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The Westgate Campaign Chronicles - serial

Carlo-One

Villager
While they were in the Market, the group decided to stop in at Gondeth's Mageries, hoping to identify the books owned by Jamorin, the deceased necromancer. Gondeth recognized Aerikoth from his previous visit as a brother in the Art, and commented on Aerikoth's new robes. Rahnee showed Jamorin's ancient arcane tome to Gondeth and asked him to examine it. Brok-Tul said that he had attempted to use his deity's insight to divine the book's nature, but had only received a splitting headache in return. After some study, Gondeth declared that the volume was indeed very old - from a previous version of the Weave, or perhaps from before the Weave existed. This explained the failure of the identify spell. Gondeth stated that the book was imbued with magic, but did not have magical powers in itself. The subject matter was transmutation and death magic, in other words an ancient treatise on lichdom. (Would that all such materials were burned in a righteous fire! How many ills in Faerun have been caused by their existence, across the centuries. --R)

Upon hearing this, Brok-Tul's face darkened and he motioned Gondeth to step closer, revealing in hushed tones that rumors were swirling about the Night Masks now being run by powerful, intelligent undead. Some concern was expressed by all present at the possibility, although Aerikoth found amusing the others’ worries about what particular form the "wrong" of the Masks took. Brok-Tul also showed Jamorin's personal notes to Gondeth. They mentioned some artifacts and the "Seven Lost Gods" hills outside of Westgate. Gondeth explained that the hills contained the sites of old, even ancient shrines. The hills were used by many during a period in Westgate history when temples were banned in the city itself, with the old shrines mostly crumbling into disuse once the ban had been lifted.

Gondeth appreciated the trust the party had showed him, although he politely declined Brok-Tul's request to participate in enchanting items for their planned custom equipment shop. Gondeth asked the company if he could offer them compensation in exchange for the tomes. Aerikoth stated that, in compensation, he only wished to know the results of Gondeth's research - dryly adding, after Brok-Tul's face grew red, that he however could not speak for his companions. Gondeth said he understood and would offer the group 1,000 gold and a spell scroll of medium power to Aerikoth, with the proviso that the group gave up all claim on the tome for the future; results of the research would, however, be shared with Aerikoth. Gondeth unlocked a strongbox and passed the gold over, Aerikoth deciding to select the scroll at a later time. (Aerikoth's thirst for magical knowledge is becoming evident. The mage seeks power, rather than wealth, it seems. --C)

On the way back from Gondeth's, the party stopped at Aurora's Emporium, where Rahnee, with much grumbling, left a sheaf of notes to be sent to her brother Madrigal in Waterdeep; her gold pouch did not jingle nearly as much after she left. Once safely in the meeting room at the Gatereach guest house, the party reviewed their plans, with Marik's discovery of a sewer entrance near the place where Captain Yar's body had been found figuring prominently in the discussion. Brok-Tul reluctantly suggested another avenue of possible information on the Fire Knives, namely his old adversary/acquaintance Jamal, who was known to him as a Harper. Aerikoth expressed his distaste at the prospect of meeting her again, but indicated he would pursue whatever path the group thought best.

Rahnee brought up the matter of the gold received from Gondeth in return for Jamorin's ancient tome. She asserted, politely but firmly, that only Jamorin's original companions should share the wealth, as they were the ones who had taken the risks; there was general agreement that this was fair. Aerikoth, for his part, freely gave up his share of the gold, while Brok-Tul asked Rahnee to hold it for future investment in his cover business. Rahnee stated she would use her share for the company's needs. Once this discussion was completed, Jokull told the others he needed to go to the Market district to make some purchases and then attend to some personal matters.
 
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Carlo-One

Villager
After some debate over how best to contact Jamal without drawing undue attention, Aerikoth cleared his throat and offered to arrange for a message to be delivered, although did not specify how he would do it. It was agreed that Jamal could name the place and time of the meeting, so she would not feel she was falling into a trap, and that the party should not be explicitly named; only a short reference to their activities on behalf of Pahar was included in the note.

