With Sae’alar’s contract accepted, you spend the next two weeks in Gael-amad on the Elderij estate. Lurien is contacted on the third day by a mysterious collector interested in purchasing the Diadem of the Summer Solstice. You quickly realize that anyone looking for magical items would easily discover one as powerful as the diadem. You agree to meet the collector in the Elderij common room, intrigued and hopeful to unload the crown on a worthy buyer.
The collector, an elf draped in beige silks, arrives with an unusual bodyguard: a treant, whose branches scrape against the ceiling of the common room. He introduces himself as Faeog and explains that he is a traveler from distant lands, most recently the wastes of Khaeridan and before that the far west. Lurien asks after the location, but no one recognizes the names he gives as his homeland: Thellinmar, that humans called Aenfar, east of the barbarian kingdoms of Nor. He explained that he is engaged in a life-long endeavor to collect objects that may help restore his blighted homeland to verdant beauty. He has waited decades for a chance encounter with an item of this power. He makes an opening offer of fifteen thousand platinum without asking after how you acquired the crown.
You retire briefly to discuss the offer and the elf’s motives.You agree that you could ask any amount from Faeog and he would endeavor to pay it. Rather than take advantage of the elf’s plight, you except the offer. Faeog leaves and returns with a large chest of platinum. He takes the offered diadem with an air of excitement and leaves.
At the end of two weeks, Captain Etteran of the Haystack is introduced to you by the Elderij staff. He explains that his ship will take you to Saltport and remain there until you have acquired Polonwe from the slave auction. You have a budget of fifty thousand platinum.
The Haystack approaches Salport from the north and heads toward a small bay. At its mouth, a Kingdoms-style clipper, Cat’s Cradle, is moored. You press on into the bay and dock among dozens of smaller Keshian-style ships.
Saltport is a bustling city, technically lawless; unruled by an injau. Stevedores bus crates from ship to shore, merchants hawk wares that range from fish to silks to slaves to fruit. Unlike the refined, clockwork precision of Gael-amad’s docks, Saltport reminds you of the smaller villages and towns of Kesh where everyone is busy and chaotic and yelling. Business is done in the street, you jostle your way through a throng of people chatting about the weather or the quality of fabric.
The group sans Kian goes looking for Polonwe. Later, you convene on the Haystack and they explain that most of the commoners have little love for slavery, but accept it as a necessary evil. Most of the slaves sold here become indentured servants, rowers, on Keshian ships. Nahar explains that Polonwe has been enchanted with a feeblemind spell, and will be unable to communicate or comprehend instruction.