The blazing forest behind them, the party continued on the road to Brei. The closest shipping port was the small, but vital Port Argent. All trade goods that pass between the capital and the west make a stop in Argent. In town, they pawned the jewelry they received from Ilse in Orstrum and Althaea discovered that her ring can draw arcane marks.
They booked passage on the Erudite, a sailing ship commanded by the elvish Captain Quit (“Kit”). The cost of passage was an outrageous fifty gold pieces per passenger, but Naiadé’s presence lowered the price to a mere ten gold per person. A small peasant family, fearing that they would be killed by the fiends in the forest, begged Althaea to buy them passage across Lake Fletcher. Althaea initially agreed, but Eldrad convinced her that the peasants would be safer in town than traveling with them. Althaea reluctantly left the peasant family in town.
Isle Orybdor, an island between Port Argent and Brei, is home to the mining town of Silverton. The party stops there for the night, hoping to catch a boat to Brei in the morning. Quit advises them not to trust anyone in Silverton, advising them to instead meet with a friend of his named Marco, a traveling actor. Marco, known by his stage name, the Million-Faced Man, was in a solo production of The Tragedy of the Mystletainn. His technical crew, comprised of four sorcerers, and Marco’s talent as a shapeshifter, allowed for Marco to effortlessly play every role.
After the performance, they met with Marco in his room at the Wind and the Rain, the local inn. He seemed agreeable, if arrogant, and agreed to see any friends of Quit’s safely to Brei. Ser Hectre drank an astounding amount that night and readily passed out. When he awoke the next morning, Hectre was behaving oddly. He spoke with a different inflection, treated his minstrel Coldsweat with uncommon kindness, and seemed to have forgotten many past events. Marco had already left to rehearse for his matinee performance by the time the party awoke. Despite this strangeness, the party departed for the island’s eastern port. They were ambushed by a group of thugs on the way, but they were dispatched with ease.
Eldrad forced a return to town, needing to confirm his suspicions. They returned to the theatre only to find Marco’s bloody corpse on the stage, surrounded by the bodies of his four sorcerers. Upon further investigation, though, all four corpses were sandbags glamered using illusion magic to appear human. After a length and tedious investigation, Marco dramatically revealed that he had been masquerading as Ser Hectre and attacked the party. Naiadé, however, made clever use of her druidic magic and charmed Marco into cordially revealing his plot. He had been paid a king’s ransom by an anonymous contractor to deliver Naiadé to the town of Restenford, a small village in east of the capital. Ser Hectre was captured during the night, and is apparently already there.
Naiadé has decided to willingly become Marco’s captive and travel to Restenford, while the party follows him in secret. They have boarded the ship to Brei…