The group had an undisturbed rest during the night. They awakened and Brok-Tul was met by Janatha in the entry hall, bringing breakfast from the Gatereach Inn. Aerikoth remained in his quarters until the end of breakfast, emerging to inform the others that he had received a note from Jamal, setting a meeting at three bells in the afternoon at the Empty Fish tavern outside of West Gate. The party then headed to Shalush Myrkeer's shop for Rahnee's appointment with the merchant. (The other members of the party continue to be - blissfully? willfully? - ignorant of the mage's capabilities and actions. Rahnee in particular would do well to pay more attention. --R)

After they were ushered into Shalush's office, he greeted Rahnee obsequiously and inquired about her status in the Waterdeep nobility and her business in Westgate. Shalush paid great attention to Rahnee's banter, but seemed slightly bored with her business proposal to sell custom equipment and the introduction of Brok-Tul. Shalush channeled the conversation back to the doings of the nobility, asking Rahnee if she had any connections with noble houses in Westgate. Rahnee showed him her writ from Baron Pahar; in response to Shalush's question as to who Pahar was, she told him he was a scion of House Thalavar. Shalush appeared somewhat surprised at this, stating that he knew much about the Westgate houses and had never heard of the Baron. However, he (somewhat tentatively) expressed approval that Rahnee was associated with House Thalavar.

Shalush asked Rahnee where she was staying in Westgate and if she could get him an invitation to Castle Thalavar. Rahnee deflected his query, saying that she was not staying at the castle and she would be uncomfortable discussing specifics about her connections with Westgate nobility. Shalush then tried another tack, indicating that if Rahnee were known to House Bleth, he would be happy to invite her to the Blue Banner Inn for dinner. When Rahnee demurred, Shalush huffily declared that the Blue Banner was one of the best places in the city, regardless. Rahnee relented and agreed to a dinner there in three days' time.

After the group departed Shalush Myrkeer's, Rahnee complained of sore feet and the company decamped in the nearby Black Eye tavern, which featured half-orc bouncers and a thuggish-looking clientele. The group drew attention from a man who entered and spoke to the bartender, then approached Rahnee. He introduced himself as Khair and observed that if Rahnee was looking to hire help for a particular job - why else would a woman like her be there, he thought - he was skilled with a sword and had the eyes of a hawk. The party noted that Khair spoke accented Common and Rahnee observed to him, apparently recognizing his accent, that he was far from home. Khair said it had been a long time since he left to make his way in the world. After some banter, Khair indicated that should Rahnee wish to hire him, she could leave word with the bartender, whose name was Mard. After the group departed the tavern, Marik was dispatched with a large amount of gold to procure supplies for the guest house. (Hah! Another example of the trusting nature of the party. Just wait. --R)
 

Carlo-One

Villager
Dead and Not-So-Dead Ends

Rahnee, Brok-Tul, and Aerikoth headed toward the district outside West Gate, in order to be at the Empty Fish tavern in time for the meeting with Jamal. Brok-Tul initially lead them on a short detour into a cul-de-sac in the Mulsantir's Gate district, which he said happened to be one of his "old haunts" as a criminal. (The half-orc's candor about his past is admirable. --C). The group then separated, with Aerikoth taking a more direct route outside West Gate while Brok-Tul and Rahnee meandered around inside the city walls. After linking up at a road junction, the three entered the Empty Fish together. The group observed that its occupants spoke in low tones and ignored others present; according to Brok-Tul, the place had a reputation for being a discreet meeting spot.

Brok-Tul bought a round of Suzale and Westgate Ruby, then they found a quiet table. After some adjusting of chairs, the group had begun to settle in when Jokull walked through the door and sat down at a table across the room. He ordered a bottle of Suzale and remained at his table until approached by Rahnee and invited to join the others. Jokull indicated he had spotted the group in the Market district and decided to follow them at a distance. Jokull inquired why they were at the tavern, and Brok-Tul indicated it was to meet Jamal, the Harper.

After a short time, Jamal walked in and spoke briefly with the bartender, Guster. Brok- Tul stood up and went to the bar, offering to buy her a drink and inviting her back to their table. Jamal was introduced to Jokull, who gentlemanly kissed her outstretched hand, pleasing her to no end - not least because she could then tell Brok-Tul he could learn a thing or two from Jokull. Following some introductory banter, Brok-Tul cut to the chase and told Jamal that he believed a new organization in town had put out a contract on him, after he started his custom gear business. She was quite skeptical of Brok-Tul's story, telling him that if anyone was out to get him, it was almost assuredly his former associates, the Night Masks, not some anonymous group with an alleged link to one of the noble houses. (I'm sure it was an even sillier story hearing it in person than it looks like on parchment. The half-orc says he had a change of heart and left the Masks, but perhaps he just was not able to hack it in the organization. An uncharitable view, admittedly. --R)

Jamal asked if Brok-Tul and the group had made any progress in investigating necromantic activity in Westgate, the reason for their previous meeting. Jamal said that despite what she considered Brok-Tul's paranoid ramblings, she'd offer him help if he showed results on the necromantic problem. Jamal was informed about Jamorin's ancient tome, now in Gondeth's hands to research; she showed a spark of interest and asked for permission to speak to Gondeth about it. A heated discussion ensued after permission was initially refused, with Jamal and the group accusing each other of being unhelpful.

