As part of the collapsing ceiling fell into the pit, Harper became separated from the rest of the group, but urged them to continue on while he found a way to rejoin them. The rest moved into the next room, which was a small, cavernous area with a pool of water collected in the middle. On the far side of the room, a single, crowned skeleton laid half covered in sand. As the group approached, a spectral skeletal mage appeared above the corpse and summoned several water elementals from the pool to protect his keep.
Even in death, the mage king boasted powerful magic. Fortunately, Harper was able to break through the barrier of rubble and lunged into the battle. Once the mage king was eliminated, the party agreed to rest for some time, as many of them had taken serious afflictions. Hours into their recover, sounds of activity from the floor above alerted the group. Fortunately, it was only Liara and two Dwarves, who, assuming the group had died, came to excavate the ruins. She hurried them into the next room, a collapsed great hall, where they found the deactivate golem buried amongst rubble. Liara gave the group half of their reward for now, and urged them to stay for the festival, when she could return the remaining 120gp.
Finished with their task, the five headed back to town quite late and got some rest. With a whole day until the festival, the party split into groups for various tasks. Niem and Harper went to investigate Liara’s house while she was at the site. Harper created a spectacle while Niem slipped in through a women, gathering whatever used parchment she could quickly find.
Meanwhile, Tobrin agreed to help find a shapeshifting thief who seemed to have been in town for the last few days. He met up with Niem and Harper to enlist their aid. First, they looked through Liara’s journals and letters, finding out that she has been in St. Barts for about 2 years, has been studying “Astral Plane Frequencies” (but without much luck), and seems to have the know-how to repair a golem. They agreed to return the journals after they got the rest of their reward before they hit the streets to look for the shapeshifter.
While asking around, Niem noticed that Maxamilian, the stable boy, happened to pass them twice in a short amount of time. They followed the half-elf boy into an alley, where he seemed fixed on something he was carrying. The three confronted him, calling him by the wrong name. However, he corrected them promptly. Niem introduced herself to Maxamilian, and he responded in a way that seemed legitimately faked. Tobrin and Harper managed to scare him into exposing his true form. He admitted to stealing, but pleaded that he would give them the goods he stole as long as they didn’t turn him in. They agreed to let him leave the village and returned the goods to whom they belonged. However, because they did not turn the shapeshifter over, the mayor only gave half of the reward he promised.
Eanmund and Beornwulf attempted to gather some information about Liara at the inn’s bar, but also didn’t find anything incriminating. Instead, they agreed to come back later and deal with a difficult drunk who needed scaring away. They returned that evening, able to spot the rowdy dwarf immediately. They addressed him kindly, and he bargained a drinking game for some coin. However, the brothers used the moment of diversion to grab him and give him a punch or two. The Dwarf broke free and insulted them for fighting cheaply. He said, for the sake of proper drunken culture, they must fight under proper circumstances, and the gather crowd seemed to encourage a Double Knife Brawl.
Eanmond and the Dwarf exchanged blows while standing their ground, but it was eventually the Dwarf who fell first. Ashamed and dishonored, he left the bar to drink elsewhere, for good. The bartender bought them a round and gave them a slight reward for ridding the place of him.
The day of the festival, the group awoke to a raid, as villagers fled the streets and packs of hyenas and gnolls swarmed the houses.