After the collapse of the spire of the Temple of All Faiths in Sparkle, the heroes stand on a field of cooling magma. Having flipped the cauldron over, they’re reasonably certain that it’s no longer producing magma or fire spirits. They glance around and identify some houses on fire from the giant fireball which hit the area; all are evacuated except one, which contains an old man. Leroy rushes in to save him from the fire, letting him out the back door. Sonya gazes again into the Orb of Earth, and sees a brief image of skeletal beasts of all sorts amassing at the cottage of Morgase, heading to the Southeast.
Just then, some city guards arrive and begin asking questions about what was going on. This city guard includes Jax, who has had amnesia for several weeks since the fight with Codrey. Jax immediately recognizes his companions, and uses his rank as a weapon master to boss the other guards into beginning to stabilize and cleanup the area while he rejoins his friends.
The party returns to the Temple of All Faiths to see utter destruction; the giant spire has crushed a fourth of the temple — all of the Pelor side — a hundred feet of residential housing nearby. Sonya feels a stirring and realizes as she walks into the temple that she’s felt the call of Kossuth, the Lord of Flames. She enters the Small Gods wing of the temple and identifies Kossuth’s altar there; a single candle surrounded by a mosaic altar of rubies and garnets, which itself is patterned after flame. She prays to Kossuth.
Leroy uses this as an opportunity to clean himself in the Olidammara bathhouse. The priests there are plenty drunk and extremely saddened at the complete destruction of the Order of Pelor within Sparkle. One priest, horribly drunk, rails against the dragon and the horrible people who did all this. He’s angry; Leroy tries to talk him down but he’ll have none of it. Leroy prays for guidance from Olidammara and gets the sensation that he must persevere.
Shortly after, Sonya summons an earth elemental to help break up the crushed spire. It does its work for the local townsfolk, faithfully pulverizing the massive spire until Sonya dismisses it. Meanwhile, Jakkar has been busy using his magic mouse spirit to identify the harped man in black. The mouse returns to lead the heroes to the man’s location. It speaks some odd phrases and giggles a lot — the mental image Jakkar gets is of being in a mansion on fire, surrounded by smoke and flames. Jakkar leads the heroes to the very place; it’s Codrey’s burned out manor. Everyone (except Jakkar) is slightly suspicious that his mouse would lead them here; was Jakkar playing some sort of game with them?
Gwyn sneaks into the compound, looking for clues of cultist activity. Seeing none, she lets the others come in to look around. The place looks untouched and unkempt. There are some rats in the granary, but no other signs of life. Jax bravely enters the creaking mansion, and notices a large pile of treasure in the foyer. The treasure appears to be blackened and burnt as well, all except something gold gleaming within the pile. Jax pulls the gold thing out; it’s a plaque. He reads the words “Die in a fire.”. Hmm. Suddenly, Jax throws the plate and rushes towards the door. The plaque explodes in a huge ball of fire, crumbling and destroying the front of the mansion. Jax is thrown from the building.
Everyone’s pretty suspicious of Jakkar for bringing them here now; this is obviously a trap. Jakkar volunteers to search the house. Jakkar takes his time, and searches every inch of the creepy mansion, but there is no sign of the man in black anywhere. As he enters the dungeon, he finds an old man who has been caged up, supposedly for a long time. It appears he has survived off his cellmates; he’s obviously broken and very confused. They lead him up, and he tells them what he’s seen. A man in black came in and laughed at him not too long ago. Before that, a lot earlier when his cellmates were still alive, a guard came in and sneered at them; told them that their kind should have rotted down here, pity they hadn’t died in the explosion. Both left them locked up.
The heroes take this man to a charitable group who vow to care for him and nurse him back to health. They give them a contribution. The next stop for the heroes appears to be the Sparkle Museum, which may have been compromised during the fighting. Jax and his unit were en route to secure the area when they bumped into the party. Exhausted from battle, the players opt to wait til the morning to investigate the museum, and go to sleep at The Sparkling Sea inn. A female bard named Muriel is playing on the stage while her companions (3 or so; a motley group) watch her. Leroy requests a song about dragons.
Muriel tells them a story of a town beset by a dragon. The townfolk decided to fight back, and trained underground to become master archers. One day, when the time was right, they sprung their attack upon the dragon. Due to the heavy winds and lack of practice in that particular environment, their attack failed miserably. This was not much of a pick-me-up story, but it was a true story, so they say.