Tales From Darkmoon Vale

The Way Out

GameMaster:

The group decides to take the precaution of tying each member with a rope as they make their way across this room. Jaeshar and Brantus hold the other end in case the trap is triggered and the room pivots. It is time consuming, but proves to be warranted. Everyone makes it across safely, including Flicker on Nyll and Kibbo on Liliandil. Jaeshar moves across the room last.

Once each member completes the journey, the group reassembles in the next room. Here, (room 3) the chamber is quite warm.
A large fountain dominates this small chamber. Steam rolls off the superheated water pouring from a stone obelisk at the fountain’s center, filling the entire chamber with its haze. The dead body of a female kobold lays peacefully on the edge of the fountain with her hand on her chest. When Kibbo reaches the room, he immediately moves to her side. Those with him the first time through this room, remember that this was a close friend of his. He had told the others she was a fellow slave and abused by the elite blackscale warriors here and ultimately killed. She had disappeared several weeks ago.

The blue scaled Kobold takes her back into her arms. “Can we bury her outside? We talked about freedom and going outside. She would like that.” He told the others.

The fountain is fed by a hot spring. The water is quite warm and full on natural minerals. Otherwise, the room appears to be empty.

Liliandil looks to Janiven. “The body of your father is not far.” The group moves down the southern corridor out of this room traveling to the intersection. “Ahead is our way out. We found the body of your father that way.” She points down the west corridor.

Janiven immediately moves in that direction grabbing Liliandil by her robe. “Come with me Priest. I need the light from your robes.” The raven haired woman ordered.

Liliandil, surprised at the offense, moves quickly with the woman. (unless you say otherwise, I’ll assume everyone follows.) The group moves westward to the intersection (marker 6) where the headless body of the man still lays.

Janiven drops to her knees next to the body looking it over. Struggling to identify the body due to the decomposition, she reaches for his arm sliding the shirt sleeve up. There was a tattoo on the forearm that confirmed her worst fear. She began to weep. “Daddy.” She muttered as she held her face in her hands. For a brief second, this grown woman was reduced to a little girl again.

The group stepped back giving her time to grieve for a few moments, before Liliandil asked Brantus if he’d help carry the body outside for her.

“Let us help you take him outside for a proper burial.” She offered.

The group eventually moves back into the last remaining room, which offers the stone staircase leading up to the monastery proper. This (room 1) was were Kibbo and Jardregg were originally rescued.

Liliandil looks to Pippa and Jaeshar. “It is roughly 3 hours past the height of the full moon. If either of you have been infected by Celeste or Greypelt, the curse will be revealed upon exposure to the moonlight.”

“I advise you both stay close to me at all times, while the others keep a safe distance. If the transformation begins, and your body changes shape, it will tear your clothing. I suggest you hand your equipment off to the others and wear as little as possible.” She advises.

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Exiting the Lower Level

The members regroup close to the bottom of the stone staircase. Brantus has moved Janiven’s father to this point for her, persuant to Liliandil’s request. But the dwarf is more concerned with readying himself for the potential dangers of Jaeshar and Pippa shape changing.

Liliandil gathers both with her at the bottom of the staircase. There is no moon light shining down at this point. “If we’re ready, we can move upstairs now. The two of you should stay close to me.” She advised. “Kibbo, would you please move towards the back with the children?”

Janiven, not listening to the Priestess, holds the body of her father under his arms, dragging him backwards up the stairs. She is determined to remove him from this place and distance herself from the others. Everyone watches as she struggles to pull him up the stone steps, but no one offers to help. Eventually, she disappears beyond the stairs.

Liliandil continues her preparation. “If either of you show any signs of the infliction, I’ll need to move quickly in order to help you. The curse will resist contact with me, as if it recognizes my ability to cast it out. So you need to be prepared to fight its control.” Before she could finish, screams come from GreyPelt’s lair above. Janiven is being attacked!

Liliandil turns to look up the stairs. “Quickly! We have to help her! Everyone… follow me!” And she rushes up the staircase into the room above.

