An Absent Companion
As you eat your breakfast, you notice Gaven is not present. When you ask Sal about him, he tells you Gaven went to the temple alone for morning prayers before the rest of you arose.
Gaven's Visit to the Church
(OOC: the "you" in this section refers only to Gaven, of course)
As the duties of the Servants of the Light require them to get up only at sunrise, you are uncertain whether you will find anyone at the Temple at such an early hour. However, when you arrive you find the front door to the Temple unlocked, though the hall is empty of worshippers. The Temple's white walls, its cleanliness and freshness, make you feel at home. You kneel not long in silent prayer before you hear quiet footsteps enter the chapel behind you.
Closing your meditation, you stand and face an elderly, white-haired cleric who greets you and presents himself as the Abbot Cuthbert.
"How good it is to meet one of the militant order, young Gaven! As you surely know, we here in Fairbrook are mainly healers repairing the damage of chaos. However, we hold in the highest regard those of your order who pursue and defeat chaos at its sources."
When you speak of Elsie and Bill, the cleric shakes his head sadly. "These are grave times," he says. "Though I have not been there, I have heard of this grove. Often have I warned the young people of Fairbrook about the dangers of courting far from the eyes of parents."
"I have no advice to give you in such a quest, but I can offer you this." Abbot Cuthbert reaches into his robe and withdraws a small vial filled with a pale blue liquid. "It is not magical," he quickly adds, anticipating your query. "However, this draught calms broken nerves and eases emotional suffering. If your two young people are the victims of any grave fear – and for their sake I hope not – this may be of use. May the Light shine on your endeavor and help you to find those two young souls."
Breakfast at the Red Tankard
"Shall we head towards this 'Lover's Grove' then?" Oloc asks. "I think an early start would be a good idea. After the information we received last night it would appear that more is afoot than I first expected."
"I am in agreement with Oloc, something is remiss," says Varros. "In addition to generating goodwill amongst these townsfolk, 500 coin would be a substantial addition to our funds. Onward."
Having finished rubbing lineament into his bow flexible Duran adds: "I agree it sounds like our course should be to 'Lover's Grove,' as soon as we are all assembled we should leave. It seems it might be better to investigate this place in the day light."
The group is nearly finished breakfast, when Gaven returns. The sky is starting to brighten, and it promises to be a clear warm day. Gaven sits at the table to quickly take his breakfast. "I agree, we should head for 'Lover's Grove' to investigate."
You pack your gear and make for the north gate, reaching it as the sun rises to the level of the rooftops. Passing the watchtower, you advance northward up the Woodfield Road. You march a half mile along the road, and you easily spot the grove on a low, gently sloped hill to your right, just as the young man in the Red Tankard had described.
From the road you can see that the grove consists of an apple orchard with trees originally planted in straight lines along the slopes. At the top of the hill, through a gap in the trees, you can see the remains of a farmhouse, whose roof is mostly collapsed. Many of the trees still bear apples, but it is clear that the orchard hasn't been tended in at least a generation. The time is roughly seven o'clock in the morning, and the sun shines brightly on the east side of the hill.
If there's any last-minute gear you'd like to buy, just let me know. We'll just say you swing by the general store on your way to the gate.
Also, from the PCs' point of view, only Gaven knows about the vial, unless he chooses to tell the group (which he can easily do on the march to the Grove if he wishes).
Since I started you guys so late in the first in-game day, I won't charge you the cost of living for that day. Cost of living calculations will start with the current date of 4 July, the first full in-game day (if you end up coming back to town to spend the night).
Lastly, I've added sunrise and sunset times, by month, to the West Kingdom Info Page (in the section on Calendar and Moon Cycles).