Our heroes pull into Ket on the seventh day. The place is swarming with people and buildings much like old London. Toughas hasn’t seen such a large city, and it’s been quite a while since Lucien has laid eyes on any place like this. Hester however seems unimpressed.
On the dock is a line of men – and at the head of the line, is the guy we let go of back in the hotel! He is shouting and carrying on about how they will not be able to escape Denmeal’s reach and they must turn themselves in immediately. Master Jim starts to pull away from the dock as fast as he can. The men from the dock pile into a war ship behind us. The Painstakingly is not moving fast enough and Densmeal’s men will catch up to the heroes quickly. Hester pays the men in rubies for the cost of the contents of the hold. Jim dumps the contents of the hold and we quickly sail off, losing those that chased us. In our hurry we get a bit lost. The captain takes out the star charts once the sun sets and they start talking about what to do next. No one really seems to know, so they decide to sleep on it and wake to the smell of bacon in the morning.
It’s decided that they’ll ride the boat until they get just south of Din and then go about their way. It’s about a two week journey that’s mostly uneventful. The trio then finds themselves on a long boat just south of Din, they have left the Painstakingly. Once they get to land, Hester rolls around on the sand. As they start to walk toward town they get intercepted by four gnarly people who want to get squirrelly with us or get paid off. Toughas intimidates them by bellowing out an orcish roar and they run away. The group walks on for a few hours and comes across a small bar right on the beach. They enjoy some ale, chowder, and then head to a general store for some maps and other items.
After the General store, they find a hotel and rent the penthouse for the night. Lucien and Hester go to the bank to take care of some business. Lucien notices that they are being watched. They quickly get out of the bank and lose the woman who was watching them. They return to the hotel to a paranoid Toughas. Lucien disguises himself with magic to go and buy a cart and murgo. He finds a decent second hand cart and a good murgo. The cart and murgo will be ready the next morning. Hester and Toughas go down to the bar and enjoy a few drinks and some entertainment.
The next morning they wake, get disguised and go to pick up the cart and murgo. However no one knows how to drive a wagon. Go figure. So they now need to hire a driver as well. They hire on Tom the elf for a few days to teach Lucien how to drive the carriage and they are off and headed out of town! After a few days travel Tom leaves and hitchhikes back to Din.
Lucien drives along the ocean road and they come to a roadhouse. They go to get a room and some food. Toughas drop their bags in the room and head to the bar. The bar has a rowdiness to it, and when they all take their seats, a nobleman is wandering about asking each table something. He then comes by and shows them a picture of the guy who attempted to steal Hester's bag, and yelled at them from the dock. He asks them if they have seen that guy? They all say they haven't seen him and go back to the room. Having been on the road for so long they sleep for too long…but get downstairs for elevensies at the restaurant. On their way down, they see the city guards angrily interacting with the Noble. There is a big brawl and the Noble fires off a powerbolt at one of the armored men, and then pulls out his sword. The Noble kills some of the soldiers, wounded the rest and rode off to the south. They check out of the hotel, go out to the attached barn to retrieve Pickles the murgo and the carriage. The stable hands have been up all night tending to Pickles. That seems odd, but maybe these lads are just extra focused. The group thinks nothing of it and head back off to the north.
The trip takes them a few weeks, but it's mostly a quiet trip. Toughas had bought some cards and travel games at the General store in Din, so they pass the time in the carriage playing, and Hester teaching Toughas remedial Hillman speech. As luck would have it, the carriage is a sleeper and rather nice on the inside, even if it is rough around the edges on the outside.
They roll up on Moundsville and it is a hillman village. It is quaint and all the buildings are low and look warm. There is a light snow across the mounds. Hester leads Lucien up to Uncle Andar's house and it’s a mansion. It looks creepy from the road and the gate is locked. She gets a boost over the wall by Toughas, and runs up to the house then runs back with a key. She unlocks the gate and leads us to the barn. It lights up by itself and Hester asks the room to tend to our carriage, murgo and take our items to our room. Invisible butlers start moving along, gathering their things and doing as Hester asked and we go up to the house. The group is greeted by an elf and they are quite confused. Asking for clarification - apparently, he was adopted by Hester’s grandfather, and is not a blood relative to Hester. Hester catches him up to speed, telling him everything about their travels, their danger, the wand and all else. He agrees that they must go get the wand and that Densmeal's people are watching and will be after the wand and us. In an effort to be helpful, he offers his mage skills. He thinks about what he could do and what he could send with us and decides to take Lucien into the lab and make helpful oils. Meanwhile Hester and Toughas go to the kitchen and raid the grub box and larder.
The mages make five vials of "kapow" oil. (Otherwise known as oil of impact which work effectively like the spell “charging”) While they are working Tough is asking Hester about the crypt they're walking into. Apparently, there is a zombie security system set up. The Lady Densmeal tricked Hester into bringing her men to the crypt a few months ago and they tripped the security system once inside and Hester ran away. So the zombies are definitely up and around. Hester and Toughas end up calling it a night and head to bed.
As Andars and Lucien finish up, a mechanical crow flies in and lands on Andars shoulder. Andars bends his head and listens. The crow tells him about some humans who were looking through family records down in the city and house ownership files. It will be soon that they will be up to the house asking questions. Andars thanks the crow, sets him on a perch and shakes his head. Lucien and Andars then both head to bed. They all sleep until Hester wakes Toughas up for elevensies. She’s shaking her head and can’t believe he missed first breakfast. Toughas has the butler “hands” wash his clothes and the butler hands try to take the clothes he's wearing right off his back. He’ll never figure out how these spells work. Lucien finally wakes up just after elevensies is over and tells everyone about what they made in the lab.
The crow returns again and tells Andars that the Densmeal's men will be on their way soon. Andars packs up and goes to the cellar where there is a portal door. He goes through it to a beach. What magic…..The three get ready for their day trip to the cemetery. Lucien goes down to the barn and sees the carriage is pristine and fixed to original specs. The murgo (Pickles) is well fed and shined up on all his scales. Lucien asks that the carriage be dusted up just a bit and the invisible butlers get to it. There is a house near the cemetery that is reserved for people who are bringing dead to the cemetery. Lucien has the butlers build a coffin at the house, fill it with pillows wrapped in a sheet and then they put it on top of the carriage. The group hopes that will fool the people of the house and they won't want to look inside the coffin.
To be continued....