Tales of the Ruddy Spirits Taproom

Meanwhile, Back in Kavadin
Adventure 12 - The New and Approved Taproom Part 1

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Back in Kavadin

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Peace at Last
Adventure 11 - The Journey Home Part 8

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The way back

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To Save the City
Adventure 10 - The Journey Home Part 7

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On the mountainside…

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Escape From Under the Mountain
Adventure 09 - The Journey Home Part 6

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In the dungeon.

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An Unwelcome Return
Adventure 09 - The Journey Home Part 5

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Leaving the orc den behind, the weak and damaged caravan continues on to their destination. After 3 days of hard travel, the Capitol of the Krishen Highlands finally comes into view. The grand castle Krishendien built into the side of the mountain is seen first followed by the city of K’dell in the valley. However, as the tired caravan rolls up to the city gates, they find them closed and guarded, even though it is still hours until nightfall. After some frustration, the gates are opened for the carvan’s leader and Royal Advisor of Kavadin. Instead of heading straight to the castle, the adventurers secure rooms at one of the local taverns and spend a few hours seeing to their equipment and provisions. 

Finally the group heads to the lifts, preferring to ride up to the castle instead taking the long and winding horse path. At the top, the party is greeted by Prince Ian Volker of the ruling Zau’sek clan of the Krishen Highlands, brother of Kylan. He greets Kylan warmly and welcomes his friends to the castle, offering to provide rooms for everyone. image.jpgHowever, King Deadric Volker is not nearly as friendly. He is sickly and clearly displeased that these non-human, low class thugs were brought into his home. While not undoing the prince’s hospitality, he makes it clear they are not welcome before dismissing them.

Everyone is shown to luxurious rooms and it quickly becomes evident that the castle is fairly empty and those that remain are all humans. Upon settling in, Senji does a star chart that indicates bad things would happen soon and worse things were to come. An hour later, just before nightfall, Kylan’s sister, Kathlynn, delivers the news that the king has decided to welcome Kylan home by throwing a feast in his honor. Allowances have been made to provide appropriate attire to the visitors from Kavadin as they are clearly not prepared for a royal affair. Preparations are made and soon Kylan and his entourage enter the vast dining hall. Each is sat in his appropriate spot with Kylan near the head of the head of the table while Kamden and Senji are seated at the far end next to an aged cripple and a very short, ugly man.

image.jpgDinner begins without the king, and progresses without incident for a couple of wonderful courses. The prince and his sister are friendly and make polite, interesting conversation about the recent news here in the Krishen Highlands. Unfortunately once the first main course is served, the king arrives, appearing more sickly and upset than he was earlier in the evening.

After the first couple of courses, dinner is interrupted when a pair of arrows from the rafters almost striking Kylan and his brother. At about the same time two men dressed as king’s guards enter the dining hall through the servant’s door. Chaos erupts as Yentha screams “Protect the King, protect the royal family!” and casts fog cloud, filling the immediate area with billowing fog. Combat erupts as king’s guard and adventurers battle the imposter assassins. In the melee the king is bitten by a viper. As the fog clears, there are several dead bodies lying about and the king immediately suspects Kylan’s friends set up the plot. He orders their arrest and has them locked in the dungeon. Kylan is escorted to his rooms where he is monitored by 2 guards.

Teri: Here’s what I remember:
Kylan’s father,the King, treated everyone in the party badly, and treated Kylan worse.

Senji did a disastrous star chart on the King, it showed “bad things” happening.

A dinner at court was held that night, so Kylan and his friends attended. During dinner the barbarian in the party saw two small humanoids, dressed in king’s guard garb, enter the dining hall from a side door (?). Yentha became alarmed and screamed, “Protect the King, protect the royal family!” She threw up a fog cloud to hide the royals and hides under the table looking like a fallen guard, thanks to the Hat of Disguise.

(Someone else needs to put their thoughts on dinner here)…

The fog cloud clears, the party is arrested, and marched down to the dungeons immediately.

