The room around the party appears almost identical to the previous Aetherium chamber, with the only suggestion of travel having actually occurred being Julio’s injury, and there being a different member of green robed Aetherium staff rushing forward towards the group. This individual moves the group out of the Aetherium’s receiving and sending area and into what is referred to as boarder control. There, Julio is offred much needed basic vetenary care, whilst the rest of the group is processed and registed to be allowed into the city of Quince. The group is each scanned magikally and provided with a bracelet that appears to correspond to each of their racial species. When bracelets are applied to 428 and to Journ’ee, their colour changes, as it had with all of the other party members, but in their case, both turn a dark rushed colour, which the officer present refers to as unclassified. He adds that this is not unusual, but that their race is seen so rarely that there isn’t a single colour. Some confusion presents itself in Magnus having a grey coloured bracelet of dwarves, but Journ’ee’s own band being rusted. Brant is not too keep on having his whereabouts known at all times, and so conjures a replica bracelet of his own, as a means to avoid being tracked by the Quince officials. Paperwork is signed, with the group being represented by their newly appointed noble. Lady Granuaile introduces herself and various additional papers are brought to be signed, whilst suitable accomodations are arranged. The officials provide passes to allow travel after dark, as well as the use of magik by none Quince residents -the party. They are pointed in the direction of their hotel to be, and leave the Aetherium, slightly shaken, with wounded steed and official tracking bands of the state in place.
Eventually arriving at the Hotel Vanquiz Imperial, where once again Lady Granuaile introduces herself, and is provided with a very respectable suite on a high floor, with an ajoining room for her staff.
The suite is grand with a queen sized bed room, a large functional living space that multifunctions as a receiving room, dinning area and lounge, with two rooms off the main multipurpose chamber. One is a grand bathroom, with golden clawed free standing bath. The taps appear to be ivory with golden insignia present, identifying the hotel’s brand. The second room is a room roughly the same size as the bathchamber, but with three simple wooden bunkbeds for the lady’s staff. A plan is devised to settle into the city, and to then begin to make enquiries about the professor. The city is full of all buildings, tall, and imposing. They are built in a different style, and seem to be curved inwards at their centre, before curving back out to a broader width. Brant recalls the stories of the magikally improved architecture and that the wealthy here enjoy displays of their riches and connection to powerful, new and fashionable magiks. As the group travel, Journ’ee very obviously pulls his cloak over his body and wears his hood up, obfuscating this face as much as possible. Magnus suggests that the party divide in order to cover more ground, and so the group spilts, with Magnus, Orryon and Journ’ee heading to the science quarter, where the university is situated. The other group of Granuaile, 428 and Brant take a scenic route back to the hotel, trying to familiarise themselves with the sights of the city, her people and her customs.
At the university, Magnus appears to be in his element, seeing magik used so freely and in such different ways. There are people moving around the courtyards in a range of different coloured robes and hats. The centre of the main square houses a large stone stature of the university director and current Prime Minister of Naramiá, Hugótaire Strathholme. Seeing the trio looking up in wonder and not having a clear destination, someone points them in the direction of the registration building for new students. They queue for a time, noticing that the different schools of magik and study are broken into various factions, with each dressed in different colours, denoting their specific field of study. The wizard expressed his interest in all things Anudwin, and is told that this is a highly competitive course run by the Prime Minister himself. The trio are lead to a mage who introduces himself as Billeque, a secretary of sorts to the minister. Fortuneatly Journ’ee has offered to pretent to be mute, so as to not negatively impact the outcome of Magnus and Orryon’s information gathering. Billeque offers Magnus a tour, thinking he is a prospective student. They are lead around various buildings, and eventually reach what turns out to be Billeque’s office. Small, and cosy, Magnus and Orryon take seats in front of a sturdy oak desk, with their guide sitting behind it. He begins to talk to the elf and dwarf about their respective studies in Anduwin runes and of medicine, discussing the course duration and costs. Journ’ee stays standing and spies an interesting looking cat statue resting on the very edge of the fireplace. He coughs and falls to the floor, spilling something in another direction. Billeque rushes out the room to get help, and in that moment, the fiery dwarf steals the statue, his motives unclear. Billique returns and does not appear to notice the statue missing from its usualy place of residence, and offers help to Journ’ee. Orryon too is present to assist, but cannot find there being anything triggering the dwarf’s cough. Billeque suggests the trio leave, but that if they are interested, there is a seminar later this evening being delivererd by Hugótaire himself, and exploring the concept of the mind. Orryon and Magnus both appear interested and are given details of when and where.
