Our heroes awoke once more in the Sleepy Goblin Inn in the city of Sotal. Calthus awoke first and discovered three gems, two jades and a fire opal, and a letter at the foot of his bed. On one side of the letter there was written “for you”, on the other was “for the one with the jade hair and the fire in his heart”. Calthus looked around the room and donned pants before checking the hallway, seeing no signs of any strange presence. He asked Paelias if he had seen anyone come in during the night, but he had not. The two headed downstairs and got breakfast, and confirmed that the innkeeper had seen no one strange come in either. Very mysterious!
Meanwhile, Tavor awoke in the room with Warren (always awake) and saw that S was not in his bed, which was unmade. He geared up and headed downstairs and walked out into the street for a stroll, passing Paelias and Calthus. He expressed an interest in seeing more of the festival, and got a some spending money from Paelias before heading out on the town.
Paelias and Calthus started up the stairs and were met with the sound of screaming from their room. They found Rock tossing and screaming and decided to try to slap him awake. Paelias, osen for his girlier swings, slapped him awake and was met with a return smack from Rock. Rock asked if Paelias’ leg still hurt from “when he was fleeing”. Paelias, startled angrily asked if Rock had “been there and not helped him”. He urged that they needed to find Drift and asked if they knew about “death rites”. Paelias confirmed that he did and Rock said that all the dead slaves from the day before deserved a sending off. Calthus asked who Drift was, but was met with an evasive "not important. but when you give her the letter, act as if I am dead.
Paelias headed to the other room and discovered S’s empty disordered bed and Warren, petting his kitty. S’s stone was left in the corner of the room. They contacted Tavor and told him of their plans to head to the site of the previous night’s battle. He said he would meet them at the inn.
Meanwhile Paelias made Rock explain his knowledge of his past, and Rock explained his previous night’s dream, Paelias fleeing, being injured, and helped by Drift. The three gravely pondered the strange nature and cause of the nightmares.
Tavor returned to the inn with a candied apple (it was rather good), and they headed out through the busy streets. Two Sotal city guards were poking around the building and surveying the damage. One emerged carrying a scorched body, and as he walked past, Rock began to hum a somber tune. The guards (and the party now saw that there were more of them working within the area) barred entry, citing a pending investigation. They decided to look for magical supplies for Paelias and asked a guard for directions. Rock finished his song and agreed to do so. As they left, they saw a cart of charred bodies being wheeled away.
Calthus spotted a fletcher on the way and asked for the cash to buy arrows. The magic arrows in the shop garnered some interest from Paelias, but the fire arrows turned Calthus off of the idea completely, and The cost turned off Paelias. They left the store.
They continued in the direction the guard had indicated and before long had to squeeze through tightly-packed crowds of people. They eventually made it to the main circle and found the arcane ingredient shop, outside which the shopkeeper had set up a cart to draw in more potential buyers. Paelias purchased the materials for “comphrehend language” at the cart, and those for “silence” indoors. Calthus inquired about the method of getting so many newt’s eyes (farmed or free-range) but was shushed.
They decided to nab some grub and made a stop at a northern animal meat tent at Rock’s bequest. The boar was sadly still cooking, but some rabbit was available. They then stopped at a candied apple stand and then a booze tent. Rock was very enthusiastic about the barley wine served there. They had kicked back and were chatting about things when they heard Eliza and the King calling to them. The party learned that the two never returned to the inn from the festival the night before and did not know where S was. Eliza and the King were surprised to hear of the previous day’s slave-ring-destroying antics, but were glad to know they were ok. The two told the party that they all would be chilling a couple days during the festival and that there were contests going on if they could find them.
The three went to the magic contest, but were too late to sign Paelias up. Rock went to grab some boar while Calthus tried to think of clever and not necessarily disruptive plans to get Paelias into the contest. It was difficult for him to think of ones that fit in the latter category. The magic displays were of varying coolness and skill levels. Finally they made a plan to slip Paelias into the line while Calthus and Rock were distracting the line-watcher. Hilarity ensued. Stones and weather control and magic-eating featured heavily. The two distractors harassed the poor apprentice magician about what magical things he could do until he was distracted enough to allow Paelias into the line.
Paelias started off casting icy grip, but accidentally grabbed the host. Working with that, he acted as if it were on purpose. He high-fived it with mage hand, then failed at pinioning himself. Ignoring that, he tested the icy hand’s might with a force-push, and then high-fived it again. Then, he made a ghost sound of an owlbear behind a curtain and sent his icy hand to grab it out of sight while making the owlbear sound like it was getting squeezed. He finished up by magic missile-ing the hand (critting it!) and causing a powerful blast and then using his rose petal thing to teleport a short distance and present himself to the audience. The response was lukewarm until the finale, and he ended up getting second place to another eladrin wizard. He won three potions and a pair of turquoise gems!