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A Slaughter of Orcs
Adventure 08 - The Journey Home Part 4

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The orc raid on the caravan left the wagons in disarray and the party’s supplies and provisions dangerously low. Worse still, the casks of beer and ale were stolen, and Kylan’s mentor, Gar’in Dayl was taken along with his carriage. Tythan is tasked with tracking down the missing wagons and the party prepares to rescue what was taken.

The trail is easily found and soon a couple of orcs are spotted on a cliff, appearing to be on guard, but not at attention. Deciding to get a better look, they make their way around the tall hill and up to a cliff overlooking the orc’s position. Looking down on the scene below, one of the missing wagons and Gar’in’s carriage are parked along the cliff face, and there appears to be a cave entrance below the cliff where the party is watching from.

Senji creates a ghost sound in the distance to distract the orcs. Quietly Kamden and Tythan climb down the cliff face to the top of Gar’in’s carriage and then down to the ground. Once they are in position, the rest of the party prepares for the attack. Kamden rushes out and takes down the first orc while Tythan charges the second orc, injuring it. Luckily, a quick magic missile takes out the second orc before he sounds the alarm.

image.jpgAfter dispatching the sentries, the party stealthily ventures into the caves of the orc den. Around the first bend they come across the kennels for the dire wolves. Luckily the wolves are preoccupied or sleeping and the party is able to sneak by without being discovered.

Venturing down the tunnel the party comes across a handful of orcs crudely butchering the horses from the caravan. Without pause, the brave adventures charge, quickly overwhelming the surprised orcs. From this room, two smaller tunnels exit, one sloping upwards and the other leading down. From the lower passage, the sounds of raucous laughter and harsh speech from a horde of orcs is heard. Wisely, the group decides to try to circumvent the main room and take the high road. Making their way up the smaller tunnel, they come upon a strong, crude door. Instead of busting it down, Jorn weakens the earth around the door frame. Slipping into the new room, they discover it is a fairly luxurious living space for an orc. Near the rear of the room is a small alcove full of loot. The party quickly searches the loot then travels through another door in the back of the room. Moving quietly, but quickly the group approaches a large open room. Just across from the entrance is a large throne looking out over the meeting hall.

It is easy to see that the throne is set above the meeting hall of the horde on a 15 foot tall cliff. Seeing this advantage the party rushes the throne and engages the orcish warlord and his personal guards. The battle is vicious as the orc warlord wields his great two handed war axe. However, this is not the only force he uses. As Jorn attacks, the Warlord points at him and unleashes the force of a raging wolf, knocking Jorn back to the edge of the cliff. It is only the stout stability of his dwarven nature that keeps him from going over the edge. As the battle raged on, Kamden and the warlord trade blow after blow until the warlord finally falls.

image.jpgAs this fight rages, Kylan goes to his mentor, Gar’in Dayl who was captured and tortured by the orcs. Near death, Gar’in passes on a unique tattoo to Kylan. Once the transfer is made, Gar’in closes his eyes for the last time.

Meanwhile the horde rages below and circles back to release the dire wolves and cut of the assassin’s escape. As the party retreats, they fight their way back down the tunnel fighting wave after wave of orcs, finally making it back to the butcher room. Here the final stand is made as the orcish horde is slaughtered by the brave heroes. After the final battle ends, fatigue takes over Kamden as his rage fades. Kamden sinks down and waits with Jorn while the other loot the Warlord’s treasures. Alone and tired, they hear growls coming from the exit tunnel. Sighing, Kamden rises preparing for another battle, but instead finds a single remaining dire wolf pup still defending the kennels. Instead of attacking, he tosses the pup a chunk of horse flesh, making a fast friend.

Later that night before moving on to rejoin the caravan, Yentha prepares Gar’in’s body for a funeral pyre and and simple ceremony. Tired and morning their losses, the adventurers gather what they can resources they can recover and then return to the caravan.

