On their way to the scrying pool, the adventurers chatter about the mysterious dragon from the otherworldly tower. The imperial dragons, grand noble creatures, where once guardians of the portals. Rand supposes the dragon they saw is a captive in the North. They approach the pit and spot in front of a large pile of dirt, Officer Durri and a lone 12 year old holding a spear, presumably all that is left of the town guard.
Down the pit they reach the scrying pool and focuses their search on a “good” version of Tahgen. The pool fades but they see nothing. Rand takes them to where he had left Quinnla, but no tracks remain. They head back to the Griffon lodge, but discouraged and confused they find no new traces of Tahgen. Outside they find the most recent tracks are from armored boots within the week. They all head back into town through the tunnels. At this point, Beck parts ways with the rest, citing a need for new muscle in the town guard. Durri is caught up, and he let’s the young boy, Timothy, know that he is no longer second in command, and Durri appears pleased to have the help.
The rest of the group walk across town. Rand remembers he still had the money from the smashed tithe box and they decide to make reparations at the temple. An acolyte answers the door, but in the back is Quinnla, seemingly normal, and quietly mopping up in back!! They question her fervently about Tahgen’s whereabouts but she remembers nothing. Just nightmares, nothing specific. She only remembers Tahgen running further North. After welcoming her back into the township, Quinnla successfully regenerates Rand’s hand using the scroll from the Northmen. The group decides the next orders of business are questioning the desiccated gnome, meeting Sieffre, and then moving North to search for Tahgen. Sentinel makes good use of his new speed and darts out to procure some horses, while the rest make their way to the suite for the gnome.
When they arrive, Zinnaerris’ sword channels their questions to Zorian’s lifeless body. What is the heart? “A powerful thing that needed fixing.” How was it broken? “It just needed fixing.” How did you learn about the heart? “It was all I could hear.” The group decides to take her to Quinnla for interring in the proper gnomish tradition. Sentinel returns having wrangled several horses that had wandered into town during the last week’s fracas.
They walk down to the bar area and run into Archibald behind the bar. They ask about Sieffre, and inform him about Elin. They also decide to bring him and Durri to Sieffre, figuring it be good to have some familiar faces when breaking the sensitive news of Elin’s possible fate. On the way to the docks, Fraas begins feeling a bit more bolstered than usual, a sign that his ring of sustenance has just finished attuning.
At the docks they approach a ship, a modest sloop-of-war with figure head. The ship has been christened, Elin. Zinn remembers this ship. Aboard there are warm pleasant aromas, lanterns shining from below. Upon entering, it is clearly bigger on the inside, through some mystical force. In the mess hall, Sieffre is seen sitting next to an armored knight whom Zinn vaguely remembers. The crowd is enjoying music coming from a teenage girl playing the lute. They spy a female elf blindfolded with her hand on the musician girl’s shoulder. Another elf of note is wearing a strange holy symbol. When detecting evil on the crowd, nothing triggers any alerts.
Zinn gets Sieffre’s attention, who seems to remember her, but not her name. Although he seems to know everyone else’s names. He leads them down a tangled passage into a private meeting room. The man he’s with is introduced as Sir Gaston Mercier. The room has a large table, and magical window to a beautiful sandy beach. Rand tells him about restoring the Heart and about the other realm. When he is handed the book binding with the inscription to Elin he begins shaking and tearing up. The solemnly takes off his necklaces, looks at the group and enters his private chamber. Archibald tells Gaston about Elin. Fraas picks up the necklace and feels a gusty wind blowing. It is a piece of aerum with a strong levitation effect. The knight infers from Sieffre’s gesture that the group has just been given the keys to the ship. Everyone takes they turn wearing the necklace, although only Fraas seems attuned to the gusty powers of the crystal. It is left with Sir Gaston for safekeeping, who Sentinel notices seems sad about the news of Elin. They ask him about the pirates, and he tells that the pirates were evaded when the ship reached the mote-borne fog banks. The ship was the Summerstar, Blackhail’s ship. Before they leave, Sir Gaston notes, “the crew expect to be paid.” The party agrees and will make arrangements soon.
Upon closer inspection, the ship looks magically crafted, as if it was build around an extra-dimensional portal that houses the ship’s interior and the ship is used to move the portal around. Aboard there is a forge, crossbowmen, and much dwarf craftsmanship. At this time, they take an hour or so to move their belongings to the ship. Upon checkout of their suite, it is apparent that Archibald is mischievously running up the tab for to Lord Garland.
It is now mid afternoon. The gang make their way back to the Griffon’s Lodge and proceed until nightfall in the direction Beck had previously tracked bootprints. They take watches, now with the sustained Fraas taking all watches along with Sentinel. Zinn is snoring loudly. The forest is alive.
