We joined our heroes back in Crestguard. Zoshia visited Arken’s Smithy and sold some longbows and a greatsword. Barty headed straight for the Crestguard University Library, which was much more impressive than the public library. Heading inside, he was greeted by a bubbly gnome receptionist. Barty informed her he was there for some research. The library was meant for the University but she allowed Barty access for research if he donated some knowledge of his own. He donated “Dragons : A History”, and found out the receptionist was disorganizing the books due to her disbelief in many things, including dragons. She believed the book belonged in the fiction section and went to place it. As she did, an old man with a long white beard hobbled by Barty and tapped him on the shoulder. Following the man, Barty met Elizar the Sage, a major funder of the library, who has his own private section of the library. He listens that Barty is looking for a book on Gehenna. Knowing it would be found in the “fiction” section, Elizar took him there and got the book for him (entitled simply, “Hell”), telling him if he ran into trouble in the library to let him know. He played a little prank on Larima the receptionist by magically changing the bookcase label from “fiction” to “non-fiction”.
Vanion ventured to Alista the Warlock’s Apothecary, The Bubbling Cauldron to consult her about his poisonous wine problem. For a small fee, she performed some tests on the wine and found the Dragonblood Vineyard’s Finest to be poisoned with a poison that will kill a common man. He then went to catch up with Bepin Stoatplump of the King’s Tannery. Afterwards he went to City Hall to meet up with the others. Levinia, Zoshia, and Barty progressed to the City Hall along with Sly. Torvak made one final stop at Bepin’s establishment looking for an armor upgrade. When pressed, Bepin brought out his masterwork studded leather armor, and parted with it for a good price. Torvak feeling more protected, proceeded to city hall as well.
The party greeted Valerie, who was relieved to see them all in one piece. She told them to go ahead right in to see Ellion. A long conversation ensued with Ellion. They caught Ellion up on what transpired and the events in Shadowfel. Ellion had the Crestguard Knights give a retelling of what occurred on their journey, finding nothing of interest in the portal they found. They did however feel watched as they were in this other plane. They found no perpetrators and returned to Crestguard at once. The party decided not to tell Ellion about the key they received from Lord Bastion, at least not what it was for. Ellion asked a favor of the party, pertaining to a Gala he was hosting in one month’s time. Ellion asked the party to be security for this event as many important politicians and higher-ups of Dystomos and Volkarsis will be there. This Gala is meant to be a party to promote good relations between the continents as Dystomos and Volkarsis have had troubles in the past, mostly due to Volkarsis’ love for war. The party eventually agreed with several stipulations including some requested magical items, and Vanion was given the job of entertainment for the Volkarsis ambassadors. Ellion specifically asked them to keep an eye out for any funny business from Volkarsis, in case this is a ruse of friendship.
Before they picked up their payment, he let the group know that Professor Raster had been found missing from his cell, and they suspect someone else broke him out somehow. He has his rookie CSIs investigating. Valerie gave them each 400 gold pieces, and Sly thanked his friends for the amazing adventure but mentions he wants to spend some time back in Crestguard with his father for awhile after all that excitement. He leaves Otyp’s Book of Spells in Barty’s safe keeping, and has some heartfelt temporary goodbyes with the party, mentioned he lives upstairs in city hall and will be there if they need him, they are welcome anytime.
The party head out to the Dire Bear Retreat to celebrate a job well done and get in some relaxation. Greeting Roglak, Vanion pays for rooms for everyone and Torvak buys some drinks. Vanion drinks some Dragon’s Fire, a powerful tonic, getting him drunk. Zoshia challenges Levinia and Vanion to have a drinking contest with each other, they get a keg and go at it. Vanion gets quite sloshed and goes outside to urinate, then heading to Valerie’s, making it there successfully despite his state of mind, only knocking on two wrong doors first. She is worried about him but invites him in, and they share some wine and spend the evening/night together. Back in the inn, Levinia is declared the winner of the challenge, and Barty turns the remaining ale into a silver trophy for her. Many drunk shenanigans are had, and the party turns in for the night. During the night however, Barty has an incredibly vivid dream.
In this dream, he is standing in what appears to be the ruins of Crestguard, now a burning blaze. Colorful dragons filled the skies, breathing down fire every now and then and charring the land. Looking down, he had on some kind of arch mage robes he’d never seen before. Surrounding him was Marbo, Vanion, Obsidias Thorne, a woman with a cloak, horns and spear, and a tall lanky man in tattered clothes. An enormous green dragon swooped down at the party. Marbo cast a massive lightning bolt, the horned woman threw her spear, Vanion held firm with a halberd, the lanky man concentrated hard on something, and Obsidias was throwing daggers. Right before the dragon was to collide with them, he awoke, screaming out “DRAGONS”. Rushing after hearing the noise, Zoshia and Torvak come to see what was the matter. Barty tells them about the dream, and they ease his mind with logic. He goes back to sleep with no further dreams.
Come morning, he feels a mighty need to go downstairs. Tiptoeing down with the others behind him, he finds nothing special but Roglak with a prepared breakfast for everyone. Assuring them there was no metal dust in the eggs, they ate happily when a tall lanky man in tattered clothing came in and sat at a table far from them in the corner. Torvak recognized the man as his mentor, Vestidio Garand. Zoshia also recognized him, and asked for her glasses back, which he forked over. The rest of the party came over, including Vanion who had just arrived in the inn. Barty recognized this man as the mysterious man from his dream the previous night. They engaged in conversation with him about him being in prison previously, and He seemed to be checking in on them. Barty noticed he called Levinia by name of Caiaphas and he told Barty rogues need to know things. The party told him about their key. Vestidio told them he had something he wanted from the place he thinks they’re going. They strike a deal that they’d get it for him if he gave them the information of how to get to the portal. He mentions that to the south of Crestguard, there’s a large mountain range, part of which is called the Bleak Peaks. In the peaks, is an enormous cave. Through the cave are smaller caves that lead to the portal. Zoshia successfully bluffed to him that they had a key to a water related plane. He seems confused, and tells them he’ll meet up with them later, he’ll see them around, and leaves. They discuss what to do next… and it is to be continued…