The sky was beginning to darken as the party reentered Winterhaven. At Wrafton’s, they met Elian, already a few pints in, who confided a troubling dream to Stonegraves. As he was napping on his porch in the early afternoon, he dreamed that he had awoken in a cold sweat in his bed, in the dark of night. In his dream, he knew that there was something lurking in his closet. After what seems like hours, he crept to the closet door, and pulled it open… but nothing was there. “I don’t mean there was nothing strange there,” Elian explained, “I mean there was nothing there. It was like the edge of the whole world was behind that door. It was terrifying. I was sure I would fall into it. I thought everything would fall in. And then I woke up.”
Throughout their night at the tavern, the party tried to get answers to many of the questions that had arisen over the course of the day’s events. Regarding the Lost Legion, only Valthrun could add to what Brandis remembered: he said that many theories had been floated to explain the legion’s disappearance, including that they succumbed to a curse placed on them by the cultists of Orcus and slaughtered each other on their way back to Nerath, or that Orcus himself had laid them low out of revenge for their interference. In passing, Brandis mentioned something about a portal (referred to in Erzoun’s letter to Lemnas), and Valthrun stonewalled, refusing to say anything more on the subject.
When Lord Padraig arrived later in the night, Stonegraves approached and subtly showed the mayor the raven mask in his pack. Padraig seemed quite pleased to offer Stone his bounty, somewhat quieting the party’s suspicions that the mayor was in league with the bandits. Padraig asked Stone to come take possession of his reward at the city’s inner gate in the morning.
Before turning in for the night, the party combed the streets of Winterhaven for any additional clues. Nuvok made the acquaintance of Sister Linora, a priestess of Avandra, who was engaged in her evening prayers at the altar of Winterhaven’s small temple. Linora said that she was not local to the area, and knew little about its folklore, and directed Nuvok to Valthrun for questions about the Lost Legion.
De’Wayne and Brandis meanwhile approached the guards at the outer gate, who mentioned that the mood in the town had been strangely edgy lately; they’d been called in to break up more fights than usual, and more than the usual number of petty criminals had been placed in the stocks for a few hours. The head of the guard tersely warned the two adventurers not to make any trouble for the Winterhaven guard, and went on to suggest that they’d both live longer if they’d settle down in one place like normal people. De’Wayne barely heard his advice, so distracted was he by the looks of one of the other guards on duty. Indeed, at the end of his shift, the guard furtively made his way to De’Wayne’s chamber, where the two warriors made noises that ensured Brandis, in the adjoining room, would get no sleep at all that night.
Finally, Althaea and Stone made the rounds of the town later into the night trying to spy anything suspicious. Stone stayed low, wandering the streets, playing drunk, and schmoozing the town guards as he passed them, but saw nothing untoward. Althaea meanwhile surveyed the scene from the town’s many roofs. Spotting an open window in the third floor of Valthrun’s tower, she observed the pattern of the guard’s sweeps, and at an auspicious moment, made the easy climb and peaked inside. She heard Valthrun snoring in his bed near the window, and could see an oil lamp still burning on a table across the room, covered with stacks of books. Althaea crept in silently, and learned what she could about the books on the table. They appeared to be volumes of local history: on the town, the keep, and the battle with the cultists that brought Nerath into the area. She was unable to learn more under the circumstances, and crept back out the window and returned to her room at Wrafton’s.
In the morning, after breakfast and a quick shopping trip to Thair Coalstriker‘s smithy, Stone claimed the 500 gp bounty on the heads of the Raven’s Roost Bandits. Then the party headed south for the crater that Elian had marked on their map, hoping that there they might find some clue as to Cordelia’s whereabouts, and that the explorer would still be alive when they caught up with her.
As the party approached the crater, all but De’Wayne put on one of the raven masks they’d obtained in the waterfall hideout. Down in the crater was a campsite of a few tents, occupied by several humans and a couple of guard drakes, as well as a halfling. On spotting the party up on the bluff, all of them instinctively went for their weapons, but the halfling quickly changed his tune, yelling up to the party, “So you’re alright then? Good. Anyway, take those masks off. You know you’re not s’posed to be wearing them out in the open without orders from up top.” Then, noticing De’Wayne for the first time, the halfling added, “Wait, who’s that?”
“Prisoner,” Stone explained, thinking fast.
“Ain’t supposed to take no prisoners,” the halfling retorted, and reached for a weapon. Then, from somewhere unexpected, a bowstring twanged.
When we reconvene, it will be 1400, 1 Flocktime 588.