Earthday, Planting 20, 553 CY (51 AN)
The next morning, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Peren, and Torinn meet over breakfast at The Laughing Maiden. They first interrogate Peren about his new (and vaguely creepy) owl companion, which he initially says is a perfectly normal companion to have before mystically banishing and summoning it to mess with Torinn. (This allows Bezaldooz to determine that it is, in fact, a familiar spirit in owl form.)
After discussing their future plans — talk again turns to the name of this place, and the clear winner appears to be “The Aggravating Gnome” — they decide they should return to Argent so Valna can put the Crux of Eternity in the vault for safekeeping. A teleport spell later, and they find themselves in Argent, heading to the Guardian’s Tower. To their surprise, they find that Valna is talking with Torugar when they arrive. When they present their desire to keep the Crux safe, Torugar offers to take it back to a secure location. (He notes that the gods probably should have done that from the beginning, but the Dawn War was a chaotic time.) They agree this is probably best, and so give the Crux to him. Before he leaves, he asks if there is anything else they require. Bezaldooz asks if it would be possible to remove the enervation that saps him after using the Crux, while Torinn asks if he could get a new set of armor. Torugar says they were considering compensation anyway, so he will petition Moradin and see what he says on the matter. He should have a response within a day or two.
Once he takes his leave, the Shields of the Sorrowfell take an opportunity to pursue other projects. Bezaldooz summons Goruthrel and returns to his chambers to check on the growth of his clone while also scribing demiplane into his spellbook. (He sends Goruthrel to watch on the others and let him know if they get into trouble.) Peren heads north to investigate the former hill giants’ lair and see if he can find any further evidence of vampires there. While the others are engaged, Bosabrieln approaches Torinn to discuss their disagreement from the other day. While Bosabrieln thought that Torinn took umbrage at Bosabrieln’s divine aspirations for their own sake, he is more irritated at Bosabrieln not taking responsibility for his own daughter. After a brief conversation — during which time they take the opportunity to shoo Goruthrel away — they decide that they ought to visit her. When Bosabrieln shouts at Goruthrel, who now watches them from a long distance away, Bezaldooz hears it and heads out to talk to them. After explaining their plan, he agrees to arrange transportation to Dawnslight. Torinn recommends that Bosabrieln bring a gift, so he takes out one of his blank journals, writes a sonnet in the front as an inscription, and completes the inscription by urging his child to, “Use this book to create beautiful things, it’s in your blood. But don’t let this be the only beautiful thing that you do.”
Shortly thereafter, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Torinn teleport to Dawnslight, and after giving greeting to some of the villagers, they make their way to Araatris’ and Kevian’s house. (On the way, Bezaldooz and Torinn gather samples of dirt as sympathetic connections for the purpose of teleport.) Torinn says this is for Bosabrieln to do alone, and after Torinn tells Bosie the names of Rhonwen and Araatris, Bosabrieln knocks on the door.
Kevian greets him gruffly, but allows him inside when he says he is here to see his daughter. Araatris is clearly excited to see him, and introduces him to Rhonwen, who is currently sleeping. (While he and Araatris talk, Bezaldooz and Torinn linger outside, eavesdropping.) They talk about various things — largely revolving around Rhonwen and their families — and Bosabrieln notes that he is still busy and traveling, and so is unlikely to be here often. Araatris says she suspected as much, but it is good to see him nonetheless. (During the course of the conversation, Kevian notes that Torinn invited them to work in Scandshar, but they have declined. His wife is buried out in their field after all, and he feels they have too many roots here to move elsewhere. Araatris asks Bosie about Scandshar nonetheless, and he says it is beautiful but dangerous.)
As the night wears on, Bosabrieln stays for dinner at Araatris’ request. Bezaldooz and Torinn join them, and it is a comparatively quiet and pleasant evening. Bosabrieln is charming enough that even Kevian warms up to him. He sings a song for Rhonwen — the sonnet he wrote in her journal, set to a simple tune so that Araatris can sing it — which attracts a few villagers to listen.
At the end of the evening, Araatris and Kevian bid them fond farewells, and after Bosabrieln takes a moment to say his farewells to Araatris and Rhonwen, the trio leaves the house and teleports back to Argent.
Meanwhile, Peren wanders north to search the hill giants’ steading. He finds the place still abandoned, with only a handful of wild animal infestations marring the silent halls. Finding no evidence that Magister Remegni’s vampires ever returned, he leaves, heading back to Argent. Roughly two hours away from the city, he runs into a lone halfling hiker, whistling as he walks through the mountains. He decides to make introductions, learning that the halfling is named Maso. He is apparently a wanderer, and perhaps something of an itinerant based on the fact that he notes he doesn’t quite have a home, but seems friendly enough. Peren asks if Maso has found anything interesting, and he and Maso exchange gifts — Maso presents a strange, palm-sized stone with a hole in it, through which a whispering wind sounds, while Peren gives him 10gp and a sunrod for his trouble — and Peren notes that he’s heading back to Argent. When Maso expresses an interest in seeing the place, as he thought it was a myth, long since destroyed, Peren says he is welcome to accompany him.
Upon his return to Argent, he takes Maso to meet Valna first, and then takes him to the tavern, introducing him to the orcs of Grimtooth Mercenary Company and the torrians who keep Argent running. Already suspecting that Maso is more than he seems, he proceeds to question him again when he’s deeper in his cups. Given the halfling’s general eccentricity, coupled with one instance where he almost says “lair” instead of “home,” he is roundly convinced that Maso is a dragon in humanoid form. He tells Maso that if he is seeking a “home,” Peren knows a place just north of here.
By the time Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Torinn return, they find Peren drinking with this strange halfling. They are surprised to find that Peren told Maso his real name and offered him a place to stay, but Peren seems to be in control of his own faculties, so they deign to allow him to continue along these lines.
The next day, Freeday, Planting 21, the Shields continue their activities while they wait for Torugar to return. Bezaldooz continues to scribe the demiplane scroll into his book while Peren escorts Maso to the former hill giants’ steading north of Argent. (Bosabrieln and Torinn engage in their usual activities, resting and training while the others undertake their personal projects.) Peren’s trip is uneventful, and he successfully introduces Maso to the place. Maso finds it to his liking, although he notes that the caverns below are hotter than he likes. Peren also gets him to admit that he is a silver dragon, and Peren notes that they met another silver dragon masquerading as an elf named Galothel. She currently resides in Duchy Jepson, and Maso says he will no doubt have to go and visit her. (Peren suspects he is looking for a mate.)
Peren returns to Argent without incident, and reconvenes with the rest of the Shields. That evening, Torugar meets the Shields, indicating that he can fulfill their requests. (The heavy sack on his back probably has something to do with this.) He says a prayer over Bezaldooz, finally removing his fatigue, and then presents the sack to Torinn. He indicates it is dwarven plate, enchanted by Moradin himself. He asks if they require anything else, and Bosabrieln asks if he can bestow a blessing from the gods on his daughter. Torugar says it will be done, then takes his leave.
Left again to their own devices, the Shields plan their next move, considering what preparations they will have to make if they wish to fight the Khan of Nightmares…