We open with our heroes still serving their community service sentence in the Pellets. Chalcedony and Verna filled one another in on their discoveries, and decided to earn the citizens’ trust before moving into an investigation. Chalcedony convinced the neighborhood’s informal leader, Gorim, to help construct a new community center out of some of the rubble, while Verna found supplies and befriended Ogrum, the son of local criminal matriarch Nysala. Chalcedony also organized a dinner to honor those lost in the tarrasque attack, while Verna took Gorim’s teenage daughter to buy food. After a service, a serving of stew, and a promise made to Gorim to keep sending food, Verna and Chalcedony moved out of the slums and into the mysteries behind Goliath & Company.
Verna and Chalcedony went to an old Goliath guard’s tavern in Laketown, the Flying Vatbeast, to hear the scuttlebutt among Goliath employees. While Chalcedony played some trippy steel drum, Verna encountered and confronted the woman who framed her for stealing tallow and got her fired from Goliath in the first place. After a number of threats and refusing to pay for drinks, Verna extracted the name and home address of a Goliath alchemist with info on shady dealings – Magda Ruskov.
They next day, Verna and Chalcedony went to meet Magda at her Back-of-the-Vats home. After no one answered their knock, Chalcedony broke in through the back door, triggering only two traps in the process. Verna and Chalcedony made their way into the attic, where they discovered a desk full of tallow samples, notes listing only names, sample numbers, and low ages, and Magda’s body. They were just beginning to investigate further when they heard voices downstairs, and proceeded to hide by climbing out the attic window onto the house’s awning. They were discovered nonetheless, by Verna’s former boss Vendrien, a Goliath guard captain who had just seconds earlier killed his fellow guard for looking too closely at Magda’s notebook. Vendrien accused Verna and Chalcedony of murdering Magda at the behest of someone named Finnabair, but Verna managed to talk Vendrien down. Verna was so convincing, in fact, that she was offered Magda’s old job at the shuttered tallow refinery on Vat & West, and Chalcedony was allowed to go free. Verna spent the evening preparing for her night shift at the hidden alchemical laboratory, while Chalcedony did some digging on Finnabair, who is apparently a well-regarded actress, and bought tickets to her next show.