Aerikoth broke in and indicated he would have no objection to Jamal's queries, as long as she did not try to balk Gondeth's research. Somewhat surprised, she replied that she wanted results as well and would certainly agree. Jamal said that, once she had spoken with Gondeth and obtained information to her satisfaction, she would recontact the group, and asked where they were staying. Aerikoth countered by saying that she could expect another visit from a raven soon. Jamal said she appreciated the visits from Aerikoth's familiar, apparently liking ravens, and obtained the familiar's name - Zeluth - as well as the knowledge that he liked corn. Jamal stood up, offering her hand to be kissed again by Jokull, and sauntered off.
 

Carlo-One

Villager
The party headed back to the Gatereach guest house, where Rahnee changed into her leathers in preparation for exploring the sewer entrance in the Harbor Loop that Marik had found. Jokull mentioned that he knew its location, having briefly explored it himself once, and could lead the rest to it. (Evidence that the wayward Cormyrian has his own private agenda, as will become more apparent. --R). After descending into the sewers, Aerikoth lit a torch and the party carefully began exploring. They encountered and messily defeated a pack of diseased sewer rats not far from the entry point. Exploring further, Brok-Tul noticed a faded old mark of the Night Masks indicating danger; it seemed that the mark was at least several years old. Brok-Tul expressed his frustration at the apparent abandonment of the sewers by the Masks and neglect of the old methods. During some additional exploring, the party was attacked by several dire rats, which were easily finished off after being hit by Aerikoth's sleep spell.

After running into several dead ends in the maze of sewer corridors, the group retraced its steps and ventured into a new area, where they encountered a giant spider. After it was safely dispatched, the party noted that its newly-spun web had blocked the door leading forward. Brok-Tul slashed at the web and managed to only make a small rent in it. Aerikoth applied his torch more effectively, leaving nothing of the web to block the party's path once it had finished burning. The group advanced cautiously into a large chamber with a fetid pool in the center. Brok-Tul spotted a large number of diseased-looking rats congregated there, all of whom rushed the group, along with some of their dire cousins. Once the creatures were all gone, the group explored the remainder of the sewer area, coming upon a room with another exit to the surface. In the room was a green slime, which once killed yielded a single gold piece inside its jellied carcass.

The only other thing of note in the chamber was a large, dried bloodstain under the exit to the surface. Brok-Tul identified the bloodstain (from his long experience) as being around a month old - placing it around the same time Captain Yar was reported killed. The stain was smeared leading in the direction of the door, as if whatever had made it had been dragged in that direction. Having finished their exploration of the sewer area, the party clambered up the sewer chain to daylight, coming out in the Harbor Loop district, some distance southeast of the original entrance they had gone down. While the group attempted to clean up, Jokull thoughtfully noted that the coin he had retrieved from the slime was Cormyrian. Based on an idea of Brok-Tul's, the party headed to the Temple District, thinking that perhaps one of the clerics could tell something about the coin's provenance. There, they ran into Marik, who had completed his shopping expedition for the guest house. Although most of what he had asked about would require extensive (and expensive) remodeling, he at least had been able to order a table and chairs for the meeting room.

After pausing to wash in a fountain, the party headed to the temple of Tymora, where a priest took the coin for examination, but regretfully declared there was nothing he could do. Rahnee thanked him for his time and made a donation to the temple. Once outside the temple, Aerikoth pulled Rahnee aside for a hushed conversation. Rahnee then inquired after the nearest baths, becoming disappointed when Brok-Tul explained the last public one had closed down some years before after a series of murders on the premises. On the way back to their guest house, Rahnee said she had to stop and use the bathroom.

