In the week leading up the the annual celebration of the original siege of Valderin’s Gate, each adventurer prepared in their own way.
Xarrai chose to reach out to the steam mephit Fwar and the smoke mephit, Poe, to request that they assist him during the challenge of the Copper Cauldron. He spent his week with Faelar investigating the foods and drinks of Valderin’s Gate, spending coin and carousing with the high and mighty and lowly and plentiful. He visited the charcuterie in the financial district known as the Broker’s Cup, the exclusive bistro known as the Royal Kitchen, and the come-one-come-all-pay-as-you-want oddity locals flock to called The Stables. He purchased rare ingredients and created both a sweet, smoky caramel additive and a savory demi-glace to add to his ‘secret ingredients’ for the Cauldron, alongside his Hellfire peppers.
Accompanying him, Faelar used these gustatory journeys to further his own goals; to discover tales unique to Valderin’s Gate and the history of the city. He tracked down many who claimed to be ‘descendants’ of heroes past, and filtering through the stories, found two names consistently popping up: Harn, a warrior of renown who came to defend the city from outside, and Urja, a city-mother cum healer figure. He learned of one particular story entailing how the two first met, and the resulting paths it sent them on.
Vahn spent his week drinking with the Peacekeepers, guardsmen, and judges of Valderin’s Gate. Rubbing shoulders and sharing cups with the city protectors from all walks of life, he sought to learn of the city’s justice system, where it was strong, and where it fell short. He made many acquaintances, and several friends, including the walkway patrolman, Captain Orgonn, Magistrate Lyra, and a lowly supply clerk named Pantolin. Orgonn spoke of potion dens he wished he could investigate but that he did not have evidence for, Lyra complained about price-gouging from Cortranaa and Sharoar, merchants from Harn’s end, that caused localized starvation in certain ghettos of the city, and Pantolin merely spoke of his job and the wastefulness of government, only realizing how truly encompassing the corruption was when Vahn began to ask pointed questions.
Aside from his carousing, Vahn also went shopping for new armor. Consulting his new contacts, he discovered that the best smith in town, by far, was Shriek Zircon, an earth genasi woman in the industrial district. Heading to her shop he found a cacophony of banging metal and hissing steel as Shriek directed her choir of seven apprentices, scolding her ‘children’ to work harder and faster, though not a one had seen a day under 30 in years. Negotiating with the terse genasi, he managed to trade his commander’s Chain of Command and some gold for a set of plate, specially crafted to reflect his commitment to Hoar. His bargain, in part, was successful due to Zircon recognizing the handiwork of his armor’s craftsman, and her obsession with the individual, an Imperial tiefling smith named Nephicus. Returning to Xarrai with this information, Vahn returned to her shop with his devilfriend the next day, who presented a dagger gifted to him by his father. Seeing the mark of Nephicus upon it, Shriek knew the dagger for what it was and appraised it immediately, telling the both of them that she would pay top coin or work for any other pieces they could find.
Asade spent the week spreading the fame of the “Thunder Lizard” far and wide throughout the city, seeking out pit fights and ranked bouts with the city’s contenders. After defeated Jarrod, the acknowledged champion of the local boxing ring, in a humiliating matchup, she took his belt and paraded through the city, following up her victory with two more, in the Spear-Circle dueling ring and at the ‘Gauntlet’ in the lower city. The Thunder Lizard is no longer an unknown quantity in Valderin’s Gate, and some already whisper of the dark horse fighting out of Jarren’s Outpost.
Ke’shin chose to utilize his time in a different fashion. Rather than prepare for the winning the competition, he chose to prepare for the AFTERMATH of winning. Contacting Elania, Obould, the Jarl of Lug River, Thorfinn, and Jess in Jarren’s Outpost, he requested that they all come to cheer on the group of adventures. Having them present should lend weight and legitimacy to Obould’s presence and present a united from for an alliance should the adventures win and manage to beg their boon of “more direct conflict with the Empire, in alliance with the rest of the Fringe.” It was through Ke’shin’s contact with Elenia that the aid of Fwar was requested for Xarrai, and the presence of Poe made possible through Elenia’s knowledge of the arcane magic constraining the refined imp and how to adjust it.