After thorough preparation the heroes set off for Cauldron and the Crown of Deceit.
The trip to Cauldron was a long one, but familiar to the trio after their earlier trek to Cauldron Lake. Their horses hooves’ seemed to fly over the terrain, their canter making quick work of the journey.
At Cauldron, the trio ran into the same resistance from the guards as they had previously.
“No outsiders allowed. Draven would have our heads. Begone strangers.”
Instead of causing a scene, the three decided they would infiltrate the city by stealth. Under cover of nightfall they scaled the city walls, leaving the town none the wiser.
The next day saw the adventurers searching for information. The town was as oppressive as one could have guessed; one man was dragged through the streets despite his screaming protests. An aura of menace permeated the air, and citizens walked with heads down.
Eventually, Pylis’ persistent efforts paid off. After overhearing her asking about Draven on a street corner, a woman named Jane Grey approached the huntress.
“You have an interest in Draven?” Jane asked, careful to not be overheard.
“I wouldn’t call it an interest,” Pylis evaded.
“He is an evil man.”
“So I have heard,” Pylis agreed.
“You are a warrior.” It was not a question, and Pylis did not deny it. “If you promise to refrain from violence…I think I can help you.”
“You are a stranger to me, and I shall promise nothing.”
Jane hesitated for a second before saying, “That is fair. Draven and his vile men have taught us all to be careful where we place our faith. But I feel you are worthy of it.” With that, she slipped Pylis a scrap of parchment and faded away into the crowd.
The three followed the instructions to find the hideout of Cauldron’s rebels, a group of men and women determined to end Draven’s reign of fear. However, few were fighters and all were avidly against violence.
“If we stoop to his level we are no better than Draven himself. Problems can be solved without physical altercation.”
Despite their pacifistic views, the rebels proved to be an invaluable source of information. After Solus and Scarr gained Jane Grey’s trust, the full knowledge of the rebels was made available to the heroes.
Apparently, Draven was never officially elected to his position of High Council Member. Every year at the Time of Sifting he essentially muscled his way into receiving full marks. Technically, he holds no claim to the position and could legally be overthrown.
Of course, no one in Cauldron is brave enough to even attempt such a process.
The rebels also revealed more information regarding Draven’s personal power and that of his subordinates. Even with their considerable strength, the trio would have extreme difficulty in killing Draven outright.
Instead, Grey suggested a plan to infiltrate Draven’s personal quarters and find concrete evidence to implicate him of his crimes.
The heroes agreed to this plan and also to the preparation it involves.
On the way back to the Inn, a group of men led by Carik the Half-Orc (Draven’s second-in-command) attacked the group. Carik himself proved to be a ferocious barbarian and nearly as strong as Solus. But his lackeys were not quite as skilled, and together Pylis and Scarr eliminated them in a matter of seconds. Carik was no match for the full force of the trio and soon fled the scene.