25 Illumination 508
That morning at breakfast, they spot Tavayne and Tag buys his breakfast. Then he informs the fiddler that it’s decided: he’s coming with them, “being as how Rhain couldn’t come up with a good enough reason for him not to go.” Tag tells the minstrel to buy a horse—Rhain will probably gripe if the man doesn’t have a horse and slows everyone down. The minstrel says he can probably do that.
The group goes to sell off some of their magical items and then they head to the University. Once there, Professor Walera introduces them to an Ornish Shandorian monk by the name of Brayden Varrow. The monk tells them a story:
A certain Shandorian monastery was extremely prosperous some two hundred years ago. They were renowned for being the purveyors of the Mountain Panther Style. The abbot, Punari, grew vain and greedy and strayed from 8-fold Path. One day, a powerful cleric of the Way came to the monastery and quarreled with Punari, chastising him for his vainglorious ways. Punari grew angry, and in his anger, killed the cleric.
When word of this atrocity spread, the monastery was shunned. The prosperity dried up. Punari hoarded his riches in his monastery and ceased taking pupils. One day, a visitor came to the monastery, an old crone. She came to see Punari. Twice, the monks turned her away, but on the third time, they allowed her inside. Once inside, she revealed herself to be a sorceress, the sister of the murdered cleric, and battled all of the monks inside, including Punari himself. She defeated them all, cursing them to unlife forevermore and left the monastery to rot and ruin.
Varrow wants the party to retrieve a sacred tome that details the Mountain Panther style. That is all he wants. Should the party find the vaunted riches reputed to be hidden in the monastery, they are welcome to them. After negotiating with the group, he also agrees to pay them 1000 gold (100 platinum) regardless if they find anything in the monastery.
The monastery lies in the Hanan Mountains in southern Achera, some 80 miles from the city of Asdari. The group will sail from Crownport to Asdari, then travel to the mountain pass that leads to the monastery. The monk can provide a basic map to the monastery. The group will know the tome by the symbol of a mountain panther etched on the clasp of the tome. The group, in the end, agree to take on the mission.
After leaving the University, Tag runs to catch up with Tavayne, to stop him from buying a horse. The others go to secure a ship for Asdari. Tag barely manages to stop the minstrel from buying a horse and actually manages to get a potential buyer for the party’s present horses.
Meanwhile, Lenoria manages to secure passage on the Fogbringer, captained by a ruddy-faced ginger-bearded man by the name of Bortz Boilston. They plan on leaving tomorrow at first light.
The group spends the rest of the day provisioning and making preparations for their journey.
26 Illumination 508
The group boards the Fogbringer and, one by one, pays the agree-upon 30 gold fare for passage to Asdari. Rhain complains the whole time. Tavayne counts out the sum to the silver piece. Tag sets about exploring the ship. Tavayne finds a place to settle and starts composing a song.
As the ship sets sail, the group notices that the crew is human and that the ship seems to be sound.