Proudly wearing her boots about town, Kismet is surprised to see a little girl come up to her crying, asking where her Daddy went. Kismet picks the girl up, and asks her a few questions, then Karl assists in the search. Karl then calls Kismet by name, and the little girl straightens up and says “KISMET? Shit.” And jumps down, runs away, and is lost in the crowd.
Puzzled by the encounter, Kismet soon finds that her money pouch is heavier by exactly one scale. She pulls a black dragon scale out of her pouch and looks at it, bringing it back to her rooms in the palace with her to study it. There seems to be nothing magical about it, but when she brings it to Karma, Karma panics and tells Kismet that Ilrael has marked her for death. And if Kismet doesn’t want to get caught in the crossfire, she better leave town.
The scale is the mark of the Blackscale Assassins, a guild operating in most cities in the Arulian Empire. Normally, the assassins and thieves stay out of each others’ way, but with enough money, one can buy the assassination of a member of the thieves’ guild. The target is then given the token of a black dragon scale as a warning that their death has been paid for. This is a professional courtesy. The thieves’ guild member can then do whatever he or she can to avoid getting killed.
“Blackscale Assassins, huh? I bet their leader is a black dragon, too!” Said Kismet. Karma just shrugged and packed her bags.
Meanwhile, Sessyn has met up with Karl again. She explains the terms of the mercenary contract with Ord’Thane. The troops will be endlessly replenished, and the contract cannot be broken except by the order of the Duke Ord’Thane. Since he won’t do that, the best course of action is to kill him and negotiate with the next Duke.
She tells Karl that her father is the Duke Ord’Thane, who sent the fiendish troops to Venn. She also tells him that the Duke is Karl’s father as well. And that Karl stands to inherit the Duchy on the Duke’s death. Sessyn reveals she stole Karl away because their father demanded he be killed. Karl was prophesied to kill Ord’Thane and become the new Duke. The current Duke wanted none of that so declared Karl be killed and Sessyn never inherit. So, Karl must kill the Duke and become the next Duke, and cancel the contract that way.
Karl agrees to abdicate in favor of Sessyn after he has nullified the contract and recalled the troops to Hell. The party prepares to go to Hell, when the palace is suddenly astonished by Lady Tuala riding in half dead, declaring that Kechner has been overrun!