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Battle with the Beast

GameMaster:

Liliandil, having faced more werewolves in the last two weeks than probably in her entire life, Was frozen in fear. Somehow, this time was different than with GreyPelt. But probably similar to when attacked by Celeste that day on the river bank. The day in the river with Celeste cost the druid her life and nearly Liliandil’s.

The beast seemed to smell her fear and didnt hesitate to seize its opportunity for a meal. Springing towards her with lightning speed, he grabbed the girl at the shoulders plunging its fangs into her neck and shoulder. Her scream sent a horrible shiver through everyone.

Just than, Nyllbryn (17 initiative) jumped forward casting a spell. Glittering dust flicked from his fingertips into the air around the creature just as a crossbow bolt whizzed past striking the beast in the ribcage. Instantly, the dark thick fur exploded away leaving pale human like flesh. The wolf wrenched in pain jumping back releasing the girl as if stung by a bee. He staggered backwards, almost in shock that a simple crossbow bolt could cause such torture.

The creature grabbed the bolt with both hands attempting to pull it out, an easy task for such a powerful beast, but something began to change. The transformation back to a man had begun. It started at his mouth and moved across his face. Then a second spot began at the bolt’s wound. Slowly, as if he was treated with an antidote, the transformation worked its way across his body. Within seconds, Jaeshar dropped to his knees holding the bolt with both hands. Then dropping over onto his opposite side. He lay naked and motionless.

The group stared in shock. Had they killed him? A crossbow bolt straight to the heart? Just then, they heard the gurgle of Liliandil choking on her own blood. Kibbo rushed to her side. She clenched at her throat in a feeble attempt to stop the bleeding. Her throat had been torn open just as the Druid had two weeks ago at the river bank. She didnt have long as blood pooled around her body. Her face terrified with a look of death. She grew pale.

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Black Widow in the Tower

GameMaster:

The group crosses the courtyard when the elf notifies the others of the cries for help within the tower. He points out that the noise was heard beyond the wooden door and not from the top of the tower. As the group takes up their positions:

Nyll at the door

Pippa against the tower wall next to the door

Fortunado back a bit defensively

Brantus in front of the door with Nyllbryn

Azure and Jaeshar moving around the tower to survey the other side.

Liliandil, Kibbo and the children in the middle of the courtyard, a safe distance back.

(see the map)

Azure and Jaeshar work their way through the ruined wall to the east and around the base of the tower towards the front gates. There is nothing of note. They easily find the pathway leading into the eastern forest, they way the group came yesterday, but no other signs of recent travel.

The others prepare to enter the tower and see that the wooden door is slightly ajar. Nyll slowly pushes the door open from the hinged side of the door, as Brantus steps into the room. Pippa follows the dwarf in and the elf joins them. Fortunado approaches to aid if needed.

Light from the open door fills this small storage room. Wooden crates and barrels are stacked against the walls. A wooden staircase hugs the west wall winding around the room to a trap door 30 feet above the ground. The upper half of the room is filled with thick cobwebs extending across the room. A lone humanoid figure, wrapped tightly in these webs, hangs in the center of the room. The three of you quickly recognize the person as Janiven.

She hangs upside down by her feet attempting to scream, but only muffled sounds manage to escape. A monstrous spider quickly moves down from the shadows to protect its prey, glaring at the intruders, but does not attack yet. The group sees additional movement above and fears they have walked into a nest. You quickly realize you may be out matched.

Janiven selected the wrong site to sleep after she changed back to a human. Her fate may be sealed.

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River Barge

GameMaster:

Pippa says her goodbyes to the tiny lizard, hugging him goodbye. The rogue is shocked to feel the Kobold embrace her back, and his tiny hand attempt to touch her inappropriately under her cloak. At the same time, she does find the small vile of “contact poison” he offered to sell her and successfully palm it off him. (12+10=22 sleight of hand check)

When you separate, you notice (A successful Perception check made for Pip by me) he has stolen a masterwork dagger from you.

Brantus notices Pippa’s jump at his touch and charges in to confront him. Brantus frisks Smirlokrep and finds his potions and his gold, “Where did you get this ?”, he demands..,“Out with it.”

