A group of holy inquisitors, (Borr, Saint, Cora, and Father Coleway) arrived in Dunbarrow a few days later looking for Sister Catherine regarding her dealings with demons. They questioned several townsfolk about her before reaching the Peach Pit, where Tallendryl, like all of the others asked, denied seeing her recently. They left, but one of their number, a Brockwell the Resolute, stayed in the tavern, as he was now parting ways with them.
Eudora dropped everything she had been carrying when she entered the room, because apparently this holy man was also known as “Brock the Cock,” due to his fame in halfling culture. As she eagerly received his autograph Wiggledorf hurried over to Tallendryl and informed him that his money had been stolen. Apparently Sister Catherine had known in advance that there were people searching for her, and “borrowed” Tallendryl’s money, (leaving a note behind promising to pay him back) and mentioned something about being pursued, so she was heading to Axis.
Now knowing that the inquisitors meant to capture her, Tallendryl announced that she’d stolen his money, and Sister Catherine was headed for Santa Cora to throw them off her trail, when Brock interjected- apparently a paladin of Alathea, goddess of truth, he noted the lie, and informed them of her true destination. They thanked him for this, and Tallendryl countered by addressing Brockwell by his less dignified nickname, which alienated him from his fellow holy men. They took their leave for Axis by foot. The party gathered- Lan’Lei wished to visit Axis for her own purposes any way, and Wiess, like Tallendryl, wished to resurrect Hugh, owing him his life. Brock accompanied them, as he, too, wished to apprehend Catherine.
The group set out a few minutes later on horseback with Hugh’s coffin strapped to Fly-catcher’s back. After riding for some time without overtaking the other party they became suspicious. The group took a break while Lan’Lei examined the ground, looking for a sign of their tracks. She found what seemed to be their footprints, but they seemed to be in groups with large distances between them. This puzzled her, so she sent Vrace up into the sky to scan for them. He reported back that they were still ahead of the party on the road, and that they were somehow disappearing, then reappearing further ahead- blinking in and out of existence, and traveling very quickly as a result.
Night came, and the party had to decide whether it would be best to push the horses to their breaking point in an attempt to reach Axis at the same time as the clerics, or to rest and simply lose some time. They opted to set a camp, and watches were set as a dense mist suddenly drew upon the road.
Two figures appeared- a man and a girl he identified as his daughter, and they asked to sit for a while by the party’s fire. Of the two who were awake on watch, Tallendryl was immediately suspicious, and began grilling them on their particulars, but Brock welcomed them. They sat and made small talk, but then asked for a favor- they wished for Tallendryl to deliver a package to Axis for them- despite being very close themselves. Brock suddenly began understanding Tallendryl’s suspicion, but Tallendryl then asked what they could offer in return- they produced a scroll of mass teleportation which he could use to instantly bring everyone to Axis’ gates. Before the others could fully wake up, or Brock could object, Tallendryl accepted the mystery package’s delivery contract, and used the scroll, transporting everyone to Axis.
They began searching for Catherine right away, despite the hour. Axis seldom slows down, so there were plenty of people in the streets and places of business. Lan’Lei went off on her own and arranged for an appointment to go up to see the dragon flight in the clouds above Axis, Tallendryl hit a tavern named the Fighting Pawn in his search, and the two clerics began questioning people in the street.
Weiss questioned one man as to whether or not he’d seen any of the priests who were rivaling the search for Catherine, and indeed he had- right behind Weiss! Saint and Wiess exchanged insults until Saint insulted Ashquay, which was too much for Wiess to bear- he challenged the other cleric to a duel. The two squared off- Weiss offering Saint the first attack, but it soon became apparent that although the man appeared to be a cleric of the Gods of Light, he possessed powers more akin to a follower of the way of the Prince of Shadows- shadow-stepping here and there, and attacking Weiss with a thin blade, trying to shank him. Weiss, however, answered Saint’s attack with Ashquay’s holy judgement, and smote the man dead with radiant light from the heavens, leaving only one of his smoldering ash-filled boot behind.
Meanwhile in the tavern, Tallendryl bumped into a childhood friend of his, Laylen McKale. After briefly catching up Laylen agreed to share some information of interest to Tallendryl in exchange for his expertise in resolving an arcane matter in his home. Tallendryl agreed, and Laylen informed him that Sister Catherine was staying in a secret location down a dead end alley.
The party regrouped and located the alley. After encountering a few traps they gained entry and encountered a group of demons. The party dispatched them with relative ease as Tallendryl retrieved Catherine’s book of Demonology, and Catherine emerged from the next room, surrendering herself. She seemed surprised to see who had tracked her down, however. After talking with her, it was revealed that she had sought to destroy a demonic staff which had attracted the attention of some operatives of the Prince. It can only be destroyed with dragon fire, and so she had secured passage to reach the dragons using Tallendryl’s gold. She planned to pay him back by selling the last shred of her soul to the Diabolist.
Lan’Lei took the cursed staff, and Tallendryl debated the morality of what Catherine had done with the clerics, along with whether it was right to use demons while Lan’Lei left the building. As the men continued their discussion Vrace reappeared and told them in his own way that there was trouble outside.
The three emerged into the alley to find Lan’Lei facing a large number of white-robed figures, no doubt the operatives of the Prince of Shadows looking for Catherine…