Asking around for possible work in Guran, the party heard that the local Sarracenian temple had been looking for people to undertake a job gathering botanical specimens for them. Enquiring at the temple, they were told by one of the priests that the job involved gathering a dozen examples of an unidentified plant which grew somewhere in the foothills of the Black Riage. They were given special bags to put the plants in that would ensure the specimens stayed alive through the journey back to the temple, some basic instructions on how to dig up plants without damaging them, and promised 30 shins for each plant they brought back alive and intact.
Since it had become clear that agents of the yellow Serpent gang were in Guran looking for Drax, the party decided that they would move on once they had completed the job for the Sarracenians.
After a lengthy and fruitless search of the foothills, a single example of the plants was finally spotted in a clearing in which there was a recently abandoned campsite. Investigating the tents that had been left behind, notes were discovered that suggested that the campsite had been used by a group called “The Steel Star”, an outlawed band described as brigands by the local authorities, and for whom a reward was being offered, including a very large one for their leader, Sintar.
After bagging the plant, another specimen was noticed, and while hunting for signs of any more, Tran ventured into the surrounding woods and experienced what seemed to be a strange temporal displacement effect. Although he managed to find his way back to the rest of the group at the time he had left them, the entire group then found themselves witnessing a fight between the Steel Star members camped in the clearing and some soldiers, presumably in the recent past. One of the Steel Star fled from her captors and begged the party to save her from the soldiers. The soldiers seemed oblivious to the party, or to where their captive had gone, and left the clearing with their prisoners in tow.
The woman transpired to be Sintar, the leader of the Steel Star, and seemed to be suffering from a delusional state, and made little sense, but it appeared that the Steel Star regarded themselves as rebels fighting against the tyranny of the nobility, especially the Baron Asdren, whose lands lay somewhere further north in the Black Riage region.
Following the trail out of the far side of the clearing in search of further plant specimens, the party soon became subjected to increasingly bizarre and disorientating temporal and possibly special displacement effects, bur managed to find a more of the required plants, in ever increasing numbers, until they came upon a small valley filled with the strange flowers.
When Vance had to scrape some of the synthetic flesh from his face after it became infested with spores from a flower in the vale, Sintar revealed that she was an automaton, and that this had been the main cause of the recent split in the Steel Star movement.
After a fight with a huge and dangerous creature, which they managed to drive off, they continued to search for a way out of the valley. They found none, but eventually discovered Gunnar, another member of the Steel Star hiding in a pit, who told them of a tower he’d seen in the centre of the vale, which he thought might possibly hold clues to finding a way out.
Arriving at the tower, the party found it inhabited by bestial humanoids under the control of a human, the Lady Weiss, and the two strange beings she referred to as her children.
When hearing of the groups encounter with the monster in the valley, Lady Weiss offered to transport them out of the vale if they tracked down the creature and finished it off.
After accomplishing this, Lady Weiss used a numenera device to instantaneously transport the party back to the clearing where they had first encountered Sintar. An argument ensued about whether to turn Sintar in for the reward money, since it had turned out not to be possible to take specimens of the plants out of the vale due to the temporal warping effect they appeared to generate.
Eventually it was agreed not to turn Sintar in, and Vance decided to accompany her to Ingwald where they would meet up with Tran and Gautis, after the two sorcerer’s had gone back to Guran to report their findings about the plants to the Sarracenians.