Everything seemed to be going so well. Ahktar-Drago was dead, and his former apprentice had looted his lab (and was successfully forging his reports). Khavith was happy with Gethedar, and had a scheme to make Vyr-Azul forget about her possible draconic ancestry. Sskhavo was entrusting an important fortification to Reethna-Onatee, who was now accompanied by a bodyguard. Lena-Karik had managed to ditch Zif-Tarrin someplace tropical and abscond with his magic boots. Het-Kiril’s squad was suffering, but they were clearly in the minority.
The group decided they needed to press further into the temple. They made it past quite a few guards, and eventually ran into the Emperor of Scales. Careful not to approach too closely, they told the Herald of Ydersius that they urgently needed to speak to Sozothala. The Emperor checked in telepathically, and then led them into the lower temple, leaving them with some guards.
It turned out that the leader of the degenerate guards was none other than Sarteth, Lena-Karik’s older sister and childhood protector. She had a bit of a disagreement with Reethna-Onatee’s bodyguard, but eventually sought out Sozothala.
The group explained to him that the vegepygmy problem was out of control and that they needed his help. This was, of course, an elaborate ruse to lure Sozothala into a trap, and he completely believed them. He said that he would certainly accompany them, and that he would just pop back into the sanctum to see if Vyr-Azul would allow him to leave immediately. He invited the group to accompany him. They declined, and when he went to the sanctum they quickly left the complex.