After having narrowly defeated the owlbear and its gnoll keepers, Vistra Kodiak and Theirastra searched the fort. Cries for help came from the prisoner pits near the back of the fort. In one of the pits, was a bedraggled-looking human. They broke open the spiked cage door holding him in and helped him out of the pit. He introduced himself as Mongrel Bo, Minstrel Extraordinare.
While Mongrel Bo helped them load their dead & the recovered Conductor Stones onto the cart, they questioned him as to how he came to be captured by the gnolls. He told them he had been wandering outside Starilaskur, looking for a valley in which the folk who lived there were experiencing disturbed, dreamless, restless sleep. He hoped if he could not solve their problem, he could at least sing them a lullabye.
After hooking up the gnolls’ horses to the cart and opening the gate, the three headed back to the Lightning Rail. When they arrived several hours later, Seraphina and Mercutio introduced them to a dwarven runepriest from the Mror Holds, Rurin, who’d been on the train with them and helped them guard the train against further attack while the others tracked the gnolls and the stolen Conductor Stones.
The Lightning Rail personnel repaired the track as our heroes buried Zarna. They believed Wycliffe could be repaired once they arrived in Starilaskur. By the time the solemn ceremonies were over, the Lighting Rail was ready to depart!
The next day, they arrived in Starilaskur and set about trying to find The Broken Forge. When they found the place, they found a warforged stoking the fires. He acknowledged that he was Clockwork and accepted the strongbox they delivered. He asked the party if they knew what was contained within. When they told him they did not, he said “That daft old man will not fool me again,” and threw the strongbox into the fire.
Clockwork indicated that he could repair Wycliffe and that he had a use for our heroes after all, to follow a map he had and retrieve an item called the Everflame. When questioned about why he seemed to be antagonistic towards Master Yorel, Clockwork became agitated, denied knowing what they were talking about and dismissed them. They decided to decline Clockwork’s help with Wycliffe and took their warforged companion to a temple for a resurrection ritual, concerned about the implications that Clockwork had access to a Creation Forge.
Our intrepid band of adventurers discussed what to do as Wycliffe recovered from his ordeal. They did not notice that Mongrel Bo seemed to have wandered off on his own after arriving in the city. They decided they would seek out this Everflame but return it instead to Master Yorel and warn him of Clockwork’s hostility.
The map indicated the Everflame lay some days’ journey to the east, so they set off in that direction, following a trail through the forest. During their journey, they were waylaid by a group of orc bandits, but handily defeated them. Shortly after the battle, they came across a pond, and the corpse of another bandit who’d been bitten multiple times by a large serpent and apparently died of those wounds. They returned to the trail as it began to rain.
Thoroughly drenched, they found a small valley indicated on Clockwork’s map. At the bottom, set into the side of a small hill, they found the entrance to a crypt marked with a rune Rurin identified as “Everflame.” Night crept in as they prepared to seek shelter from the rain and explore the crypt, searching for the Everflame.