While Henry accompanies Jess Furrier back to the docking cave (in order to retrieve his confiscated weapons) he tries to drill him for info and defuse the situation. Furrier seems quite disturbed to hear of the webs covering his town and quickens the pace referring frequently to the fact that his betrothed is in there. Her name is Patience.
Meanwhile back at Haven-Fara Lemmy calls back over his shoulder,” I’m going in. If you don’t hear or see me in ten minutes come in and come prepared.” He enters the hut from which he smelled burning flesh. He finds a little old woman lying dead on the floor with half of her face scorched off. Before her is a chest of finely polished wood, the front of which is also scorched as though from sudden intense fire. Lock picks lie scattered on the hut’s floor around her.
Henry and Jess return, finding Hissarmau and Violetta standing watch just outside f the gap in the webbing. Jess takes off into the town heading just past the grounded Hammership. Henry shouts for Lemmy and pursues with Violetta at his side, stopping briefly while Hissarmau casts Mage Armor on herself and Violetta. As Lemmy trudges along behind them a young boy enters the hut, screams, and runs out again carrying the old woman’s corpse. He takes the same trajectory as the rest, but stays as far from them as he can.
Hissarmau sees Jess run into a hut yelling , “Patience!! Patience!!” When she arrives at the door she looks in to see him embracing a rather ugly young human girl who seems to be covered in bug bites and small scars. There is also an older human male with crazy shock gray hair and a slightly baffled expression on his face. The room around them is filled with spiders in jars, pieces of giant spiders hung on the walls, and several terrariums of live specimens. This is the scene that greets the rest of the party as they arrive.
The old man steps forward and speaks. “I am Dr. Jakob Gryll, and who may I ask are you?” as you start to answer he sees the boy carrying the supine form of the dead woman, says,” pardon me,” and pushes through the standing characters to run examine her. The boy accuses Henry and Lemmy of killing his grandmother and draws a dagger. Lemmy corrects him and looms. The kid drops the dagger.
Henry explains to Gryll what they found in the hut. Gryll seems alternately manic and thoughtful, and rapidly comes to the conclusion that the party are here to escort him to the spider caves to examine them. He sends them, along with the boy (now dragooned as a tour guide of sorts) to speak with “Cap.”
The boy leads them to the grounded hammership, Good Fortune. (Hissarmau recognizes signs of a hull breach when the ornately carved entrance now stands.) They enter to find the interior outfitted as a tavern, with three humans talking in hushed tones at the end of the bar. Henry notices a large glass jar containing a spider bigger than his hand and a single silver key.
Henry sits, breaks out some bread and cheese and offers it to them. The younger of the three old salts approaches with a bottle and asks, “Now who might you be, friends, and how did you get here?”
Henry lays out the fact that they are searching for a friend who might have passed through. Slight betrayals in Cap’s manner make them believe he is lying when he claims no knowledge. Lemmy looms menacingly and makes comments about “being in The Guard,” and “bringing pirates to justice.” The mood goes cold. Hissarmau steps in and diplomatically tries to explain the group’s good intentions towards Vanderboren, which seems to somewhat mollify them. Cap pours a round. Lemmy ignores his drink.
Henry sends Lemmy and Dake (the kid) to retrieve the box from the old woman’s hut. While they are gone Henry makes excuses for him. “He’s just hired muscle.” He comes clean to Cap that they have been sent to retrieve Vanderboren, but that they are on his side. He strikes a deal: In exchange for aid in finding Vanthus they will clean out the spiders. Harc accepts, but tells them that most of the town’s manpower is either on a spelljammer or disappeared. Almost everyone left is either aged, female, or a child. He also says the spiders came up from deeper caverns within the asteroid.
According to the three council members the spiders have always lived in the caverns to the north, and have never bothered the town. Two days ago they arrived en masse and began to enweb the area and steal the town folk. While Cap and Harc try to convince the group to rescue their people Keel seems to be trying to discourage them with a continuing refrain of, “they’re dead already.”
Cap gets nervous when questioned about the spider in the jar. “It protects the key to the safe,” he says. About then Lemmy and Drake return with the box. Hissarmau examines it, it is the obvious result of a burning hands trap that was on the chest itself. They notice a half melted nameplate that reads, “Vander………..”
When they question Drake about where he stole the chest he tells them The Black Fly Pub. The group get him to escort them there. On the way two large monstrous spiders drop from above and attack. Lemmy draws his sword, which crackles, mutters, and groans psionically. The spider attacks, but his bite fails to penetrate the heavy plate mail. Lemmy swings at the arachnid, but slips in a puddle of venom and falls on his ass.
Violetta conjures up the sound of a fight with her pipes and distracts the additional spiders that were coming to join the fray. She then turns and shoots one of the spiders with her starwheel. The wounded beast falls backwards onto Lemmy. Violetta fires again and misses. Henry takes careful aim and shoots. The spider ceases to move after his bullet rips through its skull. The other spider flees.
The Black Fly has a circular bar in the center and tall cocktail tables without stools scattered around it. There is very little light, and the fireplace is tiny. The kid takes them to a concealed door and into the back room, evidently where the owner sleeps. The owner, another member of the council, is in the brig for “looting.” Entering the room they find a trap door under the rug which leads down to a root cellar. Henry tries t send the kid in first, but Lemmy intervenes. Henry takes a few smokesticks and sunrods from a backpack found down there, and makes a point of being visible to Drake as he leaves several pieces of gold in their place. Hissarmau notices tracks leading to one of the walls.
Proceeding to Dr. Gryff’s. He tells them it is all drivel that the spiders are at fault. Constantly extolling the virtues of the “perfect predators, ” he gathers his things to depart for the spider caves. He shows them the large spiders he has been examining with a telescope he has poked through his thatch roof. He also says that no one has actually seen a spider carrying anyone off.
While he packs they make the boy lead them to the imprisoned owner of the Black Fly.
The prisoner, Westin Nemetia, makes them send Drake from the room before he will speak. Lemmy goes with the boy to keep an eye on him. He then begs them to rescue the townfolk. After much conversation he finally tells them that he is an aranea, and his people infiltrated the town centuries ago. They simply want to be left alone to live their lives, but if the other townfolk found out their friends would turn against them as monsters. He admits he was holding the chest for Vanthus Vanderboren, who left Haven-Fara a tenday ago on a squidship flying Crimson Fleet colors. He also reveals that Haven-Fara has a fleet of three galleons that are based on another asteroid and reached by a portal here. He says that only aranea have disappeared, that they answered the call of their cousins the spiders and left to fight an unknown threat. He thinks the box, which arrived with eight horses, may have something to do with the recent events. To bear this out he point up the fact that there are only seven horses now, and no ships have been in.
Hissarmau hangs back as the others leave the cell. She tells him that she knows of his people and asks if he is trapped in human form. He answers that his people have a pact to only use human form when outside of the caves in order to preserve their secret.
When casually asked about the aranea, Dr. Gryff claims never to have heard of them. As the group prepares their forray into the Spider Caves it is now 6 bells on the fourteenth day of Flamerule, in The Year of The Turret 1360 DR, 5042 in the Olven Calendar of the IEN.