Having recently arrived in Limestone party sits around a table in the local tavern looking over their loot. Kain tries to caution the other two to keep their items in their bags, but deaf to his warnings they dump their loot on the table which earns a whole lot of looks.
Malakai saunters off to the bartender and buys himself a bottle of nice elven wine which he then shares among the patrons, two of which then proceed to leave the room with glasses of wine leaving Malakai perplexed.
They discuss what to do with the items, Kain wants to keep something from their catch arguing that a hunting horn might come in handy and it probably isn’t worth that much either. Van opposes wanting to appraise the items instead, though he does worry about a percentage cut in on their treasure.
Van mulls over how they might use spells to identify these items, perhaps Genius spell to tell who the crowns belonged to.
Malakai drinks with his mirror images while the other two go to sleep.
Night passes uneventfully and they wake up to a heavy rain outside.
Van thinks for a moment and proposes that they might simply stay in Limestone instead of going back to Shirebrook that’s ravaged by unrest and disappearances. Kain speaks up though that they have a duty to at least warn them of the possible shadow dragon in the mountains. Surprisingly Malakai argues that if anyone they should speak to the Count instead of Baroness or Rohana.
They derail the topic into going to Redport and getting dogs, but Malakai thoughtfully declares he might not even want any at this point since they have a pet ranger now and the dogs would likely just die. This kind of breaks the discussion and Malakai goes to ask the barkeep if there are any wizards around the town.
Man tells him that they don’t really enjoy talking about wizards, but there’s the lords wizard and then he goes on a frightful tale about the wraith of the tether wilds. After he drops the information that the Arc Wizard of Misty Rapids has killed a chimera in town the party suddenly tune up their attention feeling like their reputation is under duress. Malakai wryly mentions that there’s a hero wizard in Shirebrook that has slain 2 chimeras.
When they ask if there’s anyone selling carriages in town the barkeep passingly mentions that some giants came through town and smashed the keep along with a few houses. The man says that giant attacks are actually fairly common, at least a couple a year.It does seem like they’d like have to buy a carriage off someone though.
Using a blood stone Van casts Genius on himself and tries to understand how much their loot is worth. He gets back about 9000 gold give or take 50%.
Eventually they leave to go south east where they encounter a lordly property. But once they realize they’d have to likely pay at least 400 gold they decide to just walk.
Malakai reminisces how nice it was being attacked by spiders.
They end their day just before getting to the road.
Night passes uneventfully and they wake up to an even heavier rain.
Van creates an illusionary carriage. Everyone seems to believe it except Jeeves who keeps thinking that this is a prank being pulled. Only after 10 minutes he quietly crawls in, but Malakai kicks him out to go drive the self-driving carriage.
They worry about approaching Stromheim in a ghostly carriage so turning around to Cauldron might be a good option. Then the worry of taking the crowns into the capital city worries them as well so they end up going down to Cauldron instead.
Van dispels his ethereal carriage just before they hit the town and they make their way to one of the inn’s in town which they hope wasn’t the one they got kicked out of. Coin flip decides their fate so in they go into Fourth heaven inn, memories flash in front of Van’s eyes of slapping the insolent barkeep and he nopes out of the building to the other inn, Slumbering dragon.
Night is passes uncomfortably, yet peacefully.
Using a rented carriage they make their way to Thornwood. The gates are finally open, but a familiar sight of overcrowded refugee filled streets greets them.
Party questions a woman of her origins and it seems like they’re the same people that occupied Shirebrook, just now that the gates are open some of them have moved here in search or food since Shirebrook ran out. She mentions that Baroness has started arresting people for stealing and breaking in, but nothing else of significance.
Kain proposes trying to get audience with the new Countess of Thornwood so he goes to ask around whose in charge. Turns out after Countess Nina’s death her son had been murdered as well and then her cousin fell off a building. The man frankly doesn’t even know who is in charge so Kain ends up going to the keep gate guards.
