In this episode, our heroes meet in Fairhaven with little more than hints to guide them to a meeting with the Wayfinder Foundation. Through various means subtle and otherwise, their resourcefulness pays off, and they meet one Arnis ir’Dayne in the Whisper Tavern, located beneath a curio shop in the Comfort Ward of Fairhaven.
Meeting with Arnis, who is in fact a cousin of the famours Boromar ir’Dayne, founder of the Wayfinder Foundation, our heroes learn that they are to be tested before they are accepted as members of the Foundation. In a break from their usual methods, the Wayfinders will be putting our heroes to the test as a group.
From this point on, they are told, assume that everything is a test.
Their first mission is to travel to northern Karrnath and locate a hermit living on a remote section of the rocky coastline. Years ago, during the Last War, he stole a scroll called the Way of Life and Death, purportedly a sacred relic of the Aerenal Elves, from the special collections of Morgrave University. Our heroes are to retrive this artifact, and any copies they might find, and return it to the Wayfinders as soon as possible.
When our heroes finally board their airship, they have in tow one corpse with falsified documents and one unconscious chair of languages at the University of Wynarn. They chair of languages makes his daring escape, and our heroes, undaunted (well, semi-daunted and nauseous in one case) make their way north.
As they close on their quarry, they find that they are not alone – a ship flying the colors of Morgrave University is nearby, tacking along the same coastline our heroes were scanning themselves.
They design a warm welcome for their Morgrave rivals and land the airship. Making their way over a rocky bluff and toward a copse of trees from which they have seen flashes of light coming, they are ambushed by forest warriors! The warriors are quickly dispatched by knife, wand, and thrown arrow. Following their trail deeper into the copse of trees, our heroes come upon a mysterious, dark figure who is only then secreting the scroll they seek on his person. They learn only that his name is Rune before he takes to the sky in the form of a large carrion-bird! Their nets and knifes are no avail, and he seemingly escapes with the very artifact our heroes were seeking.
A we cough brings their attention back to what is clearly the hermit’s dwelling. He is lying in the ruin of his own furniture, surrounded by smoldering papers and, inexplicably, dead animals, as well as blackened corpses of the same fighters our heroes faced. He reaches out, and with his last breath, coughs out a final message.
Based on his hint, our heroes find another scroll, the original, secreted away in a hollow compartment of the hermit’s bedside table. And just in time, because the angry Morgrave contingent is coming over the rocky bluff, hot on their trail and full of bad intentions!
They collapse the hermit’s stone home behind them, serving as a pyre and final tomb for the strange old man, and carrying handfuls of papers salvaged from the ruins of his home, they return quickly to their airship and depart, making their way back to Fairhaven, and hopefully, answers…