" Itto…My Son…Open your eyes…"
A white glow surrounds the Half-Orc paladin, as he opens his eyes to see his adoptive father, Pratantus Sunwhisper, peering over him.
“Wh-where am I?” Itto asks.
“You have ascended from the material plane for your final reward. However, you have a choice: stay here in heavenly paradise with me, or return to your embittered struggle in the mortal realm. You may use this option once and once only, my son. Make your choice.”
Struggling with the thought of resting in peace for eternity versus returning to Tarragonia to aid his friends, the noble self-sacrificing Itto opts to take the harder route and return to save the world.
Awakening with a newfound scar on his head, Itto rises again and greets his friend. Slink, seeming to fight back angry tears, beats on the paladin, ordering him to “never do that to me again!”
Quickly hiding the corpse of Lady Battlebeard and looting her body for powerful armor and weapons, as well as a coveted wedding invitation, Team Trust barely has enough time before the doors opening and the crowds enter the Bloody Goat on their way to the fighting pits.
First to enter is the sketchy Kevan Serpenthian, Lord of the Stone Gate (prison) District, with his Bailiff, the Half-Orc Janis Gorn. Lady Narissa whispers to the group that Kevan, an outcast of Boccob’s School of Magic and worshiper of the Evil Wee Jas, is widely mistrusted by the other heads of LoTown, and has been rumored to be experimenting on his prisoners. Lute takes an immediate dislike to him.
Next is the stunningly beautiful Lady Loraaga Tarmicos of the Quarantine District, with her Bailiff Prosadi Charster. Slink’s jaw drops as he sees her, and attempts to flirt with the woman, who, Narissa explains to the group, is not terribly well-respected. Loraaga seems amused with the charismatic gnome, who swears allegiance to her in the coming tournament.
Speaking of: the heroes are ushered into the fighting pits for their first battle: a bout with a group of weak-ass Northern Goblins. They prove no match for the heroes, although the second battle against a group of mechanical clockwork dogs is a bit more of a challenge.
As the battles rage on, the group notices Kevan eyeing them with an almost voracious look on his creepy face. After the second battle, Slink blows a kiss to Loraaga, who seems genuinely taken aback. But before the gang can celebrate, Kevan stands up and performs a series of magical gestures, as the dead bodies in the fighting pit all seem to coalesce together into a giant blob monster: The Gibbering Mouther, a hideous abomination capable of rendering its foes confused and useless, due to its terrifying gibbering (the voices of hundreds of corpses rambling in unison like some kind of zombie filibuster).
Despite most of the team being unable to fight, our adventurers are eventually able to best the creature, and are declared winners of the tournament, thus given free access to HiTown and a spot in the larger tournament, to take place during the wedding for the entertainment of the guests. They emerge victorious, unaware that the real battle is just around the corner…