After clearing the crypt of the Temple of Iomedae of the undead, (or, at least mostly,) we returned to the main floor, discovering a secret passage in Fick‘s quarters. After we destroyed the skeleton, Arkady found a golden skull with necromancy properties, likely the source of the skeletons in the room. Our departure, however, was intercepted by Dirk, an associate of Stamos. After obtaining a vial of blood from Ciaran, Dirk let him go free and took us see Stamos. After Vesta revealed Ciaran’s identity to Stamos, it was made clear that Stamos was in fact looking for the stone Ciaran took, not the gold box. He gave us the next two days to rectify the situation by bringing in Ciaran’s stone and adding another mission: to bring in an infamous unbeatable swordsman. We were to meet with Dirk at noon.
On our way back into Gullern, we encountered a blue creature who calls himself The Arbiter. Ciaran revealed that he had been closely monitoring our encounter with Stamos, and some harsh words were exchanged between himself and Vesta for betraying him. The Arbiter invited us to join in The Artifact Game, which apparently was already being played by both Stamos and Ciaran. It’s possible that this game has really been behind a lot of what’s going on in Mar. We all agreed and obtained our first artifacts.
After a brief stop at Mad Marty’s, Ciaran hid in the shadows while we met with Dirk. From the vial of Ciaran’s blood, Dirk had created a tracking map, revealing that Ciaran was in the Inn. After some failed attempts to console Dirk with our words, I successfully charmed him, gaining his trust for a brief period of time. Vesta and I, accompanied by my temporary but faithful skunk companion, left the Inn with Dirk in order to “hunt down” Ciaran, leaving the real Ciaran, Elyn, and Arkady to deal with the infamous swordsman.