Secrets, Revelations, and Paragon Powers
At the Guild, the party notices Valen seated by himself, no longer with the Defiant Circle. Erasmus tells the party that an emissary from Flamekeep is in town to speak with them, waiting in the diplomats’ quarters at the Keep. The party catches Erasmus up on the events of the last few weeks quietly in his personal office.
Erasmus shows the party a Dark One that a young party had captured. Dredgden’s dwarf friend Orsik was a member of that party. The Dark One had been mapping paths to the tower, but the party figures out that he wasn’t interested in Wintercrest, but rather some kind of mirror copy of it in the mirror world of The Shadowfell. On the way out of the Guild, Valen approaches party, tells them not to trust Fiora and “ask her about Flamekeep.”
The party does some shopping and various merchants comment on a sparkle in Faemeril’s eyes. Lorna feels unwell, has a dizzy spell. Krenlik has left a note: it says he is a hero now, found eggs to make chickens, home has own chickens.
Back at the Guild again, Lorna talks to Erasmus about her symptoms. He calls over Grimwold, who looks her over but says nothing is physically wrong with her.
Grimwold has a chat with Adrik about alchemy, agrees to train him in art of healing. Erasmus recommends Dredgden talk to Tarrack, another elder who is a half-orc. Tarrack is missing part of his right arm from recklessness and a bad fight, and as a half-orc he knows what it is like to not have a home. He tells Dredgden he can train him to focus that bitterness and pain into strength; it will be physically difficult and painful but worth it. Dredgden agrees.
Now evening, party is ready to see the Flamekeep Emissary at the Keep. Erasmus warns that Flamekeep is very rich and trains their diplomats in the arts of spying. They have a history of buying and stealing info (Trannen was a criminal who sold them info).
Emissary Ambassador Felgren at Keep is dressed in reds and golds, has a gold pin of a clock face that Adrik recognizes as the clock from his dream. He tells the party that his connections say The Natural Ones may know where ‘a very large artifact’ may be, and he will give them a large sum of money if they can “make it available” to the kingdom of Flamekeep. He starts at 60,000 gold and works up to 80,000. Party isn’t sure which Fragment he means, but they figure out that’s intentional – he is fishing for info. The party then denies knowledge of any such artifact and tries to see if he is also here in town for anyone else, but he acts as though he doesn’t understand what they mean. Party declines his offer, so Felgren says he will be leaving within a day, then.
The City Council immediately brings party before them and ask them to discuss what the diplomat is here in town for. Party described his request, but also say they didn’t know what artifact he was talking about.
The Council says they are concerned about the man’s visit – Flamekeep is building their army and increasing Celestium production. They need party to help with a mission. Mission is to intercept Flamekeep’s lightning rail vehicle and steal a specific piece of cargo, gives party symbol to look for (made with triangle and X). Say they can offer free equipment to get job done. Party negotiates a stipend of money upon their return as well.
Mikhail comes in and describes details – party will get small airship, with excellent pilot. Will be going undercover as pirates. Need to steal adornments for ship and outfits from actual sky pirates as part of mission. Party signs contract agreeing to do the job and gets lots of new shiny magic items.
Late that night, the party sneaks into the Arcane College to speak to Fiora, who explains her urgent news. Firstly, six (or maybe more) completely new stars have appeared, which is unprecedented, and appear to be moving toward a convergence that indicates four unknown “fated events” will happen together.
She elaborates on her theory for predicting the future: stars are affected by the thoughts of the gods, and each are known to have allegiances to one or more gods, and whole system is harmonious. But the new stars disrupt that harmony. Fiora also finally divulges name of her society: the Skycallers. Symbol is a white swan.
Second bit of urgent news: says Valen’s dad Arcturus has spread rumors that The Natural Ones interfered with “what was rightfully Valen’s destiny” and caused some kind of “incident” at the Black Tower, and suggests that The Natural Ones are dangerous. The party doesn’t trust Fiora entirely, so they deny knowing what the Black Tower or said incident were. She tells them that spies may follow the party and attempt to interfere with them becoming involved in any “fated events”.
A violet pendant in the room seems to Lorna to be calling to her in her mother’s voice. Lorna asks to see it, and Fiora hands the “dreamstone” pendant to her. Lorna vanishes! Dredgden attacks Fiora, demanding answers. Only a few seconds later, Lorna suddenly appears again, pendant in her lap and she is no longer holding it. Fiora is in complete shock and babbling, says it has no teleportational magic properties. She recommends asking professor of Planar Studies, Caelynna Shalbarain, in the morning.
In the morning at the Guild, everyone but Faemeril is at breakfast. She is nowhere to be found. Bird comes in (animal messenger ritual) and in Faemeril’s voice it loudly whines that she is naked (except for a new sash and amulet) on a rooftop in town and doesn’t know how she got there. She had flying dream. Party finds her, dress her, and they visit temple of Corellon (new items are religiously significant), where they says Corellon has called her for some purpose. Party visits temple of Sehanine for Lorna. They say there is distress in world of dreams right now. Dreamstone can have connections to Dream world.
Professor Caelynna at the College tells Lorna that SHE, not the stone, teleported herself. She takes her down to the basement teleportation circle to practice. She agrees to teach her to hone these skills. Meanwhile, Dredgden trains by pushing barbed wire axle connected to a mill stone, barefoot on thorns, then learns more attacks. Adrik trains too. Faemeril is at the temple to Corellon. All are prepping for Paragon paths.
Party returns to Fiora to apologize about dreamstone. They then ask her about Flamekeep. She denies knowing anything.
Lorna goes back alone and successfully gets her to talk. Fiora breaks down and tells her how she used to sell her predictive abilities as a Skycaller Astroexeger for very good money, and used it to help Flamekeep discover the “Order” Fragment, not yet knowing what it was. They later discovered an obelisk (“Gate of Fire”) underneath their city, and used the Fragment to connect to the mirror world Mechanus, but it took a great deal of power to activate. When Fiora discovered that they had designs on finding the Fire Fragment, which would have provided the power to make the portal permanent, she fled.
Lorna asks to bring party back, and they together confess that they did know about the Black Tower and they describe the portal setup there and what it looked like when it went off. It went to the Shadowfell. Fiora deduces that the Giants must have had the Stone Fragment to power the Shadow Fragment, but it only worked temporarily because they had a shoddy replica of Wintercrest’s obelisk (Gate of Stone) connected to an existing portal. Fiora explains that the Fragments operate in pairs with the Gates. Order+Fire with Gate of Fire, Shadow+Stone with Gate of Stone. “Life” must work with one of the remaining elemental Fragments: Air or Water. And the last two are Dream (for the dream world) and some kind of capstone.
Fiora explains the white swan symbol for The Skycallers – it represents the opposite of a “black swan event”, ie, an event that comes completely out of the blue and surprises everyone because of a gap in our knowledge. The Skycallers’ goal is to foresee the unforeseeable, and prevent such events. Party tells about guys with the false eyes. She doesn’t know what or who they are, but they seem to be working with the Giants to obtain the Fragments. Party dubs them the “Black Swan Society”.
Party explains about the ambassador from Flamekeep asking around for a Fragment. Fiora says if they discover her connection to the party, it won’t be safe for her to remain in Wintercrest anymore, and says she needs to do a lot of research and make plans to leave town.