We flew Rho's Gyrosquid to Italy – or tried to. For some reason we gave Maru the helm, and soon found ourselves crashing outside Nice, substantially off-course. There we ran into a human explorer / sorceress, Lady Emilia, and her brownie footman, Jeffrey. We brownies got the ship righted while several members of our company discussed joining Emilia in her hunt for dragons. Fortunately, someone reminded the assembled adventurers we had a mission scheduled, or a "picnic" as we attempted to call it when Emilia and Jeffrey were within earshot.
Back in the skies, we soon reached Bard. Owen Daniels set the Gyrosquid down outside town and we split ways to do some investigations of Fort Bard and its surrounding settlement:
* I turned ethereal to investigate the fort directly, and soon discovered that most of its walls and doors were iron-lined… Apparently it's quite old, though, and a number of the repairs did not include the metal lining. I eventually found my way to the wine cellar and discovered it had many hidden cabinets, but they didn't contain anything obviously noteworthy. There was also no "drawer 42" to match the packing slip from the crate. Also, they seem to be out of Rho's wine.
* The artillery on the fort is quite modern, having been recently installed by British soldiers who are still on hand to train their Italian counterparts.
* The guards appear more numerous, active, and alert than usual – both by my own observation and by Noemie's investigations.
* The gents investigating a town managed to get some maps from the folks there.
* The most recent shipment of Rho's wine is overdue.
After comparing notes with my friends, I headed along the road toward Paris to discover what had happened to Noemie's courier boyfriend. (None of the others can move near as quickly as I can while ethereal.) I found his cart several miles up the road – and him in a bar nearby. I took the form of a Bard guardswoman to question him about the missing shipment. It seems that Noemie (or her doppelganger, more likely), knocked him out and took the crate. He was drinking away all his money, certain he was to lose his job. Taking pity on him, I made a replicate crate (and got a new wine bottle from Rho's ship). I was able to have this second counterfeit crate in his possession shortly before dawn. I reported in to the others and took a nap.