Having made their vow and bathed in the light of Luinil, the party were taken on down from the tower by the Cerulean guard. They saw that the mist had receded and that the fighting was dieing down, while small pyres burnt the bodies of the dead. They were taken to the towns rather prosperous inn, The Golden Lion.
There they met Elerai the inn keeper, who had graciously offered to put them up for a while in return for their heroic deeds in coming to the towns defense. Spending a night to recover near a warm fire and with good food and drink, they talked about how the town had fared and learned of it’s woes during the war.
In the morning they were taken under guard to the council chambers, where they learned the town was overseen by a ruling council of merchants, headed by the chief of the council who is dubbed the Aldermen.
Entering into the public council chamber they were greeted by all five members,
Aldritch the Elder – Alderman to Marbelain.
Lady Dalla – Representing the business interests of the Valley
Lady Fayne – Representing the business interests of the River Magic brewers
Master Magni – Representing the mining communities
Master Erik – Representing the rural communities and the farmers.
Aldritch offered the sincere thanks of the town and bestowed upon them the title of honorary members of the Cerulean guard, gifting them a blue cape to wear when acting in the name of Marbelain and at all formal functions.
Lady Dalla then rose to gift them yet further. Asking if they did indeed plan to settle themselves in Marbelain, she then went on to explain that their were functions within the town that needed filling. Stressing that they did not have to accept these, she went on to say that:
With the passing of the blacksmith in last nights sad events, his station and the duty of training his apprentice is available.
The town has many stonemasons that are able to do the small repairs that are needed to the town. However they need someone who can really organize them and do the planning necessary to undertake some of the large projects.
The librarian passed away several months ago, since then the library has remained closed as the town has no bookbinders or illuminators. The records just stand in dust and ruin, waiting for someone with the right touch to continue the chronicling.
Lastly, there is the need for someone with true command to take over the running of the Forest River trading outpost.
Each was offered to a member of the party who it most suited, though Dalla stressed that they only slightly knew the individuals in question and that they wouldn’t hold them to any position if they didn’t feel suited.
Returning to the matter of why they were sent, the party declared the need for Marbelain to send barges down to Erebor. However this did throw up a new problem. The town had sent down one barge when the war was over, but it never returned. The two brothers that owned the trading outpost, then went themselves down in another, hoping to find out what had happened to the first. With both barges now gone, they will need to shift one barge from one river and over to the next before sending it on down.
The party then retired to some private council chambers to discuss the offers made to them and whether or not to go down with the barge themselves in a week when it was ready. The discussion raged on till ultimately they agreed to disagree and that it was best to wait and see what happened in the following week.
Leaving they met up with Reinald who had been tasked for the day to show them around time and help them settle in.
A description of Marbelain
_Cobblestone streets with marble houses, placards and signs hanging from every building. Outdoor stalls have shoe makers hammering away at fresh soles, while furriers hark there wares that are stretched on out like canvasses around them. Indoors more refined tailors carefully stitch and sow. However this is not Gondor or Rohan, the weather is cold here and so find silks and satin are replaced with garments of thick wool and animal hide. Still not everyone is so lucky to be able to afford the best or the fresh. Old ladies sell their wares between buildings, a practical mound of ragged clothes that have been stitched together in a patchwork mess, cater to the less discerning and more destitute.
However song and merriment still carries on through the open streets and the central lane. People gather around the outdoor barbers, chatting and discussing away in leisure with the affable gentlemen. While also nearby you spot the barber surgeons in their more prestigious indoor parlours. The smell of fresh dough fills the air as pastry chiefs display their delights openly, often to be bought in bulk by the swathe men and women you identify as restaurant owners and cooks. A few open stalls have spies on display in sacks, the tops of them open to let the air get filled with their pungent aromas. Though it is a little over shadowed by the fish mongers. Freshly cut and gutted brown trout, eel, mudfish and carp are but a few on offer. With two fishmongers in business, the lane is filled with the shouting of the merchants as they try to outdo one another.
