Once Skeeve and Enoch emerge from the meeting with the Queen, Fulan meets them in the main hall. Their travel papers are returned. Fulan provides them with additional horses, so that they will no longer have to share. This will speed travel for all of them.
The entire party returns to the inn. There is much to discuss. Endo and Beck join them. They debate at length on the job the Queen has given them. She has asked them to kill Noreeno. Now, they are happy to do this job. In fact, Eomer promised Noreeno that he would kill him. However, they have noticed that everyone seems to have secret motives and agendas. They are wary of being used again.
At length they come up with a plan: Endo is to ride south and seek out his friend, the prince. The rest of them will ride north and attempt to intercept Noreeno. However, instead of killing him outright, they plan to capture him and see what information they can extract from him before he dies.
- Eomer thinks her reasoning for sending them to kill Noreeno doesn’t make sense. They spend some time trying to figure out what her true motive is.
- Everyone agrees that killing Noreeno is a good move.
- They all agree that they should try to torture some info out of Noreeno before he dies. (Enoch can’t really agree to this in-character, since he’s a Cleric. But he’s willing to turn a blind eye while the others do this, with the understanding that this will serve the greater good.)
- Beck should ride with them when they go north. They know the port is closed (because of the burning ships) so there is no point in him trying to escape the island.
- They wonder about the cleric that served Noreeno back in Crossway. Will they have to face him? Is he aware of his master’s true motives? Is the cleric himself evil?
- Skeeve missed this conversation: Dan was out picking up the Pizza. :)
At dawn the party leaves town. With fresh supplies and Allidian horses they ride swiftly east. Hours pass. They turn north and ride past Della Minera without stopping. At midday they cross the bridge and turn west.
As the sun sets they top the hill and ride into the small Halfling village of Hillstead. This is obviously a farming community, with many farms dotting the surrounding countryside. There is a standard detachment of Alidian guards at the entrance to the city: A group of bored Ailidian soldiers, and four elite guards. After their papers are checked, they are granted entry into the village proper. The “streets” of the city are simple dirt paths that wind around the clusters of tidy cottages and small gardens. Many homes have a ribbon of smoke that drifts upward from the chimney. The smell of food is in the air as the halflings ready their evening meals. The town is quiet and unhurried. The party is greeted with polite but uninterested smiles if they are noticed at all.
They were here just a few days ago, but a lot has happened since then. They check into the inn.
The place is small by the standards of most towns, although here it towers over the other buildings. The rooms are made for “big people” although they still feel a bit small to the humans in the group. The building has but one main entrance, which leads into the tavern / dinning area. At this time of day the tables are mostly empty, but after mealtime they expect it will be quite crowded as the farmers gather to share some ale together. Through the open doorway to the left is the office where they sign in, and the modest five rooms the place has to offer. There are no other guests in town today, so the party simply takes all of the available rooms for themselves.
The north side of the building (the back) faces a number of small chicken and pig farms. The south side of the building faces what passes for a main street in this town. It is a dirt path that is slightly broader than the others in the village. From the front step of the inn, it is possible to look down this path and see the main gates of the city.
If the Queen was right, then Noreeno should be arriving sometime tomorrow. They have a full day to formulate their plan, whatever it is.
They conclude that Noreeno will certainly come to this town, unless he plans to sleep in the wilderness -which doesn’t sound likely. He will doubtless have a number of men with him, as well as his cleric friend. This inn is the only one in town.
So they can be reasonably sure that Noreeno will be staying in one of these five rooms tomorrow night. By reserving rooms themselves, they can control which rooms will be available for him.
But what of his men? They expect he will have several. Will they all crowd into one room of the inn? Will they stand watch outside his room? Inside his room?