Previously, the heroes were interrupted by James while they were attending the closing ceremony of the fishing competition. He asked them to escort a young girl named Luciana from the orphanage in Grimsdown to the docks. Luciana was the daughter of the late night master and an outlaw captain, who promised to share some information on a supposed “vault.” The heroes managed to get Luciana out of the hands of some guards, and escort her to the docks, and were given a mysterious journal page, written in a strange language.
Tenth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is in high sanction, Night of Cerulean Eyes)
After an eventful day, the heroes retired to the Careless Wanderer. The tavern was quiet, having previously been the home of teams of fisherfolk who had competed in the fishing competition under the banner of Lord Peregrine Blackwell. The sun het set, darkness had fallen, and the city was being covered in a gentle sprinkling of snow.
While Magda made a rare appearance in the tavern, instructing Lauryn to replace all of the cutlery with silverware she produced from a rosewood box, Emrys spoke quietly about his expectation that James would show up to address the letter Neamhan had returned with from the Calypso’s Song. Quentin was quiet, and Luca was contemplating the letter. Everyone was wounded, and Luca and Neamhan felt a general malaise on top of that which proved hard to shake.
Quentin and Luca decided to put their healing abilities to good use, but neither more so than Neamhan, who uttered an ancient, elven blessing and used it to command the wind to gentle and sooth the wounds of everyone around the table. She also provided several handfuls of berries which also refreshed the group. A well-to-do family of four who were staying at the inn and had been in the middle of a meal observed the display with open-mouthed wonder.
Neamhan found some solitude and transfigured into a cat, which curled up on Quentin’s lap as he enjoyed the warmth of the hearth, mesmerised by the flames. Luca eventually creates a copy of the letter and hands the original to Emrys. Emrys muses that Luciana seemed possessed, not unlike Lady Maya Ironwood, and wonders whether there is something about children which makes them especially susceptible to possession.
Emrys says he’d like to ask Toruviel more about the topic, but the sword has only barely been awoken. Luca says that his connection to Blackstar has not been the same as Emrys’ connection to Toruviel. Luca says that he does not understand Blackstar’s motives and goals, and he feels he’s on course to clash with the staff. Until then, Luca suspected not to have any meaningful conversations with Blackstar, sharing that the sheer potential is what keeps him dealing with the troubling and wilful nature of crystal atop the staff.
At the end of his ability to stay awake, Luca retires for the night. Tired and frustrated with the feeling of powerlessness, Quentin also decided to retire soon after Luca’s departure. Neamhan, who was still in the form of a cat, snuck upstairs and into Quentin’s room to continue to keep him company. When she eventually grew tired and headed for her own room, she could hear the soft sound of windchimes he knew to mean that Wynn was close by.
Emrys and Astrid continued their conversation. Emrys wanted to know more about the man in the white robes who attacked the heroes outside of the orphanage. Astrid described him as fast and deadly, much like the way Kalina had fought in the Reaverhaunt caverns. She showed a wound she had received from a dagger the man had wielded, and it looked painful and corrupted, with tendrils of darkness spreading underneath her skin around the wound, and felt hot to the touch.
When the last of the heroes went to sleep, they did so while the Silvermoon and Darkmoon stood at high sanction for the Night of Cerulean Eyes.
First Day, Second Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)
Neamhan was the first to wake early in the morning. The inn was quiet and she crept downstairs after preparing her druidic connections. She found Ramsey in the kitchen, hard at work kneading dough and baking loafs of bread in his stone oven. Shortly after Lauryn came down, and went about her morning routine of preparing the inn.
Just before the sixth bell there was a knock on the front door, and Lauryn hurried to open it to find a young woman, dressed in modest travelling clothes, carrying a suitcase and a travelling satchel, covered in snow and lips as blue as ice. Lauryn rushed her inside and put her near the fire to warm her up.
Once she had warmed up, she asked after Luca, and said that her name was Falka of Dunagore, a young scholar from Bournemouth. She had arrived early in the morning on the Old Queen. She intended to stay over the winter to help the heroes in their endeavours, explaining that she was well versed in natural sciences and ancient history.
Falka was eager to arrive in Kingsport and took the first available ship. This was not as easy as it was a few months ago, since travel his slowed down due to the weather, but also due to the continue blockade of the Eastray harbour by the Lyrian navy, as disease still ravaged the city.
When Quentin came downstairs it took a moment for him to introduce himself to Falka. When he eventually did so, Falka felt flustered, apologised and curtsied to “Lord Quentin.” Satisfied that his station was recognised, he bade Falka to call him Quentin. When Emrys came down, Falka greeted him warmly. She seemed genuinely delighted to be in Kingsport with them.
The topic of the crusaders came up and Neamhan had a hard time understanding why their return was so important. Falka said that they had first hand accounts of the Age of Fear, explaining that for humans it is countless generations ago, whereas for elves it has only been a few generations. Falka expects that the return of the crusaders will have a significant impact; the return of Dame Josephine La Valette being a good example of it.
It is clear that Falka wants to be useful to the heroes and she offers to put her time and effort at their disposal. “Move me about the board like a chess piece,” she offers. “Whatever it is you need, I’m happy to do it. I will arrange for my own protection and safety. Give me the means, and I will travel to the farthest corners of the kingdom to serve the cause.”
Emrys asked Falka to take a look at the letter the heroes had received from Ramona, and she instantly recognised it to be written in the draconic language. She said she needed no more than a day to translate it, and to leave it to her.