The group continues on through Mogwam Forest. While they travel, Jansen makes an ambiguously worded joke and everyone laughs, lightening the mood. The sound of Samson’s tongue-less laugh brings even more laughter, to his dismay. Lelouche, focusing on the arcane power around them, hears a voice speak to him clearly, saying “Leave”. He asks if anyone hears it, but no one else does. He shouts back “We’re trying to leave”, but receives no response. A minute later, “Leave” is heard again, again only by Lelouche. He says “I’d love to make like a tree and leaf, but I don’t know the way”. The wind blows and the trees around him start to shake. An opening appears to their side, trees and rocks moving out of their way to reveal an exit to the forest about a hundred yards away. The wind stops. Falx notes that the way ahead seems to still be the right way to go, but he can see the fields in the distance down the new path. Rye throws her marked rock, and it heads down the new path and settles in the middle of the way. She takes this as a sign that it is the right way to go.
After a long wait while the group discusses the situation, Rye takes the cart and heads toward the exit down the path. Jansen asks the group if they are coming with, but the others are hesitant. Lelouche asks “Why do you want us to leave” out loud, hoping to speak to the spirit again. “You have no business here,” it responds. He asks if he is speaking to the spirit of the forest, but gets no response. He shouts a reminder that he is of the Feywild, and that the fey belong in all places. Again, he receives no response. Falx notices that the forest around them appears to be moving closer together, making continuing on difficult if not impossible. Falx points this out, and the others understand but don’t see it themselves.
Lelouche suggests that Falx turn into his beast form to appear as if he belongs. Falx transforms, appearing as a large humanoid tiger again. Rye has stopped to see if any response comes from the spirit. Lelouche tells the spirit she has pretty leaves, but receives no response. Realizing that they are being corralled out with no chance to argue, he takes back his compliment and the group proceeds into the pathway. The entrance-way closes behind them, leaving them on a straight path out. They find themselves at the southwest corner of the forest. The sun is shining above them. Falx notes that something feels off, and feels uncomfortable. He tells the group, but without an ability to explain why, they don’t seem interested.
Falx takes a look at the map, and notes that they appear to have covered far more ground than they should have. Lelouche notices that it doesn’t appear to be the right time, and more time has passed than he perceived. They head to Warren Tower on the Eastern Road. Jansen asks a passerby what year it is, worrying that they may have traversed more time than they perceived, but they confirm it is still 1367 DR. Asking the month, they tell him that is is Mirtul, the fifth month, while it was only the middle of the fourth when they left. Jansen notices that his ring is warmer than it should be. The group heads toward Warren Tower
The group is stopped at the gates yet again. This time though, they are asked for identification by the guards. Lelouche notes that they’ve never been asked for that before. Jansen chimes in, “Not this shit again…” but goes silent upon realizing what he’s said. Lelouche pushes past Jansen and asks why they need identification. The guard explains that “due to recent events”, all people entering Warren Tower must have their city identification on them. Lelouche informs the guard that The Torrey Company could confirm their employment, because they are on official business for them. The guard states that they should have received temporary papers from the company for any job in the last week, and they would be on a list if they were on a job prior and expected to return. Lelouche tells the man that they’ve been gone for more than a week and didn’t get any identification.
Lelouche realizes the guard isn’t budging, so he asks what recent events have transpired. The guard announces, reading from a scroll, that Virgil The Red is reported dead, believed to be murdered in Castle Valoris during his ambassadorial mission. As such, Warren Tower is now in a state of war, and all outsiders are hereby restricted from entering the city without identification. The Torrey Company could possibly vouch for them, but they would have to wait on a request being sent in, and the man does not offer any indication of how long that would take or if they would even receive a response. It would seem his top priority is to keep people outside the gate, and he doesn’t care much about their plight.
