Previously, the heroes spent the day in Kingsport trying to find a trace of Kalina, the rogue who had driven James’ mother to attempt to assassinate the day master, a powerful guild member of the Steady Hand, by letting her believe that he was responsible for James’ death. They managed to find out that Kalina had lost her precious, jewelled dagger in a game of demon dice to none other than Bran; the dwarf they had rescued from the clutches of the skaven underneath the Sheridan estate. They also managed to catch rumours that Kalina and her crew were stealing horses around the Powderham estate, north of Kingsport.
Second Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon in high sanction. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waning.)
It was the late on a rainy afternoon when the Heroes were at the Careless Wanderer, talking about the possibility that it was an impostor who duped Jeanne, James’ mother, into making an attempt on the life of the day master. The heroes were unable to reconcile Kalina having lost the dagger in a game of demon dice with the fact that she had also given it to Jeanne. They knew that there were many more such daggers being used by shadowy assassins, but there was something not quite right about the way that Kalina had behaved that they couldn’t ignore.
James decided to pay another visit to the butcher shop where the day master could be found. He was hoping to convince the day master to allow him another few minutes to talk to his mother so that he could learn something from his mother that could confirm or dispel his suspicions about Kalina. Having learned that Luca could be trusted on expeditions to the Fleet Street butcher shop, he asked him along. Emrys tagged along party-way so that he could visit with Lyandra Windrunner, the renowned leatherworker who had a workshop outside of the city walls.
After Emrys went his separate way, James and Luca found themselves on Fleet Street, in front of the butcher shop. It was softly raining and Luca took shelter across the street, under an awning of a closed shop while James went inside. L’eau Célestes, the wine shop that Luca had entered the previous evening was closed, leaving him without a dry place to stay. Luca held on to Blackstar and used the staff to extend his senses outward, detecting a multitude of different people around him, all observing him and the comings and goings on the street.
Meanwhile, James sat opposite the still injured day master amongst pigs carcasses hanging from hooks and chains. James informed the day master about acquiring the dagger that Kalina lost and showed both it and his own. The day master pulled the dagger that Jeanne had used from a hidden sheath and put it down on the table next to the other two; all three of them looked almost identical to one another.
James laid out the theory that Kalina may well be innocent and that it was an impostor that duped his mother. It became quite clear that the day master was unforgiving in his anger towards Jeanne when he refused to let James speak to her again, saying that it took all of his discipline not to have her murdered. Perhaps realising that he should not count on too much help from the day master if he wanted to keep his mother safe, James decided not to press his luck.
Just north of the Brown Gate, amidst the huts of tanners, trappers and hunters, Emrys found Lyandra Windrunner’s workshop; a small shack surrounded by workbenches, stacks of prepared leather and boxes of tools. Lyandra turned out to be pleasantly surprised at Emrys’ visit and invited him in. They shook hands and Emrys noticed the many scars on Lyandra’s forearms; burn marks from working with hot tools and oils all day. Emrys explained that he had admired Lyandra’s work on the scabbard that now held Toruviel, and that he was eager to have her decorate the scabbard further, commemorating some of the adventures that he had been on in the recent past.
The work that Emrys commissioned was to adorn the already spectacular scabbard with silver filigree, with a gemstone embedded in the centre of it. When Lyandra asked him what gemstone he had in mind, Emrys wasn’t certain yet. Lyandra suggested that it should be a moonstone because it would be appropriate for a moonblade. Emrys liked the idea, since it also symbolised Sehanine, the Moonmaiden. Perhaps it also reminded him of Lauriel, the founder of his people in the Riverlands, who he was engaged to have married in an alternate reality.
Lyandra asked Emrys whether he had named his blade yet. He intimated to her that the blade already had a name; Toruviel. Emrys saw a look cross her face that he did not recognise. He let it slide and agreed upon thirty crowns for the commission, with a down payment of ten crowns for materials. She had to gather and prepare the materials she would need, and in turn Emrys promised he would return to her with a suitable moonstone. They agreed that the execution of the work would happen when he would return to Kingsport.
On his way back to the Careless Wanderer, Emrys managed to talk his way into a few stores that had technically already closed. He picked up a few components that he would need to fuel his spells. Some of the more crucial ones he missed and hoped to collect the next day.
As Luca and James made their way back to the Careless Wanderer, James confided everything that he had seen, heard and learned when talking to the day master, further strengthening the bond between the two. When they arrived at the inn around the same time that Emrys returned, they found that Quentin was chatting with some travellers from Beauclair, while Astrid was enjoying a friendly game of arm wrestling.
During dinner the plan was formed to head to the Powderham estate, by way of Lynnecombe to pay a visit to House Sheridan and see about the reward that was promised them. A conversation was had regarding the purchase of mounts, possibly through Mirek, but when Quentin shared the likely cost of mounts, the heroes decided to hold off until after they had been paid. Instead, they would finish off their shopping by going by the Circle of Mages for the last spell components that Emrys was in need of, while Astrid arranged for a barge to take the heroes up-river to Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn.
Third Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon in high sanction. Bloodmoon in high sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)
Early in the morning, Astrid went out to the docks to arrange for transport, while the rest of the heroes went to visit Emma at the Sacred Baths of Sedna to ask her whether she would like to join them on their trip to the Sheridan estate. They found that Emma was reluctant to join them, saying that she would prefer to spend her time in leading the followers of Sedna in the difficult time ahead and that she intended to forego claiming her reward; knowing that they had saved Lord Destan was enough of a reward for her. Was asked about her intentions to care for the queen, she said that she would visit with the queen later that day.
