10 Flamerule 1372
On their way south on the Herald’s Road, Dragonkiller begins to develop the ability to shape ghostly equipment from what he claims to be the souls of the dead and of those yet to be born. Farther from home than he’s ever been and heading on a journey on which no one can foresee the end, Galen takes upon the group’s two divine spellcaster and starts offering daily prayers to Shaudakûl.
While setting down for the night near the Rawlinswood, the party is approached by a centaur offering them to trade magical items and weapons he has acquired but cannot use for others which might be more beneficial to him. Ruknar and Larena sense something fishy about the creature but follow anyway as it leads them through tall grass to its lair. Once the party members are spread apart in the undergrowth, the centaur changes into an eight-foot tall, four-eyed ape-like monster, which Lazoryel identifies as a dangerous shapeshifting Uthraki, and starts rending prey with its four claws while taking advantage of the concealment provided by the darkness and tall grass. Despite its strength, the monster falls to the combined skill of the five adventurers. Following its tracks, Galen leads the group to the real lair, where they spot the bony remains of less fortunate travellers as well as a few magical items, which they claim as spoils of war. Intrigued by his second encounter with a shapechanger in less than a month, Ruknar starts attenting to master the drudic ability to take animal shapes.
14 Flamerule 1372
About the reach the first towns on the Impilturan side of the boarder under a heavy rainstorm, the group is stopped by three soldiers in armor with the country’s coat of arms blocking a bridge over the Imphras River. Noting the party’s rich clothing and masterwork weapons, they try to swindle them by charging an “adventuring” entry tax of 200 gp per head. When Lazoryel attempts to simply fly past the River, two of the soldiers fire their bows at him, narrowly missing him and promising to correct their aim should he refuse to pay or turn back. Taking out the new giant-sized spiked chain he’s crafted under Barend’s guidance, Dragonkiller tries to bully the guards into letting them pass freely. The third guard panicks and swings his longsword at the goliath. The skirmish escaltes into a full battle ending with the death of the three guards. Afraid someone might find the corpses and possibly use magic to divine what has occured, the five travellers push the guards and their armor over the bridge’s wall in the middle of the River and continue their journey to the south.
18 Flamerule 1372
At Ilmwatch, the party enters the biggest town they’ve seen since leaving the area around Heliogabalus. They stop for a few days and take advantage of the trading port to resell most of the Uthraki’s hoard and hire wizards to enchant some of their weapons and armors. While the eork gets done, they make the most of their time in Ilmwatch by inquiring about local rumors and paying for the best lodging, food, or women they can afford, accoding to each person’s tastes. On their second morning, they discover wanted posters in their inns common room promising a ransom for a group worryingly similar to them – a winged elf, a woman in a parka, a half-orc archer, a tall human with shaggy hair and beard, and a huge, bald humanoid with rocky growths all over his skin – accused of the murder of three border guards. They quickly pick up their goods and head on the road again, hoping to beat the news of their crime. Without horses, however, they quickly realize that the word has been ahead of them in every city they enter, all the way to the capital of Lyrabar, often forcing all but the shapeshifting Lazoryel to camp out of sight of the city walls.
29 Flamerule 1372
The closer they get to Lyrabar, the more they hear people talking about the upcoming Alabaster Cup competitions, apparently held every four years in honor of the queen. Even a misguided ghost encountered a few days earlier had tried to attack the party, challenfging them for the title of champion in the Shieldmeet games. Despite potential trouble with the law, they all agree that it’s their best chance to see and maybe talk with the queen and her paladins, who do fly on bronze dragons. And that point aside, Dragonkiller’s contagious over-competitiveness convinces everyone to attempt to win that tournament. In order to avoid being arrested, all but Dragonkiller take on new identities, Lazoryel using his shapeshifting abilities to pass as a sun elf, Ruknar getting his head and beard shaven, and Larena trading her parka for summer outfits skimpier than those worn by most young Impilturan girls – a gift to her from Lazoryel.