3 Growth 508 (cont’d)
Robella Autumnwhite leaps across the counter and attacks!
As Mõrvar and Hakak engage with the enraged—and feral—shop owner, Surm makes his way to the back of the shop to let in Savaric and Rilka.
As Robella attacks with tooth and nail, Mõrvar attacks with his longspear and Hakak summons a viper to drop on the woman’s head. The shopkeeper’s attacks are vicious, quickly bringing Mõrvar down to a staggered state. In the meantime, back-up arrives in the form of the two other half-orcs who also engage with the snapping Robella. Finally, they manage to subdue the woman, dropping her unconscious.
Mõrvar binds Robella with twine found off one of the crates in the backroom while Rilka calls for guardsmen to come. Two guardsmen arrive and the party quickly explains that they have been working with Captain Feldane on a case involving the circus and that they have strong reason to believe that this woman—who is unconscious but who mouth and hands and covered in blood—is involved with the Gilded Hands. The guards seem to recognize them and have heard that they are working with the Watch and take the party at their word, taking Robella into custody and escorting the party back to the Watchhall.
Once in the Watchhall, the party reports to Captain Feldane and gives her a run-down of what all has happened and their growing cache of evidence. Convinced that the party is on the right track, Feldane gives the party permission to search the shop for any other evidence that might link Robella Autumnwhite to the crimes associated against the circus. She also sends two guardsmen, Alyn and Rychter, with them.
Back at the Curiosity Shoppe, Savaric finds a secret panel in the back room of the shop that leads down into a corridor heading north and south. The party descends, leaving the guardsmen behind to guard their backs, and head north. After about two and half hours of search travel and searching for traps, the corridor finally ends at ladder leading up to a panel. Savaric emerges from the corridor to find himself in the forest outside of the city. The panel has been camouflaged to look like earth. Climbing a tree, he can see that they are now about five miles from the city and about the same distance from the circus grounds. Apparently the corridor is an escape route of some sort.
Without bothering to check for traps, the party jogs back down the corridor to the Curiosity Shoppe to inform the waiting guards what they have found. At this point, Surm decides to go back to the alchemist, Master Gatling, to find out what the vial found in the skulk village contained. Hakak decides to join him while the others will venture south down the corridor.
Mõrvar, Rilka, and Savaric make their way southward down the secret corridor and encounter a door on the right, left, and ahead. Savaric listens at each, and, hearing nothing, proceeds to open the right-hand door. Upon entering, he is attacked from the darkness by two men bearing short swords. He and Rilka manage to subdue the assailants, causing them both to surrender. The party calls the two guardsmen down from upstairs to secure their new prisoners and begin to vigorously question them. As the guards place manacles on their wrists and cover their heads with sheets from from nearby cots, they reveal that their names are Pinder and Feclan. They are members of the Gilded Hands and Robella is their boss. There are others, which they name, and they are out on a job with Borvius, Robella’s husband. They don’t know why the circus was targeted—they only followed Robella’s orders. She is the one who makes the Shiver that is distributed to the skulks and to others on the street. Beyond the door ahead is a corridor that leads to the docks. To the left is a series rooms.
Satisfied that they aren’t going to get much more out of them, “Captain” Rilka sends one of the guards back to the Watchhall for more guardsmen in case there is more trouble.
Meanwhile, Surm and Hakak arrive at the alchemist shop. Master Gatling confirms that his analysis determines that the vial they found contained Shiver. Surm asks him if he knows of anyone that makes it and the man replies that no, he does not associate with anyone so disreputable.
One their way back to the Curiosity Shoppe, the two encounter a crowd gathering a nearby park. Apparently some guardsmen have been called and a body is being removed from one of the trees. The man has his eyes gouged out and his left hand severed at the wrist. He was apparently hung on the tree by a long scarf—similar to the style worn around the waists of the dancing girls at the circus. There is also a blood-stained note written in an unknown language pinned to the man’s chest. Surm approaches and identifies himself as one of the team that is investigating the crimes for which the circus stands accused and indicates that he is working with Captain Feldane. One of the guards, Rambal, recognizes the uniform Surm is wearing and is aware of the investigation. The other, Colton, is not. Regardless, the guards allow him to help in the investigation. On the body is found a harrow card, The Desert, which depicts an androsphinx on its face. Also is found a folded-up note from an Arnaheem Braeton indicating that the bearer of the note is to be a worker on one of his boats and that he has permission to purchase boots on credit. Rambal recognizes the victim as Filton Legg, a drunk, Shiver-head, beggar, and local reprobate who was rumored to be trying to dry out. As the guards collect the body, Surm and Hakak make their exit and continue to the Curiosity Shoppe.
