Sakura comes home only to find that Chi has broken in and comes bearing a gift: a tied up lizard man, just waiting to be sacrificed! He quickly explains that this lizard worked for Scarbelly and should be sacrificed as a form of revenge against him. He promises sakura that if she does this ritual killing, she will gain great power. Her need for revenge takes over and she performs the ritual, taking a strip of the victims scaly hide soaked in its own blood, and does indeed gain a dark power……..at a heavy cost she doesn’t seem to be aware of yet.
Amber arrives in her new apartment, a burrow underneath one of the massive trees in the new Treetop housing development. She finds a disturbing number of small but dangerous looking insects have bored holes in her ceiling and have begun eating anything wooden they can find inside her rooms. She freezes them and takes one out to be studied by a local entomologist the next day. It turns out that these are Zirek bugs, voracious wood-eaters that are only active for a short time every seven years. Strangely, they are also not native to this area, preferring a much warmer climate. How did they get into the city?
Prakesh assembles the team in the morning and tries to hunt down the scum that attacked his family. They find a number of witnesses that appear to have had their minds tampered with and evidence inside Prakesh’s parents home that the break in may have been staged somehow. Amber becomes enraged and tries to convince Prakesh once again that his bride to be, Ruby, is a vampire and has set this whole thing up as part of some twisted game. Prakesh will hear none of it, and sets off to Ruby’s house to settle this nonsense once and for all. She doesn’t appear to be home, but it seems that four large wolfhounds are on guard inside. the team decides to visit Ruby’s father, Admiral Sterns, and try to sort things out. A short time into the meeting, it is clear that the Admiral has been brainwashed, and an enraged Ruby develops a new Gift, delving deep into the Admirals mind and breaking the dark hold Ruby had over him. Restored back to normal, the Admiral is shocked and disgusted by his new found memories. He claims that Ruby was never his daughter, and that she is some sort of inhuman monster! Unable to cope with this new information, Prakesh flees back to Ruby’s home, without the rest of the team, and finds her sleeping in a coffin in a secret room in the basement. She reveals that she is an agent of Shallakor, the Red God of Blood and Murder, and that she was trying to turn Prakesh over to her master but he proved much to strong for her subtle manipulations. She tricks him into one last embrace and then sinks her fangs into his neck!
The rest of the team struggles to catch up with Prakesh. They bust into Ruby’s home and have to put down her four massive guard wolves in a brief battle. Sakura says she can “sense” Prakesh in the basement somehow and the team follows her suggestion. They rush down into the wine cellar only to find Ruby draining the life out of Prakesh. Ruby tries to get away but Thokk pushes several wine shelves onto her while Sakura pins her to the ground with a makeshift stake through the heart. After a quick beheading, Ruby is nothing more than a pile of burning ash and a gem studded choker, which Amber grabs as a possible trophy. Prakesh is devastated, this ordeal will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. The whole team takes a week of personal time to recover from this ordeal. Prakesh’s mother returns to her homeland to grieve, escorted by Admiral sterns.
Unit 13 returns to duty a week later and jump right in with a patrol of the Row of the Faithful. They find a large group of worshippers of Krom-Gar, led by Battlepriest Facebreaker, trying to gain forceful entrance to a bank run by worshippers of Elysia Silver hand. the battlepriest claims that this bank stole Krom-Gars sacred drinking horn as payment for a large debt that they owe. The bank manager, a Halfling by the name of Rollinghill, denies this claim. After some fast talk, the team is allowed to search the bank vault, where they do indeed find the Drinking Horn. Rollinghill still denies the theft and the team is forced to bring him in for questioning. A quick use of an Object Reading Gift finds that Rollinghill did steal it but something seems off. What is really going on here?