Previously, Quentin visited the House of the Raven Queen in order to ally himself with Her in the struggles to come. Later he received a second letter from his father that gave him more insight into the motives of high lord Gauthier, who was accompanying his father to Kingsport.
Luca was keen on returning to the Circle of Magi in order to look into the disappearance of his friend Hamish. Also, the heroes wanted to talk to the head archmage of the Circle in order to address the prisoners that Arkenward had locked up inside his sanctum.
First Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon in high sanction. Darkmoon is waxing.)
That morning, the heroes woke and got ready for the day. James, who had spent more and more time drinking lately, including the previous evening, needed to plunge his head in a barrel of ice-cold water down in the basement of the Wanderer in order to lift the clouds from his head.
The first item on the list was to visit Vydia, so after their breakfast the heroes made their way across a cold and mostly empty city. Vydia welcomed them into her home, introduced herself to Astrid and offered a cup of morning brew.
Luca had brought two items for Vydia in order for her to divine their magical properties; the dome-covered rose and the galleon-in-a-bottle. Vydia said that the weave around the items was complex and she would require more time with both, but she did mention that when she saw the rose for the first time she was struck by a sense of deja vu, and that she immediately recognised the ship to be a miniature of the fabled Daughter of the Sea, a historic battleship in the Lyrian royal navy.
It seemed to Luca that Vydia might also be able to use her divination talents to find out where Hamish could be located, but Vydia claimed she would need something to help her do that; a personal item of Hamish. It became clear to Luca that Vydia did not simply cast spells, like Callum did, but that her abilities were more oracular.
Repeated offers to help heal Vydia’s wounded eye were rejected, while at the same time James felt his stomach turn from the morning brew and he ended up running into the courtyard and retching into a rose bush.
The heroes departed for the Circle in order to inspect Hamish’s room again to make sure they had not missed anything, and possibly to see if they could find a personal item that Vydia could use to cast her magic. Emrys decided to stay behind and talk to Vydia in private.
The start of the conversation between Emrys and Vydia was a bit terse. Emrys decided to break the ice by saying that Vydia’s father, Voriel, was his teacher and mentor and that Emrys was responsible for his disappearance. Vydia explained her dream; se saw her father in a dark room, clutching the bars of a window or door. Her father yelled out Emrys’ name until his voice was hoarse. All around her there was an endless landscape of catacombs. Emrys believed that her dreams meant that his old mentor was still alive, but he also deduced that it was likely that he would not be found on the material plane. Vydia shared both sentiments.
Emrys decided to share some details of how he grew up among the aen adhar, and how he rebelled against the tribe’s interpretation of Sehanine’s teachings. He also admitted that he wore his mother’s last name in rebellion against his father.
In the meantime, the rest of the heroes had made it to the Circle and managed to convince Olafur to escort them back to Hamish’s room again, though it was not as easy as it was the first time. During the walk through the long corridor some of the heroes noticed that several students seemed a little vacant behind the eyes, which raised questions on whether Dark Delirium had made it into the dormitories of the Circle.
Searching Hamish’s room again, James found a hidden note, which read;
“If you value your life, come to talk to us at the camp at Belstone Corner.”
James knew that Belstone Corner was a village about fifteen minutes to the north-east of Kingsport. He also knew that the camp in question was the home of a large gathering of szygani.
At the same time, Luca found a box with letters Hamish had saved which were sent from Fulcaster by his family. Besides the letters, he box held several wooden figurines of knights and soldiers. They were carved out of single pieces of wood and looked like they may have been by Hamish’s hand.
Luca convinced Olafur that he could take the box for the purposes of finding Hamish, but he had to promise to return the box as soon as possible. Luca brought the items to Vydia and asked her to use them to find Hamish before regrouping with the rest at the Wanderer.
The heroes took off for the Elysian gate at the north-eastern part of the ramparts and followed the path to Belstone Corner. The szygani camp was unmistakeable; dozens of colourful vardos standing on the edge of a small stretch of woods near the village edge. The heroes tried to make contact with the szygani which turned out harder than expected. It was not until a familiar young woman appeared from the back of a vardo that things began to look up; Vadoma appeared to be living among the szygani and she introduced the heroes to Ionuţ Ravnos, the leader of the camp and the head of the Ravnos family.
Ionuţ was a tall, lanky man wearing a leather skull cap across his dark, curly hair. He wore a leather vest across a white blouse, with tight maroon pants, high white socks and delicate, pointed leather shoes which seemed popular among the rest of the szygani. He had an olive skin and the thick moustache the heroes had come to expect from most szygani men.
In the short conversation with Ionuţ they confirmed what they had already feared; Hamish was under the “protection” of the Steady Hand and was responsible for the production of Dark Delirium, which the guild was peddling from inside the Grimsdown quarantine.