Guards tell that until the Queen can step in and figure out who should be in charge Lady Leatherback is the interim ruler. A 60 something, gray haired somewhat chubby woman from one of the local noble houses.
Malakai ends up being skeptical of there being really any good of seeking out this Lady Leatherback since all of the old Countesses family members are dead there would be no one left to care about who was that murdered her or that they brought justice to her death. Kain adamantly says that they need to at least bring it up with Rohana and Tyrus, but Malakai argues that he already did talk to everyone including Aldric. Most of them either ignoring, proposing something else or not being able to do anything about it. They end settling with the idea to just deal with their own shit for now, perhaps going to Newfort to speak with the Count there.
Eventually they see the silhouette of their old hometown, but a few guards stop them on the road. Van jumps out to deal with another unpleasant encounter, but the guards immediately recognize him and let them pass. Curios of the on goings in Shirebrook Van asks the man if he can catch them up so he goes to walk along with them.
He tells them that after Baroness started jailing all the law breaking refugees the dungeons begun to fill up rather quickly, then she decreed that they will execute thieves as an example, but Tyrus refused to kill people who simply just wanted to feed their starving children. This made the Baroness threaten to execute Tyrus himself, but he still refused to execute the peasants so she took her guards and her captain of the guard Kel Vernon to his office. There they had a confrontation which escalated into a fight, Tyrus disarmed Vernon, twice, but Baroness ordered for him to keep going which got him killed after which she went back to her keep. Meanwhile Tyrus and Stirge got together and organized a rebellion, stormed the keep, killed the remaining retainer knights and went to Newfort with a hostage Baroness to confront the count there about Stella’s crimes against the people.
When asked about Aldric the man shrugs saying that apparently the wizard either slept through it or just didn’t bother showing up.
Malakai protests this scenario doubting that Tyrus has the honest authority to take it upon himself to dethrone the Baroness, but the guardsman shrugs being of the opinion that the dwarven Count is reasonable enough and would take the long view of things. Malakai is definitely of a different opinion, but he keeps it to himself.
Van propose them catching up to Tyrus just in case, however he has 4 days start on them. This devolves into a bit of squabble as Malakai dislikes the idea of getting involved in politics, while Van is heavily for watching Tyrus's back and Kain just wants to know whether they can get a boat from Newfort to Redport.
The wizard ends up going to the keep on his own while Kain checks out his completed hut which seems to be occupied by 3 families. Probably imagining how guilty he would feel if he’d kick them out Kain defeatedly asks who the heads of the families are and then gives them 2 gold each.
Keep is occupied by children it seems, they role play as Tyrus Bellows and ask for a 500 gold troll fee to let Malakai in, surprisingly he throws 5 silver up at them which scatters the gleeful children.
Aldric seems to be in his usual moodiness self, but opens his doors to Malakai. He complains about rabble occupying the keep and having to ask for food. He tells of Tyrus storming the keep, slaying a dozen men before taking the Baroness in custody. Malakai asks why he didn’t protect her, but he excuses himself saying that the attack happened early and by time his spells were ready the attack was already over and Tyrus had his sword to the Baronesses throat. Malakai continues to guilt trip him about duty, but he grows irritated, more than usual, retorting that he is a counsellor and a scholar and that by time he got there the Baronesses reign was already over therefore his duty wasn’t to her anymore. Matter of who is going to be in charge next seems to be about as unknown to him as Malakai, most of the Baronesses family is dead except for her uncle Kel Hanes in Misty Rapids.
Malakai judges Aldric's readiness to fight and casually walks over to look out the window. Telling him how sick he honestly is of all these nobles unappreciative of anything he and his friends do. When inquired about his true allegiances Aldric goes on that the deal he has made is rather comfortable to him, having an observatory, funds, food taken to him upon request. Meanwhile Malakai memorizes himself a possible entry/exit point from Aldric’s tower. Malakai turns back to him inquiring whether this doesn’t make Aldric the current leader of the town, but he shrugs.After inspecting his surroundings Malakai casts Invisibility on himself, but Aldric doesn’t seem to respond. He goes down to the bottom floor from the 2nd one where he was and pretends to exit the tower by opening and then closing the door. Listening in on the other wizard he waits for a bit and then summons a shadow troll commanding it to run up the stairs and attack the old wizard. All 3 of the attacks hit Aldric and the troll rips the wizard into 3 pieces with blood covering all of the 2nd floor.
