Previously, a Quentin, Luca and Neamhan went to visit Eustace, a gem cutter and jeweller with a small shop in the Southside ward. They were looking for enough diamond dust so that Neamhan could perform a ritual of restoration on Quentin and restore some of the memory he had lost. Emrys, who had remained in the Careless Wanderer, was surprised with a beautifully crafted lute case, which was a gift from the Lady of Evenshade Hall.
First Day, Second Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is in high sanction, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)
Luca and Quentin had found Eustace in his small workshop in the Southside ward, not far from Forgewright’s smithy. Darkness had quickly descended on the city and the two heroes could see the man in the soft glow of some lantern lights through the foggy windows of his workshop. When the two heroes entered, Neamhan, who had transfigured into a large raven, hitched a ride on Quentin’s shoulder.
Initially, Luca tried to get Eustace to provide him with the diamond dust for free, arguing that Luca had given him a lyrium crystal to investigate before he departed for Pinefall. Upon his return, he had found that Eustace had sold the crystal to someone in the Circle of Magi. Luca was quite forceful, but Eustace would not budge, even when Luca threatened to get the crownsguard involved.
Quentin decided to step in when things might get out of hand. He adopted the persona of Lord Quentin of House Morvrayne, one he did not enjoy relying on. The jeweller was eager to mend relations and offered his services to the heroes free of charge but did not have any diamonds in stock. Disappointed, the heroes returned to the Careless Wanderer, promising Eustace that they would return with the diamonds soon.
Luca and Quentin discussed the idea of using a lyrium crystal as a substitute for any material component necessary in the casting of magic while they were on their way back to the Careless Wanderer, but when they arrived and Falka reminded Luca that Dunatrim Hardstone had paid 1650 gold crowns for one crystal at auction, that idea was quickly abandoned.
Emrys went through a collection of precious and semi-precious gemstones he had retrieved from Atilesceon’s tower and found some small diamonds among them. Luca, Quentin and Neamhan quickly returned to Eustace’s workshop to catch him before he closed for the day. When they returned, Eustace was surprised, but eagerly got to work and produced the diamond dust the heroes were looking for.
When the heroes returned to the Careless Wanderer for the second and final time that evening, it was way past curfew. It was clear that with the queen’s recovery and the departure of the mysterious plaguemaidens, there was little reason to maintain the curfew, but it had not been lifted. The crownsguard and custodians that were patrolling the streets were warning everyone to make their way to their houses, but there was no sting in their commands, as even they no longer saw the point of the curfew.
Back at the Careless Wanderer, the heroes gathered in Emrys’ room for Neamhan’s restoration ritual. Astrid had to be convinced to part ways with her dice game, and Falka was invited to document the process. After Neamhan transfigured back into her elven form behind an elegant, lacquered privacy screen that was set up in Emrys’ room, she proceeded to push furniture aside to make space for her ritual.
Neamhan used the diamond dust to draw a decorated circle on the ground. Luca asked her whether she needed iron powder, something he was used to using to construct warding circles, but she did not need it. This suggestion got a strong response from the dragonling which sat curled around Luca’s shoulders, and it spurred Neamhan to suggest that Quentin remove his armour.
Neamhan placed a chair in the centre of the circle and asked Quentin, who was now dressed only in woollen trousers and, a padded gambeson, to take place. When she started her ritual, magic filled the room, causing gusts and motes of wind to animate the circle until it fully enveloped Quentin.
While Neamhan was performing her ritual, Luca was magesplaining what was happening to Astrid and Falka. When Astrid found out that the entire ritual was costing close to two hundred gold crowns she got mildly offended. It appeared that she was now calculating the cost of everything in how much it would contribute to her ship.
A light emitted from the inscriptions of the circle, casting the rest of the room into gloom, which raised up over Quentin and coalesced into a single drop. Just as the drop was about to fall on him, a bony arm with long fingers and black nails reached out from the darkness and snatched it mid-air. A triplet of voices rang out abjuring Neamhan’s ritual. “He is ours,” they said sternly.
It appeared that the Sisters of the Grove were unwilling to relinquish Quentin’s memory.
Neamhan, obviously disappointed by the outcome, assured Quentin that she could try again, confident that she would eventually be able to break through the sisters’ defences. Quentin gently refused Neamhan’s offer. In the meantime, Luca filled Falka in on the sisters and what happened in Blackbough.
Aside from the ritual, that evening Luca noticed that Falka was compiling notes on Epidemius. He asked her whether she would be able to do some research on “Aurion” or “Aureus”. She said she would be glad to do so. When she asked a few questions, and Luca suggested that the two names belonged to the same figure, Falka seemed concerned that the suggestion was bordering on heresy. Rather than doing researching into a religious matter, she felt more comfortable only approaching it from a historic perspective.
James finally stopped by the Wanderer, just before closing. He walked in with two guards, both hooded, whom he introduced as Hendrik and Sigrun. He did not seem as concerned with the draconic journal page the heroes had gotten from the Lady of the Raft as a reward for reuniting her with her daughter Luciana, though he was a bit disappointed that the vault that was mentioned was not an undiscovered vault.
According to James the Newport vault was slowly being cleared out and secured. He had engaged the help of Garvan the Tunneler, who had gone into hiding after helping the heroes breach the dark delirium den of the Steady Hand. Garvan had already discovered that the complex was larger than the four rooms that were accessible to the heroes when they were down there. When asked whether it could be a good place to store Muirgheal, James agreed, and suggested turning the halls into a base of operations once it was secured.
James had learned that the Beauclair delegation was roughly two days away from Kingsport, travelling with an escort of the Order of the Lance, including the grand master of the order. When Quentin asked whether James knew if Lord Gauthier was travelling with family, he confirmed Quentin’s suspicion.
Before James and his two guards left via the access to the river from the basement of the Wanderer, he asked whether he could get several lyrium crystals. He needed them to make the key to the halls work and experimenting with a way in which the key would not consume the crystals. This would allow the right people access in and out of the halls.
Before turning in for the night, Neamhan and Luca tended to everyone’s wounds, even taking care of Durham’s black eye and split lip. When Luca showed signs of his healing magic taking a physical toll on him, Neamhan took over and reinvigorated everyone to the best of her ability. While she tended to Astrid she was once again confronted with the raptor-like mask that briefly fell over Astrid’s face. Everyone retired for the night.
While in his room, Emrys was idly admiring the lute case by letting his fingers run along the velvet on the inside of the case. He stumbled upon a hidden compartment, which held a tightly rolled up piece of parchment. Opening it up he found that there was a short message written in the elegant handwriting of Lady Annabella, which read; “And death shall have no dominion.”