Here, once more, is the party lineup:
- Mike: Tarthon, minotaur barbarian – Have Axe, Will Travel
- Steve: Grumhorn, a.k.a. "Grue," dwarf invoker – The Immovable Object. Truly.
- Me: Graaver Stormcry, longtooth shifter druid-fighter – Sees Life as a Series of Punching Bags
- Willie: Sebastin, githzerai ranger – able to nab a Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkin at fifty paces
Manael, tiefling bard– new character to come!
Part 1: The Green Mile (After Mile After Mile...)
Following the party’s vicious betrayal by Manael (vile pigeon-murderer!!) and the attack of the hydra, there are many injuries among the crew (and the adventurers), and Captain Cross orders a quick assessment of the damage to Lasandra’s Wave. Cross is pretty angry – and is understandably not in the mood to trust any of the party after what just happened. Still, Grue earns some points back by volunteering to use a Make Whole ritual to repair the damage to the ship’s mast and hull. Good timing, too, as a squall is approaching, perhaps four hours away. Cross also says that because of the oil used to drive off the hydra, the ship’s remaining supply is low.
The rest of us try to process the day’s events. How long has Manael been planning this? Is the mysterious Xollox connected to the metallic triangle and the hunt for Longshanks’ treasure? Why is Hallowell so concerned about the summer fashions in Punjar? We don’t believe the hydra was part of some master plot – it’s more likely that Manael decided the hydra’s appearance was as good a time as any to make his move.
Stormcry takes out the triangle and concentrates on it. The shifter feels as though he could reach into someone else’s mind... but that’s as far as he gets. So it’s a conduit? Hmm. He tries to concentrate next on Manael the Goat-Fornicating Betrayer ... no luck. Does “contact” require another triangle on the other end (a la the Palantir in Lord of the Rings)? Questions for a later time.
We endure a really rough night. The squall is brutal. The adventurers take the lead in tending to the ship during the first half of the stormy night. Grue and Stormcry don’t fare so well in the rocky seas and are ordered to go below decks by Nathan... but not before several of us spot something large flying overhead. Twice! In any event, we have regained some respect in Cross’ eyes, as it’s apparent to everyone that the ship wouldn’t have survived this far without the repairs from Grue’s ritual.
Oops, maybe spoke too soon... around 4:30 a.m., there’s a big crash. The mast has broken again! The ship is spinning, Grue has no more residuum on hand to perform another Make Whole ritual, and Hallowell insists on singing Dead or Alive’s “Spin Me Round.” Nevertheless, Grue, Tarthon, Stormcry, and five crewmen are able to use sheer brute force to restore the mast. Although the worst of the storm seems to be over, we’re not done yet. Still, Nathan sees that we’re all spent and he orders us back below to rest. We promptly do so and pass out.
Around 7 a.m., we wake up and realize that the ship isn’t rocking. Grue asks, “Are we dead?” We realize that not only is the ship not rocking, it’s not moving. At all. We go on deck to join the others. Through a thick fog, we can make out that the ship is resting on a thick, greenish surface. Vegetation? Skin? Boogers?
We quickly see that it’s matted, rotting seaweed. There are no noises, no movement, no birds. As the mists burn away in the morning sun, we can see in the distance another ship... and another... and another. And the thick, green, Sargasso surface stretches as far as the eye can see. One awestruck, terrified crewman, Curtis, whispers, “Journey’s End.” Another crewman quickly tells him to shut up. The rest of us start getting Ravenloft and Twilight Zone heebie-jeebies. This situation is NOT GOOD. We tell our resident sage, Elbarr, to come up. Captain Cross looks through the spyglass and sees eight to 10 another trapped vessels, and she can barely make out the sight of the ocean, far in the distance. Curtis continues to whisper morale-killing doom and gloom, so we suggest he go on grick-watching duty below decks. Heh.
We suggest to Cross that a few of us walk over to the closest ship. At the very least, we might find oil. So off Stormcry, Tarthon, Grue, and Sebastin go. We poke ahead with the trusty 10-foot pole as we walk along the spongy, stinky, seaweed surface. It’s thick and deep. In fact, it feels completely solid after the first few feet. As we walk around the bow of the closest ship, we can see its name: Mistcutter. By the lacy undergarments of Ildavir, this is Captain Longshanks’ ship!! It’s been missing for about nine years.
