As the episode begins, the group discuss their character advancements to 2nd level. Some of the highlights include:
- Edolkar (Barbarian) gains Reckless Attack and Danger Sense.
- Arth (Bard) becomes a “Jack of All Trades”, along with learning Song of Rest.
- Trix (Rogue) develops the Cunning Action ability.
- Khorvus (Paladin) chooses Dueling as his fighting style, and gains the power of Divine Smite, along with basic spellcasting.
As the story continues, the party stand in the Gardens of Growth, with Saffine surveying the destruction caused by the blight seeds. Saffine thanks the party for their quick work, while Edolkar apologies profusely for being the courier of the destruction. They grab the remainder of the blight bodies, and construct a small fire, setting the remains alight. Before they depart, they enquire from Saffine on who they should speak with next to finalise their class homework, and consider going to The Hearth, the local tavern.
From the exterior, The Hearth looks like a cozy, yet cramped, tavern, nestled up against the city wall and in-between two other buildings. Surprisingly, as the party walk in, they immediately notice that the Tavern is bigger on the inside, with space at least three times larger than would be expected from looking outside of it. They approach the half-orc bartender, who greets them warmly, serving drinks and allowing them access to the buffet lunch being served for a small fee. The party find some available seats and take time to eat and converse.
As they eat, Trix notices a device of Dwarvish origin that sits above the bar, which slowly rotates a series of small rings. Arth notices a symbol on the side, which he vaguely recalls being associated with a Dwarvish god, but can’t remember the name. They ask a few patrons of the bar, but none of them are familiar with the contraption. The bartender notices their interest, and indicates it was a gift courtesy of Dwarvish worshippers of Gond, and is called a Geometric Amplifier. Somehow, it is able to maintain larger space on the inside of the tavern. They begin to ask around about Otyughs, and notice that Harugal, the half-orc bartender, becomes noticeably nervous. Trix straddles up and tries to talk to him about them, but is unable to get much from him. Edolkar approaches, attempting to coerce Harugal for what he knows, but also fails. As a final approach, Khorvus tries a different strategy, and offers to pay for information on Otyughs. A few gold pieces later, Harugal shares that there has been a lot of talk about where the wastewater is flowing below Candlekeep. He encourages the party to follow the pipes and think about where the waste is going.
Later, the party notice some spare musical instruments available near a small stage at the side of the bar, and a few of them begin to play, with Arth indicating the song is A True and Unfetted Tale of the History of Candlekeep. Through the verses, Arth intentionally provides incorrect facts about Candlekeep trying to spur the audience to correct them, and mentions the great blue door, and that Candlekeep is made of candles. They continue, with Arth on the horn, Khorvus playing a lute, and Edolkar on the harp. Darius eventually comes in with a recorder solo. Arth makes his way to the bar, while Khorvus continues playing the lute. Harugal, the bartender, offers to provide some information to Arth about Candlekeep to help with his studies. Harugal explains about the events known as The Iron Crisis, and how Candlekeep, trying to maintain diplomatic ties with both sides, was harshly impacted being stuck in the middle of the conflict. Since then, Candlekeep seems to have been leaning more towards isolationist policies, including maintaining frequent stockpiles of common supplies. He suggests rumours that Candlekeep is also jealous of Strixhaven, with the college’s access to hide away in their own demiplane.
After the discussion at the bar, they find their way to a member of the Avowed, an Adjutant named Thorin Everseer. He is warm and welcoming, though a bit forgetful, and is asked by Arth and Khorvus to seek out some books in Candlekeep’s expansive library, so that they can study over the next few days. They ask a few more questions before he departs.
In the late afternoon, they leave the tavern and wander outside. Thinking about Oytughs, they consider some of the pipes and drains outside. Khorvus inspects it, and drops a pebble down, hearing it land on hard flooring a few metres below. They head to their lodgings, dropping off some supplies, before continuing to explore the Court of Air. Finding a bath house, they enter in to find time to recharge from the day’s events. As Khorvus still carries his sketching from the exterior of the Candlekeep’s archway, Arth offers to try casting a Comprehend Languages spell. Grabbing some salt and soot, he mixes them together whilst humming, then rubs the combination over the page. To Arth’s eyes, the text translates to a readable form, and he reads the first-half of a sentence: “Guard these walls from entry means…”. They spend some more time relaxing, before making their way back to the House of Rest.
The next morning, the party regroup in the Court of Air. Thorin, the Adjutant, returns and greets them, providing a book each for Trix and Khorvus. They thank him, before asking if he can seek out another book on Otyughs. He directs them to study in the Pillars of Pedagogy in the meantime while he browses the archives. After the party settle in to a study room, Edolkar finds himself wandering the halls. He eventually comes across a locked door, near the basement, and hears streaming water on the other side. Without the skill himself to get through a locked door, he informs the party of his findings. They venture down, and Trix uses her lockpicking skills to open the lock. The door swings open and leads into an access to the underground sewer system.
Further down in the sewers, they pass through rooms dedicated for storage, stocked with secured supplies. In the distance, they hear the sounds of a creature snapping as it eats. Trix volunteers to sneak up, and sees further up ahead are two crocodiles feasting on some remains. They theorise on whether these creatures are part of the “enclosed system”, so opt to sneak past them. The corridors stretch and wind, until they arrive in another storage room, with some fresh fruits and grains left sitting along the northern wall. Edolkar notices the trace of footprints that walk directly up and into the northern wall, before disappearing. As he approaches the wall, he continues to step through it, disappearing from sight from the rest of the party. As Edolkar continues to inspect where this false wall leads, a small figure shouts out from the darkness.