The party emerged from Silvius’s dark lair into bright sunlight and chaos. Townsfolk streamed eastward through the city, screaming that the Mad Jester Clan had finally lost it and started slaughtering innocents. Delgan led the way as the party shouldered their way through the crowd, heading west. It wasn’t long before the party came across pockets of disorganized violence: groups of vacant-eyed Bugaboos, attacking any townsfolk they could find, occasionally led by someone who actually seemed to know how to fight. The drakes that had accompanied those fighters swirled in the sky overhead, swooping down in targeted strikes to wound innocents and snatch any baubles they could see.
The party sprang into action, cleaving their way through disorganized minions that were no match for trained heroes. The party thought themselves alone in the fight until they noticed a few stray members of the City Guard, overwhelmed and exhausted. Consolidating forces, they soon found themselves fighting back to back with Sgt. Nico de Luca and his small number of loyal guardsmen. Together they were able to advance up to the shore of the canal bordering the island where the Mad Jester Clan were headquartered. But they found themselves able to go no further, as they gradually became overwhelmed by wave after wave of zombified Bugaboos, with flocks of drakes clawing down from the sky.
The day seemed lost until, out of nowhere, dozens of boats streamed into the canal, docking on both sides. From them emerged scores of heavily armed halfling soldiers, who immediately began attacking Bugaboos and drakes alike. Through the fatigue, battle haze, and blood spray, the party recognized the uniforms of these newly arrived troops: Lucho Bavetta’s private militia. Following behind the swarm of Lucho’s militia, the party and Nico quickly cleaned up what was left of the Bugaboo horde.
In the aftermath of the battle, the party tried to obtain information from officers in Lucho’s militia, but were again stonewalled (though this time without violence). The party also attempted to explore the House of Horrors (the Mad Jesters’ HQ) and to locate the two jesters themselves, but to no avail.
The political spin was obvious and immediate: Lucho had saved the day. All members of the City Council as well as Mayor Bella and Captain Hugo publicly acknowledged that Lucho had been right all along, and that without his forces the city would have been lost. Lucho’s popularity in Calabria swelled to ridiculous heights – he was hailed as the next coming of Yola Tengo, the people’s champion. It quickly became apparent that Lucho was a shoo-in candidate in the upcoming primary election.
The party was surprised to learn that Diego Fonseca was a casualty of the battle. Though the party saw no sign of him during any of the fighting, his corpse and those of his most loyal guards were found on the battleground when the smoke cleared. He was lauded as a hero, and Nico again received no recognition for his service.
The party found themselves left in a strange position. An obvious Vecnan threat had been eliminated, but the party felt nothing but suspicion for the moving force behind the elimination of that threat – Lucho himself. Nonetheless, the party had no hard proof to present to anyone, and Lucho’s newfound power made him extremely difficult to challenge directly.
Where to turn next? And who, if anyone, could they trust?