'Fleeing to another plane' was also brought up as an option, several times. Unfortunately, with most of the astral planes cut off -- and therefore, most of the alternate prime material planes which is what they'd really want -- they were left with some less optimal choices, like elemental planes or perhaps the Fae plane which the Tengu hailed from.
So before going that far, they decided to at least try to save Silver Sails. The first step was to travel to Crossroads, where they then had to convince the priest to oppose the cult. Most of the convincing involved reassuring him that his own mistaken support for the Unity wouldn't result in swift, fatal punishment. Once that was settled, he was more than happy to call a mandatory prayer meeting to get the whole town inside his temple's protective spells, where they could remove the blue metal and destroy it. Or at least throw it into a deep dark hole.
Some of the townsfolk had a problem with the mandatory meeting, however, and one of them outright refused to come inside, instead trying to lure the priest out a back exit. The party was standing by to intervene, but the priest took it on himself to smite her into a pile of ash.
After that display, they stayed for the sermon to make sure it went smoothly, and there were no assassination attempts. There was some resistance, but none of it violent, so once things started winding down they headed out.
And saw a shadow flitting between buildings off the main thoroughfare -- other people had skipped the meeting! Several of them stealthily followed, but not stealthily enough! Talon was spotted by snipers hiding in the converted barn that served as the stables and whorehouse, and took a few arrows to the chest before he knew what was happening. Then he ran away, while Sam fireballed the suspicious wagon guarded by orcs in blue-metal breastplates, and Hobbes and Hef waded into melee to finish them off.
They didn't want to stay finished off, though -- after they died, their corpses vomited up blue acidic mud, which lashed out at Hef and Hobbes, split each time they got hit, and splashed acid all over them when they tried to fight back. Hef got badly burned before Hadriel managed to get a resist acid on him, but once that was in place (on him and Hobbes) the blue goo was little threat.
Sam, meanwhile, had turned invisible and blinking and started to search the barn for the snipers, who'd (literally) disappeared after the first round of attacks had drawn way too much fire. Talon was guarding the front of the building while Sam came in the back, but Sam was the one with the see invisibility up and spotted them trying to fly away. He trapped one in a resilient sphere while Lilia mind-raped the other, dominating AND charming him.
The sphered one caused a little trouble when they finally let him out -- dodging the net they'd draped over the sphere and getting a shot or two off -- but couldn't stand up to the whole party, and the acid resist was still going to take care of his post-mortem goo.
The charmed victim -- the archers had been humans from the Silver Sails city guard -- explained that they hadn't come to Crossroads intending to fight; they'd been delivering new armor for the town guards to help them 'ascend' to the second level of membership, where your soul was transmuted into a form that could achieve one-ness with Lord Smooze. He didn't seem concerned that they'd killed the elementals that emerged; he was confident that had simply sent them back to Unity.
He also mentioned that of COURSE he was one with Lord Smooze and that Unity was seeing everything that was going on through his eyes. But no one seemed to notice.
At any rate, they'd attacked because they had just decided to assassinate the priest for messing up Unity's plans, and assumed the party was there to arrest them. Which was more or less true.
Lilia wanted to keep him, since he was a pretty skilled archer and all her spells would last for more than a week, so they got rid of all the blue metal stuff and headed back to Silver Sails with him in tow. The way back was more eventful than the way up had been, though -- the farmers kept trying to distract them, and finally a village full of country folk formed a barricade to try to tell them to stop.
Villagers: "Turn back! You have to go back!"
Hef: "Hef smash?"
Lilia: "No, let me cast detect thoughts."
GM: "They don't know why they're trying to stop you. They can tell instinctually that you're Bad People, but obviously you could kill them all with no trouble so they should be running away. That's what they're thinking anyway."
For his part, the charmed archer mentioned that they were acting like they'd been 'deputized', but the only ranking Unity member who could have deputized them was him, and he wasn't doing it. In fact, he tried ordering them to disperse but they didn't obey his commands!
Talon: "It's the ooze inside him giving the order, not the person you charmed."
Sam: "What's going to happen when we get to Silver Sails?"
Talon: "You have to get rid of him."
Sam: "Actually, let me try something..."
Sam used detect magic to find the blue metal's influence, and then dispelled it. The archer screamed in agony!
Archer: "I can't hear them anymore... what did you do to me! It hurts... it hurts so much... I'm so alone..."
Talon: "Lilia, tell your pet to stop being such a drama queen."
That did seem to get rid of the strange behavior from the townsfolk, though -- instead of trying to get themselves killed failing to stop the party, they ran to their homes and locked the doors, like sensible folks.
As the party approached Silver Sails once more, they met up with Max who'd been staking out the district headquarters, and was able to confirm that the bucket of ooze was in fact a living creature -- it was the director, a 'third level' member of the Unity whose natural form had become blue mud, but who was able to take human form when necessary. Obviously, they'd have to get rid of everyone who'd achieved that level, but so far it was only the ten or so district managers, which seemed like a doable assassination list.
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