Guillaume was in the caravan on his way to Kalsgard. Arach gave some encouraging words to try and make him feel better about leaving behind Brinewall castle, saying that on its own a castle is nothing more than a fancy cave. Guillaume also saw Maia practicing a two-sword technique with sticks. Maia explained that the sword from the visions appeared to be a katana, a longer version of the curved Tien swords the party had found earlier. She is a bit rusty on swordplay, since her father had looked down on her learning such things. Guillaume and Maia appear to be back in a holding pattern of tolerating one another.
Guilluame was impressed at Kalsgard’s size, and Arach got the caravan through the gates easily enough. Once they were set up in the Bones Quarter (otherwise known as the slums), Arach had Guillaume bring Maia to the shrine of Shelyn, having made some arrangements earlier with Bjorn. Maia was a bit stiff at having to go to the shrine, but went along, to where she was set up in one of the priest’s cells down in the basement.
While Guillaume was making conversation with Bjorn (who was very happy to have the painting of Shelyn in place), the shrine doors opened and Rehoofa, Elsa, and Marcel entered. Reunited, the party went back to the caravan for a little privacy so they could get Guilluame up to speed and distribute the funds from the sale of the Aril’s Hammer.
At the caravan, Marcel directed Meckrin towards the Hall of Splendid Valor, instead giving him directions to Madam K’s parfumery in the Jade Quarter. Elsa was in in the prank as well, giggling to herself.
Guillaume was a bit less than happy that Marcel and Elsa had blabbed about “exiled royalty” to the Rimerunners Guild, but was pleased that the party had discovered so much other information, like the name Asvig Longthews and the Frozen Shadows. He also steadfastly refused to ever pretend to be exiled royalty.
Kaellara was missing by the time the party came out of their meeting, having indicated she had something to take care of. Ulf Gormundr had also said he was going to deal with his ex-employers, and Kaellara had passed on that Ulf would be at his usual bar that evening, if the party wanted to meet him.
The evening came and the party decided to go see Ulf. Marcel reminded Elsa she had a date with Karl, and Elsa ran off to go meet him.
Elsa’s date with Karl went fairly well. After dinner they went for a walk by the river, where Karl introduced her to a friend of his, a strange mermaid-thing-man who leapt out of the river and transformed into an elderly man. Introducing himself as Uksahkka, the old man had a look at Elsa, asking who her mother was. He said he’d known a woman some years ago, a water-creature with magic powers who had mentioned a daughter she’d left behind in Varisia. He said that the water-woman had become a creature of snow and ice and left the city, but not before falling in with some questionable people. One of those people wanted to meet Elsa: at that, a familiar-looking blood feather raven landed nearby.
The blood-feather raven spoke fluent Druidic, and introduced himself as Wodes. Offering a professional apology for the earlier attack, he said that he represented the Frozen Shadows. Furthermore, Wodes has plans to install his friend, Goti Runecaster, as the leader of the Frozen Shadows. Apparently the party’s actions so far has left the Frozen Shadows questioning whether their leader, someone named Kimandatsu, is capable.
Wodes and Elsa came to an arrangement: if the party stirs up enough trouble, they’ll erode Kimandatsu’s power base and let Goti take over. In return, Wodes will tell them where to find the sword Suishen, and make sure they can leave the city unharmed. First, though, he tested Elsa’s dedication, sending her out to kill the young pickpocket who’d been spying on them earlier. Elsa agreed, went out, and, with some effort, dragged the pickpocket into the river and killed him.
Elsa swam away, passing by another mermaid-thing, who magically protected her from the freezing water and then swam off to take care of the body. Elsa climbed out, meeting Uksahkka again, who warned her she was going down a very dark path.
Elsa went out and met the party, who had been waiting at the bar for Ulf all night, and had seen no sign of him. She managed to convince the party she was soaking wet because her date had pushed her into the river.
On the way down the street, the party ran into trouble: a pack of citizens, led by an irate Gorvald, the hired muscle from Fynn Snaevald’s house. Gorvald started shouting at the party, accusing Rehoofa of having stolen golden arrows from Fynn’s house. The party soon found out that magic was at work: when Gorvald told Marcel the charges, for a moment Marcel started to remember seeing Rehoofa steal the arrows. It was almost like the big, beefy Gorvald was casting the spell himself.
Elsa calmed Gorvald with a spell, and some talented wordplay from Marcel managed to disarm the crowd. Marcel’s Countersong ended up carrying the day, canceling out the magic that was at work.
The party left, going to Kelda’s house to spend the night. In the morning Kelda ran through quick introductions and then snuck out with the party to go look for clues at the fighting pits. She thanked the party for not asking why she had to sneak out.
The fighting pits did not have much to offer, unfortunately. The party found out more about Asvig Longthews, how he had an honest shot at being a jarl someday soon, now that Snorri Stone-Eye was dead. Marcel and Elsa joked about going to crash the funeral, which Guillaume was having none of. The party found no immediate enemies of Asvig, at least not that the party could get the ear of. They did learn where Asvig’s farmhouse was, though, and made plans to go to it that night. The party also developed many new mispronunciations of “Asvig.”
While out at the pits, Elsa snuck off and met Wodes again in an alley, where he scolded her for talking to him in the daytime; he takes a great risk of being discovered by talking to her. Still, he was impressed with her work and told her go to Madam K’s parfumery for directions to the sword. He said that Asvig Longthews was at another farm that night, with the sword at least until morning, but that might change soon. He said that killing Asvig would send huge ripples through the Frozen Shadows, and lead many to question Kimandatsu. He also said that to avoid giving away her identity to the Frozen Shadows, Elsa would be smart to leave no one at the farm house alive.
The party then stopped at Fynn Snaevald’s again to introduce Guillaume to him and see that the golden arrows actually had been stolen. Fynn apologized for Gorvald and also gave them a signet ring to show they had his backing in tracking down the thieves who had attacked his house, now twice.
Elsa and Kaellara went back to Madam K’s, where they heard about the goblin (Meckrin) who’d come looking for “companionship” and ended up getting beat up when he didn’t take the hint. One can only guess what a goblin who worships the goddess of revenge will do now.
Elsa said the passcode Wodes had given her, and Madam K led them to a back room, where she dropped her thick Tien accent and let Elsa into a room full of high-class merchandise, most likely found through “back channels.” She gave Elsa a book that had been set aside for her; the book was written in Tien, but included a note in Druidic giving her directions to Asvig’s party. The note also said he looked forward to making her a member of the Frozen Shadows, and that the book was useful to initiates. Now if only Elsa could read Tien…
Kaellara, who had followed Elsa into the back room, stared at an amulet on the wall, which she indicated had been Ulf’s. Elsa bought the amulet and found that a warrior with a lion’s head arm ring had sold it to her that morning.
Elsa let the rest of the party know where the sword was, though there was a lot of suspicion about how she knew. The party made preparations to head out to where Asvig Longthews was holding a party that evening. They told Kelda about their plans, and at her offer, they took her along for the ride.
The party made it out of the city with minimal trouble, and was on their way. Now they’re off to crash a Viking party. Guillaume has correctly pointed out that all they really have is circumstantial evidence that Asvig Longthews’ men might be involved in some of the things that have been happening. The real test may be just to knock on the door and see if Asvig Longthews greets them with an ale or a sword.