A ways from this central hub is all the craftsmen. The air filled with the smell of saw dust and soot. The sawing and hammering of carpenters and masons, sculptors and weavers. Then there is the more intricate work of the buckle maker, and the long suffering sight of the rope makers. Nearby is the more artistic sculptor and woodcarver, the craftsman stood studiously working away, each perfecting their art on every piece. As you go further down there is even the sweet smell of soap, wax and sap, the mark of chandlers. Carts trundle past you, some laden with the heavy bolts of cloth produced by the mercers, others rattles with half a dozen barrels in them, the produce of the coopers. Other barrels just get rolled on down, straight from the shop and down to their respective buyers.
The smell then turns more acrid as you get to what most consider the dirtier professions. The smell of the tanners yard, hidden away behind big wooden fences is unmistakable. It is fed it’s raw produce by the much more unpleasantly overt knacker yard. Carcases hang by rope from the rafters and several long tables are a festering mess of gore, easily swept away by buckets of water. The leather from the tanners will go to the scabbard-makers, the purse makers, the glove maker and the rug makers, and lest of all the saddlers.
Away from the grime the gore and the unpleasant smells, even away from the hustle and bustle is the more refined parts of the town, nearer to the town hall. There are a total of 13 clear and distinct manor houses, walled off and with iron gates. Though they don’t stand in isolation, the unmistakable signage of advocates office can be found around, as well as the residence of the town doctor. Else where you had seen the signs for apothecaries, possibly students of this here physician or mere the practitioners of herbal remedies. The symbol of the crossed keys informs you of the residence of the town locksmith. The streets are genuinely quiet, save for the trundling of the water carriers. You could find them in any part of town but they always make sure to come here first. What is oddly missing is the jewelers, neither here in the noble district or down in the craftsman, the presence of a white smith is noticeable. What is not missing though is the studio of an artist. Numerous canvases of quality work stand on display under a canopy.
And all this is only in the valley floor that you can easily walk through. From an upper vantage point you an see the rest of the town sprawling off. Five hills, each crested with beds of flows house the bee keepers, there workers already present in the fields. While south outside of town, along the lane towards the bridge are the two breweries. While north past the hills and there is the trail going up into the grey mountains. On the slope sides are a few little shacks, surrounded by flocks of sheep and goats. While high on up, past where the cattle can easily live, there is the start of one of the settlements, the colonies of miners and tree shepherds. The only sign of the other two settlements is the smoke that rises into the air. _
Meeting Lady Rena
At the end of the tour, Reinald was ready to take the party to see Gerbert the town doctor and to the guards whose lives they saved by making the right choice. However before they could a runner boy delivered a message that the Lady Rena wanted to meet the heroes of the hour.
Reluctantly Reinald agreed, explaining to the party that Lady Rena has a foul reputation. That of a poisoner due to the circumstances of how her late husband died. Reinald himself tries not to think ill of her, however he worries that her bad reputation would rub off on new people in town if they associated with her too much. She has of course been cleared of the crimes that were put against her.
Going to her manor, it is explained to them that her husband was one of the brewer owners for the towns slightly less famous drink ’Dra’Liq’, a rather strong whiskey with a sour taste. She has since then sold the brewery and just lives as a lady of leisure.
It is clear from entering the manor that she is not well liked. For someone of affluence she can only get the services of a gardener to take care of her estate. She answers the door herself and welcomes them into her parlor and servers out some tea. The talk is somewhat brief, she gives an account of the ‘uglier’ nature of the town which is been hidden from her, the political bickering and the vastly diverse communities. The conversation would suggest she had more to tell, but was eager to answer the questions that interrupted her talk.
She suggested that the positions offered to them were good, and a not a con to remove them from the center stage. Though she hoped that was the only people in time that don’t label her as a poisoner, that they would continue to befriend her and possibly offer her their assistance for payment. As a show of good faith, she opened up her manor to them to live at, since they would soon out stay their welcome at the inn.
Going to the Doctors Office
Going to their original meeting at the doctors, they meet Gerbert. He thanks them like everyone else, but says he’s concerned about one of his patients. Of the two that were brought in from the high cage, one would survive, the other has consumed too much and needs a stronger remedy. The doctor explained there is a herb near by that he could use, but its’ in the ruins of Framburg. They agree to get it, while the Doctor warns of the risk of Goblins, nomads and other wild creatures. Though his last words are the one that sticks in their minds the most:
“Whatever you do, don’t piss off the Woses!”
