Serene's criminal contacts mentioned that they pulled the scam every 20 years, so she went to a library to check the records. The owl on duty was initially hostile, but she bribed him with a 'QUIET' sign that automatically shushed people, and he helped her research the old Miner Cat records. Sure enough, every 20 years there was a spike in random low-mana zones. Some of them were handled by various mages or mage guilds, the others were handled by the Church of the Mother.
Meanwhile, Carnelian noticed that someone at the party was avoiding all conversations about the crisis, and pointed him out to Armitage, who tracked him down and tried to hit on him. Badly. Terrified for his life, he fled back to the Golden Circle mage guild, where a large golem stopped Armitage's pursuit. But, by bribing one of the salespeople in the front room with a Very Large Purchase of magic items, Armitage managed to get a map of the low-mana zones that the guild was currently contracted to manage.
Most of them were on the secret levitation support pillars holding up the city. Thus, the panic.
Oh, they also made a trip to the court to give information about the no-mana zone at the crash site. "We already knew about that, but at least it's *real* info so we'll give you a token reward." The token reward being a wood piece, worth 1/100th of a cent.
Anyway, with a vast array of new expensive equipment on, the party headed into the tunnels beneath the city to try to get a look at a low-mana zone, starting with one of the 'secondary sites' which were less secret. On the way, they were ambushed by a bunch of squirrel-satyr thieves who tried to stun them, with compatriots lurking nearby to rob them afterwards...
Unfortunately, with their new equipment they resisted the stuns, spotted all the hiding kids, and managed to basically ruin the whole ambush without even trying. One of the mages -- blinded and disoriented -- fell off a ledge while trying to escape, and Armitage caught her, then took her aside to 'interrogate' her. Using sex appeal. She was completely taken with him, and revealed that, yeah, they were thieves that robbed people of little trinkets, and insisted on coming along with him so that maybe she could steal some of his money later. Possibly by marrying him and getting half that way.
So, onwards! They travelled through parts of the city's underworld -- supposedly a giant Miner Cat mine -- which had ludicrously huge caverns where everything had been mined out, and only narrow catwalks and the occasional platform remained.
On one such platform, they were ambushed by a huge horde of undead! Wraiths! Zombies! Skull spirits by the dozen! They were surrounded and... um... they were surrounded... and... Serene cast Resist Poison on the two party members that needed it, and after that none of the undead actually had the capability of harming the party, thanks to the truly ludicrous amount of defensive equipment Armitage had layered on them. Except the wraiths, maybe, if they got really lucky. Which they didn't. Two of them ran away after the bridges between them and the party were burned, and the last one got its ring-hand chopped off, killing it.
Technically, the squirrel-satyr thief tagging along with them could have been hurt, but she hid under the platform and none of the undead went after her.
Then Serene re-built one of the burned bridges, and they continued on.
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