3 Jul 2075 (Wednesday)
- Kayless finally arrives in Lagos and meets up with OJ and Covon. Priest and Ruthless have come down with a terrible stomach virus and can’t make it out of the Novo Porto hotel.
- Since Kayless wasn’t able to bring all this toys along, they decided to head up to the Dudu Dud Oja (arms market in Agege). There, Kayless is like a kid in a candy store and gets loaded up.
- Jane arranged for them to fly to Ife via Innocent. He gets them there safely, though they are shot at enroute. Once they arrive, they discover the palace is massive with loads of guards and red-robed priests who escort them around the entire time. Their room is beyond beautiful and they had down to the viewing in the basement levels of the palace.
- They split up to see if they can spot Samriel and the sextant; they spot the former with a group of elves, but not the latter. OJ sees this large map on display and an internal voice tells him this thing is of great power.
- After the viewing, the head up to the formal dinner with the king. Also at the table are the other individuals interested in various artifacts:
- Geogiy Abelev: a Russian archeologist who keeps thugs around him at all times. Dr. Raoul Menendez: an Aztechnology exec whose guards do not hide they are Aztechnology security.
- Medjay: a Nubian who has no entourage and fits in with every group Dr. Julianna Smyth: a collector from Hong Kong who has a couple of bodyguards and an assistant
— Katherine Silveroak: an elven lady accompanied by three clearly trained bodyguards and Samriel (who appears less a part of their group and more as a hanger-on).
- Kayless, who has never attended such an elaborate affair, does a fantastic job emulating the other guests and makes it appear as he attend formal banquets on a regular basis. During the course of the meal, Kayless notices Katherine’s snide remarks concerning the meal, the setting, and just about anything (in Sperethiel). Sickened with her comments, Kayless turns to the head of the table (at which the Oni is sitting) and in his best Sperethiel, tells the Oni how wonderful this entire affair is. Much to his confusion, the Oni asks an advisor to translate, but the advisor simply shrugs her shoulders and whispers that she believes he was very appreciative based on his body language, though his words were unintelligible. In fact, none of those who spoke Sperethiel had any clue as to what he said.
- They finish dinner around midnight and are escorted back to their rooms. About 0100 Thursday morning, the palace guard burst into everyone’s rooms and begin searching for a missing artifact, a small statue to be exact. Not finding it, they switch out the guards and dispatch units to find it. Jane is able to discover that the statue was prized by the Oni and it appears an Igbo agent stole it. OJ and Kayless attempt to question several people, but the guards do not talk. However, one of the servants says it was probably an Igbo thief who took it to dishonor the Oni. OJ is able to surreptitiously pass on information to the guards that the elven contingent probably has the statue and they receive further attention from the guards.
- Jane asks the runners to retrieve the thief and the artifact and bring both back to the palace (with the thief alive) so she can gain the Oni’s favor and get an invite to the auction itself.
- 4 Jul/0700: The team flies back to Lagos with Innocent and OJ calls Hippo so they can meet and see if he can get some information about the possible suspect. Hippo agrees to meet them at 1000 at the Three Friends.
-1000: After sampling some of the local cuisine (cat on a stick), OJ is able to discover that an Igbo thief by the name of Silence is probably the culprit. OJ thanks Hippo with a 10,000 Naira fee and agrees not to reveal where the source of this information, which makes him a very happy Hippo indeed.