After visiting the alienage and learning some rumours, the gang heads back to the Golden Jug. Sargis gets some soot from Korinna, who looks slightly baffled at the request, and asks him not to ruin the room he’s sleeping in. He promises to behave, and the group go upstairs.
The gang has their mirror shard conversation, and the news is very…worrying:
- Decimus Priscillian tragically killed himself and his children Tettia and Opiter by jumping off a bridge in Emerius.
- Through her research, Flora has figured out that the High Priestess mentioned in Caius’ journal was indeed the same person who wrote the secret notes from 40 years ago that were hidden in Caius’ journal. Her name was Vesnia Priscillian (The Forgewright). She was a High Priestess for Toth around the same time the Golden City blackened, and is likely one of the Magisters Sidereal. Her current location is thought to be Emerius. It is likely that she is the one behind the attacks on the Priscillian family, though it’s unclear why she would attack her own bloodline, apart from the fact that she despises them.
- Marissa has collected some information on Emerius and The Black Cadre.
- Illen has a contact named Adem who will be able to get a small group into Jainen Castle. He’s just waiting for the signal. Illen will come along once it’s time.
- Some darkspawn tried attacking the Vethari Clan, but the elves had magic and sylvans on their side.
- Logerswold didn’t fare so well: Darkspawn kidnapped several people, especially women.
- Large groups of darkspawn are gathering near Antiva City. There are ogres among them.
- Divia was able to get some information on Leonara. Supposedly she was sighted near the Black Tar.
- The Order found another keystone and is willing to give it to the group in exchange for Arcas.
- Lady Affraic informs you that the Order’s official name is the Grey Wardens, and that Sargis and Valeria may call themselves Wardens as well. Lady Affraic will be called Warden-Commander.
- In an encrypted letter, Lady Affraic also informs the group that she is not too pleased with the distribution of the Joining potion. The make and effects of the potion need to stay secret. She also informs you that the Order has adopted a new practise: Either recruits drink the potion, or they are put to the sword. Too risky is it to have people find out about the effects of the potion and spread the word.
The group leave instructions for home:
- Find out more about attacks along the coast
- Keep an eye on Wutherford
- Speak to Arcas (Bela and Faustus)
- Keep an eye out for darkspawn
- Divia keep an eye out for disappearances in Wutherford
- Flora find out whether there were disappearances in Jader
Sargis returns from his room with his beastman cloak on and soot on his face to hide his identity from the dark leader of the Guardians.
However, before the group sets out to the docks, they go to the Shrine to Björn Reed-Beard, where they meet Flora’s half-sister Leilani, who is Tranquil.
The group learns that Conobar has a child with a shrine maiden, before buying some books about Highever, the Coastlands, and other big cities.
Valeria makes an offering to Björn Reed-Beard, which earns her a blessing.
Cleric Lorian, the leader of the shrine says that Björn Reed-Beard must be angry, considering how many ships are being wrecked recently. Arl Conobar would pay for help with finding out what’s going on out at sea. He has an interest in finding out what’s causing all this destruction. Cleric Lorian also mentions that the Juni Moon might be involved. He could get the group in contact with Conobar’s people to talk about getting some items that might help at sea.
Rumours the group learn from Cleric Lorian:
- The Heroic Endeavour has nothing to do with anything, it’s just one of the ships that went missing.
- The Juni Moon is run by a young woman called Conni.
- There’s an organization called Nest of Sparrows which takes care of the kids who sell stuff at the market.
- Silver is the name of the person who is running the children.
- The elder Aeson regularly steals money from the elves.
- The resistance group is called the Midnight Scars.
- The resistance group is called the Raven Speakers.
- The members of the resistance group is mainly young men.
- Captain Dimitru is in big trouble because of the deserters.
The gang, after talking to some civilians, goes to the Docks. Often considered the gateway to Highever, the Docks and its narrow streets see nearly every arriving visitor on their way to the rest of the city. Most buildings sport some damage from the last bout of summer storms. They are for the most part poorly built, since they must be replaced every year or two due to storms, but a few are made at least partially of stone and are meant to withstand the winds and rains.
The Warehouse District’s boardwalk stops at the edge of the Docks, leaving foot traffic to make its way through the wooden or mud streets. Raised paths formed from old boards allow pedestrians to stay out of the mud in some places, although these routes are occasionally detoured to the more sinister alleys, where criminals await their prey.
The Docks are loud and packed with people. The air is pregnant with the stench of seawater and waste, blood and fish guts, and the myriad odours wafting up from the people, some thickly perfumed to cover up body odour.
The Docks are vibrant and exciting, alive with the clash of cultures that call this place home.