Calthus and Tavor headed to the swordsmanship competition and met Eliza there with plenty of time for Calthus to sign up for a spot. After a few other contestants, Calthus started off with the three-target competition and handily took out the first two and gracefully finessed the third one with fancy style (crit!). Shortly afterwards, Eliza also dealt with her targets swiftly and professionally.
Rock and Paelias realized that the marksmanship and boxing contests will be starting at some point soon, and headed off in those directions. Rock got to the boxing area quite early and signed up. Paelias headed to the marksmanship competition to see if Arn (the minotaur) would be there.
Calthus’s next session was a multi-target setup, spread far apart. Calthus managed to take out four, and Eliza took out six (to Calthus’ chagrin). Eliza ended up winning, with Calthus in second, he was consoled by winning 1,000gp and a black pearl. Eliza received more cash, and a trophy sword, which she handed off to Calthus.
Calthus and Tavor headed to the boxing match (“I hope someone dies.” -Tavor). The competition was, as expected, pretty brutal. Rock’s first match was against a half-orc. He was first-round K.O’d in a mighty roundhouse to the jaw (crit fail!). His second round loser’s bracket match was against a scrappy-looking tiefling and managed to win the match. His third round was against another longtooth shifter, whom he beat handily. Unfortunately he was beaten in the fourth round by a hugely built dwarf. After shaking hands with the dwarf, he was awarded two potions and a couple of golden bracelets.
Meanwhile, Paelias had found who he thought to be Arn, the minotaur (going under the name Traven), cleaning up at the marksmanship competition. He also spotted what he thought to be the woman Drift up on a nearby roof, but it was hard to tell. Rock, using the speaking-stones, thought it sounded like them and headed back to the inn with Tavor, telling Paelias to mention “Dirge” if Arn seemed recalcitrant. Calthus headed to the marksmanship competition and joined Paelias.
Rock and Tavor returned to the inn to find that S had been asleep in one of the back rooms, to the innkeeper’s annoyance. They walked up to the rooms to find him snoring in bed. Tavor made his way up to the roof to watch the festivities and meditate on the celebration of life. It probably looked really cool with him perched up there, stark and shadowy against the bright lights of the festival. Just think about that image a second. Yessss.
The minotaur suspected to be Arn won the competition handily and Paelias and Calthus tried to weave their way up to him. They saw him begin to walk off with a cloaked individual. The two picked up their pace and followed their quarries down an alleyway. Paelias got a crossbow put in his face and the two fey talked them down, saying that they had a letter for Drift from Rock. Drift seemed confused that he wouldn’t give it to her in person. Paelias first told her that Rock was dead, confusing her (who was under the impression that Arn had seen him yesterday), and then Calthus fessed up that Rock was actually alive and had merely told them to act as if he were dead for some reason. She took the letter Paelias gave her and, somewhat hurt and confused, told them to bid Rock not be such a mysterious stranger. Paelias asked Drift why she had helped him so long ago, and she responded in a manner (Fill this, I was zoning a bit and didn’t catch it)
Rock got angry at them for telling Drift that he was alive, and Calthus rankled at that, saying that they had only been told to act as if he were dead, not straight-up lie about it. Rock became very stern/morose and said that he didn’t deserve to be re-accepted by her after 14 years of running. Calthus got angry at his defeatist attitude and went into a tirade about paths and destinies, pasts and futures. When Rock went on to say that choice of destiny is something “people” have and that he was no longer a person, Calthus concluded, loudly and furiously, that he was glad Drift wouldn’t be seeing him, because as long as Rock thought of himself as a pile of shit, he would be nothing but a pile of shit. Calthus then angrily pocketed the stone and headed back towards the inn. Paelias heard a shout and looked up to see Drift and Arn looking down at him from the nearest roof. A coronet (or something like) was tossed down to him (the winnings of the competition. Arn wouldn’t need such a thing).
Paelias and Calthus returned to find Rock singing loudly at the bar. Paelias went to sit next to him, Calthus pointedly went straight upstairs. Paelias used a more consoling tone and insisted that Rock was indeed a man, no matter what had happened to him, and that he would always have control of his destiny. Rock told the story of how he was freed, but only Paelias heard it.