While Juma Jh’od Ji’ad goes outside the city to meet the Aqhrani nomads he owes 10,000 gp to, the other PCs meet Lady Viviana Megaris for lunch at the Silver Salver in the Civic Ward. Over an experimental taster menu with dishes such as spiced chuul steaks, gray ooze porridge and honeydew badger, Lady Viviana explains that Appia, the daughter of her dear friend Lady Basina Zaragus, has gone missing along with her friend Hesychia Radrias. The two girls did not return home from a party at the House Laro estate three nights ago and the Watch haven’t been able to find out what has happened to them. She offers the PCs 10,000 gp to bring the two girls back safe and sound; if some terrible fate has befallen them, they are to punish the person(s) responsible. Hard up despite their recent adventures, the Juma Gang, now rebranded to the Juma Associates to better fit in with the nobles of the Imperial Quarter, agree to take the job.
First stop is Lady Basina’s house. Unfortunately Lady Basina is a bit vague about the names of Appia’s other friends but the PCs do find a love potion in her room which could be a useful clue.
Next, they visit the Civic Ward Watchhouse and talk to Sergeant Thero, the watch officer who has been doing his best to investigate the girls’ disappearance. He is able to confirm the names of the girls who went to the Laro party with Appia and Hesychia as Epiphania Mino, Vianella Jamallis and Alexandria Riva. He doesn’t seem to be telling everything he knows but Jenma intimidates him into revealing that two other girls have gone missing in the last seven weeks – Pasara (who was shopping in the Emerald Ward) and Marozia (who vanished after watching a performance at the theatre). Gil uses a comprehend languages ritual to decipher Thero’s notebook after he is persuaded to hand it over – an entry says that the Watch Captain, Gratian, told him not to waste his time investigating further.
The PCs head to the Jamallis estate next but the snooty butler tells them that Miss Vianella is not at home. In fact, both she and Alexandria are together at the Riva home. According to the girls, they couldn’t find Appia and Hesychia at the end of the party so left without them. The same story is told by Ephiphania (“Piffy”) when the PCs talk to her a bit later. By this time it’s getting late so the party return to their apartment in the Old Quarter where Gil examines the love potion and confirms it’s a genuine magic potion of the sort sold by Jagadamba, the Witch of Flotsam.
The PCs head to the Mercantile Quarter and visit Jagadamba’s tent in the shadow of the Colossus. Gil buys a potion of vitality and the PCs sell the witch the love potion for 500 gp.
Crossing over the Rajah’s Bridge to the Imperial Quarter, they go to the House Laro estate. The guards don’t like the look of Hrothgar (or what he says for that matter) and refuse to let him in, but the other three PCs are admitted. After the usual snooty butler has the party wait in the drawing room, the PCs are shown in to meet Bonifacius Laro and his plain-looking daughter Adula, the hostess of the party four nights ago. Adula’s story is that all five girls left together in the Mino carriage at around 10.30pm; this is confirmed by a Sampuran servant named Munjeet who says he helped them into their carriage. The girls were apparently very giggly. Meanwhile, Hrothgar has climbed over the railings but is soon spotted by the guards who blow their whistles. Deciding discretion is the better part of valour, he legs it back over the fence.
From here, the Juma Associates travel over to the Grand Ward to interview Marozia’s boyfriend and Pasara’s mother. There doesn’t seem to be connection with either House Laro or the other missing girls, but both Marozia and Pasara were apparently interested in love potions and other such mumbo jumbo.
Unsure what to do next, the PCs discuss breaking into House Laro, then settle for keeping the estate under surveillance over night. Nothing suspicious happens – Bonifacious Laro arrives home in the evening and then sets off for his ministerial post in the morning.
After Bonifacius leaves, the PCs follow Adula Laro to the Forum of Heraclius in the Emerald Ward. Unfortunately, she spots Hrothgar who stands out like a sore thumb in the forum, and soon notices the rest of the PCs as they attempt to hide behind the stalls. With the game up, the party beat a hasty retreat.
Jagadamba seems as if she might somehow be mixed up in all this so the PCs return to the Mercantile Quarter. Gil pays for a palm reading which is cryptic and vague although the little witch does point out that Gil’s lifeline is broken, and hints that a trip to another world or plane might be in his future. When she shuts up shop for the day, the other three PCs follow her to an alley just off the Street of Many Gods in the Temple Ward where she vanishes, apparently through a door marked with a faded red skull symbol. Jenma goes to fetch Gil who is still keeping watch on Jagadamba’s tent.
When the pair arrive back in the alleyway, the party are attacked by four thuggee assassins. Ulthar is the first to take one down, and the PCs are able to make fairly short work of the others despite a run of bad luck for Gil and a friendly fire incident in which Jenma manages to bloody Hrothgar. With the four attackers dead, the PCs discuss what to do next....