Once the party is reunited beneath the shop, they decide to explore the complex of rooms they have discovered beyond the left-hand door. Amongst their discoveries is a conference room with a large, hand-drawn map of Skeene and various notes detailing various crimes—including a diagram of Archivin Walder’s route home from the circus, notes on pickpocketing assignments at the carnival, and ideas on where to string up someone named Filton Legg. There is a also a listing that includes “Captain” Rilka and her troupe, complete with accurate descriptions of each of their features. Beyond this room and a practice chamber is a corridor with more doors leading deeper into the complex. There is also a ladder leading back up. Surm decides to take the ladder up and see what lies above.
Surm finds himself in a small closet filled with cleaning implements and file boxes. Most detail transactions for both the Curiosity Shoppe and for Autumnwhite’s Storage and Hauling. The closet opens into a file room with cabinets set along the wall. Of the two doors in the room, Surm chooses the southmost and walks into an office occupied by a single figure behind a desk. Both seem to have startled each other, asking who the other is. The man behind the desk threatens to summon the Watch and Surm encourages him to do so. Then the man bolts out the front door. Surm decides to wait for the Watch. After waiting for awhile without the arrival of guardsmen, Surm steps outside and finds that he is in street outside the warehouse next door to the Curiosity Shoppe. Deciding that the Watch is not coming, he rejoins his comrades below the shop.
In the meantime Mõrvar and Savaric decide to explore the remaining rooms of the complex. They goe down a corridor that leads to area with three holding cells, two of which contain dwarves. One offers Mõrvar a valuable magical object if he will free them while the other tells him to beware of some “freak” that blends in with the shadows. He begins using his acid splash to slowly eat away at the locks of the cells to free the captives.
Now more guards have returned and Rilka goes over what has been found, including the evidence that exonerates the carnival from wrongdoing. The evidence is gathered and Surm inquires if Captain Feldane wants to see all of this and the guards inform them that the Captain currently seeing to an occurrence at the Braeton estate. Surm points out that this is who Filton Legg, the dead man he investigated earlier, worked for. The rest of party decides to leave the complex, go with the guards back to the Watchhall with their prisoners and the evidence, and then on to the Braeton estate near the waterfront. Mõrvar is determined to explore more of the lair so he and Savaric stay behind as the others leave. Finally, he and Savaric manage to break the weakened bars of the dwarves’ prison, freeing them.
In their exploration, Mõrvar and Savaric find an interrogation chamber and an office with alchemical implements. They also find a logbook detailing the names of various guild members and their criminal specialties. In the same office as the logbook, they find a chest with a tiny clockwork device. One of the dwarves, Barengar Gearwright, manipulates the device and extracts two scrolls and a strange looking device that resembles a bar with hundreds of tiny hinges, levers, and other movable parts. Mõrvar determines that the scrolls are for locate object and cure serious wounds. His brother, Pietros Gearwright, reveals that the strange tool is a traveler’s any tool.
Inside another room, Savaric is attacked from the shadows by a female skulk! After a brief altercation with the half-orc, the creature is defeated and falls. Mõrvar drags the body out of the room and continues on to find yet another room with crates and a set of steel doors. At this point the two finally decide to leave and meet up with their companions at the Braeton estate.
The party reconvenes at the Braeton estate where Captain Feldane awaits them with a pair of small, shell-shocked children. The gathered crowd of onlookers and guardsmen all point and whisper at Rilka as she makes her way to the Captain. The Watch Captain seems a bit stiff as she inquires of Rilka where she has been and what she has been doing. Rilka reports all of the activity that has been going on at the Curiosity Shoppe, including all of the evidence gathered that exonerates the carnival and implicates the Gilded Hand in the murder of Filton Legg—a crime of which the Captain has not been informed yet. She has the party, sans Hakak, gather away from the crowd so that she can speak with them privately.
Once secluded, Captain Feldane informs them that the entire Braeton family, except for the two children, have been killed. And, further, one of the children described the perpetrator as someone fitting Rilka’s description perfectly. Fortunately, Rilka has been wearing her helmet so she hasn’t traumatized the children. However, it appears that the half-orc can more than account for her activities over the past few hours. Feldane then sends the children to the Watchhall with some of her guard and summons two guardsmen to accompany her back to the Curiosity Shoppe so that the party can show her the underground lair.
