As Enna was dismissed from the King’s chamber after she refused to take the King’s oath she went outside the castle to meditate on a top of a tree, being noticed by guards at the gate.
Jason, Helge and Wrenn are still in the King’s chamber where now King Stendar has fallen asleep. Xander, the Lord Protector of Aarnekas, is concerned about him. He led the 3 new agents downstairs to the Council room where he told them to report to him directly. They then walked together to the Barracks where they found Amara, the commander of the guards, they all introduced themselves. She found them an unlikely lot but showed them around and told the 3 agents that they are free to use the Barracks as they please.
Xander before leaving them, pointed at a tactical map, where in the 150 sq mi Forest, some enemy forces were most likely to be close to the mines the party explored previously. It is a 2 days journey back to the mines from Ponterin. Xander gave them permission to use the stables and they could reach the edge of the forest in 1.5 days if they ride at a high pace.
Xander also made arrangements with the armory shop in town for the 3 of them so they can be better equipped for their mission. He invited them to meet the Council at the Broken Lute Inn in a hour, at 5:30pm, so they could all discuss the situation. Enna is also welcome to join them.
The armory shop
The 3 agents took their leave and went to find Enna before they headed to the armory shop. They reached it at 4:45pm. The owner is a Dwarf called Serian. Jason is very pleased with the Dwarvish sun-steel plated armor that Serian presented to him. Jason also asked for a shield and chose a deep purple semi-cylinder one with a silver emblem of Kord: a sword with a lightining bolt crossguard. Wrenn then equipped himself with a polished black leather armor reinforced with metal. Helge refused to get equipped with any armor and Enna is already well equipped.
Serian noticed Jason’s magical sword and asked if he can have a look at it. Jason accepted but was wary when Serian was holding it. The shop owner’s deciphered the runes engraved in it and told Jason its name: Bekeli. Serian opened then a very large and thick book called “the Annals of Civil War: weapons and armors”. Jason learnt that this sword passed around from hand to hand a dozen times in the last few months of the war. Serian advised Jason to study the sword and to learn on how to use it.
The Broken Lute Inn
They then all left the shop to go to the Broken Lute Inn. On arrival, Helge checked that no Orc or half-Orc was in the main room to avoid a “Enna losing it” moment. They discussed their plans for the next days around few drinks and the 3 agents checked if Enna was on board with them. They briefed her about the mission in the forest. Early morning, they will take horses from the King’s stables and ride to Grenscombe that is one day journey. Then to Kirkston the second day to get to the mines from the North. She is quite excited to help as it is most likely to end fighting and killing Orcs. But Wrenn insisted that it was a scouting mission. Helge and Jason also told her she is invited to the Council meeting with them but they asked her to be “cool”. She agreed to play along. They decided to sleep in the city and to get started first thing the next morning, As the lodging at the Inn is expensive, the 3 agents decided they will sleep later at the Barracks, Enna will happily find a tree to rest.
As 5:30pm approached, they saw Xander and the other members of the Council entering the Inn and going upstairs to the master suite for their meeting. The party followed them. Xander greeted them and before further introductions took place, he had a private word with Enna, thanking her for her help and her interest in the welfare of the Kingdom. One by one, the members of the Council were introduced to the party:
- Lexine, Treasurer
- Aberame, Foreign minister
- Chardan, Interior minister
- Amara, Commander of the guards
- Rhyan, Consultant of defense
The 3 agents sat down at the table, Enna standing on the back. Xander expressed his concerns that the 317 years of peace is at risk as some forces are pushing Aarnekas and Askor against each other. The priority is to find the missing princess and to provide evidence that no foul play comes from both kingdoms but from a third party. Chardan has been researching the Aarnekas line of succession and there is none other than the princess or eventually, the Duke of Rellis. Rellis is now somewhere in the desert which is difficult to find him on short notice. Xander hopes that the King’s health will not deteriorate further in the near future. The agents asked if any soldiers were sent to the Forest and if they found anything. Xander confirmed he sent a few scouts in the Grenscombe area and that he has not heard from them for several days. Not learning much that they already knew, Enna and Jason left the meeting. Before Wrenn left with Helge, Xander talked to him telepathically, warning him not to trust any messenger or raven but to use the spell “sending” instead.