Smirlokrep attempts to run, but is easily caught. “Me just doing business. She gave me money for my goods. She is involved too!” He barks, pointing at Pippa. “Also… he try to buy good too.” Pointing at Nyllbryn “Me the only innocent one here!” Just then Pippa’s throwing dagger, normally secured in a scabbard on her belt, falls from under his coat. He looks up and smiles.

(Answering Ivor’s questions)

The rest of the group is mindful of the Kobolds across the river. At first, there looked to be over 2 dozen. Now, most have carried supplies off into the forest. The also had a wagon.

The galley looks to be anchored, but it cant be determined if they put in for repairs. There is no chopping sounds, and hard to see any crew. Assumably there are still occupiers on board.

Liliandil looks back to Nyllbryn. “I wish I was more worldly about such things. Coming to Falcon’s Hallow was my Maiden Voyage if you will. A ship of that size probably wouldnt be common to these waters, and Falcon’s Hallow is known for it logging. A ship of that size might hold timber, but wouldnt be way up here.”

ooc: I looked up the original post (August of 2012) when the Kobold Shaman captured on the beach at the Kobold camp, first mentioned Ugaday, a slaver that was traveling to meet them to purchase Felicity, the faun. Now, she’s in the hands of Bishop and Nymegan the dragon. The Kobold Shaman also mentioned that Fortunado was to be sold off to dark dwarfs in the northern mountains, along with Mykra after he tried to protect Kimmi.

“This might be the slavers. But they’d be a day or two late.” She mentions. “If we plan to investigate, we should do it quickly before they leave. Also, we are only a days journey from town. There are dozens of sick people infected with the Black Scour Disease relying on us to hurry back with the cure.”

She looks to the others for their opinion. “If we investigate the ship, I agree with Fortunado. Stealth is the answer here. And we dont have time to wait until night.” She holds up her magic lantern. “It has not been used today.” She smiles.

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Nia, Norvil and Oolastina

The group eventually regroups in the forest where the battle took place. Those on the trail (Liliandil, Azure, Kibbo and the children) drag the two dead orcs with them, as Nyll drags the orc he killed. Therefore, the bodies of 7 orcs lay lined up. A quick search of the bodies only revealed simple weapons, a few arrows along with two long bows and short swords.

Fortunado channels energy (mark it off) and heals everyone within 30 feet 4 hit points.

Pippa cuts the ropes binding their wrists as she asks them to explain what had happened.

The female elf speaks first. “My name is Oolastina. I am a Priestess of Iomedae. I was originally stationed within the temple in Oregent, just east of the Arthfell Forest.”

(Knowledge check +4 DC 15 to recognize or know more detail about the city)

“I was given the task to travel to Falcon’s Hallow to help bolster the struggling Temple of Iomedae within the small town. Norvil and his sister Nia asked to join me. They have business in the area.” She nods to them to explain more.

Norvil holds out his hand to Nia silencing her. “It is as she said. I am Norvil Braum, and this is my sister Nia Braum. Our father is the wizrard Braum of Almas City. We met in Oregent, and the three of us agreed to travel together to Falcon’s Hallow. About half way there, our camp was ambushed by raiders. We were taken aboard that ship. When they discovered she and I are spell casters, our hands were tied. We were moved below deck when they approached Falcon’s Hallow. They stopped for supplies, and picked up two human females. Commoners. Then we continued upstream.”

Nia steps in front of her brother, after hearing about the two girls. “There are others on board the ship. We were lucky to escape. When the timing was right, we jumped overboard and swam to the forest. I promised we’d come back for the others if we made it. We have to go back for them!” She cries.

Norvil interrupts her. “There are at least a dozen orcs on board, including Ugadey, their leader. In addition to several Kobolds, a goblin, and a dark fey.” He pauses for a moment. “But there is something else… something they are keeping below decks. Below the lower deck. Only Ugadey himself and the fey are allowed below. They refer to whatever’s down there as The Prize. They are headed upstream to some type of slavers auction where they’ll sell most of us off to a Kobold tribe. They mentioned sailing farther north into the Five King Mountains after that. But Im not sure why.”

