Finally the group reaches the Order of the Sword. It is an huge castle with strong stone walls. Strangely enough there seems to be no signs of the inquisition here. Also the castle seems to be up in arms, probably preparing for the impending advance of the enemy army. The group also notices the flying lion banner of Rondra Morn's family.
Thana watches the portals opening in front of her as if by magic. She has conjured a searing ray of sunlight which follows her causing blistering heat.
Walking up to the pope of the Order, she proclaims herself as Talona, the goddess of plagues. Which doesn't sit well with a cleric who's assumed the mantle of Ilmater. The person who the group knows as Helm notes this to be a very interesting, but also dangerous choice. Thana hands him the pipe of Helm which the group had acquired only enraging the paladin who's represending the God of Suffering even more.
Rondra pulls back Shiel and warns him to stay away from the spiritual matters. After a demonstration of her power the pope invites Thana to join the Order after she swears she will protect it. She also gets a small chapel for herself.
After that, the pope talks to Shiel. They talk about the two armies threatening both Highmoon and the Order. The pope magically contacts two of the Order's representatives in Highmoon, Selune and Corellon Larethian. They have grim news. The advancing army is committing slaughter especially amongst the elves on the way, that's why a lot of refugees are swarming the city beyond its limits.
The pope also tells Shiel of the previous Mantle King's mansion which is supposed to be cursed. The priest who took the name of Oghma, the previous (dead) god of knowledge has ventured off to search the mansion and find a way to break its curse, but he's been missing for ten days. Nor do people who venture close to the mansion return. According to legend, it may house a way to increase mental strength and only the Mantle King is supposed to be able to break the curse.
Shiel suggests contacting Scott Harikon who is on the way to Ashabenfurt to ask him to move his soldiers there. Ilthond who has received the red mage tower as his reward and apparently used it to extend his influence teleports off to notify him.
Shiel seeks a quiet place to ask Hedistrin in the Sword of the Dales for advice about the curse. Meanwhile, Kerrick gambles with some patrons until he meets 'the seer' who tries to test his mettle in a game. Kerrick is supposed to drink one of two bottles, one of which is supposed to be poisoned. Kerrick doesn't fall for that however since both are obviously poisoned! The seer is amused and gives him a Claw of Pazuzu amulet as a price and agrees working for him. For a sizable part of the earnings however!
Shiel summons Hedistrin from the sword. While she does not remember anything about a curse, she fears there may be forces in the mansion who use mental powers to dominate their victims into not leaving or may be confusing their minds enough so that they never find their way back. She suggests that Shiel prepare a ritual to fortify his and his allies's minds against psychic powers.
Thana summons Jezebel, a female devil who she knows from the absorbed aspect of Balaam. Jezebel seemingly is still miffed that Balaam ditched her for a romance with Chauntea for a few hundred years, but is quickly mollified when Thana offers her the chance to rekindle their relationship. They plot to get rid of the priest who has assumed the name of Ilmater. For that, Jezebel bestows a minor power of suggestion on her to be able to influence Ilmater to make a perhaps critical mistake…
Nimue meanwhile visits the city to be able to buy a magic item. There she learns of War Chancellor Ilmeth who doesn't seem to be too fond of a new Mantle King. He's a duke of Assembra who has inherited the title 16 years ago so she visits his mansion. One of his advisors, a black-skinned man named Ramoth introduces Nimue to the noble. Ilmeth doesn't seem to be too confrontational and even remarks on hearing only good things about Shiel and his compatriots in contrast to the "Mantle King of the East". One of his people is Tyr, one of the Order.
Ilmeth asks Nimue about her impression about the Order to the Sword. Nimue tells him about the inquisition and that there has been at least one corrupted person in its ranks. Tyr agrees, especially since the high inquisitor is named by the pope herself. By the power of the Warblade, one of the most powerful elven blades from Cormanthyr she has a strong grip on power. The three elven blades were the Artblade (wielded by the highest archmage of Myth Drannor), the Warblade (which belonged to the protector of Myth Drannor) and the Ruler's Blade (which is supposed to be the symbol of the King of Myth Drannor, a sword made seemingly of stone) .
According to legend, all three blades were supposed to be only be able to be drawn by elves, but Ilmeth doesn't believe the pope to be one. Also the black Artblade seems to be wielded now by the fake Mantle King.
Tyr remarks that one of the reasons of mistrust against the pope is the banishment of Tempus who apparently also has been very interested in obtaining the Warblade. Ilmeth and Tyr ask Nimue to keep a watchful eye on the pope and be notified of any suspicious activities. Tempus apparently is a female goliath barbarian from the stonelands and is now being reviled as a traitor to the Order.
Thana intrudes into a meeting of Helm and Torm, and older person of at least 50 years of age who argue about duty and the management of resources. Thana coaxes the location of the piece of the Horn of Plenty here in the abbey, but apparently she has to pass some sort of spiritual challenge to be able to obtain it which may even have been designed by Laothan himself.
Kerrick tries to enter the treasury disguised as a guard but is soon stopped by the distrustful guards. So he as usual has to call on Pazuzu's aid who makes quick work of the poor guards. Breaking the lock he finds one unholy item of Pazuzu's which he quickly pockets.