After the events of the morning, the ragtag group was excited to receive their reward that was promised by Sergeant Woodhall. They made their way to Constable Allistar’s hall in the Noble’s Quarters. The Constable’s hall was less of a hall and more of a make shift servant’s house turned into a hall. The actual hall had been commandeered by the Imperial Captain when the Empire occupied Cinder City. The Constable has made the house work, but things are more cramped than he would like. The front room acts as a waiting room for district pages, and his own pages must filter all the requests coming into the house.
As the group arrived at the house, they could see it was already full of pages from other districts. Most page’s district could be determined by their attire. The guildsman page wore a smock, and had dirty hands, while the dock’s page wore loose fitting clothes and smelled heavily of fish and sweat. The Constable was not immediately visible, but when approached the Constable’s receptionist at the table, ushered the party into a back room where they could speak with the Constable privately.
The back room was nothing more than a grand dining room turned into a meeting room. There was a large table in the center and a few candles around the room to give it light. The windows have been boarded up to give privacy and no other light is present in the room. There was only one other door in the back of the room.
Feeling a sense of prison and confinement Jakob and Roan immediately kept their back to the wall but stayed near the door in case they needed to flee. Roan for the first time noticed Sloan was not there. He had started towards the Constable’s hall, but had disappeared in the crowd as they walked over the great bridge. Roan began to feel more uncomfortable as he waited. Looking for something to occupy his mind he began looking for something to steal.
Tetherys, Errol and Andrew all took seats at the table. A short time later a man dressed in fine clothes entered the room from the other door. He was accompanied by a small woman with black hair and poor clothes. Also coming in behind him and closing the door was an imposing figure in chain mail armor. He had an air of nobility around him, but lacked the refinements of retainers and expensive armor. They all took a seat at the table. The man in the fine clothes introduced himself as Constable Allistar and the young woman as Zhun. The large man in chain mail introduced himself as Sir Chados Longspur of the House Longspur. He flashed a signet ring to prove his statement, and Jakob took notice of the ring and began to evaluate its worth in the Underbridge.
Allister began speaking after introductions, “I appreciate you all coming up here. I would like to thank you in the assistance of the events this morning. If it weren’t for you, Kalin would still be alive.”
Andrew interrupted, “Actually we believe he still is alive.” The rest of the people at the table were shocked. Andrew and Sloan were the only two close enough to hear the sergeant when he said the hanged man was not Kalin. He explained to the table that the man pulled down from the gallows did not have his mouth sewn shut like Kalin did.
“This is disturbing news…” Allister said as he noticed everyone else at the table was equally shocked. “Finding Kalin is of the utmost importance. His group, the Black Hand have been causing havoc in the area for years and it is time they are brought to justice. How much do you all know about the Black Hand?” As he looked around he saw blank stares.
“The Black Hand is a group of five adventurers. No one knows where they hail from. They do not seem to have any tendency towards the Empire or against it. Instead they benefit from the chaos brought by the uprising. What we know is there is Kalin an infamous blood mage, Hagaard the strong the large man many of you met in the courtyard this morning, Malisse an elven archer and assassin, Garin Swansong an gnome thief of renown, and a fifth mystery man or woman.” Seeing the confusion he continued, “The last person has been reported by many people who have been attacked by the Black Hand, or even tortured. All survivors remember seeing or talking to this mysterious fifth member, but cannot remember their face, height, build or any distinguishing features.”
Jakob was half listening to the conversation at the table and was still waiting for his reward, but when he heard the name Garin Swansong, his attention shifted. He knew who Garin was, and knew what he was in Cinder City. “What was the reward exactly? Woodhall mentioned a reward.”