Liliandil spoke up. “Thank you for sharing this with us. We’ll do everything we can to help. We are traveling back to Falcon’s Hallow now with specific items hoping to find a cure for a disease that has ravaged the citizens of the small town. The kobold tribe you mentioned. The ones you will meet farther north. We found their camp on the beach north of Lake Droskmere several days ago. You’ll be happy to know they are all dead.” She acknowledges Fortunado, who was rescued from their clutches. “Our friend here was also enslaved by them.” She stops before telling them too much. If she hasnt already given away too much.

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Aboard The Crow

Brantus advised Jaeshar, who is rowing the boat, to stir it around to the back of the ship. As the group redirects their attention to the large ship, they see several orcs looking over the side. They all seem to be watching their leader and comrades move towards the shore. None have glanced down in your direction.

The group quietly steers the boat around the ship to the back, and slides up under the cargo net. Pippa slings her bow around her back and climbs the net quickly and quietly. Everyone raises an eyebrow after watching how effortlessly the rogue moves up the net. She is in her element here. (rolled a 20 on the stealth check)

Liliandil hands the magic lantern off to Brantus, who bits down on the handle in order to keep his hands free. Jae and Brantus quickly follow Pippa up the net. Nyll lifts Flicker to his shoulder, as he and Liliandil ensue. The priestess struggles to balance herself well, causing the net to sway a bit. The others look down making sure she is okay. Lil glares at them to continue.

Upon reaching the top, everyone slides up over the railing making sure they stay within 15 feet of Brantus, who now holds the lamp. When Liliandil manages to complete the climb, she take the lantern back.

The ship is quite filthy, yet the wood looks to be in good condition. The deck is 20’ across and about 25’ long. There are two iron grates on the deck that secure openings to the cargo hold below. They are rusted, but extremely durable. An iron spike is wedged into a ring that holds each gate closed. A foul odor comes from the darkness below.

Across the deck, looking out over the far railing, the group sees 3 orcs. They wear leather armor and have short swords in scabbards. Standing on a wooden crate, a Kobold wearing robes also looks to the shoreline. To the right and left of your group, two wooden staircases allow access to the front and rear quarter decks. An unusual looking humanoid creature walks down from the front quarter deck. He is shirtless and wears baggy cotton pants. His skin is a deep dark green and he is covered in exotic tattoos. His eyes glow yellow. The creature rests his left hand on the pommel of his sheathed falchion sword. He is a race unlike anything anyone has seen. In addition, he wears long pointed shoes tipped with metal blades, and they tap slightly as he walks. “The Dark Fey.” Nyll whispers.

Finishing a quick scan of your surroundings… there are two wooden doors to the left and one to the right. All of which allow access to cabins within the front and rear decks. Two goblins disappear down a staircase that goes to the lower deck. Atop the front deck, two more orcs man the huge ballista. It is pointed towards the shoreline away from you.

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Ren the Merchild

Brantus remains with the goblin prisoners. “I will stick with the dumb grunts here, but we also need someone keeping lookout…”

Liliandil quickly rushes to save the Mermaid, climbing into the wooden chamber. She prays for a healing touch and is granted the devotion. (heals the Mermaid 6 points)

Fortunado follows Nyll and Pip up the stairs to help with the Merchild. His mind thinking of also gathering intelligence on the ship, its travels and destinations. A ships log would be top priority for him to find.

Nyllbryn, Pippa, Norvil and Jaeshar close in on the giant wooden barrel on the top deck. It stands roughly 6 feet tall. It is build the same way as the container on the lower deck. It is open to the air, but secured by metal bars across the top. There is a lift gate closed with a padlock. It is also filled with water.

Pippa finds the removable wooden steps that its captures would use, and climbs to the lock. Within seconds the rogue has the lock picked (Disable Device 28) and flings the lid open.

The elf mage climbs the steps next to rogue and looks down into the barrel with her. Inside, a small merchild hides among the sea-weed placed at the bottom.

“We aren’t acquiring enemies. They’re acquiring us. Something they’ll regret after today.” He tells Jaeshar.

GameMaster: Ren Pesha Part II

The Merchild is hesitant to come out of her hiding place. Hearing Pippa speaking common, a tongue she associates with humans, she swims to the surface.

“The orcs… are they gone?” She asks. “My parents are down below, along with others… are they safe?” She speaks with a harsh accent, but her common is quite good.

