The party of adventurers takes a few moments in the morning to complete various tasks. Dorrin drops of the battered prayer book he found at the archives, leaving a note for Rissa. The group also leaves items from Lyran’s and Luka’s request lists for the two, even though the keepers are still off-world.
Sulyex pushes the group to depart quickly, eager to accomplish this mission on his home world. Gribble is nowhere to be found, and the party leaves without him.
They walk through the door created by the Sanctum and emerge in an opulent room, lavishly decorated, with smooth wooden floors and comfortably cushioned nooks spread throughout the large open room. They see several lovely women of various races and ages (and a few handsome young men) working around this room, cleaning and preparing it for the day's work. A dawning realization overtakes the party: the Sanctum dropped them into a brothel.
They are greeted by a matronly half-orc woman who introduces herself as Madam Rillian, and As she pulls Sulyex aside for a conversation, she summons her girls to entertain the rest of the party. The group is accosted by the lovely young ladies and gentlemen, separated and engaged in conversation and mild flirtation.
Somewhat alarmed and off-put, the party is connected in a telepathic link by Coratana. They learn that they are not in the same town that requested their aid: they are currently in Cedar Grove, four days’ travel from the village of Stillwater. They also learn that the church of Bahamut’s presence has been waning over the last few decades, that the local temple is presided over by Father Grigori, that there are a number of shops in town on the Plaza a few blocks away from the Dreamer's Pool (the name of this fine establishment), and that if they want cheap horses, they should try Fonsa’s stable on the edge of town.
The party checks out the shops, finding Abella’s Magic Emporium, Florian's Goods and Services, and Dax’s (a fine jewelry shop). They get a number of jewels and items appraised, make a few purchases, and head too the edge of town to find Fonsa and purchase horses.
Upon their arrival, Sulyex summons his own steed and the rest of the group heads inside the stable to find an interesting incident occurring. A young, feisty horse is giving some grooms some trouble, and a small green goblin - Fonsa - is attempting to direct them to control the beast.
Audir steps forward and confidently, easily, even, gets the horse to calm. She speaks with Fonsa about their need for mounts, and he offers to sell them three mounts at full price - 60 gold apiece - and he'll let them take the troublemaker for free. Coratana quickly accepts the deal on behalf of the group, and they head outside to await their mounts.
A few minutes later, three miserable-looking nags are handed over to them, along with the comparatively much healthier-looking troublemaker that Audit claims as her own. Though they feel taken advantage of, the group accepts the poor beasts and begins their trek toward Stillwater.
On the road, a few hours north of Cedar Grove, the party passes a large compound, surrounded by extravagant, lush gardens. This compound is marked by a large banner, of a green five-pointed star on a black background. They pass it without comment, but meet a middle-aged human man a bit farther on the road who introduces them to the Brotherhood of the Chosen, a group of individuals whose primary stated goal is to support each other through generosity of spirit. Sulyes educates the group about the primary doctrine of Bahamut as they continue up the road.
They camp overnight, setting watches to ensure their safety. The first watch passes without incident, but about halfway through the second watch, Coratana hears a slight shifting noise and, upon investigation, discovers a young human youth - mid-teens at the oldest - moving stealthily away from the campsite. He pursues and surprises the young man, sending him reluctantly back to his home. Coratana returns to the campsite, and - in the morning - updates the group on the events of the night. They set out again on their trek towards Stillwater, intending to stop at the Trading Post located midway between the cities.
Mid-afternoon, the more perceptive members of the group notice a column of smoke rising through the air in the distance. Kaira - on Coratana’s instruction - polymorphs the warlock into a Giant Eagle, inviting Dorrin to ride on his back and scout ahead while the others follow on horseback. Dorrin agrees, and the two fly ahead. Within a quarter of an hour, they come upon the burning wreck of the Trading Post, pieces of bodies strewn about the location. They don’t see a single survivor of this attack, but do find a set of tracks of something large heading away from the site.
They follow these tracks and spot two large shapes moving slowly Northwest. They get close enough to get a good view of these shapes and see two large, metal-armored, roughly-humanoid constructs covered in darkly-drying blood.
Dorrin and Coratana briefly engage one of the constructs (which, as Coratana discovers, are entirely unresponsive to his telepathy), but it brushes of their attacks as insignificant. The two retreat, regather with the rest of the group, and head back to take down the constructs.
The adventuring party leave the horses on a hill not too far from the trading post before they head down to enter combat with the two armored beings. Halbard manages to restrict one of the construct’s movement with a green-fletched tanglefoot arrow pulled from the Bag of Holding, and the group quickly notices that as they damage the armor, the constructs become easier to hit and damage further. With that in mind, they quickly strike down the first one. As Nightbane tears it in half with his tentacles, a thin, wispy, white vapor escapes. The vapor hovers in the air momentarily before being carried away by the wind, and a heavy horrified silence falls over the group as they hear a child's voice ask for its mother.
With renewed energy, they tackle the second armored construct. With alacritous speed, they dismantle the armor enough for Nightbane to rip the head from the rest of its form, releasing a second vapor that calls out, “Daddy, it hurts!”
Subdued, the party makes their way back to the Trading Post to see if anything can be salvaged from the burned-out ruins.