After several hours of preparation, the party for the bishop and his niece began shortly before sundown at the manor house with the escape tunnel. Guards had stationed themselves at various places around and inside the house, following Stephanos’ direction; the mage himself created some one-way windows to be able see incoming threats. An entry hall led to the large banquet hall with three other exits: one on each side, and another behind the head of the table leading to the kitchens and tunnel. Kallikori and Marguerite, dressed as noble women, played hostess, while Thanos and Darius mingled, the latter wearing his monk’s robes.
When the bishop arrived, Thanos engaged him and his advisor, Bertrand in conversation. Many others arrived with the pair, some of them clearly guards disguised as clerics. Stephanos recognized the ruse and talked to one, learning his name, Michael, and gaining his trust as a fellow soldier. Darius, engaging his Second Sight, noted a mist in the room, but was unable to locate its source. He, too, approached one of the disguised soldiers, and engaged him in conversation in Latin about theological topics, hoping to catch the soldier out and make him uncomfortable. Unfortunately, Darius picked the soldier who actually had some clerical training, and merely made theological small talk. It was clear to anyone with eyes that Marguerite was uncomfortable wearing the garb of a noble-woman, and Kallikori introduced her as a foreign traveler. Benoit entered and making a show of tuning his instrument, began his performance.
While talking with Bertrand, Thanos tried to cause him to spill his drink using a subtle spell. The effort failed, and Bertrand just stared at the magus darkly. The two engaged in a quiet but tense near-threat filled conversation in Ancient Greek. Meanwhile, Darius managed to separate the bishop from Bertrand, talking to him about the art displayed in the room. Benoit’s song, which started as a love song, took an odd turn partway through into a story of betrayal, the ending of which jarred the audience, including the bishop, from their conversations. Ferandus told Stephanos about a procession of cats appearing outside; Minaya left to check out the situation.
Trying to remove the bishop from Bertrand’s presence, Darius silently created the illusion of a wine stain on the prelate’s robe, and led him to the kitchen to remove the stain before it set. Realizing his danger, Bertrand excused himself from the room to relieve himself, followed by two guards and Benoit. From his hiding place on the second floor, Stephanos noticed six cats on the street; Minaya reported that she did not recognize them as the Queen’s followers and that one was a “dragon cat”. While pretending to wash out the wine stain, Darius collected some stray hair from the bishop’s robe, and determined it was not the bishop’s. While seeming to mutter about the stain (which disappeared after a couple of minutes), Darius cast Perception of the Conflicting Motives and determined that the bishop was so far disappointed with how the evening was going, and worried about what he would say to the crusaders the next day. Minaya ran back through the hall to warn Thanos and Magnus about the draconic cat, with Stephanos following, just as Darius and the Bishop returned from the kitchen.
Darius escorted the bishop back to his seat at the table, and using an illusion, enchanted the food to taste amazingly good. He signaled Alexi to remain with and watch over the bishop, while he returned to the kitchen, and passed the hair to Stephanos, telling him it likely belonged to Bertrand. Thanos, Magnus, Stephanos, and Marguerite left through the front door. Darius cast Prying Eyes on the escape tunnel, and discovered that a shadow, not cast by anyone visible, was moving stealthily through the area. After observing for a few moments to make sure of what he was seeing, Darius cast The Unhealthy Spa into the tunnel to trap whatever was casting the shadow and returned to the banquet hall.
Outside, with the sun near setting, the four magi stood near the front of the building facing a dozen crusaders down the street. Other bystanders milled about, along with a few cats. Stephanos, prepared for battle with his mace aflame, warned the people in the area to leave as there were demons about. The crusaders decided that the flaming skull hanging from Stephanos’ mace was one of the demons, and approached threateningly. Minaya pounced on one crusader, growing larger as she did so, taking him to the ground. Marguerite cast Arc of Fiery Ribbons toward the group, but embarrassingly caused no damage. As the crusaders continued to advance, Thanos teleported six of the crusaders approaching Stephanos toward the roof across the street. Only one landed on the roof, the others fell to the street, all naked as the spell affected only the human bodies. Stephanos cast a spell to disarm the remaining guards; Magnus, seeing no demons cast no spells but remained watchful.
Marguerite noticed glowing eyes coming from an alleyway and two of the visible cats turning into hybrid cat-people. She cast Pilum of Fire, hitting two of the cat people and creature in the alley which she assumed was the dragon cat. The leader of the crusaders held his sword close and began to pray; all the magi felt something brush against their parmae. Thanos cast a spell to cause the arms of one crusader to become like those of a child; the man ran off and was quickly attacked by one of the cat people. Minaya attacked the other cat person. Marguerite continued to hurl Pila of Fire, hitting the dragon cat multiple times, as well as the cat attacking the frightened crusader. The captain rallied his remaining troops, while Magus cast Demons Eternal Oblivion at Stephanos threw additional Pila of Fire at the dragon cat.