Shortly before we left the rebel camp, a young man named Gareth asked to join our group. He felt that leaving in our company might give him a better chance of escaping whatever curse held Meagre’s Reach in thrall. We agreed, having no real reason not to allow it, and set off at dawn. Despite the dire warnings and Gareth’s presence, we had no problem departing the area, and made our way to the manse of Ygraine. After a brief discussion, and observing a slow approach of swan boats carrying people we presumed to be guests, we chose to approach and find out what we could.

The gates opened on their own, which wasn’t creepy at all. Within was a compound of buildings, with a stables, a main hall, and several smaller buildings that might represent servant’s quarters, storage, barracks, or any number of other things. No one approached us; indeed it seemed as if no one was present at all until we knocked on the door at the main house. The door itself animated to answer us, and Rowen claimed an invitation from the three creepy nobles we had previously met here to get us past the door guardian. It worked, and the hunt for information began.

My first gambit was to ask about signing a guestbook. There was one, and most of us signed in; I specified my name as “Not Tanis”, hoping that might confuse any fae magic based on names, and the rest gave their own names… or, mostly, made up ones. While they did, I tried to read the other entries to see if Lope or his father Reynold had signed up. I was a little too obvious looking, but I did see Lope’s name.

After that we split up to investigate separately. Gareth went to volunteer at the stables. I joined the servants and claimed a uniform. Rowen talked a servant girl out of her fabulous orange-lime dress and planned to join as an entertainer, and Morin just disappeared.

It took quite a while, but Lope did eventually arrive, with two ladies on his arm and a few guards as well. I formulated my plan: listen to his conversations, get him drunk, follow him to his room, possibly search it and him for some sort of token that might allow him to pass in and out of Meagre’s Reach. Giving his clothes a close examination didn’t reveal anything that looked like a fae token.

Not long after Lope’s entrance, the lady Ygraine herself appeared. She exercised a subtle touch, being seen and heard without sparking focused attention. Occasionally she would invite some of the attendees into a private audience.

Rowen took center stage then, performing some sort of illusion act that involved gremlins that shouldn’t be fed after midnight. She picked on the women with Lope quite harshly, infuriating Lope and both women. They stormed off in a huff. In my guise as a servant, I followed, affecting a look of offended dignity. On my way out I saw the lady Ygraine herself gesture to Rowen, an invitation to meet privately, but I kept my focus on Lope, who was making his way towards the stables and calling for his carriage to depart. I crept closer, hoping to hitch a ride or at least overhear something useful. I saw Morin doing the same, but Gareth was nowhere to be found. There was only room for one stowaway on the carriage in any case…