While riding the northern edge, the party sees a group of 3 men and a mule. They are well dressed, wearing jewelry and weapons. They are coming from the north. Sarad, wearing the amulet, sees that they have jackel heads, while they appear human to the rest of the party. When asked, Bhuta says that the jackels don't serve anyone.
The two groups approach each other. Two of the jackel-men move forward to parley, while one stays back with the mule. The jackels insult Bhuta for "slumming" with humans, then order the party to lay down their equipment and treasure. Sarad orders them on their way. Sarad threatens that he can have "10, nay, 100 ravens for each jackel." The two jackels talk among themselves. Meanwhile, the jackel which stayed behind begins moving strangely.
Believing that the jackel is casting a spell, the party preemptively strikes. Chendra strikes the jackels with a lance of disruption, a shockwave of energy. But the shockwave slides around the jackels without effect. (Bhuta explains to Sarad that the jackel in back simply cast a spell to detect magic.) The jackels sheath their weapons and leave to the south.
The party rides on. As they ride, Sarad questions Bhuta. Bhuta explains that after the rituals are resumed, it will be about a week until Rakshasa come to aide him. Bhuta also mentions that the Rakshasa are all but immune to magic.
On the east edge of the northern wastes, the party sees a giant lion with bronze wings. Instead of fur, it has yellow scales. Omar summons a horse between the party and the monster, and the party backs off. The creature advances and attacks the summoned horse. As the monster begins to chew on the horse, it disappears. Sulam and Bhuta charge and slay the monster.
Still on the eastern edge, overlooking the swamp of Koccha, the party camps for the night. Omar magically wards the camp, but nothing approaches during the night. Sarad notices flashes of light from the swamp, but the party decides to ignore them. (It's simply swamp gas.)
The next day, the party finishes their patrol of the parimeter and return to the military encampment. The soldiers are warned of the desert trolls, and the party heads back to Kirti.
En route, the party passes a group of soldiers heading back to Kirti. Pathik asks where they are heading, and the soldiers reply that they are heading back to quell the food riots amoung the Sutra (or black caste) in the north shore district.
The party spends the night in a tavern in a small town and reaches Kirti the next day at mid morning. In the meantime, the plant growth on the island has become dense, and the giant insects have been spots on the mainland. Several people involved in the religious arguments in Prasada have been murdered. To cope with the increasing problems, both the Edrajala and Prasada guards are being expanded.
Pathik returns home to find a notice of debt delinquency and failure to meet building code painted on his front gate. It is the first step toward eviction.
Sarad, while talking to Bhuta, discovers that if the rituals begin, many Rakshasa will gain access to the material world, but only some will serve Sarad. This news makes Sarad's decision harder.
Kvin discovers that during his absence, some of his more dedicated followers have been kidnapped. An anonymous ransom note warns Kvin to "stay out of politics." The party gathers at Kvin's temple to investigate.
Kvin uses divination to sseek his followers. A booming voice, comprehensible only to Kvin speaks to him. It gives Kvin a cryptic message, ending with "The rooster crows at midnight."
Another spell on the temple's sacrificial fire shows Kvin his tied up followers in a dark room, 25 foot on a side, with plaster walls and a curtained exit. Kvin watches the projected scene for an hour. In that time, a man in black leather enters with food. Through the curtain, a kitchen is visible. Refocusing his view, Kvin studies the kitchen where several black leather armored men sit around a table next to stairs going up.
Kvin briefly leaves and returns with a tall, red-skinned man clad only in a golden loincloth and carrying a huge axe. It is Agnee's avatar. Kvin summons magic to find the path to his followers. The magic leads the group and the avatar to lower Prasada, a wooden mansion on a cliff wall near a park. It is Lord Pandu's home. Lord Pandu is a known supporter of General Agrama. Various members of the party suspect that Ateman is behind this.
Kvin's magical guidance leads the party to an alley and a back door. Sarad knocks on the door while the rest of the party hides. Someone asks "Who's there" through the door, and Sarad replies "The rooster crows at midnight." The door opens and the party charges in.