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By Rights of Land
Adventure 07 - The Journey Home Part 3

image.jpgLeaving the swamp lands behind, the caravan finally crosses the border into the kingdom of the north, Krishen Highlands, birthplace of Kylan and the realm ruled by his father, King Daedric. The land turns into rolling hills before becoming the rough terrain of the highlands. The rugged nature of the land is made beautiful by the lush green that covers the hills. As the miles roll by, the darkness and horror of the dying town and the Shadowman fade and a gentle peace settles over the caravan. Kylan spends a lot of time with his new mentor while Kamden and Jorn discuss the various brews they have experienced over the years. The journey north appears to be drawing to a quiet end.

image.jpgThen the caravan tops a hill and in the distance the scouts see a low timber fort surrounded by a large number of native tents. Scouting ahead, Tythan finds that the roads are completely blocked by the native people. The caravan pulls up short and a small party rides on ahead to see if they can negotiate passage along the road. The party is soon stopped by a pair of native warriors holding thick bows. Several attempts at communicating end up failing and the small party rejoins the caravan. With few other options, Jorn says a brief prayer to gift the native with the miracle of speaking common Estodian.

Returning to the pair of guards, Jorn blesses the more animated guard with the gift of language and a peace offering of his best brew. image.jpg The guard is cautious at first, but this soon turns to amazement as the guard accepts Jorn as a powerful shaman. He also begins to believe that the barbarian Kamden must be a strong chieftain to have such a powerful shaman in his tribe. Jorn is able to convince the natives to allow them access to the fort as the natives still refuse to allow any travelers to pass and seek help from the great city. As the small party passes through the camp it becomes clear that Jorn and Kamden are not the only ones to draw respect. Kylan also seems to draw a lot of respect. Knowing his kingdom once dealt peacefully with these people before his fathers rule, Kylan decided to meet with the tribal elders while the others visit the fort.

At the fort things do not go well. The people in the fort do not want to let the adventurers that are clearly in league with the natives inside the fort, but after some argument, the gates open just enough to let the remaining party in without risking any of the savages rushing in. Within the fort, the situation is dire. The fort has run out of food and provisions. Further, many of the missionary settlers have died of sickness. The people are scared and angry and refuse to leave. The party is greeted by a pompous ass of a priest named Fineas.image.jpg Fineas demands first to know why the strangers we’re let in and tries to convince the people to leave. When Kamden suggests they should leave, considering the situation, the priest begins to claim rights to the lands, granted by King Daedric and funded by the church of Kavadin. He demands the natives leave and the land be left to the church for a place of enlightenment and rest along the long journey north. Fineas goes on to speak of the barbaric ways of the natives. Having heard enough, Kamden steps up and punches the man in the face, knocking him to the ground. Senji quickly dazzles two of the guards and for a tense moment it appears there may be a fight. But calmer heads prevail and Kamden backs off. Fineas stands up and blusters that they will not leave and that this is their land by rights, then turns and leaves in a huff. Seeing little benefit of staying, the party returns to the caravan.

A short time later Kylan returns, smelling of an earthy, smokey herbal scent. As the party discusses their options, Kylan tells them of the tribes demands. The tribe is upset that the king has been claiming more and more of their land. Selling the land the tribal travel through and live off of. This fort is at the heart of the territory that remains and the tribe must stand to bring a stop to losing the land or face losing their freedom and lifestyle. The refuse to allow passage to notify the king of the situation as he is no longer a friend of the tribe. From their view, the only reasonable solution is to remove any trace of the fort from the hill top. Everything from the log palisades to the stones of the walls and buildings must be removed and the invaders (settling missionaries) must leave. The elders have agreed to allow the caravan to pass if they can convince the people in the fort to do this and leave. However, as night it approaching, they will post guards to ensure the caravan is protected and safe for the evening.

The next morning, the group goes back to the fort. After much negotiation and the offer of food, horses, and help destroying the fort, the missionaries finally agree to leave. The adventures spend the rest of the day softening the stone structures and burning the palisades. That evening the see the missionaries on their way south to return to the church of Kavadin. Worn out by a day of hard labor, the caravan rests another evening under the protection of the tribe before continuing their journey north.