Stunned by the abruptness, the Constable set a small bag of gold on the table. “For your heroics this morning we were prepared to reward you all with 20 gold each. That is 120 gold coins, even though you seem to have lost someone.” Sensing that matter closed, he continued, “I have many issues throughout the city that could use the skills of the people in this room. Finding Kalin and his despicable group has the highest priority, but there has been reports of a large pack of wolves attacking people on the Kings Road north of here, worse reports of orc raids to the Thar to the east of us and a Gargoyle in the guildsman district.”
As the group discussed their plans to track the barbarian from this morning and try to gather more information about the Black Hand, the door to the entrance room burst open and old man enters the room, leaning heavily on a gold-tipped ivory cane with a handle shaped like a lion’s head. Most of the people in the room recognize him as Woarsten Nanther a local noble from a highly respected house. He has a slight disheveled appearance of a man who hasn’t slept in days. He fixes his gaze upon each of you, and says “I wish to pay 1000 gold pieces to find my son Oreal. While he is a grown man and I don’t follow his activities on a daily basis, he hasn’t been seen for five days and I have begun to fear the worse.”
Chandos introduced himself as Sir Chados Longspur of the House Longspur to Woarsten and gave his seat to the old man. After taking a seat he continued, “I have exhausted all prudent avenues of investigation, but with the increased orc raiding to the North and to the East and the heightened tension caused by the missing sons, I am afraid I have little to show for it. I must warn you there are many enemies or House Nanther both within the city and outside its walls. Some no doubt wish to take advantage of this distraction and undermine my authority. Such is the politics of this wretched city.
“Please bring me my son, forcibly if need be, but safely. If you find the other scions, please return them as well, I am sure the other houses would blame house Nanther if there were any harm inflicted upon them. Just to be clear though I am paying 1000 gold coins to the group for Oreal’s safe return.”
With that he clarified some of the politics in the Nobles Quarters and listed the houses. In the council there are representatives of the three great houses, Nanther, Leygorn and Bruil. There are also rotating Guild Masters currently from the Armorers’ Gild, the Weavers’ Guild and the Smiths’ Guild as well as the elected Magistrate. He explained the other missing youths are Argens Bruil, Kalman Leygorn from the high houses and Eliant Marsk and Kara Calaudra from lesser noble houses.
During this conversation another page entered the room and handed a parchment to Constable Allistar. After reading the parchment his face grew worried and he seemed to not want to be in the room anymore. Nanther excused himself and told the heroes if there was anything else he could do to aid in the investigation, they could find him in his home. Tetherys asked to speak candidly with Nanther. He exclaimed that although the money was generous, he would ask a favor instead of his share of the reward. There was an Imperial guard who had taken residence in his home with his mother and him. This soldier has been verbally abusive and has made Tetherys’ home life miserable. He asked if Nanther could use his influence to relocate the man. Lord Nanther expressed that when his son was returned he would give the matter his full attention.
Constable Allistar was now obviously interested in not staying with the group in the room. He stood up and said, “I must be going, but if you find the Black Hand I will offer a 100 gold reward for the killing of Kalin and 50 for each of his companions.” He then excused himself without any more conversation.
After a brief deliberation it was decided that Tetherys would join the two new companions to talk with the noble houses and see if they can find out more about the scions’ disappearance. The remainder of the party will travel back to the courtyard and see if they can talk to the guards or track where Hagaard would have gone.
Chandos, Zhun and Tetherys went to House Calaudra first. They were met at the door by a servant and led into a grand entry which doubled as a library. Tetherys quickly recognized many of the books and equipment and knew this house was not only learned but that they had more than a few magic-users in their lineage. When Andros Calaudra entered the room, the half-elf was immediately introduced to Sir Chandros Longspur of House Longspur and the signet ring to prove it. Not impressed with some lesser house not of his circles, Andros asked, “What is I can do for you three?” His gazed seemed to lock on Tetherys seeing he was a practitioner of the arcane arts. He confirmed his daughter Kara consistently was with Eliant Marsk and Oreal Nanther, but that her infatuation was with Eliant and not Oreal. He also confirmed that Kara had recently taken out a small sum of coin to purchase horses, supplies and other expenses. He was not however worried for her safety. He said all the scions fancied themselves an adventuring party and that they were all skilled in their areas of expertise. Kara being a powerful mage herself. He also mentioned if Kara were in danger he would know through her familiar a raven. It would have returned to speak of her death.
