[OOC: Now for out-of-Fenris updates.]
The trio disguised Jin'rokh by magical means, and looking like any other forest troll would, they descended the stone ruins into the city proper. They had several objectives in mind; finding Ba'jal, first and foremost, followed by Jin'thek's ambition to see the political thorn that was Jintha'alor solved forever. The slaves and the priests would be addressed in due course.
"Where we goin', mon?" Exhel asked as Jin'thek led them through the streets. The deeper they travelled into the city, the more Vilebranch appeared around them, sleeping, eating or cooking. They sharpened spears and generally ignored the newcomers, who they did not imagine were Amani and a dragon.
Eventually, the trio stood by a ledge overlooking closer the temples on the skyline; they were closer than ever. Several highways led down to the mountainside and the ziggurats on the sacred tier of the priests of Shadra and the Aman'zasi Guard.
They could also see the series of pits in the sacred tier, filled with slaves in chains. The slaves were busy digging into the mountainside from their pits, tunneling their way. "We must go to the slaves." Jin'thek commanded.
Waiting for night, the trio moved down into the slave tier. Many of the slaves had been moved into giant, crudely built huts, watch over by a handful of soldiers. Exhel managed to drive an opening through the back of one of the central huts, and the trio stepped inside carefully.
The hut was filled to the brim with slaves. Most were forest trolls, but it seemed that there were trolls from other lands as well, including a few that were likely ice trolls of Alterac. While most were asleep, those that were not turned to Jin'thek in surprise. Amidst the heat and stench of sweat and dirt, they all looked miserable. Then Jin'thek realised that he recognized at least one of the forest trolls in chains. It was one of his messengers; the Vilebranch must have captured him instead of letting him return to Zul'Aman.
"Chief!" Torosh the messenger hissed in surprise and relief. "What do you doin' here' mon?"
The slaves awaited Jin'thek's next words.
Far, far away, in the southern forests of Quel'Thalas, Ha'lin and his party were sitting tight. It was still unclear exactly what had prompted Thalassian aggression into the south. Perhaps it was possible that they were simply witnessing Quel'Thalas attacking the Benefactors, and the trolls happened to be in the way by a coincedence.
In the Amani Catacombs, they hoped to ride out the storm. The hunters eventually returned, bearing news that the two elves had escaped. It seemed that the elves who had attacked Ha'lin were Benefactors, however, as they fled into Benefactor held areas and soon, Nuvazgal contacted them to let them know that fighting was breaking out in the highlands between the Benefactors and the Silvermoon elves.
No doubt, the false leads Ha'lin had planted would escalate the violence. One problem remained; Ha'lin and his force might become trapped in the middle of a battlefield very, very soon.
A scout ran into the catacombs bearing news. "Ha'lin! Da' elves have crossed da' river, mon! They marching on Tranquillien, da Benefactor town to the west. Maybe they be passin us soon, we be in danger."
One thing was clear, however. With one of the key Thalassian armies engaged in the south, it left Silvermoon's provinces exposed in the north by Tor'Watha. An opportunity was presenting itself.
Myrokos had set up a tight perimeter. Every so often, a forest troll would wander out, likely bored to death and looking for a squirrel or two to kill. It was in those times that Myrokos would drop down and mutter "BJ?". When met by a confused expression or a roar of outrage, Myrokos would dispatch the troll.
The Nightstalkers were fast growing impatient. Charlie the Knife made that evident under the moonlight as he began playing cards on the branch of one of the trees. "Say, boss, are we actually expectin' somethin' to happen or what?"
"Silence, Charlie the Knife!" Myrokos cursed.
They all fell silent as another couple pairs of feet could be heard drawing nearer. A clatter of cards fell from Charlie's branch to the grass. Knives were drawn. It was, altogether, not the most brilliant conversion into an ambush stance. Myrokos did have a base grasp of the trollish tongue. It had come in useful over the years; and he thought he could understand what these trolls were saying as they drew close.
"What be they diggin out in da mountains, you think?" "Hmph. Rothtusk say Shadra commands it. That da' old cave system must be reopened." "Ay, ay. But I don' trust dat scum from Zul'Aman. Ba'jal no here to help the Vilebranch. I know it. You saw what he did to Vacax." "Jodax."
Once Myrokos had tied them up and had questioned them, he cut their throats and briefed the team. It seemed that if this Ba'jal was in fact the 'BJ' of legend, then he was apparently holed up in an overseer's tent in a slave tier, overlooking excavation operations. Myrokos could guess that the Ancient Egg was probably the target; whatever it was.
One issue became clear at that point. Ba'jal was unlikely to be a fellow human. No mysterious ninja-contact had shown up. Ravenholdt could have been dealing with a forest troll. Unnerving as it was, this Ba'jal had still requested their attendance.
Mapping out a route, it became clear that the party could probably sneak through the tiers and find what they were looking for, with luck. Yet again, there was no doubt in their minds that Ba'jal was hoping to use them, and probably would not prove a loyal friend in the long run. If there were any Ancient Eggs, Ravenholdt would probably do best to have its hand on such things without strange forest troll allies.