Gamora registers for the float competition with 7 other competitors for the closing ceremony. She is anxious and can’t wait for the competition.
Cora and Jean Luc try to estimate where the Cult of the Dragon is headed. They shop for a map and meet a gnome cartographer who sells them a fine quality map. The party has breakfast at the Green Tankard and make the acquaintance of the dwarf owner, Garwin Rockbottom, who asks them their story. The party gives a fake story and the dwarf seems to enjoy it, buying them a round of ale. Over breakfast, they try to determine the potential heading of the Cult, but their information is incomplete and they can’t make any determination.
Gamora asks the dwarf about Dreadmore or Graverson. The Dwarf claims to have heard the name Graverson before but can’t place it. Cora realizes that Vayer Graverson is the half-dragon who killed the dragon Ashardalon 100 years ago, and is a chosen of Bahamut. Jean Luc also remembers that he was a traveling companion and friend to Kalu Starglimmer, a legendary archmage from Silverymoon who went missing nearly a century ago. Cora is shocked to realize that Gamora’s biological father is the Vayer Graverson.
Cora asks Garwin about Altormagnus and how his disappeared. The dwarf says he is unsure, but that Old Barnaby claims to have seen the whole thing, and she should ask him.
Rusty points out the location from the map he found on his ship on the map Cora and Jean Luc acquire. He tells the party that the ship once belonged to a dragon hunter named Sigurd. He believes that the map leads to either Sigurd’s base or possibly a potential target, both of which could be valuable. Realizing it would take about a week to arrive, they hold off until after they meet Leosin.
After breakfast, each of the party members separate to handle some last-minute tasks.
Jean Luc and Mags go shopping for materials for his spellbook. Mags takes Jean Luc outside of Loudwater to a hidden shrine to Bahamut on top of the hill. She says a prayer which Jean Luc recognizes as a Gold Dragon prayer. Jean Luc gives his own prayer of thanks and leaves one of the Cult of the Dragon symbols as an offering. As he turns to leave, he notices in its place is a holy symbol of Bahamut. Jean Luc takes this and the two make their way back.
Cora makes an old acquaintance from her early adventuring days named Harlin Blackthorne. He and their old traveling companion Reven are heading into the Underdark for a treasure hunting expedition. Cora says she may be interested. They agree to meet at the Fisher’s Friend Pub later to discuss in more detail.
As Gamora and Rusty are eating their lunch, they run into Dru who is wearing a lovely dress. When asked if she had purchased it, she smirks and joins them.
Gamora goes to the preliminary competition placement, where each of the 8 champions will throw a weighted ball to determine who picks first. Each of the rather strong men and women hurl their shot puck. When Gamora takes her turn, she is clearly the smallest of the group that turned out this day. She lifts her shot puck and it swiftly flies across the room where it embeds itself into the wall. She looks over the float totems and chooses the Dragon float as her own.
The party asks the town leader, Lady Moonfire, if she would be available for an audience. She dismisses the party, saying she is rather busy, but will speak with them after the festival closes.
The party decides to go shopping for a gift for Lady Moonfire. Knowing she was a former adventurer, they purchase her a unique concealed knife from Starra’s Knife shop. Gamora gets one for herself as well.
As the final ceremony is about to begin, the contestants gather at their floats. Lady Moonfire gives a speech where she recounts all the darkness Loudwater has seen, and how the floats represent the dark foes the city has faced. As the champions push their floats away and they float down the river, she asks the people of Loudwater to remember that they are strong and can away any evil that enters their city. There is a cheer and she rings the bell. The race beings.
Gamora flies out of the starting spot, her superior strength dominating the race. She notices that Megana, the town blacksmith and only other female competitor, is doing much better than in the preliminary competition, though she is not anywhere near close to Gamora. She crashes through every obstacle; barriers, pyres, and the river itself, where the massive flaming dragon float gets stuck in the sand. Refusing to lose, she roars into a rage as she lifts the float overhead and hurls the massive flaming dragon float into the river. Bells ring as she is pronounced the champion of the event. Other competitors push the floats into the river as well, though one abandons their float all together. Gamora throws that one into the river as well. She is awarded a 500 gp purse and a Potion of Giant Strength.
The party returns to the Tavern for celebrations. Gamora is highly praised and celebrated. Everyone cheers her and buys her drinks.
Rusty and Cora speak with Old Barnaby. They ask him about the night Altormagnus disappeared. The old man tells the tale of how the Gold Dragon was struck out of the sky by a lightning bolt. He says that his body turned to ash, and the sky looked like it snowed that day. Cora was surprised that others had not mentioned this. The old man had little to say to that, though he did comment that he was rather disappointed that the Gold Dragon has been characterized as a town villain, and it pained him to see his effigy burned and sent downriver. He says while in the end the dragon made life a bit difficult for the people of Loudwater, without him they would had been much worse off.
Soon Lady Moonfire joins the festivities and sits at Gamora’s table. They present her a gift, which she appreciates, and she thanks the group. She is brunt but pleasant company, though she makes no attempt to mask that the week has been rather exhausting to her. They discuss with her about the Cult of the Dragon raids and the operations in the area. They ask her if she has any information that could aid them. She says she doesn’t, but recommends contacting the Emerald Enclave in the South Woods. She also makes an offhand comment about how she swears this town is cursed. After this discussion, Rusty (under the effects of a Charisma boosting spell) proposes they have a little fun together. Lady Moonfire doesn’t seem opposed to it, provided Rusty cleans himself up. She soon leaves, followed by Jean Luc.
Jean Luc thanks her for her time and proceeds to show her how to use the hidden blade. She smiles and thanks him for the gift. Dru, who had followed them outside, waves her hand and ensnares Jean Luc in a hold person spell. Unable to move, Jean Luc watches helplessly as Dru fires a green ray at Lady Moonfire, which wracks her body in pain and kills her instantly. The drow touches Jean Luc’s cheek, smiles, and vanishes.
Seconds later, Jean Luc is surrounded by guards. One of them shouts, “It’s the wizard from the duel! He killed Lady Moonfire! Arrest him!”
A stunned Jean Luc finds himself surrounded by guards, framed for a murder he did not commit.