Which Rats? Part 3

Before they separated, Aeron cast a spell using a piece of copper wire allowing them to communicate in whispers. Once Aeron was in position in the western room with Nitram he contacted each of the others with the whisper spell to assure they could communicate and where in position.

Aeron shoved a water skin into each of the three pipes entering the western room to keep the vermin out and waited. He waited until about half an hour from the expected ambush, then cast a protective spell on his robes and then another that cloaked him in shadow. The final spell he cast was a familiar one to summon his unseen servant. He gave the small air elemental his potion of healing and instructed it to use the potion on anyone of the party that fell unconscience.

Aeron took position in the northeast corner of the western room U11, unslung his bow and peered around the corner to the east looking down the long hallway for any sign of motion.

Nitram will wait in W11 with his bow and an arrow ready, looking around the corner towards the ambush site. He offers Aeron’s servant his cure light wounds potion as well to be used for the party. I think the servant can hold both, right?

Nitram hopes that Blend is able to sound the alarm or that the smugglers or ambushers make enough noise for him to be aware that something is going on, as the darkness eastward down the hallway seems impenetrable.

“Perhaps they will bring lanterns or torches for themselves and give away their position” he thinks.

The previous day’s rain had made the sewers even more moisture laden than before. The incessant drip and splash of running water was everywhere as the group set up in their locations. At least the rain had washed away the majority of the refuse. And the chill fall atmosphere made the entire area an uncomfortable place to be.

All of the passages had a least a trickle of water running through the very center of their course, and the stream of water leading from the “ambush site” (V21) to the intake of the exterior conduit was nearly three inches deep and a foot across as it flowed sluggishly towards the south.

As Daelin took up his position, he felt something floating in the slow water nudge up against his foot in the flowing water. Reaching down it felt like a square of waxed cardboard, slightly larger than a playing card.

What is that? he thought to himself as he plucked it out of the slow moving water.

Prior to dousing his torch and settling into concealment, Daelin took a look at what he had found.

Pents11

Aeron took the potion of healing that Nitram offered and handed it to the small air elemental giving it the same instructions as the first. Both potions hung in the air behind Aeron. Aeron whispered to the party. “If the thieves don’t bring their own torches, I will center a light at the southern intersection once someone in our party signals the attack.”

Capone sewers 01a

Blend “Cromag’s men will likely come from the north or the east passage leading to the cistern. The ambush will happen at the intersection to the south. I think it would be wise to have Gravnar to the south with the rest of the group. At least he can see in the dark and will be able to help those who can’t should the lights go out. I will be hiding in the western passage leading to the cistern and will alert the group via Aeron’s spell when the are coming. We hit them as they traverse the narrow passage way to the southern intersection. I will come up from behind and prevent them from escaping. Simple.”

Aeron whispered to the group. “If it is getting crowded by the cistern, perhaps Gravnar and Shylent can hide in the refuse at the southern intersection. It is the likely ambush site and a key choke point. They will be in the palm of the eagle’s claw as we close the talons.” Aeron paused in contemplation and then continued. “When the bards sing of our brilliant tactical surprise they will call it operation Eagle Claw.”

Aeron knew that Blend was at the far range of his Message spell, but felt confidant that things would work out.

13 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
5:00 pm, Thunderday

Traveling through the sewers and settling into position had taken about an hour. Sitting quietly in the damp was easy at first, but as the moisture seeped into everyone’s bones it began to get uncomfortable. Shylent maintained her usual stoic demeanor, even in the face of Aeron’s whispered requests for updates.

Around 20 minutes after setting up the ambush, Blend whispered a quiet warning to Aeron.

Aeron passed on Blends warning to the rest of the party and prepared to cast a spell down the eastern passage.

Shylent and Gravnar hear Aeron’s warning from Blend, and prepared for the arrival of the bandit guild’s thugs. Down the length of the tunnel they could see the approaching figures in the light from the torches they were carrying. There appeared to be about four of them, with the lead and trail individual holding a torch. The first three figures were men, while the last was a woman. All of them moved very quietly.

Shylent could be seen by Gravnar to be frowning while crouched flat behind some debris. It was obvious to him that she was not comfortable with the position she had chosen, now that the ambushers approached unexpectedly with light. He could see her fingering the hilt of her longsword angrily.

Nitram whispered to Aeron, Telll the others I will fire at the first one I see. He shifted to his left slightly bringing the arrow to the bow while peering into the darkness around the corner.

Nitram will fire at the first thug he sees. That should cause enough chaos for the others to close and finish them off. Assuming the others will be in melee by the en of the first round, Nitram will move down the passageway and draw Kinslayer on round two.

“Aeron, four of them coming your way. I am getting ready to strike first. Give the signal when the screaming starts.”

OOC: Move in behind the last thug and SA once she enters the hallway and the lead guy is about to enter the south intersection.

Blend shook his head sadly at the predictable frequency with which the female thief in the rear checked her flanks. “She needed more training before being assigned a job like this” Blend thought.

Timing his movement with hers, Blend moved in to strike. (Stealth 27) The rogue never even suspected Blend was there and she was caught completely flat-footed (Per 14) as the weapon dragged across her throat. (Att 13, Dam 14)

The thief crumbled to the ground with a soft, almost noiseless sigh, as if falling asleep. Her torch fell from her hand and dropped to the brick floor of the damp sewer right on the edge if the trickle of water and began to go out.

The next thief in line saw the change in lighting and turned, jaw dropped in fear as he saw his friend slumped to the ground and Blend looking at him.

Aeron whispered to the group, “Blend started the attack. I’ll put the leader to sleep. Once he drops, someone drag him out of the main hallway. Nitram is covering whoever goes.”

OOC Aeron will cast sleep centered on the NW corner of V21 (10ft radius, 4 HD, DC 17 Will).

Daelin whispered a silent prayer of protection (cast Shield of Faith [AC+2]) while drawing his sword.

As the Shield of Faith appeared in front of Daelin, the second thief in the hallway shouted out an alarm, causing the leader to turn and look northwards up the hall. The thief who had shouted drew a dagger and moved forwards towards Blend. He lunged over the fallen body of his comrade, stabbing at the center of Blend’s chest. (Att 13) His dagger failed to connect as Blend deftly moved aside.

Nitram holding action until he sees a thugs, then fires arrow

Blend followed up the thug’s miss with a thrust of his own.

Blend’s return strike struck the thief dead center of his exposed chest (Att 18, dam 8). The lunge across his dead comrade’s body had exposed him and now he had been mortally wounded. One hand holding his wound, he continued the fruitless battle, certainty of death in his eyes.

Aeron’s arcane gestures and subtle chanting caused a whirling breeze of sand and dust to appear near the center of the intersection. Gravnar saw the lead bandit struggle weakly, seemingly falling asleep. Gravnar heard a rustle, turned his head slightly, and noticed that Shylent had apparantly fallen asleep also. That meant she was helpless.

Aeron whispered to Gravnar,“Gravnar, defend Shylent.” Maybe this will bait the last thief into the open.

Following Aeron’s advice and not seeing what is down the hallway, Gravnar moves to V21 peering down the hallway as he moves to take up a defensive position next to Shylent. As soon as he sees the last two thieves and Blend behind them in the hallway, he let’s out a roar of intimidation.

Not knowing about any of Gravnar’s allies, and not being able to escape past his friend and Blend, the rogue answers Gravnar’s cry with a shrill yell of defiance and moves forward to battle. A large heavy dagger, almost a parrying blade appeared in the rogue’s hand as he slashed at Gravnar. (Att 8) Gravanr watched as the dagger failed to come even close to harming him.

Nitram could see Gravnar engaged in battle, but could not get a shot past the corner of the wall. Sensing an opportunity he moved forward and released when he could see the rogue in front of Gravnar. (Att 11 (15-4) His arrow flew in between the two melee combatants and shattered against the far wall. (delayed until init 4)

The dropped torch from the leader sputtered but continued to provide light, for now.

Daelin advanced forward (V21), attacking the thief in front of Gravnar with a two handed stroke of his longsward (attack 7, damage 1d8+4).

Posted by: SkidAce
Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:12:00 PM

Daelin’s attack sliced the thief in the ribs, inflicting a grievous wound. (Att 21, dam 8) “Bloody Hades” the thief exclaimed in pain, and began flailing away with his dagger in desperation.

The thief in front of Blend narrowed his eyes in concentration, as the light from the torch on the ground began to sputter and dim. He struck out suddenly, quick in spite of the blood loss, but failed to come anywhere near Blend. (Att 5)

Blend attempted to hasten the thug’s journey to meet his maker.

OOC: If dropped, Blend will advance and flank the last active thug.

Blend cut down the inept thief with a single swipe of his blade. (Att 16, dam 6) Silently, the thief crumpled to floor, sprawled across his comrade in death. Blend moved quickly towards the last active bandit.

Aeron saw the light dim from the dropped torch. He concentrated on the air above Gravnar and summoned a floating lantern above him so the last thief couldn’t escape if the torch failed.
•OOC Aeron cast Dancing Lights above Gravnar.*

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, March 25, 2013 10:10:17 AM

Gravnar saw the fear in his enemy’s eyes. The thief’s cry of defiance had faded away and been replaced by a sad resignation.

