Menaby’s Caravan approached the prosperous city of Atrica, renowned for its fine liquors as well as its hatred of all things magical. Though the party was loath to enter, fully half of them mages, they desperately needed some place to spend the tremendous haul of silver their adventure in the ruins had netted… and they wanted to dump off Valen.
After talking their way past the city’s guards, and picking up the pyromaniacal Circle Mage Rin along the way, the party split. Desta headed to the Market District to liquidate their non-essential assets (and give herself a generous cut). Redwalt went to the local Chantry and met Knight-Commander Giles Valmax, who spoke of Redwalt’s growing fame.
The rest of the party headed to one of Atrica’s many taverns: the infamous Distinguished Almond. Despite a distinct lack of almonds, the bar served many fine alcoholic beverages: Arwen, Rin, and Celes receiving quite a few for free from admiring, and amorous, patrons. While Arwen refrained from drinking the whole night, eventually Celes, Rin, and Desta all got uproariously drunk: Desta wound up in a tree, and Celes wound up in a bed with Rin. Redwalt missed the opportunity… I mean, the event, and instead spent the night at the Chantry.
Arwen had intended to do the same, being a pious young woman, but found herself mugged and knocked unconscious. She awoke the next morning to the clang of steel on steel and the sound of angry voices. As she looked around, she beheld over a dozen smoldering bodies: the faithful servants of the Chantry were all dead, and her hand held the guilty wand.
The Arl of Atrica, Dynas Schott, declared that she would be executed for her crime at dusk of the following day, giving her friends very little time to help her.
Redwalt and Celes immediately took charge of the search for the real culprit, starting with her mugger the night before. They traced the mugger to the Distinguished Almond, and noticed that the barmaid from the night before had been acting oddly, and may have been trying to get the mages of their party drunk…
When they confronted the barmaid, she hurled a spell at them and darted for the door. Rin wound up setting the tavern ablaze in the attempt to prevent the servant’s escape, but Redwalt managed to catch her and escape the bar before the volatile spirits beneath the establishment caught on fire.
After a lot more investigation, ranging from the hidden magic shop to the crippled Thieves Guild in the underbelly of the city, there was still not enough evidence to save Arwen from the biased Arl. Knight-Commander Valmax, sensing everything was not as it seemed, convinced the irate Arl to put off the trial until the morning, after which there would probably be an execution.
And so our heroes were provided with a single night in which to find the real culprit, prove Arwen’s innocence, and find another tavern. And Glendere, who had strangely disappeared the moment they arrived in the city…