[11 Flamerule 1372 continued]
The adventurers experience strange sensations while passing through the portal, and believe they can see their spiritual essences flying rapidly over hundreds of miles of landscape in just seconds. They believe they "see" themselves approaching the city of Silverymoon, and then Multivar's ramshackle house, and then the room where his magickal mirror stands. Their bodies, and that of Mortimont, his golems, and a stranger, are splayed on the ground. Mellia, Syd, and Cain enter their bodies without difficulty. Dolcetto and Fargrim feel an attraction to both their own bodies and that of each other, but each opts to re-enter their original form. Myst approaches the body of Ralkin that he had been residing in, but suddenly a new spiritual entity blocks his path: the soul of Ralkin himself, which had been cast adrift into the ether after Myst's body was killed! For a reason known only to himself, rather than contest possession of the body, Myst chooses to allow Ralkin's soul to survive. The choice means that Myst's spirit will gradually discorporate, and he will know true death.
The adventurers awaken on the floor next to the mirror. Mortimont, dressed in a sleeping gown, introduces the Mulan stranger that had accompanied him as Zenith. Syd, suspicious of Mortimont and his affiliation with the Thayans, tries to surreptitiously pass his golembane scarab to Fargrim. Although Mortimont notices, he doesn't seem concerned. Upon gathering herself together, and pleased to be back in her original form, Dolcetto apologizes if she acted rudely or erratically during the group's time in Thay. During the distraction of one of Mortimont's golems extricating itself from the hole it had caused in a nearby wall upon arrival through the portal, Ralkin hastily stuffs Myst's corpse into his bag of holding and slips away!
The kenku heads straight for the inn the group often stayed at while in Silverymoon, Wayward House, and books himself a room. There, with privacy, he goes through the dead tiefling's possessions and reads a will wisely prepared by Myst. The other adventurers find their way to Wayward House as well, except for Syd who trails Mortimont and Zenith to the former's storefront. The halfling then flies to the Silverwood to check on Daisy and his animal companion, Garry. Both are well, and Syd reports on the group's success in finding Cain. Unbeknownst to the others, Syd is determined to remain near Silverymoon to keep an eye on Mortimont's activities and has a particular plan in mind to safeguard the area.
As the exhausted adventurers settle in for the night, a long-standing member of the group finishes a long night of drinking with his new friend: Markus and Urist McBronzebottom are politely ushered out of a tavern. Markus and McBronzebottom stumble drunkenly through the beautiful streets of Silverymoon and return to Wayward House, but the stern chamberlain, Havor Merendil, offers them only the storeroom in a bid to keep them from waking the other guests. The two are soon snoring loudly.
While the others slumber, Cain and Mellia talk further about the quest they've undertaken to rout the priestesses of Auril in Nesme and to raze the city. Mellia says she is worried about frost giants, and needs spells to protect against cold. Cain states that he has none, but that problem can be easily rectified in the city before they leave. On the subject of which companions they should take with them, a problem is posed by the limitations of Mellia's teleport spell: she can only take three others with her (including Cain). The suggestion is made that Dolcetto is a poor choice, as she will not understand the goal and is prone to being argumentative; if Dolcetto heads straight for the Crown of Horns, Mellia concludes, she is unlikely to reach it by the time their attack on Nesme is completed. Ralkin is said to be of use, and Fargrim as having the most potential to becoming a true acolyte of the Flamelord. Cain says that Fargrim's power will indeed be needed. Markus is said to be less useful than Fargrim, but also easily led and susceptible to suggestion.
The two begin to disagree, however, when it comes to how much effort, if any, needs to be taken to spare the inhabitants of the city. Mellia says that the rabble should be forced to flee before the city is burned, but Cain suggests they are heretics for harbouring those sworn to Auril, and should be purified by Kossuth's holy flame. The conversation takes an even darker turn when it comes to children: Cain says that any residents carrying the tokens of Auril must discard them or be slain, even children, but Mellia says she will not see children harmed for any reason. She suggests they might even need to be escorted to safety, if their parents or others cannot join them in the Evermoors. The dispute is not resolved before each realize that sleep is necessary if either is to be useful come daylight.
