At that moment, a small shadow in the back of the room stepped out and introduced himself as the halfling Nork Shortwart, cleric of Avandra. Once Aramis left the room, the foursome decided to take the gold to the Temple of Fates in the district of Muselier and purchase some healing potions – just in case. Luinwe asked what bag of gold, for it had disappeared off the table. At that point Nork knowingly volunteered Luinwe as treasure keeper. Nork led them to the temple and introduced the three to Olinra Ravevine, the high priestess of Avandra. After attempting to talk her down a bit in price, which seemed to amuse the older Olinra, she agreed to part with two potions for 70 gold.
They chose to save the remaining 30 gold for traveling expenses, trusting Luinwe to keep good faith with the group. Nork, however, seemed to be keeping track of the amount – just in case. Agreeing to meet the following morning, each went off to finish their business in town. That night, Nova left a servant a message for her father stating that, “I’ll be safe. I’ll be back, don’t worry.” Feolas explained his quest to Master Maeule, who wholeheartedly endorsed the endeavor, telling his apprentice that there comes a time when real experience counts far more that study.
That next morning, the foursome met in the Loupenmart and set out to the northern village of Saxau. The trip took the better part of the day, and as night stretched her mantle across the landscape, they found themselves at the Black Steer Inn.
Fullsun – Second Ten-day
After taking the only available room and having the maid Lanel bring in some extra cots, they made their way down to the common room, which was filled with lumberjacks, a few fey from the Loupenholt, and some prospectors, including a hobgoblin prospector. After the innkeep Benet finished his story of a huge, wagon-sized, midnight black, steer who left the woods to punish lumberjacks that had been disrespectful of the Loupenholt, everyone got around to drinking and carousing. A few seemed interested in the foursome and when they said they were heading to the Endeleu Highlands looking for gold, the hobgoblin warned them of some flying monsters in the northern hills. Nork sensed that the hob wasn’t telling the entire truth and Luinwe noticed that one of the goblins had nearly disappeared into a corner and was studying the group intently.
Still, after a suitable time had passed, the group headed upstairs to their room. Luinwe and Feolas decided that watches were called for, with Luinwe taking the first watch while Feolas tranced. During Luinwe’s watch, he noted a shadow at the door. He judged the shadow to be a small creature and heard some fiddling with the lock and a very quiet snap. The shadow grumbled under its breath and left. A little while later, the shadow returned, fiddled with the lock for a few seconds and left again. Nothing else occurred that evening.
The next morn, the group left Saxau and entered the Loupenholt. At home in the wood, Luinwe kept them on course. A few miles form their destination, Luinwe spotted a large pair of eyes watching them from the branches of a nearby tree, and then they were gone. Sensing the magic of the fey nearby, the party made no hostile moves. In that grove, they located a shallow cave that could serve as a camp point for their forays into the valley three miles away. Although it may take an hour to reach the caves, the distance would provide safety. Camping for the night, careful to gather only dropped wood for the fire, they contemplated what they would find in the morning.