After some assurances from the rogue that the orcs are currently off the ship and that two healers are attending to her parents, the girl begins to answer some questions.

“My name is Ren. Im from the Inner Sea. We were captured while swimming in shallow waters by the nets of this ship. Myself, my parents and a school of others. Several of which did not survive. From what we could understand, we were to be sold to “The Worm Queen”, a Goddess to the Kobolds on the ship, and a ruler of the forests to the north." Thank you for rescuing us. We were terrified. They kept me separate from the other adult Merfolk for some reason, and treated me well. Maybe because I was not old enough to be sold. Im not sure. The other slaves… the ones below deck… said that we would all be sold off to different buyers. Us Merfolk to The Worm Queen." She dips her head underwater for a moment, takes a breath, then resurfaces. “There are a dozen halfling below deck, and most notably, a human girl of royal status. They simply call her the Grand Duchess. She’s very kind. In addition to other slaves below deck, there’s a tiefling and several human commoners.” The girl looks around outside of her tank, and sees Norvil. She smiles at the elf. “I knew you would make it off the ship and bring back help. Nia and Oolastina? Are they okay?” She dips underwater again, taking in deep breaths.

Norvil smiles at the girl, seeing she had survived. “They are weak, but alive thanks to our friends. However we are not out of danger yet. The Dark Fey has escaped the ship and will surely tell the others of our presence.” Norvil turns to Jaeshar, Nyllbryn and the others. “If they return, I fear Ugadey and he together, will be more than we can handle. We need to move the ship if we are to rescue everyone.”

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The Great Escape

With Brantus securing the goblin prisoners, he joins the others on the top deck to help get the ship moving.

Pippa, Norvil and Liliandil (every party needs a pooper) move back below deck to free the slaves from their chains. The Mermaid appears to be recovering from her burns, thanks to magical healing and advises that there are a dozen halflings locked in a holding cell. She points to a door behind the broken keg. (Also, the magical darkness has dispelled. I’ll open this room on the map.) Pippa spends time picking the locks on the shackles, freeing the tiefling and the others. Liliandil helps move them up to the main deck. Norvil opens the door to the holding cell and frees the halflings. They are not drugged, but starving and weak. They heard the fighting outside, but were too scared to announce their presence.

In the mean time, Fortunado begins barking orders, assigning jobs. Brantus and Jaeshar are given the task of pulling the anchors. Nyllbryn is asked to man the wheel and guide the ship. Fortunado releases the rigging’s and the main sail drops into place finding what little breeze is provided.

Jaeshar waves back to Mikra, flagging the boy down and waving him towards the ship. About 100 yards downstream, the other children emerge from the forest onto the beach. They are running towards Mikra. Finally, both women run out behind them bringing up the rear. There is no sign of Azure.

The elf and half-elf hurry the children towards the small boat docked on the sand, while looking back in fear. Jaeshar assumes they are being persuade by the orcs. (Perception success) Mikra reaches the row boat and begins to push it into the water. Eventually, the others join him and are soon rowing out to the main ship. Brantus and Jaeshar rush to drop a net over the side for a ladder.

From the row boat, Nia yells up to the others. “The orcs! They tracked us… Azure lead them deeper into the forest so we could get to the beach.”

Within a few minutes, everyone is reunited safely aboard the ship. Everyone except Azure.

“He’s a hero.” Oolastina says catching her breath. “He said he’d lead them as far back down the trail as possible, then double back to the river farther downstream. I tried to convince him otherwise, but he wouldnt hear of it.” She said gasping for air.

Liliandil and Norvil help two captives up the stairs to the main deck. One of which was Ren’s mother. She is reunited with her daughter. When Norvil sees his sister safe, they hug. She cries tears of joy knowing they’ve finally escaped their captors.

They point out which door leads to the captain’s quarters, and the captives are lead there. (I’ll reveal this room on the map too) Liliandil’s eyes water when she hears of Azure. She respected the elder mage and struggled to hold out hope he would be seen again.

The last order Fortunado gives is to Jaeshar, the strongest of the group. “Barbarian, would you kindly smash the black crow off the front of the ship? I think it’s time to recommission this boat.”

