- Brother Carell Gaunt (Cleric of the Lawbringer)
- Brother Edmund Caldworth (Cleric of the Lawbringer)
- Honourable Martiris of Drayke (Fighter) and his squire, Kevin
- Shiellapho the Magnificent (Elf Wizard)
- Tarryn (Monk)
- Tawnka (Dwarf Barbarian)
The group stood in front of the abandoned inn for quite some time, discussing what to do next. Carjo continued on to his gran-gran‘s cottage without them. Brother Edmund arrived after completing his part in Jhaak’s funeral. (Brother Carell remained at the grave site to perform rituals of his order aimed at preventing the rising of the dead.)
The party finally decided to visit the Golden Grain Inn. The inn was a large wooden building, once whitewashed but with much of the paint worn off. It had an attached corral and stable. The eaves of the roof were decorated with carvings of wheat sheaves. A sign showing a bundle of wheat and a pitcher of beer hung over the door.
When the group entered, they were quickly greeted by the owner, a rotund, friendly man named Bertram Beswill. They ordered some drinks and had a nice conversation with Bertram. They learned that the Inn of the Winsome Wench had been abandoned for roughly a month. There had been a huge battle in which all the inn’s patrons had fought each other. Only two people had survived and they died without ever regaining consciousness, so no one knew why the fight had occurred. Shiellapho, Tarryn, and Tawnka managed to convince Bertram to give them a shot at entertaining his customers for the night in exchange for rooms. Honourable Martiris paid for a room with Kevin but because it was such an honor to have a nobleman staying at his humble inn, Bertram granted Kevin his own room for free. Corbin rented a room without working any special deals with Bertram.
As evening arrived, Shiellapho, Tarryn, and Tawnka began to entertain the crowd. Shiellapho’s cantrips were a great success, particularly his ability to cool the customer’s beverages. Tarryn wowed the guests with amazing physical feats of skill and balance. Tawnka displayed her skill with escaping from various bounds, although her escape was made more difficult than usual when she made the mistake of calling a serving wench forward to assist in tying the ropes. The girl had more skill than Tawnka anticipated. The group made enough copper and silver in tips to equal several gold pieces and Bertram seemed happy enough in providing rooms.
During the evening, Corbin, Brother Edmund, Honourable Martiris, and his squire enjoyed the entertainment from their own table. Corbin discussed the possibility of moving on the next day and leaving Hommel Lane. The others explained that they were interested in learning more about the mysteries of the town and were not ready to leave. They would miss Corbin’s blades if he left, but they understood if he wanted to find adventure elsewhere.
Late in the evening, Brother Edmund returned to the Temple of the Lawbringer, hoping to find a free room for the night. He found the doors closed, but instead of awakening the temple priests, he chose to simply roll out his bedroll on the temple’s doorstep. He slept little on the cold stone and woke up sore and stiff.
Sister Euphema was surprised to find Brother Edmund when she opened the doors the next morning. After a breakfast with the others, Brother Edmund joined them in various chores around the temple. Brother Carell joined in the work as well. After a couple of hours, Honourable Martiris arrived to check on the status of Sir Moonbrook. He, Brother Edmund, and Brother Carell went to the possessed knight’s room to find the bound elf awake when they entered. Sir Moonbrook welcomed them as lowly mortal worms. The clerics backed up Honourable Martiris as he interrogated the dark spirit. They managed to learn that the spirit inhabiting Sir Moonbrook was only a “mere sliver of [the spirit’s] magnificence.” It also considered itself to be “more powerful than [the clerics’] puny god.” When a blow from Martiris left the spirit laughing through a bloody lip, they learned that it was not affected by physical pain. It planned to “conquer this pathetic realm and move on to even greater conquests.” As a final taunt, the spirit offered this bit of advice: “When you see no other way forward, annihilation is the key.”
Meanwhile, the others (Shiellapho, Tarryn, and Tawnka, minus Corbin) explored the town. (Corbin had not joined them downstairs for breakfast at the inn nor was he in his room so he must have left Hommel Lane.) As they traveled east down the road toward the keep, they noticed several abandoned homes. Investigating further, they determined that the buildings had been abandoned for weeks, yet by looking through the windows, they could see that the homes were not empty but still furnished. They did find one building unlocked and searched through the dusty house, finding all furnishings intact and even spoiled food in the pantries.
The group eventually decided to ask at the nearby boarding house for more information. They had just begun discussing the homes with the proprietor (an older man) when Honourable Martiris and the others arrived. (They had finished their conversation with Sir Moonbrook.) Once the owner learned they were with the priests, he told them that he did not rent to Lawbringers and slammed the door.
Since the boarding house was no longer open to them, the majority of the group decided to accompany Honourable Martiris in visiting the local lords at the keep. Both Tarryn and Tawnka were hesitant to attend. Brother Edmund attempted to physically force them to come with the group (for their own good), but quickly found himself lying in the dust in the middle of the road. (Nobody was allowed to touch Tawnka without permission. Brother Edmund didn’t even get to trying to force Tarryn.) Tawnka eventually decided to join the group while Tarryn would remain outside.
Honourable Martiris showed his noble papers at the keep gate and was quickly allowed entrance. The group was shown to a room and provided food and drink while they waited. (During their wait, Martiris examined the heraldry of the keep and based on his knowledge of noble lineage and history, determined that the lords were relatively new to nobility.) After roughly an hour, the castellan, Varedd Zaborr, entered and officially welcomed Honourable Martiris of Drayke and his entourage to the keep in the names of Lord Burne and Lord Rufus. He apologized for their wait and further explained that the lords were quite busy at the moment and could not greet Martiris personally, but meant no disrespect. In return, Martiris graciously took no offense. He wanted to bring the suffering of another noble to the lords’ attention: Sir Hadarai Moonbrook. He explained Sir Moonbrook‘s possession to the castellan. After hearing this, Castellan Zaborr admitted that unfortunately, Lord Rufus, who was wise in the ways of sorcery, had left some two weeks before on magical research. Lord Burne was an honorable warrior, but it was doubtful he could assist the poor paladin. Sir Hadarai Moonbrook was already at the place that could do him the most good: the temple. Honourable Martiris also mentioned the disappearances of the villagers in Hommel Lane and the events at the Inn of the Winsome Wench. Castellan Zaborr had heard of these sad events and assured Martiris that the town constable, Grover Ruskal, was investigating the matter. If he wished, he could visit the constable with the lords’ blessing.
It was at this point in the conversation that Sheillapho had heard enough. He felt that the castellan and the lords were not fulfilling their obligations to the town. His interjection and accusations were not taken well by Castellan Zaborr, who ended their interview. The castellan did promise Honourable Martiris that he would attempt to arrange a meeting with Lord Burne the next day, but Sheillapho would not be allowed to attend. The group was then escorted out of the keep.
They were met on the road by Tarryn, who had decided to visit a beautiful grove of willows she had noticed while the others met the castellan. She had followed a path edged with blue stones into the grove and found a modest hut hidden within the trees. As she examined the grounds, he met Ramne Ashstaff, Druid Initiate and spiritual leader of the Old Faith in Hommel Lane. He was an extremely old man, with intelligent eyes that gleamed from under his bushy eyebrows. He invited Tarryn into his hut for tea and they had quite a nice conversation. Tarryn learned about the Old Faith and how it had been the first religion in Hommel Lane. The old druid also told her that he had heard of recent bandit attacks on local caravans, particularly the wagons of the halfling, Wyndell. Additionally, just yesterday, a family of muskrats had passed through the area and complained of people running them out of their home in the old moat house (located in the wilderness to the north) some time ago. (Unfortunately, the time could not be more specific; muskrats don’t own watches. – Ed.) Ramne believed that the bandits could have taken up residence there. He suggested that Wyndell might have more information if Tarryn was truly interested; after all, his wagons had been attacked. At the end of their conversation, Ramne told Tarryn she would be welcome to come by and chat in the future, as long as she didn’t mind the ramblings of an old man.