On the 6th of July, Year 5, some Citadel House Adventurers (with one newcomer) set out toward Iron Fields to investigate a rash of unusual accidents being reported there, as well as in Confluence and Citadel. Matthias believes something unusual is going on, but they are skeptical that it’s just faulty equipment.
- Rowan (MiM): Level 3 Elf Magic-user (Life and Death)
- Gorg (HuS): Level 3 Orc Thief
- Ragnvaldr (TrS): Level 2 Human Fighter
- Xygmeyer (KJW): Level 1 Human Druid
They take a casual pace to Iron Fields, arriving in time to make camp and keep an eye out for suspicious activity until morning. During the third watch, Xygmeyer falls asleep, failing to wake Rowan for the final watch, who awakens halfway through his own watch to take over. With nothing suspicious during the night, they go looking for someone in charge to ask about the accidents.
On the way, they argue with an overly-defensive halfling bee keeper in the process of moving some hives. They find someone else willing to point them to Mayor Arte, who they learn works his field most of the day, but comes in during the heat to see to mayoral duties usually at least a couple hours between noon and four. They go wait for him on a bench near his house.
While they wait, they see the halfling passing with her cart-load of hives. They notice that her cart is wobbling strangely and try to warn her, but when she is accusatory and dismissive, telling them that the cart is brand new and that they were too caught up in the hysteria of the accidents. They let her roll on. The cart soon breaks down, sending bees flying. Ragnvaldr protects the party from angry bees with his shield bubble and they leave the halfling to deal with her own problem.
Once she has calmed her bees, the bee keeper comes to them, contrite, and offer them a jar of her honey. They eat the honey with some rations and wait for Mayor Arte to return. He finally comes and invites them in, proposing his theory that Iron Fields is under some kind of curse, possibly due to being built on a gnomish burial site.
They mostly disregard Arte’s theory, but his expressed intention to evacuate the town if nothing can be done spurs them on. They assure him they will try to find the burial ground and deal with the curse and set out to look for problems.
Out of Arte’s house, Gorg breaks away from the group, climbing the church tower to get a good look around. The rest make a circuit around the village, looking for anything suspicious including signs of a cursed, gnomish ruin. While they walk, Gorg spots a colorful cart leaving the village, headed North toward Aithreachas, the gnomish village that joined the Vale. He attaches a note to a bolt and fires it down to Rowan, telling them the cart is suspicious. They rush over to intercept it.
They find that the wagon is Fuil Clachecloiche’s tinker workshop and that he travels about selling goods and services. The gnomish tinker inquires what their needs are, offering several solutions to insulting problems he assumes Rowan to have, being an elf (ear sunburn, heat). Eventually, he convinces them to take a sample, a rock with an ear, mouth, and eye that he calls Creag (“rock” in gnomish), before he trundles off.
They immediately recognize that this is not like other living, talking rocks they’ve encountered, but the product of Sensory Extension. They assume it belongs to the same Ar-a-mach who was using Sherman in Kite to get information. It is overly eager, wanting a tour of Citadel House and confirming their suspicions that it is a spy.
They retrieve Gorg and go to speak to the halfling bee keeper, who had started giving the idea of a curse more credence. They learn that her cart really was brand new, this being its maiden trip from Confluence, where she recently picked it up from Simon, the primary wainwright in the Vale. She informs them that wheel fell right off, nothing broken.
They investigate it and find that the iron pin fixing the wheel to the axle is oily, having slipped out of place enough to let the wheel come off. Given the trust put in Simon, they suspect sabotage.
They return to their camp outside the village, where Gorg retires to bed early, telling the others to wake him at 10 so he can spend the night on the lookout for saboteurs. During the night, he sees nothing. In the morning, they catch Mayor Arte before heads out to the field and get a list of people who have had accidents.
They go visit all the victims and while they attribute their bizarre accidents to the curse, they all appear mechanical, or at most alchemical. When questioned, all of the victims can track their items back to a very helpful gnomish tinker who comes into town sometimes. What was his name? Fuil? Fuil Clachecloiche?
They immediately head out to Aithreachas, hoping to catch Fuil there. They make camp shortly after sunset in the woods South of the gnomish village and leave Creag there. It calls for them as they leave and they send Xygmeyer back to keep it company. They find Fuil’s wagon parked just outside the village. After scouting it and locking the only unlocked door with an external lock, they knock on the main door.
Fuil answers, eager to sell to them. When they ask to search his wagon, he attacks. Gorg is ready to ambush and they soon incapacitate him. They take him in the wagon to the dwarven prison where they check him in with Percy. They then return with the wagon to Citadel. In the wagon, they find a letter Fuil was writing to his Ar-a-mach leaders that exposes that they know the map from Glic’s tomb and the salve from Sithich’s vault are in Citadel House. This news alarms Matthias, who agrees Fuil should be kept at the prison.