Present day – 998 YK, Breland, city of Sharn
From Sharn our heroes board the Concentration headed northwest along the Galethspyre line to Ardev. Once the voyage is underway, they realize that one of their fellow passengers is Janaeus, the manservant of Lady Dannae Ulyan. Unexpectedly, he greets them politely and engages them in gentlemanly conversation, revealing himself to be a survivor of the firebombing of Sigilstar in Thrane, while most of his family was consumed. At these words, Cedric Burkh froze. Janaeus complained of boredom and Burkh loaned him a book from his own library: a collected edition of the renowned Thranic poet Reardon Fairmont.
Meanwhile, at the same time that Burkh engaged Janaeus in conversation, Reinbold and Gift bullied the ship’s purser into revealing the location of Janaeus’s cabin, and they jimmied the lock and ransacked it, discovering little of value other than the business card of one Holben Ormont, dealer in antiquities.
After a short layover in Galethspyre, the party reboarded – realizing that if Janaeus also deplaned, he had not returned to the airship – and continued on to the city of Ardev. There, Cedric Burkh visited the city’s junkyards and cobbled together a jalopy out of old anbaric coach parts. It moved exceedingly slowly, but still allowed them to cover the 125 miles up the Orien trade road in a single day. Along the way, they were accosted by bandits and nearly killed. After successfully murdering all of them save for a single gnoll archer who ran off, the adventurers freed their prisoner, a goblin named Govaan, who claimed to be returning from a religious pilgrimage to the goblin monument Six Kings. The conversation was a bit of a cat and mouse game, with both parties suspecting the other knew more than they were telling, but the eventually parted ways amiably, and Govaan gifted Cedric with a traditional goblin craft necklace to show his appreciation.
Having to leave the road and continue on via a path through the forest, the party left their automobile by the side of the road, painted camouflage by Stugsworth and covered by a tarp, and marched into the woods.