Late in the morning, the adventurers begin to rouse. Over breakfast, Dolcetto gifts Fargrim a magickal ring to increase his strength. She tells Ralkin that Myst's body should be returned to the group so they can see about raising him from the dead, but Ralkin says he will take care of it and just needs a day and a half. Markus, sitting at a nearby table and rather hungover, realizes only with great difficulty that his allies have returned. Fargrim and Dolcetto fill him in on their success in rescuing Cain, and Fargrim notices his old friends fingernails have grown to be rather long and sharp. Moments later, Mellia arrives in the common room. Markus introduces McBronzebottom as "my second favorite dwarf", and the adventurers hear about Markus' exciting but ultimately failed attempt to win Ninefangs. As he goes through his pockets to find something to blow his nose with, Markus sees a particular playbill that he remembered wanting to tell the others about: a theatrical production titled "The Crown of Horns" scheduled to run in the evening, "one-nite only." He passes the playbill around. When Cain arrives, Markus is shocked to see the alteration in the cleric's visage.
The adventurers discuss whether they should attend the play. Mellia is very suspicious, but Dolcetto says it could be useful and there's not likely to be a trap set for them in the middle of Silverymoon. The group's consensus is to spend the day preparing for further travels, but to reunite in the evening to attend the play. The adventurers split up on various errands. Mellia tracks down an arcane scroll containing a spell that will allow her to resist elemental attacks. Fargrim and McBronzebottom, who have bonded quickly, decide to go "undercover" to investigate the warehouse where the play will be held. The two find the burnt out hulk of a warehouse, a hastily-painted banner proclaiming "The Crown of Horns," and a steel coin-box chained to a post. After hacking the door open, the two dwarfs see a makeshift stage inside but little sign of a theatrical production in progress: no actors, no costumes, no scenery, etc. Elsewhere, Dolcetto heads to the Vault of Sages and sells some of the books she purchased in Thay, making a nice profit. She then visits the Map House and commissions a custom piece on the Evermoors. Markus, trailed by his "Marauders", also visits the Vault of Sages with a very particular purpose in mind and leaves mostly satisfied. Ralkin, for his part, spends the day locked inside his room at the inn.
That evening, when the adventurers have all returned to Wayward House, Fargrim reports that the warehouse where the play will be held looks suspicious. The adventurers decide that although risk is involved, if it is a trap it should be sprung and if it's not, a vital clue might be found about the Crown of Horns. They decide to proceed. When they reach the warehouse and enter, they see a lone kenku sitting on the stage. The kenku welcomes the group, says the play will start soon, and motions them to take seats in the otherwise empty warehouse. He persuades Markus' Marauders to come "backstage" with him to be extras. Soon, the man reappears on stage and asks Markus to stand up. When the swordsman does so, arrows suddenly stream down from the rafters above! "Called it!" shouts Fargrim, and a battle begins.
The attackers from above are revealed to be kenku archers riding pony-sized rats on the ceiling. Markus is grievously wounded by the first barrage of arrows, so Dolcetto grabs him and McBronzebottom by the hands and chants an incantation to create a magickal doorway from thin air. The three step through and find themselves hundreds of feet away from the warehouse. They hurry back to the inn to treat Markus' wounds and alert the authorities. Meanwhile, Mellia and Cain retreat outside. Cain tries to summon a pillar of eldritch fire, but the city's ancient mythal stymies the spell. Fargrim is left alone in the warehouse and bears the brunt of the kenku attacks, as his exit through the doorway is blocked by another assassin. Mellia comes to his rescue by literally disintegrating a section of the wall, allowing the dwarf to leap through. Mellia then summons black tentacles to slow the kenku down, and the three hastily retreat. Their attackers choose not to follow.
Back at Wayward House, Mellia knocks on the door to Ralkin's room. He opens the door just a crack, and the scent of incense wafts through. Mellia tells him about the attack, and he asks why they would target Markus. He warns them that the arrows could have been poisoned, but Cain determines that Markus' wounds are clean. The swordsman is angry about the trap and determined to find out what happened to his "Marauders," but Dolcetto convinces him to wait for a report from the city guard. Markus snaps at Cain and Mellia for acting so strangely since their return from Thay, and asks why the cleric hasn't even volunteered to heal his wounds. Cain replies that the impure need to learn to accept suffering. After further words are exchanged, Cain channels a spell to inflict a mild disease on the swordsman, sapping his strength! Markus relents, slides into a chair, and calls for ale. When Cain's anger passes, he finishes healing Markus's wounds. Mellia whispers to the cleric that it is clear they should take Fargrim with them to Nesme rather than Markus.
Elsewhere in the inn, a conversation about Nesme is also taking place. Dolcetto tells Fargrim that Mellia and Cain's actions since returning from Thay, especially their ill treatment of Markus, lead her to believe that the overheard conversation about "razing Nesme" was not a misunderstanding. Dolcetto says she remains intent on returning to Startop Mountain to find the Crown of Horns, and hopes to recruit the other adventurers to come with her. Fargrim seems sympathetic, but states that he must speak to Mellia to see whether his old friend has truly has taken an evil turn.