Gateways

From Ardrana

This adventure began after Dalva left her group behind in Daro when their previous mission came to an end, and several other of their companions departed for Mariscora, leaving Condesa Rosalín as'Quanada -- posing as a local commoner named Rosa -- in their care. With the group now committed to guarding a caravan bound for Aleton, Shale naturally took command of the group's activities.

Departing Daro

On the way to meet the caravan, Gilbert went with Siege to Sedric's temple to see if he could get his notes copied in order to give them to Ora to take to Mariscora, but they were out of luck. The two joined their companions -- Shale, Rakeor, Emi, Rin, Maialen, and Rosa at the caravan. A pair of Halflings -- Arteck, the caravan's organizer, and Solidus, a priest of Varice who served as their healer -- greeted them. The priest ruffled a few feathers when he cast detect evil on those assembled without warning, saying it was part of the caravan's rules, along with some other strictures that rankled the Dwarves. They were then told to report to the head of the guards, a Halfling named Arby Culver, who assigned their guard positions. Rosa asked if she could ride in one of the carts, and she was directed toward the hindmost cart, a vehicle filled with mining equipment which belonged to a pair of Dwarves and was driven by a Human named Eckhorn. Once she and Maialen were situated, the caravan departed.

Daro to Cardimer

As the caravan made its way along the shore of Shark's Fin Bay toward its next stop in Cardimer, Arby went around to the newest members of the caravan to assess their defensive capabilities. Rin, atop one of the chicken cages on Annie's cart, flustered Arby, so he moved on to talk to the two Lastini in the rear cart. His many questions didn't sit too well with the two women, but they did their best to mollify him, although Maialen cast know history on him as he returned to his post. Elsewhere, Siege and the two Dwarves chatted with Chauncey, the lead teamster, who filled them in on some of the hazards of the region. Meanwhile, Gilbert and Solidus chatted about their previous experiences and a neophyte guard named Carawin joined in briefly.

A short time later, Arby asked Siege to run up to tell the two scouts, Emi and a mounted Human named Brik, to rejoin the caravan as they were stopping to water the mounts. As they rested, one of the ponies became entangled in a patch of grab grass. Brik attempted to lift it out, but injured his back, leaving Shale, Rakeor and Solidus to free the animal. With the pony and Brik resting in the carts, the caravan continued on until nearly sunset, when Siege (who had replaced Brik at point) spotted a large shell alongside the road. After cautiously approaching it, Solidus shot the shell with a sunscorch spell. Rin then said that the water told her it was a giant clam, and Shale prised it open. While one of the drivers, Flo, was removing the meat inside, she discovered a pearl.

The caravan then pulled off the road and set up camp, and Rin built a diorama of the party within the clam's shell, which she pushed into the bay as an offering. Eventually, everyone gathered around Solidus' fire to hear Maialen tell stories about her patroness, Nacyera. Among those in attendance were a pair of odd-looking bats, which hovered above the fire until disappearing after the entertainment ended.

The next morning, the party awoke to find Rosalín gone, having left a note with Maialen indicating she didn't trust the party to keep her safe, and thus she was returning to Daro. Rin found her offering had been rejected, which she attributed to Rosa's departure. The caravan moved on, and while they were stopped for lunch a figure approached them from the south. It turned out to be Illiger, who had already picked up her belongings from Daro. Although there was some grumbling from the Dwarves and others regarding her brief term as a pirate, there was little they could do to keep her from tagging along with the caravan as it pulled out. As they traveled, Illiger told the Dwarves that the pirates put her off the boat in Cardimer after discovering that she had been spying on them, but that did little to clear the air.

In Cardimer

The caravan soon arrived in Cardimer, where it was inspected by the city guard. As the caravan was led into a nearby corral, Shale and Rakeor brought Brik to the temple of Sedric to be healed while the rest of the party walked over to the nearby Shady Retreat Inn to arrange lodging. While there, Siege purchased a pin from Z'Quilla, the inn's proprietress, that allowed him to read while anywhere in the inn. The group reviewed some maps to plan for the next day, and Gilbert decided to check out an establishment called Freeform.

After the healing was done, the Dwarves returned to the corral, where Chauncey told them a few things about the city. They decided to head to a tavern near the docks called Knucklebones, where they might have be able to find food more to their liking than the government-approved food at the Retreat. They stopped at the Shady Retreat to inform the others and get some food to bring to Brik. On their way out, they ran into Illiger hunting for scorpions, and she tagged along. When they got to the corral, Solidus asked Illiger if he could cast detect chaos on her. Instead, she simply told him she was chaotic, and the three went on to the pub. After paying a drunk to lead them there, they settled in to throw dice with another Dwarf named Bex and some other patrons. They noticed one of the patrons wearing an odd amulet around his neck, but thought nothing of it.

The next morning, the Halflings prepared to head into the marketplace. Shale and Rakeor noticed Carawin wearing the same amulet, and she said she bought it from a booth just outside the corral. Carawin told them the proprietor said it would fight disease, but she got nervous when she mentioned sea zombies. Siege arrived to take his guard shift while the Dwarves headed to the inn.

Meanwhile, those at the Shady Retreat departed for the marketplace, where they spotted a woman with a tail and odd ears performing illusions. After she was chased off by the guards, Emi spotted her watching the group as they were buying lunch. Rin bought her some baklava, and she introduced herself as a kitsune named Makoto. Afterwards, they returned to the inn, where Z'Quilla was speaking to someone. When Gilbert heard her mention Freeform, he approached her. When the woman, a song mage named Lorelei, heard his name, she immediately expressed her joy at meeting the composer of "The Ballad of Nevyn". She also recognized Maialen's holy symbol, as she had spent time in her home of Boniesca. She then promised to vouch for them to get into Freeform that evening...

Cast of characters

This adventure is being run by Shelley Proulx. Below is a list of characters who have been involved at one point or another:

Adventure timeline

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