- Rand met a girl named Katrina; turns out, she’s Rantle’s sister
- In the middle of the night, Vola and Shey awaken to the smell of smoke and recall rumours of houses burning down in North Harbour. They investigate and find a smouldering rat’s nest in the cellar. Shey’s familiar Ul enters a fissure and informs them that he found giant fire-breathing rats in a warehouse.
- Gathering the rest of the party, they visit a nearby warehouse in the middle of the night, and find a huge family of rats who were extra warm, had glowing eyes, and cooked the bits of sausage that were offered as treats. Tajen casts speak with animals and manages to learn that the rats were blessed but had recently been driven out of their home by big folk, “home” was “down” and “dusty.” But it was the middle of the night and so they went back to bed after boarding up the fissure in the cellar.
- Later that day, after a good sleep-in, and the rain coming down, they go visit Lyceum Academy for a War Council.
- The headmaster, Simeon Gohanach greets them:
“Ladies and gentlemen, you’ll pardon me if I’m brief. Our enemies are many, and we know their eyes are constantly watching. We don’t have much time for this meeting, so, even
though I encourage each and every one of us to have our time to speak, I need to ask that we not get too bogged down in discussions of minutiae and other small things.
“We have a great task ahead of us—a task that we do not do simply to protect ourselves, but to save the lives of all our families, brother, and sisters. The new emperor of Ragesia, Leska, who proudly calls herself the Supreme Inquisitor, has set her armies to conquer all our nations. Everyone is in danger, from lowliest warrior to mightiest mage. I have vowed as my duty that I will fight against this Scourge from Ragesia, but I don’t know much about running a war.
“What I do know is that we all have knowledge and skills that will be valuable in this fight. I hope that you will trust me to lead this fight against tyranny, and I will trust you to give me your best wisdom and aid so that we may be victorious.
“Our goal is to stop the Scourge, to drive back the armies of the Ragesian Empire, to dethrone Leska, and to ensure our families and homelands are safe. Now, I hope you all have some idea how to do that. My ears are open.”
- Magistrate Lorb Votberd brings up a long list of grievances against the refugees, who he says are bringing chaos and crime to their town. He is in favor of recruiting able-bodied refugees to a new, broader police force to get things under control in a hurry.
- Lee Sidoneth explains that the north harbor is so crowded that they’re sending new ships to the south harbor. Though there aren’t adequate docks for all the refugee ships, Lee thinks it best that most ships not be piered, so they can move quickly in case of an attack. His general stance is to wait and build strength, rather than rush to action. He also says that he knows a Ragesian fleet is moving towards Sindaire, and a Shahalesti is enroute to Seaquen.
- Kiernan Sekert shares a fair amount of military intelligence, including:
- In Gate Pass, the war wizard Gabal emerged from hiding when the city council let Ragesian inquisitors inside the walls. Gate Pass soldiers kept the inquisitors busy while Gabal and his students assaulted Ragesian camps outside the gates. Reported Ragesian losses were nearly two thousand in one day. Sadly, one of the inquisitors managed to locate Gabal and dispel his fire protection, and a mighty fire- breathing dragon incinerated the mage.
- The Shahalesti are believed to be providing supplies to Gate Pass, forcing Ragesia to turn from siege to repeated assaults.
- The first Ragesian army, led by General Magdus, has halted hostilities because of bad weather and now roams the eastern plains of Sindaire, pillaging as it goes. A fleet from Ragesia is sailing for the capital of Sindaire, and the leaders of Seaquen suspect Magdus’ forces will link up with the fleet in the coming weeks.
- The second Ragesian army, led by General Danava and aided by a branch of the third army, has breached the first district gate of Gate Pass.
- The third Ragesian army, led by General Revulus, is preparing to march south to Dassen, though bad weather has halted it for now.
- Meanwhile, the fourth Ragesian army attacks Shahalesti around the northern edge of the Otdar mountains.
- Leska seems to be foolishly splitting her forces: Ragesia’s armies are winning all of their battles but cannot hope to occupy territory. They seem simply to be on destructive marches.
- Commander Xavious Foebane, retired commander from Dassen, wants Seaquen to forge alliances with any nation that is willing to stand against Ragesia. He has identified military objectives best be handled by mobile experts, saving large forces for holding back enemy advances. The most important mission, in his mind, is locating the Torch of the Burning Sky.
- Laurabec Adelsburg is less concerned with broad military matters and more worried that the thousands of people who have come to Seaquen to make a difference in the war might tear themselves apart. Many problems are the result of inadequate food, water, and shelter; bitter religious and cultural differences; a perception that Seaquen and Lyceum view the refugees as outsiders and pawns, rather than vital allies; and the clear fact that more than a few people are here looking for an opportunity to profit from the war. Laurabec speaks unofficially on behalf of the refugees, and she requests that someone pay more heed to the local affairs, since it will take weeks anyway before any military actions can be coordinated.
- Giorgio presents the Wayfarers’ knowledge about the dangers of teleportation, and says that they are working to find a solution. Giorgio also presents some theatre tickets:
“These are for a performance in three weeks of The Spectacular Trial of Toteth Topec, which you’ve no doubt heard will be premiering at the Wayfarers’ Theater in a few days. Though there will be other performances before the night of your tickets, the ageless beauty that is Guildmistress Larkins wants to be certain we have everything perfect before we show it to you, the city’s most respected citizens, and those dignitaries visiting from similarly respected nations. Think of the symbol it will be, for all you to attend a show together! I dare say it may be wholly disastrous to morale if even one of you fails to attend!”
- Dakers Gallo spoke of the need to defend Dassen, at which point, Dasseni Ambassador Keifer Numhaut interjects, saying that King Steppengard is displeased that Seaquen’s rallying call has brought so many refugees through his lands, making his kingdom a target for Ragesia. While Dassen is not above lending its support if there is a legitimate reason, for now the King believes it wiser to make a pact of neutrality with Leska, and leave Seaquen to its own fate. Dakers argued that his homeland, Gallo’s Fend, would be the first to be invaded should the Ragesians come through the Ayudi Gap, and that they should not remain neutral.
- Sindairese Ambassador Cranston Snord says that his nation’s people want to resist Ragesia, but the politicians cannot pledge their support to Seaquen and risk drawing Leska’s ire. He suggests that if Seaquen could defeat Ragesia in a notable battle, such a victory might be enough to make a difference. As for the Torch of the Burning Sky, Cranston says that he is confident he knows where it is; it’s just impossible to reach:
“The evening that the Old Dragon was slain, a storm of fire opened up in the skies above the late emperor’s castle, a place called Korstull, a canyon in a broad field. Now everything there is dead, burned by months of searing rain. Sometimes the dead wander out of the storm. I don’t know how anyone could have gotten into that firestorm to retrieve the Torch, nor do I know how you would expect to either.”
- At this point, the door burst open with reports of seven Shahalesti elves flying over the walls of the Academy!