Several weeks later, the Astrologer summoned our heroes together once again. She said she had found a Solar who would suit their needs, an assassin residing in Great Forks who was know as the Red Snow. The characters booked passage on a Guild operated barge making its way up the Yellow River to the City of Temples. They arrived a few days before the Festival of the Three, the triennial festival that commemorated the coming together of the Three Gods and Three Peoples who founded the city. After several days, on the first day of the festival, they tracked the Red Snow down to the Copper Bottom, a dark bar frequented by some of Great Forks more unusual residents. While Drac went to attend to a personal matter, Zakiti, Kaveh, and Genjo went to meet the Red Snow.
The Red Snow was sitting alone at a shadowed table near the back of the bar sipping a strong drink through a metal straw from beneath her oni mask. After confirming her identity, Genjo explained they needed her unique talents to help open a vault, impressed her by downing a powerful beverage, and flashing his caste mark. The Red Snow revealed her name, Senka, and suggested going somewhere more private to continue the conversation. They sent word to Drac, and wound their way inward toward the Temple District to the Bronze Coatl.
After being shown to a private room, requesting refreshments, and turning down the offer of courtesans, they exchanged more formal introductions and explained the situation with the vault and the Five Days Darkness in greater detail. Senka was incredulous with the situation, and Genjo explained that the Astrologer wanted to use the Five Days Darkness as a weapon against the Mask of Winters. Senka said she wanted to help, but afterward, she wanted their help to kill someone who she said deserved it. Kaveh was outraged, he was no assassin and did not want to kill someone, much less someone he didn't know. Senka revealed that she had heard of Kaveh, and that he was a Dynast of the Scarlet Empire. She said that she'd give them some time to think about her offer and that she would meet them again on the following day. Finally, she gave them the name of the man she wanted to kill, Cathak Kitono. Kaveh remembered having met him at a gala in The Lap after Kitono had brutually put down an uprising in the highlands of An Teng. He remember Kitono being arrogant and abrasive, even for one of the dragonblooded.
Responding to Kaveh's reluctance to killing Kitono after Senka's departure:
- Genjo: He sounds like a terrible person.
- Kaveh: There are other ways to hurt people…
- Genjo: Yes, I'm thinking about starting with those.
For the remainder of the evening, Zakiti turned to her usual diversion of picking pockets and distributing her gains to the poor, though she found that the poor of Great Forks were better off than most. Genjo, Kaveh, and Drac discussed the possibility of agreeing to the deal, but having a code to with draw if thing went wrong with the operation. Genjo eventually agreed and they settled on a code. Kaveh remain uncharacteristically silent having already expressed his disapproval for the plan.
Over the next day, the Solars enjoyed the entertainments of the festival. Through their search for the Red Snow, Drac had discovered a local contact location for the Serpent's Fangs, the assassins he was hunting. He scouted the Raiton Temple, where their acolyte waited for prospective customers. He discussed his search with the others, and Zakiti agreed to do some information gathering of her own for him. After asking around, she found, a well known fixer in the criminal underworld of Great Forks. She spoke to the old woman and learned the the call and response to contact the [[Serpent's Fangs]] and was told that the Red Snow was a reliable assassin.
- "The petals fall on an empty bank."
- "The petals cover the fallen."
That evening, they met once again. Genjo accepted Senka's offer, though Kaveh said he would not be involved. The discussion moved on to Drac personal investigation. Senka offered to help them, and suggested that Drac should probably not be the one to speak to the assassins, since he didn't look the part and may be recognized. She, Zakiti, and Kaveh went to speak to the representative of Serpent's Fangs.
They went to the acolyte, spoke the code phrase, and left the temple. A representative followed them, and approached them in a fancy hooka bar to discuss business. Kaveh acted as a representative of a potential client, and expressed reluctance because an assassination attempt in Marita had left survivors. The representative said that the job had probably not required the execution of all witnesses, and that if it had, the order would have sent more assassins. He also explained that he would not have the details of the job because the Fangs operated as independent cells in different cities to compartmentalize information. He agreed to find out what he could if that was an issue causing reluctance on the part of Kaveh's patron.
After the meeting, the representative departed, followed quickly by the Solars. As he moved through the crowd, Senka spotted a flash of steel as a rooftop assailent flung a blade at that representative of the Fangs. Acting quickly, she unwrapped he bow, and fire an arrow which deflected the blade. Kaveh leaped to the rooftop to pursue the unknown assailant. In the shadows and lantern light of the festival, Drac caught a glimpse of the assailant's face. Impossibly, she looked like Rasa, the fallen Ambassador of Puyo and his former lover…