The heroes made their way from the Sacred Baths to Ravensbourne where the Circle of Mages had their college. There they found that a large crowd of protesters had gathered in front of the main gate. Shakeslock, the demagogue who had been preaching on Steward Square the day before, was leading the crowd together with a handful of red-robed monks, and was demanding that they be allowed entry to investigate the college for dangerous artifacts and corruption among the staff and students.
The man standing in opposition of the crowd was a broad shouldered man with a grizzly beard wearing fur-trimmed robes. The man had an unconcerned expression on his face as he addressed Shakeslock, explaining that as an alumnus of the college, he could be given entry, but not with his angry mob in tow.
The heroes pushed their way past the protesters and Emrys couldn’t help but release the stench of rotten eggs again, like he had done the previous day. Luca was identified as an obvious threat and Shakeslock used him as an example why he and his monks should confiscate the dangerous artifacts and root out the demonic corruption that he claimed was rife inside the college.
After a short conversation with the grizzled man, they learned his name was Olafur, and he was from Miðgarður. He was the custodian of the college and, among other things, made sure that there was a healthy supply of curious components, ingredients and materials. He explained that in his position, he would be interested in the more obscure components that were not as easily found; hydra scales, wyvern stingers and the like. James, ever the entrepreneur said that he would keep his eyes open.
When Emrys explained why he had come to the circle, Olafur invited the heroes into the building to take a seat in the hallway while he went to look for the components that Emrys was looking for. While searching, he asked what magical education Luca and Emrys had enjoyed. Luca explained that he had been educated by crones, witches and pellars, while Emrys said that he was self-educated. The different backgrounds became apparent, when Olafur asked Emrys which circle of magic he needed the obsidian for, indicating that it mattered to which samples of obsidian he would give him. Emrys was a bit lost for words, since he did not quite understand what was meant by “circle.” James noticed Emrys’ confusion and jumped in to play the layman, asking all the questions Emrys probably had, saving Emrys from embarrassment. The “circle” that Olafur referred to was the college’s term for the school (or type) of magic, and Emrys explained that it was meant for a transmutation spell. Olafur supplied Emrys with three pieces of obsidian and a handful of caterpillar chrysalises Emrys was after for another spell.
A last stop at the Temple of Light was made in order for James to speak to father Devon, and elderly cleric who James was very close with. The heroes got to see the modest temple from inside, as well as the clinic where they took care of many of Kingsport’s less fortunate. James gifted father Devon the holy symbol that brother Connal had carried into battle against Atilesceon; a golden caduceus. Father Devon was astonished at the gift and very thankful. While he couldn’t provide the heroes with any healing potions, he did gift them three ceramic jars with a buttery ointment which would help in the healing process.
When the heroes returned to the Careless Wanderer, they settled their outstanding debt and Emrys made sure that in six days time they would claim one of the more spacious and luxurious rooms as their own. Astrid had gotten reacquainted with Aram, the boatsman who had brought the heroes upriver the first time they went to the Sheridan estate, and said he would be willing to do so again for a small fee.
The trip to Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn took several hours with the weather being considerably more miserable than it was the first time around. Luca and Emrys entertained themselves by investigating a new ability that Luca had discovered about Blackstar; the ability for spells to be stored inside the staff for later use; even if they were cast by another arcanist, like Emrys! The rest of the travel was uneventful, as they past by the many small estates of Northshire on Aram’s boat, with his son riding the ox that dragged the boat along the bank of the river Lyn.
When they arrived in Lynnecombe-upon-Lyn, they each paid a silver stag to Aram for the journey and James, ever generous with children, gave Aram’s son three copper pennies for his trouble. The village was much less hospitable now that the summer had come and gone. No more fruit vendors; no more curious children. The heroes decided to make their way west, towards the road that lead through the woods towards the Sheridan estate when they came upon a notice board. There, they found several messages that proved insightful;
If you plan on traversing Avondale Wood, the one near the abandoned Scatterfoot farm – forget about it. Best add on half a league and go around. It’s for your own good, for nor you nor no man else’ll meet anything good in that place.
(A crude drawing of the area, including the public footpaths and trails leading through and around the Avondale woods.)
Beware of Robbers with Black Masks!
A plague’s descended on our lands of late, an infestation more vile than that of any vermin. Horse rustling robbers have chosen to make our fair terrain their devilish stomping grounds. Now no man can feel safe here. These are common highway bandits. They steal men’s cattle and mounts and befoul any lasses worth their trouble. We’ve sent writs of complaint to the crownsguard, but til they comes with an army to clear off these mongrels, best avoid these parts if at all possible.
Death to the Invaders!
Hark, fair folk of Northshire. If you’re yearning for freedom, if you’re prepared to take up arms, if you’re prepared to help the kingdom and rescue its inhabitants in besieged Elder Foothills and Tiverton Glades, come and find me at the magisterium on Independence Square in Kingsport. Pay will depend on your experience and skill at arms.
– Ser Ademar of Woodbury, Knight-Errant, former Knight Commander in the Order of the Lance, Vassal of House Grey, Veteran of the Battle against the Eighth Daerlan Brigade on the Plains of Strife
If you aim to travel, avoid the road through Avondale. The Reaverhaunt Caves have become infested with crooks led by a shady individual known as Glasya. Bypassing that area is strongly advised, unless accompanied by a well-armed escort.