Malakai finds 2 of his spellbooks and peruses his belongings for a while.
Back in town Van searches for a new carriage, but just as he’s offering their hired driver job of getting them through the Tetherwilds he notices the heartbreak in poor Jeeves eyes. Suddenly overcome with guilt Van tells him that if he can find a carriage in the keep that they could leave money for he can drive them to Newfort. He also suggests searching out Malakai to help with it. After a moment he goes to join Jeeves himself only to find him curled up on the ground being kicked by 6 children. Pulling out his scimitar is enough to send the kids running after which Van helps Jeevey veevey up.
They make their way to the stables where apparently the keeps groom equipped with a longsword is guarding it from any looters. Van asks if he might take the Baronesses carriage and horses for 300 gold to which the man asks what would he do if the Baroness returned only to find her stuff missing. 300 gold does make the man think after he’s had a moment, he ends up agreeing, but Van himself backs out thinking of consequences if he was found with a technically stolen carriage. They agree not to mention this to anyone else and proceed to play checkers.
Eventually Kain shows up to find Van playing checkers with the groom, the cleric explains that he’d rather not be in the local royalties bad graces so they just wait for Malakai.
Malakai searches for a key to Aldrics door, but cannot find any. Just as he’s trying to think of what to make of the situation Kain knocks on Aldrics door. He ignores him for a moment, but then coughs loudly and steps out, greeting him nonchalantly. Not seeing anything suspicious Kain and he go back out. Some gold managing later then decide to buy the carriage off the groom they got to Shirebrook with.
They get the carriage, Kain inspects the horses, then they get drunk or at least Malakai pretends to so he can go up to his inn room and go to bed early.
Malakai wakes up before dawn and with Invisibility cast on himself visits Aldric's tower. There he wizard locks Aldric's door and then inspects the tower with a Detect magic. Disappointingly he finds no magic items and proceeds to start tidying up Aldric's body parts and bloodstains. Once he has cleaned up about as well as he can he casts Fly on himself and dumps Aldric's body parts in the ocean.
Morning raises for everyone else and Van explains to Jeeves how he might use a spell to cause their horses not to tire. This prompts Jeeves to inform him that there is such a thing as horse races up north. Van lights up like a christmas light and learns that they’re held in Tassel making plans to go there after they’re done with Newfort.
Van casts Unfailing Endurance on everyone plus a random peasant.
With the magical force march on they manage to make it to Newfort in a single day. The gate guard there interrogates them on their business in town, but having had an official mission given to them by the Count to investigate the Shadow Mountains curse they get in easily enough.
Kain is admonished from going anywhere near the dwarven tavern and they spend the night in an inn.
Van questions some local man in the inn who goes on very energetic explanation that Tyrus, with his green naga armor and his fancy sword, brought Baroness into the keep. The Count apparently did agree that the Baroness needs to be punished, but he also ordered Tyrus to be taken in, but apparently he told the Count to screw off, fought his way out of the keep together with Stirge and then booked it out of town and towards the Lost Coast. Riders sent by the Count couldn’t seem to catch him so he’s now off somewhere wandering around the hills now.
Van forwards this information to rest of the party and warns that Malakai should probably get spells ready for a possible quick escape. Kain mentions that the Count would more likely order them to capture Tyrus instead of trying to punish the party.
