- Tinkering with the wand they had stolen at the border crossing, The Party accidentally set off some kind of magical distress signal, bright enough even in daylight to alert any Areenian soldiers within a few miles. They scrambled to make it back to the road and adopt their disguises before they were discovered. To buy some time, Braydin carried the “wand of warning” down the road away from the Party’s direction of travel and activated it again.
- Sure enough, shortly after readopting their “merchant and slave” disguises, the Party was accosted by a band of Areenian cavalry from the Longstrider Corps. It was a close call, but Marali managed to talk her way through the interrogation without arousing suspicion, though she was forced to turn over another bribe.
- Travelling onwards, the Party spent a night at the “Knight of the Rock” inn. Emmerell, the innkeeper, was a pleasant enough man and was happy to have business; after some careful conversation, the Party decided to stay the night. (As Areenian custom demanded, the “slaves” slept outside, chained to the wall of the stables.
- They awoke to find the inn on fire; Marali and Skalgar, who were sleeping inside, found their doors had been locked from the outside, but were both able to escape without injury. Outside, the Party was surprised to find that the inn had other occupants. The two men quickly fled on horseback, but the Party learned from the innkeeper that one of them was a young man named Tarsus Genova, son of a wealthy and prominent Areenian statesman; the two men had clearly met at the inn for some kind of secret tryst.
- Leaving the distraught innkeeper behind, the Party made camp on the plains; the next day, they continued their journey to the mine. Whoever set the fire had clearly made a clean escape, but the Party suspected that it may have been the same mysterious bounty hunter who had attacked them in the Western Expanse.
- They travelled for several days without incident and arrived at Bittertown, where they spoke with Platinus Remler, proprietor of the “Silver Bar” inn. From him they learned that most of the miners who made their homes in the village had left after being fired and replaced by slave laborers; the town has since fallen on hard times and is mostly abandoned. He suggested the Party speak to Bosman Fricht, the mine’s foreman.
- On the way to the mine, the Party encountered a strange device placed in the middle of the road. When they approached, it emitted a deep, painfully loud noise which quickly drew an angry bulette. It attacked the Party ferociously, but they were able to drive it away.
- Huddling on the plains just a few hundred yards from the mine, the Party made their plans . . .
The Lonely Continent
Trouble Wherever We Go