Although the evening had already turned into night, Tilliach, Gloria and Blaze decide they will visit Alven, only to find out he's not at the Silver Flood Inn. Connar and Ganfar, the owners of the Silver Flood, confirm that Alven’s rent is paid up for a few tendays.
While talking about Alven, Connar offhandedly says aloud, “Come to think of it, I didn’t see his girl, Natyssa, yesterday evening, either. Seems strange they’d leave with the roads so dangerous.” Connar and Ganfar identify Natyssa as a courtesan who has stayed at the Lizard’s Gizzard for a couple tendays now, although she occasionally stays with someone in the Silver Flood and is a recent regular in the tavern here. Connar says, “She’s a nice lady. Don’t blame her that she’s reluctant to leave, what with all that’s happening around here.” “And with the money to be had,” says Ganfar, elbowing Connar in the ribs. After their stop at the Silver Flood Inn the trio follows up and heads for the Lizards Gizzard, again without the result they had hoped for. Neither Alven, nor Natyssa are present.
In the meanwhile, Illiar hopes to find a suitable location for his ritual. With al the difficulties experienced at the gate, he’d like to stay inside of the city. He tries his luck at Chauntea’s temple, locally known as the Harvest House. A large building with an open courtyard in the middle, lush with plants. Illiar is greeted by the chief priest, Hadeshah. She allows the elven ranger to use the courtyard for his ritual and gives him a large wooden bowl in which he can prepare his offerings. He starts his meditations and enters a hallucinating ritual. The next hours are blurry, with visions as if he were all kind of animals, birds high in the skies, bears slowly walking through the forest and even dogs skulking the fields.
When Illiar wakes up, the sun is already rising. The new bond he felt with nature feels intensified. He notices a pen overcrowded with pigeons. As he steps towards the dovecote in order to investigate Hadeshah greets him again. She explains that within the last two days. almost all the homing pigeons from the temple in Julkoun arrived, with no messages attached, in Harvest House. Hadeshah sees the flock’s staggered arrival as an alarming omen. She used a speak with animals ritual yesterday, but the birds could tell her only that their keeper let them go and they didn’t see him again. Some pigeons were shot with arrows while flying away. Hadeshah is very worried of what could have happened in Julkoun and asks Illiar to share any information with her, should they find out.
The next day, Jekk leaves Daggerford for Firehammer Hold early in the morning. He and his small party of warriors depart after a hearty farewell breakfast at dawn in the River Shining Tavern. Tilliach heads for the Decorated Man, not only to ask about the rumours of Julkoun, but also to sell the silks they had found in the dragon’s lair. A rock gnome tailor named Ballick runs the Decorated Man, living in the tailor shop with a large extended family. Even though his own garments aren’t exactly fashionable, Tilliach manages to arrange a good deal on the bolts of silk and the gold threads. Ballick confirms that he hasn’t received goods from Julkoun. Most shipments he receives come early. A human customer mentions that, yesterday at evening prayer, she overheard Hadeshah, the priestess of Harvest House, sending one of her assistants to talk to Sherlen Miller about Julkoun.
After Tilliach’s visit to the tailor, the group comes together again. Morningglow Tower is their next stop in their search for Alven. At Morninglow Tower, Luc Sunbright is peeved because Alven didn’t show up for work this morning. While talking, the priest shows the characters incomplete work in the temple. Luc knows Alven isn’t at the Silver Flood Inn, either, because the priest sent an assistant to fetch the sculptor. Archibald tries to lighten the mood of the cleric by telling their adventurers at the lost temple. They donate the garments they found and the holy symbol. Luc says he will send a messenger back to Waterdeep so the clergy of Amaunator can reclaim the forgotten temple in the swamp.
Tilliach tries to enter the duke’s palace, but is refused at the guard. They speak of their suspicions against Alven, but even that message can’t gain him entrance. Their message will be passed on to the duke, and an assurance is made that if they return the Bloke a reward will be ready.
After a short counsel, our adventurers decide they will head for Julkoun next. Before they will leave Daggerford, they still have to visit Sherlen. At the jail, Sherlen broods over Daggerford’s problems. She tells of tragical news and tells Grengel commited suicide that night. Sherlen questioned him last night and then left him locked in a cell until the duke decided his fate. But Grengel hanged himself, as Sherlen found when she checked on him this morning.