Epilogue
image.jpgA couple of days travel after the encounter with the tribe at the fort, the caravan is trying to make up for the lost days at the fort and continues to travel as dusk approaches before stopping for the evening. Just after dusk the caravan is attacked by a pack of orc raiders. Although they are able to fight off the majority of the raiders, several caravan guards die in the attack and three of the wagons are herded off to the east by the orc raiders that managed to escape. The survivors of the attack are left facing a decision to travel on or go and rescue the stolen wagons and supplies. After regrouping, they also find that Kylan’s mentor was still in his wagon when it was taken.

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The Shadowman Cometh
Adventure 06 - The Journey Home Part 2

The long journey to the north continues, just a bit more pleasant with the recent acquisition of the fine spirits from the apple orchard. Another week passes without much excitement. However, the sky begins to become cloudy and dark and the surrounding terrain begins to appear more wet and swampy. At some points even the road has become sodden and difficult to pass. As the days roll on, the group approaches the small village of Dakkot. The kings advisor reports that this was once a prosperous farming town that helped feed many of surrounding villages, but traveling through the area, not a single active farm is seen. The land appears to be old and boggy, not even close to being workable farm land. None the less, the king’s convoy reaches the town of Dakkot safely.

image.jpgThe town itself seems nearly abandoned. The buildings appear old and run down and the few people in the streets are fatigued and quick to glance over their shoulder. Between the worn buildings, nervous people, and overcast sky, a deep unease settles over the convoy as it pulls up to the only inn that is not boarded up and closed. Rooms are secured and most of the members of the convoy turn in. While Yentha makes her dusk visit to the local cemetery, several others settle in for a meal and a drink. The barkeep is a thin wirey man with unkempt hair. His apron is quite dirty and he has a wild look in his eye. When asked for a meal he produces a stew with a grey, watery broth. There are a handful of unrecognizeable vegetables and a couple of lumps of white, bloated mystery meat. The stew looks completely unappealing. Even so, Senji makes the best of it by snatching up a few roaches scurrying across the floor and crumbles them into the stew… for flavoring. Oddly enough, it helps and Senji enjoys his meal while Kamden and the others choke down what they can. 

As dusk approaches, the barkeep warns the group to stay inside at night so the Shadowman doesn’t get them. As the barkeep is clearly crazy, not much weight is given to his tall tales, but seeing that Tythan and Yentha still haven’t returned the small group that is still awake decides to go find them. Stepping out of the inn, they quickly spot Tythan near the north end of the main street. As the last rays of the sun pass below the horizon, an unnatural darkness falls over the town and a dark shadowy figure rises from the street behind Tythan. image.jpg A manly figure made completely of shadow standing 8 to 9 foot tall looms over Tythan as his companions run to help him. As Tythan turns to fight, his blade seems to pass straight through the shadow. Seconds later, the Shadowman strikes Tythan square in the chest leaving behind a thick tentacle from Tythan to the Shadowman. Tythan turns pale as if his strength is being sapped from him, but continues to fight on. Kamden and Senji soon join Tythan, but their attacks seem to have little affect. Suddenly from behind them the sound of a scream, Yentha’s scream, rings out though the muggy night air. The Shadowman attacks without resistance and soon envelopes the party one by one, draining their strength and replacing it with a bone deep fear. Soon the disheartened hero retreat to the safety of the in and bar the door. The drain on each of the hero’s soul is lasting and deep and the night passes dreamless without any true rest.

The next morning the adventures wake groggy and drained to find that Yentha never returned during the night. image.jpgAfter a dry breakfast they venture outside to look for Yentha. However, a the morning sun washes over the group, the fatigue and fear dissipates. As they head down the street to find Yentha the see her exit the old abandon church. She tells the others that she spent the night with a scared young boy, who seemed to be an orphan. Unfortunately he was gone when she awoke. After some investigation and asking the few people still in town the group finds out that several years ago the land sank and became swamp land. Most of the farmers and families left upon seeing their farms, and savings, wither and die. The few that remained tried to keep the city going, but over time people continued to leave and the town was more or less abandoned. As for the child, a few people thought him and his mother may still live on a small farm to the north west. So the group decided to go and try to find him.

