After witnessing second-hand the Queen’s murderous address, and then receiving a harrowing reading from Zellara, our heroes meet with Cressidia Kroft. After some time to herself, she enters the room with the group red-eyed but composed and carrying a small box. She had been looking ragged in the past weeks helping keep order after the plague – now she looks positively haggard. She tells them of her fears of going against the queen, and asks for their help yet again in finding a way to stop her that won’t destroy the Korvosan Guard. Cressidia received a note from their friend Vencarlo quarantined in Old Korvosa. He mentions something of importance regarding the queen, and asks that the heroes come to his home there so they can help him. They tie up any loose ends in town, and head out there to see what’s up.
When they arrive in Old Korvosa, they find that Orsini Academy has been burned to the ground. At his home Vencarlo doesn’t seem to be there, but the fires are still burning. The party walks into a Red Mantis ambush but are able to subdue their opponents; however they suffer the lost of a new party member in this fight. It seems that the Red Mantis were hired to kill him, and have yet to complete their task successfully. Shortly after entering Vencarlo’s home, a young man approaches, and turns out to be a noble the group rescued during the initial riots following Eodred II’s death – Amin Jalento. He is a student of Vencarlo’s, and got trapped in Old Korvosa when the Quarantine was initiated, and was invited to stay with Vencarlo until it was lifted. He tells the group that he saw some strange comings and goings in the night, and a few strange meetings with a painter named Salvator Scream. After their last meeting, Vencarlo seemed upset, and shortly thereafter the Red Mantis came to the Academy and Amin was forced to flee before they set fire to the building. He’d been in hiding pretty much ever since, and Vencarlo seems to be missing.
The party helps Amin back to the mainland, then proceeds to look for the painter Salvator to ask what he may know of Neolandus’ whereabouts and the disappearance of Vencarlo. As they look around the house they find a lonely elf in a room talking to skulls. She seems quite excited to help, and the ladies’ men in the group start arguing over who gets to pursue her until they realize she is a follower of Zon-Kuthon. She isn’t shy about her religion, and doesn’t deny her ties to her Lord Zon-Kuthon. She doesn’t openly perform evil acts however, as she knows how to behave around good people. She tells them she has been here a couple days, finding what happened to Salvator, as it seems he was kidnapped out of his home by the self-proclaimed Emperor of Korvosa, a vile but charismatic man named Pilts Swastel. He rules Old Dock with a great amount of fear. The elf, who introduces herself as Laori, explains that she finds Salvator’s art particularly fascinating and wishes to speak with him about his inspiration, but doesn’t elaborate much more on the topic. She does however ask that she accompany the party in their pursuit of him.