Once Toox escaped from the careful scrutiny of the guards by using the Amulet of Mist our heroes decided to return to the town of Gahn, where they had left Ponti so that they could give him the materials he needed to make the portal. Ponti was as good as his word and established a portal from their room in the tavern, to the prince’s room in the palace. They then decided to return back to the city of Larnika, home of the Grand Duke, to continue on their task of assassinating the king. Believing that they had gotten away with the murder of the Duchess they strolled up to the city gates where Nova, the prescient bard, flirted with the guards and pretended to try to drum up business for the troupe. The guards, having been instructed by the grand duke to watch for and capture the circus troupe as they were extremely dangerous criminals allowed the troupe to enter the gates and then surrounded them and successfully captured Nova in a slaver’s net attack. With Nova captured the other party members tried to brazen it out and bluff their way out of the situation to no avail. They were all bound and taken to the palace dungeon where the grand duke appeared and ordered them taken to his private lab, but not before using an attack on them that sent them to sleep. Struggling against the effects of the psychic attack our heroes awakened during their transport to the secret lab and tried to make good their escape only to succomb again to the grand duke’s psychic onslaught. The grand duke had them in his lab to begin questioning them when they again succeed in struggling against the effects of the psychic onslaught and began fighting in earnest against the grand duke and his guards. The fight was not going well for our heroes despite their use of their most powerful attacks when another secret door opened and in rushed at least a half a dozen vampires to attack the grand duke. In shock and anger the grand duke uttered "How dare you! I can’t believe you would dare try to attack a lich of my power! And he commanded one guard to call the others and notify them of the castles attack while he commanded the other guards to attack while unleashed a barrage of power against the vamps and fey stepped to the door. The guards, rushing to engage the vamps still remembered to attack the party who had to try and make a quick decision as to whether they should try and escape or try to ally with the vamps. A fast & furious telepathic debate ensued which saw our heroes finally deciding on the very risky course of siding with the vampires and trying to aide them in their coup. Every round highlighted the precariousness of their position as more guards and vamps rushed in and they heard the sounds of battle ensuing from multiple directions while the party worked to establish an alliance with the same vampire group whose plans they had foiled when they killed Damian. But, in the heat of battle, without knowing where, or even what the phylacteries were, the vampire mistress decided to accept the parties help if they could indeed prove their worth. A SC ensued that ended with the Vampire mistress and the Lich lord facing off in a showdown in the palace courtyard. Knowing that their fate hung in the balance our heroes each chose 1 action that had the potential to change the course of the battle between the two. Their choices made, their actions taken, our heroes waited as the two powerful assailants unleashed their attacks on each other in a death match, which found the vampire mitress still standing. She turned to the party and ordered them to produce the phylactery which Nova had called out she’d found during that final moment to distract the Lich lord and give the Vampire mistress an advantage. Nova had to admit that she’d used a ruse, and began the delicate walk between being useful to the vampires while still keeping the blood in her and her companions bodies. Success, for now at least, means they still need to prove useful if they’re to have any chance at their final goal, the assassination of the king.