The Difference Between Urgent and Important

Previously, the heroes spoke to William of Eastwarren, the handsome lieutenant of the place crownsguard, about the queen’s troubling behaviour and promised they would attend the final ceremony for the annual fishing competition, which would mark her first public appearance since her illness. They also attended a funeral ceremony for Hamish at the church of the Raven Queen, lead by Quentin, for whom the ceremony also marked a deepening of his faith.

Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waxing)

The heroes continued their day in the middle of the afternoon, leaving them with several hours of daylight, and, crucially, with several hours before the curfew went into effect.

Their first goal was to visit Forgewright Arms to see about the sword the group had commissioned to celebrate Astrid’s recovery. Their journey took them past Steward’s Square, which was abuzz with carpenters building a large stage, which would serve to conduct the award ceremony for the fishing competition and celebrate its winners. Teamsters and their ox-driven carts were delivering construction materials banners, while seamsters were decorating the square with the red banners of house Valois.

The Street or Spices, which normally would be bustling with trade, was quiet and empty. The Street of Steel was as busy as ever, with smoke rising up from various forges, though there were no merchants about purchasing the craftsman’s wares. Instead, the forges were lit to provide weapons for the queen’s royal army.

The same was true for Dagran Forgewright’s establishment. The dwarf was working the bellows to keep his forge at the right temperature. The square chested dwarf with the bald, soot-covered pate and steel grey beard was happy to see the heroes and said they must have felt their ears burning, as he had planned to inform them that he had completed his task.

He lead the heroes deeper into the forge, where weapons and armour were, crafted for the army, were readily on display. With a word, Kargath, the young, orc apprentice everyone in Kingsport knew to be Dagran’s bonded servant, brought out a bundle in which a beautiful greatsword was wrapped. Kargath misspoke and betrayed that the bond between the dwarf and orc went beyond that of master and servant, but the dwarf’s response indicated that he trusted the heroes to keep his fatherly relationship with the boy to themselves.

The brutal blade was beautifully crafted but simply adorned. This had been Kargath’s work. Astrid took the sword and tested its balance and seemed happy with what she held. Despite its simple adornment, there was one thing that stood out; a singular lyrium crystal, blue of colour, had been socketed in the guard of the hilt.

Dagran asked Astrid to steel herself, as if anticipating a hard blow. She found it difficult until Kargath, from her blind spot, suddenly swung a heavy blacksmith’s hammer at her. To everyone’s surprise but Dagran and Kargath, the crystal on the blade radiates a blue light and a magical shield shaped like a kite deflected the hammer. This power came from the socketed crystal.

Dagran explained that these weapons were called “defenders” by the dwarves and that the socketing of lyrium crystals was ancient, even by dwarven standards. It had not been done in many generations.

Dagran explained that the acquisition of a lyrium crystal by Dunatrim Hardstone at a Bournemouth auction had been a watershed moment for the dwarves. Dagran had gained access to ancient crafting manuscripts belonging to Ard Thoradun because he had a lyrium crystal in his possession. His success had boosted his standing among the dwarves. He was the informal ambassador to the Lyrian throne, he explained, but due to Kargath he was no longer permitted to live in Ard Thoradun.

The dwarven smith admitted being happy to have helped the dwarves rediscover and unlock some of these long dormant crafting secrets, but was sad about the consequences; the only reason he was successful was because of the rising tides of magic, and those tides brought with them a promise of horror and suffering.

Emrys asked Dagran whether the dwarven crusaders had made it back to Ard Thoradun, which was something the smith confirmed. The dwarves venerate their elders and Ser Kadagar Ashbeard was hailed as a champion. This had thrown the politics under the mountain in disarray, but ultimately Dagran felt that the knowledge Ser Kadagar and his fellow crusaders possessed about fighting demons was ultimately beneficial.

Neamhan revealed that she hailed from the slopes of Ard Thoradun and Dagran bowed deeply, welcoming the aen gwynt at his forge.

