Chapter 3, Part I: Later, Gilding!

Professor Benson explained to the room that the way to locate the Snarls via the Unveiling Glass was twofold: first, they would have to triangulate potential locations for the Snarls by using an algorithm invented by Gericho. Second, they would need to use the Unveiling Glass to spot evidence of the Snarl, a phenomenon called a "Snarl's Web."

Gericho and I build a spyglass to view the area via specific region-locked coordinates to check for any signs of a Snarl's Web. We would use the atlas to reference the coordinates. Gericho would gather reports and then through a sophisticated algorithm, he would be able to say how far away the potential snarl could be. Based on the frequency and intensity of odd occurrences, Gericho could tell me where to mark the atlas. And once we had information from multiple cities, we would see where the markers overlapped to determine the most likely location of a Snarl. And then we would use the Unveiling Glass to see if there was any evidence of the web there. |Professor Benson Ulysses

Following the directions from Gericho through the sending stone, and with the skilled eye and knowledge of the surrounding from their Cartographer, Chief Paws, the party was able to triangulate a particular area in the Risorial Woods that seemed like the most likely location of the most active Snarl. Leozumin checked the location through the Unveiling Glass, seeing the Snarl's Web, as Benson described: an iridescent shimmer cutting through the heavy white mist of the surrounding area.

With a new (the same?) direction in mind, the party set to tying up some loose ends in Gilding.

Airmed wanted to check on two of his most favorite people: Kit and Goddard. He, Chief Paws, and Corky traveled to the old witches' hut in the woods outside of Gilding. Nothing seemed amiss, and when he knocked on the door to the cottage, Goddard, who seemed to be getting the hang of his new legs, answered and greeted him like an old friend. He assured Airmed that he was doing well, and it was quite the upgrade from being a skull in a box. Reluctantly, Airmed wished him luck and asked that he not go wandering into town, as he would likely be killed instantly, before leaving to head back into Gilding.

Airmed, Chief Paws, and Corky visited Kit and his mother at her wagon. Excited to see them, Kit immediately began speaking quickly and energetically about how he had been accepted into Strixhaven, and that he would start at the beginning of The Sowing Season (about 40 days away). He thanked them for their help and for inspiring him to study magic.

Finally, Chief Paws asked the name of Kit's mom, and was told it was Eulee. Corky gave her a business card for The Easy Marx, assuming that they would want to be in touch with her when the magic in the card was activated to act as a stone of sending.

While the other boys were off checking on their friends, Leozumin took a trip back to Brawlmart to see if he could meet with Morok Stone. Morok was back in his office, which seemed to have been repaired from whatever damage that had occurred to it the last time Leozumin was there. The Operations Director appeared initially confused as to why Zume was visiting him, but his expression shifted to one of intrigue upon hearing Zume's pitch. Although they would not be choosing him as their docent, Leozumin believed that Morok would be a great mentor to him, Artificer to Artificer. Managing to be highly persuasive, Morok agreed that he would mentor him. His first words of advice was to make sure he was careful with who associated with, because it seemed like the people he was keeping close were asking all kinds of wrong questions.

The Easy Marx met up at the train station following their separate errands, and grouped up to buy train tickets to get them to Thetchery. The boys spent a few minutes trying to figure out the best course of action. They had learned that the citizens of Wen, the region of Materhawk to the south, and most untouched by industry, were wary of outsiders. Did they need to go all the way to Thetchery? Could they go to Arlonia and swim to the Risorial woods? Were there other options to get them there safely? After contemplating all of their options, the Marx decided to take the train to Thetchery, as it was the closest point to the Risorial Woods, and they thought it would be a good resource to explore to find the best way to navigate the woods.

The train station is inside of the Transport Hall, with an archway off to your left. You can see the entrance is gated off and there is a booth where a man is selling tickets for the large, 4 car Arlon Rail train just beyond the gate.

The man at the ticket booth was a grumpy, ineffectual man who seemed like if he could make the price of the train tickets higher to inconvenience the people he sold them to, he would. And although Corky attempted to convince him to let them run security on the train for a discount, the man was unable to make such a deal. Instead, he looked pointedly at Corky's AGI badge to remind him-- and the party-- of their AGI train discount.

