Richfest 5, 552 CY (50 AN)
Eventually, the canyon opens to reveal a cliffside. The rest of the Wordbearers are there, along with three wagons. Several people are milling about, trying to take a moment to rest. Tikulti, the Citadel’s doppelganger agent, explains that they just drove off an attack by the Broken Chain; there were no casualties, but alchemist’s fire arrows have damaged the wagons in the caravan. It will probably take about a day to repair them.
Yeraa goes on to explain that these are the Lost Children of Nebelun, as they call themselves. They are a group of merchants and adventurers who were also headed to Graywall and agreed to rendezvous with the Wordbearers and help them in their quest. Zelazadda Uvarkk, a gnome planeswalker and the leader of the Lost Children, explains a bit about the organization, and everyone makes their introductions. Some trades and sales are made. Bezaldooz speaks to Zelazadda, but is more intrigued by Zorphen, initially thinking him to be a skeleton. Bosabrieln talks at length with Seldalerya Shadowwood, an exile from his hometown of Nainimdul. Emma chats with Goluboi. Peren helps repair the wagon. Torinn keeps watch.
The next day, the group sets out for Graywall. They arrive on the afternoon of the seventh day of Richfest, and are relegated to the foreign quarter, the Calabas. The Lost Children go off to complete their business, but indicate they will be in touch with the rest of the group. Bezaldooz asks if he can leave his dog, Wilson, with them, and they agree to look after him in the interim.
The Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, Torinn, and the Wordbearers follow Yeraa as she uses Karruuk’s Circlet to find the location of Murkoorak’s Orb. This leads them through the streets of Graywall until they enter the square known as the Roar — so named for the roaring dragonne statue in the center. Yeraa informs them that it appears Murkoorak’s Orb is buried in a tomb complex beneath the square. The group leaves to plan, and Yeraa says she was considering getting a tent and space to set up a merchant’s stall. If the group could act as merchants to cover the Wordbearers’ excavation, that would work perfectly. She further explains that she does not know if there are any wards on the goblinoid holy site that might somehow interact with nongoblins, so it is probably best if the Wordbearers go alone. However, she reminds the group to use the sending stone in case of an emergency.
The group purchases space and sets up the merchant stall for the night’s Goblin Market. The group buys ale to sell. As a crowd starts to gather in the square, the Wordbearers start their excavation.
The group manages to make a good show of it, playing the part of merchants and traveling entertainers. After maintaining their cover for a couple of hours, the market starts to shut down and the crowds start to thin. Tikulti communicates with the group through the sending stone, indicating Murkoorak’s Orb has been recovered.
Across the marketplace, the group spots Demise with three gnolls dressed in scale armor. Two small, shadowy humanoid figures flank Demise. Battle is joined — Bezaldooz conjures an icy zone over the clustered foes, freezing them as they advance. Demise starts throwing spells while the gnolls rush across the market to close with the group, going for Emma. The shadows focus on Peren.
In the chaos of battle, one of the gnolls falls. The shadows turn invisible, but Peren notices one as it passes a shadowy tendril through him — and tries to grab something from his pocket, presumably Zaarani’s Solitaire. He rushes to slay Demise, and then tries to stay away from the thieving shadows. Meanwhile, one of the gnolls is cut down while it tries to flee, and the last is defeated and knocked unconscious for questioning. The group then turns its attention to the shadows. As one is slain, the other successfully strikes at Peren. He does a quick check of his pouches to determine that Zaarani’s Solitaire is gone. However, with everyone attacking it, the shadow quickly fades and drops the stone.
The group quickly recovers the Solitaire and searches the bodies, recovering coins, jewelery, and two healing potions. The remaining gnoll is awakened and interrogated; he is just a mercenary, retained for 200 gold coins. Stripped of his weapons and armor, he is allowed to leave.
The group is just about to contact the Wordbearers when they return through the opening. However, the group immediately notes something wrong with Yeraa, and when she sees their reaction, she attacks.
The Wordbearers were turned into horrid undead in the tunnels beneath Graywall.
Peren makes short work of Yeraa, Emma repels the undead goblinoids, and the group makes short work of them. While resting, Bosabrieln tries to contact Tikulti on the sending stone, as he was missing from the Wordbearer undead. He indicates that he has three of the pieces of the Ashen Crown, which he will take to Sorgforge, to his “lady friend” and her cultist pawns. He is certain to note that he will have the opportunity to talk to Captain Kalaes before the rest of the group, and will he be more likely to believe his servant or a group of murderhobos? He offers to make things easier if the group just hands over its portions of the Crown, and that he will contact the group when they arrive in Sorgforge.
The group finishes the conversation and grabs a few items, including Yeraa’s journal, before leaving as an orc patrol comes through the area.
After some discussion, the group decides to contact the Lost Children of Nebelun. Astrid and Zorphen are keeping watch over the caravan, but when Bosabrieln reports that something terrible has happened, Zorphen starts awakening the Lost Children. Bosabrieln explains Tikulti’s betrayal and the Wordbearers’ deaths. Zelazadda is horrified, but contemplates the situation and explains their options. The most obvious route is the overland route, but it will take about a month to return to Sorgforge. They can also use a teleportation circle; it only costs about fifty gold pieces, but risks being monitored. If they want the element of surprise, they can try to sneak through Sigil, using a portal to enter from Graywall and using another portal to exit to Sorgforge. After discussion, the group decides to sneak through Sigil. Zelazadda explains that there is a gate in the sewers that should lead to the sewers under Sigil’s Hive district. They can then use another gate in the Lower Ward to emerge near Sorgforge’s Tain Foundry. However, she warns them that they will pass very close to a nest of cranium rats — basically psychic rats that form a hive mind when in close proximity — and warns them to try to avoid the creatures if at all possible. She also sends Zorphen with them, to act as a guide.