Wherein the party returns to Elincia and is immediately approached by Landon Tayweth, a representative of the merchant family House Kestrel. Landon brings the party to the House Kestrel estate, where they meet Sebastian Kestrel, half-elf and scion of the Kestrel family. Sebastian informs the party of an explorer named Bartan Wize who is in possession of an artifact that, if rumor holds, is from the surface and linked to a mythical location known as the Citadel. Bartan’s plan to sell the artifact to the highest bidder backfired, and he went into hiding, prompting a scramble from the merchant houses to find him. The party, intrigued by the possibility of finding something on the surface, took the job, and acted on divinations from House Kestrel mages placing Bartan within a certain area of the city. Sebastian emphasized to Lammy that the objective was to retrieve, not “extract” and “dispose.” Myrrh was fascinated by the magecrafting of House Kestrel, even down to the self-heating teacups.
The party set off in haste to Bartan’s rough location. Their initial attempts to search for him met with little success, netting them only the attention of a rival mercenary group also searching for Bartan. However, this setback galvanized the group into action, and Ammar handled the party’s tail while everyone else focused on finding Bartan, guided by Kira’s advice. It was Ellie who finally spotted their quarry, from her perch on a rooftop. The party moved in and Corrin, hoping to end the search without further complication, took a bold step and approached Bartan directly. To his surprise, he discovered that Bartan and he were actually related! The tension quickly defused with the discovery of this connection, and Corrin was able to convince Bartan to accompany the party back to House Kestrel.
Unfortunately, it was at just this moment that the party noticed a new threat. They found themselves accosted by a tall, blue dragonborn mercenary in black tactical armor, accompanied by a group of similarly dressed mercenaries. Corrin quickly cast invisibility on Bartan just before the mercenaries’ arrival, which proved fortuitous – the dragonborn made it clear that he would have engaged in combat, even in the middle of the street, had the halfling been visible. Instead, the dragonborn’s crew retreated, leaving the party to return to the Kestrel estate with Bartan in tow. Sebastian thanked the party for their quick and professional work, and the mission ended with a well-deserved night’s sleep.