Sarad and Sulam quickly slay several guard in black leather. Omar magically charms a guard to help the party. Kvin charges through the kitchen that the back door opened into and races to his followers. Only nine of the twelve followers are there. They say that the remaining three women are upstairs.
Sarad charges up the back stairs and smashing in the door. To the left are doorways, to the right windows and a single door to a balcony. There are piles of silks, and a bed on each end of the long room. Around each bed are a pair of guards in black. On each bed is one of the female hostages, naked and violated.
Sarad strikes quickly, slaying one of the nearby guards. Bhuta bounds across the room and lays into another guard. The remaining guard hits Sarad and he feels ill. The guards blades are poisoned.
Omar, who has arrived on the second floor, blasts a guard with magical missiles and darts toward a curtain on the left, looking for the remaining hostage. Inside, another guard is advancing toward Omar, holding his sword to the last hostage's neck. The cold blooded thug advances into the main room and orders the party to drop their weapons.
Downstairs, more guards arrive in the kitchen. Roshan and Chendra slay a group with bolts of lightening. Agni's avatar walks in and cleaves guards with his mighty axe.
Upstairs the situation turns grim. Omar attempts to subtlely cast a spell on the guard, but fails. The guard slits the hostage's through and tries to run. Omar blasts him with another lightening bolt, but he manages to flee out the other door and down the front stairs.
Sarad gives chase down the front stairs, but Agni has already made short work of the villian. Chendra, who has raced upstairs, miraculously heals the wounded hostage from certain death. Omar, Sarad, and Chendra help the hostages out.
The party leaves, taking the freed hostages to Kvin's temple for healing. Agni's avatar stays and summons bolts of flame, burning the house to the ground.
Omar takes the charmed guard to Pathik's dungeon, where he is questioned twice, once while charmed, and one while tortured. The guard admits to being part of Ateman's secret police, and that the orders to kidnap Kvin's followers came from Ateman.
The party rests.
The next day is a day of prayer and fasting. Path shares information he has overheard with the party. Pathik's "associates" have seen demons and huge insects in the tunnels under the city. It is believed that Edrajala is responsible for the strange plant growth and giant insects on the ravaged island. The day passes without incident.
A holy day follows, and inner Prasada is closed. Chendra visits the temple of Soma to have his dreams interpreted. He then gathers the party. He shares the secret he has been hiding. He had been a moderately prosperous civil servant in Chinnapucacha. He was married and had a daughter. He joined a secretive society devoted to focusing the mental arts of psionics. As he advanced, he found that he disagreed with groups goals. He made sure his family was financially secure and left into the wilderness. After several years, he became an ascetic and returned to Kirti. Before he could visit his family, the tidal wave had destroyed Chinnapucacha, and presumably his family.
Since then, he has had dreams of his wife and daughter trapped in strange caverns. When he meditates, he dreams, with his thoughts tainted by a sickly green. At the Soma temple, he received more details on his dreams. In his dream, he is in a vast underground chamger with huge pillars and catwalks. Racks and racks of caccoons large enough to hold a human. Monsters of some sort patrol.
With this new information, and the rumors previously gained, the party decides that the tunnels under Kirti are a good spot to begin an investigation. Kirti is riddles with connected tunnels, sewers, basements, natural caverns, and crypts.
Sarad briefly questions Bhuta on the covenant between the Rakshaka and Rakshasa. Bhuta explains that the ritual strengthens the affinity between the two worlds. When the affinity is strong, more Rakshasa can enter. Of those that enter, only a portion will serve Sarad. When asked why more don't enter through the temple in the way that Bhuta did, Bhuta explains that that route is limited to hundreds, not thousands. The temple has weak affinity. There are other spots of weak affinity where a small number can pass between worlds.
Pathik hires a new work crew to repair his home. Several previous crews have been scared off by the strangeness of his home. He is reduced to hiring untouchables.