A rude awakening for Benny, as he is woken by Lada shaking him telling him he needs to go, only to have her turn to dust in his arms. His mind and stomach can’t process this, and Benny finds himself doubled over and soiling himself in shock. Once he regains control of himself, he notices that nobody else is moving, regardless of what he is doing. He runs away and cowers while he digests what is going on.
The shock eventually clears, though Lada’s disembodied voice does not. It seems her spirit has latched onto his body, and she can now speak to him (and control his body, much to his dismay).
Benny (and Lada) decide to investigate the matter (after picking up a change of clothing) and come across a gathering of people who appear to not be frozen, but instead entranced by something further down the street. Benny walks backwards to these people he vaguely recognizes, and pulls one (Cassandra) away and into an alleyway. It appears that breaking eye contact with whatever is down the street is enough to let people regain control over themselves. She insists on getting her companion, and together the three decide to move towards the waterfall as they hear the town warning horn blaring over the city.
On their way there, the come across Count Jared Els’Velcasa, Connie, Drisbee Cardoon and Gears. The lot of them make their way up the mountain where they find some 60 or so people gathered, and see Shianna walk out and start barking out her plan to them while being heckled for her wardrobe.
The Count and crew move up to discuss this plan with her, and Lada (not a fan of Shianna) urges Benny to push her off the waterfall (which fails), then pulls off her loincloth as Benny does all that he can to get himself out of repercussion range.
The situation seems dire; on top of a 15 foot tall avatar of Karthandi (which appears to be locked in stasis itself), a Dragon is roaming in the city and the majority of the population seems frozen in time (while all mages seem to have turned to dust).
Once plans are settled, The Count, Connie, Drisbee, Benny, Cassandra and Shianna (among others) make their way to see to the safety of the Duke. They are met at the door by a strange type who assures them that things are under control, but won’t let anyone but the guard in training in. This fellow decides to stay here to protect the Duke, while the rest of the group decide to go investigate sources of power emanating in the city.
They first make their way to an old run-down tannican trading house, which it turns out is full of spirit energy, shadow essence, and features a room full of magical sigils and mirrors.