Andrew, Errol, Roan and Jakob went down to the courtyard for the second time today and found the scene very different from this morning. Many workers were dismantling the gallows and cleaning up the areas were many people died. The courtyard had transformed itself into the market it usually was during any usual day. Many vendors stood by their carts and called out to passersby with their wares. Smells of [perfumes mixed with smoke and food as large crowds gathered in different areas.
Jakob found some ‘rats,’ orphans who he reconized from the streets of Underbridge. They were here in the West Market looking for some purses to lighten. Jakob pulled aside a couple and asked for them to get some information. Pressing a gold piece into each of their hands, he asked if they would find out what they could about Garin and the Grey Blades. Jakob knew Garin Swansong had risen to the rank of guild leader of the Grey Blades in the past two years and was curious if the Grey Blades were making a move in the city.
Andrew and Errol found a guardsman, Erik Forgehand that was working that morning and asked what had he heard or seen concerning Hagaard. Erik had not been one of the guards in persuit that morning, he instead was culling the goblins that attack north of the courtyard. He had heard a team of guards chased him to the west, but they lost him. Errol was able to pick up the trail easily once he knew where to look. He tracked the fugitive to a large storm drain already covered in local homeowners’ waste water. Errol knew that Jakob’s and Roan’s type used the sewers all the time to get around the city without being seen. They both agreed that on the west sewers were too confusing and messy to be used like that.
Sewers in the east were whole cities within themselves, but west of the river they were often flooded and crawling with unsavory creatures.
Chandos, Zhun and Tetherys decided to try House Marsk next. Neither House Calaudra nor Marsk had a seat in the Council of Iron, but Peiter Marsk was the elected magistrate and his son was one of the missing. Their reception at House Marsk was starkly different than House Calaudra. No servant greeted them at the door, but instead Peiter himself let them in. He seemed distracted but was listening when Sir Chandos Longspur of House Longspur introduced himself and showed him the ring as proof. He knew Eliant was hanging around with Oreal and Kara as well as Argens Bruil and Kalman Leygorn. Peiter also did not seem concerned and told them his son was training a great deal at the Temple of Ioun and the College of the Open Eye. He had recently picked up a new suit of masterwork full plate armor. This sounded familiar to Tetherys as he had spent a great deal of time at the college recently as well. He remembered someone just had a big ceremony as he was ordained a priest of Ioun. It could have been Eliant.
Roan thought it would be a good idea to venture into the Underbridge and see if he could get some more information on the Grey Blades. Jakob went with him for back-up, but Andrew and Errol knew it was no place for them, and opted to stay back and meet up with the two in the Nobles Quarters after supper. Andrew and Errol spent their dinner at The Trusty Companion and hashed out old combat stories. Roan and Jakob had a drink at The Gutter Rat and Roan began asking about recruitment to the Grey Blades. He found himself with a low life that looked like the type to recruit into these guilds. Roan convinced him it would be in his best interest if he could get him into the Grey Blades, but the guy seemed resistant. Roan told him if he could get him into the Grey Blades he could find him at The Dwarf’s Wart or The Naughty Wench almost every night performing.
After dinner Andrew, Errol, Jakob and Roan met up with Tetherys, Chandos and Zhun as they were on their way to House Bruil. This was one of the High Houses and their dwelling was larger than two blocks. As they approached the door, they were met with a large man with his shirt open and unceremoniously asked, “What do you want?”
Without missing a step, Chandos introduced himself as Sir Chandos Longspur or House Longspur and showed the ring as proof. “Your son has been missing, has he not?” Chandos asked once they were in the house.
