We meet privately and discuss whether we will go along with the assassination plot. Despite some reservations, we decide that we will, to further the goal of an alliance between our two countries.
Chinny asks Aoth if he should come along to help protect Lydia, but Aoth feels the odds of success are better without him and reaffirms his committment to protect Lydia.
Flint takes Lydia aside and expressed his concern that there may be people in the Cabal who are in the Cult and that if we give information to the Cabal, we are giving it to the Cult. Lydia tells her to trust Umara.
All but Lydia and Aoth return to the white tower, and Ehput-Ki and Pensiar step aside to talk about her alternate dimension.
Umara tells the group that Lydia thinks highly of them, and hopes her true job did not cause too much conflict. Flint expresses our suspicion of Bareris and asks if there are others on the Cabal also under suspicion. Umara explains that as lords and ladies of the nation whose will is the law, the members of the Cabal would never align themselves with the Cult. She believes that even Bareris would never stoop to ally himself with the cult – but that he might be trying to use them and that if he has dealings with the cult it is only because he is trying to get something from them – before he stabs them in the back.
Flint asks if she is sure, and Umara replies, “Pretty sure.”
As they speak quietly, Bareris abruptly falls out of his chair, his beard sprayed out as if charged with electricity. Umara laughs and says that he was trying to eavesdrop on her conversation with the group, but should have know Umara would have a countermeasure.
Umara says that the Cabal is split quite evenly, with Bareris as leader of the other faction, consisting of Bareris, So-Kehur, Nulara, Zolis, and Ramas. She can only guess his true motives when he forces his bloc to vote a certain way, but it is always for personal power. Flint asks why the others would go along with him, and Umara surmises that perhaps he shares this power with them.
Chinny asks what the other faction stands for, and Umara replies: “Often we oppose whatever it is Bareris wants. He has been on this Cabal longer than anyone except our absent leader. He has consolidated his power and now owns 5 of the 11 votes. No one should have that power.”
Flint asks about the absent leader and Umara explains that he was the founder of Surria and the Cabal over 250 years ago. He still lives, but has not been seen in over a decade. Bareris has served the next longest – 80 years.
Umara ends, “I love this nation, and I want the best for the Cabal. As long as the Cabal serves the best interest of Surria, I will abide by its decisions. I am a Surrian first, and a Cabalist second.”
Flint asks if Lady Umara has any reason to suspect Bareris’ loyalty to Surria, and she replies that his loyalty is to himself.
Meanwhile, at the Castle of Lady Katrina, Aoth turns himself into a ladybug, and crawls onto Lydia’s shoulder. Lydia hears his voice in her mind stating “Get me through the door, and I will handle the rest."
Walking up to Lady Katrina’s estates, Aoth is invisible, there are several guards expecting Lydia and who let them pass.
Lady Katrina is awaiting her, and as she and Lydia speak Aoth appears behind Lady Katrina, as if from thin air. In a matter of seconds he has muttered an incantation. A green mist pours of his hands. Where the mist touches the ground, it starts to bubble and hiss and melt. Before Lady Katrina can react, the mist completely engulfs her.
Aoth can already tell that something has gone wrong as Lady Katrina begins to turn, apparently no worse for the wear. He quickly draws a glowing blade with runic sigils embedded on it, and thrusts the dagger at Lady Katrina’s chest. The blade does not pierce Lady Katrina’s chest, instead making a nails on iron sound as it slides off her to the side. Aoth’s eyes go wide in surprise. Lady Katrina’s hands lengthen into black claws that rip through Aoth’s throat, killing him instantly.
In the White Tower, the Cabal is aware of what has just happened. After a quick and heated discussion they decide it is best to let Lydia handle the situation on her own, in hopes of keeping her cover intact, while they turn to discussing who will succeed Aoth in the Cabal.
In the castle, Lady Katrina suspects that Lydia was part of this assassination attempt, but Lydia convinces Lady Katrina of her innocence and Lady Katrina accepts Lydia as her bard. A guard shows Lydia her room, then she returns to the white tower to make her report to the cabal, who are in shock at Lady Katrina’s display of unsuspected power.
Umara nominates Lydia to replace Aoth in the Cabal, and Bareris nominates Chinicum. Lydia, Chinny and the group retire to discuss this. Lydia decides to support Chinny’s nomination. She genuinely feels that as a half elf he is the best person to help forge an alliance with Calimshan. Although this is the reason they will present to the Cabal, at the same time Lydia has exacted a promise from Chinny, in exchange for ceding the nomination to him, that he will keep her fully informed of everything that is discussed by the Cabal. Although she sees a role for herself in the Cabal in the future, she has realized that she is not yet ready to give up her life as a spy and assassin, and she also knows that knowledge is power.