Back at Fort Tylmer, the party takes a much needed rest. Jurak is treated by both Arem and Reed, and after a few days is seen back on his feet, drinking with the folks from Briare street. Preparations for the big autumn festival are under way, and the keep is hosting visitors and merchants from all over. Koteth spends his days practicing the game of Leatherball, a favourite local sport. Arjan works on gathering songs and folklore of the Rivemar region, in the hopes of performing during the festival. Samuel is asked by Commander Marik to train a number of the young recruits, including the commander’s 14 year old grandson, Albrecht. Jacen makes himself a small shrine in an alcove of the abandoned church in the middle of town. And Lasheous tries (unsuccessfully) to charm his way into an administrative role within the keep.
During one of the big events (the pole combat) the party is impressed by a brash, fearless and rather drunken dwarf, who’s wobbly stance even on the firm ground belies how solid his stances is. Taking all of Jakob’s racist insults in stride, he blocks Jakob’s staff swing with his head, shuddering the staff and sending Jakob off balance and into the mud some ten feet below. The dwarf introduces himself as Moss, and, taking an immediate liking to Jacen, takes him drinking, if only to have someone to talk to about various conspiracy theories involving the State, Blue Sprites, and the uses of Redthistle to combat scabies.
The party (joined by an enthusiastic/drunken Moss) gets together to participate in the Leahterball tournament, a muddy, full-contact sport that has poor, thin Jacen tackled so hard it leaves a furrow in the field. Things don’t look well at all at the final match, with Jakob’s gang making an appearance. Jakob’s gang has always been undefeated, but Lasheous had previously managed to gather snippets of the burly man’s game plan. With Lash’s coordination and a solid blocking wall of Samuel and Moss, the heroes manage to score and win the game, earning themselves a trophy (and earning Lash a considerable amount of money from the bets he previously made against Jakob). Moss latches on to the team, and the whole party retires to Marta’s tavern for drinks.