The port is re-opened and The Lady Gray, a large three-masted schooner makes port in Phlan, unloading another large crew of adventurers.
Dimitri, Grimnir, Traith, Moses, and Faust stand around in the town square, looking lost, and examine the posted notices. They latch on to:
- notice about missing council agents in Valhigen Graveyard
- notice about a “special mission of particular sensitivity”
They ask around about the people missing in the Graveyard, latch on to news that Lyra had brought back a report about the graveyard 3 days prior, and start looking for Lyra.
Their search for Lyra leads them to the temple of Tyr, where they meet Brother Groans and learn that they need to speak to Sister Theymr.
Unable to enter the ladies dormitories, they find and ask Sisters Erol and Abyr, then recruit Martha to go into the temple and ask after her.
Finally they meet Sister Theymr who informs them that Lyra can teleport, and that she left for Melvaunt with a large party.
They decide to go ask the Council Clerk about Lyra, find out that she is the under-clerk’s daughter, fill out lots of paperwork, and decide to pursue the “special mission” for Councilman Mondaviak.
They meet Karistos Mondaviak at the Bitter Blade, again recruiting Martha as a messenger so as to appear “discreet”. They agree to travel to Hillsfar to find his estranged elder son, Ruldolfo, in exchange for a grant of lands, vineyards, and a keep from his family’s former holdings near Phlan. They also meet his daughter, Karistina, and his twelfth wife, Hannabella (who is the same age as his daughter).
Mondaviak’s younger son, Markos, offers the party the same boons as his father, plus an extra 500 gold crowns to NOT bring back his elder brother, so that he might inherit his father’s council seat. Markos also gives them a note of introduction for Herr Professor Swipe to take them on as students at the Training Hall, and palms 5 platinum into Dimitri’s pocket as a down-payment.
The party runs after the recently-resurrected Nat Wyler, and hitch a ride to Phlan on Valkur’s Wake.
The party sails to Hillsfar, learning a good bit about the magic-hating, xenophobic town from Nat. Nat also offers them a cut if they agree to “recruit” people to become adventurers in Phlan.
They arrive in Hillsfar about nightfall. Two professors of “medicine” from Gothmagog University leap aboard the ship as soon as they dock, screaming for Nat to cast off and leave immediately. They explain that “The Plague” (which they go on to describe in sufficient detail to be the Bubonic Plague) has appeared in Hillsfar.
The party also learn from Professors Drummon and Aiderns that Rudolfo was a student of theirs and kept lodgings at the Drowned Rat, a public house near the docks. They ignore the professors warnings and head for the pub.
They see a fight between two roving gangs of torch-wielding “children” (actually mixed dwarves, halflings, goblins, and a few actual children, since everyone under 4’ is a legal minor in Hillsfar).
The innkeep informs them that Rudolfo is not only behind in his rent, but has not been seen in close to two months. He lets them ransack Rudolfo’s room (all they find is an old textbook about some democratic governance bullshit…and lots of fleas), then tells them that Rudolfo used to hang out with a river-gypsy girl named Sezarina over near the barges.
They head for the river and get jumped by 5 men in an alley (who jumped who is a matter of debate). They get quite beaten up (especially by some poisonous snakes that one of the muggers summoned), but win. They kill three, take one prisoner for the inquisitor to interrogate, and let one get away. The loot is rather disappointing. They retreat to Valkur’s Wake to heal up.