A couple of days rest was a good thing, of course. They could use the time to heal and learn. Summit Hall was well set up for this; with a proper library for Dink, a great armory and gym for Jack to equip and pump iron, and garden for Rook to… garden.
Lady Stormbanner sent a runner with a report regarding the Monastery to OCPD, written by Dink in great detail (and with quite a bit of pathos). She also arranged for a friend close to the monastery to keep an eye on it. Some woman who dealt in weapons, apparently…
Most of the other prisoners left for their homes, but a group did approach Jack with a request to join their fight, to get revenge on the Black Earth. He appreciated that, but sent them to join the Academy if they truly wished to help. Slightly downturned by that delay in their fight, they nonetheless accepted the order.
Three days passed, and they were getting ready to move out. Bruventa was keen to check out Womford, were he knew he and the other survivors and been unloaded after their transport along the Dessarin Canal. It was the best lead for finding his collection of books. With these, he said, they might be able to understand what the Black Earth and whoever else were looking for in Tyar-Besil.
On their last morning at the Hall, before they could leave, Rook came in from the garden carrying a light, hooded figure that had stepped out from a tree. It seemed like some form of dryad, going by the branches and twigs sticking out from the hood and clothes. But as they questioned the thing, it was undeniably Celendril whos now smoldering eyes were peering out between the leaves! He had forgotten nothing about their adventure or being a rogue.
He had little desire to speak of what brought on his new form and living, claiming a want to return to hunting their enemies a quickly as possible.
So they did. They made Womford by noon, sensing its smell a good 30 minutes before arriving. A shantytown of cheap labour and docks, it was not the most welcoming place for a bunch of officers. Still, their sheathed weapons were enough the keep trouble at bay, at first.
They went down to the market by the barge-dock, which Teodoro recognized. It seemed the best place to start asking about his books. People were not happy to help, and trying to question one young fellow, Jack and Dink almost started a small fight. Celendril decided to set aside people skills and asked some rats instead. They were willing to speak to the tree-man, but only for payment. Jack
stole requisitioned some cheese. They stall owner protested loudly, yelling about how they were common thieves and not recognized as the law here, until Jack gave him a pound of tobacco to shut him up.
The rats ran off with the wheel of cheese, singing their fortune, but not before pointing our heroes towards a drydock some 100 meters away. Jack wasted little time, pounding on the door until someone opened, cutting that person down as soon as he opened. Pushing the shocked grunt into the building and closing the door behind them, they surveyed the insides: A covered barge (great for transporting some prisoners under cover), various boxes, another grunt, a halfling and a water genasi – the last three all looking rather confused by this turn of events.
The other grunt was cut down in quick order as well, and while Jack went for the halfling and genasi, the first two victims of his rage were stabilized by the others. It made little difference in the long run, however, as the genasi started summoning huge waves of water to smash into both them and our heroes, killing his companions. Teodoro hid behind some boxes, screaming.
The genasi tried to run away, but in the end both he and the halfling were tied up inside the building. There names were Shoalar Quanderil and Emma Blackwing. Questioned (mostly by Jack dropping his axe on their feet), they revealed themselves to be just one of several cells plundering for The Pirate.
Bruventa suddenly screamed with joy, as he found ten of his books hidden in a small office. He caressed them gently, whispering to them. But! There were three missing.
Emma said that they had given one away to the Pirate as a gift (a copy filled with paintings and drawings) and managed to sell two others. She could of course not read them, but one was mostly free text and the other seemed full of tables. The first she knew ended up in Red Larch with some merchant, and the other with some rich collector in northern Occcam.
While our heroes figured to merchant in question was Vallivoe, the second pointer was as vague as it gets. Bruventa said that he would try and compile a list over people that might share his strong interest in Tyar-Besil or knew the value of these books.
Secondly, they headed for the Allfaiths Shrine, with Dink and Jack receiving two weeks back pay. Imdarr Relvaunder was eager to hear of their endeavors, but once he had been told he sighed and said that they needed a better connection to Central than he could be. Consequently, he had requested that some new officers were sent to help with the daily work required in Red Larch even as our heroes were running all over Occam, chasing cults. In fact, three officers had just arrived at The Singing Sword for that very purpose.
Heading over there, Kaylessa welcomed them and said that she had rented these three a room. Leading the four up, they were introduced: There was a half-elf female named Danny, an elf female called Senna, and finally the dwarf male Ulrich.
Ulrich was a strong presence, more than anything, but also a secretary of unyielding nature. Danny was training for work in the CSI unit, while Senna was working towards assignment in the Morning Squads. She did not talk, and kept making origami, but Danny held up conversationally for them both.
They spent a night at the hotel, resting up. Ulrich started going through paperwork with scary efficiency and working towards cementing the place OCPD had in Red Larch.
Heading over to Vallivoe’s, to check on the book, they brought along Danny and Senna to get to know them better. Talk was effectively cut of by the proprietor, who seemed his usual, hawking self. Luring him away with a request for a coat for Dink, they checked in the back storage, and found the book still there. Teodoro made a sound, and hugged his lost precious closely to his chest. Vallivoe was a bit angry at losing the book to “police business”, but relented at being compensated for the purchase and also selling a bitchin’ coat to Dink. A bit big, but he was happy.
Danny and Senna excused themselves to patrol the neighbourhood and learn the streets, while the others escorted Bruventa and his book back.
There, Ulrich waited for them, with a newly received letter, addressed to Mei Ster Locke-Smyth…