(This first foray by the company into the Westgate sewers was a messy business, evidently. As my predecessor 'R' highlights, it was not the first time for Jokull, however - what was he doing down there? Pursuing his individual vendetta, perhaps. --C)

Once back at the guest house meeting room, the group assessed what information they had and re-examined the scribed report on Captain Yar's death. They concluded that they must have discovered his murder site at the Harbor Loop sewer entrance with the bloodstain below it. It was decided to leave a message for their Thalavar agent querying if a Speak with Dead spell had been used on the captain's body.

Some other possible avenues of approach against Houses Bleth and Cormaeril were then discussed. Rahnee gave Marik a large gold pouch in case he was able to find Khair, the mercenary from the Black Eye tavern, and convince him to gather information for the group. While discussions were going on, Marik absented himself briefly, returning with a crossbow and modified grappling hook that could be shot from it. Marik mentioned that he had picked it up in Sembia and noted that he might be able to scout rooftops if necessary. Brok-Tul asked Aerikoth if he could possibly charm one of the House guards and extract information that way. Aerikoth indicated he did not know that particular spell, but might be able to acquire it on a scroll. The mage was somewhat skeptical that Gondeth would have the spell, but said he would nonetheless inquire. The party then split up, with Marik leaving the house, saying he would be back shortly.

The group passed an uneventful night at the guest house and - except for Rahnee - ate a fine breakfast, reconvening in the meeting room. Rahnee could be heard moaning periodically upstairs; apparently the trip to the sewers had been none too healthy for her. It was agreed to split up and pursue different tasks: Marik was to see if Khair was at the Black Eye and also scout the area around the Blue Banner Inn; Brok-Tul and Jokull were to pursue the idea of renting a property from which to set up Brok's custom equipment business as a cover; and Aerikoth was to check on Gondeth's progress in researching the ancient tome found in Jamorin's belongings. After a few hours, the four reunited over the lunch table in the Gatereach common room. Brok-Tul went to check on Rahnee, who was weak but appeared on the road to recovery.
 
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Carlo-One

Villager
Encounters at the Blue Banner and Castle Cormaeril

Brok-Tul looked in on Rahnee again after lunch, helping her to the guest house’s meeting room and settling her in one of the newly-delivered chairs. The half-orc cleric then headed off, saying something about hunting down supplies. The others soon joined Rahnee and confirmed that she was up and moving, if not very happy. Marik summarized the results of his scouting the Blue Banner Inn. He had observed that three City Watch guards were outside the door to the street, while two House Bleth guards were inside the door and another two by the stairs leading up, along with five armed nobles in the inn's main room. The guards were described as alert and well-equipped. Marik also observed that the outside of the inn, which took up much of the city block it was on, was fortress-like, with steel bars and shutters framing the windows. He indicated that he hadn't seen anyone he recognized while he was at the inn.

In response to a question from Rahnee, Aerikoth told the others he had spoken with Gondeth, who had agreed not to reveal any results of his research on the ancient tome to Jamal, should she visit him. Gondeth had described it as a difficult translation from Netherese and to return in a tenday. Jokull said that he and Brok-Tul had attempted to find a place to set up the custom gear business, but had failed; a message was left in the secret location asking for Thalavar support in this endeavor. (The half-orc is nothing if not persistent whenever an idea gets into his head. However, this leads me to question whether persistence should in fact be considered a virtue. --R). Aerikoth mentioned a place he had run across in the Harbor Loop, an establishment named the Quivering Thumb, which hosted contests featuring pit fighting and martial prowess. The proprietor informed Aerikoth that some of the city's notables habitually attended the matches, with the next one due to occur in two days' time. Aerikoth suggested that some of them go to the match as well, which met with general agreement.

The conversation turned to the prospect of the following day's scheduled dinner with Shalush Myrkeer at the Blue Banner. Rahnee confessed that she was apprehensive about the lie she had told Shalush about having contacts with House Bleth. Discussion ensued on the best way to approach the dinner, while at the same time covering the party's tracks. It was decided that Rahnee, in her current weakened state, should stay at the guest house for the time being, while the other three would separately seek out information at the Blue Banner. Aerikoth mentioned that he had previously volunteered his services to House Bleth, but had at the time declined to participate in the mage trial he was told was required. (Some further insight into the wizard's independent activities. --C)

