Travel: The River's Justice
Your next destination is the riverbend near Littletown, which is marked on your map as the "Pitax River Bend" area. To get there from the Rushlight Fields, follow these directions:
- South to landmark: Pitax
Ambush the River Pirates
When you arrive, you'll be treated to an Illustrated Book Episode covering your approach to the pirate camp... or camps, as the case may be.
- [Athletics 32] We slipped into the river, swimming up to the camp to take cover behind the boats.
or [Mobility 32] We began our approach by picking our way through the swamp.
or [Lore (Nature) 32] We circled around to approach from the woods, seeking some game trail or other path that could lead us through the undergrowth.
It doesn't really matter which of these checks you perform, just pick the one you're most likely to be successful with. Succeeding at any one of these checks won't get you results by itself, but it'll get you to the next phase of this Illustrated Book Episode where the results do matter.
- [Trickery 32] We made a rustling near the boats, hoping to lure and subdue a few sentries.
or [Stealth 32] We sneaked closer, hoping to launch a surprise attack.
Succeeding at either of these two follow-up checks will not only put you in an advantageous position along the southern end of the area when fighting starts, but it'll kill at least one opponent, making the ensuing battle much easier. If you picked the [Athletics 32] check last fight you'll get the option That's when our leader set fire to the boats, sowing chaos in the camps before we launched our attack! you'll start along the southern edge of the map without killing any sentries. If you botch the attempt at sneaking or just rush the pirates (at any stage of the book episode) you'll appear on the less advantageous eastern end of the map.
Battle the River Pirates
However you navigate the Illustrated Book Episode above, you'll be placed in combat with eight Pirate Brawlers (perhaps fewer if you successfully eliminated a sentry), two Pirate Alchemists, two Pirate Bards and a Pirate Cleric. The Bards will both start out with two bouts of Slow but they'll move on to Hideous Laughter before long, the Cleric summons critters before moving closer and casting Hold Person and the Alchemists will start out with Reduce Person before moving up to bomb-throwing range. The Brawlers, for their part, are mostly melee combatants with stats that are marginally better than the barbarians you fought last chapter.
If you ended up performing poorly with the Illustrated Book Episode, fighting from the east can be something of a chore, as there are plenty of Brawlers in between yourself and the squishier casters you'll want to close with. If you move your warriors too boldly, however, your casters will be vulnerable, so you have little choice but stay put, fight off the Brawlers, and try to keep yourself Hasted. Having a secondary caster here capable of applying buffs will come in handy, and you can attempt to keep the enemy casters off balance somewhat by hitting them with debuffs of your own; Chains of Light, Hold Person, Confusion, Web or Phantasmal Web may all help out considerably.
On the other hand, in the best-case scenario where you eliminate some Brawlers via Illustrated Book Episode and appear along the southern end of the area, you'll be able to rush right up to the center of camp and attack one of the Bards. Your progress will probably be clogged up by Brawlers, and you should be especially wary of one coming down from around the tent to the northwest lest he catch your casters undefended, but it's a much better situation, in general. Try to work your way to the casters, even if it's just with one warrior, and keep your own casters free from melee entanglements so they can continuously buff and debuff. When enough foes have been slain, the battle will be halted.
The Vascari Conspiracy
After indulging in some carnage, a woman named Renshala Vascari will show up to investigate the violence. Pass a [Knowledge (World)] check and you'll be able to identify her, the house she belongs to, and the true identity of the "pirates" you killed. Was Irovetti crafty enough to put plants in his tournament to leak a bogus quest to one of his foreign political rivals in order to attempt to kill off another, domestic nuisance? Suddenly his constant darkening of your name make a bit more sense - he was planting the seeds of slander for future allegations against you.
Acknowledge your mistake, after which you'll get a variety of checks to attempt to mitigate the situation. You can tell the truth without mentioning your source [Diplomacy 32], you can mention the playwright that passed on the news [Diplomacy 38], you can say you were acting in good faith [Diplomacy 25] or you can lie and say Irovetti sent you [Bluff 38] [Chaotic Neutral]. Failing any attempts at diplomacy or deceit, you can simply attack the merchants and finish your massacre.
