Our intrepid adventurers return to the capital during the night to be greeted by known balm drinker Princess Aliah, who informs them that the king will receive them on the morrow. The following morning they meet the entire royal family. King Richard announces they exceeded all expectations and asks them to help recruit isolated individuals whose abilities could greatly assist them in the struggle. Specifically a group of cloistered individuals, suspected to be mages who have stayed pointedly neutral thus far. The group agree to this.
They are handed the basics of a map to the holdfast of the group and allowed to rearm and provision themselves from the royal stores. Thus equipped they head out.
As they head out on the road some things become clear: firstly that James and Brody are having some sort of magical effect on them, secondly that the party is being trailed and visited by a strange creature, and thirdly the taint is encroaching, with creatures attacking with increasing regularity.
On Brody’s watch, a creature sneaks into camp and deposits him a scroll, saying “this is for you, sir.” before skipping off.
The next day, following the now daily routine of something happening they can’t quite figure out, Brody shows the group the letter delivered during the night. It’s from the royal confidante, Elena Flarah, who applauds the party for infiltrating the enemy and asks them to recruit the mages into the service of the Elder Queen instead. Shocked at the mention of the name, James tells the group that Elena is his mother, but she died ten years earlier. Brody suggests that his parents told him that to be rid of him in his typically understanding fashion. In any event, the party decide to continue on with the plan.
Serra’s growing prowess against the undead continues, as she effortlessly eliminates a group of ghouls who attack the group outside a temple to “Pelor” – apparently a sun god.
James eventually realises he strange presence in his mind is someone scrying on him, and determines Brody is similarly being watched. They resolve to avoid talking when they notice the spell’s effect. A difficult proposition for this particular group…
The midnight deliveries continue, with a bag full of gold, and a map that Chris hides from the group. Serra captures the creature at one point, determining it to be an imp. It “disappears,” using a trick James has used on occasion, and tied up shuffles off into the shadows.
The party have another encounter with an old “friend” in their travels. As they head along Brody is shot with an arrow. This turns out to be their shortsighted friend Spanik, who claims he thought Brody was a deer. Again.
Brody, suitably incensed, attacks him, resulting in Spanik throwing some magic of his own at the group. He claims he’s been tracking his dog. Good Dog Best Friend is his pet. He also suggests Needle didn’t tell them everything. In the fight for GDBF’s affections Serra draws daggers, and Spanik flees, taking the dog with him. He drops a letter addressed to Serra from Trixy. It’s pilfered by Chris, who later passes it on after reading it. Serra slaps him and blanches. Her mother has fled the village and her father has died from the shock of thinking Serra had died.
The next day all hour of the party are scried upon. Word of Serra and Chris surviving mysteriously having got to whoever is watching them.
Running low on supplies, the party happen upon an unexpected village – well apart from Chris, who seemed to know all about it. They figure out that he’s got the map the elder queen sent the group. The village has a statue to Queen Glasya, and the villagers are destitute, it’s enchanted as the previous one was, so the group stay clear. James being well-dressed makes a target for a local pickpocket but, ever the philanthropists, our soft hearted group still allow the villagers to gouge them for money when they’re buying provisions.
The scene fades to the group readying themselves to continue, with the statue of the Elder Queen looking down…