Meanwhile, Granuaile, Brant and 428 have returned to the hotel, where the lady requests someone to tend to her injured mount. Julio is left with a promising sounding stablehand, who has already started to work on helping the beast recover from his teleportation injuries. The muscular stable hand is impressed by 428’s own physique and expresses an interest to the giantkin that they could tumble and “get those muscles sweaty” together. Brant and Granuaile recognising the pick up line, but 428 remaining oblivious and taking it literally, agrees to meet the stablehand for a sparring contest. Seeing this for what it is, Granuaile excuses herself and Brant leads 428 away from the stable, to enter the hotel proper.
As they make their way from the stable to the grand foyer, Brant keeps and eye out, having previously accidently staying an an Imperius hotel. Fortuneately, the spy is able to confirm that Hotel Vanquiz Imperial, despite is name, has no links with Imperius whatsoever.
Granuail, Brant and 428 arrive at the lady’s suite and notice that from this height, they can see most of the city spread out beneath them. Room service is summoned whilest they await the return of their other allies. Manuel appears. A dark skinned human in fine purple and red clothing. His silver name badge polished and nestled upon his lapel. He introduces himself and tells Lady Granuaile that he will be providing personal service to her suite whilst she is staying in Quince, and that she has but to say his name for him to appear. 428 requests food and Manuel waits for Lady Granuaile to confirm the request before he vanishes from the room once more. A short while later he returns, this time, not appearing in the room, but at the door, with a colleague, also wearing the purple and red uniform of the Vanquiz Imperial. The staff wheel in a trolley carrying a smoked boar, stuffed with a goose, stuffed with some sort of local fish. Brant requests a pint of alcohol. Something considered the strongest drink the hotel has. Manuel vanishes and reappears carrying the requested beverage and setting this down. With no further requests, the staff exit, and the trio set about eating drinking and cleaning themselves. Granuaile draws herself a bath whilst Brant drinks the pint and 428 starts to eat the various meats. The bath is warm, the meat succulent but the pint of drink is strong. The bard feels its effects almost instantly. In a split moment before they take over, he realises that this sort of drink should be drank as fine malt whiskey, rather than in such large volumes. His senses and inhibitions leave him quickly.
Magnus, Journ’ee and Orryon return to Granuaile’s suite to find the lady not present but 428 eating and Brant nearly passed out. Journ’ee finds the drunken bard to very amusing, and slaps his palm against Brant’s clothes. The dwarf’s contact causes the halfling to start to smoulder as fire begins to burn him. A hand print burns through Brant’s clothes. Noticing this, Orryon puts the fire out with his own magik, before casting a secondary spell to remove the toxins from Brant, restoring him to his sober healthy state. Brant sobers instandly, and notices his back having been burnt. Although the fire is extinguished, the clothing remains damaged. He accuses Journ’ee, and at that moment, Granuaile reappears dressed and dried after her bath. She summons Manuel to return to the room. She evicts Journ’ee from her bedroom, asking Manuel to take care of this, before she tells the party she needs to get some air. She is accompanied by Magnus and Orryon, asking 428 to keep an eye on Brant, and vise versa.
Within the merchant quarter of Quince, Granuaile finds a fine jewler with the help of Magnus and his cartography skills. There she is able to sell the twin jewelled scimitars she managed to produce from Julio, perhaps having previously belonged to the warlord she bested in the desert of Derimyre. They have no real combat value, but are ceremonial and rare in this part of the world. She is given a fair price and upon exiting the shop, Magnus and Oryon spot someone familair in town. The figure makies its way through the maret place – Renly Anford. Magnus takes a piece of acacia gum, with an eyelash encased within and touches Granuaile, enchanting her to be temporarily invisible so she can move more stealthily. The dwarf does not bespell himself, and hopes the the elf can use his new cloack from the Sultan to be more acrobatic, and less noticble. However Orryon is not used to this cloak yet and it gets caught on a splinter from a cart wheel, faiing to move with any noticeable subtlty, and alerting Renly to being followed. He begins to flee, but rushes into the invisible form of Granuaile who quickly overpowers the man, returning to being visible as she pushes Renly into a nearby bar. Magnus follows and pays for drinks, as well as requesting the use of a private room. The barkeep eyes the dwarf, but on seeing Granuaile’s powerful form, he leads them to a back room, and closes the door behind them.
