The Summer Heroes decide to return to Brightwater with Godrick via Stonewall. Jojen and the rest of the freed prisoners will depart through Abajeet’s jungle North of Ystria. Upon reaching Stonewall, they are greeted enthusiastically, with the booming town happy to see that bothy they and Aryeon are alive. None are more happy to see them than Feregar, though he is frustrated to have missed out on so many obviously amazing stories. After spending the day reuniting and restocking supplies, they learned the following of events in Penwith:
- Starrl is developing a significant merchant fleet consisting of former pirates and partial undead crew. While disturbing, it cuts the cost of shipping tremendously.
- The Republic of the North is rapidly increasing its navy and arming its soldiers. This has greatly increased trade from Saltstone via Starrl, bypassing most of Brightwater (except Stonewall).
- Brightwater is less than pleased by the above developments, and is denouncing all involved.
- Ystria is urging caution and cooperation, but has expressed displeasure of Brightwater’s actions to the Silver Palace.
- Most Dragon Watch members have been recalled.
- Some Dragon Watch members are about, but always in groups of two to five.
- The Regulators have been more visible in Brightwater.
- The Head of the Curators has died, and a convocation is called for in Brightwater in a short time.
- Rumors exist that the expeditions to recover the Silver Crown, long thought destroyed, have been successful
- Numerous Curators who have been missing and thought dead have returned
There were numerous messages for the Summer Heroes at the Guild of Sending, including:
- Corinthia and Dahlia inquire about Erlindar’s health, the latter much less politely, and more repeatedly, than the former.
- Estrildis has intelligence for Mina about the spy ring she infiltrated
- Thalion is summoned to return to Darrova to the Dragon Watch to answer for the charges against him
- Darion is summoned to return for the Conclave of Curators
- Estrildis demands Talerion and Darion return for the birth of their brother
- Pirro is warned by Iro that the Conclave might not be safe
Deciding to return to Brightwater via the Northern route, the Summer Heroes arrive safely, avoiding any chance of interaction with Starrl or the Irian Sisters. The dockworkers warmly greet the Summer Heroes as they head directly for Estrildis’ home. Taking refuge there, they catch up on Brightwater politics, learning, among other things, that the organization Mina infiltrated was responsible for the assassination of the Head Curator. After freshening up, they meet Rowena and Severn for brunch, but Darion warns them about his vision of an attack at this location. They depart safely, though Mina and Thalion do track the would-be-assassin around the corner, where the figures magically escapes.
Mina checks her father into the Temple, though they do not seem to be able to do much for him. It is unclear if it is due to the loss of the eyes, the manner in which they were lost, or something else. She also checks in with Lenore, who is doing very, very well. The rest of the Summer Heroes meet with Iro and prepare for the conclave.
Darion and Pirro are the only ones who can attend the Conclave, which is full of intrigue and political maneuverings. Iro, Darion, and Mellitus quickly emerge as the leading candidates. Iro unveils Darion’s discovery of Varcrist on the second day, with Mellitus countering the third day with the discovery of the Silver Crown. Iro denounces it as a fake, but some are swayed thanks to a hundred-year-old prophecy that might tie Mellitus and Prince Oswiu to the recovery of the crown.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Summer Heroes (save Talerion, who is plotting with Estrildis) remain outside the Scriptorium, expecting trouble thanks to Iro’s warnings. They also exchange sending spells with Althea, who is eventually persuaded to return to Brightwater. Unfortunately, she seems intent on ending the Curator threat once and for all, seeing as how they are all conveniently in one place. Alarmed, they try and dissuade her, as well as get an urgent message to Darion and Pirro.
Through Darion and Pirro’s efforts, they are able to push the results of the election in Iro’s favor (using blackmail, in some cases). Mellitus walks out in protest, and the city celebrates the announcement of the results, with a heavy security attachment there to ensure order. Extracting themselves to meet with their fellow adventurers, they exchange information. Darion, Pirro, and Erlindar agree to get to the docks to try and stop Althea’s arrival, which is expected imminently. Thalion and Mina will get her father from the Temple and meet them at the docks.
The first group teleports out of the square, and realizes that House Xiri soldiers are cordoning off the square surrounding the Scriptorium, along with some Regulators. They notice Darion, draw their weapons, and charge. Erlindar teleports them away again, getting past the soldiers, and they race to the docks.
Mina and Thalion enter the square and realize that the Dragon Watch members present are conferring with the Regulators, City Guard, and House Xiri soldiers. They climb the walls and dash across the rooftops to escape the pending trap, hearing the announcement from the Silver Palace denouncing Iro’s power grab from the rightful head of the Curators. Stealing two horses, they get to the temple, remove Godric, and gallop to the docks.
Darion and Erlindar manage multiple incoming messages, resulting in Erlindar’s agreement to marry Corinthia, getting the Hassunai resistance involved in thwarting the coup, and updating a worried Estrildis on their status. She insists that now is an opportunity for them to launch their plans and they have a chance if Darion stays, but he is torn between options and doesn’t know what to do. She promises to try her best to extract Iro, but if her other moves don’t end well, she may have to denounce and disavow Darion and the Summer Heroes. She wishes him good luck, regardless of the path he takes.
Mina, Thalion, and Godric rejoin the group and report their findings. As they dash to the Summer’s Fortune to get it ready for sail and argue about their next move, some Regulators arrive…