We managed to climb up the kelp on the hull and get to the main deck. Grue falls once. Stormcry senses that the ship has been here for several years, at least. We’re probably the first ones to set foot on the Mistcutter in that time. It’s eerily quiet, other than an occasional, unsettling creak. As we go down the stairs, we see that the door has been broken. Our quick examination shows that it was barred – from the inside. EeeeEEEEEeeee.... can we leave now?
Down on the main crew level, we see that the next set of stairs – leading to the lower decks and the hold – continues down into muck. Our knowledge of ship design is pretty lame, but we know that there may be another one or two levels below – and they’ve been sucked into the Sargasso. In the crew quarters, we see no signs of life, just more muck and broken bunks and chairs. Was there a fight? If so, where are the bodies? One bit of good news: stuff! We spot two casks full of oil and several chests. Stormcry uses his crowbar to open the chests. In total, we find: a pouch with assorted gems; two silver armguards inscribed with draconic skulls; an old gray cloak; a wooden, twisted, rune-covered staff with a silver cap; 68 silver bars (worth 200 gp each), plus 260 gp and 402 sp. As we’re opening the chests, Sebastin runs back up to give Lasandra’s Wave the “We’re still alive for another few minutes” sign.
On this deck we find the captain’s quarters. Its broken door had also been barred from the inside. In the center of the room is a table, on the edge of which a book is teetering – over a hole in the floor leading to the muck-filled levels below. The ship’s occasional creaking becomes a groan. The ship moves slightly – and the book falls into the hole. Stormcry jumps in after it! Suddenly, several vine-like tendrils burst out of the muck to grab him! With arrow and avenging light, respectively, Sebastin and Grue destroy two of the tendrils, and Stormcry nabs the book and is quickly pulled out by Tarthon. It’s probably a good idea to get out of here. Because walking back across the seaweed surface with several chests full of silver bars sounds both risky and impractical, we decide to drop one of the chests over the side to see if the surface is really like a skin. Sebastin and Stormcry, the two members of the party perhaps best in tune with nature, indeed notice – and feel – a reaction as the heavy box hits the surface. We decide to keep the jewelry and silver armguards hidden from Captain Cross and the rest of the crew, but we’ll share the gold and silver coins. The chests of silver bars will have to stay where they are, until or unless we figure a way out of this.
We return to Lasandra’s Wave and note with concern that the ship has already sunk several inches deeper into the muck. We share the full details with Cross, Hallowell, Nathan, and Elbarr. We also examine the book, which is truly the log – and last words – of Captain Longshanks himself. His account is a terrifying one and has already been optioned by Hammer Films. Longshanks mentioned that there are four triangles and that he had acquired two. Once he found the other two, he would return to the Star. However, the Mistcutter became trapped in this muck just as we did. Members of his crew disappeared only to return as the walking dead – their bodies taken over and animated by the evil, plant-like intelligence that resides at the center of this decaying land. In his final entry, Longshanks says, “I know now that these were but the children of what dwells at this land’s heart. I must seek the mother at this heart, for to destroy the mother is to destroy the brood. If only this had been done to the Kardashian family... I can hear voices whispering all over us. They draw near.”
Ack. So then... guess we’ll have to attack the “Black Heart.” Happy happy joy joy – NOT! Cross isn’t thrilled at the party’s plan to depart at first light for the center of the Sargasso, but our options are few. The ship can’t move, and the same “muck zombies” that came for Longshanks will presumably come for us. As “Plan B,” another group will begin the arduous task of physically carrying one of the ship’s longboats to the edge of the region. If we fail, at least there’s a tiny chance of some folks making it out of here. As our ship is the most recent arrival, and since the land seems to grow from the center out as the “mother” absorbs more lives, Team Longboat might encounter fewer hazards. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. The adventurers agree to sleep on deck tonight and take watch. We expect the worst.
And we’re not disappointed! Creepy whispers of “Outsiders... outsiders... Warriors… come out to plaAAAY…” begin in the darkness outside the ship. Seconds later, six kelp-covered and tattered “muck zombies” clamber over the railing and attack! Their first, off-balance, "Thriller" moves miss Grue and Tarthon. Sebastin hits with rapid shot. Tarthon hacks into one with brutal slam and knocks it over the side! Grue successfully hits with astral wind. Stormcry hits one with grappling strike, yet the zombie escapes the grab. Grue is struck, and two zombies pile on Tarthon, who tries to retaliate with escalating violence. Grue again hits with astral wind. Stormcry summons two spectral lions, which miss their targets. Two more zombies begin to climb up! One of the first zombies misses Grue, but another gets a good shot on Tarthon. Sebastin lets fly with two arrows via rapid shot – and knocks both of the new arrivals back over the edge! Tarthon finishes off his opponent with pressing strike. Grue blasts another with avenging light.
