Still in the Syrneth ruin, our heroes had a slight… discussion regarding some books that Fabiana wanted to take with her, since they contained Syrneth writing and anatomical diagrams of both Syrneth and humans, proving that at some point in history the two had coexisted. Morgan attempted to free Ailsa of the coin, to no avail. The conclusion was that the ruins didn’t really contain anything that would have sent Karl Thomas Steiner running in terror. Weird, not scary.
With some lucky tracking, Ailsa spotted the signs of someone wearing much better boots than she could afford; lacking further options, they followed the trail. Upon smelling woodsmoke, Joachim and Morgan sneaked ahead and discovered a ramshackle hut in a clearing, inhabited by a man and a creature the size of a large dog. Morgan lured the inhabitant to the window by turning one of his cups into a bird, and identified him as the missing Prince Hans.
They introduced themselves, and discovered that Hans was in possession of a small drachen. Ailsa promptly befriended it and named it Rupert. Further discussion revealed that Hans had been partially merged with the awakening spirit of Eisen when he had been shot outside the ruin by explorers,and had only just begun to reconcile his human mind with the mind of the ruined country. COMPLICATED.
Joachim pulled no emotional punches and convinced him to return to Siegsberg to see his father. Fabiana insisted on some beautifying before they left the clearing, for morale’s sake, and Ailsa butchered a deer to make a disguise for Rupert.
Upon return to the Eisenfurst palace in Siegsberg, Gisela dragged Hans to the throne room to see his father, and Reinhard came out of his catatonia. The heroes left the Eisenfurst and his son to reunite and retired to Gisela’s study, where Rupert revealed an unexpected talent, as it showed them a hidden door behind a bookcase.
When they discovered that Gisela had no knowledge of the hidden door and secret passage, the heroes, drachen, and Gisela proceeded to follow the passage, because with the addition of a cute animal they have turned into the Scooby Gang. The passage led to the treasury and leg out near the guards barracks; Ailsa and Joachim elected to remain in the passage with Rupert to ambush whoever came through, reasoning that that person was probably behind funds going missing from the treasury.
That person turned out to be Gisela’s brother Klaus, who had a name destined for villainy. He was remanded to the dungeons, with Rupert showing extreme dislike.
The next day, Reinhard and Hans spoke to the heroes, offering them reward (gems, weapons, trade treaties) and Hans disguised Rupert so that she could keep traveling with them, reasoning that she would have more fun with them than locked up in a castle. He explained that Eisen waking up was unintended, but was a result of something happening that was going to damage the Veil, and that the other countries would probably be joining him.
Reasoning that she was already awake and thus likely to be less grumpy and confused, the heroes decided that the next step on their journey would be Ussura, to talk to Matushka.