12 Awakening 508
After camping en route from sunken temple back to Josemeedt, Mõrvar has a vision again from the imprisoned Seal of Akthalos. Both he and his brother, Surm, are wielding stones, conquering all manner of enemies and slaying them before them. Orcs, elves, dwarves, and men fall before their, and the stones’, might.
13 Awakening 508
That sundown, the party returns to Josemeedt. They are met, once again, with stares and speculation, especially having come back with the priest, Grimnir Erolsson. That night, in the common room of the hall of Yülthn, the party discusses their options and the various merits and setbacks of Almaric’s proposal. The foreigner even approaches them at one point but is told that they are still discussing the proposal.
The party also discusses Grimnir’s plans concerning the stone. He will gather a party of men, perhaps some of the warrior-priests of Saemundil that reside in Josemeedt, to take the artifact northwest to be destroyed. He offers to allow the party to go but Surm Ulrich declines, stating that the stone has had too much influence already over his brother.
14 Awakening 508
Surm Ulrich and Mõrvar Ulrich take the various goods recovered in the temple around to the vendors of Josemeedt to trade for cash and supplies. In order to sell tapestries at the Meedt, Mõrvar must meet with the Trademaster to establish himself as a vendor. The Trademaster drives a hard bargain with the sorcerer, finally demanding 4% of his take as the Meedt’s share. Later, Mõrvar manages to barter the tapestries to Korl Bransson, the horsetrader, for 8 fine horses.
That evening they approach Almaric about his proposal. Allowing Mõrvar to do the talking, the party listens as he tells the foreigner that if they determine that his tale is true and the book is his and that they recover it, the party will gladly sell his Grimoire back to him for 100 gp. Almaric does not like the sound of this deal at all, offended that his tale is called into question and that the party continuously pries into affairs that, to his mind, have nothing to do with retrieving the Grimoire. Further, put in those terms, he is afraid that the “price” for the Grimoire has become negotiable and will rise at a later date. The party is disconcerted by the man’s hesitation to divulge his background but agree to pursue the proposal and retrieve the Grimoire from Matrim Quain.
15 Awakening 508
The party first decides to head to the city of Sarra, some 11 miles south of Quain’s keep. According to Almaric, the keep is due east of Josemeedt, 5 miles from the Mondira River that marks the border between Jossia and Borael.
16 Awakening 508
The party continues to travel toward Sarra.
17 Awakening 508
The party continues to travel toward Sarra and arrive at the Mondira River. Here they decide, instead, to travel north and find a village or a bridge at which to ford the river. This location may also prove to be a “getaway” spot in the event that the heist of the Grimoire goes badly.
18 Awakening 508
The party continues to travel north along the river. Across the water they spot a tower flying the colors of the queen of Borael. Finally, near sundown, the party reaches a fishing village at the mouth of the river. They send Surm into the village to check it out.
The village, Filnas, straddles the river. There is a main bridge that is manned by Boraelan troops. These troops serve Queen Beatrix Marat of Borael. They collect taxes for Her Majesty from all those that would cross into her lands. Surm leaves and reports back to the party that perhaps this isn’t the place they want to cross—it is small and they will be noticed in the crossing. They decide, instead, to head to Sarra where at least they may be lost in a crowd.
19 Awakening 508
The party heads south along the river toward Sarra.
20 Awakening 508
Around midday, the party reaches the junction of the Ros River and the Mondira River. Around a natural harbor formed by the conjunction of the waters stands the city of Sarra. The city flies the banners of both the Queen of Borael and those of a black falcon on a field of blue. The party purchase a ferry ride across the rivers and are met by Boraelan soldiers at the harbor to collect entry taxes. Rilka declares her flask of mead as alcohol under their tariff and, rather than having her pay, the soldier merely pours out the flask. This seems to anger Mõrvar more than Rilka.
After a bit of asking about, the party heads for the Crimson Goose, a “reasonably priced” establishment to stay the night. The Goose is a busy establishment that seems to cater to humans, elves, and dwarves. The half-orcs receive some stares but not the open hostility of Josemeedt. Savaric buys a round of drinks for a table full of dwarves after greeting them in their own tongue while Mõrvar attempts to woo a elf maiden. Savaric is the more successful of the two, securing an introduction to a dwarf called “Throndin” while Mõrvar receives nothing but haughty disdain.
After discussing various plans of action, Surm decides to seek out a shop of arcana in hopes of getting information on Almaric and to secure healing magics. Mõrvar woos another girl in the common room, this time setting his bar a bit lower, and succeeding. In the meantime, Savaric passes out in a drunken stupor.
At the arcana shoppe, Surm discovers that much of Almaric’s story was true. His master was a man called “Bulsara” who was murdered, apparently by bandits, on the road between Sarra and Northold. This occurred about 10 years ago. The current Queen has reigned for 15 years, so Surm supposes that Almaric (whose full name is Almaric Amberscale) may not have had any proof against Quain. The proprietor also sells him a wand of light healing that can used 42 more times Cure Light Wounds. Surm trades a mithral bracelet for the wand.
Once the party gets back together at the Crimson Goose, it is decided that they will approach the keep on the following day.
21 Awakening 508
Initial reconnaissance of the grounds of the keep indicate that it is surrounded by a perimeter of farm land extending about a mile from the main keep walls. Various cottages dot the lands, probably homes for the serfs attached to the lands. The keep itself sits on top of a hill overseeing the lands.
The party waits until nightfall and then sends Savaric to scout ahead. He sneaks up to the walls and makes his way around to the rear of the property where he sees that a portion of wall has worn away, making it only 15’ high instead of the 20’ of the rest of the wall. The guard towers house two men each. One man will stay in the tower while the other walks the wall at irregular intervals. The towers stand 10’ higher than the wall. There are 6 guard towers in total, including the gate towers. Savaric reports back to the others.
The party decides that the 15’ high section of wall will be their entry point. Perhaps the irregular intervals of the soldiers indicates a lack of discipline that the party can take advantage of. First Savaric goes up, securing a grapple and rope for the others to use. Next comes Rilka, followed by Surm Ulrich, and finally Mõrvar Ulrich. Each manage to stay silent and dodge the scrutiny of the wandering guardsman—until all are on the wall. Then, from an adjacent guard tower, they hear the sound of “who goes there?” Surm, thinking quickly, casts a spell and the sound of dogs barking and running away fills the night. After a heart-wrenching few moments, the party continues down the wall toward the north-east gate.
The last one to enter the tower is Mõrvar. The sound of his entry is heard by the guard on the platform above them. He looks down with a cry of alarm, followed by “INTRUDERS!”. Mõrvar stabs him with his longspear. Surm and Savaric continue down the tower while Rilka and Mõrvar face the incoming soldiers. After dispatching two more soldiers, Mõrvar and Rilka are left to cover their exits from the tower…