It was time for the heroes to head to the Sacred Baths of Sedna, on the banks of the river Lyn, not far from Dagran’s forge. The dwarf insisted to Luca that no payment was required for the blade, and insured him that they could count on the dwarf whenever they needed his aid.

Just down a small flight of steps to the quayside entrance to the baths. The stone door was opened by Dagmær, who seemed worried but somewhat hopeful to see the heroes. She said that the priestess was in her chambers and the heroes continued through. The corridor was warm and humid, smelling of sage and mint.

Astrid stopped and asked Dagmær something in Helian. The acolyte responded and Astrid followed the heroes. Before knocking on Emma’s door Astrid explained that Emma was not feeling well.

The heroes found Emma sitting on the bed of her sparsely furnished room. Muirgheal was laying on the bed behind her. When she looked up and saw Quentin come through the door first, she said; “Ah, knight, have you come to relieve me of my curse?” Her tongue was sharp with bitterness. “What about the discs? We had an agreement.”

It quickly became clear that Emma had been worn down by Muirgheal’s influence and had grown increasingly frustrated. The heroes had promised to help rid her of the weapon and she hoped it would silence the sea shanty that had been following her around. It was clear that part of her torment came directly from the weapon, which housed a forceful, Senhadrim soul and follower of Dagon, the Father of the Deep and enemy of Sedna.

Another part of her torment came from hearing a particular sea shanty everywhere, which she had first heard hummed by Muirgheal, but since has only heard in troubling dreams. She believed it was connected somehow to the woman in the azure cloak which the heroes had seen when the Old Queen had been attacked by drowners on the river Bourne.

For a second time, Quentin used the resonance of Róisín to make contact with the soul inside the trident. His intention was to see whether anything had changed since the first time he made contact, but alas, he was once again transported to that stormy bay and was witness to tempestuous, grizzled man booming threats at him from across the water. Muirgheal, filled with zealotry and thunder, rejected Quentin and claimed that he was there for Emma, claiming her in the name of Dagon.

Quentin saw no hope to learn anything more and broke connection. He once again pledged to help Emma be rid of Muirgheal and Luca hinted that it could be kept at the Newport vault. This lead him to explain to Neamhan where the Arms of the Senhadrim came from and where the heroes had found theirs. Emrys also have a rundown of the arms the heroes knew the existence of; Toruviel, Blackstar, Muirgheal, the Twin Gladia and Lash. Róisín, notably, was not one of them.

The heroes explained that they were hoping to enlist Emma’s help in talking to Kasia about her encounter with Epidemius. She was willing to help, but explained that she could only do so after she had fulfilled her obligations during the ceremony of crowning a winner at the fishing competition that she was invited to be a part of.

As she was want to do, Emma imparted some wisdom on the heroes; if they were constantly focussing on those things that were urgent, they would never address the things that were important. She urged them to consider what was urgent and what was important, and not neglect one over the other. She implied that the heroes were reacting to everything and therefore distracted from the things that were important. Some of the urgencies could be delegated to the allies the heroes had been fortunate enough to gather along the way. One of these allies, Emma reminded, could be Bláthnaid, the wellspring that originated underneath Garamond Hill upon which sat the royal palace, and whose waters nourished the gardens the queen loved. She might be a source of information the heroes could turn to in order to learn about what was going on inside the palace walls.

Emma also reminded the heroes that some of them, herself and James included, still had an outstanding debt to the Sidhe. If that was not addressed it would become urgent soon too.

An agreement had been reached about Emma’s help in talking to Kasia, and the heroes decided to depart. Before leaving, Neamhan left a watery sculpture in a water bowl on Emma’s desk. She had been playing with it to occupy herself, especially after she had run afoul of Emma by trying to school the Lady of Lakes on the duality that lay at the core of the power of water. Emma, annoyed, made it a point to freeze and destroy Neamhan’s sculpture.

Astrid and Dagmær exchanged a few words in Helian on the way out and the acolyte seemed reassured. And the heroes climbed the steps from the quayside level to the Knightsbridge and walked back to the Careless Wanderer before the curfew went into effect.

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