In the back room, Orryon leans against he locked door while Magnus and Granuaile begin to ask Anford about where he has been and where the Sword of Marr is; knowing that they need this as one of the Anduwin artefacts. Granuaile holds the man down, whilst Magnus questions him, and notices that he does not appear to have a bracelet on either wrist. He may have been smuggled into the city. Renley confesses he lost the sword. He tells Granuaile that it had its own magikal protections. He boarded a ship with the Sword placed in a bag. The ship was heading to a small island in the north. He isn’t sure specifically, but explains that he felt warm there, and Renly thinks it was in the Ozmit Sea somewhere. Wherever the boat moured, Renly disembarked and found himself on an island. He recounts that it was on this island that the Sword burst into flames. A unit of greyborn arrived and killed all the other sailors and travellers, taking the Sword but leaving Anford alive for some reason. Renly decribes the symbols that the greyborn had as tattoes of on their weapons and Orryon recognises these as the marks of the Dernskar Clan of the Greyborn – devilishly clever engineers and weapon’s designers. Magnus and Granuaile persuade Renly to share other information in exchange for some form of protection from the greyborn. Hesitantly, he agrees and the three men and Granuaile leave the backroom, give the barkeep another gold piece and begin to walk back to the Vanquiz Imperial.
Back at the Vanquiz Imperial Brant takes a short nap and 428 chooses to take a bath. Journ’ee has found his way back into the room, and decides that he will have Granuiale’s bed, and she can use one of the bunkbeds. He begins to make orders of various items from the city. He summons Manuel and tells the concierge that Lady Granuaile is accustomed to expensive and highly unusual whores. Journ’ee suggests that the hotel arrange this for the lady. At roughly the same time, the giantkin manages to break the bath, not knowing how to operate the taps. Water begins to spout into the bathroom. He shouts for Brant to help him clean the rapidly sodden room. This aquatic distraction enabling Journ’ee to return and make his unusual requests, intended as a prank against Granuaile. Brant conjures his magikal doppelganger and tells him to help with the cleaning and drying effort. The real Brant cleans himself, while his illusion helps the giantkin to mop what he can. Noticing the water is still gushing forth, 428 uses his colossal strength to bed the ivory coloured taps, crushing them in and preventing any more water from flooding Granuaile’s suite.
On their walk back to the hotel, Magnus stops by the docks on the river, and seeks out a ship belonging to his family’s company. He hopes to use this to get to the Lighthouse, as the bishop had previously asked him to. He meets with some of his family’s staff, many of whom recognise him and his name. They tell him that they are sailing out the next morning to deliver supplies to the Lighthouse, and Magnus is welcome to join the voyage. He accepts, confirming he may have one or two travelling companions with him, and that he has a few more effands to run today, but will return to the docks in the morning. He turns and tells the others to head back to the hotel, due to his other errands. Orryon, Renly and Granuaile follow Magnus’ instructions and do not wait for this interaction to reach its end, so the three continue their return journey to the hotel. When they arrive at the hotel a staff member behind the front desk calls to Granuaile with a message. He tells her that some of her exotic tastes in whores may be very hard to come by in Quince, but that the Vanquiz Imperial aims to ensure all guests have the best possible stay. Granuaile is horrified by this, and the insinuations. The clerk informs her that the fiery dwarf had ordered them on Granuaile’s behalf. She cancels all the orders and runs off to her suite. Orryon hangs back slightly as Renly follows the obviously upset half-orc. The elf asks at the desk if a cloak could be procured or make for a larger individual. He orders and pays for one to be made, in a stormy grey blue colour, to be collected by himself or a party member this evening, before he too follows after Lady Granuaile.
