It was clear from conversation around town (not considering the dolorous wailing of the Waterless Whales as conversation) that:
- there was a tension between the constable Eltre and mayor Jaehn in Harmuth
- the town was dependent on the paper mills and the fishing industry – which seemed at odds
- there was a festival coming up in the town
- everyone was ignoring the static storm building off Harmuth’s coast on the Sea of Secrets
Now that they had rooms at The Jewel Box, the first stop was the mayor’s office.
The diminutive town administrator, Jaehn, assisted by his obviously-mutant assistant Willa (over 7′ tall and ridiculously long of limb). Stroking his waxed mustaches nervously as the 3 priests accused him of all sorts of things he clearly didn’t fully understand, the mayor stuttered his explanations that he understood the war was underway, that the Steadfast – and more importantly Navarene – definitely had things in hand. Of course, he would pass their reports of weapons and danger on to the Synod he reported to at the Monolith. He would use his Communicator in the corner to pass the information along.
Takir examined the device and passed on to Hasver that the bell-jar numenera with the glowing gloop in it, and the ticker attached, was a virtual Panopticon – a device capable of massive farseeing and mind-state transmission that had been hardset at its most basic level to give limited 2-way “voice” communications to a fixed location. It seemed likely the device was powered or anchored to some local power transmission that was not immediately obvious.
Assuring the Mayor they would be looking into the storm, the group left him exhausted and confused in his office, wishing them a happy festival weakly, as the assistant bent down to offer them cucumber sandwiches and tea on their way out.
A small-child/huge-adult family fishing on the black flag-marked pier directed them to the boiling water near a large, narrow boat on the other side of the pier. Cagyn Rilid eventually emerged to invite the Truthy group onto his moored home, The Seer.
He was an oceanographic mapper, and had a complicated display dotted with manual dials, switches and buttons that – they quickly figured out – showed a contour-mapped display of the ocean floor that Cagyn had been developing using various technologies. He was, however, terrified of ocean voyaging and unable to swim (he used a contraption to hold him breathing and researching underwater in the bay), he regretfully declined to accompany them.
He did tell them that gharolan was harvested from small organisms that clustered near the thermal vents in the ocean floor out in the Sea of Secrets. He confirmed what they’d heard from Abria, the owner of their inn, the Jewel Box, that there was a white-haired man named Frund who did harvest gharolan, but Cagyn told them he did it to help his dying partner survive some painful ailment and he would likely have no spare gharolan to sell. Given the storm brewing over the Sea, near the vents themselves, Cagyn doubted Frund had been able to harvest much in the last few weeks. It might not hurt to ask, though….
On the map Cagyn showed them some strange disturbances around the thermal vents that looked something like a structure – but on the ocean floor.
Cagyn scribbled down a helpful list of suggestions for succeeding on their ocean-going adventure:
and sent them away with a menu for some of Elstow’s Wharfside underwater survival goods: