After escaping from the muddy hole they appeared in, our heroes made their way toward the haze they hoped indicated the village of Otterdam.
They came upon a logging crew in the woods and offered to travel with them, but learned that they were no more than an hour walk from town. So they followed the Faelit wash into the village.
The first thing they saw was the lumber yard that the rough timbers were floated to, manned by burly — but free— orcs. The chose to avoid contact and walked around it. The soon came to a collection of hovels and small houses, and bustling commercial activity. There they sampled local sea cucumber liquor, and learned that the community was a center of rebel activity, and that no one resembling Menso had recently arrived to threaten the peace. A shipload of elves, however, had recently landed and demanded that their brethren join them to claim stewardship over the mainland. And then left, talking most of the villages elves with them — whether they were eager or not.
Following directions toward the docks, the passed the former Lutro manor house which had been converted to some kind of gambling hall. The gave it a wide berth and moved to the center of town. They found the shipyard of Burl & Knotte, covering a few piers and a rocky rise commanded by a lighthouse. They noted heavily armored guards at the end of the piers and walkways, and chose not to engage them.
Everyone they asked suggested such well-heeled travelers should stay at the Brightside Tavern, in the former Lutro guardhouse. The first thing they noticed was a recessed fighting pit in the center of the taproom, and Luix resolved to stat out of it.
Kallius noticed an elf working in the tavern’s kitchen, and asked the waitress why he hadn’t fulfilled his responsibility. She rebuffed him, and stormed away.
Celeste and Saerin talked to the locals, and learned that an older couple that lived in the woods near the Si’ang symbol were found stuffed in a well on the dockside. No suspects were found.
They tried to lay low, and Boomah stepped outside to see the town by night. Saerin decided to go around the back on the inn and reach the kitchen through a rear door. Along the way he spotted a group of hobgoblins gathering on the shore across a darkened waterway.
Boomah saw the elf leave and followed him around back. Saerin pushed through the door into the kitchen, and the elven cook tried to cast a spell on him and failed. Seeing he was a caster, they pulled up short and asked to talk.
The elf Selvyn — who had decided the party was bent on causing a disturbance in ‘his’ town — invited them up to a balcony on the tower rising up from the inn, and promised them answers. If they would do the same.
They all came up, and told Selvyn that they were here to hunt down Menso, and not to kidnap elves or cause any other trouble. They also told him about the hobgoblins and the threat of fire, and he told them it was none of their business.
They pushed, and he explained that the hobgoblins were in a dispute with their ship captain over shares of loot, and it would be settled among locals. And made Boomah promise he would not get involved with any fires.
He also told them about the shipwright Burl (who they believe is Menso’s contact Beryl) who is known as mean and volatile, but is doing quite well in these violent times. He has recently bought the old lighthouse and the land around it, but still seems to live in a rickety old boathouse on the docks.
Our heroes decided to use the hobgoblin raid as a diversion, and to make a night-time foray into Burl/Beryl’s compound.