“My bastard grandson is missing, but it is my worthless son Halmuth that has done nothing about it!”
“Has your grandson been associating himself with some of the scions of the other houses?” Chandros asked.
“Yes, they think they are a bunch of adventurers, but I really think they are just bored. It is one of the disadvantages of being born so privileged.” Having spent most of their life not knowing where their next food or coin would come fr0m Jakob and Roan distasted the rich and their tone, especially when they get ‘bored.’ For that comment, Roan began looking for something to take, and Jakob shook his head in protest.
“What about recently,” Errol asked, “Has your grandson been gone more or been ‘bored’?”
“I don’t know,” he responded, “You will need to speak with his chambermaids.” At tht last statement Jakob was irritated with this upper class, and turned his attention away from Roan. Roan took that to mean Jakob was not against him stealing something. Although it appeared he was fumbling with a vase to keep it from falling, which was a feint to mask the disappearance of a small statuette.
When the chambermaids made it down to the greeting hall, it was asked again if Argens spent a lot of time adventuring. Argen’s elderly chambermaid revealed that at least once a month he would return home for multiple days at a time and his clothes were torn and had odd stains and sometimes blood. She assumed these were just youthful indiscretions. Feeling like they had gotten all the information they could, Vanth Bruil urged them out of his house. He told them if they wanted more information they could go see his worthless son, who was the Noble Quarter’s Captain of the Guard.
As soon as the door shut behind them Jakob noticed a shadowy figure standing in the rain just out of the low glow of the street lamps. As the party decided what they were going to do next, the shadowy figure approached and said, “So you’re the ones Lord Nanther hired, eh? The old man must be running low on funds.”
It was quickly apparent that the man was not alone. Another stood down a dark alley closest to Jakob, another stepped next to the one who spoke and two more seemed to come up behind the party. The first to react was Jakob. A dagger flashed in the street lamp’s light as it flew down the alley and struck the ruffian in the shoulder. Sir Chandos noticed one of the ruffians coming out of an alley behind the group and cried out, “I am Sir Chandos Longspur and you and your companions have made a grievous error.” He moved to engage the ruffian and swung his sword in an arc in front of him, but the ruffian was too quick and dodged out of the way of his deadly blade.
Rowthar, the ruffian who spoke the challenge to the party, moved forward to attack Andrew and smacked him hard with his club, but it did little against his chain mail. The other ruffian next to him, Aleg also moved up to attack Andrew, but his club glanced off of Andrew’s shoulder harmlessly. Tayne the ruffian that had one of Jakob’s dagger’s in his shoulder charged forward at Jakob, but his club only struck the cobbled street where Jakob use to be. Halagor, Aleg’s younger brother swung his club at Sir Chandos, but it vibrated off of his shield and jarred the poor ruffian. Nethan moved up and faced off against Roan. Swinging his club at the head of the bard, he caught him in the chin and knocked him out. Roan’s limp body fell to the ground at the steps of House Bruil.
Andrew sung his silvered long sword at Rowthar, but he blocked the strike with his wooden shield. He sidestepped to engage both Rowthar and Aleg. Zuhn had been silent all day since the party first met her in the Chancler’s room, but now she sprang into action. She ran towards the wall behind the wizard Tetherys and at first looked as though she was attacking the unsuspecting mage. Instead she sprang off his body and with an acrobatic grace flew at Rowthar and caught him in the chest and face with both her feet. His face exploded with blood as his nose broke. Tetherys feeling vulnerable remembered his lessons and first cast False Life on himself to make himself more resistant to attacks. Errol equipped his bow and fired an arrow at Rowthar, but missed just left of him and it ricocheted off the outside wall of House Bruil.
