Previously the party had come to the conclusion that they would need to travel to a much larger city in order to properly research the items they had come across while exploring the ruins. Niene suggests they travel to one of The Great Libraries, as they would most likely have the resources needed. She recounts what she can of the 3 closest libraries:
- The Great Collection of the Empire. This one is probably the closest as its in the capital city of Altstadt, but most books that are considered “dangerous” are restricted. In order to look at any of them you must get a writ of access from the dean of the university or a government official.
- The Treasure of Enlightenment in Tor Ulthuan. The High Elves of Tor Ulthuan are sure to have information that can be used to research what they have found, but there is little to no chance they would ever be given access to the library.
- The Queen’s Academy in Caer. This is the best chance. While the furthest away, it is well known for its open access to anything in the library and when first founded was world renowned for dispatching individuals to gather as much knowledge as they could and return it to the library for all to see.
The party starts investigating the best way to travel to Caer. After a day or so a helpful citizen directs Niene to the barge master (rolled 20; Gather Information). Normally he directs shipments from Marienheim, but it was suggested that he could be convinced to take the party on the southern river to Caer.
The barge master, Karl Eberhardt, takes some convincing, especially considering that in order to get to Caer the barge would have to pass through Tor Ulthuan. After considerable negotiations Niene, with Uthad’s help, (rolled 19, Diplomacy) was able to convince him for a nominal fee.
Planning to set out in a few days, the party gather their property into crates, purchase a cart, and buy provisions for the journey. On the evening before they were to set out, the party is approached by the Gavel of the town. He asks if its true they plan to leave and asks if there is anything that can be done to convince them to stay. When he sees there is nothing he can say to keep them in town he thanks them for all they have done and tell them if they ever need anything, he will do whatever he can for them for saving his son and his town.
The next morning the party wakes before dawn and loads their cart on to “The River Wench”. As the sun peaks over the horizon they set off. Three days out the barge moves into an area where the Schaumfluß River merged with two other bodies of water. The river became much rougher and soon it became clear they needed to secure their cargo. Moving quickly they are able to strap down everything, but in the process a large wave hits the barge and knocks Dyne overboard (Rolled 1, Balance). Both Niene and Uthad try to throw a line to him, but the wild motion of the barge makes their throws go wide (both rolled 2, Use Rope). Thankfully Dyne’s time in the wilderness had given him a number of skills and he was able to navigate the currents and catch up to the barge (Rolled 19, swim). Exhausted and soaking wet, but no worse for wear, Dyne collapsed in the pilot house of the barge to regain his strength.
Several more days pass uneventfully until Dyne notices something moving along the shoreline (rolled 16, Spot). Pointing it out to the others, Niene and Uthad are able to spot a group of 3-4 goblins attempting to remain hidden while moving through the brush along the banks, trailing the barge and most likely attempting to size them up (rolled 25, 22, spot). Informing Karl of what they have seen. Rather than stop and risk capsizing in an attempt to take out a few measly goblins, the direct the barge further away from the shore line to avoid attacks. As they move away Dyne speaks arcane phrases and points toward the shore. An orb of fire sprouts from his fingers and flies towards the group of goblins. From Dyne’s guidance the orb slams into the ground in the middle of the goblins. Four goblins are thrown into the air by the blast and land in a clear area. Three of the goblins manage to stand up and run into the bushes however the 4th remains on the shore, burning, clearly they got the message.
3 days pass before Karl approaches the group. He informs the group that they are nearing the border and sometime tomorrow they will likely cross the border into Tor Ulthuan. He explains that the borders are fairly heavily guarded and no one can cross them without coming under the scrutiny of the Magisterial Guard. He warns them that in order to pass through the borders without incident the party should remove all armor and place it in the pilot house. Any weapons should be clearly laid out in the pilot house as well, in order not to come across as though they are attempting to hide something. Anything taken as an attempt at subterfuge would be met by swift action, which could lead to impounding of the barge and the passengers being arrested. The alternative is to stop the barge along a low spot on the shore before the border and travel by foot the rest of the way.
Later at the evenings meal the party discusses their options. It occurs to Dyne that they are carrying some powerful magical artifacts and he is concerned at the attention this might draw. There is the possibility he could cast a spell on one of the crates that would mask the contents. So long as the items remain in the chest, open or closed, they would appear, at worst, as a mildly enchanted item. Karl is clearly unhappy with this notion. He interjects that if it fails they will surely be arrested, but if the party feels this is the best action he will go with it.
They come to a vote:
- Continue on the river, enchanting a chest to mask its contents to hide them from the Magisterial Guard.
- Continue on the river, hiding nothing and hoping the guards won’t notice or care about the items they carry.
- Disembark before crossing the border and take the long way around, adding several days to their journey.