Senka made her way to the Confluencial Colosseum, a massive First Age structure surrounded by water that served as the meeting place for the Confederation of Rivers Assembly. She circled the ancient building, noting the entrances. She recalled that guests to the Assembly could watch the proceedings from the upper ranks of the colosseum, payed the nominal fee to enter, and filed in with the other observers. Checking the schedule, the most noteworthy business for the day was a request for 7th Legion military advisers to consult regarding the growing aggression from the Sword Prince of Vaneha. The next day would be the Grand Assembly of the Confederation, with all representatives of the coalition present.
From the upper observation gallery, the speakers were still audible, their voices carried by the channeled winds of the colloseum. She used her high vantage point to surveil the premises. She noted that like most of Marita's First Age structures, the colloseum had sunk into the river. Interlopers could potentially enter through the water.
She paused to listen to the current speech. The ambassador from some minor far eastern principality of the Hundred Kingdoms was talking about raids from Vaneha. The speaker accused the Sword Prince of keeping an Anathema adviser. Taking the time to watch the proceedings, Senka noted that of the great nations, only Lookshy had a representative. Below the newly build observation decks, the seats of the other great nations were empty of all but perfunctory scribes.
Assessing the structure of the building, she realized the upper observation balcony was new construction build atop the First Age edifice. Were it to collapse, it would fall inward, crushing the assembly. With a clever excuse, she slipped inside, and adopted a servant's poise to pass unhindered within the structure…
Meanwhile, Zakiti returned to Thran dwelling to see what effect the dream she had sent had upon him. From the next rooftop, she expanded her senses, taking everything in. She sorted through the sounds of daily life and focused on Thran's voice. He was conversing with a woman, expressing doubts about the timing of their strike. She pushed him, insisting the time was now and that their ally would not be able to support them indefinitely. She promised to take his concerns to their ally but that they would likely need to proceed.
Zakiti shadowed the woman. She first noticed that while the woman's overcloak was travel-worn and dirty, she had far finer clothes beneath. She had dark hair and a superior bearing, with a slight sneer to her neutral expression. Zakiti's supernatural senses also caught the hint of a ripple behind her, like an oil slick in the air with the faint scent of blood. She looked with her spirit sight and saw a hulking, scale-skinned, cyclopean demon dripping black water that sizzled on the paving stones as it evaporated. She recognized it as an ugalu, a dweller in the black river. The demon took and aggressive step toward a gaggle of children, but with a sharp glance from the woman, it stepped back to follow her.
Senka wound her way downward until she reached where the lower levels of the colloseum met the water of the river. The area was mostly relegated to storage, and not well maintained. Amidst the arches, she spotted something glistening on the water, like an oily film and the air had a metallic scent. She went to inspect, and discovered claw marks in the First Age masonry, as if something had cambered out of the water. She walked a circuit of the lowest level and found nothing, and no signs of structural weakness.
She thought about where she would strike, and made her way to where the new construction sat atop the old colloseum, beneath the box seats of the great nations…
Zakiti tailed the woman, who walked with the practice of someone who did not want to be followed. Zakiti recognized her skill, but had no trouble shadowing her. As the woman moved toward the finer parts of the city, she removed her worn cloak, wrapped it in a bundle, and stashed in away. Her fine clothes would have drawn too mach attention in Fenside.
She entered one of the garden palaces that hosted guests of the assembly. Zakiti sneaked past the guards and positioned herself to listen as the woman knocked on a door. She heard a resonant male voice answering the door, but man's words escaped Zakiti's comprehension. She could hear the voice, and his speech was not that of a foreign tongue, but the voice echoed and vibrated, as if out of tune. She still heard the woman, who expressed a low opinion of Thran.
Zakiti found a position where she could watch the doorway. Her spirit sight revealed that the ugalu crouched, guarding the corridor, but she remained out of sight. From within she heard the woman, “ The last of firedust will be put in place tonight, whether Thran agrees or not.”
Zakiti heard the woman get up and move toward the door. Through the door, she saw the men that she was meeting with. His gaunt cheeks were pale and a thin scar marred one side of his handsome face. The barest cruel smile touched his lips but did not reach his eyes, which showed only disdain. He wore luxurious garments, included a sculpted leather chestpiece with geometric designs and a cowled cloak. Around his brow, a diadem held a stone that radiated luminescence of darkness and blood. The stone pulsed as he spoke, "Farewell Minn."
Zakiti followed Minn back to another guest house, where she entered, and likely went to sleep. She returned to discussed what she had seen with the others of her circle.
Senka followed the scrapping marks and oily metallic scent to a chamber deep in the new structure of the Confluencial Colosseum. From the glimmering indirect sunlight filtering through corridors, she saw dozens of massive glass jars capped in wax. She darted from one room to the next, estimating that there were over 100 jars of firedust beneath the seats of the ambassadorial delegations.
Before she could rightly react to what she saw, she felt the hair on the back of her neck rise as the smell of blood and metal intensified. A low growl emanated from the shadows and a massive, horned, shaggy creature materialized from the dark liquid on the floor. Senka released a shrill scream and vaulted up the stairs, through the arched halls, and out of the Colosseum before the demon could reach her. As she landed heavily on the rooftop on the other side of the moat, she realize the demon had not chased her.
Senka rejoined the others, grabbed a drink from the table, and downed it before speaking. Still catching her breath, she explained to the others what she had seen. She expressed the fear that the attack would start a war. Zakiti explained what she had seen, and Genjo identified the man she had seen as Typhon's Coils, ambassador for the Mask of Winters. The Solars discussed what do, including warning the audience and exposing the explosives or setting them off early to avoid unnecessary deaths. As they plotted, the shadows of evening began to fall…