Fireday, 18 Desnus, 4734
The group of Gray Maidens that the otter burst out of send several after it, while Lea goes after it as well to try to calm it down. Marcus notices that the red-headed young woman who was with the Gray Maidens has vanished, leaving behind only a pink cloud. The Maiden’s leader marches resolutely towards the party’s cart. Marcus also notices that a Mwangi woman in civilian clothes is quietly climbing up a side of a nearby building.
The Gray Maidens are deeply suspicious of the party, although their leader, Colonel Oriana, did offer some recompense for the damage caused by the giant otter. She also demands to climb up onto the cart and scan the area. She spies something and sends her Maidens in that direction, with no explanations offered.
Unsure of what to make of this, the Rune Wardens press on, led by Shalelu to an inn near the center of Riddleport called the Mystery of the Gate. The elf ranger insists on keeping watch over the cart while the party goes inside to rest up.
The Mystery of the Gate is popular with sages and adventurers investigating Riddleport’s Cyphergate and nearby Thassilonian ruins. Every week, one of the city’s fabled Cyphermages comes down to deliver a lecture on their investigations, with the next one expected tonight.
Amelia, however, decides to entertain the patrons in the meantime with a performance of a lewd puppet show “inspired” by Lea’s encounter with the succubus Delvahine in the Runeforge. The performance is an enormous hit, though the paladin is completely mortified.
One of the show’s biggest fans turns out to be the red-headed young woman they spotted with the Gray Maidens earlier. After the performance, she quickly strikes up a conversation with Lea and introduces herself as Princess Aspexia Arabasti (“Spex” to her friends). She had identified Lea’s true identity when she saw them earlier and followed her to the inn.
Marcus, meanwhile talks with some of the sages hanging out in the common room, trying to feel them out for information on Thassilon. He learns that tonight’s lecture is being delivered by the leader of the Cyphermages, Elias Tammerhawk, a rare honor.
Lea introduces Spex to the rest of the party and they spend a while conversing. Spex explains that she is the daughter of Ileosa Arabasti, Queen of Daggermark, and traveled to Riddleport on a quests to learn more about a mysterious shard from a ruin known as the Emerald Spire. She’s going to have the shard crafted into a spear she will use to kill Razmir, the so-called Living God who threatens the River Kingdom. But the Riddleport trip has been boring, so she gave her Gray Maiden chaperones—her “aunties”—the slip to have some fun.
She is thrilled to learn that Lea is a princess of Korvosa, and cheerfully welcomes Astrid to the “Princess Club” as well after learning of her connection to Isandria. Spex also aggressively hits on Zavian, who proves receptive.
The Rune Wardens also learn from the wayward princess that Riddleport was damaged by a tsunami caused by a falling star that landed on a nearby island. The few ships that weren’t damaged have been pressed into ferrying treasure hunters to the island where they hope to scavenge rare “skymetal.” The only available ship in town is hers, which she will graciously offer to them if they can show her a good time.
Zavian offers to take Spex out to see the Free Coin District. Lea and Seleval invite themselves along. Astrid, meanwhile, goes out to sell some of their loot.
As she prepares to sell the cloak of the north wind crafted by frost giants, Astrid thinks about the friendly frost giant Grenja that they met and her uncertain feelings about that. She realizes that Grenja comes from the same culture as her giant-hating blacksmith friend Neshka and isn’t sure what to say the next time they meet.
She finds a Qadiran magic carpet vendor who is interested in the frost giant cloak. In their conversation, he shares a bit of folk wisdom with her. The north wind follows a certain current, but sometimes there’s a gust that carries things further than usual, and that’s where they belong. This clicks with Astrid and her unusual life path. She figures she should keep an eye out for things that seem out of place, as one can never know when they will find another Grenja.
On on the streets of Riddleport, Zavian walks arm in arm with Spex taking in the strange sights, while Lea and Seleval trail behind. As they approach the ferry to cross the river to the Free Coin District, a mutt sidles up to the aasimar and mutters to him: “There are wolves among the sheep at Saint Casperian’s.”
Spex is down for an adventure, so Zavian changes course to investigate the Sarenrite mission at Saint Casperian’s. With a little poking around, the four of them discover that a gang of criminals had infiltrated the mission and were using it as a base of operations from which to terrorize the neighborhood.
After capturing the criminals, they resume their trip to the Free Coin District, but haven’t gotten far before they suddenly find themselves ambushed by a team of well-armed dwarves that zip-line down from the neighboring buildings.