Sherlen recalls Grengel as a quiet young man who seemed “kind of soft.” After the incident at the gate, he claimed he heard a female voice in his head that told him to shoot. He tried not to, but it was as if his body ignored him and instead heeded the voice. The voice seemed familiar to him, but malevolent. In all, Grengel was horrified at his actions and wanted to make amends. Sherlen is shocked he killed himself, since he seemed sincerely prepared to face the consequences when she left him last night. He had no visitors and has no relatives, although he has friends among the militia. Sherlen suggests the militia regulars might know more about Grengel than she does. The best place to talk to the regulars is the drill field.
Sherlen also speaks of the troubled contact with Julkoun. An evening visit from one of Hadeshah’s acolytes, combined with Sherlen’s knowledge of the rumors about Julkoun, has the militia captain concerned. She openly suggests the adventurers should go to Julkoun to investigate. She expressed her concerns to the duke yesterday evening, and Maldwyn is willing to pay mercenaries to look into the situation 25 gp per person.
When they leave the jail, they hear a racket and see a crowd down the Horse Way to the south. Under the gaze of Duke Maldwyn on horseback, ducal soldiers are searching the shanties for the Delimbiyr Bloke. The crowd is mostly tenants whom the duke has briefly forced out of their homes. Maldwyn can be heard shouting, “I don’t care if these people have to stand here all day, I want the Bloke back!”
Also present are Curran Corvalin and Lady Morwen, the duke’s sister, both of whom try to calm the duke. Darrondar Gweth, the priest of Tempus, watches with contempt from the door of his home. Maldwyn gives them only baleful glares until Lady Morwen says the Bloke is “just an old stone,” and some murmuring and soft laughter comes from the crowd.
Maldwyn becomes enraged, saying, “This theft is an affront, and none of you will make light of it! What has been stolen must be returned, and the thieves punished, or I’ll have all you vagabonds expelled from my domain by force! Perhaps you’ll learn some gratitude outside of my protection!”
When the search turns up nothing, the duke storms back to his castle with Morwen…
Filarion Filvenderson — found on the drill field training scouts — confirms he helped organize an expedition to Harpshield Castle more than a month ago. The treasure seekers hoped to find a hidden vault from the times of the Kingdom of Man. This hidden trove is thought to be in the castle cellars or dungeons. Filarion knows the explorers also prepared for fighting gricks, which are rumored to infest the underground areas of the ruins. Orcs had also been seen in the area. The retired thief assumes the treasure hunters met an unfortunate end, or he says with a shrug and a wry grin, they swindled him out of his cut.
The group asks around the drill field looking for friends of Grengel. Most regulars are tight lipped, given what happened to Grengel. Although Grengel was quiet, the others liked him. He spent a lot of his free time in the Lady Luck Tavern, and he was “a killer at lanceboard.” Ashli, a female militia member then says, sadly, “He became a lot less fun when he started spending time with that tavern girl, Natyssa.” It is obvious to tell by Ashli’s manner and body language that she was fond of Grengel and dislikes Natyssa. “Natyssa usually stays at the Lizard’s Gizzard, when she isn’t being paid to sleep somewhere else” says Ashli.
With this new information, the adventurers try to find Natyssa one more time. When they arrive at the Lizard’s Gizzard, the proprietor, Sasha, fetches Natyssa, who is an attractive, well-fed young human with dark hair and differently colored eyes (one brown and one blue). She has nice clothes and simple bronze jewelry. Tilliach and Daardendrian waste no time to start off an interrogation. Natyssa has no idea where Alven is. She was planning to go to the Silver Flood to see him this evening. When she hears Alven is missing, she says, shocked, “I don’t know why he would leave or where he would go. He’s from Waterdeep, but he still has a lot of work to do here. And the road is so dangerous these days.” The news of Grengel’s actions at the gate has her shocked, saying he was always “so gentle.” After Daardendrian shares the news of Grengel’s suicide she says he rarely talked about himself, so she didn’t know him well. Daardendrian is still very suspicious and tries to intimidate her, without much success. Fear of Sasha’s reputation to protect ‘her girls’ keeps them from trying more and Natyssa walks off. The group then concludes they might learn more later and set their priorities to Julkoun. They head back to Sherlen Miller in order to get some horses…