as did Kaijo, that coordinating that large a change in the gang’s routine had too much of a chance of getting out to the Ix’iil. While Danae still believed that the Shade would, barely, come out on top in an all-out battle, she still didn’t want to spend that many lives if the thing could be done stealthily instead.
It was decided that each member of the crew would take one block. Because Thala was more adept at combat manage, not to mention less frail, than Ink, it was decided that she would teach ze the ritual, and take coverage of Tom’s Alley instead. Ink would work the ritual from the Manse, while Kaijo covered Old Warwick, Dora the Wall, Akra Southbank, and Lidia watched the Stalls. They decided to trust Brother Nomkar to manage the crystal on The Muck. After some talk of letting Snobb’s End go, Danae decided that she would take on the mission. She was the only one, she and Kaijo reasoned, who had the skills to manage the Ix’iil’s home turf.
With some grumbling, the party agreed. Thala and Ink went to discuss the ritual proper, while the rest set about planning their work, to be done the following night on Subahn the 20th.