Paying the reduced fare of 30 GP for each passenger ticket to Thetchery, the Marx were permitted onto the train platform where they were able to find their seats in the coach car compartments.

Over head, the engineer calls out the course of the train line: Tere-Wen Line. This is Gilding Station. Our first stop is New Elmsbury, then stopping in Sherringham, Tinsberry, Arlonia, Fowlerten, and our final stop in Thetchery. All aboard!

As they passed by New Elmsbury, the engineer made note that it was home to the Order of the Faded Chapters Outpost. Leozumin recounted that was where he had been prior to his assigned post in the Adventurers' Guild.

A few hours into the train ride, after passing through and picking up some passengers at Sherringham station, the door to their compartment slid open, revealing the hallway crowded with four rather sizable men. They introduced themselves at The Punch Boys, a group of Adventurers from the guild who were currently sitting at the top of the leaderboard at the AGI.

Percy, the Human Ranger, began to disparage the Easy Marx for using the AGI discount, telling them that it was embarrassing to have to use it, and bragging that The Punch Boys were making so much money that they didn't have to bother with that kind of thing.

Chief Paws, not interested in being bullied, said that using the discount was just a smart fiscal decision. Otherwise, it was akin to just throwing away money. Corky, who seemed like he would rather flay the skin from Percy's bones, invited the four of them to a card game and asked to make it interesting by wagering some coin against one of the Punch Boys' contracts. Gyome asked the four men who they were and introduced himself.

The Punch Boys consisted of Ferd, the Dwarf Fighter, Grok the Rock, a Goliath Barbarian who had to crouch down to keep from hitting the ceiling of the train, Caspian, a High Elf Paladin, and Percy, a Human Ranger. Ferd, though quiet through most of the interaction, seemed to be fascinated by Leozumin. Whether because he was curious about his nature as a construct, or for another reason, it was never made clear.

During the card game, Artem thought she might slip some of the unknown liquid, which had been recovered from one of the witches in one of the previous quests, into one of the Punch Boys' drinks. But after a stern look (that was equal of about 5 minutes of out-of-character conversation) from Leozumin, (and some reframing of the situation from the DM,) Artem thought better of it and saved the unknown fluid for another date. Instead, she kept her eyes peeled for any cheating on the part of the Punch Boys. Corky had moved to cheat at the same time as Percy. Luckily, Artem caught Percy, drawing the attention away from Corky and allowing him to successfully hoodwink the Punch Boys. Annoyed by his loss, Percy called the game over and unhappily handed over one of his contracts to Corky before storming off. Ferd returned a wink from Leozumin on his way out. And Grok waved as he left and thanked The Easy Marx for a nice time.

The contract they won was for clearing a Goblin encampment outside of New Elmsbury that the citizens there felt was threatening.

Not long after pulling out of Tinsberry Station, just as the train was meant to reach full speed again, the party felt something didn't seem quite right.

You hear a sharp screeching and then a loud hiss as the train starts to lose speed. The wheels are no longer turning and are grinding harshly against the tracks, the sound of which drowns out any ongoing conversation around you. Although someone had been attempting to stop the locomotive, it is suddenly clear why as the entire train jolts to a complete and sudden stop as it collides with something on the tracks.

Leozumin and Gyome weren't able to brace themselves in time and were thrown into the other side of the train compartment. Corky protected himself and Stefano Romano from being tossed about the train, and Artem and Chief Paws were able to act quickly enough to keep from slamming into the wall.

While the Easy Marx were attempting to reorient themselves, diagonally through the compartment window, they could see The Punch Boys prying open the train's doors and jumping out into the farmland that surrounded them.


Occurrences of Note:

  • Triangulation of a potential Snarl location using the Unveiling Glass.
  • Check-up on Goddard and Kit.
  • Learned the name of Kit's mother: Eulee.
  • Leozumin enters into a mentorship under Morok Stone.
  • Party use of AGI Discount for Arlon Rail tickets.
  • Party learns that New Elmsbury is home to an Order of the Faded Chapters outpost.
  • Full party introduction to The Punch Boys.
  • Corky successfully cheats at gambling against The Punch Boys.
  • Party wins a contract from The Punch Boys.
  • Train collison occurs outside of Tinsberry Farms.

Completed: August 2022