The team does some shopping and then arrives at the menagerie. They are escorted to the grounds by state troops who have been explicitly instructed not to enter the garden party itself but to patrol the perimeter.
Von Kaufman is there, along with a sulking Baerfaust, who gives the party some time to familiarise themselves with the menagerie before the party proper begins. The animals contained in the menagerie are: a cockatrice, a giant spider, a southlands carnivorous snapper, demigryph, norscan white bear, sabretusk, giant owl, rhinox.
The guests arrive and are greeted by von Kaufman and the party. Notable guests include a halfling and the von Tuchtenhagen retinue (the man himself, a jester, a lady in waiting and a gold wizard).
The party begins with a falconry show which passes without incident. After this, the guests begin to mingle before the main event, this gives the party time to patrol a bit.
Claudia Leitdorf is sickly and escorted away. A guest complains about a terrible smell around the rhinox cage, but the party can find nothing amiss. The von Tuchtenhagen jester makes a racist joke towards the halfling, who is humiliated and angry.
A woman in a tall leather hat sweeps past the guards and into the party, creating a disturbance. She goes to Baerfaust, then Luminary Mauer and finally von Kaufman – having a loud argument with the latter. Of their conversation, Thess only manages to hear the woman say “I know what’s really going on, Graf Friedrich. I know about the man in the black hood.” After further words are exchanged between the two, she leaves the party again. Baerfaust then leaves the party.
The main event then occurs, with von Kaufman unveiling his plunder from the southlands expedition. It includes many carvings of bone, ivory and gold depicting strange and savage creatures. The main exhibits are a large gold plate, and a smoky-jade mask. As von Kaufman describes each piece, he is interrupted on the jade mask by Luminary Mauer, who declares that it is evil and must be destroyed. Von Kaufman refuses to hand it over, and after a brief exchange of heated words, the Luminary storms out of the party.
To ease the tension, one of the ladies in waiting proposes a race to the centre of the maze. A number of guests take her up on this and leave. Shortly after the guests set off, an inhuman shriek and a cry of dismay spoil everything again. The demigryph is loose.
The party immediately take off towards the hedge maze. Thessalonius starts herding the slower party goers back out of the maze and to the rest of the group. Lupin and Mercutio go after the demigryph, with Lupin running along the top of the hedges to keep up with the beast. Mercutio is joined by a couple of Baerfaust’s greatswords who have responded to the commotion.
A small explosion goes off in the marquee, and a huge smoke cloud begins to billow from it. Lupin turns back to investigate as the demigryph proves almost impervious to his arrows. Meanwhile Thess rushes into the marquee and is almost immediately overcome by the thick smoke. He finds the prone form of Giselbert, who manages to croak out “There was a figure, COFF COFF a little figure all in black, couldn’t see his face under his hood but COFF great stinking big yellow fangsGAKK” before expiring. Thess then loses consciousness himself as he can’t breath in the choking smoke…