The party arrives at the gates of Loudwater at dusk. They approach the guard at the gates, who states that only residents or authorized travelers may enter. After a failed bribe attempt, Dru tries to convince him, but realizing she is a Drow, he calls for assistance. As more guards assemble, Mags steps up and pulls out an iron coin and declares herself as Yashira Reign, a representative of the Iron Circle Trading Guild, and demands entrance. After a few moments the guards stand aside and let them through.
Realizing there are no open rooms in the inn due to the festival, Rusty rents space at the dock and unfolds his magic boat. Inspecting the cabin he learns that the ship is called Fafnir and was owned by a dragon hunter named Sigurd nearly 150 years ago. He notices a map in the cabin marking an uninhabited area on the eastern side of Highwater Lake, south of Loudwater. He suspects it may be either Sigurd’s lair, or the lair of a dragon he was hunting. He decides to bring this to the party’s attention later, he returns to reading his magic tome.
The rest of the party makes their way to a shop called Low Point Sundries, owned by a halfling couple, Shay and Vic. Shay explains about the Festival of Deliverance, which is an annual event where they celebrate the fallen heroes that stood against the forces of evil that threatened to destroy the city.
He names several heroes including Sir Liam of Helm, Nightshade of Myth Drannor, Altormagnus the Gold Dragon, and a halfing champion named Gragor. Shay goes on to describe the festival’s main events, in which some of the party decide to participate. After their questions are answered, the party purchases some magic items:
Jean Luc purchases a scroll and a pair of sending stones.
Gamora buys a bag of holding and two healing potions.
Mags buys a fierce looking flail for Rusty.
Dru and Howard attempt to buy an Ebony fly, but find they cannot afford the price.
Jean Luc and Dru buy Rusty a barrel of ale which is carried via Tenser Floating Disc. A boy, noticing Jean Luc’s use of magic, gives him a flier about the mage duel in tomorrow’s events.
Gamora and Mags go shopping and buy some new clothes and winter cloaks for themselves and the party. They head to dinner together in a small gnomish restaurant in a hidden part of town. Mags speaks gnomish to the servers and they treat them well. When she offers to pay, the gnomes refuse and wish her well.
Gamora notices an old human ranger also in this restaurant and makes her acquaintance with him. He reminds her of her father, and she asks the ranger if he knows him. The man says that he is familiar with a Dredmore who he met at the “mountain” but hasn’t seen him in a long time. Gamora says good-bye and leaves, finding that Mags has already left.
Meanwhile, Cora goes to the inn for dinner and speaks with a few locals. She learns a bit about the town’s history, including that the city was constantly terrorized by evil forces for nearly 200 years. She learns that Underdark creatures, a Shade named Shadowheart, and even the Gold Dragon Altormagnus had enslaved the city at one time or another.
Altormagnus, she learns, appeared during the Spellplague and had fought against the evils of the city and the region, liberating it and helping the people. But over time he became so possessive that he had become a tyrant, until one day he vanished. Some say he was struck by lighting and was never seen again. On the day of his vanishing 13 years ago, they began the tradition of the Festival of Deliverance.
They party returns to the boat for the evening. Jean Luc reaches out to Leosin, telling him they are in Loudwater. Leosin says he will arrive in three days and to keep a low profile until then.
The next morning, the party wakes to see Rusty still up all night reading. They leave the boat and head into the festival. Gamora signs up for the opening obstacle course, as does Dru. Jean Luc signs up for the mage dueling event. Realizing that he has never dueled before, the registering mage gives him the Mage Duel ritual and a counterspell scroll for him to learn.
The opening ceremonies are led by Lady Moonfire, the half-elf leader of Loudwater. As the festivities begin, the first runner, the oldest man in Loudwater, begins the obstacle course. He doesn’t get far but the people cheer. Next is Gamora, who fails at the third obstacle. Dru eventually goes and nearly makes it to end, but soon is washed away by the river as she loses her footing at the third floating barrel obstacle. The old ranger that Gamora met the night before attempts the course and nearly makes it as far as Dru, but he falls at the second barrel. Some of the party observe that it was almost intentional.
The old ranger makes his way to shore where he is met by a gray skinned half-elf who asks him what he was doing. The old ranger replies with a smile he was trying to stand out so he would be easier to find. Also wanted to see if he lost his step in his old age.
Cora, rather frustrated with all the fun and games, keeps a distance and watches the crowd. Watching the old ranger she observes the reunion and senses something familiar about the half-elf. As she moves to get a closer she loses them in the crowd.
The next event is the Drunken Trivia game, where the party must answer trivia questions and drink after each round. The team that gets the answer correct must drink a victory shot as well. Mags convinces Rusty to stop reading and help them in this event. He reluctantly agrees and they compete under the team name “Dragonslayers.” The party takes a strong lead at first but soon lose Dru to her weak constitution. Even Gamora has a hard time against the powerful drinks in the second round. Mags seems to have the answer to several historical questions regarding Loudwater, recalling the name of a hero named Sir Rikas who died repelling the drow invaders.
The party wins, but as per the rules, someone from the team must rise from the table to claim the prize or it is forfeit. With much of the team passed out from the strong drink, only Rusty gets on his feet. He makes his way across the room to claim the trophy and their prize, a decanter of endless water. Rusty takes a victory drink and the crowd cheers. He makes his way back to the party and uses lesser restoration to revive the party and then makes his way back to the docks to finish reading his book.
Next is the Mage Duel event where Jean Luc finds himself the only competitor. He faces the mage at the registration desk. They complete the dueling ritual and fight a rather intense duel. Powerful spells are hurled and countered, but in the end Jean Luc is victorious.
The mage congratulates him on a well fought duel his and offers him his prize, a Candlekeep Archive Spellbook. Jean Luc asks him his name and he introduces himself as Flip. They shake hands and Jean Luc offers to buy him a drink; the two make their way to the tavern.