We found our Scarlet Chorus keeper overlooking the main town courtyard from a high balcony, as if a royal looking over their kingdom. Her voice dripped with irritation and disdain. “Great, Voices’ new errand-boy.” Her companions chuckled mirthlessly. Having grown tired of the Chorus’ flippant disregard for my position – even if they didn’t respect me, they should well-remember whom I serve and to whom I report – I glared at her.
“You may be the Voices’ pet Fatebinder, but you’re not the big boss in these parts. If you’ve come to help then help, but don’t forget this is my city, my operation.”
I knew she herself wouldn’t react well to violence, so with a nod I ordered Barik to bodily throw one of her attendants off of the balcony. Not expecting the move, he landed with a hefty thud on the packed earth. “Where’s Cairn?” I asked dully as her man’s gasping issued from over the railing. “You’ve been hunting for him for years, there must be something of use you’ve discovered.”
She narrowed her eyes, but to her credit didn’t have her fellows try to strike us down. She pointed low to the East where dawn’s rays barely reflected off of a tall spire. “We figure he’s near the Howling Rock Spire, somewhere in the middle of all those stupid Beastmen,” she answered flatly, presumably just wanting me out of her camp. “A few hundred chasms and several-score Disfavored between here and there, but go entertain yourself.”
Eventually suggesting that some of her men at the Stone Down encampment were ready to move against the Beastmen, on suspicion they knew where Cairn hid, and that I may want to follow up on their lead. After dismissing me she sent a guard to look after the man Barik threw off the ledge and see whether he had broken any bones.
After reprovisioning at a local trader, who had no kind words for the Scarlet Chorus and wished more than anything that the tremors which kept shaking the area would end, we made inquiries to the locals about the region. Most believed the Beastmen were a menace, but weren’t doing anything to cause or stir up the earthquakes – those they blamed squarely on the Disfavored Earthshakers who had gathered themselves around the spire. The Scarlet Chorus had ramped up its recruitment efforts, and it didn’t take an elder’s wisdom to see that they were bristling for an attack.
Realizing our choices were to help the Scarlet Chorus slaughter Beastmen, who weren’t related to the Archon of Stone at all, or Disfavored, who were, I lead our small group toward Jagged Maw Shrine to the southwest.