Sigrbrand, Guthbrand, and Ruti have defeated the assassins Edorhill and Toska. The three surviving lancers are Edric, Mince, and Johnboy. Miena and Erkram are also safe, as is their hostage, Thalian.
The party searches the area and finds mention of a Cosín in some papers in a chest. Carrock-en-bar, a nearby town, is also mentioned. Miena reveals that she was hoping to link up with Theladrins, a group of investigative mercenaries that works for the King of Gondor. Cosin, a half-elf, is a leader of that organization in Carrock-en-bar. Miena asks the party to contact him, while she, Erkram, and the lancers stays in the Vane, hidden by its illusory elf magic. She is too well-known to risk entering town. The party agrees and she gives them a password, “Dawn rises always for those who protect it.”
Since Carrock-en-bar is 20 miles away, the party spends the night in the Vane. Guthbrand sleeps with his horse in the house, while the rest sleep outside instead. Sigrbrand takes the time to cast Essence’s Ways and learns that the two glass eyes taken off Edorhill and Toska are malevolent, illusory magic. He also learns that the scarf taken off Edorhill is a mild aid to water breathing in some way. He keeps all of this, along with the gold bands from the assassins and a pair of well-made boots (+5 stalk/hide and +10 Moving Maneuver) found in the chest.
Sigrbrand, Guthbrand, and Ruti ride for Carrock-en-bar and reach it at day’s end. The river runs to the north and east of the town. There is a mossy tower on the northwest side of town and a tomb in a mound to the south, where people place flowers. A rich farm is to the west. There is a town square, with a central well, a tailor (Ned Haaim), smithy, a bowyers with the sign of a grey feather (Rayden Hold is the owner), John Tinnen’s wares (the general store, with Ninnet John the magic-using co-owner), the Fenwyrm’s Fire (an inn run by Laren), and an armory of the local guard, barracks, and the Wise Seating (town hall).
Sigrbrand sells his loot at the general store, adding up to 8950 sp., 52 cp., which he divides evenly with his two companions. He keeps the eyes, the scarf, the boots, and 2 gold finger bands, and then purchases a +5 Longbow for 450 s. from Grey Feather and a +5 longsword for 400 s. from the smithy. Guthbrand sells the minks, and keeps the money for himself after Sigrbrand refuses to deal in such “blood money.” All of the party buy 4 weeks of dried rations.
They stay at the inn, where Sigrbrand chats up Sahail, the young waitress, who ultimately proves too giggly for his interest. A blond man named Rangnor walks into the bar with a slender servant named Breor. Laharai the tailor’s son tells the party that he saw a ghost on the river last night, a man in black with long fingernails floating across the water in the mist. Laharai also tells them that several people in town are missing, including Faradek, Cosin, and Sontaran. Laharai describes the three men as having mystical abilities. Faradek brewed the best beer anywhere, Cosin told marvelous stories, and Sontaran seemed to see everything and to never need sleep.
The next day they search Sontaran’s house, finding 37 sp. 50 cp. Rather than steal it, Guthbrand adds 5 sp to the pile. They find a copy of The Book of Truth in the corner and a mystic snare in the middle of the room, which Sigrbrand identifies as a trap created by Nature’s Way magic. On their way out, Sigrbrand lifts the 5 sp.
Guthbrand and Ruti go to the Speaker’s Hall, to meet with Aidrid, a balding old man with a stick of the Culvorn tree (S. Redwood) covered with metal. Laharai freaks out and screams about the ghosts on the river, and when Guthbrand mentions the magic trap in Sontaran’s house, Aidrid signals the guards to be in a better position.
Sigrbrand claims to go to see the bowyer again, but in fact doubles back and steals the rest of the money from Sondaran’s house. He then goes to catch up with them at the Speaker’s Hall, but a number of the guards are showing too much interest in his companions so he instead goes to back to the inn.
Sahail tells Sigrbrand that Aidrid is an old tough bird and that Jaern has been his servant for a long time. Jaern is a little fat guy, under 5’(a hobbit?). She also explains that Cosin tells stories of the War of the Ring, which he was apparently at (a notion she finds ridiculous), and that the Book of Truth has been in town for a few months.
Two toughs come into the room – Rangnor and Breor from yesterday, and Sahail waits on them. The Innkeeper explains to Sigrbrand that they are new to town, arrived yesterday, and are looking for people. There is also a friendly hunter from the south, a dark skinned woman named Tallyh, sitting in the corner. She occasionally flirts with the barmaid. Sigrbrand slips out the back of the bar and heads for the woods to find where Cosin lives.
Guthbrand returns to the inn, while Ruti takes a different route. Rangnor meetss Guthbrand and tells him he looks like someone he used to know, a dead man. He is, of course, referring to Thalian, whose armor Guthbrand is wearing. Guthbrand is completely oblivious to the fact. In Westron, the blond man says, “Dawn is prone to rising, at least for those who keep it safe.” Guthbrand pretends he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The little fellow gets up and tries to flank Guthbrand, but Guthbrand forestalls an attack by offering himself for work. Rangnor tells Guthbrand he might hire him to find two people.
Guthbrand picked up that a small woman in the corner, with dusky skin, was also interested in the conversation. Ruti joins Guthbrand as he talks to the dusky woman. She warns him that Rangor has left to seek more help, perhaps to come back and find Guthbrand.
When Sigrbrand returns, Guthbrand tells him that the two guys are in league with the dusky woman, whom he feels is the most dangerous of the three. He also explains that he told Aidrid (whom Guthbrand thinks is ok) that Laharai and the party would go looking for the ghost. Sigrbrand gets a copy of the Book of Truth (written by a Master from the East) from the innkeeper, but finds no ensorcellment on it. He later throws it away, believing still that it may be ensorcelled. The party hires the stable boy to take their horses to woods for safety (in case Rangnor returns) and then they head for the village tomb to investigate.
Guthbrand’s keen senses detect something dangerous in the tomb. Sigrbrand casts Detect Traps and finds not one, but many magical snares like the one in Sondaran’s house. The party prepares to investigate the tomb thoroughly.