Upstairs, a thin layer of moister spreads across the wooden floor in the corridor. Granuaile goes to her room, immediately summoning Manuel about the state of room, and the water damage that appears to have happened whilst she was out. Manuel apologises for this, seeing an obviously distressed customer. He arranged for Lady Granuaile and party to be moved to clean, dry and more hospitable rooms on the other side of the hotel. In the moment of doing this, the naked form of 428 appears at the bathroom door. Granuaile’s embarrassment has reached its peak, and she goes to the new suite, and locks herself in the master bedroom. Renly and Brant share a cool quiet in the new room, whilst 428 dresses. He and Orryon leave the room and make their way downstairs to find the fiery dwarf, with a plan to return him to Granuaile to apologise for his actions and suggestions. Once they have left, Renly explains to Brant what he had told Granuaile, Orryon and Magnus in the private room of the bar.
The wizard walks for half an hour until he finds a shop not far from the edge of the river. Magnus searches for a specific shop. Eventually he apparoches the narrow simple structure. He enters with sense of duty propelling him and helping to quell the fear and dread he feels. Behind the counter is an older looking dwarven man.
“Are you Eobark Thrain?” the dwarf asks.
“I am indeed my friend. How can be of assistance to you today? Need devises? Clockworks? Enchantment?”
Magnus shakes his head. He reaches into his pack, and draws out what is left of Rhogar. His arm, before placing it on the counter before Theo. The dwarf waits, the slience eating away at him.
“Is this…” the man starts, choking back some unknown emotion, “Is this from…?” The name going unsaid.
“I travelled with Monsuier Sandlewood for some time. I have the honour of considering him one of my closest friends, and the smartest man I have ever met. I do not know how he came to meet his end, but I plan to find out. All I know is that this arm is what is left. He spoke of this place warmly often. I thought it fitting his harm be brought here, where he can once again lend you and your craft a hand”. The dwarf smiles besides himself, at his unintentional pun.
“No. No, my friend. You should keep his arm, as a memory. I have pleanty here of him, and our time together. I haven’t seen him in so long, but it is good to know he had friends who cared. Thank you for bringing this to me. At least I know what happened, in a way. And am not left wondering if he is alive. Thank you for bringing this news to our door. Though it is not pleasant, it is welcome. It offers my wife and I some closure”
Magnus takes the arm back, and stays with Eobark for a time, talking of their shared friend. Swapping stories and remembering, before the afternoon passes into early evening, and the dwarf says his farewells, and makes his way back to the Vanquiz Imperial.
Orryon and 428 do not have to travel far in their search for Journ’ee, finding him in the hotel bar. There, 428 takes up a seat at the piano whilst Orryon has a heart-to-heart with Journ’ee. The elf tells the dwarf to be kinder, and that the party recently lost a close friend and ally. Granuaile also recently parted from someone else close to her and that Journ’ee’s jokes may have been funnier at a different time. Though, there is a chance that they would always play out bthe way they did. A hauntingly beautiful sound begins to fill the bar as the giantkin plays the instrument before him. His fingers dance across the keys. He plays each note softly and sinsearly. Despite his size and strength, there is a feel of gentleness to the music he makes and while the gentle giant plays, patrons sit in silence. The music goes a long way to calming the frustration in Journ’ee. In the silence, Journ’ee and Orryon share a look, and when the music quiets and the bar fills with applause, the elf finishes convincing the dwarf of the importance of the party’s mission from the Sultan, and that infighting is counterproductive.
Back in the city, Magnus crosses the river again, back to the side where the hotel is, but his destination is not home. Instead he approaches the Temple and Library of Kaine. Eventually he meets the Arch Bishop Areil Dancor. She does not take note of his name, but refers to him as number thirty nine. He tells her that he would like to request a task to earn her recommendation to attempt The Trials of the Anduwin. She tells thirty nine that there are warring tribes of trolls in the forests and lands of Naramiá. His task from Dancor is to convince the leaders of these tribes to meet. She hopes that in meeting she will be able to bring about a peace between them. She tells the wizard that thirty eight others have come to her for a task, and she always sets the same one. She is not hopeful in thirty nine’s success. He does not say much just that Magnus Marche will be different. She turns on her heal and walks back into the Library, not expecting to see thirty nine again.