After leaving the monastery, Barren and Shane walk separately from the rest of the group for a while, presumably speaking speaking between themselves about their family. Drok can’t take a hint, and follows them to add unhelpful commentary. Daethin gives the brothers space and walks with the rest of the group.
After a few days on the road, the party reaches the small farming town of Ashabenford, on the banks of the River Ashaba. There, they gather some supplies (including some lovely hammocks) and get nice rooms at the luxurious Ashabenford Arms inn. They also visited a temple of Tyr to try to repair Lucky’s memory. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to work.
While going about town, Isis and Raph get some odd looks, but the townsfolk are largely not unfriendly towards them. One even makes the off-handed comment that a giant pink lady isn’t so strange, there use to be a little blue boy who lived in the town. This sends Isis on a search for the boy’s mother, thinking perhaps she might be able to tell her something about her past.
They reach Miranda’s cottage on the outskirts of town, and note that it is decorated with all manner of exotic and even otherworldly trophies and keepsakes. She seems to think them safe, and welcomes them into her home. She cannot speak, but uses a strange paper board to write on. She explains that while her son looks nothing like Isis, there may still be a tie. Isis seems to have some sort of lineage of earth elemental in her blood, and Miranda calls her an Oread. She does not know where Isis is from, but gives her some possibilities; there is a plane of earth, where her parents could be from, or she could have genie blood like Miranda’s son. She mentions that she’s seen genies in Calimsham, but if the earth genies like the desert, the Anaroch desert is much closer. The party thanks her and prepares to leave, and Lucky asks if there is any message she would like to pass on to her son should the party run into him in their travels. She simply writes “Grandchildren?” and raises an eyebrow.
The party returns to the town for an exquisite supper, and then spends the evening at the bar. Daethin apparently can’t hold her booze, and she gets sloshed enough for the party to get some answers out of her. She reveals that she actually can’t stand Ethan, and that’s why she’s repaying her debt to him in this way, so she doesn’t have to be around him. She also confirms that she did not sleep with him, nor did Aerin (seriously, guys?). As far as she knows, he doesn’t have any other kids. When they ask her why she works with all these people she doesn’t like, she tells them it’s a purpose. She needs a purpose. And when they ask her what her plans are afterwards, she murmurs that she has no plan, and stumbles off to bed.
That night, while the rest of the party enjoys the fancy rooms and soft beds, Lucky is tormented by a terrifying nightmare of being hunted and caught by a horrible serpentine monster who threatens to claw him apart before he woke in a cold sweat. Maybe that spell at the temple did something, after all..
After finishing their business in town, the party set back off for Shadowdale, following the River Ashaba. Along the way, they came across a small squad of elves in uniform armor, apparently scouting for drow. They noticed Daethin had disappeared, and when the discussion turned to the monastery, she showed up again trying to disrupt the conversation. It didn’t really work so well, but the elves took their leave.
Shortly after, Daethin came back and told the party not to talk about the monastery, but the heroes reminded her that she hasn’t been very forthcoming about any information in the first place. Reluctantly, she admitted that the monastery was essentially a front for the elves to stage their attack against the drow while still being able to supply for a large compound without arousing suspicion. They didn’t bother to hide anything from the party about their operation, but they usually do. She also admitted that “someone” at the monastery is on bad terms with the Elven Court, so they are trying to lie low from the elves.
They continued on their journey, and then camped for the night, away from the river bank. Lucky set up an alarm spell, which went off during the night. They were ready to dismiss it as a small animal passing through, but then a raspy, high-pitched voice whispered the name “Glen”. This was followed by more voices whispering, and giggling. Lucky freaked out and took off running, and the party followed. When Raf finally jstopped him, it seemed like whatever was whispering had gone away.
But then eight tiny spiky gremlins dropped from the trees onto the party and started bashing them with tiny hammers with screeching laughter. The party managed to destroy most of the little monsters, but the last one screamed “YOU’RE LATE, GLEN!!” and scurried off cackling. The party dragged a shaken Lucky to his feet and back to the camp, but in the morning, the bodies of the gremlins were gone..