The guard continues on, reading a second scroll with notable annoyance in his voice. Apparently, in addition to the civil war, Whisper has committed another daring escapade, this time stealing an unspecified item from Castle Valoris. There does not seem to be any implication of a connection between the two notices. The group realizes this must mean that even the kingdom’s desire to see Whisper face justice does not overtake the severity of Virgil The Red’s death and the war that it has brought.
Lelouche expresses his dissatisfaction with the current events, and tells the guards that is will wait on The Torrey Company’s response. He then cites that he “knows people” but the guard seems unmoved. Lelouche asks Samson if he has any identification, giving him a cloth and quill to write a response. Samson notes that he has an official document they might accept, and that he could vouch for the group at The Torrey Company to expedite the process. Rye hands Samson her marked rock for protection. Looking over a list, the guard notes that The Torrey Company is looking for Samson, and he is ushered inside.
While the group awaits Samson’s return, Lelouche attempts to do parlor tricks for the guards, but they seem unamused. Jansen attempts to crack a joke, but he stumbles over the words and the guards seem almost less happy than when they first arrived. The group decides to cut their losses and just wait for Samson to return. After a few minutes, they see him approaching from inside the gates with two representatives of The Torrey Company, one being the woman that gave the group their task. She shows her identification and then walks out to them, speaking as she approaches “I thought you were dead.” She leads them through the gates, showing the guards some contract papers that seem to placate them.
Lelouche asks the woman’s name, and she introduces herself as Rosalinda. She mentions that when the group didn’t return after a week, she sent another group out on the same task. The other group hasn’t returned, and she clarifies that the bounty goes to whoever returns first with the mapping data, so they are in luck. As they enter the city, the guard they spoke to yells to “make sure you and your people have identification before you leave.” Rosalinda says that she can grant them temporary identification for as long as they work for the company.
The group follows Rosalinda and Samson back to The Torrey Company branch office. Rosalinda sits down at a large desk, clearing it and asking if they’ve brought the mapping data they were sent to retrieve. Falx provides his findings to her and outlines the information in detail as best he can for the cave. Rosalinda seems happy with their findings and also notes that “Although he is a bit worse for wear, you’ll get a bonus for returning our employee to us alive. Thank you for that.”. Lelouche attempts to give her an overview of what occurred in the caves, noting the position on the map where they encountered the shape-shifter group. He tells her to send guards or soldiers there when they send out their convoys, as it is unsafe.
Lelouche goes on to explain what happened when they attempted to map the forest. He explains their experience with the forest affecting their perception and seeming to trap them before letting them go. Rosalinda mentions that they’ve received other reports of similar events happening in the forest, but not enough to warrant an investigation or confirm that the effect is real and not a mental trick of some kind.
Lelouche asks if any of the others that reported the effect were magically inclined. Rosalinda retrieves a file on a magician named Percival and mentions that “he heard voices, so we just thought he was a bit crazy.” Lelouche mentions to her that he also heard voices and Rosalinda grows uncomfortable, but tells him “Well, I won’t write down that you’re crazy, if it helps.” Lelouche asks if they can cross-check Percival’s file for any interesting comparisons to himself. Rosalinda begins to tell them that she isn’t sure she can share the file, but after some convincing she tells them that they can review it quickly. She adds that he is currently on duty outside of the city, but should return within the next week.
According to his sheet, Percival is a Warlock. Under his designation, it adds that he has been cleared as a “Ward”, which the group realizes is an indication that he has been checked for evil tendencies, given the bad reputation Warlocks have in society. Percival apparently works as a type of magical security. His job is to improve the company’s shipping methods using magic, as well as prevent product loss that might occur through malicious spells being used to steal cargo or entire shipments. Lelouche confirms with Rosalinda that Percival is off on assignment, as he is a full-time employee. She mentions that he should be somewhere near Tulley Keep at the moment.
Lelouche asks Rosalinda for payment as another representative arrives carrying a small bag of gold. Lelouche asks if Percival can be informed that they are looking for him when he returns. Rosalinda mentions that they will get temporary identification for each of them so that they have a way to move in and out of the city while on a job for the company. She notes that they might still have some trouble getting into Castle Valoris or Tulley Keep, and that traveling anywhere outside of the Western Bank might not be safe. For now though, they’ll be able to move freely in and out of Warren Tower at least.
