Setting out from the Silver Unicorn our adventurers think that they might investigate another route. After confronting a flock of urchins and a bit of fun discovering that in fact they were being followed by agents of another competitor in the race, the Gnome! (Gozungas?) Having sent the urchins home a little bit richer the 3rd set out to seek another route. Following the City wall along the eastern side of the city (after securing the aid of some wall guards in a possible short-cut) they came across a small storehouse being (seemingly) guarded, they were told to leave, after an attempt to simply pass through, the 3rd was left no choice but to battle through the “guards”.
Once finished with the “guards” the 3rd was set-upon by the actual city guards and escorted to the Keep to be held until judged. Reviewing what they knew our adventurers all recalled that the fake guards (who were attempting to steal supplies from a storehouse) all had hammered Iron rings upon their right hands; and that one had mentioned “The Circle”.
After a brief meeting with the city’s Lord the 3rd was sent back to the Silver Unicorn where they rested until the morning. That night they dispatched String into the city to buy-off some fisherman to establish a boat-bridge across the river to help Mighty Craig with his attempt at the race. In the morning the 3rd set out to the city gate.
At the gate Duncan (by chance) noticed that three of his fellow runners all had bands of lighter skin on their right ring fingers, following a hunch he decided not to run the race, but to follow the trio of conspicuous runners.
The Bell rung and the gate rising Crag & Telly bolted for the river as Duncan chased the trio in the the city proper. As Crag crossed the river and Telly rescued an Elvish runner, Duncan followed the Trio as they split up (following two of them up some cliffs to a cave). Crag made amazing time up the far side of the bank and up the cliff face, as Telly back-tracked back into the city and noticed one of the trio of runners and gave chase.
Duncan meanwhile had called out the two conspirators at the cave mouth and after a short scramble for a knife cut his losses and headed into the cave to stop the other runner who was heading into the darkness. Crag, way ahead of the crowd rung a bell and headed back into the city. The knife fight in the cave came to an end (one of the trio of runners telling that the Circle shall tighten around your throat) as Telly caught up to Duncan and splitting up again Duncan saw to the binding and holding of the prisoners while Telly investigated the caves (only to discover that they connected to the tomb discovered in the Tombswood the day before).
Crag was making amazing progress and was running down the the last leg of the race. Telly watched as runners passed the tomb the Gnome among them and seemingly surprised at the lack of assailants, the 3rd man which had gone missing showed back up and Telly gave chase, and Duncan headed into the cave to stumble around in the darkness.
Crag, the Half-Orc, a Town guard, and the Gnome all launched their assault upon the mage tower as Craig tripped a booby trap, but still managed to be 1/2 was up the tower before anyone could reach it, noting that the Gnome seemed prepared for the smoke bomb that went off. Telly followed her runner to a stable where he stole a horse and rand like smoke and oakum! Crag managed to dodge the Gnome’s tricks and made it to the top reaching out and throwing the Gnomes’ shortcomings in his face! Overcome with victory Crag danced atop the tower the Lord of the city and town guards watching as the Gnome beneath everyone’s notice produced a poisoned blade and attacked the Lord Warden, injuring him badly.
A town guard running the race, named Garth, launched an attack against the Gnome and the pair of them tumbled from the tower and fell to their deaths. The Lord Warden injured (possibly for life), and the city celebrating with a mixed bag of victory and mourning our adventurers return to the Inn a few hundred gold richer, but feeling uneasy at the discovery of such a conspiracy and wondering of this Circle that seems ever-present and malicious.