Joining the guards
Continuing the discussion at the fountain, James and Serra agree to join the army with Brody. Chris also wanders off to sign up, still fuming about Serra calling him out on his night with the whore. Telon meanwhile flatly refuses to sign up, and says he’s going to join Maurgrim and his people in the woods. Nobody really believes him, least of all Serra, so they let him go. As the crowd thickens en route Chris gets buffeted about. The others spot him and he gets pulled aside by Brody.
At the barracks James’ father recruits Chris, sending him off to the armoury where he picks out a pair of curved fighting knives and some chain armour, while James is taken on as an officer cadet and given the pick of his father’s personal armoury. He agrees to let his father keep the jewelled sword, but hangs onto it until they depart. Serra gets refused on height grounds, as she storms off and screams in a corridor James goes back into his father’s office and tries to persuade him to take her. He agrees to discuss it with his superiors.
To the Library!
The plan being to trek to Fort Highguard to begin basic training in two days, the group separate to finish things off. The next morning Serra and James head to the library – in James’ case to find out more about the sword and a bit more about the nobility in the area. Serra to find more about dragons and other things she’s not willing to share with the group. James finds the appropriate page of a book on swords is ripped out, the librarian however has a poster offering 10k gold for the return of the golden swords to the queen.
Serra goes researching dragons. One has a legend of a dragon guarding a library in a place called Candlekeep. She finds a book from the non-fiction section called the Disciples of Arshedallon , written in a indecipherable language. Serra distracts James and goes looking up magic. She buys the book on magic, in part payment agreeing to translate the Disciples of Arshedallon.
Brody and Chris spend some time meeting the other recruits, including Lydia, who seems to be struggling to figure out a weapon from one end or the other. They then go about trying to persuade people not to join the army to increase the odds of Serra joining.
The group then set about trying to find Tim and Sylvia. There’s a note telling James the location of the safe house waiting for him, but on approaching it seems the door is pretty solidly trapped. James remembers Tim’s system for getting a code word involves listening to the lyrics of a song in a bar, and so they decide to head there. Or rather they were, but Chris has been attempting to not recruit people to the army, and manages to get into a knife fight with some hobo! As the bum cuts Chris, James throws a glob of mud, making an unusually accurate pool of grease about the tramp, causing him to slip and fall. Serra then brains him and they leave him unconscious in an alley.
Chris, who’s been behaving even more erratically since they arrived is confronted by Brody, who thought it was a good idea to let him take a few knife wounds. Brody berates him and makes it clear he thinks the Millers did a terrible job raising him. Chris finally cracks at this and storms off tearfully.
The rest of the group meanwhile go looking for the tavern. Eventually the prerequisite vegetable-obsessed musician comes in and they listen intently. Aaand James thinks the code word is aubergine with Brody thinking its cucumber…
The combination of bickering and possible code words gets the attention of a little kid from inside, who goes to get his da, Tim. Tim doesn’t trust them but sets them a task anyway: to investigate who’s knocked over a bakery, the Maiden’s Flour, that Tim owns.
The group arrive at the bakery with moments to spare before the owner locks the door, with Brody uttering the immortal lines: “Let me in! I’m a baker!”
…It does the job. As he’s in uniform the baker thinks the group are legitimate guards come to investigate. A thorough investigation leads to one conclusion, it looks like an inside job and there was a strong smell of booze so maybe the pub is a good target. Brody starts gathering information and ends up getting a little drunk, and the absolute centre of attention. A cloaked figure runs out, spotted by James and Serra, who give chase. Serra corners and tackles her, and it turns out to be Sylvia. They escort her back to the tavern, with her unwilling to talk, and particularly infuriatingly unwilling to do business with them. Eventually they head off to Tim. Drunken baker in tow.
Said drunken baker figures out en route that this was all a test of loyalty, if someone’s willing to tell a man that his own wife (who’s a childhood friend herself) has betrayed him, then that man’s loyal. It turns out to be true, when they arrive, Tim and Sylvia embrace James with open arms…