Moonday, Wealsun 3, 552 CY (50 AN)
As Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, and Torinn decide what to do next, Shaward Torranol, mayor of Dawnslight, enters the tavern, apparently seeking them. He says that between their work and the Platinum Claws, the town holds no more work for them — the goblin threat is currently suppressed, and all is well. However, he recently received a letter from his cousin, Molric, indicating that he is looking for able men and women willing to help Sorgforge with its kruthik problem. Apparently, Sorgforge suffers from persistent kruthik infestation that attacks the townsfolk. Peren recalls that kruthiks are reptiles forming a hive structure in the structure of highly vicious ant-like reptiles. Their blood smells like vinegar, and acts as a mild repellent to kruthiks; they are cunning enough to avoid areas where large numbers of kruthiks have died.
After discussion, the group decides to go. Shaward says he will arrange for them to travel with the merchant caravan when it leaves, particularly since the caravans always need guards. After leaving, Shaward returns to say that everything is set; the merchants will pay for guards and offer room and board on the way to Sorgforge. The caravan leaves in a couple of days.
The group spends the next few days preparing for the journey. The caravan finally starts its eighteen-day trek on the morning of Waterday, Wealsun 5.
Most of the trek is uneventful. The group trades tales with the merchants and their workers, and spends most of its time on watch. Peren typically scouts ahead.
On the morning of Freeday, Wealsun 14 (or late Earthday, Wealsun 13, depending upon one’s point of view), Emma is keeping watch when she hears distant rustling through the grasses of the plains. She awakens her companions and the group goes to investigate when it is confronted by a gnoll raiding party. They make short work of the gnolls before returning to sleep. The next day, they sell the arms and armor they managed to take from the gnolls.
On the evening of Moonday, Wealsun 17, the merchant caravan camps and is shortly joined by a Vistani caravan. As everyone participates in the revel, a young girl summons Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, and Torinn to the matriarch’s vardo.
The matriarch introduces herself as Zinnauvial of the Zivkovic clan and offers them tea and scones. She then proceeds to read their fortunes with the tarokka in a divergent cross pattern. She draws the five of Coins, the eight of Coins, the Mists, the Darklord, the nine of Coins (reversed), the nine of swords, the Marionette, the Artifact, the Horseman, the ten of Swords (reversed), and the eight of Stars (reversed). She interprets this to mean that the group is currently in a situation brought about by corruption in high places. The group will find itself on an unexpected journey — perhaps a job they find will actually lead to another adventure. Finally, they will find confrontation with a powerful enemy, but the outcome should be favorable. Overall, they are influenced by the coming of darkness or madness in the distant past. A pawn with a powerful agenda and a remarkable item — perhaps mundane, but probably magical — has influenced the plans of this dark power. After the current situation, the future may bring calamity, war, or the banishing of the great evil. Zinnauvial indicates that the presence of so many cards from the greater deck of Fate suggests that they are destined for great things. She also reads their tea leaves before they leave, and reinforces this fact. She also suggests that Bosabrieln is fated to join the Zivkovic clan.
After taking their leave, they meet Leolann Zivkovic, a fast-talking young human with the Vistani, and decide to play a game of Three-Dragon Ante with him. With a 50 gold buy-in, the game ends with Bosabrieln out, Emma with only two gold pieces remaining, and only Peren and Torinn in the lead. Leolann walks away with 70 gp more than he started, though everyone takes it good-naturedly.
The group continues to revel until sleep overtakes them. Bosabrieln spends time with Zinnauvial to learn about the Vistani and receive the Vistani Blooding ritual.
The next morning, the merchant caravan and the Vistani caravan prepare to part company. The Vistani say that Bosabrieln will travel with them for a couple of days to learn their ways. In the meantime, they will send Leolann and his pet monkey, Juju, with the group to help guard the merchants’ caravan.
On Earthday, Wealsun 20, they find Bosabrieln awaiting them by the side of the road, somehow ahead of the merchant caravan. Leolann bids farewell to everyone and heads on foot to catch up with the Vistani.