As their flight came to a close, Quentin had a chat with Captain Mag about the workings of the airship, and afterwards privately confessed to Jak that he wanted to see if he could move the wheel. Aruget, petrified of being in the air, went down to the galley to try to eat his stress away, hoping they would have his favourite – boar meat. Unsuccessful, he turned to the group’s arcane practitioners to see if they could summon him a boar to eat, or at least to fight as a distraction. Kayde cast an illusion on a barrel to make it *look* like a boar that Aruget could chase around, and tried to enlist Jak to push it around for him, with Quentin eventually using his own magic to create a gust of wind that sent the barrel moving around the deck.
The next morning, the party arrived in Ardev. Not large but not tiny, Ardev is a walled city with a castle overlooking it, and a spartan but new tower being built, which the airship docked at. Making landfall, Jak led the group to The Burning Harpy for food and drink and to relay the information the Eminence’s crew had given him regarding the Orien trade road. After some deliberations, the group agreed to take the trade road to the Six Kings, as well as try to find a pack mule to make their travel a little easier and look like a legitimate expedition. While Jak and Kayde left the tavern shortly after to canvas the streets for information – Jak hoping to learn about other travelers besides the Kech Volaar headed towards Six Kings, and Kayde wanting to learn about any other threats on the trade road – Aruget got himself a good meal at last, and Lestok decided to try the tavern’s specialty: the “burning harpy drumstick.” This was when Lestok discovered that he wasn’t made for spicy food, but being who he is, he *did* anticipate that its intense burning properties might help with a future invention. His mouth burning, his eyes watering from the spices he’d inadvertently rubbed on his face, Lestok made his way to the kitchen to quiz the chef for his secret recipe. The very large and abrupt chef wasn’t willing to part with his secret and unimpressed by having Lestok in his kitchen, but a bribe and a disingenuous compliment softened him enough to allow Lestok to take some of the spice blend before Lestok pressed him for the recipe yet again and was chased out for good.
With that, Quentin proposed that him, Lestok, and Aruget make inquiries around the local outfitters to see if they could provide any more information about the Kech Volaar party. Aruget used the description given by Captain Kalaes to draw an incredible likeness of the party’s leader, Yeraa, while Quentin and Lestok greased a few palms for more information. Quentin learned that the party stopped at a shop called The Laden Troll to stock up, and also spent time in some of the goblinoid tenements where they asked specific questions about some landmarks, leading Quentin and co. to a mapmaker. He told them that the hobgoblins had arrived in the morning of the previous day and only spent a few hours in town, mostly being very quiet and private. Lestok hoped to get a copy of their map, but the mapmaker hadn’t gotten a good look at it, though he did sell them a copy of his own map of the Breland-Droaam border. While this was going on, Jak quietly found a Dark Lantern contact in town, who hooked him up with a pack mule, which he brought back to the tavern to regroup with the others, and they started down the road.
The first leg of travel was not without its hardships. Lestok became very sick from his “harpy drumstick” a few hours out of town, necessitating an early night, and strong rains later resulted in the party needing to find a cave in order to narrowly avoid getting caught in a flash flood. The next morning, they continued down the road, following a river flanked by a cliff face. They were walking peacefully when Aruget suddenly drew his sword. Quentin heard a voice on the wind, and Kayde, concentrating, was able to make out stern-sounding talk and the sounds of someone being assaulted. Though Jak insisted that it wasn’t their mission, and they should let any fights come to them instead of looking for trouble, Kayde stealthed off into the woods up the cliff, leaving his loyal friend no choice but to follow. Lestok sprayed his and Aruget’s boots with his new wall-climbing concoction while Jak and Kayde remained undetected at the top. As they got closer, Kayde caught sight of a dwarf interrogating someone who wasn’t talking, and another person commented that “the Orc” wouldn’t like what the dwarf was doing, which the dwarf dismissed. Meanwhile, Aruget deftly walked up the cliff face and took cover in a bush, while Lestok brought up the rear with Quentin…and sent a small boulder tumbling down the cliff, causing a cascade of smaller rocks and making quite a sound. The next thing he saw was an arrow heading his way…
Behind the Scenes
- Aruget rolled a success with three raises to draw that portrait of Yeraa. Seems he’s been holding out for us on his true calling as a sketch artist!
- Meanwhile, Jak critically failed his networking roll for information about other travelers headed to Six Kings, and the only information he got was a story about a gilded carriage from Thrane, headed to Great Crag on a diplomatic mission with a full compliment of paladins. Mmm-hmm.
- Due to a series of very bad/very good stealth rolls, that archer as the Drop on Lestok. The Drop is a condition in which you get to attack an unaware enemy for a +4 bonus to your rolls, and in a system where a lot of these rolls are made with a d4-d8, and all you need to succeed on a ranged attack is a 4…things aren’t looking great for our resident gnome.