The 4 of them gathered in the main room of the Inn to have dinner. Wrenn shared with the others the exchange he had with Xander on the new spell to learn. The party then split after dinner. Jason and Helge decided to go to the Arcane Institute to find a way to learn the new spell. Wrenn set himself to see Devlin as he was indicated he could acquire books from him. Enna worried by his intentions, followed him in a distance but failing to do it inconspicuously.
The Arcane Institute
Jason and Helge knocked at the Arcane Institute door and met with the Arch-mage Amrota that was busy with a group doing magic practice. They explained that they needed to learn the spell “sending” and were ready to pay in solid gold. The Arch-mage after checking their backgrounds told them that unfortunately neither of them will be able to learn the spell directly.
Instead, she proposed to lend them an artifact in her possession if they agree to undertake a research expedition. The artifact is known as the Stones of Sending, it uses the sending spell between 2 people without requiring any extra spellcasting.
The research is about the bridge between Bridgefoot and Ponterin. It is not a natural creation but a magic one. The technique has been lost and gathering back the knowledge is important to the Arcane Institute. But people are suspicious when mages are investigating about it. But a dragonborn and a monk in a boat will not attract attention. There are 5 points under the bridge to go and collect the magical information and the expedition would take a day of their time.
Jason and Helge agreed to carry on the research as the Stones of Sending would help them to communicate with Xander in a secure manner. Jason received the Rod of Detection that will collect the valuable info over the 7 miles of the bridge, all he has to do is to visualize a section of the bridge in his head while pointing the Rod at each of the 5 points Amrota indicated him. She warned him to be careful when using the rod though and she gave them a week to come back with their results. They took their leave and headed back to the Barracks to rest for the night.
Both Jason and Helge got pretty excited by this quest but they will have to convince both Wrenn and Enna to join them as their initial plan was to go to the Forest in the morning.
Devlin and the lost trinket
Wrenn walked towards the shady part of the town. There are urchins in the street, singing a nursery rhyme:
The death of a king to open the way
Bastion’s fall at break of day
A call that mortal folk must heed
The scythe that comes to cull the weed
over and over. Wrenn interrupts them to ask the way to Devlin’s place, with a not-so discreet Enna in tow. The place is dark and looks creepy. Wrenn knocked and spoke to Devlin through the door about books he might want to sell. But Devlin does not sell books, they are his. Wrenn then asked him if he was open to barter as he has himself valuable books to show to him.
The door then opened and Wrenn, quite edgy by the surroundings and his exchange with Devlin, entered and the door closed automatically behind him. Enna, on the alert of foul play, moved by the door, ready to barge in, if she would have heard Wrenn to be in danger.
Wrenn could not see much of Devlin once inside. He just saw a silhouette. Devlin confided in Wrenn that he lost an item and if Wrenn brings it back to him, then they could negotiate something. Wrenn inquired how it was lost and where. Devlin explained he lost a drinking cup, in Grenscombe, a silver cup ornate with glass bead jewels at an unlucky game of dice. He does not remember her name, it was a long time ago and she might not remembering him either. Wrenn could not get much more details. As Grenscombe is on the way to the Forest, Wrenn agreed to look into it and promised to come back. As he exited the house, he bumped into Enna by the door. They walked away together and Wrenn explained to her the quest of finding the lost item.
Before both could part ways, Wrenn to the Barracks and Enna to find a tree, 2 soldiers approached Enna, one on each side. They asked her quite rudely if she was the one climbing trees and spying. Enna trying to keep her cool, explained that she was not spying but meditating. The 2 soldiers told her in a rather insulting language to go in a tree by the market square but not by the castle. Enna started to have her hands twitching closer to her shortswords as Wrenn was looking in horror to the escalating exchange. He diffused the situation by showing his agent token, so the soldiers left. That was a close one! Enna went by the market square and Wrenn headed towards the Barracks.
