Game Time: Spring through Summer, 4708
Real Time: January, 2010
A Quartet of Matrimonies
It’s Spring in Sandpoint. Haggor is cleaning out his cave. Taeva is building a fence around her new upturned ogre-pot home. Balekh and Veshenga are riding back to town with a cartload of mystical supplies acquired in Magnimar. It’s the most time without a crisis the party has had in a while, and they’re determined to use the reprieve to get some things accomplished.
While Balekh sits down to what looks to be around a dozen weeks of crafting magic items for the party, Haggor wanders down to the town docks to inquire about getting a sailboat. Time spent fishing the lake outside Turtleback Ferry has made him long for a ship of his own, able to explore and fish wherever the wind takes him. Waving to a drinking buddy who’s apparently building a boat on the drydock, he wanders into the offices of the shipyard owner, Bevelin Valdemar. The redheaded young man, noble of stock but harried of expression, pours over a seemingly disorganized pile of documents, but is pleased to see the monk. They discuss what kind of ship he wants, and Belvin promises to draw up some options for Haggor to check later in the week. After Haggor mentions his plan to hunt a kraken using the giant hook (or anchor) on the boat, Belvin suggests he take some sailing lessons before his ship is finished. Haggor takes this under advisement.
Meanwhile, Veshenga is visiting with her favorite Varisian elder, Madame Mvashti. The old woman makes pleasantries, then launches into the interesting things the cards told her recently. Apparently, Veshenga and her friends will benefit from arranging four marriages, with each featuring a groom representing a different element. Veshenga isn’t sure what to make of this mission, but knows that her friend Balekh is in a serious relationship, and is, himself, a member of the Wind clan of his people…
And, also meanwhile, Balekh has cornered his girlfriend’s father, the local general store owner, and asked for permission to marry Shayliss. Ven seems concerned: either that Balekh will take his daughter far away, or will settle down in Sandpoint without a trade. Somewhat nonplussed by being questioned on his earning potential after dropping more money than the Vinders have seen in their lives on crafting supplies, Balekh promises that he does plan to settle down after the crisis they’ve been investigating, and that he’ll do so in Sandpoint. As far as earning potential, he’s put some thought into opening a school and becoming a teacher. Ven points out the existing school/orphanage across the street, and Balekh begins to consider how to become gainfully employed/take over.
A few days later, Taeva is putting finishing touches on her iron-walled home, painting the sides to blend into the nearby woods from her vantage point near the town’s south bridge. Sheriff Hemlock knocks on the dome and asks for her help in a quandary that cropped up while they were away: several homes and businesses were broken into over the winter with no sign of forced entry despite their expensive security precautions. Taeva agrees to consult, and the two of them begin visiting crime scenes.
The first stop is Sandpoint Savories, the local bakery with which she is quite familiar, and Taeva strikes up a conversation with the proprietresses, Arika and Aneka, exchanging smalltalk before they realize she’s there on police business. They explain that the bakery was robbed of cash and valuables multiple times before they stopped leaving anything of worth there overnight, despite their high-quality door lock. Taeva checks out the new mechanism and tries her picks on it, finding it highly challenging even for her prodigious skills. Something about the lock troubles her, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. The girls explain that they got it from a locksmith’s stall in Magnimar. Taeva is familiar with the place from her time in the Bazaar of Sails, and knows that it went out of business like many shops during the Star Killer murders, and failed to reopen.
After a few more stops at crime scenes, including the local armory, the town boutique, and the Valdemar mansion, Taeva has arranged a wedding dress for Balekh’s anticipated nuptials, noted a persistent and troubling illness in the elder Valdemar, and come to a conclusion about the crimes. Each crime scene boasted a lock from the same defunct shop, and each seemed to contain a mechanism for bypassing the primary, incredibly secure lock, probably via a master key of some kind. Someone in town was in league with the locksmith, and Taeva is determined to get to the bottom of the problem.
However, while Taeva considers the possible culprit, Balekh is hatching plans of his own. He and Haggor discuss meal plans for his upcoming proposal to Shayliss, trying to decide what to serve for dinner and whether he should rent out the entire local theatre for a private show on his big night. Haggor suggests salmon, and begins trying to convey to Bear that he wants to be led to the best fishing spot on the river. Fortunately, Taeva wanders up to tell the two of them about the local crime spree and uses her Gnomish gifts to talk to the animals. The troupe heads down the river, where Haggor catches several salmon bear-style, by wrestling them bodily out of the water. Meanwhile, Balekh tries to convey that his proposal is a secret, and worries that his friends aren’t taking that as seriously as he is.
Speaking of marriages, Veshenga is somewhat adrift trying to play matchmaker around town. She’s been hitting up the upper crust, finding out that Kendra, the mayor, is single but still potentially mourning her lost love (the brother of the local bakers), Ameiko, the owner of the Rusty Dragon and the Glassworks, is thoroughly uninterested in anyone in town, and Belvin, the shipwright, is too wrapped up in his work and caring for his sick father to respond to anyone’s advances. Belvin does appear to be the loneliest of the group, and admits that he worries that, with none of the other major families in town doing a good job of procreating, the Scarnettis stand to take over the town in the next generation. Veshenga considers matching the scion of the Scarnettis before finding out that not only is he generally reviled, he’s also married and out of town. She goes back to the drawing board.
Worried about the tales of the elder Valdemar’s recurring illness, Balekh heads back to their house with Haggor and Taeva. He uses his magic to cure the man’s current symptoms, and can’t find anything else wrong with him. They pile all the suspect food from the kitchen and divine for poison, but can’t find anything wrong. Meanwhile the man gets to talking about how he worries that his son, Belvin, works too hard and spares too much time caring for him, and doesn’t have time to date. Meanwhile, Veshenga is learning from Ameiko that one of the girls at the bakery, Arika, has a thing for Belvin. They meet back up and compare notes, and Veshenga and Taeva go to discuss this with the Avertins. Arika eventually admits to a crush on Belvin, but has no plans to do anything about it while her sister remains without prospects. Interestingly, Aneka has a crush on the headmaster of the school, who Balekh had talked to about a job just recently.
However, Balekh, finding the secret of his upcoming proposal getting harder and harder to keep, scraps his elaborate plans for a picnic on the beach. With Shayliss agreeing to marry him without too much debate, the party seems to have one wedding prepared, two more prospects, but one more with no real clue how to proceed…