As the light from Aeron’s spell appeared over their heads, Gravnar stood side by side with Daelin, with Shylent and the leader thief still slumbering on the damp and wet floor.

Gravnar bashes the thief in front of him with his shield.

Gravnar’s heavy shield caught the thief fully unaware as it swung towards his head and chest like a hammer. (Att 26, crit, damage 7) There was a large clang as the shield hit the thief dead center and propelled the now lifeless body back towards Blend.

“No way I could make this shit up..”

The area remained dimly lit from the torch the leader had dropped near the intersection, and Aeron’s Dancing Light spell. The drip of water continued unabated. Three ambushing bandits lay dead, while the leader and Shylent were laying slumped on the floor asleep. It turned out the Shylent snored when sleeping.

The dampness began once more creeping into everyone’s bones as the heat of battle quickly faded. Four bandits may have been enough to ambush two smugglers, but obviously not enough to thwart the group assembled here.

If left undisturbed, Shylent and the bandit leader would awaken in a matter of minutes.

Gravnar says, “Messy business; I wonder if I passed the test. Did anyone bring shackles to tie up this thief, or shall we use a length of rope?”

He then turn to Shylent and shakes her shoulder to attempt to wake her.

Gravnar has to shake Shylent fairly hard in order to stir her from her slumber. She stands up groggily and glares about at everyone. After a moment, she lights a torch and stalks off down the sewers in the direction of Aeron.

Nitram, wanting to contribute something to the encounter, tied up the sleeping thief with some rope from his bag. He asked Blend to check him for concealed weapons.

Are we giving him to Petrol or questioning him ourselves? Nitram looked around for suggestions.

Blend searched the sleeping man. In this dim light, it was almost impossible for anyone to see the slight look of trepidation on his face. “You know we can’t leave him alive right?” he looked to Nitram and the dwarf Gravnar. “No witnesses, or we risk the word getting back to Cromag. Then all our efforts will be for naught.” He looked expectantly at the group waiting to judge reactions to his words.

Jharron and Fero moved to a good location to oversee the entrance/exit to the tunnels the team had entered. Fero stayed close enough to the area to engage quickly and Jharron moved to a higher location to oversee the area. He readied his bow and ensured his arrows were handy. Jharron then settled into a potential long night.

Shylent did not have to go far. After the last thief had succumbed to Gravnar’s brutal shield bash, Aeron had made his way from the western tunnel and secured a blindfold around the sleeping thief leader while Nitram secured her with a rough hemp rope. As Shylent stormed up to him, Aeron rose to face her a thin smile stretching across his lips, “You look well rested, Shylent. Come help question this prisoner. Perhaps, we should survey the party for the interogation goal. Do you think I should implant a suggestion to have her tell us where Cromag’s hideout is…or should I have her identify all the members of her guild?”

Aeron quickly cast a spell that seemed to augment and enhance his sharp elvish features.

OOC Aeron cast Haunted Fey Aspect to gain temporary damage reduction from any punch or slap Shylent might try to throw his way. Whatever goal the party has for the thief leader interrogation Aeron will implant in the thief with Hypnotism and copy down any information the thief reveals.

“If we decide to question him ourselves, killing him would be counter productive.” Daelin interjected. “I’m sure that given the skill sets standing around us we should be able to avoid his untimely demise as well as gain whatever information he has that is of value. I’d like to think that in this talent pool, we could come to a better solution than acting out of fear. Unless I missed something, Cromag is not the Boogey Man”

Daelin took a seat on the edge of the cistern and quietly stated under his breath, “Although if he refused to provide information and instead chose to be a liability, well…in this case loose ends are easy to deal with.”

While searching the man that was the bandit ambush leader, Blend discovered another map, if anything drawn more crudely than Petrol’s. Further study in better surroundings should reveal the entry point into the sewers used by the bandit rogues. Blend also found a pouch with 37 silver pieces. There was also a brass locket, that when opened showed the tiny illusion of a fairly ordinary girl’s face smiling inside it.

Shylent came to an abrupt halt before heading down the hallway, as Aeron stepped out and began gagging the prisoner. She loomed over him, ignoring any of his comments, and then eventually leaned back into the corner…watching. She looked at Blend and shrugged her shoulders as if “who cares”.

A faint and scratchy voice came from the western passage behind Aeron. “We thanks you for clearing out the trash.” As Aeron turned to look in surprise he saw a thin short man sitting on his heels, just on the edge of the light spell. Standing just behind the short man was another figure, cloaked and shrouded in rags.

“Flee north now and leave smuggler’s loot to us…and live” The two figures, while scruffy and ragged looking, seemed to be coiled tensely, as if ready to explode into action on the slightest trigger.

Assuming we get one action prior to entering combat… Gravnar will tug on Aeron’s shirt to place the elf behind him and take up a defensive posture in this spot. “Aeron, if you’d please step this way, I think our party will be perfectly placed for this parley.”

Nitram slung his bow and slowly drew his two scimitars (+7 / +6 attack, +1 AC-shield) while getting as small as he could into the corner. There’s no telling what they can do from a distance. We must get them closer. He whispered to Aeron and Gravnar (if he could ghear him), Maybe you should pull back into the northern corridor in order to draw them into this room where we will have a better chance of dealing with them if they think you are gone.

The short thin man twitched slightly when Gravnar moved Aeron aside. “Yes, yes, move the wizard Aeron for a strategic withdrawal. I agrees.”

Aeron attempted to step behind Gravnar, but he didn’t seem to be moving forward, so Aeron continued his slow step back past Daelin to stand in the entrance of the eastern tunnel V23. Aeron, whispered to the group, “We’re not turning over our map to Cromag to these sewer rats. Rejo can’t know we are playing both sides, so we can’t let these two get away. Time to collect the calling cards.” Aeron clapped his hands and a series of floating lanterns appeared along the western hallway A lantern at V10, V12, and V14.

“Perhaps we should withdraw and leave these things alone,” Blend whispered. “Unless you all feel like risking your lives for a couple dead thugs and one live one.”

Gravnar is frozen in a stare down with the creatures at the end of the hall, awaiting either their next move, or more input from the group. “Who are you? What business is this of yours?!!!”

He readies an action to charge at the foes if he detects the foes casting a spell or taking aim at the party.

When the lights appeared above their heads the pair of “sewer rats” (as Aeron styled them) seemed taken aback that the party was not going to retreat. The reacted with unnatural speed, pulling an amulet from around their necks and drinking whatever was in it. The then darted down the hallway towards the group, brandishing shortswords with a maniacal gleam in their eyes.

Gravnar was prepared for such an eventuality and ran towards the lead rogue, and met him halfway down the hall, swinging his dwarven waraxe with all the momentum built up from his charge. (Att 18, dam 6).

The rogue looked at Gravnar with a weaselly snarl and said “Thats will be the last wound you inflicts my friend.”

Graqvnar was astonished to see the hair sprouting from all portions of the rogue’s body, his face elongated, becoming a rat like snout, and his hands turned to claws. claws that still held a deadly looking dagger. Behind the rogue, his silent partner had undergone the same transformation.

A little divine help may not be a bad idea, Daelin thought. He gripped his sword and asked the gods for aid, summoning a weapon representative of their might. “Make sure our guest stays safe and can’t turn on us.”

Spiritual Weapon, at V14 to attack creature at V15 [Attack 6, 1d8+1 damage];at V13 to attack creature at V12 if not possible

A shimmering appeared in the air in front of the third rat thing. A glowing rod of force representing the divine power of the Pantheon emerged from beyond the veil and began to strike the creature. (Att 22, dam 6) There was a flash and a sharp “crack” sound when the rod hit the creature squarely in the chest.

“Hood’s balls,” Blend muttered as things exploded into action. He then closed his eyes and concentrated for a brief moment.

OOC: Vanishing trick (swift action). Double move to include tumbling though opponent’s spaces to V11 (total 14 squares of movement out of 16, includes double movement for the three opponent’s squares). I should get major bonuses for my acrobatics checks as the wererats shouldn’t know I am even there plus they have no idea I am even in the party.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:10:48 AM

Nitram agreed with Blend’s assessment, sheathing both scimitars and unslinging his bow from his shoulder. He nocked an arrow to the taught bowstring, waiting.
Hold action. If any rats get past Gravnar, Nitram will fire an arrow at it (+ 7 atk/ 1d8+5 dmg)

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:16:40 AM

Aeron whispered to the group, “Lycanthrops are vulnerable to silver. I have silver arrows for anyone that lines up east west across this central chamber”

OOC On his turn, Aeron will 5ft step to U22, standard action cast focus item power to cast unprepared spell Alchemical Tinkering to convert his acid (10 GP) to silver weapon blanch (5 GP), move action to pour the weapons blanch over his remaining 9 elf arrows and hold them over the burning torch laying in U21).

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:31:27 AM

Upon hearing Aeron’s suggestion, Nitram steps closer to Aeron U21 and replaces his nocked arrow with an elven arrow. He looked down briefly to determine the status of the sleeping thief. Did the wizard say lycanthrops?

