After the meeting with Torrin, Belias and Fox go in search of Ashen. Searching high and low, using any resources neccesary yields no progress. No one remembers seeing him once the Firstborn left the Blackmoor manor. As the sun sets, a commotion rises from the Bailey Gate. Standing in the quickly thinning crowd is Ashen, shell shocked with hands covered in blood, and transformed into glittering claws.
Ashen leads the party back to the ruined campsite outside of town, they find it already stripped by scavengers. The bodies, torn and mangled, lie naked in the dirt. The wagon, horses, and any travelling goods are gone. The only signs of the situation are three dead people, and charred remains of a campfire. Ashen only has vague memories of the attack, remembering hearing that they wanted him because of who he was, and more importantly, who his father was.
The Firstborn scour the area for any signs of where the remaining kidnapper went, and discover a set of tracks heading farther out of town. They follow the tracks, and see a campfire burning at a roadside stop. Wearing a large brimmed hat, and a heavy cowled cloak, the figure beckons them to join. Sense motive shows no threat, and a perception check shows that it is a warforged. Not the Warforged, but a Warforged.
The cloak is open to show a virtual tapestry of scrollwork. This individual has been all over. If pressed, he gives the name Omega 42, of the last original line of Warforged from the tide war.
He states that he knows the party suspects a traitor in the Glass Arrows midst. He informs them that this rogue Warforged isn’t a turncoat from the Companies, and gives the Name Gamma 87, A.K.A Lead.
He confirms that Lead is the same Warforged from the attack in Last Stand, and is currently in the company of the Greywell brothers. He provides one more vital piece of info: Walter knew from the moment he heard that he had the Firstborn in custody, that he had something valuable. The Warforged, Lead, had sent a message to Willem, who was currently in Soulless, deep in the Unclaimed. Soulless, a lawless outpost, is a great place to hire mercenaries. Willem wants to kill the Firstborn for being indirectly responsible for the death of his former captain, Tharnak.
Lead has left the city for Soulless, and Walter, now wanted by the Companies, is hiding out in High Barrows. Through the network, he has discerned that Lead will be meeting Walter at an undisclosed location in one weeks’ time. 46 tells you that he will send you a message when he learns of the meeting place.
He also warns that Walter is wanted dead by many in the city. If city guards are brought into the fold, he may not survive the trip to the guardhouse. Walter knew too many dirty secrets to remain alive.
As the party returns to the Keep, they see that a lot of the Companies are preparing for departure. In three days time, the final procession for Okni will happen, and after that, the majority of the Companies will return to their previous duties. The Glass Arrows will depart, the Daughters to the jungles of Dubal, the Thurallinavaas to the elven territories, and the Sting will resume their patrols of the Unclaimed.
There are also reports of a Shambler Army along the border. The Arrows will head that way first. The Shamblers are lead by a Blooded named Kinsey, a Ghost born priest of Tagin, the Mirrormask.
The procession goes off without a hitch. Obviously, security teams are on guard, expecting there to be an incident. The entire city seems to be subdued, as the backbone of the city is offically laid to rest. Commander Torrin gives a speech at the funeral, and is greeted heartily as he decrees that the Riders will continue to base themselves out of High Barrows.
At the one week mark, 4 days after a majority of the Companies leave, the party is approached by a warforged private. He says he has been given a vision, a vision of a blue flame burning in a marble hand with black fingernails.
This is the sign that hangs over the Chemical Compound, a local alchemy shop owned by a retired halfling adventurer, named Cyrus. This is where Lead is supposed to meet Walter. The party will investigate, and will find Walter meeting with Lead and another cloaked figure. Walter is actually being interrogated by Lead and a semi physical projection of Tyrone.
The party attacks, trying to free Walter, and kill both Tyrone and Lead. Tyrone, after being damaged through his projection, flees. As he flees, he triggers a chemical fire, quickly burning the shop down.
Glimyr and Ashen return to the burned out ruins of the shop, while Belias and Kro take the captive and gibbering Walter back to the Keep. While they attempted to do so secretly, they get spotted by some guardsmen, who report seeing Walter alive and going into the Keep.
Belias, using magic and diplomacy, manages to coax Walter back from insanity, and reprograms his mind to recognize the Firstborn as friends. Walter knows that his time is limited because of all the dirty secrets he knows. He fully realizes that once he is handed over to the authorities, he will be killed. He talks about being afraid of Torrin, because of a secret he knows.
He reveals to the Firstborn that Torrin has a brother who is the head of the Crimson Fork. He also reveals that Torrin’s brother is Lichborn.
The party hands Walter over to Torrin, who was in meeting with the Generals of the High Barrows Guard. They also see another figure in the room, but only catch a glimpse of a black cloak, and a brooch in the shape of a phoenix.
Walter was taken by the Phoenix, presumably a member of the Shadows. Torrin, being stuck between a rock and a hard place politically, offers the Firstborn positions within the Jade Sting, who’s being sent to Rodenheim, a dwarven fort in the Unclaimed. They will be assigned to the Nights’ End, and will be under the command of Dorgen, who, in turn, is under the command of Akram Halfhand, new captain of the Nights’ End.
The ship is making an unscheduled departure at midnight that night. Torrin hints heavily at the fact that the party is in grave danger, and the safest option is to accept the command of the Jade Sting, and to leave High Barrows as soon as possible.
The party agrees, after some arguing over their self importance, and make hasty plans to depart in 8 hours’ time.