Jakob drew his rapier and faced off against Tayne, and made an exaggerated lunge to the left and Tayne unwittingly raised his shield to block the attack. Jakob knew this and the attack was not there, instead his rapier slipped under his defenses, through the stitching of his studded leather armor and into his lungs. Tayne gasped for air and couched up a little blood as he drop to the alley, lifeless. Chandros could tell he had the upper hand when it came to equipment and skill in battle. He chose to bash Halagor with his shield, but found Halagor was stronger than he appeared and resisted the attack to knock him down.
Both Rowthar and Aleg attempted to attack Andrew, but neither seemed to be able to damage him through his armor. Halagor was encouraged by his ability to resist Chandros’ attack and attacked him with zeal. This time his club caught the knight on the chin.
Andrew gripped his long sword with both hands and recklessly leapt into air and brought his silvered blade down on Aleg. The deadly blade caught the ruffian between his head and left shoulder, but sliced through his armor and body down to the middle of his chest. Zune struck Rowthar in the stomach but failed to connect with her second strike which would have taken him out. Tetherys saw the bard was down on the ground and the ruffian Nethan standing over him. Seeing the fatal blow by Andrew, he felt invincible himself and he moved next to Roan and cast a chant he had learned in the college to save a dying friend. Roan woke up and realized he was still in danger, so he crawled away. Errol turned his attention to Nethan who was now facing the mage, and fired another arrow. This one too missed.
Jakob now threw a dagger at Rowthar and struck him in his leg. Rowthar knew things were looking dire, but he knew if he tried to flee Andrew and Zuhn would possible kill him before he was more than two steps away. He attacked Zuhn, but she was faster than he thought and he swung at nothing but air. Chandros grew tired of this standoff with this obvious low life scum. Chandros led with the shield and Halagor steeled himself for another shield bash, but it never came. Instead Chandros slid his sword under the ruffian’s wooden shield and into his ribcage.
Tetherys cast sleep towards Rowthar and knocked him out with ease. Nethan swung his club at the mage and caught him in the ribs. Andrew, Zuhn and Chandros all moved to engage Nethan. Seeing he was outnumbered and all of his friends were defeated, Nethan decided to surrender and hope the heroes take mercy on him.
“Why did you attack us?” Chandros immediately started the interrogation.
“We were hired to.”
“Hired by whom?” Chadros asked. Roan now seeing the fight was over loaded his crossbow and fired a bolt into the stomach of Nethan. That was payback for attacking him earlier.
Nethan seemed hesitant to tell them. Either he thought they were going to kill him anyway or someone was powerful enough to keep him from talking. Errol looked around for something that would make him talk. He grabbed the ruffian Jakob had already killed. He publicly threw him against the wall, but made sure Nethan could not see he was already dead. “You are not going to tell us, then I guess we don’t need to keep any of you alive!” He simultaneously pressed on his chest while slitting his dead throat. This caused the reaction he wanted. Blood sprayed from the dead man’s neck. It was so believable, Sir Chandos was fooled and was appalled. But the ruffian immediately began talking.
“House Leygorn! It was house Leygorn.”
“Who at the house did you speak with?” Andrew asked.
“I don’t know some servant. Rowthar did all the talking.” He looked at his fallen comrade and his eyes began to well up. “Rowthar took care of it all.” His voice trailed away at the end.
“Before we turn you over to the authorities,” Chandos said, “were you hired to kill us?”
“No. Just beat you. Just make an example.”
Tetherys found a city guard and told them what had happened. They took the two survivors Nethan and Rowthar into custody. After the long day the group decided to go back to their homes. Exhausted they all needed some rest and determined they would meet the next day.
Defeat the street ruffians– 700XP (Completed)
Fudge points to get to level 2 – 42XP (Completed)
Total XP = 742 / 7 players = 106 XP
Running total XP = 250 XP
Reward for stopping the escape, 120 gp.
Jakob was able to scavenge 16 gp from the ruffians. Roan was able to “find” 9 gp. The last ruffian had 4gp which I think was taken before him and the other survivor was turned over to the authorities.
Two suits of studded leather, wood shield and club was the other loot available.