Several yards away, a branch snaps. Sentinel calls out “Who goes there?” which is followed by rushing, growling noises. Three large stooped figures with rough green hides and tusks emerge. trolls! The mama troll charges, Zinn quickly immolates. Bork passes out acid and bombs and Aven throws acid on one of the smaller trolls. Sentinel pummels an elemental fist at one, Fraas broil the two smaller beasts, one of which runs away. Gfed confuses the remaining small troll and Zinn runs past it, striking on the way to killing the mother troll. Bork acids the remaining troll and it begins clawing it’s face off while burning to death. The troll running away can be heard screaming “NO MAMA NO!”
They check the stomach contents of the trolls, worried they would find signs of Tahgen, they only find a couple owl skeletons in the mother. The remainder of the night passes uneventfully. In the morning they take a short side trip to find the trolls’ cave. When they reach it, a chain shirt is flung out and in a frantic giant tongue, “s-sscared, t-take t-treasure.” Zinn’s response is quick, “CHARGE!” She sends a touch of combustion. The troll is cowering fear as its fingers are lopped off. Rand attacks, smashing in its skull. Bork sets it on fire. They proceed to loot the cave finding a masterwork chain shirt, some potions, scrolls and wands, a wooden shield and some gold and jewels. Bork finds a magical club and Rand obtains a scroll of spear of purity. There is also a drawing of mama troll and her kids, painted in blood; they are pictured eating villagers together.
They set back upon Tahgen’s trail for another half day when they stumble upon one of his resting spots. They continue on until near nightfall when they find some tracks leading into a set of bushes. There are broken branches and signs of a struggle. Stuck in the roots is a piece of processed wood that is perhaps Tahgen’s peg leg. There are large dire bear tracks leaving the fray. They follow the tracks, which suddenly end without trace. Is this the work of druids? Fraas casts blood biography on the splatters of blood near the bush: “Tahgen, human hero of Griffton, torn to pieces by Dire Bear, 5 days ago.” They follow the bear prints that originally led to the bushes and they too end without trace. There is a vague lingering evil in the direction of the bear tracks.
The group make a hasty trek back to lodge. On the way they catch glimpse of a large dragon-shape flying past the moon. Could Lord Garland have returned, just as Tahgen was slain? At the lodge, they raid the spell books, and take the chess set and bear rug with them back to the ship. Sentinel also brings the statue of the child from Archibald’s storeroom along. They find that Sieffre is no longer aboard, and they all head back to the tavern.
Rand goes to wake Durri, and Archibald joins leaving the new barmaid in charge, and everyone congresses his Archibald’s private storeroom. Rand begins telling Durri and Archibald everything; about Tahgen, Thellan’s scroll and that it looks like Lord Garland has return. With dwindling options, they all decide to find Triwathien, the magistrate’s mother.
When they arrive at her home, Arvellan opens the door. They detect magic in case there are spying devices. Creaking is heard upstairs. There are two feminine voices, elven. Bork drinks a comprehend languages potion and hears the arrogant sneer, “we shall see about that, tomorrow.” The upstairs window opens. Outside Sentinel catches glimpse of moonlight off greenscale.
The party scans the home with detection spells; Arvellan glows a little good, while Triwathien glows neither. Rand’s diplomacy and Bork’s lack of charisma begin working their magic. They are eventually able to persuade Triwathien to discuss her midnight visitor, a beautiful elven woman who suddenly arrived and demanded to see who was in charge. The elf’s name was Saharin, which in draconic roughly translates as, verdant bloom. The group tells her about Tahgen’s fate and Lord Garland’s contract. When they ask about Lord Garland, it’s clear she doesn’t know that she is related. Rand breaks this news as easy as possible, and she admits she had her suspicions. They ask if she knew of any sons that went missing in the North, but she tears up a little, and tells them she had one, a stillborn. But he was buried, and there had been a funeral. The group at first suspects that the stone statue that is Tahgen’s son was from out of wedlock, but soon realize and discuss that the half-elf boy is likely to be that stillborn child Triwathen remembers. And that it was Garland that mislead them about the life of the child.
They all head back to the tavern to make an encampment for the evening. Archibald clears the main bar room and watches are taken. At the break of dawn, they are stirred by loud, approaching wing beats. Fraas takes a quick pull of whiskybae. Out front a Green Wyrm who is clearly smaller and more effeminate than Lord Garland alights, landing with a BOOM! IN a terrifying and beautiful voice, “WHO SPEAKS FOR THIS TOWN!?” Bork and Rand approach, while the rest of the party take up tactical positions in and outside the tavern — the dashing Shah’s entrance being the most dramatic and impressive, of course.
“ANY AGREEMENTS YOU HAVE WITH DRAUGARLOND ARE NULL AND VOID. I SHALL REQUIRE YOUR YOUNGEST BORN, UPON THE START OF EVERY MONTH.” Bork responds with the toss of a bomb.