Their first stop was Aureon. Rumors of civil war welcomed the party, the mistreatment of the commoners by the magical nobility and the assassination of said nobles by a mysterious organization called Va’kari. Of additional notice was the mysterious appearance of “civilized” Drow women marrying into the gentry, acting as exotic concubines that were the image of modesty and humility. One day into the diplomatic visit, unidentified assassins attempted to kill Nerathi. The attempt was foiled, but fouled diplomatic negotiations the next day. The diplomatic party made contact with Va’kari, and loaned them aid to recover a tapestry from a military installation. Further attempts at diplomacy were attempted, but the Lord Regent was hearing nothing of it. The party made their association with Va’kari public when Nerathi called for them to stop their assault on a noble ball, and Va’kari complied. The next day, it was discovered that the heir to the throne had been killed. Any further diplomatic attempts were denied, with suspicion being cast on the diplomatic party for acting with Va’kari. The party were made to leave the city mere days before a Va’kari-led coup d’etat kicked off.
While returning to Sumar, they came across a Githzerai initiate named Alhat. His temple had been attacked by undead, and he had been sent for help. The party lent him aid, and he was able to secure the temple’s most sacred item: the Planar Keystone of Flame. As they travelled to Sumar, Alhat explained the situation. The incident 16 years ago weakened the Crystal Sphere that surrounded the plane, enabling the Astral Sea to access the interior of the plane. This eased psionic awakening and also meant that links to other planes was easier. Various Githzerai brotherhoods took advantage of these qualities and established on four notable temples on the Prime Material, each one dedicated to one of the classical Elemental planes. The temple he had belonged to was the Temple of the Red Rose, the Temple of Fire. He joined the party and made friends with Nerathi’s bodyguard Thane, a fellow initiate from the Temple of the White Lily, the Temple of Wind. Alhat began training Thane as a member of the Red Rose, both to further his education and pass along the teachings of his now defunct temple.
The party reported to the Queen Regent of Sumar, who was more than a bit upset that the diplomatic party had given what was effectively a terrorist organization both the means to ensue a civil war and public acknowledgement. She wanted to force her daughter to stay, but decided to give one more chance. Gallesis had an oligarchy and a stable kingdom; the chances of another civil war were low. For added security, Joel’s spies approved the hiring of a Drow named Decimus. And, with that, the party set off for Gallesis.