Midsummer 1492 DR
While Taklinn Drokill recovered from a bout of hyper-festivity, the remainder of the heroes woke to discover that the owner of the Safe Passage, Nathaniel Stormhaven, had returned from his travels. While friendly and gracious, Stormhaven is a man who has seen much in his years, and appears to be much more serious than his jovial son, Ned. After a bit of breakfast, the heroes set forth upon the festival.
Anticipating the going might get tough, the heroes went shopping. Trael and Cordo purchased a couple of healing potions, and Mei Mei was able to find a new set of robes that were reminiscent of her homeland of Shou.
The heroes were drawn into a crowd a festival goers who had gathered to witness an open match of combatants who would dare to face a giant humanoid known as Dulk, the incredible. The huckster, Bruch Ba' Nar, sought challengers from the audience and both Cordo and Mei Mei quickly volunteered. Cordo faced a Northlander who was quite a match for the mighty ranger, but at the very end, Cordo was able reverse the Northlander's hold and hurl him into the crowd for the win. The crowd laughed when young Mei Mei faced off against a massive half-orc, but that laughter soon turned to cheers as she efficiently used his great size against him and won the match. Eventually, Cordo and Mei Mei faced each other in the ring, and while the pair struggled mightily, Mei Mei found the inspiration to finally best her friend the ranger and move on to the ultimate opponent, the incredible Dulk. While Mei Mei stood diminutively beneath the towering Dulk, she put up a valiant effort and nearly bested her much larger and stronger foe; however, it was the Dulk who finally stood alone in the ring. Mei Mei had lost the match but had won the hearts of the crowd, much to the ire of Bruch Ba' Nar and the Dulk. [134 XP]
Both Cordo and Mei Mei entered the archery contest that was held at midday. Mei Mei proved to be a quick learner. With a little help from Cordo, Mei Mei performed admirably using the bow that she borrowed from Trael, but eventually both she and Cordo were bested by the great skill of Naesala Wyngella, the green-eyed elven woman whom they had recently escorted from the Dernall Forest along with the noble Myrddin Miramaris.
The hungry hungry heroes proceeded to sample some of the chili from the chili cook off and Mei Mei sought out the very worst that Caer Callidyrr had to offer. Of special interest was a couple of recipes that used a rare spice that apparently is only available from a particular island in the Korrinn Archipelago. The spiced chili was so popular that it nearly started a riot as fair goers pushed each other to get more. Just when it appeared that the situation might turn to violence, Trael stepped forth and calmed the crowd, who dispersed peacefully at the request of the golden-eyed individual, who seemed to be a natural leader. [167 XP]
Mei Mei looked for Unferth, so that she could give him the horrible chili prior to the storytelling event in hopes that it would create an explosive ending to the sour dwarf's tale, but she could not find the bard until just before the event. After offering the unsuspecting dwarf the gift of the horrible and potentially explosive chili, Unferth revealed that he had visited Taklinn on his sick bed, and had provided his hated rival with some soup and Dwarvish fellowship. "I hate his guts, but he's a worthy adversary and you don't find those every tenday," said the dwarf as he prepared to get on stage. Mei Mei quickly reconsidered the gift of chili and "accidentally" spilled the toxic sludge onto the ground.
Unferth told the dramatic tale of the retreat of the Rustfire clan as they fought the Unseelie forces of Sarifal. The dwarves were driven through the forest of Winterglen until they reached the Taeya Bog. Finally, the dwarves fled through the Tunnels of Dwarvenhome, into the kingdom of Alaron, where they currently fight alongside the Rookoath clan, as they seek to regain the Fairheight Range from the control of the forces of shadow. While he told a moving tale of battle and loss, the audience wasn't overly appreciative of his telling.
Aired, a half-elven bard, who Trael had met a tenday earlier, told a tale of the elf Queen Titania, also known as the Summer Queen. It was said that she could ripen crops with a smile, and that her frown would start the wildfires of summer. She is one of the strongest and most ancient of the Archfey, and is the ruler of the Summer Court. The crowd sat quietly enraptured as the skillful bard told his tale while playing a beautiful melody on his harp.
Unwilling to allow Taklinn's name to be reckoned with the no-shows, Trael took the stage and told an epic tale of adventure of the Order of the Gleaming Night. This long lost story of bravery and sacrifice was a bit hit with the audience and other storytellers alike.
While Trael did not win first prize, an honor which was awarded to Aired, Trael was given a ribbon for telling the second best tale of the evening. [33 XP]
The party returned briefly to make sure that Unferth hadn't murdered Taklinn in his sleep, but found that Unferth had indeed visited his rival and brought him some soup. He also apparently wrote obscenities on his face while he was sleeping. The party couldn't bear to mention it to their friend and so they clean up Taklinn without mentioning Unferth's prank.
Having been notified earlier by Naesala, that Myrddin wished an late night audience with the heroes in the courtyard of the castle, the group set out the King's Gardens. Myrddin had not known of the abduction of the King's eight-year old son, Moddoc, by the Lady Erliza Daressin. This explained why the King had not done more to move against the increasing Amnian forces with the Moonshaes. Snowdown had already fallen. Could Alaron be far behind? Also, the was no sign of representation by the dwarves of the FairHeight Mountains. Are they so overwhelmed that they cannot spare an envoy? Has the fight against the unseelie forces of the Great Gark occupied the King's forces to the point that he cannot aid his allies to the north?
During this discussion, Trael remembered that he had once been on a mission to recover Moddoc, but couldn't seen to recall any details about the outcome of that mission. It was as if it had been wiped from his mind. The party vows to investigate this, and if possible, to journey to Kythyss, the southernmost city in Alaron, where Amnish forces threaten to take over as they have in Snowdown.
On their way back to the Safe Passage, someone ran by and quickly snatched an item from Cordo and ran off into an alley. The heroes pursued the thief but soon found that they had been led into an ambush. The pirate captain from whom they had most recently taken the Silver Chalice had a score to settle. "Because of you, my men lost confidence in me and I lost my ship!" he cried angrily. "And it appears I am not the only enemy you've made recently." Out of the shadows moved a massive figure. It was the incredible Dulk and his handler, Bruch Ba' Nar, who was on a nearby rooftop with a crossbow. The battle was short but fierce. Trael took the opportunity to first bless the party while Mei Mei and Cordo sprung into action. Mei Mei concentrated on the pirate captain while Bruch attempted to shoot her from above. In an amazing display of reflexes, Mei Mei caught one of the bolts as it hurtled towards her and flung it back at her attacker, injuring him with his own projectile. Meanwhile, Cordo and Trael made short work of their giant foe, sparing him in the end. Bruch retreated into the night once his mountainous champion had been defeated, and the heroes took the pirate and the unconscious titan into custody. [334 XP]