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 11:56:16 AM

The wererat behind Gravnar’s foe unslung a light crossbow and fired it point blank over his friend’s shoulder. Sadly the bulk of his friend and the chaos of combat caused the shot to go wide, snapping off the ceiling of the sewer. (Att 21-8)

Nitram heard Aeron’s plans and moved closer, in order to be ready to grab an arrow when Aeron was complete with them. (Still holding)

With another snarling hiss and and a slash of its ratlike tail, the creature in front of Gravnar swung its shortsword towards Gravnar’s face. The snap of the crossbow string from his friend must have distracted the rat, as it lost its grip on the sword. The sword tumbled over Gravnar’s shoulder and landed behind him with a clattering sound. (Att 5)

The rogue in combat with Daelin’s Spiritual Weapon had never encountered such magic before, and attempted to destroy the rod with its weapon, and failed.

As Aeron moved into the corner and completed his preparations over the arrows, he heard a raspy voice from the eastern passageway, coming from above the ladder. “Go forth my pretties, there’s feasting to be done” Everyone on that side of the intersection heard a rustling and a chitterling, as a mass of black and gray rats swarmed down the walls and came towards Daelin and Aeron.

“The powers of Fate smile upon Aeron and his fortuitous movement.”

With an adrenaline fueled force, Gravnar uses his full might to swing his waraxe at the wererat in front of him. Then he takes a five-foot step back.

Gravnar’s waraxe seems to slide off the leathery hide of the creature, but finally caught and scored a thin line across the wererat’s chest. The waraxe didn’t seem to be as effective as Gravnar would have expected from a blow like that. (Att 23, dam 5) Slow and steadily Gravnar moved back towards the group.

The rat Gravnar had just wounded let out a screech and from farther down the hallway a fourth wererat bounded into view, scrabbling forward to place itself between the first rat and Gravnar. It stabbed at Gravnar with its shortsword, blunting edge against Gravnar’s scale mail. (Att 15)

Shylent muttered something about spears as she readied her longsword in preparation for the battle to enter the chamber.

Nitram looked at the wizard, Aeron, how long is this going to take?

Startled, Daelin stepped back from the rat swarm (V21) while snatching something from his belt pouch. As soon as he had retieved it, he heaved a vial of Alchemist’s Fire at the swarm (+5 attack). “Rat swarm!” he warned everyone as he turned to check his summoned weapon.

Daelin’s flask of alchemist’s fire hit the rat swarm dead center and there was a whoosh as the flames leapt up and billowed out dangerously close to group. (Att 19, dam 2)

Aeron felt the heat from his position as the flames died down slightly, keeping now mainly to the mass of burnt and scorched rats. The stench of burnt hair quickly filled the area.

Daelin’s Spiritual Weapon continued to engage the wererat at the end of the hall. The wererat managed to leap and squirm enough that the weapon’s attack missed. (Att 9)

Aeron whispered to Jharron, “We need your help with a small rodent infestation.”

Aeron smiled as the wave of heat from the nearby alchemist fire washed over him, “Just a second more and the silvered arrows will be ready. Gravnar defend the west tunnel! It will take all of us throwing alchemist fire and oil to kill the swarming rats.”
•Aeron has fire resistance 5, so alchemist fire splash shouldn’t have hurt him. Silvered arrows ready on 16. On his turn, Aeron will distribute 3 arrows each to Daelin, Nitram and himself…throw his last alchemist fire at V23, and 5 ft step over the torch to U21.*

Once Nitram has the silvered arrows, he steps to where he can see the rats V20 and fires a silvered elven arrow at the wounded rat V16. + 7 atk/1d10+6 + silver dmg

Blend, unseen, rounded on the wererat engaged with the glowing rod and attempted to slide his blade between the thing’s ribs.

After hearing Aeron, Jharron and Fero enter the cavern and move toward where the rest of the team are located. They move carefully to ensure they are able to maintain any chance for surprise. “On our way.”

“Way to far away to hear a message spell, sorry”

Blend fades into visibility as he sticks the distracted rat into the back side of the creature’s chest. (Att 21, dam 12) The creature let out a pained squeal that echoed down the sewer ways. The wound gushed blood and the rat started slumping over with exhaustion.

The wererat farther down the hall turned and its eyes bugged open when it saw Blend. It moved forward, cautious of the Spiritual Weapon.

Nitram impatiently waited for the arrows to be ready, while eyeing foes in all directions. (Hold until 16)

The short were rat that had spoken originally took a chance and tumbled past Gravnar, coming up successfully behind him. (Acro 28) He stabbed at Gravnar, only to have his shortsword fail to find a chink in the dwarf’s armor. (Att 14)

Blend’s opponent knew it was do or die, and began flailing his shortsword in Blend’s direction. (Att 7)

Aeron completed his preparations, and quickly handed three arrows each to Daelin and Nitram. Pulling a flask of Alchemist’s Fire, he flung it at the smoldering swarm of rats. (Att 14, dam 3)

Nitram fires one of the silvered elven arrows at the nearest wererat V19 then steps forward U20 while drawing Kinslayer with his primary hand.

Aeron was not impressed by the results of the alchemist fire attacks on the approaching rat swarm. These alchemist fire flasks are defective! The quicklime to bitumen ratios are not balanced. I will have to chop some of the dead wood apprentices at Rashemon’s Tower…if we survive. OOC Based on Nitram’s move, Aeron will shift his 5ft step to U21. He’ll stand behind the fallen torch hoping that’s enough to disuade the rats. He’ll use an opportunity attack and try to stomp on any rats that flows into Daelin’s square. When does the rat swarm take an additionanl d6 damage from Daelin’s Alchemist Fire? Is it the end of the round or next round on initiative 24?

Nitram’s arrow flew straight and true into the chest of the wererat. (Att 24, dam 9) The silvered tip dug deeply into the creature’s vitals, bringing it to it’s knees.

As feared, the rat swarm drove straight towards Daelin, clawing and biting as the numerous rats climbed all over him and around his feet. Some of the rats were still on fire. (Daelin takes 4 hp from the swarm.)

Gravnar heard the rat behind him fall to Nitram’s arrow, and then saw Nitram move up. This freed him from the flanking position he had found himself in.

Gravnar performs an attack on the wererat in front of him, and takes a 5-foot step back.

The intense oil and flame had burned more of the rats in the swarm than had been apparent at first. (dam 3)

As the rats had scurried towards Daelin, both he and Aeron took a swing at the mass of fangs, teeth and fur. Daelin’s sword cut a swath of rats from the pile, (Att 16, dam 3) while Aeron’s blade swept thru with no effect. (Att 12)

Gravnar’s edged and shining waraxe failed to effect the snarling creature in front of him, as it nimbly twisted out of the way. (Att 13) Gravnar took a precarious step backward over the unconscious body of the wounded wererat. The hissing creature Gravnar had been in melee with pressed forward, continuing its attack. (Att 21, dam 4) The rat’s stabbing shortsword managed to find a chink in Gravnar’s armor, biting into flesh.

Shylent pulled a dagger and began stabbing and cutting at the rats massing over Daelin, (Att 18, dam 2) flinging squealing bodies everywhere.

More rats fell from their exposure to the fire and flames, dropping to the ground with a loud sizzles, squeaks and pops. (dam 2)

Daelin shook burning rats from his shoulders and prepared his next action.

Daelin stepped back (V22) and struck out with his longsword in both hands (attack 7, damage 1d8+4 [halved vs. swarm]). At the same time, his summoned weapon attacked for its final time before returning to the gods which granted it (attack 6, damage 1d8).

Daelin moved back past the rats, swinging his sword a second time through the now diminished mass of flaming vermin. (Att 14, dam 5) The longsword scattered rats and pieces of rats in all direction, what few rats that survived the attack fled into the darkness, the swarm dispersed. From behind Daelin there was a horrendous screech of anger “Mys petsss….Noes…” and with a scrabbling and rustling another wererat appeared. This one had no weapons, just clawed hands and long fangs. It looked weaker and heavily diseased, but through the bits of leprous flesh and fur the bulge of intact muscles could be seen flexing. It lashed out with one deadly clawed hand (Att 19, dam 10) and ripped a slash across Daelin’s side.

Daelin’s Spiritual Weapon lashed out a final time before fading into the darkness. (Att 9)

Daelin reeled from the wererat’s attack. He grabbed for the holy symbol he wore around his neck and asked the gods to intervene on his behalf. A wave of healing energy emanated from Daelin, healing him and spreading out to heal Gravnar also. (7 hp)

At his feet Gravnar felt the unconscious wererat suddenly spring to life and scramble away from his feet past his friend. Gravnar swung at the retreating rat (Att 7 fumble) but got his feet tangled with the scurrying creature’s tail and nearly fell over.

Great. More opportunity to kill these things Nitram thought as he saw the rat scramble away from the dwarf, almost knocking the stout fellow down. Gravnar, you’re looking good. I’m going after the other one. Nitram turned and moved to something he could engage. He slung his bow over his head and shoulder and drew his second scimitar before moving next to Daelin U22 and attacking the older wererat.

Blend was dismayed when the magical weapon disappeared from sight. Still, the nasty thing in front of him needed to be dispatched and it appeared he was on his own down at this end of the sewer.
Blend’s weapon made a diagonal cut across the front of the wererat, slaying it where it stood. The dead creature fell against the wall and slowly slumped down onto the floor. (Att 19, dam 4)

This created an opening for the next rat down the hall, which was seemingly unconcerned about the brutal death of its companion. It moved forward cautiously and attacked Blend with it’s shortsword, striking Blend along the thigh. (Att 22, dam 7)

Kinslayer slashed out at the decrepit wererat, catching it along it’s right side. (Att 22, dam 4) Although the creature was struck solidly, Nitram felt like he was sliding Kinslayer along rough leather instead of flesh and fur.

