After waking the next morning, several of the party decided to head into town to see what was to be had, leaving behind Kiernan and Anast to continue recovering from the wounds they had taken the previous evening. However, on their way into town, the party noticed some debris several hundred yards from the road. Upon investigating, they discovered an abandoned wagon containing a single dead body. After investigating the scene, the group saw not only that the driver of the cart was dead, but that he had been shot in the back and appeared to have been crying black oily tears sometime near his death. Judging by the quality of his cart and clothing, and by the signet ring bearing the Lady’s crest, the group was led to believe that they bad discovered the body of the missing Nasiph Valien. The tracks around the wagon seemed to suggest that several riders had been near the wagon, one of whom was smoking a chagah. They also came to believe that the nasiph may have had a passenger with him at the time of his death, but the only clue to the identity of the missing passenger was a knotted necklace lying in the dust with a strange circular pendant hanging from its center.
The party headed into town, but not before placing the signet ring on Mot’s finger, as she was the only known citizen eligible to serve as interim Nasiph. After talking to a few people in town the group headed for the office of the Saral, or sheriff, a man named Xern. Portly and aging, the party found the ex-adventurer asleep at his desk. They informed him of the death of the Nasiph, but despite his assurances to put his very best effort into his investigation the party couldn’t help but think that they had just interrupted him at the height of his constabulary prowess. Mot informed him that his position would now be the constable of Gale, his duties were to guard the jail-cell, and the title of sheriff was temporarily placed conferred to Nuana Kornis. The only useful information the sheriff was able to lend was that the necklace they had found was a rosary and the medallion the symbol of “the god those crazies out in Shantytown cling to”. The party decided to continue their investigations there.
The party reached the Shantytown to find a collection of tents and lean-tos sheltering 20-30 families. The most obvious adornment, though, was the large tree in the midst of the camp. What was once a century old oak had apparently been snapped in half about 10 feet off the ground, the top long-since vanished, and scorched black. Carved into the face of this tree trunk the party recognized the same symbol they had found on the knotted necklace. After asking around, the party discover that these families were among the flock of the former Yesuchian priest of Gale, the man now known as the Childe ben Yaza. ben Yaza converted from the Yesuchian faith to the cult of the Morninglord some time ago. Because of the Morninglord’s tenets, the Childe and his flock were unable to give obeissance to the standard of the Umbral Throne. Deora, being one of the more merciful Primogen, took away all of the lands and holdings, and banished them all to the area now called the Shantytown. Apparently there are shantytown’s like this spread throughout the Kingdom, and they survive on what they are able to gather/grow and on goods donated to them by unnamed benefactors.
The townsfolks informed the party that the Childe had disappeared two nights past, which was only discovered the next morning when he did not show up for morning prayers. No trace of his disappearance could be found. The group was concerned because if any of the banished cultists are found away from the Shantytown the entire town will be put to the sword. Armed with this information, the party decided to head back to the laCarn place, stopping off first at the old Nasiph’s office to see if they could find any leads there. On their way, they noticed a mounted observer watching them, who turned and road hard to the north when the party tried to hail him.
In the office, after long investigation, the group turned up an old military report, faded by age and water damage. It referred to a disappearance nearly 10 years prior. The only legible portion of the document contained what appeared to be a quotation from the Childe ben Yaza: ”...elves arrived here, sick and bleeding. We did what we could for them, but they died, sharing their last secrets with me.” Tucked into a portfolio on the Nasiph’s desk they also found a map of the area around Gale. The map had a red line drawn between Gale and the Shantytown, and a single name at the top: Saeran Fynn.
Armed with even more puzzling evidence and a name that none of the party knew, the group headed back to the laCarn place, as night closed in around them. When they asked laCarn about the name, the pieces began to fall into place. During the battles between the Kingdom and the Raphan armies, Primogen Aog captured an artifact called the Isbari Glaive. The Glaive belonged to the famous swordsman Isbari Kane, a treasured artifact of the Imperial Throne representing the office of Pen-Cath, the Sword of the Emperor. Proud of his trophy, Aog processed the artifact throughout the Realms, as a testament to the power of the Umbral Throne against all earthly rulers. However, as the artifact made its way through Lady Deora’s holdings, a famous outlaw-thief named Saeran Fynn, stole the Glaive and disappeared into the morass. The Kingdom searched for Fynn and his band for months, but after a final skirmish, the group and the treasure disappeared into the marshes forever.
The then came to this realization. For whatever reason, Nasiph Valien became convinced that the Childe ben Yaza knew where to find the Glaive. But someone else must have realized this as well, and killed the Nasiph to get the information from the Childe. The artifact itself could not only fetch a high price, but would be a powerful bargaining chip for favors from any of the Primogen (perhaps even the Umbral Throne itself) as well as from the Raphans. And the only person anywhere nearby who the party could imagine would have that kind of ambition was the enigmatic Mr. G.
The party geared up for a fight (leaving behind Kiera who was still recovering from the vicious saber-wound she took defending the town two days earlier), and headed back to the abandoned wagon to try to pick up a trail. Sullivan Keth was able to find a trail in the dust, and the party following the horse-sign back to G’s encampment.
At the compound the party decided to split up and attack the structure from 3 directions. Anast attempted to create a diversion by setting fire to the bunkhouse, while Sullivan Keth covered the courtyard from the loft of the barn. The rest of the group moved toward G’s house, hoping to find the Childe in the basement. The bunkhouse fire did the trick, but after searching the entire mansion, the group was only able to find a ledger of G’s local business ventures. Not having heard anything from the other two areas the group decided to investigate the one remaining building, the mill.
Joined by Anast, the group moved into the mill, and immediately encountered resistance. Moving as quickly as they could the group eliminated the guards, but not before an alarm was sounded. The group barricaded the main entrance, while Sully tried to distract the main group of hire-hands by launching an incendiary onto the mansion’s roof. This new fire drew most of the hands to try and save their employer’s home, while the party used a side exit. The group met little resistance, and cleared the compounds wall (after Anast lit a large pile of grain and oil on fire within the mill). Sully joined the group later, leaving behind his own blazing gift in the hay of the barn.
The group headed quickly to get the Childe back to the Shantytown. On the way, ben Yaza told them that he had indeed met the only two surviving members of Fynn’s band, and that they had died in his care after revealing the final resting place of the Isbari Glaive. After some discussion, the group determined to recover the item from its hide in the Morass to the south.