The party awakens the following day, eager to wrap up their business with Magister Starseer as well as bring Loren to see Lenara. They travel quickly to the Temple of Mystra to deliver the ashes to a clerk, hand the staff of disease removal to the tribesman, and send him back on his way to Anteos. For their efforts in the service of Mystra, they are presented with one of her holy icons.
Together, they take Loren to Skullport. On the way to Lenara’s they notice an Illithid with one cauterized wound indicating a missing tentacle staring intently at them; they make a willful effort to ignore him and hastily enter the shop.
Lenara seems quite relieved to see Loren, and begins to divulge to them more of what she knows concerning Cassandra and her research. Cassandra had developed a method of combining alchemy and arcane magic, and the physical proof of her research was the blood needle. According to Lenara, Cassandra mentioned that the needles could only be used on a blank mind; the party shares the details of their discovery and removal of the needle in Loren, and the encounter with Markham Ovren. From her shock, concern, and clear respect for Cassandra, it quickly becomes clear to the party that Lenara was quite a bit more than just a friend to Cassandra.
Lenara asks for some time to compose herself and send word to her contacts, and sets up a meeting time with the party at the Land Dweller later. As they prepare to leave the shop, they see Loren attempting to sell nautical supplies to a customer; though the customer’s subtle hints at dirty business are well beyond Loren’s understanding, the party begins to realize that from his time on the ship, Loren picked up an encyclopedic knowledge of nautical methods and terms.
On their way out of Skullport, they pass by the same Illithid, who gives them the same attention as before. They stop and return the stare; Sim attempts to read the Illithid’s mind to no avail, but the Illithid, sensing a psionic presence, opens a telepathic link and speaks directly into Sim’s mind. He introduces himself as Sarkesh, and says that his master would have words with the party. He repeats this out loud for the benefit of Lawrence and Petra, who have become increasingly more uneasy at his presence. With no confidence in putting up resistance, the party begins to follow Sarkesh further underground to his master’s lair.
They soon enter through a massive set of double doors into a training ground for what appaers to be a mercenary group. The mercenaries each are significantly better-outfitted than any member of the party, and a few of them salute Sarkesh as he continues his march. They enter a throne room, of sorts, and come face to face with a creature who can only be described as half-orca whale, half-human.
After eying Khaber up and down several times, and making a few offhanded comments about how delicious he appears, the man introduces himself properly as .Kah..Kah’T’Likki...Likki’Likki..Malimali’Maloo, or *Kah for short. He welcomes them to “his” city and says that he is most displeased at the trouble they have caused over the death of Rakhoum. In order to make amends, he explains, they will accept an offer that he will make to them later, at his restaurant, the Land Dweller. They are quickly shown out through a passageway leading up; the mouth of the passage opens into an exquisitely-stocked kitchen in a clearly first-rate restaurant.
With some time to themselves, the party splits up to take care of personal matters. Sim and Lawrence head back to the Temple of Mystra to do some research while Petra and Khaber relax and discuss some of the details of Al-Rashid; with a newfound respect for Khaber, Petra finds herself more interested in hearing about him and in allowing him to make peace with what he has done.
Arriving at the Temple once more, Sim and Lawrence split up to begin unraveling some of the mysteries regarding Arturus. Sim heads to the library where he is all but thrown out by the librarian, who seems shocked that he would come to the temple of Mystra seeking information on psions and psionics in general. She nevertheless points him towards what little information they do have, and he discovers that of the various types of psionics users there are, Markham Ovren was a Soulblade, as is Sim himself, while Arturus is most likely a pure psion; of what specialization, he is unable to deduce. He also reads that most psions pose as wizards owing to the fact that they have little to no defense against the arcane.
Lawrence speaks with a few clerks, seeking a translation of Arturus’s portion of the journal. They usher him into a side room and inspect the journal more closely, but despite their artifacts remain unable to read the text. This surprises them, as the artifacts have been enchanted with the power to read and understand all written and spoken languages; the clerks ask Lawrence to wait while they seek out someone with greater knowledge of linguistics. An older man returns with them to the room where he identifies the script as the Illithid language of telepaths. The text is not a collection of words which are meant to have a meaning, but rather a simultaneous combination of three streams of thought, written out and meant to be read as one. He advises Lawrence that the only way this text could ever be translated is by the hand of an Illithid.
Together, Sim and Lawrence leave the Temple in order to restock supplies.
As the men wander the markets, Sim nearly knocks over an old man who quickly turns a corner in front of them. The man’s eyes go wide when he sees Sim’s face and he calls out “Denovo, is that you?” At hearing that name, a flood of memories washes over Sim and he begins to recall, bit by bit, events from his past. Deciding that the outside is unsafe, the man, Gregory, asks Sim to meet him in a nearby bar in half an hour where they will discuss matters further. Sim gives Gregory the location of the party’s predetermined rendezvous point, but asks the party to leave once they assemble so that he can be alone with Gregory.
The party obliges, planning to meet up at the Land Dweller for their two appointments there.
Gregory sits down and immediately begs Sim’s forgiveness for not being able to help him all these years. Sim demands a clear explanation so he can find out what is true and what isn’t about his past. Gregory explains that he is a bastard son of the lord of House Amkathra, a noble merchant family of Waterdeep. His mother was an adept in the employ of the lord of the House, and as such Sim was allowed to live with them, though not as one of his true children. Problems began to arise when Sim first manifested psionic potential, as this provided a clear link between him and his true father. When the lord of the House caught wind of a blackmail plot, he took preemptive steps to cover himself. He used his own psionic potential to wipe Sim’s memory, and hired mages to teleport him to an undisclosed location so that he would be unable to be found and used to the detriment of the House. Sim’s mother was told that he was dead, and only the lord and Gregory yet live that know the truth.
Gregory offers his aid, such as it is, to Sim, even going so far as to offer his help with reinstatement into the House. Sim staunchly refuses, but says that he might call on Gregory in the future to help with his current quest; he is clear to say that as far as he is concerned, he has no father and thus neither connection nor duty to House Amkathra.
Sim spends a few long hours in the bar before making his way to meet the party at the Land Dweller.