image.jpgFollowing a small trail out of town, they come to a abandoned house. The sky around the house darkens almost to twilight even though the sun continues to shine. Approaching the house, a light is noticed it the upper window. The party moves toward the house, but they sense they are not alone. Near the front door they see shadowing figures moving in the distance hand hear hollow howls. image.jpgLooking around the side of a house several shadowy wolf like figures approach. Kamden hurls a javelin at the nearest one, striking true and splitting the shadow wolf in half. In the distance two more shadow wolves form and sulk towards the house. Seeing the numbers increase the party moves into the old house, but the shadow wolves do not cross the threshold. Before long there is a whole pack of shadow wolves outside the front door.

A short exploration shows the house is empty and has been for some time. Making their way carefully upstairs, the brave adventurers climb into the attic. In the far corner of the attic sits a small boy huddled next to a lamp. The lamp burns brightly, holding back the darkness Ina clear circle of warm light. The boy is crying, but appears uninjured. Yentha comforts the boy and he tells her he is waiting for his mom to return. After hearing his broken story it is apparent the young boy’s mother is either dead or long gone. However, by agreeing to help the boy they convince him to return to town and the safety of the church where he stayed with Yentha the previous night. Leaving the house, the darkness and wolves are held at bay by the light of the lamp, but the shadowy sky follows them all the way back to town.

Arriving at the church, the sky grows even darker and the oppressive darkness presses in. The boy is told that his mother is dead and that the group can help find a place for him back in Kavadin. The boy breaks into sobs and all light leaves the church except within the light cast by the lamp. The heroes crowd into the light around the boy as the Shadowman rises from the floor of the church. With nowhere to run, the heroes charge the Shadowman finding once again that their weapons are useless. image.jpgHopelessness sets in until the boy is encouraged to fight back. With this the heroes’ weapons begin to glow a bright blue and are able to strike the shadows solidly. The battle rages, but the boy is still afraid until Yentha steps up, places a glowing dagger in his hand and helps to guide it home into the heart of the shadow. The Shadowman howls and dies in a burst of light as the shadows dissipate from the inside of the church and the town. The bright, warm sunlight shines in through the churches front window restoring everyone.

Not wanting to spend another night in this town, the convoy is quickly packed and ready to set off on the journey north once again. Before leaving, two of the kings guards are sent back to Kavadin with the boy in hopes of finding him help and maybe even a new family.

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The Search for Fluffy
Adventure 05 - The Journey Home Part 1

As the journey to the north continues, the first notable stop is in the town of Appleton. In most towns that the caravan passes through the drinks are cheap, in quality not coin, and the company is worse. So, when the carriages roll into Appleton and she the decorations for an early spring festival, the mood brightens. While Kamden and Kylan head to the local tavern, Senji attempts an early evening meeting with the Mayor and Yentha visits the local graveyard.

Kylan finds a cozy table by the hearth and Kamden heads to the bar. The bartender is a kind friendly man with a broad chest and a well trimmed beard. Kamden orders a drink and it is better than any he has had on the road so far. He begins to chat with the man and is offered the best drink in town. It is a crisp apple ale, a hard cider, that is one of the best that Kamden has ever had. After a few more jovial drinks, the bartender tells Kamden that the cider comes from the apple orchards on the south edge of town that was passed on the way in. It is a local favorite and is known as a treat throughout the region. Kamden finally joins Kylan at the table and they chat about the cider and possibly picking up a keg at the orchard.

Meanwhile… Senji meet with the Mayor, who seems to have the taint of dwarf on him. Senji does an astrology reading that has a dark tone, but he tells the mayor only the good parts for the coming season. The mayor loves it and invites Senji to join him for dinner, which is a real treat. The night carries on in good conversation and Senji returns to the tavern later that evening. However, Yentha’s time at the graveyard seems to be cut short as she returns to the tavern and goes straight to bed.

