One minion got away with Wes (one of the three captives), as did the Tinker. The portal closed…
As the dust settles, two other girls are revealed. She is distraught. P looks around, but the rooms have been destroyed. P takes notes. Z tends to the girls.
One girl asks after Wes. She is Annalinn, one of the missing initiates. She shows us the south door, stating that the little man went through there.
We meet other captives in cages; Z tries to speak with them. They are not forthcoming. Z opens the cage doors; one boy runs. T uses intimidation to get him to come back. Z tries to convince the girls to stay as the party rests, but to no avail. Same with T’s attempt to deceive them into believing they’re safer with us. We all agree to go up to the barn instead. We do so, but Z’s big feet trigger a magical alarm. We reach the surface unharmed. There are five here now, besides P T Z.
Z tells the freed captives that we’ll try to find Wes. We talk while resting. The captives have no real memories other than talking with the Tinker, who was complimentary and presented each with a gift – a necklace with a leather pouch. The next thing each remembers is returning the necklace after they had been imprisoned. Wes was captured well before these five. The Tinker called them talented young ones, and said he would take them to a place of opulence, a fantastical place a long ways away, where they would serve the Queen and help to produce more talented people like them. T determines that “talent” is allomantic talent, but T knows of nothing other than crackpot theories about pure bloodlines and breeding such talents.
Annalinn and the other girl were the final captives. Z asks about the grotto. The boy who smells of urine says Wes had said that creatures came out of darkness and killed Maris and took Wes. Z speculates that the Queen might be related to the Fey. P asks why they killed Maris. Z responds that that may be because Maris was ungifted. Z asks about the little man; Annalinn and the other girl were the only to observe him. They say he spoke briefly to the Tinker and then escaped, right before Z and T fell through the well.
The party rests. Afterwards, Z tells the five captives to stay while we investigate. They don’t want to. We make our way closer to the guard we encountered watching over the Tinker’s property. We tell the guard to take the five to the Guild and hand them over to Master Ebon. He agrees and they depart.
We start with the Tinker’s house. We investigate; we find nothing magical. P finds a small, odd book. It looks a bit like Z’s prayer book. One of the symbols resembles something on the runes P saw. None of us can read it. P takes the book. In the bedroom, we find a loose floorboard. Under it we find a chest with treasure. In it along with coinage, we find a small pouch resembling the one Caleb had. Using Mage Hand, T opens the pouch to reveal 10 gems. T reseals the pouch with Mage Hand and return it to the chest. Z’s Detect Magic reveals magic in the floor of the bedroom closet. T uses Mage Hand to prod the floor. An illusion is dispelled, and a trapdoor is revealed. Opening it uncovers a gnome-sized hole, with a descending ladder. There is a small escape hatch to the side, 10 feet down or so. At the bottom, 30 feet down, is a knapsack. T uses Mage Hand to reach for it; as the knapsack ascends in Mage Hand’s grasp, Z notices that it is glowing magically. T brings the knapsack all the way up. It is gnome-sized. Something inside the knapsack appears to be causing the magical glow. Mage Hand opens the sack and removes a jingling coin purse, and a velvet pouch that is the source of the glow. In the side pockets are two glowing magical potions. In the coin purse is a good amount of coinage. There are other supplies within. In the velvet pouch are three small metal balls. They glow brightly; looking close, they appear to be agglomerations packed into perfect spheres. P notes their resemblance to gnomish machinery. T’s Mage Hand tosses everything back in the knapsack. We leave the house and go back to the barn.
Z renews his Detect Magic ritual. No magic is detected. We return to the subterranean dungeon. The party notes that, unlike most of the objects in the Tinker’s home, the table in the center of the room is human sized. P finds symbols on the portal dais resembling those in the little book. He notes those symbols for future study.
We investigate the doors in the main subterranean chamber. We find the other end of the trap door ladder tunnel. We find a room with bunks and empty chests. Under one of the bunks are some damp leaves. It appears that people have slept here recently. Another door reveals a pantry. T takes the seasonings and spices that are present.
P finds a small carved box behind the shelves that has the same type of runes as in the little book and the dais. T uses Mage Hand to grab and open it. There are herbs inside that look like saffron. After an Arcana check, they remind us of a poem about a merchant’s daughter from a land across the range. P samples some in his mouth. No harm appears to come to him. We take the box.
We return to the main chamber and search the body of one of the dead minions. We search his body and take what we find.
The party does a final check of the surroundings and finds nothing. T asks P to place the little book on the dais. During this, the aftereffects of the Haste potion that P and Z took during battle kick in, and both experience explosive diarrhea. P manages to place the book on the dais; T uses Mage Hand to place the cursed platinum piece, gems, and spheres near the book while in the presence of Detect Magic. There is no reaction. P and Z wipe and wash and the party returns to the surface.
We return to the surface. We search for tracks of the little man who escaped, to no avail. We go to the barn. We find a store of metals and masterwork smith’s tools inside the Tinker’s carriage, which is, surprisingly, human-sized. We find a human-sized compartment, fitted with air holes and a pad at the bottom. We agree to take the carriage back to town. We harness the horses and return to the Guild hall.
We arrive in the afternoon. As T rises from his seat, the seat shifts, revealing a scrap of paper. T reaches surrepticously for the scrap, and takes it in his hand, hiding his actions from P and Z. There are names and dates written on it – Lorem, 4 days ago; Hyrada, today; Forks, 2 days from today. T shows it to the others; the party decides to ask Master Ebon about it.
We encounter Ebon in the lobby; he is surrounded by a number of people. He is flustered and shouting orders. We make out something about peeople on a list. P and Z gripe about their mudbutts. Z ask about Annalinn and the other 4 captives. Ebon says they arrived safely. We ask about Lorem. Ebon tells us that there was to be a pickup there; no students showed up. We tell him of the Tinker’s story of the Queen. We show him the little book and the carved box. He denies that he can read the book, but says that it is a fairy tale about a land across the range, a people called the Hideem (?), ripe with dark almantic arts. He calls the book a rare artifact.
We ask him about Forks. It is a good day and a half’s travel from here, and the Guild does not have a teleport circle in Forks. He refuses to use other magic to get the party to Forks. Z and T use Persuasion to get Ebon to change his mind. He agrees to get us to Forks, via magic, at dawn. We hand over our takings – except that T still has the cursed platinum piece in his component pouch. Master Ebon departs. We leave off with the intention of returning to our inn…