The party passes people find themselves to be not the only people entering the city of Herrion, with many travelers from many far-off lands also making their way into the city on the morning of their arrival. Once beyond the gates, the party found themselves in a large market square filled to the brim with stalls selling a wide variety of goods and visitors from all throughout The Reaches perusing them. As well, there were a great many guards dressed in both the grey garb of Herrion city guards, among others. At the far side of the square rested what remained of a massive black statue, the head of a grim-looking older man, large enough that were it not resting at an angle it would tower over the surrounding buildings. When pressed about the object, a young man in the square confessed that it had been there as long as anyone could remember and that it was just called "The Sire" or "The Cloudsire."
Before proceeding further into the city the party decided to make a quick stop at a stall selling various weapons. The stall was run by a gruff, but not unreasonable, woman by the name of Keelara, who provided the party with additional arms. Harold walked away with some experimental ammunition for his pistols, Kalise with some arrows that included a channel in which poison could be injected, and Ardeth with some unique knives for his growing collection.
The party continued to press forward into the city, with their ultimate destination being the warehouse near the waterfront where Eschana's goods were bound. Along the way, they stumbled across an herbalist's store, where the party spent a very strange period of time buying goods for far less than their market value from a man that seemed to be not all there. Presumably, he was also a customer.
After asking around, the party learned that shops specializing in gems and other luxury goods could be found near the prince's mansion, deeper in the city, which the party decided to visit next. Once the party arrived at the large square that housed aforementioned mansion, the party made their way to the less-impressive looking of the two stores that sold gem-related goods, but the only one that seemed to deal in gemstones rather than finished pieces of jewelry. Inside, the party encountered the shop's strange proprietor, an odd older man by the name of Olvos who talked circles around the party and sent the conversation spinning in strange directions. In fact, interacting with him—and learning that the iron ring he was carrying was some sort of promise ring—was enough to make Ardeth give up and retreat to the streets outside where he went and retrieved a couple of jobs from the local notice board: one for a local criminal and one for the elusive Shadow from the Silverwood.
The rest of the party persisted in dealing with Olvos as the man revealed various facts about his life, including that he used to own a much larger and more successful shop before he got busted for "tax evasion" and that his wife apparently stabbed him at one point. In exchange for one of the organic crystals that Harold had retrieved from the Silverwood the man agreed to examine the stone he had found deep in the underground citadel below Valehallow. After some poking and prodding, Olvos determined that the stone was, in fact, a fossilized egg egg, with the strange markings wrapping around it being organic markings. He then polished the egg, wiping away the outer coating, making the green veins below properly visible. As to what the egg could hatch, however, Olvos had no idea, being a gem man and not an egg man.
With their business done in Olvos' shop, the party rejoined Ardeth and Eschana out in the square, where Ardeth was observing the mass of guards gathered around the prince's walled mansion. The local guards rebuffed any attempts from the party to learn what exactly was happening in Herrion, but when the party eavesdropped on a couple of Halarothian guards they learned that even they did not know why they had been carted off to the city with some sort of representative from their country.
Not having any other business to take care of, Eschana suggested that the party finally make their way to the waterfront warehouse and finally unload her cart, to which the party agreed. After arriving at the warehouse that was Eschana's destination the party left their companion to do all the important work dealing with the owner of the warehouse to check out what ships were docked in the harbor. The party saw ships waving the flags of Calladai, Halaroth, Oshnaluna, and from the Imperial Capital of Ahraemis. One Halarothian guard was lazing about near his ship so the party decided to question him. The man revealed that even he had no clue as to why he and his compatriots had come to Herrion, only knowing that they had been ordered to do so by their captain. He did, however, know that a ship was expected from Valehallow that was running late. With nothing else the party needed from the man, they decided to rejoin Eschana.
While Ardeth was gung-ho about getting payment from Eschana for services rendered the rest of the party argued against it. While Ardeth was unconvinced he never did get around to requesting said payment from the young merchant he and the rest of the party did accept when she offered to pay for their meals and lodging at a local inn, the Golden Trout Inn. Once at this inn, the party encountered a couple of strange drunkards that compared Harold's small stature to that of a baby, among other remarks. As well, one of these men revealed himself to be a former member of the Herrion City Guard who had been fired for having sex with his captain's wife. Otherwise, this man had nothing to offer the party, proving to just be a strange distraction.
The party briefly settled into their rooms before preparing to set out to undertake other tasks, with Ardeth, in particular, wanting to pursue the local bounty he had learned about from the notice board. Moments after the party stepped outside, however, they noticed that others on the street seemed to be staring up at the sky with stunned expressions on their faces. When the party turned their collective eye upwards they saw that a large cloud in the sky seemed to be glowing red, almost as if on fire. As they watched, the cloud's glow grew more and more intense before dozens of glowing objects burst forth and descended upon Herrion. As the crowd around them began to panic, the party observed one of these objects crashing into an alley somewhere down the street. The party set off to investigate, carefully weaving their way through the thick crowd that had gathered around the inn.
In the alley, the party encountered a strange man dressed in ornate, white robes, with blue skin that seemed to be almost translucent. As the man shifted the party noticed a wicked red wound on his chest that appeared to pain him desperately. As Sylthana approached she felt the man fumbling up against her mind with some sort of magic, but whatever he was attempting failed. The strange man seemed to grow frustrated at this failure, but eventually, he began to motion Harold to approach. When Harold came within a few feet of the man—now on his feet, if somewhat unsteadily—the man exhaled a strange blue mist that filled Harold's lungs before being exhaled by Harold and inhaled by the strange man. With this strange ritual completed the man worked his mouth uselessly for a few moments, as if unused to speaking, before eventually speaking to the party in their common tongue. The man didn't provide much information to the party, simply demanding that they bring him to "the Sire" and that they needed to hurry because something called the "Sky Prison" was falling. The party decided to escort this stranger to the prince, who would be in more of a position to provide aid, despite their apprehension.
—END OF SESSION EIGHT—
—TO BE CONTINUED—