The original short man (still a wererat) took another step forward and clutched its side, looking nervously to the front and rear.

Aeron knocked an arrow from his magic quiver and stepped past the smoldering rats to stand behind Gravnar V20. “Save the weak ones for me” Aeron took aim with his longbow over Gravnar and fired at the fleeing injured wererat.

Aeron’s arrow flashed over Gravnar’s shoulder to strike the injured wererat squarely in the back. (Att 20, dam 8) The wounded creature fell to the ground in astonishment. From the corpse of the creature, two arrows burst into the air striking at the wererats on both sides of the body. (Att 13) The wererats were astonished by the apparent “ricochet” of arrows, but were able to avoid being hit.

Gravnar regained his footing after the retreat of the now dead wererat, and prepared his action.

Jharron saw the melee going on and thought what a cluster. No ability to move around. I hate being indoors or underground. Fero and Jharron moved to engage. Upon seeing the sleeping man, Fero stopped to provide guard duty and ensure no escape happened. “Apparently ya’ll know you were given away. Glad ya’ll managed to survive the double cross. Fero will ensure the sleeper is not an issue and I hope this helps a little. Daelin close your eyes for a sec”

The wererat in front of Daelin was taken by surprise by both Jharron’s approach and the sudden burst of light in its eyes. (Fort 12, fail) It hissed and squinted, trying to keep Daelin in the center of its beady gaze.

Gravnar performs a full attack on the wererat in front of him.

The corners of Nitram’s mouth curve upward, not quite forming a smile, as the formidable wererat steps out of the corridor and stops in front of him, focused on Daelin. Nitram finally lashes out with both Kinslayer and his secondary scimitar, expecting the lack of cover and his impending flanking attacks to seriously wound the beast. if possible, Nitram will take a 5’ to V23 – not sure if I can do that around the corner or not, but thought I’d try

“Daelin, he can’t see very well so take advantage.”

Gravnar swung and his waraxe again connected with the vile creature in front of him. A solid hit, but almost like a tree instead of hitting flesh. (Att 20, dam 3) The creature snarled and returned a similar blow with its shortsword, stabbing towards Gravnar’s vitals. (Att 10) Frustrated with its inability to get through Gravnar’s defenses, the wererat snarled again in anger.

Shylent swung her longsword around the corner, causing Daelin to duck, but catching the wererat totally off guard. (Att 23c, dam 5)

Daelin swung his longsword in a two handed diagonal slash (Attack 7, damage 1d8+4) hoping to catch the were rat unprepared, then took a defensive step back (V21).

Daelin’s longsword glanced off the wererat’s scabrous hide to no effect. (Att 13)

The creature began a maniacal snarling and frothing at the mouth as it grinned evilly at Daelin. It paid no attention to either Nitram or Shylent as it stepped forward in pursuit of Daelin. The loss of its “pets” appeared to have blinded it with rage. It raked its claws against Daelin’s chest, but Daelin was able to pull back just enough to leave nothing but a scratch across his armor. (Att 14)

Blend continued his struggles against the rat in front of him.

Against all odds, Blend’s weapon struck the rat in the vitals, causing an outpouring of blood and bile onto the floor. (Att 27c, dam 7) The ratman hissed and snarled, nearly dropping its short sword in pain.

Shaking it’s long snouted nose, it thrust the tip of the sword towards Blend in a stabbing motion, (Att 15) and hissed weakly as Blend nimbly dodged it.

The corners of Nitram’s mouth curved upward, not quite forming a smile, as the formidable wererat stepped out of the corridor and stopped in front of him, focused on Daelin. Nitram finally lashed out with both Kinslayer and his secondary scimitar, expecting the lack of cover and his impending flanking attacks to seriously wound the beast. (Att 13, 23, dam 5) The creature seemed prepared for Kinslayer and ducked out of its path, but was unable to dodge the follow up swing of Nitram’s other scimitar.

Aeron handed a silvered arrow to Jharron, “The rats don’t like silver.” He then knocked another arrow from his magic quiver and fired at the wererat that was frantically trying to stab the well armored dwarf.

Gravnar’s shoulder ALMOST blocked Aeron’s shot over his shoulder, Aeron’s arrow barely hit the vile and frantic creature. (Att 19, dam 8) The silver arrow did sink deep and seemed fully effective against the creature. (bloodied)

Jharron also knew that it would be difficult to fire a bow into melee, but possible.

“Thank you for the arrow and guidance. Daelin, apparently you pissed that guy off. Maybe I can help…..” Jharron reaches over and touches Daelin to infuse him with the knowledge of nature.

Fero maintains his watch on the sleeping human and howls to instill courage in friends and fear in the enemies.

Feeling more courageous, Gravnar performs a full attack on the wererat in front of him.

Gravnar’s swing keeps the injured wererat at bay, but fails to do any damage to its mangy hide. (Att 12)

Except for the wererat enraged at the loss of his pets, the wererats all began sniffing and looking around for a way out. Of which there didn’t appear to be one. The rat in front of Blend make a few jabs and shuffles in order to see if he could get past Blend, and he did not appear to confident in his chances of success.

The rat in front of Gravnar withdrew down the hallway towards Blend and his companion, in hopes of overwhelming Blend and escaping.

Shylent swung her weapon at the wererat distracted by Nitram and made struck the creature full on again, but her sword failed to do any damage. Shylent began cursing in Korisc. “Stück Scheiße” she snarled.

Again, Daelin attacked the crazed wererat [attack 8 (Guidance), damage 1d8+4] before retreating a step (W20), inviting his allies to join the fray if they chose.

Aeron called out to Gravnar, “Gravnar, charge the fleeing wererate. I will be right behind you.”

The raging wererat in front of Daelin glared with utter disregard as Daelin swung his longsword. It moved its head slightly as the sword swooshed by through the air. (Att 11). It’s gleaming bloodshot eyes followed Daelin’s retreat and it quickly darted after him.

Nitram and Shylent took advantage of the oblivious creature’s advance. Kinslayer sliced into the wererat’s side as it moved (Att 20, dam 7) but Shylent’s longsword failed to connect. (Att 14)

The manic creature stabbed at Daelin again with its crude shortsword (Att 21, dam 6)
catching him on the shoulder. Daelin was bloodied and not far from being severely injured.

Aeron whispered to Shylent, “Shylent, shift into the south tunnel so the wererat leader can’t escape. I’ll move west down the tunnel to help Gravnar and Blend.”

Blend continued his assault on the filthy creature in front of him and swept his blade in low, hoping to score a wound on the thing’s leg to hamper it’s mobility (flavor text, not called shot).

My affinity for animals may not extend to rats Nitram thought as he stepped back into melee with the raging rat and attacked him with both swords. 5’ step to V22, full attack (+ 7/+ 6; 1d6+6 / 1d6+2)

Blend’s low arc with the blade barely connected with the creature in front of him, (Att 20, dam 4) but did draw a line of blood across the vile rat’s thigh.

The wererat attempted to dodge past Blend’s left, but failed. The attempt however provided an opportunity for Blend to lunge at the creature with his sword. (Att 11) The wererat backpedaled furiously and evaded Blend’s lunge, chopping at Blend as it did. (Att 22, damage 3) The desperate swing managed to hit Blend, causing an insignificant bruise or two.

The putrid remains of the flaming rat swarm caused Nitram to slip and stumble, raking Kinslayer with a horrendous screech across the paved floor. (Att 8f) Recovering somewhat, Nitram swung his other weapon at the creature they surrounded, but missed. (Att 14) (fumble effect, -2 AC til next turn)

Nitram glanced down to see what he tripped on yes, really not liking rats right now.

Aeron stepped past Gravnar V18and fired a magic arrow from his quiver at the fleeing wererat V13. Aeron pressed against the north side of the tunnel leaving room for Gravnar’s charge.

Aeron’s arrow flew unerringly towards the center of the retreating wererat’s back. (Att 23, 6 dam) The creature squealed and slumped slightly, but continued pressing forward for the escape.

Jharron watches Nitram mis-step and changes his tactics. “Daelin, hold on for a minute as I bring an end to the threat you are facing.” That rat looks rough and I bet it doesn’t like fire in its fur any better than its pets. Jharron steps forward and reaches out to touch the rat, becoming a conduit for the flames of nature to enter the rat. “You are abhorrant to nature and I ban you from this world you unnatural beast.”

Jharron’s hand erupted into flame and spread from his touch across the body of the wererat. (Att 17, dam 8) The rat screamed in agony as the flames ate into its skin and it crumbled to the ground. The stench of burnt flesh and fur filled the area, and a haze of smoke covered the air.

Gravnar moves to the wererat V14, double move.

The wererat trying to escape looks around in panic as Gravnar trundles up the sewerway. In desperation it turns around to fight. The finely etched shortsword gleamed in the Dancing Lights as the wererat stabbed at Gravnar’s midsection. (Att 12) The tip of the sword grated against Gravnar’s armor and failed to penetrate to any degree.