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The next morning they decide to swing by the orchard before they get back on the road. The cart with Kamden, Kylan, Senji, and Yentha pulls up to a large ranch house at the edge of the apple orchard. A dwarf working in the yard runs to the house and moments later an older dwarven man exits the house to meet the group. Kamden tells the elder dwarf that they came for a keg of cider.image.jpg After discussing the details of the sale and the possibility of a future mutual agreement with the Taproom, the elder dwarf offers to give the group a tour of the ranch. The elder’s daughter, Belren, joins the group for the tour and she seems to have a bit of a crush on the savage Kamden.

image.jpgNear the end of the tour a goblin runs up panicked. In a high squeaky voice he says that their pet had escaped and they need help catching it. The elder looks frustrated, but explains that they are allowed to live on his land in exchange for helping with the harvest. He offers Kamden a free pony keg if they help clear up the mess.

The group follows the goblin through the apple orchard to a small goblin village near the far end of the orchard. image.jpgThe goblin village is a run down, disorganized, dirty assembly of stick shacks. There is a cooking fire in the center with a cauldron of stinky green stew. The goblin guides the group to a small clearing where their pet “Fluffy” was kept. There is a goblin body covered in twigs and leaves that was bitten (in half) by Fluffy when he chewed through his leash and escaped. After some investigation they discover that Fluffy has been irritable lately and that the goblins have been feeding him a special brew that has made him grow really big in strong. With little other information, the group goes into the orchard looking for Fluffy.

A brief search through the orchard shows that Fluffy is headed back towards the village. They double back just in time to see Fluffy creeping back to the goblin village. image.jpgUpon seeing Fluffy, they notice he is not a small pet. He is a giant crazed weasel with matted fur and a bloody scar around his neck where a rough rope still hangs. Realizing that there is little hope of capturing or subduing Fluffy, the group moves in and attacks. Unfortunately, once the battle begins, the goblins are worked into a frenzy that their pet is being attacked. However, Fluffy is quite wily and springs all over the village attacking at random. This drives Kamden into a rage who charges through a crowd of angry goblins, leaps into the air and splits the poor Fluffy in half with a single mighty blow.

image.jpgThe goblins scatter and the group retreats back to the ranch house where the elder dwarf and his daughter meet them. After a brief tale of what happened, the elder dwarf assures them he will be able to make it right. With that the group returns to the caravan and continues their journey.

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Trouble at the Taproom
Adventure 04

Following the cold adventure in the snowy woods, the brave adventures enjoy a nice warm night in their own beds. The following morning as Kylan prepares for his appearance at court, the other adventurers of the Ruddy Spirits Taproom venture out to find their own finery for court. After a morning of shopping the group meets back at the taproom then heads off to court.

Arriving at court, Kylan and his group are forced to wait until the end of the day to see the King. Kylan is finally admitted and the king informs him that Kylan’s father is ill. Kylan’s brother has requested on his father’s behalf that he return to the Barony before his father passes. Kylan accepts and the King authorizes Kylan to make arrangements for a caravan to take him safely north.

After a day of planning and making arrangements the tired crew returns to the Taproom. The Taproom’s owner Donavan Wyatt, reports that throughout the day a number of odd patrons have checked in. They are not causing any trouble, but check in with no drinks order an go directly to their rooms. He is concerned that something might be going on. The party investigates but doesn’t discover anything in particular.

image.jpg That night as the patrons come down for the nightly meal, a stranger enters the Taproom. He walks up to the bar and offers to buy the bar. Of course the offer is refused. The stranger finishes his drink and stands to leave. He saunters to the door, pauses, then leaves.

As the doors close behind the stranger, chaos erupts. A large portion of the people in the Taproom draw weapons and attack anyone nearby. A vicious fight ensues, but soon smoke begins to fill the Taproom from the upper floor. As the fire is noticed the fighters begin to flee.

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The fighting ends and the fires are put out, but there is significant damage to the Taproom that will take some time to repair. As the Constable and guards apprehend the downed trouble makers, they investigate the attack speaking to many of the gathered witnesses. Unfortunately there are no solid leads , but the Constable ensures Donavan that he will continue to investigate. Meanwhile, Kylan has a private conversation with a mysterious robed figure in the streets in front of the Taproom.

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