When we left off, Volz and Brother Alford had both seen Sareen pocket a set of lockpicks and both had plans on how to use that knowledge to get something they wanted. Volz wanted Sareen to do something. (Sorry…I missed that part. Feel free to edit it in.) Brother Alford wanted her to get the Forgery kit that she said she had access to, otherwise he’d make her lockpicks known to Valdorn who had been going on and on about needing some. Volz announced to the group that they’d be leaving town in 2 days, although we didn’t have a destination in mind.
With that, Brother Alford suggested that Volz and he should go check out an old monastery outside town, as it was likely to have some useful information. Volz would rather have the former monk read further in our books to find a likely destination for our journey. Volz’s careful and forceful reasoning won out, and Brother Alford agreed to stay in and read until he’d learned something useful.
Bernard excused himself to settle up some matters around town, in anticipation of leaving in a few days. Valdorn left as well, while Volz retired to his room. Sareen went to speak with him, but he had mysteriously vanished. The only clues to his disappearance were the sounds flapping wings, and a drawn-back curtain at his window. (He had transformed into a raven and went to scout for information.) Sareen picked the lock on his room and entered, while Brother Alford remained enthralled in his book.
With Volz gone, Sareen wanted Alford to help her learn more about the Ring of Truth. She had to work hard, but finally she persuaded him to leave his important research behind and go haring off after her personal project, to the detriment of the group. (Yes…I’m editorializing. That’s what the guy who writes the story gets to do.)
In the meantime, Valdorn set about finding the carriage company who had rented the carriage to our vaguely-known competitors. Intentionally not asking Sareen, he pieced together the location from the details in her story, and found the company. With an intentional flash of his writ proclaiming him a guest of the Lord Steward, he persuaded the carter to tell him a bit about who rented the carriage, to where and from where they had come. He learned that it was rented by Lady Isata. (Asata? Isita? Apidistera?) She was destined for Delios, and had arrived from there only 4 days prior.
Valdorn found a Charcoal Burner who could fill him in on the Lady. She was an agent of a powerful and dangerous man, Saerc Delyf, a Truth-seeker. (Inquisitor’s inquisitor in the Church of Maras.) The Truth-seeker was known to have the gift of fortelling, which explains how he knew which book to try to steal. Luckily, his sight failed him in seeing how events would play out. Armed with knowledge that might actually, you know, matter to the quest we were obstensibly on, Valdorn headed back to inform his friends.
While searching around, Volz found the monastery and it’s destroyed environs, and investigated briefly. He discovered evidence that Maras worshippers were still frequenting the site. He, too, headed back.
Sareen and Alford found a dangerously insane seller of rare books. After successfully navigating all the dangerous spots in his crazed ramblings, Alford decided on the book that would help Sareen in her quest. Unfortunately, it was not the same one that Sareen decided would help, once again using her reading skills surreptitiously to pick a likely title. Luckily, the bookseller, Kelvis, picked the one she liked. After some brilliant negotiations, Sareen managed to get 1 rare book for the price of two, and used up every spare copper she had. Broke, and satisfied, they headed back.
Arriving first, Valdorn had a few minutes to poke around. He saw the massive tome on the undead sitting unattended, and thought he could do something useful if he had a piece with which to set a trap. He found a page with some illuminations, but nothing that looked to be writing, and cut a small piece out of it for later. Sareen’s room was locked, so he couldn’t tuck it into her gear, but hid it away in his boot. He noticed Volz’s room standing open, and was standing there when Volz flew in as a raven and transformed back into himself.
After defending himself against Volz’s charge of breaking and entering, (“Remember…no lockpicks”) Valdorn learned that Sareen had recently acquired a set. This set the stage for a bit of a brou-ha-ha upon her return.
Alford and Sareen came back, with Sareen proudly clutching her ancient and worn tome, with a distinct air of poverty about her. There followed a brief discussion about whether or not certain people were being team players, and how one member was focused on the mission and always giving it his all despite the fact that everyone else was only doing their own thing and apparently didn’t care about the quest and spent all their time and resources on personal goals while that one member was making sure everyone was fed and had a roof over their head and busted his butt trying to make sure we were making progress on what we set out to do. Or something like that.
Sareen retreated to her room in a huff (and to get some time in reading her new book secretly) while Valdorn and Volz hashed out the problems that had arisen. Her book was not just about the “ring of truth” but about “Rings of Truth”…a wide variety of magical items. She discovered that one was a magic circle located at undead-making sites that judged the best use of a particular person, and how best to make them undead. That might be useful.
In the end, Volz met the challenge to his leadership, resolved the rift between the selfless , giving, mission-oriented Valdorn and the selfish, greedy, yet incredibly lucky Sareen (who keeps managing to “save the day” when if she just worked with us, things wouldn’t need to be saved) and established a new tone for working together.
Sareen shared her book with the group, and cleverly laid it open to her new bit of info without being spotted. Volz and Alford were immediately intrigued by the new information, while Valdorn smelled a scam.