Shylent stepped over the dead berserker rat and took up a guarded position facing the southern passageway.

I’ll be out the rest of the night, so On Aerons turn Aeron fired a magic arrow into the remaining wererats aiming at the weakest one. + 8 Hit and + 4 damage…if he kills one the 2 emerging arrows fire at the remaining wererat. After the combat, he casts elven envoy power Detect Magic to help identify and collect any items of interest. Then will arrange the bodies so it looks like they killed each other and use his oil to burn the rat bodies to make sure they don’t come back. Aeron then will cast hypnotism on the remaing Cromag thief using the fascinated time to ask whatever questions the group wants and then implanting whatever suggestion the group comes up with (e.g. List the Cromag gang members, tell us how to get to Cromag’s layer, tell us where the guild stores it’s stolen goods, take this item/letter back to Cromag, etc).

“Thanks for the help, Jharron,” Daelin said hurriedly as he reached for the holy symbol he wore around his neck. He called forth the healing power of the gods to aid him (Cure Light Wounds 1d8+3) as he moved to check the eastern hallway. “Anything else want to try and surprise us from over here?” he thought out loud.

Daelin felt the healing power of his faith wash over him. (+5 hp) He moved cautiously towards the sewerway that the rat swarm and their master had come from. In the dim light he saw the passage continued for 15 feet, at which point it dead ended, with a ladder going up through a manhole.

Blend saw Gravnar approaching past the two injured wererats. One rat had turned to fight Gravnar, but the one facing Blend looked like it was about to make some desperate move.

Blend needed to end this quickly. His eyes locked with the foul vermin in front of him for a brief instant before he blinked from view. Counting on the rat to be confused and desperate, he conjectured that it would make a lunge and attempt to get away. He brought his blade straight back and thrust it forward, toward the creature’s throat.

The wererat in front of Blend blinked in confusion as it prepared for a bull rush attempt. Suddenly Blend re-appeared with his sword stuck in the rat’s throat. (Att 16, dam 12)

The stricken rat said something in Trade Tongue *{color:green}"Gurrglaipth" and slowly slid off of Blend’s extended weapon and onto the floor. Blend ignored the dead foe as he slid forward to confront the last remaining enemy.

Nitram grabs the torch off the ground and climbs up the ladder in the eastern passageway to ensure there wasn’t anything else, searching for tracks as he goes. OOC: I understand this may take more than one round, but I’m not needed to finish the last rat.

The last wererat hissed and spit at both Blend and Gravnar, as it resumed its frantic/futile defense. Blend and Gravnar double team of the wererat was so effective, that neither of them knew who exactly landed the killing blow as the wererat fell to the ground, dead.

After a few moments, the wererats turned back into normal looking ruffians. Aeron began arranging bodies and setting the scene for any investigators who may come after to assume the two gangs killed each other off. Then he eyed the remaining Cromag thief.

Nitram continued his investigation of the area above the ladder. He saw muddy paw prints, but most of them were obscured by the water, slime, and the passage of the rat swarm. (Survival 17) He could tell where the rat master had perched, watching and listening to the battle below, before it erupted in anger at the slaying of its pets. A small pouch and several apple cores sat on a ledge in that spot.

Shylent continued her guard of the southern passage, well aware that Blend’s smuggler “friends” hadn’t arrived yet.

13 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
5:30 pm, Thunderday

A canvassing of the rat thugs produced a few coppers and some gold, oddly enough, no silver. (62 cp, 23 gp) One of the wererats had an finely etched shortsword that had been well taken care of. Upon further inspection it turned out to be a Varencian gladius, well crafted and worth 10x the value of a normal sword. There was a maker’s mark on the hilt, of a stylized weasel.

All of the rat thugs had a little potion bottle around their neck on a copper chain. The bottles were empty. The short thug, presumably the leader, had a slightly larger bottle around his neck, and there was one dose of some thick liquid still left within it.

The copper chains and the little clay bottles had symbols and letters etched on them. Jharron commented that the symbols resembled those used by witches, and Aeron determined they were interposed with spellcraft calculations concerning blood magic.

The lead thug had a copper and ruby signet ring with a unique logo etched into the ruby in silver.

Witchcraft

“So, is this the folks ya’ll planned to tackle tonight? What’s the plan for the sleeping one?” Jharron moved over to Fero and ensured the sleeping guy was separated from any dangerous weapons.

Nitram grabbed the pouch and looked inside anything good in there…mithral breastplate in a pouch of holding? before returning to the group. It looks like they were up there waiting for us for a while. Any of these things still alive? Nitram checked the bodies to see if they had any additional prisoners to interrogate.

Gravnar says, “Why are we arranging the bodies in this manner? We must report this event to the city guard and the sleeping rogue must be taken to the constabulary. I intend to give them a full report of what I’ve seen and learned, and I’ve learned so much! Thank you for this invigorating stroll in the woods!” He fiddles in his backpack and produces a whetstone, plops down in the middle of the hallway, and commences to sharpen his weapon.

“The point is to remove two dangerous guilds from power and to do that we need to start a gang war. That does not involve the city guard. That rogue over there will also not be handed over to the…how did you put it? Constabulary? Someone bring the short one up to speed please.” Blend shook his blade violently to the side to fling loose the wererat’s larynx.

Posted by: Stoi
“Bah! You tall skinny ones and your ways. You’re about as civilized as these rat men we just cleaned out of this sewer!” He mumbles something about his weapon being too dull to cut through a rat’s hide…

After arranging the bodies Aeron set to work collecting samples. He knocked out the front teeth of the wererat leader with a torch collecting the incisors, along with blood and hair samples in separate vials. Finally, he lopped off the right hand of the rat leader pulling off the signet ring and tossing it to Blend. “Can’t have all these base metals contaminating the spell components. Blend, do you recognize this symbol?” Aeron looked up at Gravnar from his grizzly business. His hooded face and piercing green hawk like eyes gave him the appearance of a raptor crouched over a kill. “Gravnar, we could turn the captured Cromag gang member over the city guard, and before I came to Capone I was inclined to agree with that course of action. Aeron waved the disembodied hand in the direction of all the dead thieves lying in the trickling sewer water. “On the other hand, the city guard is infested with gang members. We can’t turn over this prisoner to the corrupted guard because it would reveal to the gangs that we are hunting them.” Aeron smiled as he submerged the wererat hand in an oil jar pouring the overflowing oil over the body of the rat leader. “We can’t show our hand until all the cards are played.”

Aeron made a few arcane motions and said a few cryptic words. The mage’s eyes flashed briefly blue as he examined the ring, sword, vials, and pouch contents for magical auras. Doing one final sweep over the area just to make sure nothing was missed. “This blood magic vial links the Street Merchants to the Moon Coven witches. We must keep these items out of sight for they would be extremely recognizable to Pete Rejo’s gang. I’m afraid Pete Rejo’s Street Merchants are worse than we thought. They are infected with blood magic and lycanthropy. Those diseases could easily spread through all of Capone. I think we need to shift our focus from Cromag to Pete Rejo to determine where the location of the witches coven. Pete Rejo’s gang is likely hidden amongst Capone’s Ratkin community, using their lycanthropy to hide within the populous.”

Aeron walked over to the sleeping thief guarded by Fero. “I will be able to ask as few as 2, but as many as 8 questions of the Cromag thief leader and I will be able to implant one idea in his mind that he will likely follow. Does the group have any suggestion questions or ideas to implant?”

After collecting questions from the group, Aeron made a few quick arcane gestures over the party removing all dirt, sewage, and blood from the close combat with the wererats. “Jharron and Daelin, see if you can call on your gods to heal the remaining wounds. Let’s keep up the charade that Pete Rejo’s and Cromag’s gang killed each other before we got here. The less that know the truth, the greater our chance of success.”

Blend grabbed the ring from Aeron to examine it further. “Perhaps we can plant one of the blood magic vials here at the scene. Give it to Cromag’s man. Suggest to him that he was set upon by wererats. I am sure Cromag may have suspicions the Rejo is using lycanthropy and blood magic. It would just strengthen the illusion that is already there.”

Posted by: mmartin_10
As far as the suggestion goes, I think you should have him think he managed to escape the ambush by Rejo’s wererats. That could spark the war between the two guilds.

“If we’d like to ask more than a handfull questions, perhaps I could be of some help,” Daelin offered. “As long as the magic holds, I can render him unable to lie directly for a short period of time. Unfortunately, any of us interrogatinghim will also be unable to lie directly.”

Once the remaining foes had been confirmed dead, Daelin walked to the rough center of his companions and, saying a quick prayer under his breath, swept his arms out sending a healing wave out from himself. (Channel Energy +2d6, 30’ radius)

Nitram soon found that the bound guard was the only survior of either gang. Nitram’s investigation of the pouch revealed a few uneaten apples, some sunflower seeds, and a iron rimmed monocle. When Nitram returned to the area where Aeron was performing his investigation, Aeron told Nitram that the monocle glowed with a faint aura of gold (divination).

Jharron was content that the slowly awakening bandit was disarmed and securely bound. And if he made any sudden moves, Fero would bite his face off.

Blend’s assessment of the ring was divided. One one hand, nobody in his experience mixed copper with a valuable stone like a ruby, even if it was a very small slice of ruby.

