With Lidyat securely sequestered in a holding cell beneath the Murann Manor, Rivyet is free to begin organizing the house affairs. Strogg reveals what he has found in Lidyat’s quarters during the raid; Rivyet suggests he keep the bag of tricks and any jewelry he likes for his efforts, but insists that the crystal remain as an important part of the houses finances. In the meantime, she offers the entire party 200 gold each for their efforts, with a chance for more gold upon recovery of the scroll.
Strogg and Aedric go to town and Strogg immediately begins putting his funds to good use in the form of gold-plated horse shoes for Chester and planning a party for the poorest of the Murandin poor, to be hosted in Murann manor that evening. The ever devote Aedric makes his way to a temple to pray to Tempest.
Meanwhile, with Dvallin at her side, Rivyet openly questions the house advisor, Bornar, to see if he has any knowledge of the scroll or the secret dealings in the woods. He insists he does not, but something about his response smells fishy to Dvallin. They send Strogg, the Eel, to search Bornar’s quarters where he finds plenty of evidence of the covert operations in the woods, including a list of house personnel involved. However, the evidence does seem to support that the whereabouts of the scroll is unknown.
With Dvallin and Aedric along for support, Rivyet descends to the holding cell to confront Lidyat. She questions her about the gathering army in the woods with the papers found in Bornar’s room as evidence. Lidyat admits to gathering the army to defend against the Athkats. She seems genuine in her insistence that she does not know the whereabouts of the scroll and has not had any dealings with the cult of Shar. They also cleared the air of Lidyat’s grievance’s—as Rivyet suspected Lidyat wanted Rivyet arrested out of rage for her interruption of the blood ritual, and possibly to keep her quiet about their highly illegal shared secret.
The three of them are surprised to find a feast beginning in the main hall, with the Murandin poor gathered drinking ale and eating boar. The rabble call out to Rivyet for a few words. Flabbergasted, she says simply that she is honored to serve the people of Murann and bids them well before quickly making her way to her quarters, away from the stench of the unwashed poor. Meanwhile the rest of the team enjoys the party; especially Skurg who gets very d-drunk.
As the party wears on, Strogg notices some suspicious hooded fellows and tries to follow them out. As they begin to mount their horses to depart, he offers to sell them wine in an attempt to stall them. They are unimpressed and cut their horses free for a hasty exit. One flings a necrotic shuriken into Strogg’s shoulder which evaporates into a purple mist as they ride away.
Strogg gathers the team to search the road for traces of the hooded men. Dvallin is able to follow the trail to an alley near a tavern. Our heroes enter the tavern to ask questions and gain a lead, only to find that the hooded men had given a bag full of meat to the tavern men. Could it be a murder victim or one of their horses? Just then a man clamors in announcing another “meat bag” being served up the street, and our heroes hurry to follow the lead. They’ve missed the hooded men again, but they find the trail leads up to a fence, which bloody smudges suggesting they climbed a building. Aedric and Strogg both ascend the building using their climbing gear and find that the trail continues. It seems the hooded strangers leaped from the rooftop to another roof across the street! Aedric and Strogg attempt the jump, but just end up badly bruised in the street.
They return to the manor and call it a night. The following day Rivyet questions Bornar, revealing that they have evidence of the secret plans to gather an army in the woods. Bornar admits to gathering the army, but still seems to know nothing about the scroll. He gives them a good lead on where the cult of the dark moon, a sect devoted to Shar, may have a secret temple in Athkatla drawing a rudimentary map of the area.
Running a high merchant house with all its ledgers, business deals, and politics is not something Rivyet ever aspired to and even just a day of it has her taxed. She sends a letter to the next in line for house leadership—lady Froiyat Murann—explaining the charges against Lidyat and to inquire if she is interested in taking over the house. Foiyat was a peacable woman and was receptive to the idea of burying the hatchet with the Athkat house, and thus seemed and ideal candidate for house rule.
With the house in good hands (probably) our heroes make their way back to Athkala with the dual purpose of escorting Niren who is to deliver a message to Lady Gwanaphel and searching for the dark mooners. Along the way, our heroes spot a burning corpse in the middle of the road. Strogg dismounts to investigate, supposing he can sneak around despite the broad daylight. Of course he is immediately ambushed and finds himself face to face with three large, angry orcs: a berserker, an archer, and a one-eye cleric to Gruumsch. Gasp, could this be the same orc who scared our ranger friend? Nah, there’s gotta be a hundred orcs with one eye out there.
Needless to say, they thoroughly pummel Strogg despite his best efforts to escape up a tree. Meanwhile, closer to the caravan, the Rivyet is pulled from Mykat by a trained wolf and Dvallin and Skurg are assaulted by an orc fighter and an archer. Aedric, up the embankment aways to the side of the caravan, is likewise faced with orc fighters and trained wolves. He makes wide, sweeping attacks with his sword to counter foes on all sides. Dvallin is kept plenty busy with healing as so many of the party are repeatedly stabbed, slashes, bitten, and shot.
Seeing her comrade badly wounded and out of range of Dvallin’s healing power, Rivyet fae switches with Strogg to send him within Dvallin’s abilities and herself into the dreadful arms of the caster and berserker. Seeing how puny Rivyet is, the berserker seeks more enticing prey down by the caravan, leaving the caster and archer trained on Rivyet. She casts Hunger of Hadar to block herself from the archer’s view and envelops the cleric in the terrifying darkness.
One archer now trained on Strogg and Dvallin and another on Aedric, the team takes two shots for every one they dish out. They madly fend off the hoard of raging orcs, everyone, even Skurg (especially Skurg!) putting in a few good blows. Rivyet loses sight of the battle briefly as she struggles up the embankment to escape the cleric. She returns to find all of her companions bleeding and nearly dead, she and Skurg finishing off the last few orcs as they too were on their last legs. Everyone is direly wounded, all healing potions spent except the one Skurg was carrying. Seeing his beloved master Dvallin not breathing, Skurg rushes to him, shaking him and pouring potion down his mouth in an attempt to revive him.
Dvallin is dead. But not yet gone. He sees the black river of death before him, he knows he is dead, but he hears the voice of Kelemvor call out to him. It is not yet his time, he still has much work to do. Dvallin wakes to Skurg’s desperate voice and hands pouring potion down his throat.
The party makes camp for the night, sleeping uncomfortably with their many wounds.