The party learned from Mercutio that Former General Feck, Margrave of the Curchain Hills, was dead. The dark magician, explained that Feck and the representatives of 7 noble Varisian houses died in a fire at a church in Sheepshead, on the north bank of the Chavali river. Feck had two powerful artifacts with him, his War Manual and a Dragon Spear, both of which ensure success in battle. (They were also symbols of Feck’s authority, which is why he brought them to this meeting at the church.)
The party quickly released Captain Albano from undeath and set out for Sheepshead. Along the way, they discovered the tracks of an Orc raiding party that Lambert was leif to follow, but when the trail ran cold the party continued on toward the church.
A hard ride later, an arrow narrowly missed Nolthenius, fired from a shortbow wielded by Millie, the daughter of a backwoods tracker named Merle. When Millie realized Anzo was a cleric of her faith, she dropped her tough act and asked for help. Merle, she said, had been injured by a boar attack, and needed help badly. The party followed her into the woods, where they were attacked by the very same boar! It turned out that the boar was the companion of Dido, a druid who called the woods home. She was soundly defeated by our heroes (and her boar executed by Nothenius at close range), and fled rather than face further retribution.
Anzo healed Merle in the trapper’s cabin, and the party feasted on ground boar (minus the elven marshals, who ate veggies). Merle also presented Anzo with a set of three immovable rods, heirlooms of Munachar he’d kept in a tabernacle.
The next morning at Sheepshead, Inspector Tasris (a bowler-wearing catfolk) lead the party around the crime scene. The fire that engulfed the church of Desna seemed to have been started by an incendiary device that Lambert thought he probably made while in captivity (although he only told this to Anzo).
The inside of the church was hollowed out from the blaze, but there were a few clues:
The name Svakstaar was scratched into the stone next to the altar. Svakstaar was a naval admiral from Korvosa who died 25 years ago when his fleet sank off Magnamar during the Goblin War. It’s been suggested he was corrupt. Only something extremely sharp, like the Dragon Spear, could have scratched the stone wall so easily, and the lack of soot suggests it happened immediately after the worst of the blaze.
There was a small scrap of fabric with an emblem matching the one on Bassanio’s sarcophagus. It had an evil aura.
Velekh found something like a bullet hole. (This might be secret?)
After the inspection, Tasris didn’t want to let the party interrogate the witnesses, but Xanther pulled rank, revealing himself as the hero of the Plateau Affair (quietly). They interviewed the priest who locked Feck and the 7 envoys in the church for negotiations and learned that he had indeed only let 8 people in, dashing the early “9th participant” hypothesis. They also learned that Feck did have the war manual and spear with him, meaning they truly are missing.