One muck zombie clobbers Sebastin, while another creature’s blow glances off Tarthon’s armor. Sebastin steps back, lets fly with clever shot, and sends his foe over the side. Stormcry knocks one to the deck and stamps on its neck with crushing foot. Nat 20! Tarthon gets into position with pressing strike against the zombie that Stormcry pinned and – finally – gets to use the Headman’s Chop feat to deal bonus damage. 21 points! Suddenly, though, the hatch on which Tarthon is standing creaks under the minotaur’s massive weight and – CRASH!! Tarthon plummets to the deck below! Eventually, however, we’re able to clear the deck, thanks mostly to Sebastin’s clever shot and Grue’s astral wind at the end.
Now what? We can’t deal with this for much longer. One way or another, this must be over by tomorrow night. Sebastin fires a flaming arrow into the darkness toward the Mistcutter. We see three more muck zombies approaching from way off, and we realize with horror that they’re coming in waves from the different ships. And there are a LOT of ships.
Part 2: Journey to the Center of the Muck
Although it’s dangerous, Team Longboat decides not to wait till dawn; they’ll leave now, even though it’s only about 9 p.m. The half-elven Wonder Twins choose to go with them as protection. We wish them luck. Vegas places the over-under on their survival at 5 hours.
We can see that the next wave of muck zombies will be here within the hour; it’s going to be a LOOOONG night. Tarthon climbs down to the surface to spread his supply of dragonfire tar in a line between the creatures and the ship. Meanwhile, the rest of us convince Captain Cross and crew to stay below decks, seal themselves in, and get rest. If we fall, they’ll have to make the trek to the “black heart” in the morning. Elbarr stays on the main deck with us. As the next pack of zombies closes in, Sebastin fires a flaming arrow at the line of tar. WHOOOSH! It’s partially effective. Some zombies do catch fire, while others simply sink into the seaweed surface and reemerge on the other side of the fire line!
The subsequent battle is long and exhausting. We fight several waves of zombies, the bodies of which range from mostly human (with some vegetation) to nearly complete mounds of walking muck. It’s also apparent that these “zombies” are not extra-vulnerable to radiant damage from Grue’s attacks, especially not his attempt to Rebuke Undead; they’re plant creatures, not true undead. Most of us are bloodied by the time the fight is over, but we’re all still alive. Captain Cross and crew emerge around 1 a.m. and we get some much-needed sleep.
We awaken six hours later. Hallowell greets us with French toast and mimosas. Cross tells us that there was one more zombie fight while we slept. The Wonder Twins were among the attackers. Crap. No French toast for Team Longboat. Cross says before we head out for the center, “I won’t stop you, since it seems like the only option. But if we lose any more crewmen, we won’t be able to sail the ship even if we DO get free.” Nathan slips Stormcry an extra potion of healing that he had kept. He wishes us well, “not just for me, but for my son” – the cabin boy, Nate. Hallowell offers to slip something to Stormcry as well, but the shifter declines.
And so Tarthon, Sebastin, Grue, and Stormcry begin their slow walk to the center of the cursed Sargasso land. We pass by several other ships, but there’s no movement of any kind in the daylight. The vegetation gets thicker as we get closer, which slows our progress and impedes our vision. In the afternoon, though, we finally reach the ship at the center. It’s very old. The name on its hull says “Thunderer.” Because the ship is so deeply buried in the muck, we can see much of the main deck right away. There are several skeletons lying – motionless – on the deck, the first ones we’ve seen since being trapped here, which backs up the notion of this ship being the epicenter of the evil. We begin moving from the main deck to the stairs leading down. Sebastin, in the rear, glances around and solemnly informs us, “Zombies are rising out of the Sargasso all around us.” How many? “About 1,600.” Oh crud. Well, I guess this is indeed the right place! The first ones will likely reach us in about 45 minutes.
