Limping along on their damaged river skimmers, the party are halfway to Lake Yelta when they receive an urgent message from Soira, ’I’ve managed to track the arcane signals from the constructs you fought in Tanar. It should lead you to Fara and Dorin. They were seen in the village Selis, on the far side of Lake Yelta.’ Doric overhears their conversation and demands that the party go after his brother immediately, even though it means adding days to their journey. Realising that they would need his help if they were to successfully infiltrate the Consortium refinery, the party reluctantly acquiesce to his request. On the journey, Doric reveals that a bullywug named Orum Geko is in charge of the Consortium operations at Lake Yelta, and that he has hired a reknown and ruthless mercenary group called the Slyblades to deter interference. He also comments that the Slyblades have a psion with them who makes him uncomfortable and seems to cause increased bouts of forgetfulness if prolonged contact is maintained with him.
In Selis, the party asks the local dragonborn blacksmith if he has seen Fara and Dorin. The blacksmith directs the party to the lone tavern in Selis, where the party meet an elf named Ka’da who had been looking for employment with the Consortium. After some persuasion, he decides that the party is much more fun and tags along with them instead. They also learn from the tavernkeeper, an abnormally short old dwarf lady, that Fara maintains a residence on the outskirts of the village.
At Fara’s home and workshop, Darrak decides to act like everything is normal and goes up to knock on the door, but no one answers. Choosing a more blunt approach, Chip and C1 hurl themselves at the door and windows, only to be thrown back by an unknown force. Ka’da mutters amusedly to himself, “Amateurs..”, as he uncoils a grappling line and proceeds to clamber onto the roof, followed closely by Craig. Together they manage to pry away some roofing tiles, exposing a way in. Luckily for them, the forcefield seems to only extend to the windows and doors. Meanwhile, the other party members, with Doric’s help and knowledge, have managed to perform an arcane ritual that disables the forcefield around the entrances.
Regrouping in the living room, the party start to search the interior of the house. It isn’t long before they find Dorin tied up in the workshop/bedroom. “Brother!”, Doric rushes over to check that Dorin is alright. In his haste, he manages to trigger an alarm of sorts. Lights flash, whirring and clanking can be heard from outside. Rushing to the windows, the party is dismayed to discover a group of Fara’s constructs emerging from the bushes and converging on the house. They quickly get into a defensive position and wait for the constructs to enter.
All is quiet for a moment, then a canine construct bursts through the window, spraying glass everywhere. Unfazed, the party swarms the intruder, shattering it in a flurry of blows. But before they have time to catch their breath, the construct’s remains explode in a brilliant flash, flinging them back and riddling them with red-hot metal shards. It appears Fara has engineered a nasty surprise into this new batch of constructs.
More wolves bust down the door, mechanical teeth gnashing, while some scorpion constructs crawl in through the windows to surround the party. The fighting gets intense, as some of the members nearly succumb to the scorpion venom, and the suicide bomber tactics are frighteningly effective. When the last construct blows up, they finally breathe a sigh of relief. A grateful Dorin informs them that while being captive, he overheard Fara conspiring with a mysterious warforged called Arda. It appears they have plans to take secure a supply of the unique mana oil from Lake Yelta with the aid of an organization called the Iron Council. Fara, ever the reckless one, favors a direct approach to topple the Consortium leadership and wrest control of the refinery, stating that the Council would surely support them. Arda appears more cautious and requests Fara allow him to negotiate with the Consortium on behalf of the Iron Council. Not wanting to miss out on the action, the party decides to march double-time to the refinery.
It is nearly midnight before the party finally stops to set up camp in a forest clearing. Darrak and TC take the first watch while the rest retire to their bedrolls. Hours pass uneventfully, until TC spots a suspicious rustling in the trees with his machine senses. He hurls a mug at the tree to investigate, and a surprised possum drops out. Just before he can turn around to head back to the campfire, he is struck in the face by a thrown axe. Shouting the alarm, he quickly rouses the rest of the party.
Finding themselves under attack by shadowy assailants, the party stumble around in confusion, unable to discern a clear target. Craig is the first to notice one of the attackers hiding in the trees, and he and Ka’da rush over to engage. They quickly cut down the target, but are shocked when the corpse disappears into thin air and they find themselves immobilised by a barrage of poisonous shurikens. On the other side of the clearing, a well-built half-orc dressed in dark leather has grabbed TC with an exotic curved axe and is using him as shield against attacks. Meanwhile, a hidden archer continues to pepper the party with arrows. Doric recognises the work of the Slyblades, the mercenary group he mentioned before, and shouts desperately at them to stand down, but he is ignored. It takes awhile, but the party are finally able to locate their sneaky opponents and subdue them.
Just when they think they are safe, Ahava suddenly doubles over in pain. On their guard again, the party casts around, searching the trees for more enemies, when Craig falls to one knee, grasping frantically at his throat. In moments, he falls to the ground unconscious, but not before they notice something odd about his shadow. Enraged, TC thrusts at Craig’s shadow, but only manages to plant his sword into the earth. In an uncharacteristic burst of insight, Chip stamps out their campfire, reasoning that shadows can’t exist without a light. He fails to consider the light of the moon and stars, and is the next to come under attack. This time, the party can clearly see tendrils of shadow reaching up to his throat. Ka’da tries to ward away the shadows with a hastily lit torch, to no avail, while the rest rack their brains trying to figure out how to deal with the mysterious enemy. Finally, Ahava realises that they are dealing with a shadow stalker, a strange creature who attaches itself to a victim’s shadow but cannot stand physical pain. He struggles to his feet and sweeps his falchion at Chip, injuring him, but also causing the shadow creature to burst out and manifest itself. With their target finally out in the open, the party let loose a cascade of blows, quickly causing it to de-corporealise.
The party have now managed to subdue and capture all their shifty assailants. They are tied up and a watch is set over them to prevent any more nasty surprises.
The rest of the night passes uneventfully, and the party breaks camp at dawn, continuing to press on towards the refinery at Lake Yelta.