The Holston’s Folly is a simple and crude barge commanded by Tiadora. The deck is bare and there is a single private cabin which she occupies. As Vaelus has destroyed the great majority of the treasure the party were to have gained in his fire, Tiadora offers a small amount of gold in recompense and she orders the barge to set sail. They head for Farhold, a small settlement on the far end of Talingarde.
Two new members of the knot eventually emerge from the cabin and introduce themselves. Vengillian is an inquisitive, happy-go-lucky half-elf with strange divine powers that flow through his being not of his will. Leges is a towering 7 foot, muscular human with olive skin who styles himself a god and possesses a fierce knowledge of the arcane. Vaelus begins with some light banter to the human wizard and is met by a frosty reception with Leges accusing Vaelus of a damning reputation that precedes him, stating that he is a small man with a small mind and who thinks in small ways and warns that if he should do anything crude and over-the-top without first consulting the party beforehand, Leges will ensure that everything Vaelus prides himself on will be stripped away until all that is left is a mindless form suitable only for food or sport. Suffice it to say, the two begin building a deep relationship but whether this depth is akin to a grave or a foundation, neither can tell at this point.
The nights are cold and the Villains are forced to sleep on deck throughout the journey. One night, Ven spots a blazing villaige on the shore and too curious to pass the opportunity to stretch his muscles, dives into the icy water and swims to shore. There, he hears screaming of a cult of Asmodeus and frantic prayers to Mitra.
Upon his return, he relays this information to the others and Leges asks Tiadora on the event. She says that Cardinal Thorn has many Knots and each conducts various operations to further the fall of Talingarde. She assures him that if we are to know, she will inform us of the relevant details when the time is appropriate.
As the journey progresses, more villages are spotted which burn furiously, calls to Mitra and screams of Asmodeus present at each one.
On the 9th day, the barge sails into Lake Skarddin and the Villains draw close to their destination now. They are all called into the cabin and they find Cardinal Adratus Thorn waiting for them. ‘Come, come’ he says in welcome ‘so many new faces. Tell me, are you ready to serve me as your master?"
He places the compact before Xun, Leges and Ven to sign afresh and seal their bond together officially. Once these have been signed, Thorn delivers the Villain’s new mission.
To the south of the town of Farhold is a dense and wild forest called the Care Bryr, a place that the locals hold in fear for its ruthless and ferocious nature. Somewhere within the Bryr is an ancient temple which contains the Horn of Abbadon, a powerful seal. The Horn binds a powerful Daemon prince called Vetracalli Eats The Eyes who serves the Lord of Pestilence in one of the Circles of Hell. This daemon guards an incredibly deadly and virulent plague, manifested as an artefact known as the Tears of Aklace. It is these tears which Thorn desires to further the Asmodean cause.
As it stands, the 4th Knot has already tried and failed at this task and so Thorn is sending the 9th to complete the task. The Villain’s are to be supported by the 7th Knot in Farhold.
In addition, Thorn also states that a local baron in Farhold, Lord Vanderin, while decadent as he is wealthy, is a staunch Asmodean supporter and fears Thorn. The Villains will be able to find his support incredibly useful if they can but win it. Tiadora will help us in that regard.
Finally, the party is given a small seal which, when broken, will summon Tiadora should they need her.
Upon reaching Farhold, the Villain’s discover that the town is centred in a flood zone with the main structures built upon four large hills. However, the district of Drownington in an area of low lying land is quite different to the elevated districts and is a shanty town of crime and vice.
The party buy a map and get to know the area that will be of use to them, noting the baronies, the abbey, the orphanage and the economic centres.
As they become acquainted with the area, the Villains disperse and begin gathering intelligence.