With Tiadora stating that she will set the groundwork with Baron Vandamir in preparation for their meeting that evening, the Villains are left to their own devices.
Vaelus, having gotten to know Leges a little better on the trip to Farhold, offers an apology for any rudeness he may have advanced and offers to bury the hatchet. Leges agrees and the half-elf requests the wizard to construct a pair of very special boots for him, boots that would cost in excess of 20,000 gold pieces should they appear on the open market. Being a generous god, Leges agrees to this task and as he seeks out quite, comfortable lodgings, Vaelus acquires the magical components Leges will need, using his share of the treasure gained from Balyntine.
Vengillian meanwhile has done some investigation and, following up on a story of a man who was staying in the Wandering Toad tavern not long ago not paying his bar tab, discovers that, within the man’s empty room, there is a map of the Bryr set out on the table. Ven concludes that this man must have been part of the 4th Knot which was claimed by the Bryr. He takes the map. In addition, Ven investigates the local orphanage and discovers that Baron Vandamir is the patron of the establishment. While the Baron himself rarely shows himself, the headmaster, Mott, is a staunch supporter of the baron. The children, who are mostly young adults in their teenage years, are largely quite thuggish and Ven wonders whether Vandamir uses them on occasion to perform various acts of thuggery.
Meanwhile, after aiding Leges, Vaelus discovers that the Abbey of Saint Cynthia Celeste is home to a great number of nuns who turn out to be accomplished demon hunters, possessing martial skills and divine powers. Furthermore, he hears from one of the nuns that a powerful angel has been summoned to guard the town through times of great turmoil.
When the evening descends, Tiadora, dressed in an exquisite white gown, collects the Villains who are dressed in their own finery and head for Cavalier Green, home to the Lordly estates of Farhold. Soon, the carriage rolls through the gates of Vanderhall Manor.
Inside, the Villains are tended to diligently by scores of servants and they are soon treated to pre-dinner food and brandy. Vaelus appears to adore the offer of food and enjoys the lavish treatment.
At dinner, when all are seated, Baron Vandamir, a half-elf, dressed in burgundy and white enters. He appears young and has piercing beady eyes that seem incredibly calculating.
They engage in small talk at first but eventually, as the brandy flows and Vaelus feats in glee, the Baron expresses a great curiosity as to why the Villains have approached him. He says that the Mitrans and House Darrious have stripped away the titles and honours of so many of his peers and that worshipping Asmodeus has brought him great wealth, but he states quite frankly that compared to him, the party are mere beggars who appear to be waving their begging bowls under his nose. He asks what he has to gain for aiding the party. Ven then stands and draws his great-sword, threatening harm upon him and his household if he does not comply but Leges (who is disguised as an ancient, almost decrepit man) leaps to his feet and orders the half-elf to either sit down or leave, whichever will gain his silence. As Ven leaves, Leges explains to Vandamir that he will not attempt to spin lies of further power and wealth. Instead the wizard explains that in truth, there is nothing the Baron can gain, but in helping their cause he defends everything that he holds dear. Should Mitran interests continue to spread, Vandamir’s estate may well come under scrutiny and the possibility of the discovery of his Asmodean leanings could ruin him. After all, the Baron has already admitted that many of his peers have been disgraced so anything that furthers the cause of Thorn and Asmodeus will help cement and ensure Vandamir’s prosperity. Vandamir acknowledges the wizards logic and agrees to help but refuses to seal the agreement in writing. Nonetheless, the Baron offers a great deal of support. When asked later about the reports of an angel guarding the town, he states that he honestly doesn’t believe such a thing is possible as he feels confident that he would know of any summoner with power equating to that magnitude.
After dinner, Tiadora requests that the party greet the 7th Knot at the docks tomorrow. The next day, the meeting goes well and Vaelus (who is the only surviving member who knows the individuals of the 7th) discusses their duties and responsibilities. In order to stay in contact with each other, Leges suggests that they use Bird Feather Tokens to ensure efficient communication as they venture into the Bryr.
The Bryr is thick and difficult but it is not until the Villain’s venture into a small clearing that they meet resistance. The ground soon begins to rumble and a great worm with rows of spike- like teeth in its circular maw erupts from the earth. Vaelus lunges for it and as he attacks, the worm suddenly generates a great ball of crackling electricity in its mouth and expels it at Vaelus! Fortunately, the aim is poor and Vaelus quickly slices it in half. However, no sooner than the worm’s corpse collapses to the ground, a second springs from the earth and expels another crackling bolt of electrical power, this time hitting Leges. Vaelus turns and lets out a great cry: “Noooooooooo! My boots!”
Fortunately, Xun is nearby and has little difficulty in delivering a mortal wound with his daggers.
Continuing on, the party are startled when two massive arrows come hurtling out of the north and strike Vaelus! The arrows are the length of shovels and the party look on in dread as the owner, an enormous giant, comez barrelling out of the undergrowth.
Leges pulls free his wand of Fireball and sends a scorching orb directly for the giant but amazingly, the giant’s reflexes pull him away from the brunt of the blast and as the flames lightly lap at his sides, the arcane fires begin to be sucked into the giants body, the glowing tattoos heralding a great deal of dread for the wizard as he realises they are absorbing the spell!
As Vaelus charges in, swinging his blade into the giant’s leg, the tattoos begin to illuminate again and suddenly, a fireball launches from the giant’s skin and catches Leges hard, wounding him terribly. Ven, Xun and Vaelus fight furiously, battling the giant with a vigour borne of desperation more than malice as the party realise this giant poses one of the greatest threats they have ever faced. The giant is an incredibly potent force, pulverizing both Vaelus and Xun until both are close to death. The air is thick with blades and their savage song as they sliced through flesh and eventually, Xun manages to plunge his knives into a major artery and the giant fell with a crash to the forest floor.
The party breathe a collective sigh of relief which turned into one of trepidation as they realised they were but a quarter of the way through the Bryr and they had already met stronger resistance than they had first imagined. They agreed to camp for the night in the Bryr in order to make the most ground at first light on the morrow.