Having defeated the blizzard wyrmling, the Freak Squad start butchering the corpse retrieving trophies and potentially magical components. Mazith retrieves the wyrmling’s scales, which are still a bit soft but harder than leather. Aishe Malinova retrieves the magical wings, light as a feather. Tobin somehow remembers a story about Siegfried, a knight who took a bath in dragon’s blood, which prompts the party to retrieve a vial of wyrmling blood.
After some examination of the rest of the cave, Aishe discerns magical teleportation runes covering a cave entrance. With no other choices, the party, followed by Hazmat, make the jump through the portal. They appear in a square room with exits on all walls, ceiling and floor, connecting to other same-sized rooms. The group combines efforts to traverse through the maze, amidst traps of false floors, pendulum scythes and acid. They also finds odd things, like a horse, a room full of halflings in a fighting pit, and the demon gnolls from the Orcus underground shrine in Timbermoor. Amidst all this there were also hazardous rooms, filled with ocean water, jungle, emanating gravity or filled with slime. After dispatching some green slime creatures, the party looks for alternative entrances into the gnolls so that Aishe can interrogate them, but by chance they stumble into an illithid which starts pursuing them. Hazmat points out that no other creatures have been able to leave the rooms, so this one must be quite menacing. The party makes their way towards one of the cubes corners, and battle a couple of minotaur bronze animates on their way out. As they slide down a chute into safety, Hazmat tells Mazith that he recognizes this place as “The Aquarium”, the place where his master once trapped a minotaur.
Watcher of the Oceans
The name “The Aquarium” becomes somewhat apparent as the party slides down a set of chutes leaving the cube structure, all of which is submerged inside the ocean. At the end of the ride, they find the Watcher of the Oceans, a small halfling girl. She confirms the story that Tobin learned about her, in which Lady Oscar came to her for approval of assassination orders she got, and that supposedly she as a cursed gypsy watcher can see many paths to the future, many years in advance. The group believes that the watcher is somewhat crazy as she claims that the halflings in the fighting pit also could see the future but got driven crazy by it, that she is Svetlana Riha’s grandmother, and that if Aishe says that Lady Oscar killed children, maybe she did.
Aishe Malinova becomes angry when the watcher confesses that she approved the order to kill Svetlana Riha, and Aishe accuses her of being the reason why the apocalyptic hydra was summoned, and that now thousands could die because of her actions. The watcher retorts that there situations that can not be avoided, as they are tied to supernatural events, and that her choices about this apocalyptic creature event have minimized the overall casualties. Mazith and Tobin somewhat agree with the watcher’s point of view (if she’s telling the truth) that even though innocent individuals, like Dorito, Svetlana Riha and Madeleine Riha would be damned, the end result might be better if a large part of the population is saved. They also mention that they could also resurrect them, once they find a solution for that issue.
Aishe refuses to believe that the watcher’s choices are the right way, and the watcher in turn gives Aishe a very difficult choice to make, like the ones she made.
Lady Oscar Lord Oscar
The Watcher of the Oceans tells Aishe the exact time and location where Lady Oscar, who has followed the group to keep an eye on Tobin, will be today, and how to approach her to ensure a successful kill. She tells Aishe if she’s so eager to get her righteous kill, she can have it. But she warns that Lady Oscar has a very large role to play, and that her collaboration is needed to prevent many deaths in this endeavor, including gypsies who will be blamed for their summoning magic of the hydra.
She also tells that story of Lady Oscar and how she came to be, relating it as a light/dark reflection of Aishe’s own life, as if they were fate sisters. Born into wealth, status, and a comfortable life, Lady Oscar grew up as a philanthropist, advocating for the needy, the poor and those without a voice. But her own feminine voice got hushed among the egocentric men of politics, and her pleas went largely unheard. She then decided to masquerade as Lord Orcar, with exactly the same motivations, disguised to fit public office. This is when Tobin joined his cause. He was well admired, and Chrysanthe Xene followed up in his steps, once he disappeared. Frustrated by the many criminals who would not reform after jail, making the very people she had helped their next victims, she dropped the disguise and formed a small strike team of assassins to take the law into their own hands. The watcher contacted Lady Oscar when it became apparent that the long term results of her actions was being compromised by the orders she was receiving and the sort sightedness of her actions.
Aishe begrudgingly decides to call a truce aside with Lady Oscar after communing with The Raven Queen. In her dream the goddess seems uninterested about the hydra event and whatever casualties might occur. However she does sense that sticking with Lady Oscar is the path to find Deathmask, who she identifies as the root of the tendrils that have been kidnapping the souls of the recently departed. This is of interest to Rad Longhammer too, since he was sent in a quest by Pelor to help resume resurrections.
The watcher transports the group up to Basilisk Mouth. In there, they wait for Lady Oscar at the time and location the watcher had told them. It is a public place with a nearby kid’s playground, and she indeed looks quite vulnerable. Especially when a kid hugs her, calling her “mom”. Tobin recognizes the child of the merchant she assassinated, now older, the same kid that made Tobin quit the strike team and that everyone had thought dead by the hand of Lady Oscar. After sending the kid somewhere safe, Lady Oscar hears the group’s pleas, and threats. Thinking it a sweet irony, she decides that since she has lived by the code of sacrificing individuals for the greater good, then she will sacrifice herself to the beast and die by the same code.
All of them travel back to Timbermoor to try and find out the identity of the person who had been sending orders to Lady Oscar.