We continued our journey through the night. One benefit of having met the refugees was that several of them were able to vouch for Bakari and me and, as a result, the guardsmen removed our manacles after receiving our oaths not to escape. Bakari engaged in some Cuthbertian proselytizing (when he wasn't seeking the hero-worship of pre-pubescent boys) among the civilians. Soon we arrived at Chaelhelm. With Bakari insisting upon getting some sleep, it was left to me to make a report to the Lord Inan, the High Commander of the North. Rowan, representing the refugees, came as well.
So it was that we finally all met on the plains outside Chaelhelm. Bakari cast Holy Storm, ensuring that no evil could intrude upon our negotiations. Lord Inan created a circle of silver powder within which a zone of truth would prevent deception by any party. So it was that most, if not all, of our respective cards were laid on the table. There was much palavering, posturing, and protestation. In the end, however, the Commander seemed satisfied that we were not his enemies. He suggested that we seek answers to our questions in Alassiël and so it seems it is there that we must turn our path. The road is long, but happily I have a magical ever-full feed bag for our horses! I am sure that despite his grumbling Bakari will come to value the wisdom of this purchase. And there is more good news: it looks like the young paladin Rowan will accompany us. His will be a welcome presence and an exemplar of virtue for the others.