The party spends a new day shopping, working, and exploring around Exenor. Zarunal spends the day making potions. Liath continues working on his new bow.
Iolar trades rumors with a local merchant and buys some interesting books in the market.
None of the citizens in town appears to be upset with their rulers, and there is a definite pitying attitude towards the poor folks up in Lyssandria who can’t seem to maintain law and order.
At the end of the day, Zarunal receives a summons from Lord Alban, and he is instructed to “bring the artifact” with him, by which he understands that he must bring the mysterious gem which was taken off of the Doppelganger. He goes to Alban’s tower accompanied by Iolar where Alban examines the gem, and it appears to disturb him greatly. He instructs Zarunal and his companions to remove the gem from his town immediately. In compensation for the inconvenience, he gives Zarunal an alchemical cookbook.
The party is hustled out of the town gates that night and makes camp at the far edge of the Cozahrs camp, intending to proceed north back towards Blackwall Station the next day. A barbarian woman takes a liking to Karnack’s shield and challenges him to combat, but he puts up a good fight and manages to defeat her, earning a nice short sword for his trouble.
After a couple of more days of travel north, the party arrives in Blackwall, which is now a heavily armed and fortified camp. As in Adricsdorf, there is a lot of new construction going on. The party is examined by an army captain, and the presence of the Elves causes them to be brought before Lord Anthec. Anthec invites Iolar and Liath to dinner that night, but spares little attention for the others. At the Coaching Inn and Trading post, the party meets Tanya Rentsch, daughter-in-law of Wilhelm Rentsch, the town founder. Her teen-aged children Sophie and Pitor are also helping out, but both seem preoccupied and disturbed by something.
At dinner, Iolar and Liath meet Lord Blackwall and his son Horace. It is apparent that Anthec has taken over the province and that Blackwall is little more than a prisoner in his own keep, though that is never spoken of directly. Anthec reveals over dinner that the theft of Blackwall’s Prophares tribute, along with the subsequent spate of banditry along the north road, is what instigated the occupation of the town. Anthec is determined to march into Lyssandria and establish a series of outposts to make the north road safe, incidentally carving out a small fifedom for himself, of course.
Horace shows up at the Inn later on, and it is apparent that Sophie and he have feelings for each other. It is also apparent that Pitor resents this. There is some talk of the harvest festival happening on the 31st of October. Horace is overheard making plans to slip away from the festival so that he can search out the bandits and recover the stolen tribute.
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