Nortrix manages to bump into the group while trying to go slumming after having briefly escaped from his uncle. They spend some time catching him up on recent events before he and Hoatzin go over and have a chat to Stonefist. Stonefist isn’t very forthcoming, but he does agree to discreetly ask around the fortress for them in exchange for a small fee.
Following this they all return to the Alvenwoad estate and Nortrix is allowed to stay with them (he is, after all, one of the heroes who saved the rangers).
At breakfast the following morning Kysmer is ill and makes his apologies before returning to bed. No one thinks much of this, as he had been drinking full strength ale and wine the previous evening.
After finishing breakfast they discover that Kysmer is missing from his room. They discover that he has left the estate having lied to the gate guards about telling Eleanor where he was going. Eleanor is a little concerned about this, so the heroes go looking for Kysmer out in the city. Nortrix finds some trace of him by talking to a fruit seller and a beggar. He learns that Kysmer was seen having a violent altercation with some guardsmen and the beggar confirmed that the guardsmen knocked Kysmer unconscious.
After lunch, Grax, Hoatzin and Nortrix go seek out Selinda’s advice as to how to progress. However, upon reaching Zentoun Fortress they discover that she has, that very morning, left on a patrol of the nearby regions. After a brief discussion, they then decide to go looking for Kysmer at the garrison (as they have assumed that he’s been locked up for some reason). They ask about a belligerent elf and they find that a belligerent elf has been locked up, but he isn’t Kysmer. The duty guardsman, the dwarven Guardsman Varek, tells them that Guardsmen Notiss and Vandril were on duty at that time of the morning and directs them to the Respite Gate where Guardsman Vandril is currently on gate duty. At the gate, they speak to Vandril who denies seeing an elf that morning. Hoatzin can tell that the man is lying.
They return to the garrison and bribe Guardsman Varek to tell them where Guardsman Notiss lives. They go to Notiss’ house, but find that he isn’t there. A friendly neighbour woman unlocks the back door of Notiss’ house for Grax (believing that he is Notiss’ cousin) and they decide to split up to cover more ground. Nortrix heads back to the Respite Gate to keep an eye on Vandril while Hoatzin and Grax hang around at Notiss’ place.
While waiting for Notiss to show up, Hoatzin notices a really fancy chest (with a star on the lid) hidden under the bed. It is locked, so Grax and Hoatzin search the place thoroughly, looking for a key, but they have no luck. They do, however, find a whole bunch of notes that seem to be written in some kind of cypher. These they put aside to show to Kara later.
At the Respite Gate Nortrix watches Guardsman Vandril for a while until he goes off duty, then Nortrix rushes back to Notiss’ house to warn the others (that Vandril is now off duty and may hear about them from Guardsman Varek). Grax decides to pray to Pelor for guidance, and he feels/knows that Vandril and Notiss are definitely up to something, so they steal Notiss’ fancy chest.
Back at the Alvenwoad estate they take the chest to Kara to have a look at. The star on the lid doesn’t look like anything special, just a decoration. She has a look at the mysterious notes also, but can’t figure out what they are talking about as there only seems to be half the conversation.
Next, Nortrix uses magic to create a crowbar and they prise the lock off the chest, doing their best not to damage the fancy chest in the process. Inside the chest the find: some grey “cultist” robes; a grey hood with two eye-holes; and a wooden plaque small enough to be held in one hand easily. Engraved on the wooden plaque is the now familiar tentacled image of Nophkeh.