Along with an annotated map, Specialist Renn left the Heroes with a bar tab that included her breakfast. The group chips in for the bill without complaint.
A half-hour is wasted out in the street, as Genive, Dread Pirate Wobberts, and Lester debate with Kartug and Jaques about the next course of action. Seemingly there is little still to task the group in Meadowshade, but to depart the town entirely and strike off into the wild is a daunting debate that consumes valuable daylight.
Lester and Genive suspect that a shadow-group to their own band may lurk in waiting either in town or outside its limits. Jaques very much wants to travel by established road, but is fiercely argued on the point by Wobberts and Genive, who are correct in their estimate that progress will be snarled by frequent interception and interrogation by military scouting parties.
While they quarrel, the Heroes are happened upon by a pleasant and talkative passerby, who has noticed the group to be possessed of the trappings and bearings of seasoned adventurers. The gentleman interjects himself into their conversation, presenting with flourish an exciting and intriguing opportunity. He presented a MAP to and a DEED for a particularly lucrative silver mine which, while an amazing investment and a guaranteed revenue stream, has the unfortunate quality of harbouring within its glittering shafts and tunnels a particular, but undefined, host of nefarious creatures. As he is not the fighting sort, this amicable fast-talker would gladly part with the location of this Argentum-rich deposit and the title of ownership for, say, a mere 500 gp.
Genive, sensitive to the smooth rub of a con-artist and versed in many schemes of confidence extant in her country, glances over the map and the deed and spots instantly a familiar and low-class dodge. Her boot-heel on the con-man’s foot and hand at the hilt, Genive browbeats the snake-oil salesman, looking to shake him down for gold and information.
In a rash move meant to help the situation but displaying an unusual gaff in the Wisdom attribute, Lester Summons a giant Scorpion to aid in the Spymaster’s strong-arm techniques. The appearance of a very large, very venomous, exceedingly-dangerous-to-public-safety critter does not evoke as much fear from the hapless con artist as it draws town guards and the display of their long swords, halberds, and anger.
Lester quickly unSummons the creature but the harm to the group’s reputation and welcome is done. The threat gone, the guards firmly suggest that the group finish their business in Meadowshade and get the Nine Hells on out of town as soon as possible.
This motivation works as well as any other to encourage the Heroes to mount up and depart, under the watchful glares of unnerved guardsmen.
As it happens, a direct as-the-crow-flies path to the secret cistern outfall would take the Heroes past, if not into, the mysterious “exclusion zone” so bitterly lamented by Specialist Renn. The Heroes, Lester in particular, are quite curious about this territory.
The group is not an hour outside of Meadowshade – in fact, looking back they can still see the top-most point of the tallest structure in the town just over the rise – when they come upon a mismatched collection of sinister adventurers, waiting in their path…