Earlier in the day, before four of the adventurers fought for their lives in an ambush, halfling inquisitive Rufus van Pelt is summoned to the House Jorasco enclave, where he is hired to investigate the theft of Alarich‘s body and bring the thieves to justice. His initial inquiries yield little, so he starts searching for one of Alarich’s companions, the warforged named Spark, starting his search at the warforged tavern, the Rusty Nail.
Slaine, for her part, finally brings her master back from the brink of death, not noticing that her companions have been arrested. Aedan tells her that the body was stolen by a gang of humans in green armour and helmets, with tabards bearing an insignia like a claw. He sends Slaine off to check in with her allies; when she finds they’ve gone, she decides to look for them at the Rusty Nail. Once she leaves, Aedan winces as his wounds reopen slightly – including a long cut to his chest that bleeds a faint wisp of dead-grey mist.
After their fracas at the market, the other adventurers decide to avoid the Rusty Nail, heading instead for the Black Wrack, the biggest and busiest tavern in Stormreach. Spark does duck back to the Nail to collect the money promised to him and Ballast by House Lyrandar, and also finds an anonymous note warning him that ‘the Gorgon’ (a possible reference to House Cannith) still searches for him. He misses Rufus and Slaine, who meet at the Rusty Nail, realise they’re looking for the same warforged, and decide to put a notice up for them at the popular message board at… the Black Wrack. In the end, everyone ends up in the same place.
Caleb offers to buy Jin‘s journal from Spark, but Spark is reluctant to sell it until it’s translated. Rufus realises that the soldiers who stole Alarich’s body are members of the Order of the Emerald Claw, a long-disbanded Karrnathi terrorist group. Kaddik searches through the possessions of the witch that attacked them, finding a chunk of white jade and an expensive magical flute. The adventurers start comparing notes, making plans and arguing. Mostly arguing. Eventually they break up to pursue separate leads, agreeing to meet back at the Black Wrack later.
Ballast goes to meet with the leader of the Iron Watch, Stormreach’s elite warforged police forces, to see if he can join their ranks. The commander, Steeljack, is reluctant to take him on due to his recent involvement in violence and dubious activities, but wants him to find out more about the mist-fanatics and their pet monsters, promising support when more is known. On the way back to the Wrack, he gets a poster made with the insignia of the signet ring he found on the Island of the Writhing Horde and puts it up on the tavern’s wall, hoping someone will recognise it.
Caleb goes back to see Jaris Cantar, who authorises him to offer 100gp to Spark for the book – and to steal it if the warforged doesn’t accept the offer. He arranges for Caleb to meet with Fedric, a thug from a gang called the Golden Lions, who will take care of the thievery and any legwork required. Fedric waits in the tavern to get word about whether to go ahead with the robbery, where no-one sees him take Ballast’s poster from the notice wall.
The other adventurers return to speak with Master Aedan, who gives them general advice but is unable to provide more insight or translate the journal – but Rufus can read part of it, thanks to ritual magic. It’s the journal of a House Cannith artificer who found a giant-era ruin under the city, the ‘White Oubliette’, which contained something called the ‘Key of Eleven’ that could access other planes. The ruin is accessible from somewhere called the Rubble Warren, and may still contain magical secrets – secrets perhaps worth killing for.
Finally, when everyone has returned to the Black Wrack (and Spark accepts Caleb’s offer), the group is visited by an ally, House Tharask refinery overseer Durgran’Torrn. The affable orc explains that the House is trying to bolster the presence and profitability of the Liondrake’s Roar mercenary group in the city, so it’s politically tricky for Viceroy Kurn d’Velderan to investigate the incident – but outsiders could go further and take the necessary risks. He also thinks it possible that Marik, Kaddik’s missing mentor, may have been taken to the mining outpost / supply town Zantashk, half-way across the continent from Stormreach. He knows nothing of the White Oubliette, but says that the Rubble Warren is a quarry in the Cross district, not far from the refinery; he also confirms that recent Liondrake’s Roar soldiers arrived after a tour in the Mournland, source of the dead-grey mist that must be linked to the mystery attackers.