Malakai begins to spin this in another way, the idea of ruling Shirebrook apparently having nestled in his mind, but Van is entirely against the idea of the responsibilities as ruler while Kain doesn’t seem to be super into it as well. Malakai runs through a possible scenario where Tyrus rallies Shirebrook behind him asking rhetorically whether Van would side with him, but he seems quite taken to that idea. Kain heavily protests the idea of being part of a civil war against the Count even if he doubts Malakai would fit as ruler over it. Van mentions that they can always simply leave the town, but he definitely doesn’t want to betray Tyrus. They end on the note that whichever way they still should go and inform the Count of their findings regarding the Shadow Mountains.
Morning comes without trouble so the party seeks out trouble in the keep. They get swept into the throneroom and have to wait through a line of petitioners until finally Van comes face to face with Count Solidad Ironhide. He gives a short enough summary of the evidence they’ve seen through magic and of their theory that it is a shadow dragon. Van also offers to show one of his advisors the extent of their investigation through Rapport which the Count agrees to. Additionally he gives him a report on the cult of Malkis clerics they dealth with.
As they are left hanging on the note of Shirebrook the moment they were expecting comes, first he confirms they’ll be going back to it and then he asks what do they think an appropriate reward would be for bringing back the ex-sheriffs head. Van tries to wriggle his way out of the duty, but the Count ends up having him solemly promise to bring him his head if he were to encounter the man.
After a short silence Malakai asks the dwarven lord what does he intend to do with Shirebrook. Count is surprised by them saying that apparently there’s no one of the Velmont family left besides Hanes saying there should be some of Stella’s sisters still around. But he does say that it would be permissible for them to act as interim leaders with the conditions that they only do so that peace can be established, they mustn’t reside in the keep or do their official business in the keep. This should be done until official seminaries from the Count arrive in town. He also gives them an official order establishing them as the official sheriffs of the town until Counts men arrive.
Kain inquires with the local merchants if there is anyone in town selling mithril weapons, but while there are weapon smiths in town no one has enough of the precious metal to randomly make weapons out of it. He gets advice that if he were to acquire enough mithril to make weapons he would be better off making armor out of it since by itself it’s not better than steel it’s simply lighter than it. Further on apparently Peatsburg has several iron mines which means that they’d likely have steel weapons on hand or at least have the metal itself which then Kain could commission to be made into whatever.
Malakai Clairvoyance’s Aldric's room, but it appears to be just as Malakai had left it.
2 hours later Van comes back to the keep and Rapport’s his experiences to one of the Counts advisors. First he does the visions from Windshire, then the view inside the cave, the dwarven village and the journal, and lastly the Malkis cultists they heroically slaughtered.
Everything in Newfort finished they forcemarch back to Shirebrook.
Again they talk about ruling Shirebrook and they seem to come to an agreement that ruling over the town isn’t really what they want either way.
Back in the town of Shirebrook party sets out to clear the keep of all it’s illegal residents. However when they approach the sheriff's station who else, but the good old Tyrus Bellows is already there hanging out with the guards. Van heals him and then informs him that the Count is sending men here and that he might need to flee, though he seems unwilling to both think on what to do nor ready to flee the city. While the regular towns guards protest Van presses on that the danger could stretch out to the regular people Tyrus was trying to protect in the first place. If more men arrive and start battling in the streets it might be the regular joe that suffers. Kain also says that fighting an open battle against overwhelming odds wouldn’t be the same as storming an unprepared keep. Tyrus explains that he doesn’t want to fight the Counts men and he is happy to swear his oaths to the new Baron, but if he needs to he will choke point any of the landing parties that will arrive.
Determined to stay he deflects all and any arguments party throws at him and when they warn him about the shadow dragon, the disappearing villages coming closer to the town proper he just handwaves it as well. Eventually the party is tired of arguing with him, Van offers to cast a few spells on the morrow to help him with whatever is to come and they part, that is after expressing their disappointment that if he was to die they wouldn’t get his magical gear.
The evacuating proceeds fairly simply, the party having a fairly impressive reputation.
Exprienc and changes.
*Dates are extrapolated from a previous mention of an exact date.