The Ruins of Framsburg
The party make their way south and enter into the ruins of Framsburg. It is hard to navigate with all the twisting streets, dead ends, collapsed building and general debris. In their search for the herb they first come across a camp. Bedrolls left behind their is no sign of the occupants and the fire is cold. Searching around they found blood on the ground and thought it best not to linger.
Calling on the Raven Shadow, he takes flight and search around for the herb for them, eventually coming back and saying he has found some, a few miles away. He also agrees to circle the place to help them to find it, but warns they need to be quick as there is movement in the shadows, clearly taking an interest in them.
Having the idea to ambush this threat before it ambushed them, Daeron agreed to walk ahead in the street, while the others follow nearby in the shadow. The trap works, and several Wargs get ready to pounce the elf before the others then spring from the shadows. No one is wounded and all but on the Wargs ends up dead.
Quickly they make their way to the herb and gather it up, having found it in a small quad near a apple tree. On the return journey they decide to retrace their footsteps, save for going around the sight of the battle. This leads them to bumping into a few anomalies on the way back.
While going through a small plaza, or possibly what was once a communal forum. They find markings all around the walls in the same strange Mordor scrip that was found inside the hollow tree. Though this time it is just the lettering, no scary faces. Feeling ill at ease, they leave quickly.
Lastly they run across the strange sight of one hovel, in a much better state than the others, which oddly still had a door. Every other wooden door had rotted away over the years, this was the only one left and there was no clear reason why. Lifting the latch they peer in to see a room with a few belongings. Once more they decide to move on, not wanting to disturb things.
From off in the distance to where the fight occurred their came a roar. It was not that of a Warg. The party are very happy they didn’t go back the exact same way. Avoiding whatever came out looking for them, they get back to mountain and hand over the herbs.
All In a Days Work
With the sergeant at arms given the best chance of survival he could have, they retired once more to the Golden Lion and meet up with their estranged friends Baldor and Belgo. They talk about everything that has happened and Baldor even volunteers to stay with them and help with the running of the trading post.
A night of trying to get the Inn singing ends with a mixture of merriment and depression thanks to the Elf’s long Ballard. They found out the hard way that Elerai doesn’t appreciate sea shanty’s in his Inn. It was good to once again be in civilization.
Tomorrow brought the news that most of the guards had woken up, and they all swear that the person who brought to them the poisoned wine as a young man called Leiknir. The lad in question was a cooper, who had once wanted to join the Guard until he broke his arm. He was a regular to go up to the High Cage of the Keep and spend time with the men on guard.
The party then split to tackle separate matters. Thorondir went to the doctors to speak with the Sergent at Arms, trying to comfort him on the fact his days of service were over and to check that it was indeed Leiknir who had done this. While at the same time Durin went up to the High Cage to speak with the lad himself, finding out that he wouldn’t give an alibi or talk to the Jarl the Guard Captain. Speaking with Durin he said only to go and speak to the councilmen Erik. Meanwhile, Daeron went to have a private word with the Fire Keeper.
Having been to the Doctors, Thorondir went to the blacksmiths, finding the apprentice and seeing whether against all odds there was a sword he could buy. In luck, there was the blacksmiths own blade that he fell with. Kol needing the money and wanting the sword to go to a good home, sold it to Thorondir. The three then met by the city gate.
Heading on out, Daeron and Durin went to speak with Erik. The conversation yielded much, as the council member admitted that he knew the whereabouts of the boy and could vouch for him, and indeed planned to do so. However he needed the time to think how he was going to approach this, as the boy was with many of the farmers at a local dog fighting pit. This wouldn’t be a problem if Marbelain hadn’t outlawed the practice, something which is at great contention with the rural community. Still he promises the truth will come out at the council meeting been held tonight.
Meanwhile Thorondir went to Bargeway to see the outpost he would stand to inherit if he took Dalla up on her offer. At the same time though he met Baldor and Belgo who were already doing a stock check. Taking the opportunity he gives the sword to Baldor.
The Council Meeting
Going up once more to the High Cage, the return of Durin and the ground leads to an angry confrontation with Jarl the Guard Captain. Relising that he hadn’t been told everything of what got said when Durin spoke to the lad, he storms off to go to the council meeting and challenge Erik.
They briefly speak to Leiknir and Durin says a few things he shouldn’t in a rage. They realise where Jarl is off to and the lad pleads with them to go after him and be the voice of reason before this gets out of hand.