Spending the evening in Ballyclare, the party wakes early in the morning and has breakfast. The local innkeeper warns them to stick to the roads and not pay any attention to the dancing swamp lights before they leave town.
After traveling for several hours with few issues, the group encounters a goblin scouting party and quickly dispatches them. As they reach the outskirts of a small village on the southern side of the swamps, the party finds it on fire and under attack by another group of goblin attackers. The sole defender, a gnomish warrior named David who had single-handedly defeated several of the goblins, but was at this point surrounded and in need of help. After dispatching the goblins and their troll pet, the party finds that Dyne had been struck by a poisoned dart and needed immediate assistance.
The group scoured the swamp and was able to find herbs that could negate the effects of the poison, but the cure Dyne they would need to travel onwards to Kaddastrei and purchase the proper medications.
The remainder of the trip took little time before they were greeted by the great walls of Kaddastrei. Stopped by the town guard, they are directed to the apothecary district where they find an antidote for the poison affecting Dyne. After exploring the city and gathering information from the locals, the party locates a modest apartment for 40g a month.
After setting up shop in their new apartment, the party had 2 immediate goals.
- Sell their goods
- Research the Black Grimoire
Dividing the tasks, Niene travels to The Queen’s Academy with the Black Grimoire and is directed to meet with the head librarian. He immediately recognizes the script as ancient Acrèbaran, but is unfamiliar with the glyphs and diagrams also found in the book. Niene, having already already deciphered the text of the book thanks to her repertoire of spells, spends her time familiarizing herself with information on the region of Acrèbara and spending time with the head librarian, an elderly half-elf named Findal, whom she comes to think of as a grandfather.
Uthad spends his time cataloging their spoils of war and gathering information around town of various shops and vendors that would be best to visit in an attempt to sell their goods. Traveling with Niene in the mornings before she travels to The Queen’s Academy, they visit several smiths, general goods vendors and shops like High Market Jewelers, Obscura Antiquities and Oddities, and even a emissary from the dwarven city of Hammerfast, collecting a large sum of money in the end and a lead on a tailor who can work with Graypelt’s coat.
Deciding to show the others what she has come up with, Niene takes Uthad and David to meet Findal. When they arrive they find his office destroyed. A long mirror on his wall was cracked, the hemlock and garlic strands were torn down, and the religious symbols had been removed. All his papers were strewn across the room, his book shelves thrown to the ground and in the middle of it all lay his lifeless body; his neck snapped by something with immense strength.
The town guard, having been alerted by the party, begin to question Niene as she was the last to see Findal alive. Having been convinced by Uthad that Niene doesn’t have to strength to have broken Findal’s neck, they are given permission to investigate on their own, so long as they don’t get in the guards’ way. They, however, don’t mention a small note found in Findal’s hand, and addressed to Niene and that led them to a hollowed out book with a key inside.
Following clues in the form of old proverbs, the party locates a trap door in the wine cellar of Findal’s home. Again using the clues on the note, the party navigates a series of traps before ending in a room with a door guarded by a giant clay golem, reminiscent of smaller animated clay figures Findal had in his office. Answering his riddles, they are given access to the final room, a study full of notes, maps, articles, and a journal that chronicles research into a series of murders that goes back many years. Initially thinking Findal’s death related to their research into the book, they realize they merely were in the wrong place and Findal’s death was due to his research into these murders.