Grrgrr the bugbear returned from his errand with the components Random needed to conduct the comprehend language ritual, then immediately took off to get his drink on. Unfortunately, ten minutes later, the ritual failed to make any sense of the indecipherable symbols in Anxos’s journal, leaving the party just as clueless as they were before. Not wanting to have to finagle their way in again, the party decided to lay in wait for the tiefling to return and give his soul the “forced restart” so many wayward individuals in Sigil seem to have coming to them.
The plan was to make it appear as though there’d been a break-in while Anxos was away. Random, still in the guise of a tiefling woman, lay on the floor as if unconscious, with a broken wine bottle nearby to enhance the illusion that he/she’d been knocked out by the intruder. The shifter Chloe flattered herself against the wall beside the door inside the apartment, while Angus retreated to the stairs above the apartment’s front door to catch Anxos from behind. A flawless plan!
Well, not quite. When Anxos danced up the stairs to his home and opened the front door, he quickly decided to get the Hells out of there, for reasons not quite known to our heroes. Back down the stairs he went, locking the front door of the building behind him and trapping the party inside. Chloe tried to hack her way through the door, but all the noise disturbed a couple of elves on the first floor who’d apparently been interrupted in flagrante delicto. A fight ensued. After her lover fell, the party convinced the female elf to just walk away. Sadly, in the rush to not slaughter her, the party forgot to get the key to the front door from her, and Chloe was forced to return to her efforts. Random shifted to the form of Grrgrr (from the form of a bea-_yu_tiful elven woman, which he’d assumed in an unsuccessful bid to talk their way out of the conflict with the elves), and the trio exited the building…
...and walked right into an ambush! A pair of hobgoblins attacked the party, with a smug Anxos looking on from a safe distance. However, our heroes made short work of the two mercenaries, and Anxos scarpered.
Back at the Great Foundry, Ombidias suggested a couple options for investigating the gate in Anxos’s home, including checking with the Hall of Information in the Clerk’s Ward for information about the gate and getting some local wererats to decode the enigmatic journal.
While the visit to the Clerk’s Ward afforded the three Godsmen’s lungs some cleaner air, the bureaucratic red tape of the Hall of Information proved a formidable adversary. The Hall’s slogan of “Cooperation, Compliance, and Control” was, at best, only two-thirds accurate when it came to getting an appointment with the Office of Gates. The halfling steward provided a phonebook-sized directory of the Hall’s offices, and the three paid their processing fee (and then some), but not even Random shape-shifting into a six-foot halfling could convince the steward to give them an appointment in less than two days.
That left our heroes with some time to kill, so they headed back to the Lower Ward to try their other option: the wererats.
The entrance to the wererats’ lair was a shaft in the ground, ending in a subterranean network of tunnels. The party tried to avoid a violent misunderstanding by announcing themselves and their intentions, but since all they got in return was a succession of squeaks, it was impossible to say whether their message had actually been received and understood. When their descent ended in their being attacked by a giant rat and several smaller rats, it was pretty clear it hadn’t.
After dispatching the filthy beasts, another figure emerged from the shadows: a full-fledged wererat. He apologized for the attack, but insisted it was a necessary security measure to keep out the riff-raff. When the party laid out their needs to him, he agreed to take them to another wererat who’d surely be able to help them make sense of Anxos’s journal. But, as so often happens in these situations, these promises turned to combat pretty quickly. The wererat summoned up a rat swarm and proved to be a real son of a bitch himself, staying on his clawed feet for an interminably long time thanks to his regeneration and nearly killing Random in the process. However, in the end, he bought the rat-farm. Sic semper rats!