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Author's note: it has been some months since the campaign ended, but life. So I am presenting the remaining highlights in two posts.

The party were delivered by griffon to north of the capital and the Shield of War where they acquired some wagons and grain and joined the long line of of caravans waiting to get into the still-tightly-controlled capital, where food supplies were now in great demand. Despite a cursory search at the gates this tactic succeeded.

Once inside residence was established at a mostly-empty caravansary in the poor district, where the locals were still unable to afford the prices most food was fetching. Zedizi'r was able to cure the ailing owner of a wasting disease thus enlisting the support of her young teenage son who had taken over trying to run the business. He in turn was able to arrange a meeting with "The Boss", a powerful figure in the criminal underground which was also suffering badly under the state of martial law.

[Meanwhile Sa revisited some of his old haunts in the city, particularly "The Brown Trout", a notorious bar.]

The party met "The Boss" at a upper class "private club" known as the "Velvet Underground". Here he offered them a high stakes deal - he would place his entire organisation at their disposal in return for exactly five times any reward the Prince might give them on his return. (They get a estate, he gets five estates. They get 1000 gold pieces each he gets 25000 gold pieces. And so forth.) After a day to discuss the matter and confer with Aiu and Prince Os'Car by coin (and disposing of some gifted wine bottles enchanted to be clairaudience devices) the agreement was made; the party well aware that still having shiploads of wealth at their disposal they needed no valuable reward from the Prince.

The plan was to gain entry to the castle, where the party would conceal themselves until the distraction provided by Prince Os'Car's army landing would provide distraction enough to strike directly at the Vizier and Knight Commander. There was also the matter that during the past weeks many people were known to have been thrown in the castle dungeons with no word of what had become of them and Markos had formed a strong suspicion that there might be an Anthony at work down there.

An opportunity was needed and a feast to be held (in conjunction with a number of executions) provided that opportunity. "The Boss"'s network was used to takeover the supply of food to the castle for the event, and amid the confusion caused by an stampede of "escaping" fowl and livestock the party, disguised as castle guards (poorly, as the genuine article are predominantly full-grown giants) were able to duck in through the kitchens and gain access to the servants stairs, from there to the royal chambers where they were able to take up residence in Princess Mira'belle's still unused rooms.

Prince Os'Car knew well the secret passages through the castle, and following his directions the party were able to establish access to his rooms (well guarded outside the main door), where the Vizier visited once a day to "tend to the unwell prince"; to beneath the guest rooms where the Knight Commander had taken up residence across the corridor from the King and Queen's chambers (also well guarded)(from where Zenon proceeded to make his life uncomfortable with Control Temperature); and to the guard captains' office and lounge from where rosters were altered by Val to gradually reduce the amount of aforementioned guards and include a disguised Sa in their number.

Another passage and some fast talking gained access to the dungeons, and a not unexpected secret door at the far end led to another of the massive metal doors previously discovered in lairs of Anthony. By the time the party bypassed the wards and trap on this door the three Anthonys beyond were prepared and an opening Sorcerous blast felled Zediz'r and Markos outright. Things suddenly looked bad but Sa and Val were able to maintain the Anthony's attention long enough for Zenon to get the others back on their feet.

[Not sure if I am remembering who was knocked out correctly]

Two of the Anthonys engaged in melee but were felled. The third, a magister, then drew their essences into him and underwent a transformation into a massive, three-headed dragon while unleashing a concussive blast which felled Val and pushed the others to the edge of the room. From the knock down, drag out, get up again, dodge the energy breath battle which followed the party emerged battered, exhausted, but triumphant.

The laboratory was too infused with corrupt essence for anyone except Zenon to be interested in anything remaining there. There were however supplies and some weapons which the party took back to the prisoners in the dungeons, instructing them to wait until the castle was under attack before revealing that they had control of the area.

As Prince Os'car's fleet and army set ashore near the Capital the castle was thrown into chaos in preparation for attack or siege. On the day they had reached the city walls Sa was the only guard on the Prince's chamber and the others were concealed within when the Vizier arrived. Although he detected their presence before the ambush was sprung he co-operated peacefully in removing various magical items and weapons an engaging in conversation - before using his bound with a red drake to summon it to him from it's roost nearby. It entered dramatically through the massive windows lunging to attack the nearest person ([which I think might have been Zenon?]).

As the party scrambled for position around the beast Markos observed dryly to the Vizier "this doesn't look half as tough as that three-headed Anthony we beat in the dungeon the other day." The Vizier's face paled and he immediately called off the drake and surrendered utterly. "If you could defeat him, we have no chance". His only request was that his son (Gideon) be spared for the part he had played.

The Vizier was tied up and left on the Prince's bed as the Knight Commander came pounding up the stairs, cursing loudly at having ever let the drake roost in the castle. Entering the room and seeing the bound Vizier and ready party he refused the invitation to surrender and simply drew his sword, but before battle could be fully joined Markos released a Dispel Magic aimed at suppressing the shape-shifting enchantment keeping the man in the form of a giant. [A hero point and a very good roll later] There was a slight popping noise, a thud and scream of intense pain from inside the armour, and it then collapsed under it's own weight. Before the enchantment could reassert itself the now subdued conspirator was extracted, firmly bound and added to the bed.

Checking on the situation outside it became clear that the gates had been thrown open from the inside and the Price and his army were being welcomed into the city. Shortly thereafter Gideon and a squad of knights came pounding up the stairs to find the party warily awaiting their arrival - there was an awkward reunion between father and son.

In the weeks that followed most of the party except Sa chose to keep out of the public eye. Order had to be established in the city and outlying areas where loyalists still clung to the idea that Os'Car from the south was a false prince. A formal coronation had to be held, justice served for King Ri'Chard's death and so forth. Bearing in mind the deal struck with "The Boss" he party received rather meaningless titles, Sa his statue, Zediz'r an area of land to grow a bastion of nature, [I forget Zenon and Val. Val a sternly worded letter to the Akashics guild?] and Markos the services of a kingdom spellcaster capable of casting divination magic strong enough to scry for, believed to be the sole remaining and original, Anthony.

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