Aeron caught a flicker of an aura coming from the ring as he scanned the area. The ring gave off a faint aura of gold. Nothing else in the area gave off any auras, other than the items the party was already carrying. Sometimes Aeron felt the gold and green flickering of Kinslayer would give him a headache.

The party gathered around the remaining bandit in preparation for the “interrogation”. Shylent remained on lookout to the south.

Blend winced as he gathered closer to the group and wiped some leftover blood from his nose. “I don’t recognize the symbol, but it is repeated on the clay vials as well. The copper band is worth about 25 gold, while the stone is worth easily twenty times that. Odd that they should be paired so.” Blend looked south down the tunnel that led to the waterway. “I am still wondering where Petrol’s delivery is. Maybe they are running late? I am going to take a quick look. I won’t be gone long.”

“Daelin, call forth the power of your gods to create the field of truth, but be prepared to drop the divine truth when I give the signal so I can implant the fabricated suggestion. Use the message spell to send me questions if I miss anything and hide in the side passages so he can’t see you.” Since the sleeping thief was waking up, Aeron moved quickly U21 to hypnotise him. Will DC 19

Aeron placed the empty wererat flask in the thief’s hands. He scooped up some fetid water that was trickling down the passage and slowly dripped it next to the thief’s ear. The water drops echoed in the tunnel like a metrinome until the thief’s eyes glazed, enthralled with the rythmic sound. Aeron waited for Daelin’s divine truth to wash over him as he began the questioning.

Aeron attempted to ask the questions as efficiently as possible, quickly asking the next question after the thief leader responded;
“Where is Cromag’s safe house?”…
“Who is your mole in the Capone city guard?”… NOTE this one moved up in priority based on Matt’s request
“Who is your contact with Harbor Freight?”…
“Who is your contact with the Toreador Merchant Guild?”…
“Where does the Profiteer’s Guild store their stolen goods?”…
“Who is your most used fence in Capone?”…
“Who are the Profiteer Guild’s top commanders?”…
“Who is your mole in the The Guild?”…
Aeron attempted to get the thief leader to answer as many questions as possible. As the fascination faded, Aeron signalled Daelin to drop the zone of truth and then implanted the final suggestion, “Run tell Cromag that you were ambushed by Rejo’s rat people and managed escape with your life and that flask.” As the thief disappeared down the north tunnel clutching the blood magic flask, Aeron gave the all clear sign to the party.

When Blend returned If alone, Aeron addressed Blend and Nitram. Noting, “The ring and monocle are faintly magical. Let me examine them to determine their use.” Aeron took each item and one at a time, turned them over in his hand looking for arcane marks and methods of activation.

The bandit leader was still groggy when the effect of the Hypnotism hit him. His eyes glazed over as he sat up slightly and smiled at Aeron. “If by safe house you mean where we hide out and store loot, the main one is the brown brick house just west of The Bones with the cupola.”

“Stan’s the man!”

“I don’t know that.”

“We don’t have any special contacts with Toreador, a few bribed officials that’s all.”

Aeron could tell that the Hypnotism was beginning to wear off and signalled Daelin. The thief departed quickly to spread the word about the ambush by Rejo;s men.

Blend I broke Stan’s nose with a rock…

Aeron remarked to the companions, “That went better than I thought. With Daelin’s help, we were able to get the location of Cromag’s hideout and, thanks to Nitram’s quick thinking, the name of the mole in the City Guard. Cromag’s profiteer’s guild will be eager for revenge and they will be a few hours ahead of Pete Rejo’s gang. Now that we know Pete Rejo’s gang carries blood magic vials, I should be able to detect and track them in the city. How would you like to proceed?”

Option A: Regroup at the inn and wait to see what happens.
Option B: Detect where Pete Rejo is and plan a finishing attack after Cromag retaliatess.
Option C: Stake out Cromag’s hideout and attack him at his base when he returns from attacking Pete Rejo.
Option D: Insert your idea here.

Aeron tossed the copper and ruby ring to Daelin. “See if you or Jharron can decypher this strange ring. It glows faintly of divination and is inscribed with a silver witchcraft sigil. I suspect it detects poison or witches, but my divination symbol reading was never very good.”

Aeron then held up the monocle to his right eye and demonstrated its use by looking at each of the party members. “This monocle lets a person looking through it detect if something is being scryed on our magically bound. A truly limited piece of magic, as there is precious little we can do to stop anyone trying to scry on us and we can’t use it to determine the scrying source. Unless someone is looking to acquire a top hat and cane, I suggest we sell this once Pete Rejo’s gang is disrupted.”

“The gladius is finely etched, but not magical. Unless someone has their heart set on taking up the gladius, I suggest we sell it. It could fetch a good price at the Capone Market. Surely keeping my horse from being repossessed for another week.

Aeron then distributed gold recovered from the wererats, slowly counting out 4 gold pieces to each of the party members. “Unfortunately, this doesn’t even pay for the alchemist fire we used on the rat swarm or the silvered weapon blanch arrows we used on the wererats. Perhaps we should balance this pro bono work with something a little more fiscally sustainable?”

On the way out of the sewers Aeron lights the oil soaked wererats.

Nitram handed Aeron the two remaining silvered arrows in his possession. I would like – in the morning – to talk to Gracier about Stan. It would greatly benefit her to use this information to flush out more of Cromag’s men. I agree that Pete Rejo appears to be the bigger internal threat and needs to be dealt with – probably better handled by us – she will need to know how to secure the trading routes in the short term. I’ll impress upon her the benefit of using the information to monitor Stan’s bad activity to determine if there are more, which is likely, and then feed him/them with bad intel with the goal of rounding them up. That shouldn’t take long. Plus, I need to drop off my bow. After that, I suggest a combination of trying to track Rejo and staking out Cromag.
Shylent and I, since we have been associated with the guards here, can trail Aeron as he searches. I would guess Blend is the best equipped to observe Cromag’s hideout. Daelin, Jharron, and the dwarf – if he is joining us – can help with that duty since they haven’t been associated with the guard yet. We may consider letting them see one of those three – or Shylent or I – watching his place. Blend may be able to get some better information from their reaction to being observed.
Nitram looked south in the direction Blend had departed. It is strange that Petrol’s people haven’t shown up yet. I wonder if he was really just using us to get rid of some “competition”. As far as the other stuff, I agree, sell Aeron’s horse—sorry, sell the gladius and monocle and figure out what the ring does. What is taking him so long? I think he’s a pretty good swimmer….

As Aeron gazed through the monocle, he noticed a new golden glow about the ruby and copper ring. It seemed as if the symbol was etched in golden fire. It reminded Aeron of the type of rune or symbol used to personalize items by magic wielders, i.e. Arcane Mark.

Blend passed Shylent as he moved southward. He heard her grunt and saw her point out a slippery patch of moss. She remained on guard as he moved down the sewer channel.

This portion of the sewers began to decline as it approached the “dead end”. About 7 paces past Shylent (20 feet) Blend reached the waterline. Upon investigating, it appeared to get deep very quickly, the area adjacent to Blend was maybe 5 feet deep and who knows how deep farther out.

There was no sign of anyone having come this way recently, but as Blend turned to go back northward he heard a splashing and gasping, as somebody surfaced in the area he had just inspected. It appeared to be a thief like character wearing goggles. As he caught his breath the figure (still waist deep in water) raised his hand and muttered “Lux tripudium” causing a ball of light to float just behind his shoulder. Upon seeing Blend, the individual froze, hands back under the water.

13 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
5:45 pm, Thunderday

Blend was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed when the thief broke the surface. “Petrol sent us to escort you. Watch your step. Don’t slip in all the blood.” Blend turned and rejoined the rest of the group.

“You sure Gracier would know how to leverage that information properly? She’s about as subtle as a fart in church.” Blend glanced at Aeron holding the monocle. “That monocle is definitely a smuggler’s tool. Prevents tracking goods and such. Or at least identifies items enchanted in such a way. Might come in useful. We should consider those uses before we decide to sell it. And I agree that Rejo and his group might pose the biggest internal threat, but I would argue that Cromag still poses the larger threat to trade in the area.”

The two smuggler’s slowly crept out of the water and shook off their gear. Once situated, they followed Blend up the hallway, staring at all the bodies when they arrived. The lead smuggler lifted his goggles up to his forehead and introduced himself and his partner. “Name is Thom, and this is may cohort here, Jeri. Thanks, we would have been dead. You ever need anything let us know.”

He looked around, paled slightly, then spoke again. “Reckon we should get on with the delivery, Drax tournaments don’t last forever” he chuckled sarcastically, but it was obvious he wanted to get out of the sewers.

(Everyone knows Drax tournaments can last for hours)

Aeron whispered to the group, “The monocle also serves to verify if summoned creatures are bound. It could be very useful for conjuring or interrogating extra planar creatures. An item with multiple claims should be sold and profits split evenly amongst the party.”

Aeron concentrated through the monocle at the ruby ring in Daelin’s hand. “That said, the monocle has revealed that there is a scrying link to the ruby ring…so everything we are saying is likely being transmitted to the Moon Coven Witches. If the witches can scry then they can communicate over long distances with their wererat suppliers. The witches may decided not to warn Pete Rejo’s wererats of our plot…but we can’t count on that. Any surprise we might have had may be disappearing rapidly. While I do not like the timing, we should attack Rejo’s gang at first light or they may begin to hunt us down.”

