Having emerged victorious at Vrath Keep, the party sets about looting all the swag they can find. It’s a keep, after all. They find Lord Vrath, in his Steam Plate. The PCs dump his bones out, wipe the inside of the armor off, and leave Lord Vrath’s remains scattered over the vault floor. Likewise, Sapphire Fireheart grabs the Staff of Life and Deed to Vrath Keep, and another PC grabs the mystic sword Frostbite. All told, quite a haul, but it’s to help compensate for the dearth of treasure elsewhere.
Doing what they can to keep the Steam Generator safe, they head back to Drellin’s Ferry. Saevik watches them from his tower prison, slips his bonds, and returns to the Imperial Army in disgrace.
Drellin’s Ferry is a ghost town, with a smattering of guards, and the citizens who just aren’t moving from their houses, royal decree or no royal decree. The party also learns that two of the guards, Otho Bigmouth and Ericall have been murdered by ‘shadows’. A quick investigation by Sapphire Fireheart reveals that they have been killed by shadow daggers. The party quickly realizes that goblins are behind this, and tracks them across rooftops to the Black Tower that Tauster has abandoned. Avoiding the front door (because it is magically trapped and warded), the goblins have been leaping from the rooftops into the second story window.
After a long debate, the party removes the shutters from said window by means of a grappling hook and warhorse. Realizing a curtain bars their view, they set it on fire and THEN leap through it. The goblins release their Juvenile Gibbering Mouther and retreat to the top of the tower to debate strategy. While they are doing so, Aliyah, elven sorceress, arrives on the roof via teleport – only to discover that there is no orb to facilitate her return. Looking about for Tauster, she discovers seven goblins, clad in black, wreathed in shadows. She hits them with Color Spray, disabling four of them and dispelling all their Shadow Magic. The remaining three withdraw downward, where they are defeated by Kaashnagh and the White Hand, with only one fatality.
The party drags their prisoners to captain Anitah Sorana, and interrogates them. They discover that the goblins are part of the King’s Rangers from Basilla, on a mission to root out traitors. (Where they technically have no authority.) The party has only one question: “Do you have any documents to prove it?” Of course the goblins don’t. The party turns over the goblins to captain Sorana. She has only one question: “Are you immune to steel?” She thrusts her sword into the chests of goblins with the assistance of the White Hand, and finds that none of them are.
Happy to have dispatched their potential allies, the party heads forth to Harranshire. Setting up base camp atop the Garlstone Mine, they look about with their spy glass. They see supply caravans from the Red Valley, a slave camp being set up in Milbourne, and the city of Thurmaster (now sporting the flag of Lord Parlfrey) under siege. Plans to decimate the siege draw up short when the seven PCs realize that there are roughly 1200 enemy soldiers down there. Still, they keep avoiding the exposed siege equipment, and focus on destroying the gunpowder magazine (a log cabin) protected by a full company (100) of hobgoblin riflemen. They take a brief look at burning down Milbourne to kill the 200 or so soldiers stationed there, but eventually just roleplay the tactical discussion, reaching no decision.