Marik, Aerikoth, and Jokull later arrived in a loose group outside the Blue Banner. While the other two went through the door, Marik briefly distracted the City Watchmen with a story, then entered himself. Jokull purchased a bottle of Westgate Ruby and sat in the back of the room, far away from Aerikoth, who chose to occupy a table in a quiet area on the other side. The bartender observed that Marik had been in earlier, alone, and two guards standing nearby walked over and questioned Marik about his business at the inn. Marik explained that he had been waiting for someone earlier and that now he had stopped in on his way home from an errand. The guards told Marik to enjoy his stout, but then kept a close eye on him as he finished the drink, then departed. While Jokull was purchasing another drink at the bar, Aerikoth approached the Bleth Seneschal, who - after some prompting - recalled his earlier conversation with Aerikoth regarding employment possibilities. Aerikoth expressed renewed interest in being "examined" by the chief Bleth mage, which appeared to amuse the two nobles with the seneschal. Hull, the seneschal, told Aerikoth to return in five days' time if he were serious, in order to meet with the House Bleth mage. Aerikoth indicated his assent and departed, while Jokull remained and chatted up the bartender.

Some time later, the party regrouped at the guest house meeting room and filled Rahnee in on their activities. Marik limped in last, wounded, explaining that he had made an independent foray into the sewer area beneath South Gate looking for an alternate entrance into the Blue Banner. He succeeded only in finding some rats and a stink beetle. Marik expressed his frustration that the Bleth guards had zeroed in on him during his second visit, leading him to depart early in order to not attract too much attention.

Jokull commented that after Aerikoth departed, the Bleth nobles were snickering about him, but Aerikoth just shrugged and said he was not surprised. Jokull continued, explaining that from his conversation with the bartender, he had learned that the Bleths, as exiles, clearly were opposed to the current Obarskyr regime in Cormyr; Jokull had pretended to share their views. However, he noted that nothing incriminating was said. Jokull mentioned that, using the alias "Josurr", he had successfully made friends with the bartender. The bartender had promised to save him a seat at the following night's bardic competition, which would be the inn's dinner entertainment. Rahnee said she would draft a message to be delivered to the Bleth Seneschal at the Blue Banner, in an effort to introduce herself prior to the dinner. She then made arrangements with Jandrico Swift to have it delivered, the group afterwards retiring to their separate rooms in the Gatereach guest house.
 

Carlo-One

Villager
The following morning, Rahnee received a note from the Bleth Seneschal, informing her that he would be willing to entertain a formal appointment with her at the Blue Banner two days hence on Uktar 11. After receiving the note, Rahnee told the others she had to run to Aurora's Emporium in order to send a note to her clan leaders. Upon her return, Aerikoth passed her his sketch of the Blue Banner's interior, which she thanked him for and studied. Brok-Tul by this point was absent again, having set out again in his seemingly monomaniacal quest for supplies, dragging Marik along with him.

After some discussion about the upcoming dinner at the Blue Banner and how to best get at Cormaeril, the other suspect House, Marik walked in, mentioning with a grin that he had managed to get lost in the crowd while on the shopping expedition, leaving Brok-Tul to continue his quest alone. Marik was tasked with finding a suitable junior member of Cormaeril that enjoyed going slumming, so that the group could possibly get to him outside of the Cormaeril castle. Marik said he would look up Khair, the Bedine sword-for-hire at the Black Eye, in order to seek his assistance. Rahnee and Marik set out for the House of Silks, recommended by both Jandrico Swift and Janatha, so Rahnee could buy a new dress for that evening’s dinner with the merchant Shalush Myrkeer. Jokull told the others he would go to the secret message drop in the meantime, and Aerikoth departed to attend to other matters. (The wizard does seem to take advantage of the others' distractions to quietly go about his business - whatever it may be. --C)

Once everyone had concluded their respective business, they reassembled at the guest house. Jokull showed the others a secret communique from the Thalavar agent, which stated that they had been unable to use Speak with Dead on Captain Yar's body, due to lack of a suitable caster, and that no additional funds for buildings beyond the guest house would be approved. Marik said he had paid Khair to locate a suitable scion of House Cormaeril to target. The party discussed how best to set themselves up for the dinner, then broke to make themselves ready.