Aeron redistributed the remaining 6 silvered arrows casting a sharpening spell to make them more deadly Reply if you want arrows otherwise distribute as follows: 2 to Jharron, 2 to Daelin, and 2 to Aeron.

Blend “Let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. A frontal assault and open war are not very good options in my opinion.”

Aeron added, “I was not recommending open war. I think Cromag will be highly upset at the loss of his ambush crew and will likely retaliate to send a swift message to Rejo. I think Cromag’s retaliation will soften Rejo’s numbers, making a decapitation or kidnapping attack possible. If your scouting deems Rejo’s surviving wererat numbers are too high, we can abort the mission and wait for Rejo to be an easier target.”

Aeron motioned in the direction of the elvish priest and human druid.
“Daelin and Jharron are doing the final inspection of the ring. They should be able to gather additional information about the scrying link. If the scying link is confirmed, our anonymity has been compromised, so we should consolidate inns and rotate night watch shifts for as long as we stay in the city. We should also be prepared to make a quick exit from Capone…if necessary.”

In response to Nitram’s planning, Gravnar says, “I will most certainly join you in the next phase of this adventure if you will have me. I see that this town has been corrupted, and I believe The Vaesir have delivered me to your party so that I might help return order…to the town. Our efforts will also be beneficial to my people as we can open trade once the trade routes are safe.”

“On the subject of our next move, I vote we gather at the inn immediately. Given the nature of those we’ve disrupted, we must consider all to be as a threat. We have opened a Morrigan’s Box, and I suspect we do not know what will hit us next. The Inn seems to be our best safe-haven for tonight—unless someone knows of one better—and as suggested by Aeron, we should hit them head on at first light before they have time to prepare. I also recommend we keep a two-man watch throughout the night, just in case.”

“In addition, I have much to ponder about the tactics of this battle. We should assume there are more rat men. And if so, where can I find one of these “silvered” weapons? If only I had more time to prepare, I would write to my kinsmen for support, but the need is immediate."

“Lastly, on the subject of the gladius, if no one else has a use for it, it would make a spectacular backup weapon for me, just in case—The Vaesir forbid—I were to be disarmed of my waraxe.” He clears his throat and looks away abashedly.

Nitram looked at Aeron, So, what’s the deal with the ring…scrying? That means someone can see and hear everything around the ring?

He looked between Blend and Aeron (as usual) and asked about the monacle, What uses does the monacle have, identifies items enchanted to prevent tracking…and something about extra planar creatures?

Gravnar, it doesn’t matter to me either way, but I also have an extra shortsword if you would rather wield that on the improbable occasion that you lose your axe.

Aeron thoughtfully answered Nitram’s question as High Wizard Solde the Grey of the Neutre Ecole Academy had answered this exact same question of his nearly fifty years ago, “The arcane symbol on the ruby signifies witch magic and the faint divination aura signifies scrying. Scrying is the magical ability to observe a creature at any distance. The scryer has full visual and auditory acuity, including any magical effects within a 10 foot radius of the ring. In addition, the scryer can detect aspects of our personalities, arcane auras, and can contact us with a message spell. As you can imagine, this asymetric knowledge puts us at a distinct disadvantage. We can distinctly see the ring’s scrying connection by using the monocle. The question is if the scrying connection is always actively transmitting or only triggered on command of the ring bearer. Once Daelin and Jharron have completed their examination of the ring, we should have a better understanding of how and when it transmits.”
Aeron thought about the limitations of scrying and provided some ways to defeat the arcane spying.
“In the mean time, we can make it more difficult for the scryer by staying at least 10 feet from the ring, only communicating via the whisper spell, and using a language like dwarven or elven.”

Aeron held up the monocle, “As for the monocle, it has 2 powers. The first is the ability to detect scrying. The second is the ability to detect binding. You now know what scrying entails, so the benefits are obvious to anyone not wanting to be spyed on or tracked…which is basically all of us. The second benefit is only of value to clerics or wizards that conduct bindings. Bindings are magical restraints. So if we keep the item…which I am not recommending…it would be fully usefull only to Dealin, Jharron, or myself.

Aeron motioned towards the Varencian gladius lying in the cobblestone sewer tunnel.
“I think Gravnar has proved his need for the gladius.” Aeron winked at Gravnar, “remember the old elven proverb…‘A sharp knife is better than a dull dwarf’.

The party gathered their gear and the pair of smuggler and began to make their way out of the sewers. As Aeron began to torch the rat rogues, Shylent tugged on his sleeve and said “No, leave evidence of Rejo” and then took up guard in the middle of the group behind the smugglers without any interest in whether Aeron followed her advice.

There was a few difficulties for some of the group in navigating back up the slide. After the struggles were complete they noticed Fero waiting at the top. Obviously he had used a smaller passage to avoid the slide. He looked like he may have been grinning for a second as the party climbed over the edge.

The rest of the travel back to the rum warehouse was uneventful, and Pete secured the fake rum cask behind the group as they entered. Thom handed Pete a large pouch that he subsequently locked into a large iron/lead safe hidden in a vodka cask.

Blend noticed that Pete didn’t check the contents of the bag. Aeron noticed the bag was tied with silver threads and lead seal clamps.

13 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
7:00 pm, Thunderday

After examining the ring and ensuring only the party members could hear, Jharron stated “If you can see the scrying aura, it will be very strong if it is active. Otherwise, it will remain a dull glow. So Aeron, was the aura bright or dull? Our cover may still be in tact depending on the answer.”

Jharron chuckled at the look Fero provided the party and said “yea, yea, I know you outsmarted us again. You just wait cause your time will come.”

Once arriving at the rum warehouse, Jharron ensures he is observant of all things going on. Interesting that we are here following what I thought was an ambush. I wasn’t aware we were supposed to meet anyone at the site. I wonder if these are the folks that gave the team away…. He moves toward a wall to see all the happenings and Fero moves to be close.

Aeron seemed deeply releaved from Daelin’s analysis of the ruby ring. “The aura of the ring was faint and flickering…so it probably was not transmitting. That said, we need to get rid of it or place it in a lead box, I am sure it will not stay dormant forever.”

Aeron listened to Shylent and left the other wererat bodies unburned…he held high his everburning torch and looked back at the wererat bodies as they departed the sewer tunnels, still uncertain if they would regenerate.

As they made their way back up to the warehouse Aeron took a quick look with the arcane monocle at the large pouch the smugglers carried. He attempted to discern if the strange silver cables and lead seals were part of some magic binding. After they departed the warehouse, Aeron told the party about the strange pouch seals and anything he discovered with the monocle Spellcraft + 11.

Now that they were free of the smugglers, Aeron replied to Gravnar’s advice. I agree we need to acquire silver weapons, but it would look suspicious if we all look at this hour. Let’s break up into smaller groups and meet back at the Jovial Peryton. Blend is the best at getting things in this town. If he’s game, consolidate your orders with him and see what he can find. Keep in mind that alchemical silver or silversheen weapons are expensive…you may want to just acquire alchemical silver ammunition or just silver weapons blanch and treat your own weapons.

Aeron will ask Blend to try to find some silver weapons blanch (5 GP).

Aeron’s inspection of the pouch via the monocle revealed absolutely, positively, no sign of any aura of any type. After noting that fact, Aeron thought further. (Spellcraft 30)

There was no doubt, the silver, the markings, and the seals confirmed it. The entire package managed to produce an effect similar to a Nondetection spell.

The depth and intricacy of the woven spell showed at least a spell caster of the 5th circle.

Gravnar holds his beard and bows to Nitram, “Your offer of the short sword is most generous, but the gladius—won in battle—would give me great honor as a reminder of our victory here today. I do not mean to deprive the group of funds, however, so if it is needed to pay the bills, I will gladly forego it.”
I’m assuming the party can afford it, so pending any further objection, I’ll add it to my char sheet.

Aeron agreed that Gravnar had formed an inpenetrable steel wall that had proved critical to holding back the wererats while the party concentrated on the swarm and leader. “Gravnar, you single-handedly held back the wererat horde. You displayed a stoutness of heart and toughness of steel that has not been seen since the fall of Land’s Edge.” Aeron looked around to see if anyone objected then continued. “Though our coffers are so low we may have to eat Jharron’s dog…we would like to bestow on you this Varencian gladius as a token of your bravery.” Not able to resist chiding the dwarf, Aeron finished. Perhaps you can use it to demonstrate your offensive capabilities…in future battles."

Before the party broke up Aeron asked Blend, “How well do you know this Petrol? I couldn’t help but notice that there were 3 ambushes and the smugglers were fashionably late for the delivery. It looks like we were just used to eliminate some competition. Also, what was in that package? The large pouch carried by the smugglers would sell for up to 30,000 gold pieces on the open market. You certainly wouldn’t put a worthless trinket in such an expensive box.”

Nitram flinched slightly at Aeron’s mention of the fall of Land’s End and his faced retained a sour look for several minutes after the comment.

