Our heroes awoke after a long night’s sleep and headed downstairs to find the remains of last night’s party strewn across the tavern. Empty mugs, bottles, and the occasional snoring patron littered the establishment. A sunken-eyed Tognik greeted them from behind the bar, where has slowly cleaning dishware, and offered them a breakfast of left-over brisket. As they tucked into their meal, a strange figure stomped down the stairs into the common room.
Red-skinned with pupil-less eyes, the fire genasi had a series of strange glowing markings on his skin and a number of almost geode-like protrusions covering the skin of his arms and forehead. One hand and forearm were almost entirely encrusted in the odd crystalline scales. Tognik greeted him as “Master Ke’shin” without a second thought, offering him some of the same meal. He seemed eager to please this “emissary of the Arcanum” as he phrased it, and completely at ease.
Interested in his strange appearance, Asade offered him her food, and taking in the tooth and claw necklace she wore, Ke’shin, in his tired state, misidentified them as goblin teeth, believing her to be a druid of the Goblin’s Snare grove. Joining them at their table, Ke’shin was peppered with questions about this ‘Arcanum,’ which seemed to confuse him, as he took for granted that anyone who’d been to Valderin’s Gate would be familiar with the Wishborne Citadel and the bastion of learning centered there.
Vahn, distrustful of his very nearly devilish appearance, used his Divine Sense to determine if his suspicions were unfounded….and discovered that the stony growths covering Ke’shin pulsed with fiendish energy, though another force also covered each, seeming to contain them. As he probed Ke’shin with questions, the fire genasi revealed that his condition had been forced upon him, and the energies in his disfigurement flared in tandem with his emotions. Satisfied with the explanation that the ailment was not of his own making, Vahn let the issue drop.
Tognik queried Asade about the rumors of conducting the druidic ritual of replenishment soon were true, and Asade confirmed that they were. She asked where she might find Tai, and the discussion of the impending magical ritual entranced Ke’shin. He revealed to the group that his own mission brought him to town in search of a mage’s tower to the east that the College Arcanum had lost contact with some time ago. This mage specialized in constructs, and his mission was to determine what had happened, and if necessary, deal with any rogue elements. Having just dealt with animated scarecrows and the discovery of a huge gem near the mouth of the Falls, the group was Intrigued, and tentatively decided to team up with this Ke’shin and search east with him.
Before leaving the Tavern, Tognik pulled Vahn aside and passed him a letter. Signed simply “Tyche” Vahn opened it, finding a small purple weighted pouch, and a note. In it, Tyche related that he was no longer convinced his sister could make her way home safely alone, and chose to accompany her back. He intended to rouse the Twelve Families to take the fight to the Empire of Twins and prevent their continued raiding. He apologized for the loss of Vahn’s holy symbol, stating that the coin traded for it reminded him of his own goddess, and that he’d kept it for luck. Having found his sister, he hoped that the coin would now bring Vahn luck. Looking inside the pouch, Vahn found the coin bearing the twin images of the goddess of luck, Tymora, and Mystra, goddess of magic; the same coin that the party had once searched for ferociously in an attempt to replenish the magic pool in the Fallow Temple of Tymora.
Finishing their meal, the group sought out Tai. Finding him in his smithy, Asade proceeded to inform him of the rules for the ritual; the townspeople must gather just before dawn at a sacred site of stones just outside town. They must bring sacrifices…objects holding personal value rather than intrinsic, and that everyone living in town must participate. Tai, drawing pictures to substitute for his illiteracy, finally understood that money was not the object of this ritual, and left to spread the word. As he set to his task they asked him where they might find Bilsner, and he suggested the stables, knowing Bilsner’s habits after a bender.
Returning to the Shimmerspindle Tavern stables, the group found Bilsner sleeping off his partying in a hay bale, and awoke him to ask once more about the enormous amethyst he had found east of town. Ke’shin examined the stone and found it to be positively radiating magical energy, and identified it as the eye of a Galeb Duhr, a magically summoned construct of earth and stone. Intimidating Bilsner while Xarrai held the eye aloft in a mage hand, the group discovered the truth of his story. Having found the gem in a boulder, he dug it out with his pickaxe, at which point the boulder unfolded with a roar into a humanoid shape and began to rage around the Falls, chasing Bilsner before losing him.
When Bilsner protested their theft of “his” stone, Vahn commented that he could either give them the stone now, or they could take his eye in fair payment. Bilsner seemed to relent, before attempting to take the stone once more, tripping, and knocking into it as Xarrai continued to hold it aloft, and knocked himself out.
Replacing the unconscious gnome into his hay bale, the group considered the implications of so many magical constructs centering on this town. They reached into their memories and managed to draw two of the symbols they’d found on the central poles the scarecrows housed. Ke’shin identified two of them as meaning “to retrieve” and “to protect” or “to escort.” Thinking that they might learn more if they could view an intact stick, the group headed north, back to the Hinkelmann Farm in search of another scarecrow. Once there, they split up, with Ke’shin using his raven familiar to search via the sky. They were unable to find either the smaller, nor supersized, scarecrows, though they did find trudging tracks headed east.
The group decided to return to town, perform the ritual in the morning, and then possibly investigate the lands east of Guldin Falls and see what they might find, anticipating perhaps, signs of the scarecrows, the necromancer responsible for them, the Galeb Duhr, or the mage tower; maybe even a connection linking them.