Prior to Rahnee, Jokull, and Marik departing for the Blue Banner, Brok-Tul was dispatched to obtain a fan for Rahnee while Aerikoth retired to his upstairs room at the guest house. Marik loitered outside the Blue Banner, looking for anything unusual, as Rahnee and Jokull entered. Jokull (in his alias "Josurr") inquired after Shalush Myrkeer at the Blue Banner's bar and was directed to Shalush's table. Shalush greeted Rahnee and pleasantries were exchanged, with Jokull fading into the background, acting as Rahnee’s bodyguard and taking up a position standing by the wall. A Blue Banner guard, noting Jokull's drawn sword, requested he put it away, which he did, although only after Rahnee's confirmation.

The dinner, accompanied by a bottle of Westgate Ruby and much cut-and-thrust conversation between Shalush and Rahnee, was excellent, although the service was marred when a Bleth servitor dropped a potato in Rahnee's lap. Bleth Seneschal Hull and Palla the Light, the head of the Westgate mercenary guild, arrived late and occupied a nearby table. Noticing Shalush, Hull came over and introduced Palla and was introduced in turn to Rahnee. As dinner was finishing, the bardic competition began, the first song being presented by Moriando. Marik, who had come in briefly earlier to get out of the rain, re-entered and had a drink while listening to the bards. Moriando sang, in a serious and haunting manner, what he said was an ancient ballad of love between an elven queen and a wizard of Netheril. The second bard, Lenton, took a more contemporary and ribald tone, playing a song about Azoun IV of Cormyr encountering a dryad in the forest while hunting. After the bardic competition and dessert was finished, Shalush excused himself, the hour being late. Rahnee, Jokull, and Marik regrouped a short distance away from the Blue Banner and walked home, the streets dark and nearly deserted. (But who won the bardic competition? No doubt Lenton, if common room cheers were the deciding factor. --R)
 

Carlo-One

Villager
Rahnee, Jokull, and Marik arrived at the guest house shortly before Brok-Tul returned, carrying a fan purchased at Rahnee's behest. Aerikoth made his way downstairs a few minutes later, having heard the others enter. Comments were made by those who had attended the Blue Banner dinner on the bardic competition (very entertaining), the food (hot and leaving a greasy stain, according to Rahnee), and the fact that the Bleth Seneschal and the head of the Mercenaries Guild were seen together. Rahnee said she had successfully spun and danced a tale for Shalush during their conversation, thereby avoiding any pitfalls regarding their mission. (In other words, the young Waterdhavian noble got lucky in diverting unwanted attention from their rather flimsy story. Although no doubt her charisma played a role as well. --R)

After noting that the next event of interest would be the matches at the Quivering Thumb arena the following night, the group fell to discussing ways to target the Fire Knives. One idea was to set up a false lead for the Knives and the city militia to follow. Aerikoth dryly observed the futility of setting a trap for a guild of assassins, pointing out that the party did not even know how to contact them. He advised instead to see how events unfolded at the arena and during Rahnee's appointment with the Bleth Seneschal. After additional discussion, the group decided to break for the night.

Janatha brought in the breakfast tray the next morning as usual, and the group fell to their meal. Rahnee made the observation that Aerikoth was one of the most self-controlled men she knew. Aerikoth ascribed this trait to the discipline learned in his youth, combined with studying the Art. Others openly wondered whether Aerikoth ever cut loose, perhaps wearing velveteen pantaloons or the like. (It is during exchanges like these that I am most glad that these chronicles are not illustrated. --R). Following breakfast, the party decided to spend the time to scout out the Cormaeril estate, home of the other Westgate House identified as possibly harboring the Fire Knives. Rahnee wrote a short missive to be placed in the Thalavar secret message drop, noting "Merc Guild may be aligning with foreign house; not confirmed, but you should be wary." After Rahnee had completed the drop, she returned to the nearby crossroads where her companions were waiting. In the interim, Brok-Tul, Marik, and Jokull had discovered a hidden entrance in a well to an underground chamber. Aerikoth declined to follow them down to investigate, and they soon came back up.

The group separated upon entering Cormaeril Vale. Aerikoth split off from the others, who approached the estate gate guards acting as if they were lost travelers on a picnic. Once they had moved off, Aerikoth approached from a different direction, pretending to be gathering plant specimens and knowing nothing of the Cormaeril grounds. The other four, continuing their routine of lost picnickers, approached again for another look. The guards gave out no information and asked everyone to move away from the gates, since they did not have business with House Cormaeril. They told the group that to enjoy the rest of the Vale, if they desired. While the main group then took a path to the Shore district and scouted the walls between it and the Cormaeril estate, Aerikoth struck off on his own, heading back toward the West Gate district.
 

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