The Festival of Luc is a busy time in Pasar. Long celebrated by the Pasari Originals, the three days of parades, dancing and feasting have undeniable appeal for the merchants and other newcomers who have turned the backwater village into a thriving market town. But, in the eyes of the Pasari Originals, these foreigners do little to understand the deep mystery under the spectacles. And consequently, a Festival of Peace becomes an occasion for violence.
In this case, deadly violence. While Gwinch and his sohei were lending their support to the Elders of Pasar in maintaining order among drunken revelers, Adidas, together with his friends Dank Sum, Genjob, and Sukh, stumbled upon a murder victim.
It started with a noodle owner complained about demons in her cellar. The heroes checked it out and found—rats. In chasing the rats they came upon a series of tunnels, connecting other taverns and abandoned buildings. Most of these tunnels were several years old, dating to the time when the Black Flowers were first coming to power. A freshly-dug tunnel led to the cellar of Bahati one of the most prominent merchants in the Silk Merchants guild. Adidas, Dank-Sum, Genjob, and Sukh didn’t realize where they were until they were standing over the body of Bahati’s daughter Binti.
Bahati was shocked, outraged, and despondent. Most of Pasar echoed his angry grief. The on-going celebration of the Pasari Original was received by other members of the Silk Guild as a deliberate mockery and most foreigners agreed it was heartlessly insulting. Phang, one of the Elders of Pasar was caught going to a secret meeting at an encampment of the Imperial Army. This was unexpected, as the Elders were very public in their defiance in the war-mongering Emperors to the North and East, but ultimately it only made them look foolish
Over the ensuing weeks, the unrest increased. The Pasar Youth stayed with the palisade of Old Pasar and Gwinch’s monks took a more active role in maintaining basic order.
Until one day, 20 Imperial soldiers entered the city on horseback. They seemed to appear from nowhere, in the middle of a busy square. Someone threw a stone and knocked a rider off his horse. The other soldiers drew their swords and the killing started.
Sukh, Adidas, and Sentra Amangang, a young Pasari priest, were there. There was something odd about the man who’d thrown the rock, a giddy smile behind the mask of rage. Unwilling to commit themselves to either side in the melee, they chased the rock thrower, first into an abandoned house and then into a tunnel. Sentra caught him and knocked him to the ground. The rabble-rouser showed regret for his part in starting a riot and eagerly shared information about his involvement while begging to be allowed to go free. It was the Black Flowers who had hired, him, paying him several weeks wages, just to throw a big rock. He didn’t know why. “They don’t want you to ask question.”
He knew the tavern where the remnants of the Black Flowers met, “almost every day.” He was done with the Black Flowers and he wasn’t looking for a new job. “I just want to get out of Pasar and go back to my own village.”
They let him go and decided to check out the Blue Water Wine Hall, the alleged hideout of the Black Flowers. On the way, they were waylaid by archers. Although the three investigators were unarmed, in keeping with the laws of Pasar, they charged the archers and gave chase when the assassins fled. Although they lost their quarry, they found what seemed to be a secret entrance to the Blue Water Wine Hall. They ventured inside and were attacked by an enormous swordsman. Adidas floored the giant with a well-aimed punch. But rather than explore further, Adidas suggested they should return to the monastery and make a report to Gwinch.