In one big room on the deck below (the captain’s quarters), we find a skeleton wearing a metallic plate on a string around its neck. It shows four vertical lines, with a circle or knob in a different position on each line: the middle for the first, the bottom for the next two lines, and the top for the fourth line. Are these lever positions? Stormcry grumbles, “Reminds me of that door puzzle back in the grotto. Ya know, before that traitor Manael stabbed us all in the back....” I think Stormcry is still holding a grudge. In any event, it may be a clue to something we can’t deal with now.
Going to the next room, we destroy two zombies, and two more in the room after that. Now we’re at the center of this deck. There’s a depression in the floor, a trapdoor, and a BIG stench of decay. Either we’re on the right path or this is a shortcut to Mickey Rourke’s house. Stormcry volunteers to go first. This deck is roughly separated into two sections: the forward hold and the aft hold. In the forehold, he finds two chests (one big, one small) and a large steel shield that depicts sharks devouring men. Again, this could be Mickey Rourke’s house…. For now, at least, he takes the smaller chest and the steel shield.
Grue, Sebastin, and Tarthon join Stormcry as they enter the aft hold. Here, a huge section of the floor and hull have collapsed, creating a 30-foot-deep pit – in which is a writhing, horrendous, mass of rotting vegetation that’s 12 feet tall and turns its dozens of eyes and tentacles toward us... holy crap, it IS Mickey Rourke! Say hello to “Mother” and roll for Sanity Checks! Wait, wrong game! Roll for Initiative and scream your heads off!
Stormcry and Tarthon quickly climb down into the pit and attack. Sebastin and Grue try to attack from the top, but tentacles reach out and yank them down! Sebastin lands on the mass of moving vegetation as though he were hopping off a park bench. (8.5 from the Russian judge.) Grue hits the muck with a smack. (4.1 from the Russian judge.) The dwarf quickly retaliates with one of his invoker Daily powers, and it’s a sweet one: dawn’s blazing fingers! It hits, and does ongoing damage. Tarthon swings his battlecrazed axe and strikes with escalating violence. “Mother” lashes Stormcry with two tentacles. The shifter feels some of his life energy sucked away, and he is weakened. Grue and Sebastin are restrained by two more tentacles, yet both heroes still manage to hit. Tarthon attacks with brutal slam... and it HURTS. [Mike had to leave early, so Steve rolled 2d12 instead. Max damage, baby!]
Oh, Mother is pissed off now. The creature attacks the four adventurers with three tentacles apiece! A razor-edged maw appears in her center, and she tries to bite Tarthon! Phew, missed. She’s not done yet, though: Little creatures in her belly (!!) start babbling about Insane Things That Man Was Not Meant to Hear. Our minds are filled with their thoughts and images of Mickey Rourke’s teeth, and we’re all a bit shaken.
Still, Grue manages to strike with spear of the inquisitor. He bloodies Mother and immobilizes her for a turn. [Rick said: “That was more important than you could know...!”] Stormcry, distracted, misses with his next attack, as does Tarthon. But the minotaur barbarian spends an Action Point and... hit!
Uh oh, Sebastin and Grue hear creatures – a lot of creatures – walking on the deck above this one. Mother rears up. The babbling of the young reaches a high pitch, practically driving us to our knees. She misses again with a bite attack against Tarthon, whom she clearly perceives as the biggest threat. Still more tentacles pop up and attack! Stormcry is bloodied! (Yay!) Grue tries to cast brilliant beacon, which worked so well in the hydra fight, but he can’t concentrate! The spell fails. Stormcry is restrained by tentacles, yet he still hits with grappling strike. Action Point! He hits Mother HARD on one of her main roots with crushing foot.
Now we can hear the zombies dropping down the trapdoor to this level. They’re approaching....
Tarthon misses. Mother strikes him viciously with a clawed tentacle. At least 10 zombies are about to jump down on us from the lip of the pit. Sebastin fires two more arrows at Mother... who explodes in a flood of decaying muck! She’s destroyed! The zombies collapse! The entire ship begins to shift! Hey, we gotta get out of here! Grue slides across the deck to get another chest from the forward hold. Crazy dwarf!!! We tie a rope to him and pull him out.
