Previously, the heroes had brought their companion Astrid back to life and spend some time around a table discussing life and the future. To everyone’s surprise Quentin, who had received a response for his lord father to his letter, did not seem to remember writing his father. To find some confirmation the heroes went to speak with Toruviel Fast Feathers, the scribe of a Kingsport rookery from where Emrys remembered Quentin sending the letters. The scribe confirmed that the letters were sent and Quentin had to admit that perhaps the good sisters took more in tribute than he had bargained for.
Eighth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon in low sanction.)
The sun had gone down and the curfew that still rested on Kingsport was close at hand, but despite that, Luca wanted to go to the Circle of Magi and find Hamish. He had plans to establish contact with the cantankerous mage again in order to gain access to some of the spells that Luca was hoping to learn. And so the heroes set off into the foul weather, making note of the all three of the moons were once again on the rise, causing a light, violet colour to shine through the occasional breaks in the stormy clouds.
Once at the Circle, Olafur let them into the building and informed Luca that it had been a while since the Miðgarðurian had seen Hamish. After persuading the custodian of the Circle to allow the heroes access to Hamish’s room, they found that the young mage had not been in his room for a while. Olafur could also tell the heroes that Hamish had switched his research focus from conjuration to illusion magic. After giving the room a good once over, Luca concluded that it appeared as if Hamish hardly spent time in the room, but tried to make it seem as if he did.
Having concluded their business at the Circle, Olafur brought the heroes back to the lobby. Luca asked whether it was possible for the Circle to take a look at some of the artefacts that the heroes had liberated from Kalauranthalasis’ lair, which was possible once the circle had found a new archmage to take over the Circle of Divination after Callum’s passing.
Out on the streets in front of the Circle a lot quicker than expected, Emrys was keen on getting the perspective of the bards on recent events. He convinced his companions to make their way to the College of Bards, a short jaunt away and visit Andrew, one of Emrys’ friends who stayed there. The last time the heroes had come to the college it was a bustling place of music, laughter, discourse and creativity. But now, so close to the curfew going into effect, the amphitheatre in front was desolate and empty.
They found Andrew inside, slightly tipsy on wine and very happy to see them. His private chambers were lavish and he was eager to have everyone feel at home. Andrew poured everyone cups of wine which were from “father’s personal vinyard in Southernhay.” The conversation with Andrew was a bit erratic, to match the nature of the good man.
The heroes learned that “dark delirium” had been around for a little while, but really gained popularity during the curfew over the last ride. There were places throughout the city where one could go to imbibe something and enjoy the intoxication. These places were accessible through the ancient waterways, which were controlled by the local underworld.
The heroes also learned about house Courtenay; how the rivalry between house Valois and house Courtenay started in 941, when King Phillip d’Aragon became gravely ill and decreed on his deathbed that men and women would be equal in all manner of things, including inheritance. This meant that his eldest, princess Síle d’Aragon, rather than prince Estienne d’Aragon, would inherit the throne. Princess Síle would go on to marry a popular Beaclairois marquess, lord Tristan of house Valois, and thus the d’Aragon dynasty ended and the Valois dynasty began. Prince Estienne’s line would eventually give rise to the wealthy house Courtenay; who only four years prior had lead a rebellion against Queen Isabella when she took the throne at age twelve, when her father, King Augustine was assassinated by foreigners.
Lord Charles Courtenay was a principled and hard man who had used his great wealth and influence to stage a rebellion and get away with little more than a slap on the wrist. His house used to be the wardens of Northshire, which was taken away from them and given to house Corbray, whom the heroes had heard, as they had met Ser Roderick Corbray twice; once when they had returned to Kingsport from Pinefall, when they watched the knight fall to his knees in reverence to prior Benedict, and a short time ago when he welcomed them back to Kingsport at the docks.
An interesting detail about house Courtenay losing their wardenship was that they were not removed from the queen’s council, traditionally comprised of representatives of each of the warden houses.
Before departing the college, Andrew turned to Quentin and marvelled at the rose-covered scabbard at his side and once again recited the song he performed in the Wanderer when the heroes had just returned from Pinefall;
The earth was sown with early flowers, the heavens blue and bright,
I met a gallant cavalier as lovely as the light.
I knew him not, but in my heart, his graceful image lies,
And well I marked his open brow, his sweet and tender eyes.
He carried sword and scabbard, full of leaves and blossoms mixed,
Encased by vines and verdant growth, with flowering blooms betwixt.
Plunging sword in barren soil, crops and vintage grew,
The hungry, famished and the starved were given life anew.
When the heroes left the college the city was under curfew. The streets were empty and the only people out and about were crownsguard and groups of red custodians. This required the heroes to rely on James’ knowledge of the city and the backstreets in order to make it back to the Careless Wanderer.
Once back at the Wanderer, the heroes found that Lauryn and Durham were puzzled by something that went missing. Emrys and James recognised the fingerprints of Wynn all over this and agreed that the little quickling was quickly becoming a nuisance and would have to be dealt with sooner or later.
Emrys interrupted the two puzzled hostelers and asked Lauryn if it was possible to take a bath before retiring. Before the bath was fixed, Luca found him and asked for the spell scroll Emrys had taken from the dragon’s hoard that would allow him to summon a wizard’s familiar. Emrys gave it to him, and after Luca studied it in his room, he came to the realisation that he would need several gold crowns worth of charcoal and incense, which he would need to burn in a brass burner. He had seen brass burners at the House of the Raven Queen when Astrid was revived, but he had also heard that one of the prominent smiths in Kingsport was having trouble with a shipment of charcoal, so he was hoping he could arrange for all of that soon.
James went to his room to find he had to pick the lock to get in because Astrid had taken his key and locked the door behind her. She was out cold. After Emrys’ bath, he spent some time in the tavern, playing his lute and entertaining the few people in the Wanderer. He didn’t perform up to his own standards, but Lauryn was thankful enough that she covered the expenses of his food and drink.
Luca returned the spell scroll to Emrys before the latter retired for the night. Instead of transcribing the scroll, Luca had spent time investigating the the book he had taken from the hoard; The Luminous Enchiridion of Thunda. It was said to only open while exposed to arcane light, and indeed, Luca found that he could only pry the brass plates of its cover open when he had cast a Light spell on it. He perused the book, which was filled with wonderful arcane theorems which would surely help him in magical research. When the duration of the light spell expired, the book flipped closed and Luca found himself unable to open it again. It was time for him to finally go to sleep.