The following morning Grax woke up feeling decidedly unwell, possibly due to a number of oysters he had consumed late the previous evening, and elected to forgo getting up for the moment. Upon learning this, the others all decided that a trip into the catacombs of Lanarell wouldn’t be the same without Grax (as in it would probably be more deadly) and so the sought a different course of action.
Something safer that they lit upon was the previously floated idea of visiting Lord Roxin’s estate, as Lord Roxin was listed as the owner of The Golden Star. Having decided on this, our healthy heroes set out through the Trayal gate and spent the next hour and a half walking to Lord Roxin’s estate. Having arrived there, and having determined what their course of action would be during their walk, the heroes were easily able to gain access to the manor house and were admitted into a sitting room by a senior servant. After waiting a short time to see Lord Roxin they were shown into a large, well furnished study where the elderly noble was seated behind a desk. He tottered out and greeted everyone, being quite happy to receive guests as he received so few. After some small talk the heroes carefully questioned the lord about The Golden Star, but he had no recollection of having purchased any such inn. He help settle the matter he summoned his seneschal, Johns, but had fallen asleep before the servant had arrived. Johns turned out to be the servant who had greeted them upon arriving.
Johns took the suddenly sleeping of his lord in stride and continued to assist the heroes in their investigation. He showed them the estate ledgers where they could see that there was no purchase of an inn recorded and he even showed them Lord Roxin’s seal, which would have been used in the event of such a purchase. The heroes then thanked Johns, and the sleeping Lord Roxin, for their time and explained that this had all served to clear the Roxin name from being associated with any of the goings on. Johns thanks them for their efforts and, after supplying them with some small snacks and cider, asks if they would be so kind as to deliver a letter from Lord Roxin to Ranger-Commander Braveheart (since they are headed back to Lanarell anyway). They agree to this and set off back to the city.
During the walk back to the city the heroes decide to confront Lord Finthastle back at City Hall and get more information out of him. Or, at the very least, they could perhaps get a look at the paperwork and compare the seal on the letter they now had to the seal on the deeds.
Arriving back in Lanarell they head immediately to the City Hall, but have to wait for Lord Finthastle to get back from his lunch break before they can see him. When he arrives back they are allowed in to see him and he agrees, reluctantly, to go and retrieve more information for them. When he eventually brings out the actual deed to the property they can see that it has been sign off by “Lord Dalimar Roxin” in a clear, strong hand. The seal affixed to the deed also seems to be a match to the seal on the letter that they bear. Having just visited Lord Roxin, they doubt that he has written anything in a clear, strong hand for many years and so they surmise that some sort of duplicity has taken place at some stage of the proceedings.
Thanking Lord Finthastle for his time the heroes then decide to head back to the Alvenwoad Estate to see how Grax is feeling, however when they arrive they are immediately summoned to an audience with Lady Alvenwoad.
The heroes, including an ill looking Grax, and Rag’azzahd all assemble in a large sitting room where Lady Alvenwoad is waiting for them. Without preamble she explains to them that due to certain unalterable facts, it would be best if Rag’azzahd were to leave the city as soon as possible. Kysmer asks what the problem is and he is told, politely, that Rag’azzahd is a hobgoblin. Rag’azzahd, for his part, takes this in his stride and simply asks if he may be allowed to complete the translating, which he estimates should be done by that evening. Lady Alvenwoad allows this and then they are all dismissed.
While Nortrix helps Grax back up to bed, and Kara and Hoatzin accompany Rag’azzahd back to his work, Kysmer takes the opportunity to ask Eleanor if she could arrange for a letter to be delivered to Ranger-Commander Braveheart. He explains the circumstances that led to them having the letter, which Eleanor finds a little odd, but she acquiesces. Kysmer and Nortrix then decide to head out in search of new accommodation, as they feel that their welcome at the Alvenwoad Estate is surely beginning to wear thin.
In his makeshift study, Rag’azzahd updates Kara and Hoatzin on his progress. The journal had referred to some good news in the author’s other, “false”, life; something that would make their work that much easier. It then referred to finding the last piece of the puzzle, followed by reference to several weeks of preparing for the ritual. Lastly, the journal, in now fluent infernal, mentions that the ritual was a complete success and that it is time to initiate stage two. Rag’azzahd does not know what this all means, exactly, but he fears what it implies.
