The party beat cheeks out of Farmington, breezing through Az and resting for the night at the Mangy Gnoll. They compared notes about the activities in Farmington, with Ginni telling them only that she’d been unsuccessful in stopping the ritual to raise Gruumsh.
In the morning, they brought Eliza Jax with them as they headed onward to Duran. The town was overrun with refugees from all walks of life, teeming around the gates and walls, pressed together, sometimes bickering, but many… just broken.
Eventually paying the 100 gp “visa fee” (plus a tip!) to get into the city, they parted ways for now with Eliza and met up with Jovan and Willow.
After much discussion, they decided to go see how Madame Smoothbottom was doing, and try to convince her to leave the city. Rhio and Rangrim met up with a connection Rhio knew from Duran’s underworld, who gave them directions and swapped important information. Ginni and Malidar joined them a few minutes later just before they headed into the crowded city.
What they found was not good. The madame had, after being disgraced and abandoned by Rangrim, fallen onto very hard times and even harder company. Her girls had been murdered, raped, and expelled. She herself had become a bitter husk of her former self, cold and heartless towards Rangrim and the others, until she summoned her girls to attack.
What was startling in the fierce fight was not how effective the prostitutes were, but how twisted and degenerate they had become. As if the very magic they had found warping Farmington had also warped the girls. After a fierce fight, they defeated four of the girls, with a fifth— who revealed herself to be Sethus, though oddly changed as well— fleeing with Madame Smoothbottom.
Rangrim led the party upstairs, where they ran into some of the less fortunate creatures who had once been Madame Smoothbottom’s doxies. She gave them information about the Brotherhood— they’re in league with the tieflings and will certainly open the gates when the army comes— and begged them to kill her and spare her from the life she’s living.