Off to the Black Gull the group goes to try and find a captain. Here, Sargis goes by a different name, “Duncan Gork”.
The Docks are full of taverns and pubs, but given the rough clientele, most honest folk look a bit further into the city for a drink and a meal. The Docks are no place for the mild, and nowhere is this truer than the Black Gull. Squeezed between two warehouses in the eastern part of the Docks, the Black Gull is a dangerous place that caters to the nastier sorts that visit the city.
The Black Gull is a fixture in Highever. It takes its name from a huge raven that flew in the door when the bar first opened and then refused to leave. The owner at that time, Dill Mackey, started feeding the bird. One night, a sailor who was three sheets to the wind looked up and said, “That’s the blackest gull I’ve ever seen.” Within days, Mackey had renamed the bar and replaced the sign out front with a painting of his favorite pet.
Of course, all that was almost 15 years ago now, and Dill passed away last year at the ripe old age of 59. His nephew Jace Mackey runs the place now. The sign out front now shows some wear, as does the raven, but the bird is still there, clever as ever. When it’s not perched on Jace’s broad shoulder, the scrappy old bird rests in a wrought-iron cage up behind the bar, croaking foul obscenities at patrons but relatively safe from the raucous crowd.
The Black Gull is a narrow building with only two walls of its own; the sides are formed by the brick warehouses that rise to either side. Dill Mackey built the back and the front when he claimed the place, and they’ve been replaced several times since then after summer storms blew through.
The interior is dirty and the floor covered in suspicious stains. A bar runs along one side with wooden stools in front for patrons, and some benches and tables line the opposite side. A few other tables fill up the empty spaces, placed just far enough apart to squeeze between them. The décor is decidedly spartan; a mariner’s wheel hangs from the ceiling along with a few nets and other junk.
Fights happen like clockwork in the Black Gull. Mackey tolerates them mostly, but whenever anyone comes over the bar or threatens him or any of his staff (which includes three waitresses and a busboy) he lets his bouncer, Buster, loose on them.
The Black Gull has prices that range from reasonable to downright cheap, usually about half what you’d pay elsewhere. The quality of the booze is low too, but priced right for the thirsty. Jace’s one departure from the way his uncle ran the place is that he now serves “food,” of a sort—the foulest, greasiest fish stew anyone has probably ever seen. A new batch gets whipped up every few days or so, as needed.
Sargis, aka Duncan Gork, sits down at the bar and hands Jace a few gold coins. One for the drinks this night, one for some information, and one to be informed when the Guardians and Bernard come in.
Rhea sits down a few paces away, also at the bar, and drinks her own drink out of Salem’s flask.
In the corner of the room, Jace points out a red haired captain to Sargis, as well as an elder captain who is currently dancing on a table on the other side of the establishment. Out of the corner of his eye, Sargis sees Valeria make a beeline for the captain with red hair.
Revas follows Valeria, not wanting to leave her alone. Together, they learn that the captain is called Etienne, and likely is Ciriane. She is confident and ready to handle any trouble. When Valeria offers her some wolf wine, she drinks it with little effort.
After some conversation and some flirting from Val’s side, they decide to charter Etienne’s ship, the Lonely Siren, for their trip back home as well as to Redcliffe, though they don’t mention that to Etienne.
They are charged 4 gold pieces a day because of Etienne’s Wind Weaving skills, which will get them to their destination faster.
When the Guardians walk in, Rhea stands at the door and Sargis stands at the ready. Before a fight can break out, however, Jace makes it clear that they need to take their fighting outside.
They do so, and the fight is a pretty one-sided one. As Rhea constantly dazes Bernard, he is not able to lead his men, and unable to defend himself as Sargis cuts into him time and time again.
Bernard is slain, and his hand is tossed to the guardians that rush back to Dimitru. Before they leave, Sargis calls to them that he was “giving Captain Dimitru his right hand back”.
After getting the meet up time for Etienne, the gang goes to the Golden Jug to sleep for the night.
Sleep comes for all but rest does not as Sargis, Valeria, Arna, and Hildr all have the same tainted nightmare.
“Blood is seeping from your mouth. You have fed. Mother gave birth to you and now you’ve consumed flesh for the first time. And yet you are all but sated.
Hunger drives you forward, towards the surface. Your brethren are following, and together you will crush everything in your path. Master commands you.
You face opposition, but they don’t stand a chance against you and the many. You cut them into pieces, many, tiny pieces.
Then master calls. You will move on. More places to conquer, more people to kill. You follow master’s instructions and make your way back into the deep roads.
Behind you, your brethren are dragging women down below with them. Good. There shall me more like Mother. You laugh to yourself, bloody drool dripping down onto your armour.
Soon there will be even more of you."