After he has finished explaining what he has recently translated, Kara proposes that Rag’azzahd could travel to Rannon’s Hill and stay a while in the Temple of the Mind there. She feels that he is a trustworthy soul and has been treated poorly by circumstance. He explains that he has already been run out of Trayal in a similar fashion and had expected it to happen here sooner or later. He is more than happy to travel to Rannon’s Hill next, as he had no further idea of where to go (he had considered Feneris, but also thought he would not last long in that city). They arrange that he will, Lady Alvenwoad permitting, leave the following morning and will camp a short distance outside the city and wait upon the heroes as he doesn’t relish the thought of entering another town unannounced.
With this decided, Kara goes and asks Eleanor whether it would be fine for Rag’azzahd to stay until the following morning, which Eleanor says she will have to check with Lady Alvenwoad. Eleanor then apologises to Kara for how Rag’azzahd has been treated. She explains that Lady Alvenwoad has no problems with the translator, but Lord Goldseam came to the house that morning and there were discussions between the two nobles behind closed doors. After the dwarven noble left, Lady Alvenwoad alerted Eleanor of what would need to be done.
Nortrix and Kysmer, meanwhile, had been investigating The Respected Poet, a modest yet classy inn not far from the Alvenwoad Estate, and had found it more than adequate to their needs. After sitting around for some time, enjoying a cider or two from the inn’s cellars, they see Hoatzin wandering past outside the inn, up to something no doubt, but they leave him to his business.
Hoatzin had, of course, grown bored of waiting around the manor and had headed out into the city in search of Nortrix and Kysmer. He wandered around and had some experiences but didn’t find them.
That evening, shortly after dinner, the heroes were relaxing and waiting for Rag’azzahd to complete his translation when Eleanor came to their sitting room and announced that there was a dirty dwarven beggar outside for them. The beggar insisted he had a letter for them but refused to hand it to anyone except the heroes. Kara agreed to come down and see what it was all about and she agreed, he was a dirty dwarven beggar: he was “A ragged looking dwarf with a bandage over half his face; he is wearing a torn, dirty cloak over simple farmer’s linen and a rope belt is tied at his waist”. She had no idea who he was, even after he greeted her by name. In exasperation he explained that he was Rolif Garnetbeard of the Imperial Northern Rangers (who had, in the past, made various amorous advances towards Kara) and he was just disguised as a filthy beggar.
Now recognizing him, Kara vouched for his conduct and Eleanor showed them both to a nearby sitting room. While servants went to fetch the other heroes (barring Grax), Eleanor then arranged for somewhat cleaner clothes to be brought in for Rolif. When the others had assembled (and Rolif had changed) he gave over the letter he had brought for them; it was a letter from Selinda, which read:
I hope this finds you well, as I fear I have been kept from you quite longer than anticipated. The matter with which I trusted you has come to a head and I now have solid evidence of my suspicions.
I will make all possible speed for Lanarell, but with the death of Norzud, our squad druid, we are slowed down considerably with the wounded. Of course, I dare not leave them behind for goblin raiding parties grow strangely bold of late and would no doubt take great delight in falling upon a group of wounded Imperial Northern Rangers.
If you should not hear from me within two days of receiving this message, then please make sure you carry news of my passing to my brother back in Rannon’s Hill.
Upon reading this, the heroes began immediately planning the best possible way to aid Selinda. From Rolif they were able to roughly gather what had transpired. Selinda had lead a small squad of ranger out on patrol (Rolif had been part of a different squad, also on patrol) which had been ambushed, losing one member and taking some injuries. After this initial ambush the squad that Rolif had been a member of chanced upon them and they determined to track down the goblin ambushers and make them pay (or at least drive them away, as they were very close to civilized lands). This plan had worked somewhat, although they had lost more than half their number (including their healers) and had suffered many grievous injuries (including Rolif’s left eye). They had found that there was a human helping the goblin raiders in some way and Selinda seemed to recognize him.
Having heard all of this the heroes soon decided that they should travel out to aid Selinda and ensure that reaches Lanarell safely, but Rolif admitted that he was bound to not go with them as Selinda had directly ordered him to not come looking for her. He could, and did, help by telling them everything he knew about where he had last seen her, but noted that she could be making for either of two gates into the city, with dozens of paths, tracks and roads leading to those gates. She might even be coming down river.
With no clear way of knowing exactly how to locate Selinda, the heroes began thinking that maybe Grax could seek assistance from Pelor… if he was feeling up to it.