The party made decent time, despite the weather and the fact that Fyodor was now no longer mounted. Apart from a brief encounter with a pair of swamp panthers, which Chromartie scared off with a grazing arrow shot, they had no trouble.
When they reached the ford at the Wufwolde that led to Rifflian, it was just past mid-day. They opted to stay on the moors, finding the place that Fyodor had spoken to Loshad before and camping there. After some discussion, the werewolves’ heads were placed on spears with sacks over them (to keep the crows from rendering them unrecognizable). Roger prepared some “horse food” (grass and oats) as well as setting aside some ale for Loshad. Chromartie and Fyodor also oiled their weapons to keep the rain from rusting them.
As the day wore into night, Martin and Pavel took the opportunity to rest. Finally, they judged midnight to be upon them. Fyodor stepped down to where the heads were staked out, stood on one leg, and began whistling.
A few minutes later two large black stallions cantered up and the centaur-like Loshad followed. Fyodor showed him the heads and he agreed they were indeed Kalkask’s and Bailakask’s. Fyodor told Loshad he had already released his horse onto the moors. Loshad looked at the rest of the party’s picketed mounts, but agreed he had made no such bargain with them.
Fyodor had Roger bring the tapestry over for Loshad to examine. He explained that Xitaga was a ruined city on an escarpment north of the Shutturga river. He gave the party directions to the right area and told them to look for a ruined tower. Their business concluded, Loshad and the two wild horses galloped off into the night.
The next morning, the party decided they would head down river to Kelvin, it being the largest city in the area. By crossing the ford, they were able to follow the narrow road along the river, making better time than going cross-country on the moors. It was an hour or so after dark when they reached a ferry house. The ferryman overcharged them outrageously for making a night crossing, but deposited them without incident on the far side.
The party found their way to an open gate in the walls (near the animal pens) and paid their tolls to enter. A few minutes of wandering found a quiet, but inexpensive tavern they could lodge at (“The Battered Tankard”). After securing a couple of rooms next to each other, the group cleaned up and went to get a hot meal.
In the taproom, Pavel met a woman wearing a clerical holy symbol who went by the name Nightly. She was a priestess in the Church of Tralaldara and the two discussed matters religious and current events. Pavel felt she might be a valuable addition to the party and when Fyodor arrived at the table, he was delighted at the idea of another healer in the group, especially one of the same faith as him.
Martin spoke to a few people and got the name of a sage that might know something about the head they’d taken from strange statue the party had found at the werewolves’ den and checked for rumors about places to buy scrolls or potions. Fed, clean, and with a roof over their heads, the party rested well that night and awoke ready to face the city of Kelvin.
While Roger shopped for weapons, Martin managed to purchase a few potions and a couple of scrolls. Then they both took the statue head to the sage’s house. A servant explained that Master Basil was currently at lessons (tutoring), but would be home to visitors after lunch. The pair returned later and was shown in to the parlor.
Master Basil, an elderly thyatian, examined the statue and the tapestry for the pair of adventurers, but could only supply cursory information. Both seemed very old, and the statue might be related to the traladaran legends of the beast-man invasions in the Song of Halav. Beyond that, he had little to tell them. Roger and Martin left the scholar and headed for a jeweler to haggle over some of the spoils the party had acquired, including the ruby eyes of the statue.
When they got to the shop, the pair hit upon a plan. Roger downed a potion of ESP he’d been holding and was able to read the jeweler’s surface thoughts throughout the negotiations while Martin played “bad cop.” As a result, the two came away with several thousand worth of gold and platinum.
Meanwhile, Pavel and Nightly visited the Temple of the Traladaran Church. outside, several fanatics of the Cult of Halav were chanting and wailing. Pavel wrinkled his nose in distate at the heretics as he went inside. At the temple, he exchanged news with one of the clerics there and explained about the goblin attacks in the Dymrak and the party’s mission of mercy to rescue Stephan. The priest seemed sympathetic and promised to let them know if he heard anything useful. He also agreed to enchant a wooden holy symbol of Halav with a Continual Light spell to aid the party on their journeys.
With some of the money the party had made, Roger and Fyodor purchased a mule and two fine war-trained horses from a stablemaster. They purchased barding for their new mounts as well. Fyodor bought a set of dwarf-made plate mail and had it fitted. They also decided to let Nightly use Roger’s old riding horse.
Once the party had finished their business, and had re-supplied on rations and other mundane items, they set out early the next morning. It was the last day of Thaumont and spring was starting to assert itself a bit more. the sun broke through the clouds occasionally and the air was less chill than other mornings. Perhaps a good omen for their journey to find Xitaqa?