Jason, Helge and Wrenn caught up with each other while walking towards the Barracks. Jason started to explain the research expedition to Wrenn that they could do tomorrow instead to go to the Forest. Wrenn said he will sleep on it and better to discuss it further in the morning. Helge immediately tucked in for the night. Wrenn took his Civil War history book to read and Jason studied his sword. After more than a hour of studying it, something happened. A profound understanding passed back and forth from Jason and the sword. Jason knows now how to use Bekeli, the magic sword.
Next morning, at 6 am, the party found themselves at the stables. Helge explained to Enna the research on the bridge. Enna agreed with the quest, anything to get out of the city. Wrenn also agreed as he felt learning more about the bridge could be interesting. They asked for 4 horses. Both Enna and Helge did a back flip to mount theirs. Jason managed to get on his horse but not without difficulty. Wrenn did not at all. Enna then took him by the scruff of the neck and settled him behind her, which infuriated him.
The Research expedition
They rode in a hour to Bridgefoot They let the horses at the local stables and went to the fishery to rent a boat. They asked a Halfling there and after paying him, the 4 of them were on a boat.
Jason and Helge rowed the boat towards the first magic point of the bridge. Jason did as indicated, visualizing the section of the bridge in his head while pointing the rod. All went successfully. They moved on to the next point when they saw something really, really big, flying, diving and swimming towards them. The party started to get anxious when a bronze dragon appeared nearby their boat. Enna put one of her hands on her longbow but Jason calmed her down with his arm around her shoulders. The dragon turned to be friendly, asking for fish. But as the party was not fishing, he flew away.
The party was rather relieved and continued their route to the second point. Jason repeated the process and they pushed to the third point. They saw a large sailing ship, probably cargo going to port but nothing noticeable about it, so they kept rowing to the next point. Jason once more used the rod successfully. Same thing for the 4th and 5th point. All the magic information was collected. A great success.
On the way back, Helge started to be seasick so Wrenn and Enna helped rowing the boat with Jason.
The journey back to Bridge foot was going rather well when several dark shapes approached the boat: 10 merfolk coming their way. 5 of them encircled the boat and the other 5 stayed in a distance. They started to attack the boat and stabbed both Wrenn and Enna.
Enna badly hit, was infuriated and went on slashing 2 of them, a vicious looking one and another with a scarred face that Wrenn killed with his rapier. Helge sliced a sneering one and kicked him so brutally that he died crushed. Jason went on slicing a nose-less one.
Then the 5 merfolk that stayed away threw their spears all at once to the boat. Jason cast a protecting spell for Enna but the rest of them were hit. The 3 merfolk still alive from the first wave charged again. Enna pierced the heart of the vicious one, killing him instantly. Wrenn tried to slice more of them but with no success. Enna slashed at a tattooed face one that Jason killed in a swift movement. And finally, Helge punched the nose-less one so hard that his head caved in.
The rest of the merfolk dived to escape but Wrenn in a killing fury mode, shot one with his bow, hit him as he swam away.
Once the path was safe again, they resumed rowing towards Bridgefoot and arrived late in the evening to the shore.
They went directly to get their horses and rode back to Ponterin without delay. They arrived at 9:30pm to the King’s stables and walked to the Arcane Institute to give back the rod and get the promised artifact. It was very late so they met with Cassius as the Archmage was not around. He has been briefed on the research mission so he led them to the Archives where bookshelves go in all directions. Jason put the Rod of Detection is a case slot that showed in front of him and the rod disappeared from view. Then, Cassius opened a cabinet and handed over 2 stones inscribed with talking faces. A voice said “I do not give you but lend you the Stones of Sending.” Cassius precised that the stones are staying the property of the Arcane Institute but can be used indefinitely. He added that the stones also need to be attuned to their users and looking at Jason, he said: “the same way you have attuned to your sword, you know what to do.”
It was 10:05pm when they finally left the Arcane Institute to get some rest. They were exhausted but happy to have successfully achieve their quest. Enna went back to the tree by the market square. Jason, Helge and Wrenn walked back to the Barracks.
The next morning, they agreed to meet with Xander to give him one of the Stones of Sending and then to immediatley depart in the direction of Grenscombe.