Following Hellbroth's execution, the party left his tavern in the grateful hands of Saori and went to plan their next move. As Dral-Mok had told them, a nobleman was planning to sell a powerful technological item soon at the clandestine Night Market. When he arrived, a Technic League captain was planning to arrest him. If the party interfered, they'd have an opportunity to assassinate one of the Technic League's leaders. The party chose to meet with the nobleman in question first before using him as bait. The nobleman was named Baron Kronsieg Drund. His mansion was in Starfall, so the party didn't have much trouble arranging a meeting. Drund nearly called off the sale when the party informed him of what was going to happen, but Shecks was able to persuade him to go anyway under the party's protection.
Later that night, the party set up ambush points around the Night Market. The Night Market was moved to a new location each time it happened, to lessen the chances of the Technic League catching the merchants in the act of selling illegal technology. The League always knew, of course, but felt that simply spying on the proceedings was more productive than stopping them. This particular location was a relatively small courtyard between several buildings with a stage in the middle. Several stalls stocked with alien technology lined the edges of the courtyard. A large crowd milled around the Market. Ghartok and Shecks took up positions on a rooftop, while Elron and Rob mixed in with the crowd while disguised as nobles. Some time passed as the party waited for Drund and the League captain. The party used the opportunity to purchase some minor technological items from the stalls. Eventually, Drund and his guards set up on the stage with his rare item. With a dramatic flourish, Drund revealed it to be a cortex gun. It was really a piece of medical equipment filled with nanites that could permanently boost the physical or mental abilities of anyone, one time only.
Shortly thereafter, the League arrived. The captain was a mysterious woman in a cloak that had glowing yellow eyes and a monofilament whip. She was accompanied by two greatsword-wielding barbarian champions. Shade approached Drund and quickly began convincing him to sell the cortex gun to the Technic League. Too quickly, in fact. Shecks recognized that she was actually using bardic techniques to influence Drund's mind. After magically making Ghartok both silent and invisible, Shecks fell off the roof and hurled insults at Drund. His bardic skills overpowered Shade's and allowed Drund to snap out of his trance. Drund shook his head, drew an electric pistol, and the crowd screamed and scattered as he fired a shot at Shade. Shade magically dodged the bolt and the fight was on. Rob burst from the sidelines with his knifes raised high. Shade stepped out of the way at the last moment with a smug grin and vanished.
Shade's champions drew their swords and attacked Rob. Rob struggled to parry the blows with one knife to each sword for a moment until the rest of the party and Drund's guards stepped in to assist. The champions died quickly. Before they had even hit the ground, Drund snatched up his cortex gun and ran for the exit with his guards flanking him. Still invisible, Shade cast a beam of purple energy at Elron. Elron resisted the effects and retaliated with a blast of fire breath that narrowly avoided the terrified civilians. Shecks then tagged her with glitterdust that prevented Shade from hiding. Shade chose this moment to teleport away. Although the party had technically won the fight, they had failed their objective and the Technic League now knew some of their faces.
The party retreated into the night. Some time later, Shecks attempted to buy the cortex gun from Drund. However, he was unable to afford the 60,000gp price nor find an opportunity to simply steal the thing. He did notice that Drund had added bards to his security in response to Shecks saving him from Shade's spell.
After that, the party was at a Mockery safehouse when a Tian messenger brought them a package. Rob answered the door and was the first to open the package. Inside was an earpiece. Rob put it in and heard a woman's voice asking if she was speaking to the Mockery agents who had been causing so many disturbances lately. Shecks noticed Rob trying to speak for the party and quickly took offense. What followed was the worst secret conversation in the history of subterfuge as the party tipped their various hands, fought over the earpiece, and generally rambled and failed to actually pay attention to the other side of the conversation. The limited amount of information that got through to them was enough to know that they had gained an alliance with someone on the condition that they kill Ozmyn Zaidow, current leader of the Technic League. The party had planned on doing that anyway, so they didn't mind the promise. In return, their ally had provided a cache of supplies in the Technic League compound.
The party decided to consult with with Dral-Mok again before launching their attack on the League. Dral-Mok reiterated that his primary mission was to either kill the Black Sovereign or cure his addictions and free him from the League's control. If the Black Sovereign was no longer available for the League to use as a puppet, many of the local barbarians would rise up against them. The party could then attack the League's private compound through a secret tunnel in the Black Sovereign's palace. It would likely also be beneficial to assassinate Tek Makul. Makul was leader of the palace guard and had suspicious connections to the League. The party chose to focus their efforts on curing the Sovereign. Several Heal scrolls were purchased and given to Rob for this purpose. They then went in search of an opportunity to use the scrolls. The palace had areas that were open to the public, and the Sovereign was having a feast soon. The party entered the public section of the palace under the guise of looking at art in order to scout out the place. Once there, the party met a servant who summoned them to meet with the Sovereign's queen-consort. The queen knew who the party was and what they intended to do, but agreed that the Sovereign could not be allowed to remain in his current state. The Queen offered to assist the party by helping them hide and move around within the palace.