Shortly after the tense negotiation, Olias summons a portal to the Arcane’s primary port using the cubic gate. An Arcane steps through, summons body guards and proceeds with concluding the negotiations. Sophone volunteers to leave ‘active duty’ status and take a semi-permanent position managing the day-to-day affairs of the newly acquired Sand Dragon Inn. The Gatecrashers rest for several days to recuperate from all of the recent ballyhoo and then go shopping.
Vash goes in search of a new bow and strikes out at negotiations, starting a trend wherein the majority of the Guild at large prove just how different buying, selling and trading is within the Katapeshi markets. Gerfried quickly finds himself nearly a total pariah and recruits Chouko’s assistance in selling the cube of force acquired from the group’s underwater adventures when looting the lost elven capital of Ptolistious.
While Chouko is wheeling and dealing for the cube, Gerfried finds himself privy to the staking of a market space by a mysterious vendor by the name of Mr Deavers – a dealer of curiosities of great power and mystery. After shuffling through this tent of wonders, Gerfried is sold on the idea of a set of what Deavers calls “thought armor”. Chouko, having just concluded business and arriving with a tidy sum, is soon drawn into the transaction. Gerfried agrees to the ‘upgrade’ and is shown back to an eerie chirurgery theater. Chouko is stripped of the Deck of Many Things for the protection of herself and all those around her and watches as Deavers sedates and then implants the ‘head gasket’ and attaches the incredibly bizzare thought armor. Gerfried wakes from a successful operation, claims the arc staff which was also included in the transaction and pays Deavers. Chouko helps him back to the Inn, whereupon they both tuck in for some sleep in the extreme heat of their recently de-air conditioned place of business.
Vash goes shopping again, while also trying to find a local equivalent to Freya if one presents itself. She finds herself lost in the streets of Katapesh and is quickly marked by a local ring of hoodlum children trying to shake her down for coin. She causes a small riot by forcing herself through and then throwing coins in her wake. Eventually, she arrives at the magical shops and buys a set of horseshoes of the zephyr – an item she means to pick up after customization the following day. On her way back to the Inn, she encounters a pair of Chelish nobles who impress upon her their tickets to a local coliseum sporting event of some great popularity. She enters and makes her way to the box provided by her tickets – only to find a set of local slaves on hand to attend her needs. After explaining that they are welcome to have the rest of the day free of their appointed tasks, the lot of them enjoy the games and an otherwise pleasant afternoon.
Meanwhile, Clarice finds herself drawn to the local Pathfinder Lodge. Settling in with food and drink, she drafts up a full report of her travels and travails from the months she’s been away from Golarion and then returns to the Inn.
Everyone is back at the Sand Dragon Inn when Olias seals a deal with an Air Elemental to restore the Inn’s famous comfort amenities, the air conditioning. He explains that the price for this service is that the elemental is privy to all spoken conversations within the Inn. Sophone proclaims a return to business as usual and the majority of the Guild – sans Gerfried, settle in for an early evening meal.
The seven days since the rest of the Gatecrashers left finds Qixi bored and going through Gerfried’s early journals about the starfall and the Memetic Ark that he found at the site. After attempting to get Indica, her sister, and the remainder of the kitchen staff and the two Lin brothers respectively to accompany hir on an adventure to the crater, Qixi is bored.
This changes when the Inevitable returns early one morning, fresh from an apparent battle in the hells. The bizarre and frightening creature of brass and cold reason searches the whole of the Keep for it’s target but ultimately succeeds only in interrogating those present (most especially Qixi).
Thereafter, it assumes a position in the centerpiece of the keep’s inner bailey and….waits.
Qixi and the servants meet to discuss strategy (this time, no one had the silly idea of trying to attack it, even though both of the Lin brothers very much wanted to). Qixi, in a flash of inspiration, opts to take one of the Lin brothers and two of the halflings, rig a horse and cart and set out for the crater, hoping that the Inevitable will follow.