17 Growth 508
After looting the body of the fallen Bothran Trevarran, who was revealed to be a serpent-like beast, the party throws the headless body and its head onto a horse and head back to Crownport.
They have a bit of a dicey encounter with the city guards, as they are clearly bringing a decapitated body into the city. However, Lenoria manages to persuade the guards that this is all part of University business and the guards let them in with the body.
They make a beeline for the University, allowing Rhain to wait in the stables with the horses and the decapitated body. Meanwhile, Taganarn and Lenoria head off to fetch Mistress Londra Walera, the sage who sent them on this journey with her assistant, Bothran.
They persuade the sage to come out to the stables to examine something they’ve found and they present the now serpentine body of young Bothran. The party explains what happened that morning and the assistant’s transformation. Mistress Walera is shocked at the turn of events and seems genuinely confused.
It is revealed that Bothran had worked for Mistress Walera for the past four weeks. He had been a diligent pupil and excellent assistant. She had no idea that he was one of the serpentfolk—apparently a race of ophidian humanoids who often seek out items and relics of magic.
The party doesn’t believe that she was aware of Bothran’s treachery. They decide to continue on the job, but without a guide. Perhaps Mistress Walera can provide a letter that will suffice to assuage the Yulanian authorities? The sage is happy to provide one and pleased that the party is willing to continue the quest.
The party leaves the University and establishes rooms at the Ebon Hound. Then they go out to the markets to sell their various gains.
When they return to the Hound, Tag elbows into another table with wine in hand and tries to make a new friend. He tells them stories of the serpent fight. Lenoria, who accompanies the halfling, tells stories of fighting ghouls and spiders. Rhain sits alone stewing—still mad about the treachery of Bothran but without an outlet to release his anger, as Mistress Walera was in dark about the matter.
18 Growth 508
The following day, the party has breakfast and then heads out and sells the spellbook they acquired from Bothran. Then they ride out of the city, once again on the hunt for the Horn.
They encounter nothing along their path but a shepherd herding his flock across the fields. Later, they pitch a camp and bed down for the night.
19 Growth 508
The party heads out again for Yulania and encounter the town of Laketon. They decide to circumvent the town, adding a bit of travel time, but saving a modicum of coin in gate fees.
After a day of travel, the party makes camp and rests. The night passes without incident.
20 Growth 508
The party spends their day of travel discussing treasure distribution amongst themselves. Along the way they encounter a wounded woman laying in a copse of trees. Upon further examination, Tag notes that she has platinum hair—not just light, but actually platinum. Lenoria manages to revive the woman and they discover that her name is Gloriana. She is an Aasimar, a half-human, half-Celestial being. She was on the way to a temple in Osandar and was robbed along the way. The party decides to accompany her to Osandar and provide her protection on her journey.
Tag is fascinated by the woman, who he thinks is an angel. She keeps assuring him that she is not, but Tag doesn’t seem to care. That night, when they make camp, Gloriana and Tag keep watch together and the halfling regales her stories of the serpentfolk.
21 Growth 508
The party crosses the river in Yulania and presents their letter to the guards at the crossing. Everything appears to be in order, so the guards let them go on their way.
As the sun sets, the party sees the fortress that they were heading toward up on a distant hill. They make camp and sleep through the night, quietly.
23 Growth 508
After traveling another two days, the party arrives at the gates of Osandar in the evening. After paying their gate taxes, they begin to make their way through the city toward the temple of Cereth, Gloriana’s destination. As they move, traffic is held up by a palanquin marked with the sign of two leopards facing each other. Asking about, the party learns that it is the Lord Mayor of the city coming through.
They finally make their way to the temple of Cereth; a modest temple in such a large city. They are given sanctuary by the priests in return for returning Gloriana to them. Tag and Regna decide to go out to the Maiden and Staff for some fun.
Tag ends up at a table with a group of half-groups who end up persuading him to try Baijiu. The half-elves, Laris and Kronar, egg the halfling on, upping the dares as to who can drink more and more unusual liquors. Eventually, Tag gets drunk and nauseated. Regna makes sure he gets back to the temple okay.
24 Growth 508
Tag has a massive hangover the next morning. After some debate about next actions and some haranguing of the halfling, the party rides out of the city, back toward the ancient fortress.
The party camps by a cairn out in the middle of the plain. The passes quietly.
25 Growth 508
The party continues to travel back to their fortress destination. That night, they camp not too far from the hill on which the fortress is perched.
During the second watch of the night, Regna encounters a mounted hobgoblin and alerts the party. The hobgoblin, for his part, blows a horn to alert his compatriots.
After dispatching the hobgoblin, the party starts to hear more hoofbeats coming their way. They ride an hour away from their last point and make a new camp.
26 Growth 508
The next morning, the party rides back toward the fortress, to a point just within sight of the walls. They decide to approach the fortress from the west at sunset—that way the sun will be in the hobgoblins’ eyes. They find a copse in which to tether the horses and make ready to approach at sunset.
That evening, Tag reconnoiters the fortress, checking out the walls and the possible entrances. He gets spotted and takes off, returning to the party. They spot four mount hobgoblins leaving the fortress in pursuit of the halfling.
The party heads on a long circle to the north end of the fortress. There they encounter one of the mounted hobgoblins. They ambush the forerunner and slay him, but in the process, Regna loses her hand.