While Aiya was accidentally insulting a group of people coming to challenge Mauritius on a boat, the rest of the group was meeting up with Grandmother Havoc and the Eshkel elves. Although they are not jazzed that we traded a jar of heralds for two children (face biters) they understand that we didn’t know any better and were scared by the phase spiders.
We learned that Eshkel elves take names as adults that are meant to represent their identities, so we should probably be super scared of Havoc and Hellion. Grandmother Havoc lets us know that the heralds are the memories of dead elves, and we all agree that it was weird that the Attercap priest huffed them.
Grandmother Havoc is ... concerned that the “silk people” as she calls them have left the caves under the ruins, where she and the Eshkel elves banished them to 400 years ago. Certainly something that we/other adventurers did in those ruins effed things up so. Woo.
According to Grandmother Havoc, “the silk people grow bold” and she asks/threatens “How well protected are your children?” She warns that they’ll attack, and “The eight-legged dream will spread” because “their enchantments make the world thin.”
Mallow spends some time chatting with people and learning that you can’t ask non-traders “What’s your deal” because otherwise they get all snotty about it. Once that confusing is dealt with ("What's your story?" works really well -- we learn about the history of naming practices and tattoos), it's a good evening of cultural exchange.
There were also two dwarves there who’ve been with the tribe for a long time – they do tattoos, which, if anyone tells Aiya, she will be very interested in. Apparently, the Eshkel take in exiles who are willing to learn – but not many are willing to learn.
Tails decides to become scarce, but Lindall teases him by getting tiny elves (face biters) to bother him, after letting them roughhouse with Donar for a while.
We learn that the Eshkel elves are very concerned with ritual, and it seems that every action they do is based on some rule or another, which means that if you learn those rituals you’ll probably have a better time of it with the tribe, but until then we probably seem like stupid children.
Speaking of children. The two rescued elf children (face biters) are ritually branded – not as a punishment, but as a reminder that although they are essentially immortal, they can still be killed. The pain they endure is a reminder to themselves that they can die, but also a reminder that their deaths will cause pain to their loved ones. Harsh, but loving in a strange way.
When we return to town, the group meets up with Aiya who has inadvertently told a self-important person that she doesn’t know who he is. The Piscazuki (which Aiya will insist on calling kissykissy) are there to challenge Mauritius to a duel. Before that can happen, though, the group is accosted by a shoal halfling bard, Joaquin, who seems to know an awful lot about the group and requests the honour of chronicling the party. Mallow rolls her eyes because Joaquin keeps reminding us that he went to college. Tails implies that Bards are useless unless they’re entertaining (at which Mallow also rolls her eyes). Veneyo is confused and worried that Joaquin seems to know so many things, especially since Joaquin knows about the visit to the elves, which they had JUST returned from. However, there is something appealing about a chronicler, so we may see what Joaquin as to offer.
Aiya is distracted briefly as she sees Mara Pangol, a gnome whose friend recently passed over. Aiya gives her a locket and says something wrong (Mara said they had a bet, and, attempting to be polite and interested in other people's lives -- as she has frequently been told she should be -- asked if she won), but Mara doesn’t seem especially angry (though maybe the 1GP she got from Aiya helped).
Once the duel is ready to start, Lindall and Aiya bet 1 GP each that Mauritius will win, even though everyone else knows he’ll lose. Even after being told that, though, Lindall still feels like you should bet that your friends will win. After trading a fair number of blows, and impressing with the different tricks he has at his disposal (and making it clear that he is, actually, good at this), Mauritius yields, disappointing the cheering section (including Aiya and Lindall shouting, in unison “HIT HIM”) as Tails passes out beer/.healing draughts.
They all move the the tavern, where Aiya learns that the beer here is hearty and Mallow and Tails keep watch over her as one of the Piscazuki seems to want to talk to Aiya, but realizes that she is not gonna remember a lot. (Look, she is very tiny and that beer is heavy okay?)