Sasha has been confined to rest by Aelita, who won’t let her leave until she has recovered enough to beat Aelita at arm-wrestling. Marten works over the course of the week, and Richard goes about his usual. Hiking high in the mountains, Richard comes across a trapdoor in a relatively level spot of ground- ancient, and iron, and locked shut.
Each of the party is delivered a letter, sealed with the symbol of house Baird. In it, they are cordially invited to the home of Lord Baird for a formal dinner two days hence, “in honour and gratitude of their services to the town”, though WHICH town isn’t specified.
Marten doesn’t want to go, especially since he doesn’t think he has anything formal to wear, but Karen shares a little trick with him- scraping off the words which read “Formal”, and writing in “a Casual”.
Sasha is surprised to find out that she and Darryl have a mailbox, and resigns herself to go clothes shopping with Aelita, who won’t shut up about it.
Richard leaves his letter on a shelf, unopened, as he cannot read.
Aelita and Sasha go to the Trynns’ to have clothes made up, and Sasha buys a new cloak at this time. They had intended to have Fable do it, but are informed that he’s out of town with his father. Aelita has her ill-gotten dresses from the shipwreck tailored, and Sasha gets a pair of smartly-fitting breeches and a practical shirt.
Marten is tracked down by Richard, who wants his to come take a look at a lock on a door in the mountains. Marten agrees, reminds Richard about dinner, and goes to make preparations. Richard responds with, “Marten, you have dinner every day”, and leaves. Over the next day, Marten has Mona take a look at a few of the weapons he’s acquired over the course of the last couple months, and she is impressed by their quality- the masterwork punching dagger in particular, though she assured him that his other knife is of fine make as well. Sasha drops by and asks if Mona can make her a new knife, which she is elated by and immediately begins designing a few. She’ll get in touch with Sasha when it’s finished.
At dinner, Lord Baird arrives in a manner of casual dress similar to Marten’s, and invites the party to sit, insistent that they’ll discuss business after dinner. Once plates are cleared, he shoos the few servants away and thanks the party for their actions aiding Seidi Jahan in Cherry Crossing. They did great work, without even being asked, which is very impressive.
He then confides in them that he’s grown concerned with the behaviour of the sailors whose ship was blown out of harbor- their bills are racking up, and they keep insisting the money is “on the ship”. They haven’t made any move so far to go and get it, and Lord Baird wants to be sure that they money actually exists, so he won’t have to imprison these men. Marten, of course, knows that the money isn’t there, since he took it back to town already, but the rest of the group has no such clue. Aelita DOES manage to keep her mouth shut about their previous adventure, though, which is a blessing of its own.
Lord Baird insists that discretion is very important in this matter- he doesn’t want to make a show of force by sending the militia, since it would be in the town’s best interests to keep this merchant’s business, but he can’t let his people be made fools of. Therefore, he’d like to pay the party a few silver a day plus all needed expenses, to take a few days’ walk down the shore as far as his jurisdiction reaches, and see whether they can find the ship. If it isn’t within his lands, then he can’t exert any influence over the wreck, but if it is, then the crew’s balance can be commandeered.
The party agrees, and is to let him know when they’d like to leave, so he can make all the necessary preparations quietly. Lord Baird adds that he has let their parents know that he wants to hire their children for some discreet and private work, so the party should not feel obligated to tell their parents about the details of this trip. With that, the group thanks Lord Baird, and takes their leave.
The next day, Sasha checks in on Mona, who has worked out a few blade blanks. They’ll need grinding and finishing, and then to have hilts and sheaths made, but there’s progress.