Plan B was to go in guns blazing, basically -- swoop in on one of the tiny ships with a cannon mounted on it, use the cannon on the guards near the prisoners, turn the prisoners into feriphal, then swoop out with them all bundled into a cargo net. To help distract from the actual rescue, twenty plain-clothes crew would be sent out with ethereal and actual flame oil, to set fires to panic the crowd.
Cane didn't have enough time to make enough feriphal potions for all the prisoners, but he thought that a partial dose might work for a short-duration transformation -- other potions he'd taken partial doses of had given the full effect, pro-rated for duration. Just in case, he tested it on himself -- and it seemed to work fine. He picked out a very sharp dagger (stolen from an assassin back on Morpheus) as his feriphal-scale 'two-handed sword', and coated it in his extra-concentrated skymanta venom so that it would have some actual kick. For armor, some of the plate-mail taken from the feriphal ghost ship.
They had the shaman summon up a fog to further obscure their activities, sent Takara and the others out to sneak into place, and the rest of the crew out to round up stragglers (they had a LOT of stragglers!) so that they'd be ready to leave as soon as everyone got back.
Then Kyngeah and Cane flew in on the small ship. The city's guns tracked them an fired, ignoring Kyngeah's sanctuary since they were fully automated, but she managed to dodge them and get them to the ampitheater using the 30-foot wide tunnels the dogs used. As they arrived, the immediately spotted the contingency they'd failed to plan for, despite having been warned of it multiple times.
One of the dogs was there.
The dog howled at the small ship, slowing its speed to a crawl. Cane fired the cannon at it, but didn't hit. Then the ship was stomped flat by the dog's giant foot -- but Cane managed to jump onto the platform with the prisoners, and Kyngeah managed to scramble out of the wreck unhurt. Cane discovered something strange -- his jumping was ridiculously supercharged, like a burmecian. In fact, he still had his full Zox strength! The transformation had been completely cosmetic this time, probably because of the small dose.
Cane looked like a feriphal, though, so the dog whammied him with a mental compulsion to 'do his duty'... which was *not* to obey the dog, like it would be for most feriphal, but to free the prisoners (for his duty to the ship and its crew) and to kill the dog (for his duty to the Realists and Ree). Since freeing the prisoners was his immediate goal, the mind control appeared not to work.
Unfortunately, the prisoners didn't even cosmetically turn into feriphal when they took a partial dose -- they mutated into strange half-feriphal, half-whatever freaks. This didn't stop most of them from trying to run away, at least. Magnus did not run away -- instead, he blasted the entire room with a massive fireball, burning his mana and instinct down to nothing to make the most powerful fireball he could. It killed absolutely everything in the room, except for the dog. And Cane, who the dog had just swallowed. Fortunately, it was illusionary fire, so the people who were 'killed' got up again after a short delay. The dog didn't die from it, so the damage seemed real.
Cane convinced the dog to spit him out by stabbing it in the tongue with his poisoned dagger. He hurt! The dog summoned a swarm of clockwork to fight him, so he jumped up onto the gallows and tossed restoration oil at one of them to see if he could 'un-transform' any bits of it that had been shaped by magic. Most of it had been machined legitimately, but there were enough magic bits to disable that one. Unfortunately, there were more than a dozen after him.
But he could super-jump! He leaped onto the dog's back and stabbed it, dodged the dog as it tried to bite him off like a flea, ran to its hind end and hung off its tail to stab it in the crotch for extra pain damage, and then got sat on. x.x
While he was pinned, the dog read his mind, trying to find out who he was working for, since he wasn't loyal to the dog -- and got a huge list of everyone he'd ever worked for. The Brushfire. Ree. The crew of the Concordance. The Realists. Mare Nubium. Adamant Dominion...
Eventually, Kyngeah managed to taunt the dog into standing up (after arranging the clockwork to immediately attack Cane). Cane hung onto the dog's butt, but one of the clockwork managed to latch onto him and start drilling through his armor. He ignored it, and stabbed the dog over and over until it passed out. And sat on him again. While the bug kept drilling into his armor, and then into him.
But the bug was disabled by the oil of restoration as well, and Cane managed to wiggle out from under the dog, and... had to kill it. He'd been mind controlled and *forced* to kill it!
As it died, everyone in the room was hit by a shockwave of power, and were able to absorb a bit of the energy, along with some of the dog's memories -- which told them that a tribe of Grr'locks (magic-immune humans) was going to try to take over the Brushfire while they were busy at the execution. They'd left some people to guard the ship, but...
Cane also found himself able to remember more of his past life, because of the mind-raping the dog had done to him dredging up old memories, combined with some memories the dog himself had had from before the cataclysm that struck a cord. In particular, he recalled visiting the dryads (mmm, sexy dryads) at the library of Alexandria to ask about previous researchers, and had found a list of names of the people who'd researched a certain, dangerous Spell of Ultimate Power that in theory could turn someone into a god.
Three of the names stood out:
(1) Adamant Dominion, the true name of Adam, his boss.
(2) Tacit Inquiry, who he recognized as part of a party of adventurers his team had been vaguely following because they were opposing Adam (and winning) and maybe opposing Vaal.
(3) Enveloping Concordance. Better known as Vaal.
...now known as Enka. Yeah, it was definately the same guy.
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Takara also had a solo adventure where she robbed a bunch of people or something, but I wasn't really paying attention to that part.