After Q convinced everybody to stay in the castle, the caravan starts to calm down and gets ready for the night. The selfless heroes divide the guard between them, making sure to be in pairs and have at least one person with night vision on guard. The night remains calm though, and everybody (except the guards) gets a restoring and well-deserved rest.
The next morning, before the camp starts to awake, Q, and Sheranya decide to follow the bandit’s tracks through the hole in the ground, to see where they might lead. Galuzard is completely baffled by this idea (“tracks? There are clearly no tracks visible anywhere…”), but follows along. Surprisingly it is Galuzard who finds the bandits’ leatherpouches in the bushes near what looks like a forward camp. A whole 21 silverdollars! Which the three of them decide to not be worthy of splitting with the others.
Back at the castle, they search the bandit king’s clothes and find 28gp, of which they give 3gp to the farmer family and divide the rest among the five heroes (Salazar gets 5gp). (I feel like we don’t like complicated math…)
Back on the road, the caravan reaches the Trollbark Forest after a couple of days. The dense undergrowth and, twisted trees, and burbling bogs slow the caravan down a bit. But other than scaring the little kids, it seems fairly harmless. On the third day, as the caravan is going over a small rise, the horses on the forth wagon – a cultist wagon – get spooked and bolt ahead, tipping over the wagon in the sharp curve ahead. Crates tumble out and some shatter on the ground.
Q immediately runs to their “help”, hardly being able to conceal his grin at this newly found opportunity. But by the time he gets to the wagon, the cultist guards have already blocked off the area and try to usher people away. He still gets a good look at it though, seeing all kinds of stuff individually wrapped in linen on the ground. Galuzard help is refused as well, although a bit friendlier, as he has not been initiated yet.
Somehow the farmer has made it through the line of guards and is holding up two items in his hands, one clearly a family heirloom of sorts, shouting “And what is this now?” He is approached by one of the guards and commanded with an icy stare to leave immediately. Sheranya thus asks the fake merchant for an explanation. A slightly heated debate follows during which the fake merchant claims that he owns a pawn shop. But Sheranya is not fooled by that, as the market for pawned in Baldur’s gate surely is more promising than in Waterdeep. But before anything else happens, Galuzard steps in and ushers Sheranya away, trying to keep the peace and slowly growing trust of the cultists in him.
Mary Bullocks, the farmer’s wife, also is not fooled and outraged by what she thinks (rightly so) is stolen goods. She yells at the cultists and spreads nasty words about them. Back on the road, Sheranya approaches the family and tells them to keep it down, lest she might not wake up in the morning. She promises Mary that the cultists will end up in one of the nine hells for what they did.
A couple of days later the Trollbark Forest gives way to a beautiful landscape with rolling hills and lush farmland. Following a small stream, the road soon reaches a small town called Haverford. There’s a fancy-ass statue that’s a little too nice for a town like this, but not inconceivable. But even the innkeeper doesn’t know how the person was.
We get some ale and sit next to Las Felro, the Gargoyle’s owner, outside in the beer garden. He begins a joke: “A dick, a pig, and a squirrel walk into a bar, …” and then sits stone-still. He occasionally comes to life and says “One of stoooone…..” then goes back to stone-stillness. We determine that this is uncanny and that he is calling for help, so we carry him back to his caravan (as he wouldn’t walk), where the gargoyle comes to live and stares at us through glinting eyes. It also starts to talk and urges us to kill Las Felro. Further inquiries into why or what doesn’t yield any useful answers. It seems as if the Gargoyle’s memory had been altered, and Las Felro continues to be as stupefied as before.
Weighing our options, we agree that killing Las Felro does not sound like a good option. If only because it might be hard to talk our way out of killing an innocent because a gargoyle told us to. Q thinks that we should try cutting the silver chain that attaches the gargoyle to the wagon’s frame. Sheranya agrees as it seems to be a safe option, despite the chain being clearly of magical nature. But what does she know of magic…
Q proceeds to cut the chain and succeeds on the second attempt, resulting in both the gargoyle and Las Felro arching back in pain and screaming, before they fell limb, and in Las Felro’s case, dead. “Well, shit!” Galuzard tries to tie the chain back together, but instead it dissolves in thin air (or did just the knot dissolve?). Sheranya suggests to check out the chest anyway. But Galuzard’s attempt to pick the lock results in the lock pick shooting back out of the keyhole and burying itself into a wooden post behind her. Hearing footsteps approaching, Sheranya shouts for help, pretending that they too had just arrived at the grizzly scene.
Immediately, Manaar is fetched and assesses the situation. She deduces that Las Felro and the gargoyle have been linked with some kind of curse. She suspects that we could find someone in Waterdeep to remove the curse and revive them, but only if Las Felro’s body doesn’t rot. Owing that much to Las Felro, the three pay Manaar 80gp to cast a preservation spell upon the body, which we place on the bed inside the wagon.
Frustrated and sad, the three go back to the Inn, where Galuzard starts carving masks at the bar while slurping four pints of beer. Q goes to sit at the creek, and Sheranya tries to overcome her frustration by singing it away with the local people.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Q sees some commotion around the cooking area, and hurries there to see what’s going on. Everything indicates that Mary has been poisoned, having dropped her tea mug, choking, and being all pale and green. Again, Manaar is called again, who arrives just in time to reverse the poisoning. One caravan guard draws his conclusion a little too fast and accuses Salazar of the deed, as he also butchered a horse cold-bloodedly just a few days ago. Sheranya stares him down and tells him to shut tf up, “you dumb shit of an arse”. Mary, obviously and probably correctly, thinks that the fake pawn merchant is behind this to take revenge.
Sheranya, having enough for the day, stomps over to the fake merchant, followed closely by Q. Apparently height sums up, as the two 5’ shortlings appear to frighten the guards around the merchant, which Sheranya steps up to, barely an inch away. She threatens him, whispering that if anything, anything, happens to Mary again, no matter the cause, he will be a dead man. As response he only spits her in the face – which she takes as a confirmation of her suspicions, punches him in the balls, and walks off.