If you lie about being an agent of Irovetti, all this will do is lure her close so you can continue the melee with her in a disadvantageous position... or you can dumbly demur after luring her over, if you just want the experience.
For more useful dialogue, pick almost anything else. Aside from experience points (more difficulty checks mean greater rewards) there's no real benefit to picking one option over another. If you implicate Eimar Deschamps you'll have to pass another [Diplomacy 25] check to get her to hear you out, after which you can pass a [Diplomacy 38] check to convince her there's a conspiracy afoot involving the playwright.
On the other hand, if you implicate Walsh Celvoway (either initially, or after mentioning Eimar) she'll more readily believe you. In this case, be sure to ask her "Can you think of something he'd gain from your death?", which will help with a Diplomacy check later on, then respond with "I'd rather ask him personally." to move things along, after which you can attempt to work together to uncover the conspiracy that brought you into conflict [Diplomacy 25] [Lawful Neutral] or seek the truth yourself [Neutral].
If you navigate the conversation with sufficient diplomacy, she'll hand you a Note From Celvoway, which gives Irovetti a motive both for wanting to kill Renshala and for using you as the implement of said execution. Alternatively, if you provoke more violence (either intentionally or through ineptitude) you'll have to fend off Renshala and her cohorts, along with any stragglers from the previous fight.
If your diplomatic finesse isn't up to the task of averting more bloodshed you'll have to deal with Renshala - not much of a threat on her own - and a few more goons. These include two more Brawlers, a Necromancer (who is keen on being a pest by casting Enervation) and another Cleric. Rush past Renshala and her Brawlers and try to cut down the casters if at all possible, then clean up. Be sure to loot Renshala for a Riversong Amulet, which gives is wearer a +5 bonus to Persuasion and Athletics checks, as well as Electricity Resistance 20. You'll also find a Note From Celvoway, which will give you the information you need to continue the quest when you read it.
Awaiting Irovetti's Next Move
Despite what events may have lead you to believe, there's nothing more you can do in these foreign lands at this time. If you try to enter Pitax you'll be rebuffed by Walsh, and it's clear Irovetti has no desire to meet with you. With that, return to your throne room and turn your attention to domestic affairs.
When you arrive, the quest A Bard's Calling should advance, if you've been keeping up on it. It's rather topical, so there's no good reason not to see it through. There's also a good chance you'll need to deal with An Ancient Curse, Part Five, which will naturally start An Ancient Curse, Part Six (which you'll deal with later, after countering Irovetti). As you pass time, the quest Runaway Throne and The Path of the Dreams will begin, too. The former is a simple enough side quest you can busy yourself with while you wait for matters with Irovetti to progress, but The Path of Dreams is somwhat more significant.
Linzi and the Storyteller should come to you with a plan to invade Nyrissa's dreams, perhaps allowing you to strike back at the fey in a meaningful way for the first time. After this conversation you'll need to complete the related kingdom project (it will be automatically completed if you set the kingdom development to auto), afterwards the quest will seemingly go dormant. You can now safely ignore this quest and deal with any other business that crops up. Given how long it will probably take for thing to develop, you'll have more than enough time to deal with any foreign threats at a leisurely pace and return home.
Speaking of which, after enough time has passed, Irovetti will finally make his next move, assaulting your kingdom with propaganda, beasts and bandits. Everything short of marching an army through your lands, essentially. Not that this threat is any less dire, as the stability of your kingdom will be undermined the longer you ignore this. These threats require you to travel back to to Irovetti's lands and deal with them, and are covered in the War of the River Kings pages. Each threat takes you to a different location, which should appear as you approach Irovetti's domain: The Menagerie, the River Blades' Camp and Littletown. Directions given will be from the Rushlight Fields area. As an aside, this technically ends the quest The Rushlight Tournament, although in practice it's been over for a while now.