We wade through piles of kelp. There must have been about 40 zombies approaching. Yikes. We reach the stairs. Water starts flooding in. The main deck is now at sea level. Hey, the sea – that’s good! The ship is sinking quickly – that’s bad! We emerge and see that the entire Sargasso realm is breaking up. Waterspouts erupt around us. Long-trapped ships begin to roll over. Peter Jackson is applauding. We grab nearby planks of wood. Within minutes, we’re back in open water. One of the nearest ships sinks, creating a whirlpool that starts to pull us under, too! Grue is sucked under – but he’s still tied to the rope. Tarthon and Stormcry manage to reel him in.
The four of us drift, exhausted, for several long minutes, unable to do more than wave meekly at the very welcome sight of Lasandra’s Wave approaching.
Part 3: The Bath of the Minotaur
[We continued a few weeks later via Talker chat at talkerapp.com. This excellent part of the recap, summarizing two Talker sessions, is brought to you by Mike Ferguson.]
We somehow manage to flag the ship down, and we’re hoisted aboard by Captain Cross and the remnants of her crew. Most are glad to see us, though Obewald proves to be his usual jerk self. (He still manages to think that somehow we were involved in Manael's treachery, despite the fact that Manael TRIED TO KILL US.) We gladly assist the crew in raising the sails and getting back on course to Punjar.
As evening approaches, Stormcry and Grue spot a ship in the far distance. Captain Cross puts her looking glass on it, and sees that it’s a four-masted vessel, somewhat larger than the Wave. It’s flying a red flag that bears a central flame surrounded by seven stars – an Imperial Criestine ship. We raise the distress flag, trying to get their attention. Apparently we succeed, because after a few minutes they change course and head toward us.
The ship pulls up next to us. Captain Cross looks like she was expecting to see someone aboard the ship, but doesn’t – and that perturbs her just a bit. She dispatchs Nathan to speak with the crew of the Criestine ship. Three officers come aboard, looking more than a little suspicious of us, and ready to draw swords. Two of them (Beharn and Sontos) surmise that we've come from Journey's End (the enchanted Sargasso) and thought, naturally, we’re cursed. Stormcry calmly tells them we've broken the curse of Journey's End, but they're not really buying that. Their captain – Lantan Isevere – tells them to pipe down and give us some assistance. They send over five members of their crew to help with repairs … and with that, we all set course once more for Punjar, with the imperial ship following closely behind us.
Later that night, Tarthon notices that Beharn & Sontos had headed over by the sterncastle, whispering with concern. The Big Moo alerts Stormcry and Grue to this possible plotting, and Tarthon and Grue attempt to sneak over to eavesdrop. Grue kicks over a bucket of tar while moving about the deck, though, gaining their attention. It becomes very obvious that the two sailors are still extremely suspicious of us, thinking we are either pirates or cursed souls from Journey's End – and either way, we intend to rob and kill them. For a while, little we said made any difference in convincing them otherwise – they made the FoxNews folks on Election Night look positively open-minded in comparison. ("But you're pirates! And you're hiding stuff! WE KNOW IT!!! EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NOT A SHRED OF PROOF!!!")
Nathan, hearing the commotion, comes over to see what was happening. At this point, Beharn and Sontos are obsessing over what we might have in the hold of the ship, much like Locke obsessed over the Hatch in Season 1 of Lost. Sebastin volunteers to give them a tour below decks – warily, they follow. He escorts them to the late Dhennier's locked room full of gricks. They remain skeptical of Sebastin's warnings not to go in the room until he shows them evidence of our fight with the creatures … and until a grick tentacle slithers through one of the cracks in the door. At that point, pants are soiled, and our story becomes shockingly trustworthy.
Morning finally arrives. Captain Cross informs us that she spotted a large flying shape in the sky. It passed over the ship a few times – perhaps we were being watched? Or tracked? Stormcry had noticed it as well during the storm! Regardless, we keep that news between ourselves and the Captain. During this time, Stormcry gets another uneasy feeling from our mysterious enchanted triangle, as though his very thoughts were being examined somehow. He gets the feeling that something now knows his location, and the triangle's – and that he is being sought. He also gets the mental image (or glimpse) of a glimpse of a dusty, circular chamber – and of the number 3. Triad. Triad. Also, the pleasant image of six red eyes in the darkness, amidst bricks, dust, and sand. In his vision (for that's what it had become), Stormcry brings his hand before his eyes, but it's a claw of bone, devoid of flesh.
And then blackness. He reels backward. Stormcry knows that whatever these foes are, they’re not human. And they’re pissed that he saw as much as he did.
