After a long morning that proved nearly fatal on several occasions, the party found the deadline for their meeting with Viala nearing and their plan for said meeting underdeveloped. On top of that, a half hour from the meeting itself, Marcellus came to the party, and declared that after learning what evils Viala was inflicting on the Empthery – and learning that one Empthery was his still living mother – he wished to come up with some plan to free the Empthery.
There was little time to discuss this proposition, as an Empthery shortly after appeared at the door with a letter from Viala which contained the rules and procedures for negotiating Kaorti culture. By the Kaorti Negotiating Customs, Corsairiph inferred that the negotiation with Viala has already begun. If the party were to cancel or delay it, as they were currently planning, their ability to negotiate further would be either at Viala's mercy or forfeit altogether.
With this in mind, the party was forced to table any discussion of how to manipulate Viala into freeing the Empthery and save that discussion for a later day when they had more leverage. In the meantime, the focus would be securing food for the settlement.
Donald, Wilhelm, and Corsairiph were selected as those who would directly negotiate with Viala as the Prime Negotiators, while the rest of the party would act as secondaries – advisors, if you will. Viala greeted the party, and invited them into negotiations. Viala began by questioning who exactly the party was, though she was mostly satisfied with Donald's answer of a 'dwarf', then moved more quickly into what they wanted and what it was that they could offer for it.
Corsairiph began by mentioning how their own blacksmith had unique designs which could be sold and taught to those in Gath. Viala was underwhelmed by this, while interested, and stated that if she was to take the risk of opening trade with an unknown race, she would need something more enticing. Donald, also in an attempt to stall negotiations so that they could have more time to discuss amongst themselves, mentioned the possibility of a slave revolt. Though trying to pass it off as an idea they were not considering, Viala seemed suspicious and grew noticeably more hostile. Her secondary negotiator, Sariah, suggested that negotiations cease altogether. Viala did not respond. Fortunately, the party realized this was a trap to get them to break the rules of negotiation.
Donald, Wilhelm, and Corsairiph together managed to calm down Viala's suspicions. Then, Viala offered a proposal of her own; in order to build trust, she wanted the party to undertake a task which would be to their mutual benefit.
In the woods, the race known as the Yuan-Ti were beginning a ritual to create a Yuan-Ti Anathema, which Gilly recognized to be a nearly divine creature which, when created, had a tendency to forge empires. In exchange for stopping this ritual, she would open trade with the settlement as well as provide a credit balance which the settlement could use on goods from Gath. Corsairiph thought this to be a very good deal, but Donald declared that, if the Empthery could defeat the Yuan-Ti as Viala claimed they could, it was clear the party wasn't needed at all. Corsairiph began to reprimand Donald, but then Marcellus whispered a Suggestion spell into his ear that he go along with what Donald said.
For the first time in the conversation, Viala's imposing control lapsed, and she increased her reward as well as offered the party a small amount of free assistance from her militia if they accepted to do this. After a decent amount of time discussing, the party agreed. Viala did add one more condition – that she be the ambassador to the settlement from here on out, to which the party agreed after some attempts to not.
Corsairiph and Viala spent the next several hours writing the Trade Agreement Between Gazeshore and the Colony at Telos. Viala provided two maps, one of the woods and one of the Yuan-Ti settlement, and then the party bid goodnight, and returned to the inn to rest and to plan at dawn.