23 Ice 90 (night)
Oidche wakes from a bad dream, in an unfamiliar room, with Una sitting beside him. With help from Rory through the little barred window outside the cell, Una tells Oidche what happened to him. Oidche looks less than thrilled as the story goes on, and definitely blames this on everyone else in the party; nothing like this ever happened to him when he was just a supply clerk. Una talks Oiche into seeing Lonan at The Academy with her.
As the three walk into the shiny tower on Carpenter Street, they hear music in the back. Una peeks back to see the people who work there cleaning up, one of them playing a flute. Since Lonan is asleep, being very very old, Ciar, after the shilling for library access is paid, leads the group up to the library and listens to the story. He starts taking out books, and looking things up, using a lens to look at the text. Eventually he pulls out a dragon-skin book with an Ouroboros on the cover. He says that this is a treatment that this cult uses to affect a transformation. The treatment comes in two parts; and just one treatment leaves them in a human form, called “The Tainted Ones”. There is not a lot of information on these, just that they are said to have various powers, and that the transformation is only done on the weak; for those with stronger constitutions, the potion is merely a poison. For the weak, the transformation leaves them stronger and healthier than they’ve ever been. Ciar says that the potion will eventually lead to a poisoning of thought and body, gradually changing the personality of the affected. This transformation process has taken over from the previous way they had of making the controlled servants; a golden torque of a snake. When the torque is closed and the snake is eating its tail, the person is unable to take off the torque unless they are dead. It leaves them subject to the control of the head of the cult. Oidche does not look pleased at all, but seems intrigued at the thought of unnamed powers. He also reports that he feels stronger than he ever has.
On the way out, all the elves in the tower save Lonan leave with their instruments for their gig at the The Green Man. Seeing a shadow of something huge she cannot see in the glass windows of the tower, Una runs along the street to warn them, only to be told that it is the Golem that protects the tower from thieves. They leave it invisible so that it will not scare customers. Rory, Oidche and Una meet Oren in the castle for dinner. Oren, while hunting, saw the newly resurrected Lord Niall returning from Fallsport, flags waving in triumph. As this never happens for anyone, even Lords, the event causes some whispering and wondering. Sir Aidan and Lord Morgan are sitting and talking with huge smiles on their faces, which fall a bit when Oidche approaches them to say that he’s well. Sir Aidan looks a little uncertain at first, but eventually seems just fine with that, and goes back to his talk with Lord Morgan. Oidche has a feeling that he’s done something to make Sir Aidan relax, but isn’t sure what that is, exactly.
Everyone goes upstairs to talk to Gilroy. Rory keeps trying to get him to accept work someplace instead of drinking himself to death, and he refuses. Eventually she decides that he should be shipped off to Mapledell as a prisoner to work on Blackwall, but that kind of thing really doesn’t exist, and Gilroy really doesn’t want to be a lumberjack. After some more talk, Oren says that he will give the man money to start an inn in Mapledell. Dwarves and workmen are about to flood the area, and they will need someplace to drink. An inn would be a welcome relief to the women of Mapledell (who are used to making all the ale and playing host to the drinkers of the town in their homes), and there is money to be made and gossip to be had. Una tells him that if he takes the money, he is their man; they get all the gossip, they get all the information, he doesn’t hold back. This releases a floodgate of information on the thieves guild, and Gilroy looks like he has hope and a future again. The party troop down to the Great Hall to sleep. Oidche sleeps instead in the minstrel’s gallery, above the Great Hall.
Una wakes with a start, having had a bad dream, or heard a noise. She sits up and looks around, meeting the gaze of a wraith standing over her, Rory, and Oren. A battle ensues, but they cannot stop the wraiths from killing several other people sleeping in the great hall, and then having to fight them risen as wraiths as well. Everyone runs up to Prison Tower, to find the merchant MacNees dead as well, with a look of horror on his face. Sir Aidan gives his ring to Oren, saying that the party has every authorization to kick in the Merchant’s door. Oren tosses the ring to Una. The party, with a group of guards, goes to the Merchant’s house, and the guard at the door gives no trouble when the ring is flashed. Upon entry into the courtyard, there are shouts and cries of alarm; the merchant’s wife is dead. She is found wearing a golden torque, now open.
The place is ransacked. An unsigned letter is found by Rory addressed to the merchant, instructing him to take the ‘enclosed item’ and leave it by the mouth of the cave at Dragon Bluff, where Eitrdottir was living. The only signature is a diamond with a dot in the middle. Oidche finds a secret pocket inside his cloak, another letter with the same symbol. It instructs him to acquire and bring a merchant coin cask to a location inside the elf wood north of Ottercreek. Una finds a secret trap door under a carpet. Below is a storeroom, with a whole wall dominated by a carved stone dragon that is at least 10 feet tall. In the eye sockets are two large spherical moonstones that glow in the light. Detect Magic shows that these radiate Divine magic of the divination variety. The magic is in the stones themselves, and they are surprisingly easy to remove; it appears the carving is a place to put them while they are not being taken places. Una believes that you need to use them at the same time, looking into the eyes of the dragon, and that they are used to commune with the World Serpent. The party takes these things, and goes back to report.