Duke Joran gestures for the party to join him back in his study, and the group follows him out of the war room through the portal. Back in the study, the Duke excuses himself to begin meeting with guests, and leaves the adventurers to themselves. Sylceran keeps watch as the group does a bit of investigating.
Yenvalor examines the paperwork on the Duke's desk, and notices a discrepency in the shipping ledgers. The logs show regular imports and exports with Royos, a nation located in the center of the empire. Amidst the flow of goods and passenger ships, a mysterious entry appears every 2 months - marked only with an "X". Severen points out that Royos is in political turmail, as the young Queen Xenaria seems heavily influenced by the Solaris faith.
Sylceran examines a couple of the statuettes, and finds a small tribute to Murray, a horse that formerly belonged to the Shadowfax household. The tail triggers a magical ninny.
Sylceran and Severan decide to head back into the war room to learn more from the 3 nobles. Yenvalor and Allium stay behind to enjoy the remainder of the wine.
Sylceran and Severan approach the portal, and see the runes are attuned to specific locations, and that the leader of the group must focus with intent on the desired destination. They head back to the war room, and find the 3 nobles finishing a discussion whilst packing up the various maps and ledgers from the table. Lady Ana Collazo notices the two party members approaching them, and welcomes them in. They ask about the portal - its construction and where it can travel to. Collazo describes a long process of building the teleportation system over many years, and describes the other 3 locations it can reach: the Crystal Flatlands, the Highlands, and Princess Norba's ship - the Fallen Star.
As Yenvalor and Allium polish off the wine bottle, Allium hears the group approaching through the other side of the secret bookcase, just as Laura knocks on the door of the study. She's looking for Duke Joran, and comes in to check for him. Allium offers the remainder of the wine, then immediately turns her towards the door in an attempt to distract from the secret bookcase portal. On the way out, Allium awkwardly flirts with Laura, which seems to have a mildly charming affect, and even brings Laura close for an affectionate touch. Laura leaves Allium 10 silver lighter, and Allium calls out with a tease of "yoohoo."
The heroes and nobles disperse downstairs to mingle as the party begins. Braun and Norba head to the wine casks, and Gillain walks through the entrance, excited to see her friends. She seems reserved (Arthur passed only the day before, after all), but the banquet is a welcome distraction.
Edward Roundbottom approaches Sylceran, and says there is business to complete regarding the tournament. He escorts them to Duke Joran in the banquet hall.
Severan spots Toro in the main galley, who is pushing his latest product, The Hero's Whiskey. Severan, Yenvalor, Allium, and Gillain are all met with gusto by Toro, who is ecstatic to have the heroes try his latest creation. Yenvalor spots something off about the whiskey, but Severen and Allium take their drinks to no effect.
Back in the banquet hall, Sylceran is met with her former competitors from the archery range - the goliath and the villager. Sylceran is awarded 300 gold for their win in the archery contest, and because of their win across the jousting contest as well, they are announce winner of the tournament.
Gold is generously offered to the goliath (who is addressed as Kratos), and the villager. The remaining gold is handed to Sylceran in a bag of holding. And for the win of the tournament, Sylceran receives the Hammer of Light.
Sylceran turns to the villager, and returns her lost arrow from the archery grounds. She thankfully returns her arrow to ther quiver, and puts our her hand to introduce herself - her name is Tess. Tess explains that the arrows are special, and hints that her mother's dying wish may have imbued the arrows with a gift.
Tess admires Sylceran's bow, the military-grade weapon they acquired from an illegal arms dealer back in the marketplace. She seems to understand what it is, but does not react.
Everyone takes their seats as dinner begins. Duke Joran gives a royal toast, thanking all of the families for a brilliant tournament during a time of difficulty in the empire. Sylceran is announced as the victor of the tournament.
A delightful meal unfolds, filled with the finest food and drink from Moss End and beyond. Musicians play lively jaunts, to a warm and celebratory environment in the great hall. One by one, the nobles approach the Duke and Lady Shadowfax at the head of the table, and present gifts. Princess Norba brings forth a simple wooden box containing two nautical-looking instruments. Lady Ana brings a crystal box containing a rune stone that swirls and shift with deep blue color. Duke Braun and his brother present a large crate containing an elaborate war hammer, seemingly far too large for any mortal to wield, but generous nonetheless.
As the evening continues, and the wine is poured, a jovial scene ensues. Other guests begin to clear from the great hall, and our party spends an enchanted night singing and drinking and dancing at the Shadowfax estate.
But something is amiss...