Fortunately, dawn breaks right at the moment. The morning mists part, and the sight of Punjar becomes visible on the horizon. We arrive in Punjar without incident, at the area of the docks known as "The Pinch." We say our goodbyes to Captain Cross, Nathan, and the crew of Lassandra's Wave (and, um, Tarthon might've given our old pal Obewald a firm shove off the gangplank as he disembarked.)
Elbarr tells us that Kandis – the person we’re seeking to help us translate the magic runes on the triangle we found in Longshanks' cove – will most likely be found in the markets of Punjar, in an area called the Souk. Of course, that is on the OTHER side of Punjar, and necessitates getting on a small boat. We find a ferryman called Wabu to take us there – a few coins buy his services and his silence about our presence in Punjar. Elbarr gives us a basic rundown of Punjar (it's all seedy, but some areas cater more to nobles/decadent rich folk) – it seems he used to spend some amount of time in Punjar, with Kandis. He is evasive about his past activities in Punjar, but we (Tarthon and Stormcry) don’t really push him too hard on it, either.
With ferry ride over, we travel up a main street called Guilder's Row to the Souk. Cramped, busy, noise marketplace – all we’re missing is Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark. We go first to a bathhouse in order to get cleaned up and wipe zombie guts from our clothes and equipment. Again, Elbarr is quite knowledgeable about the place, and apparently has been to the bathhouse at least a few times before. He knows Rahim, the owner of the place, and we rent a room in case we need it for the evening. (Again, further questions about "so when were you here last?" only get vague answers.)
We have a big meal before heading to the bath. Stormcry notices someone – a young, lean human with weathered skin – watching us before we headed there, but the man slips away before we can grab him and beat some information out of question him. To Stormcry and Tarthon's disappointment, the servant girls who wash us are less Adriana Lima and more Large Marge from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, but the group at least gets to relax and clean up.
Then, off to find Kandis. We keep an eye out for the man who'd been watching us before, but don’t see him. We reach the bazaar, and after looking around for a bit, Elbarr spots Kandis – a blonde, attractive woman with a penchant for jewelry and wands. Kandis seems very surprised to see Elbarr, and it becomes obvious that there's, um, some history between the two. (Tarthon and Stormcry do a bit of standing around muttering "awkward!" under their breath.) They do appear pleased to see each other again, though.
Kandis leads us to a tent in the marketplace. We tell her about the triangle with the runes, and Stormcry hands it to her so she could examine it. Apparently, it's officially called a Triagon. She tells us that she can’t translate the runes, but she knows they are sigils, indicating a very old, primordial binding magic. Binding magic. She believes that the old vizer Saleh might be able to properly translate them, but he works only for the Overlord of Punjar. (Of course.)
She also tells us that the Triagons were supposedly created by a demigod of ages past, for purposes unknown. There are several of them, and together ... well, they do something cool and powerful and amazing, but the sages argue over exactly what that might be. Together, the Triagons merge like Voltron to form something referred to as the Star. It is said that they were slung to the far corners of the world a long time ago. (Stormcry remembers that the cove where we found the triangle had a phrase scrawled on the wall: "I must go back to the Star.")
We ask how we can get Saleh to translate the runes for us. Kandis tells us about a situation brewing in Punjar – apparently, a girl who's the daughter of a Very Important Ambassador has gone missing. The Ambassador (who's currently not in Punjar) is due back in a couple of days, and if his daughter is dead or disappeared – oooh, embarrassing! Saleh is friends with the folks who were supposed to be watching the girl (the Malhavens), so … we find her, and Saleh should be grateful enough to translate a few runes.
After a few more questions, we learn that the girl's name is Ardwen, and she's daughter to the Kassantian ambassador. She went to the Really Bad Part Of Town called the Devil's Thumb with her retainers, looking for a night of gambling, and haven't been seen since. It's possible that she just went Lindsay Lohan on us and is naked and coked up in a tavern somewhere, but there have been rumors of other recent disappearances in the Thumb, as well as possible cult activity.
We decide to go meet the Malhaven elders to get some more info, then to the Devil's Thumb. (We also probably want to confirm with Saleh that he'll actually translate the rune in exchange for finding Ardwen.) For Kandis' assistance, we offer whatever knowledge we find about the triangle and the Triagons. (She also asks for a wand if we found one.) We leave Kandis and Elbarr alone for a bit, and then we start to head off to find the Malhavens.
And that's where we stopped for the night.