The gold is divided up, 120 pieces to each member of the team after the bonus for returning Samson. Rosaslinda notes that she wishes she could offer them something for the map of the forest, but they are offering gold only for a logical map through. Lelouche shrugs “I wish we could help, but we might end up in there forever so it’s not worth the risk.” Rosalinda agrees, noting that if they change their mind or discover anything useful, the bounty is still up for grabs. Lelouche asks where they can learn more about the forest, and she points them to the city archives, citing that they can do that after getting their identifications.
The group is led in to fill out paperwork, and they are asked if they have any outstanding warrants in the Western Bank. The group manages to keep cool and tell her (technically correctly) that they do not. They each write their information, eventually having to place each of their hands over a blue light in a small box before forming an imprint with their hand on each of their documents. From what he can gather, Lelouche realizes that the blue light is some sort of biological fingerprint of sorts, tying the identification to the person who wrote it. A nearby representative melts ink onto each page, taking a seal stamp from an official-looking black box and stamping the seal into each of their papers before handing them over.
With that finished, Jansen chimes in asking if they should eat, and the group agrees. They head to The Rusted Clam. Jansen orders water, but notes that he has a strange, unshakable desire for ale. After some hesitation, he orders one and sits nervously waiting for it. Orik slaps him on the back, congratulating him on his choice. Jansen notes the curiosity on Lelouche’s face, and questions it. Lelouche mentions that it seems strange for Jansen to drink alcohol. Jansen thinks it over, but decides he wants the ale even he if can’t determine where this sudden desire came from. Lelouche asks if Jansen is feeling okay, and Jansen mentions that he has felt a bit off in the last couple of days, though he doesn’t feel that anything is inherently wrong. Lelouche asks about the dreams, but Jansen tells him that he only received a small flashback the night before, piecing together parts of the vision he had when he feinted in the cave. He notes that he’ll tell Lelouche if they continue. To end the discussion, Jansen tells Lelouche that he thinks the group is just rubbing off on him.
Jansen chugs his ale after some prodding from Orik, and he mentions that he’s feeling a bit odd about the whole thing and should probably head to bed. Rye pushes her ale in front of him, encouraging him to keep drinking and “have some fun”. Everyone orders food and eats. Lelouche orders an ale for himself and another for Jansen while Falx drinks one of his own silently at the end of the bar. Orik orders three ales with his meal, downing them as if he hadn’t seen one in weeks, when in reality it had just been two days.
Jansen asks the group if drinking always produced such a pleasant feeling. Both Rye and Lelouche egg him on, saying that it feels better the more you drink and there are no downsides whatsoever. Jansen exclaims that he thinks he could drink more than Orik, to which Orik accepts the challenge. Orik, having drank three ales rather quickly just beforehand, manages to lose against Jansen, but at least passes out in a surprisingly dignified manner. Looking at Jansen with both pride and anger, he closes his eyes and puts his head to the counter, losing consciousness.
Lelouche retires to a room with Falx to sleep. Rye picks up Orik at the behest of the bartender, unsure of where to bring him. She gets a room and lets him sleep in the tub, but the sound of his snoring seems to be amplified by the shape of it until she places a nearby fur over him, muffling the sound. She heads out to check on Jansen and ensure he isn’t also passed out. She watches him walk out of the bar and follows, curious as to what he’s up to.
Jansen runs around the street, belligerently talking to any strangers that pass by. Rye heckles him a bit, but then eventually heads to bed. Jansen gets tired as people don’t seem to be nearly as excited as he is about his drinking. Seeing some guards, he decides it would be best to head to sleep as well, so he gets a room and passes out in the bed as the room spins.
300 EXP from role-play = 300 EXP total (17700 EXP total)