With such a strategic location, it would make sense that the fort would be a hub of activity, but it seems that the opposite is the case. After questioning the gate guard, it is revealed that very few caravans have passed through the fort in recent days. The guard isn’t sure what to make of it.
Within the Fort, the group makes a beeline for the Inn. After ordering a round of Kank honey from the surly bartender, the group notices a brown elf sitting in the corner of the inn. According to the innkeeper, the elf had staggered in from the desert the day prior, and hasn’t moved since. When the group attempts to interrogate the elf, they find him cataonically unresponsivie, simply repeating the same phrase over again: “The bells, the bells.” They managed to shake him, but the only additional information is along the lines of “The bells, they came in the night. Everyone gone, swallowed by the bells.”
Other attempts to gather information within the fort are more fruitful, and the party finds that the southern traffic seems to be somewhat declined, and the northern traffic to Urik is all but dried up. The bartender opines that it’s because no caravan wants to travel to Tyr and risk having their slaves “stolen” from them; especially when Tyr is nearly out of anything worth trading. Several have observed that with the Iron mines closed, there’s little that will entice the trading houses to risk the chaos in the city.
The group stocks up on supplies the next day, and signs on to travel with a small supply wagon heading to Tyr. The human and the dwarf responsible for the wagon are members of the fort’s staff, representatives of House Wavier. During the trip, the wagon is attacked by a band of Ssurrans, and nearly fall to the lizards before rallying … but not before the dwarven trader, and one of their own, fall to the lizard sun-shaman’s curses. While the psion recovers, the dwarven trader does not — at least not fully.
Upon reaching Tyr’s Caravan Gate, the remaning trader thanks the group for their efforts and directs them to the location of House Ianto’s offices in the Caravan District.
Inside house Ianto’s office, a ramshackle old building in the caravan district, they find the lone representative of the trading house, halfway through an afternoon drunk. When confronted about the missing caravan to Kled, he despairingly admits that the caravan never left … House Ianto is too broke to mount the caravan to Kled. The last payment had been insufficient to cover costs, and the house has retreated to it’s facilities south of Tyr. Without the Iron mine, Ianto, once on the verge of becoming a major house, is left without a commodity to trade in.
G’lar suggests co-funding the caravan to get the needed supplies to Kled, but the trader laments that the banner of House Ianto still draws bandits and raiders. He needs to check in with the leaders of the house to follow up on G’lar’s suggestion, and asks the party to return in 3 days time.
The group hires a Draqoman to lead the party to the house of Marcus Asticles. When the arrive, they are greeted by gate guards, and a wrinkled old dwarf who claims he is the “sl…servant” responsible for running the household. He appreciates that the group has been asked to personally deliver a package to Marcus, but … there is no such person. This is the home of Agis, Senator of Tyr, and the Senator has no relatives named Marcus. He will bring up the question with his master, and asks them to return later.
When the party rests for the evening, they investigate the crystal they were sent to deliver, apparently to someone who does not exist. They determine that the quartz crystal is psionically attuned to a particular individual, apparently part of a telepathic ritual. Beyond that, they cannot be sure.
Stymied and exhausted, they bed down for the night.