With both small row boats secured high above on either side fo the ship, the current and slight breeze move the large boat slowly downstream. Nyllbryn steers the ship keeping it dead center in the river. The boat travels at a speed seemingly faster than one could run. At a few points, the elf navigates the ship around a shallow sand bar or two, gaining confidence.

Within 30 minutes, everyone feels they have put enough distance between them and the orcs.

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Meet the Captives

Oolastina and Nia agree to watch the shoreline from the bow and stern of the ship, while Nyllbryn takes the wheel. Fortunado searches the Captain’s Cabin for a log book. Liliandil tells the dwarf that she has no way of contacting Azure magically. Pippa moves below decks with Brantus and Norvil, moving the dead goblins and resting the three dead merfolk respectfully to the side.

ooc: Answering a few of Ivor’s questions. The ship moves at a nice clip, but if Shazamat wanted to fly aboard, he could catch, however the feeling among everyone is that he was weakened to the point that he would need to retreat for a day or two. Next, there is three sails on the ship. The largest being the center, and the forward and rear connecting with rigging. There is also a crow’s nest on the center mast.

Ren and her mother stay in the tank on the upper deck, the girl is dealing with the death of her father, who died being boiled alive, along with the other two merfolk.

Upon questioning the captives, the group learns that they each have unique stories to tell. Some captured while wondering alone, while others purposely given to the slavers. The tiefling girl appears to be about the age of 9 to a human child. She claims that her parents were sending her to live with a noble family in the kingdom of Cheliax. Her parents were both human and members of a wealthy household. Somehow, they bore a tiefling child, an embarrassment to their good name. In Cheliax, tieflings are still rare, but more excepted. She says her name is Deetish, but her friends simply call her Deet. The tiefling, still loyal to her parents, wont divulge their surname, but admitted she was from the kindom of Taldor. It wasnt until later that the girl learned her parents actually sold her to Shazamat, who would in turn sell her to the highest bidder in Cheliax. (Knowledge Geography check +2, Knowledge Nobility check -3 for more info.)

A male halfling named Vinmin announces that he leads the group. They are cobblers and had worked in a factory, also in Taldor. When their employer couldnt pay his debts, they were sold into slavery. They had been told they would be delivered to mountain dwarves that work the mines deep within the mountains somewhere around Highhelm. Vinmin claims that the slavers forced their captives to inhale a drug called Pesh. It is a fungus that grows naturally in the forests all over the realm, but when it is harvested, dried and inhaled, it causes a hypnotic like state. (Knowledge Nature check +5 for more info.) He claims that the halflings seemed to tolerate the snuff, so they were locked inside the tiny room.

Vinmin tells of another girl below decks. The slavers call her “The Prize”. He believes she could be Grand Duchess Eutropia, the only child Prince Stavian VII, and the sole heir to the throne of Taldor. However, it seems unlikely that it could be her. She would have been guarded around the clock by the elite fighting force known as the Lion Blades. They are sworn to protect the royal family. Vinmin believes she is below deck in her own cabin.

(Knowledge Nobility check -3 for more information on her)

Lastly, the search of the Captain’s Quarters reveals a modest room with a bed, footlocker, and a desk. The room is unkept and smells of Orc. At one time, this room would have been quite nice. Small windows look our the back of the ship. Now they have been smeared with animal fat to block out the sunlight. In the footlocker, is a small chest (locked), a large book (Ship’s Log) and scroll cases. Each scroll contains lists of creatures captured and sold over the last few years. It’s not very detailed, but proves the slavers have operated in these parts for a while.

The last group is commoners. All human. They seemed most affected by the drug. Brigette is the first to come out of the drug induced haze. She claims to be a chamber maid who fell out of favor with her lord from the city of Almas, capital city to the Kingdom of Andoran (the kingdom you are in). She was sold to Shazamat.

The captives prefer to stay outside on the main deck. They havent seen the sky in over a week.

Nyllbryn steers the ship along the river as best he can. Every now and then the ship rocks to one side as he runs along a shallow sand bar or steers clear of a fallen tree. Within first hour, the ship reaches the fork in the river and turns to make the last leg down the Foam River towards Falcon’s Hallow. You estimate that at this rate of speed, you could reach the town and dock before nightfall.

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