As the party approached the sword village they were stopped at the gates and carefully questioned by the guards. It took quite a while for the guards to be satisfied that we weren’t spies and let us enter the town.
Simon and Susi went directly to the temple. They were stopped again by guards at the gate to the stairs up to the temple. Security seemed unusually high, the guards claimed this was to prevent Lazuri spies from getting through.
The trip up the 10,000 stairs was uneventful, but at the top the monks greeted them. When Simon said he was on a holy quest to see Master Telpurr he was asked to wait in the village below, Master Telpurr is ill. Simon insisted and was told Master Vallas Razorclaw warned for them that someone like Simon would be coming, and that they should keep watch for this individual.
Eventually the initiates agree to escort Simon and Susi to the main temple, but the pair are closely watched the whole way.
Brine and Prospero head to the inn to secure lodgings for the party. With a generous payment the innkeeper, Berti, gives Prospero excellent rooms and offers to extend any service including meals and laundry to his new guests.
Colby decides to aimlessly wander the village and see what’s around. One of the nicer shops is a well appointed blacksmiths place, with brand new equipment. All around is hammering and metal being worked, yet this place is silent. A teenager is there cleaning, Colby approaches him and asks why this place is so quiet. The boy, Helmund, explains that the he was apprenticed to the former master here, but the master, Malo, was killed in an accident with an ore delivery.
Intrigued by the high praise Helmund gives to Malo, Colby asks to see some of the things he had made. The pieces the boy shows certainly demonstrate the extreme skill the master had. Colby asks about buying a particular dagger he saw, Helmund says that he will inquire with the guild about a price for it.
At the main temple Susi and Simon are again stopped and aggressively questioned by the guards. Simon repeats his tale of the vision, and is warned that Telpurr is sick and not accepting visitors. Despite this Simon and Susi are allowed inside and directed to speak with one of the other masters.
Master Athas approaches Simon and after a brief talk checks his aura. Athas discovers that Bandar has found Simon ready for his trials. Athas comments that there are many worthy candidates for the trials, and they should be very interesting.
Simon inquires about the excessive security Athas explains that Vallas Razorclaw has been insisting on it. Vallas says that their security is very poor, and has been working diligently to get the monks ready for anything.
While they are speaking Vallas walks in carrying two heads. He throws the heads to the ground and shouts that they were spies, their presence was permitted due to the lack of vigilance. Spotting the new comer, Vallas approaches Simon. Once again Simon is obliged to explain the vision that brought him here. Vallas says that Master Telpurr sees no one, but usually will permit Vallas an audience. He offers to bring Simon to Telpurr, and they are permitted to see the ailing master.
When Telpurr sees Simon he asks “What took you so long?” Then Telpurr says he is looking forward to working with both Vallas and Simon, getting them prepared for the upcoming trials.
As Colby leaves the blacksmiths shop he stumbles into Prospero and Brine, who are headed for the temple in Sword Village. As they approach the temple Colby spots an old man solemnly talking to the tombs and arranging flowers by one of the a cairns. Colby stops to talk with him while Prospero and Brine enter the temple.
Colby learns that this old man is Father Thury, who was visiting his departed wife. Thury and his wife used to run the low temple, in fact he was an adviser to the high temple as well. He arrived here with Telpurr and was around as Telpurr built the high temple.
Inside Prospero and Brine meet Master Tilda, who asks if the wizard is coming to convert to the light? Prospero says no, but he is curious about Bandar’s faith as he is travelling with some devotees. Tilda takes them to a store room filled with scrolls and books of all sorts, she offers them a tome containing the history of the religion but warns that the book is very valuable and must remain in the temple.
Brine is less interested in the books and leaves the temple. He runs into a child named Ham who is running errands for the temple. Brine impresses him with his ability to shape shift, then offers to go with the boy as he does his errands. After shopping Ham leads Brine up the 10,000 steps to the high temple. Colby catches sight of them and chases them up the stairs.
At the high temple Colby, Brine, and Ham arrive to see Vallas and Simon training the initiates. Vallas’ teaching style is brutal while Simon is careful and supportive. Vallas challenges Simon to a sparring match, but Master Athas intervenes saying that such things should be saved for the trials.