Back at the Curiosity Shoppe, the group tours the Captain around the premises, showing her the various secret doors and features of the rooms below the shop. She then has one of her men go fetch more guardsmen—she plans on checking out the warehouse next door as well. She declares that Borvius Autumnwhite is officially a person of interest in this case. She invites the party to accompany her next door and they accept.
Once inside the warehouse, Captain Feldane announces herself. The warehouse appears to be emtpy—it is certainly dark. The half-orcs, with their darkvision, decide to sweep the inside of the warehouse, looking for more Gilded Hands members or even Borvius himself. They finally come to a door in the far corner of the building. Rilka opens the door and is attacked from the shadows by another skulk! The creature is soon dispatched and drug from the room. Inside they find a cot, a dinner tray, and footlocker. Inside the footlocker is ragged clothing, a raggedy cloak, and some vials containing a blackish fluid.
Captain Feldane sends some of her men back to the Watchhall to gather another squad of the Watch to accompany them to the docks. They are to seek out and detain Borvius Autumnwhite before he tries to leave the city. In the meantime, she will accompany the party down the secret tunnel that supposedly leads to the waterfront.
The tunnel eventually ends with a ladder leading up. Savaric leads the way and finds himself in a narrow alleyway. The strong smell of the ocean fills his nostrils. The others emerge from the secret panel and follow Savaric from the alleyway and onto the docks. There they find that a squad of Watchmen have indeed detained Borvius Autumnwhite, who is indignantly demanding to know why he is being treated in such a manner. Captain Feldane informs him that he is a person of interest in a variety of crimes including murder, kidnapping, pick-pocketing, and host of other crimes. He claims that this is preposterous, but the Captain counters that it is not preposterous when the underground lair of a guild of thieves lies just beneath his warehouse. The guardsmen apprehend the blustering merchant, as well as everyone else on his ship. As Borvius is being lead away, Surm Ulrich and Savaric notice that he is carrying a pair of red gloves—gloves very similar to those worn by Rilka when in uniform.
The party inquires of the Captain whether or not they have gathered enough evidence to exonerate the carnival. She replies that they have and that the City of Skeene thanks them for their work. Mõrvar asks if a letter of recommendation can be written up for them. Rilka points out that they are leaving in the morning for Jossia with Hakak. Feldane replies that she has a lot of work to do tonight, what with questioning various prisoners, but she may be able to have one drawn up by the morning before they leave once again for Jossia. She will also accompany the party back to the carnival to let Almara Delisen know that the quarantine on the carnival has been lifted.
Almara is subdued at the news of the lifted quarantine. The carnival is already halfway packed and, with all of the negative publicity, she doesn’t think they’re going to get much more business in Skeene this season. Nevertheless, she thanks the party for their work and pays them the promised 600 gold in the form of 60 platinum pieces.
That night, the party returns to the Nine Sisters Inn and discusses their next moves. Surm insists that they need to go north to speak with Almaric and to determine what Lothar wants of them. Mõrvar seems reluctant and less interested in what Lothar wants—claiming that he already knows that Lothar wants to avenge their father’s death. Nevertheless, he will accompany them north in the morning.
4 Growth 508
The following morning, the party re-provisions in the market place. They also go to visit Lord Donat to inform him that they are leaving town. However, he indicates that he was about to send a message to them that he had a potential job lined up for them. Apparently a Lord Coln wants to hire a hunter to procure some griffon’s eggs in order to raise the beasts as mounts. He has a lodge near the town of Riverton at the head of the Slayt Mountains. Lord Donat suggests that they go to Riverton and pay Coln a visit. Thanking him for the information, the party makes their exit. Rilka also swings by the Watchhall to pick up the promised letter of recommendation. She is not able to meet with Captain Feldane, but has been left the promised letter as well as a pouch containing 50 platinum pieces—ostensibly a reward for their work for the city. They also inquire as to the whereabouts of the Gearwright brothers and are told that they are staying at the Restful Bard Inn.
At the Restful Bard, the party makes arrangements with the two dwarves to escort them to Riverton, free of charge, when they return to Skeene. The two brothers enthusiastically take them up on the offer, letting them know that they plan on acquiring goods to sell once they get back home, sailing to Jenna and then taking a riverboat on to Riverton.
Finally, the party makes their way out Skeene, riding north to Jossia.
6 Growth 508
Along the way to Jossia, after crossing the river, the party is attacked in the night by a pair of goblins. They are quickly dispatched.
7 Growth 508
The party arrives in Josemeedt in the late afternoon.