We start by investigating the pool in the cave. While trying to gauge the depth with a rock and a rope, something grabbed the rope and pulled it in despite our best efforts. The team decides to hold off on further investigations. The team retreats and climbs out of the cave. We send Bulwark up first to help the rest of us.
Once we’re above ground, there’s a brief debate about the last Goblin, and the heroes decide to track the last Goblin. As we follow its tracks south we run into Helna, she had the Goblin dead at her feet.
The team decides to head back to town, Helna guides us back. The mayor is glad to see us, and is pleased with our results. We ask if anyone knows what the orc/goblin statue is. The mayor is disgusted with the artifact but points us to Finster.
Finster is glad to see us. And we show him the artifact. He doesn’t know anything about the item. After further discussion, Nals asks about the most interesting things Finster’s found. He’s found orchids, beautiful flowers, etc. There are always rumors of pirates etc, but no one has ever found them or their treasure.
The team rests, and the next day the mayor helps get them on their way with extra mounts. After a brief discussion the team nominates Nals to ride with Asalie. And the innkeeper brings us out lunch for the road.
Nals eventually gets his own horse, and the day passes uneventfully, aside from Nals getting a sunburn and various snarky comments.
When the heroes get back to town, first they drop off the horses. Then they head out to check with the guild. Dalaan informs Twelvin that the mission is done. While Dalaan is trying to talk with Twelvin, Nals breaks out into a somewhat distracting dance. But we get paid for our contract all the same. Twelvin doesn’t know if he has anything other work immediately. Bulwark asks about the idols, and Twelvin suggests the religious district.
As it is early evening the team heads out on the town following different paths… The next morning breakfast is good and Dalaan speaks to Nals loudly. Twelvin walks in and hands a sealed envelope to Dalaan. It’s from Lord Cadley and it is an invitation to a masquerade ball tomorrow night. It includes a letter of introduction to a tailor in Gao and instructions to us. The ball will be here in the capital at his city house. Two carriages will arrive at 8:00 tomorrow. Most of the party goes to get their costume, while Asalie and Dalaan to go investigate the idol.
Lord Cadley had a specific theme for our costumes – 4 costumes from the ballad of the Pirate King. And 4 from the fall of Grummesh. But Nals wants a pirate costume. After much negotiation (and his willingness to deal) we talk him off the wall.
Meanwhile Dalaan & Asalie go to the temple of the god of knowledge (Dalanar). The greeter at the door recommends talking to Sister Arness in the sub basement. She specializes in these kinds of artifacts. She quickly identifies it as a totem to the Goblin The God of War. Tribes would pray to this before going into battle or sought some means to win over an enemy. She thinks that we could find someone (a collector) to take it off our hands. They search for such a collector, and find out that the statue is worth 500gp, so they sell it.
Next they investigate Lord Cadley, and the party. They start by talking to the tailor. It sounds like the party has been set for quite a while. And Lord Cadley is liked by his people.
The next day we pick up our costumes. We’re surprised by how elaborate they are.
Nals is Tiramal Glespo is Voltan the fighter who killed the pirate king Bulwark is dressed as a half orc barbarian Asalie is dressed as a sorceress Quiz is dressed as a fighter Grae is dressed as a rogue. Dalaan is dressed as a swashbuckler. Alternon is dressed as a priest
Once finalized, the costumes will be delivered to the guild at 3:00. Nals immediately gets his dwarf on and angers Twelvin and then most of the dwarves at the bar.
The coaches arrive at 8:00 and take us to a nice, large house with a formal garden. The major domo asks for our invitations and announces us as the heroes of castle Astrid. The lord comes over and thanks us again for our help.
Later in the evening, a gentleman dressed quite finely asks Quiz to dance. He asks her about the castle, her skill with the sword and similar questions. He’s dressed as Arental, one of the great ancient heroes and an avatar of Bahamut. As the dance ends, he asks to speak with us all discretely in Lord Cadley’s study.
Shortly after we’re all gathered a door opens and Arental enters and takes off his mask. He introduces himself as Duke Balron. We were indeed invited to the ball for companionship and fun, but when the Duke found out we were here he had to speak to us. We know that Duke Balron is one of the more important Dukes, and a cousin to the current queen.
He notes that we’re adept at completing tasks. He pulls out two small wooden pieces with intricate tracery. One has a staff, one a sword. He reveals he’s a collector and enamored by ancient history. He recently found out that a unique set of ceremonial armor has surfaced. Currently it is held by a Lich Enchantress. She guards a key vale in the mountain, and she’s not likely to just give us the armor, we’ll have to perform a task for her. Once we have the armor, to return the armor we need to go talk to Duke Balron’s solicitor.
The next day the team does some research. The Ilian vale is protected by Glandia, a lich enchantress. The vale is just east and north of The Hinge. In the past she’s asked heroes do something to help the vale. We also get hints that someone in Crossings might know more. Before going further, the team informs Twelvin that we’re taking a short break. After some investigation, the cheapest way to Crossing is a barge, taking a week to a week and a half. So we book the barge and head out….