13 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
9:00 pm, Thunderday

As the group began to disperse into the street to conduct individual business, town criers and the general populace could be heard yelling and talking excitedly about the Drax tournament. Marcus had dominated the beginning of the game, but Johan had taken a better strategic position during the midgame and ended up winning. The people who had bet the long odds in favor of Johan were dancing in the streets. Supporters of Councilman Drominance were stunned at the poor showing he had made this year.

Since the Drax tournament just ended, Nitram went to check the Imperial Temple, hoping Metronius or an apprentice would still be there and able to take his bow to begin working on it. Then, he went to the inn to sleep.

It became apparent to Nitram that no one, other than a few novices keeping candles lit, was up and about after the Drax tournament in the area of the Imperial Temple.

The common room at the Jovial Peryton was packed with revelers and drinkers. Everyone was telling stories about the different plays of the tournament as if they had been there. Minstrels were playing light hearted tunes and barmaids and men were scurrying back and forth, holding plates of snacks and drinks.

Aeron arrived and managed to procure a room. The noise from the common room eventually died down around midnight.

The group slept and morning soon arrived.

14 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
7:00 am, Fireday

The next day dawned bright and abnormally warm for the season. The bar of the Jovial Peryton had a few patrons that had slept the night in their chairs, and they were now slowly starting to move about.

Nitram returned to the Imperial Temple to drop his bow off to Metronius and verified that it would take two days to complete. He then returned to the inn to discuss plans with the group.

After his morning prayers, Daelin met with the rest of the party at the Jovial Peryton. “Good morning Nitram,” he said, greeting the ranger. “Breakfast before business. How has your morning been?” he asked.

So far, uneventful. Are you and Fero ready to get out of this town? Hopefully our business won’t take much longer, he said, looking around for the others.

Shylent nodded in agreement. “Rats only good for stew” she stated.

Nitram felt confident that his meeting with Metronius that morning would produce the desired results. He had caught a slight whiff of “hangover” floating around Metronius’ apprentice, but figured it wouldn’t be an issue.

Gravnar told the party that he had heard there was a small dwarven parcel company working out of the east side of town. They specialized in using trinocs and riding geckos for deliveries.

Aeron brought up the consideration of gathering information from the temple of Ereshkigal and conferred with Daelin and Jharron on the suitability of said action.

Blend had headed out earlier, but could return any minute.

Blend’s probably gambling, Nitram thought. He does like the cards.

Over the conversation of the morning, the fact that Horace’s Herbs and Alchemicals probably stocked silver weapon’s blanch came up. Horace may also know some weapons shops on Armory Street that he may have sold Alchemical Silver weapons to.

Before they left Petrol’s, Blend eased everyone’s mind and let them know that the delivery wasn’t late and was warded as such due to the nature of the business. The package contained expensive gemstones…nothing illicit. How Petrol came across said gemstones was another story. Blend said he would look into getting silver weapons. He knew that Horace’s shop had some, but would look into getting rarer items through his connections. He also asked Aeron for the ring. He was going to plant it on Stan, the corrupt militia guard on Cromag’s payroll. When Rejo’s guild looked into who had the ring, everything would point to Cromag, further fueling the flames between the competing guilds. He counseled for everyone to lay low tomorrow and mentioned that he would be back later the next day, hopefully with some useful information.

As the morning passed and the members of the group took care of various individual tasks, it became apparent that the jovial mood of the Drax tournament the night before had been replaced by something a lot more somber.

It wasn’t so much of an issue in the north and west parts of the town as it was in the eastern and southern portions. Moe’s Cantina had a barfight that got tossed out into the streets. At which point it became a knife fight. There was no specific cause for the raised level of tension that anyone could discern, but most merchants seemed nervous and on edge.

Blend showed up at the Jovial Peryton around lunchtime, figuring that the rest of the group would most likely be there. Once gathered, he suggested they get a private room and talk over food and drink. (Assuming everyone is present and we have a private room)

Blend laid out several large bundles on the table. They contained a silver short sword, a silver longsword and a silver falchion. “I managed to procure these free of charge from various sources. Anything else you want, well, I can go to Horace’s and get it at a discount. The mood in town has changed. People can already feel the tension between the guilds. I planted the scrying ring on Stan to fan the embers. I want to take a look at the safe house and check on a few more things. We need one, maybe two more opportunities to turn this tension into a full-fledged guild war. Then we can use the ensuing chaos and in-fighting to remove them from power and root out the blood magic and coven connections in the Goshen Hills.”

Aeron spent the morning visiting the Ereshkigal Temple Hopefully with Daelin and any one else interested. Aeron entered under the guise that he was interested in selling a witchdoctor spellbook, but his main interest was to help Aid Other +5 untrained Knowledge(Local) check vs DC 10 Daelin ask about locations for the Blood Druids or Moon Coven Witches.

Once the party had gathered in a private room Aeron rose and asked for their attention, “Thank you Blend for your acquisition of these critical supplies. I would like to take this moment to recognize another that has provided invaluable assistance.” Aeron then removed a folded gray cloth from his bag and motioned towards Nitram Tam. Aeron continued, “As you know, I was sent to Aelvenwode on a diplomatic mission from Falconaire to negotiate the construction of a southeastern border outpost. It is with great honor that I present this arcane elven cloak to you, Nitram Tam, as a token of Queen Belcadiz esteem for your work resolving the type of soldiers to be stationed at the southeastern border outpost.” Aeron unfurled the fine grey silk cloak identical to the ones worn by Daelin and Jharron. The sheer material appeared to practically disappear in the lantern light of the private room. Aeron bowed to Nitram and presented the cloak ceremoniously.

Aeron unrolled a piece of parchment with a town sketch on it and two long lines marking an X over a building in south east Capone.

Aeron motioned at the X on the map, “Here is the predicted location of Pete Rejo’s Street Merchants guild. We now have the location of both Cromag’s and Rejo’s thieves guilds. I prefer to strike Rejo’s guild as the use of blood magic and lycanthropy is a larger threat to Capone and it may lead us to the Moon Coven witches or Blood Druids. That said, Cromag’s guild is a larger external threat to the trade routes, so I leave it to the group on which target we should engage first. I agree with Blend, that an another conflict or two is needed to tangle Cromag and Rejo in an unbreakable knot.”

“Here are some ideas that may generate the conflict we are looking for:”
“Feed a false caravan camp location to the Cromag mole, Stan and ambush them.”
“Feed Rejo’s guild location to Cromag and cover the sewer escape routes.”
“Feed Cromag’s guild location to Rejo and cover the surface escape routes.”
“Dress as Cromag’s men and attempt to kidnap/kill Rejo.”

“I would prefer to let the warring guilds do the heavy lifting, but I am open to suggestions. If we are to fight Rejo’s Street Merchants, in addition to these expensive silver weapons Alchemy +11 to verify they are silver, we will need replacement alchemist fire and alchemical silver for the arrows."

“Woahhhh, real silver. Another gift from the gods!” He hesitates and looks at each of the party members to determine who is most likely to be nose to nose with the wererats. “Who else needs a silver weapon? I have no other means than to stand toe to toe with our foes and I can help protect those who do not wish to stand toe to toe, so I submit my lot to take one.” He eyes the falchion as the heaviest of the weapons and most fitting to his fighting style, but he awaits input from others.

Nitram pressed his hand to his heart and bowed his head slightly, I am truly honored by this prestigious gift. Nitram took the cloak and put it on.

He turned to Blend, I hope you kept something for yourself since you seem to get the closest of any of us. Does anyone want either of the swords? Nitram waited. Nitram will take whatever is left, if anything. I don’t think he has a great need for either, but if no one will use them, he will as he expects (hopes?) to be in melee.

Nitram thought about Aeron’s suggestions and added, I don’t think we need to give Stan any specific intel that we will act upon because it may come back to us with the scrying of the ring. I suggest Shylent and I try to make a report to Gracier or Johan when Stan is nearby and can hear. We should let them know that we have been hearing rumors that Pete Rejo’s group took out some of Cromag’s men in the sewers. We may even be able to let slip Rejo’s location as a rumor to speed things along – suggesting they send some men to that area to protect the innocent civilians. I agree we should do something to stir the pot a bit, but I think it should be informational, not necessarily hands-on just to be safe and keep the charade going. We should be watching both places, though, in case one assaults the other. Then we can hit whoever is left standing.

“Where did you get this, Aeron?” Daelin asked. “I did not come to Capone to get in the middle of a guild war, nor to start one. However, since it seems this is the route to theMoon Coven or blood druids, I just want to make sure we are not rushing headlong into this with unreliable information. Assuming that it’s good information, I think going after guild houses is too direct. As is trying to bring down a house leader. I am no expert, but I believe subtlety to be the key. The amount of time that takes is unfortunate, though.”

Daelin turned to address the new arsenal. “Blend, it was very gracious of you to bring these, no doubt they didn’t come cheap. Did you have anyone in particular in mind to wield them?”

“Nitram,” Daelin said as he completed his conversations around the table. “Your suggestion has merit. Would anyone but those involved know about that this early though? Just playing Anshar’s advocate, that may be something that takes some time to get out as rumor.”

Addressing the table, Daelin continued. “As I said before, I am no expert. I would think though that initially, the false caravan idea seems most prudent, followed by leaking rumor. I suggest we devise a source of information for the latter, though.”

Blend regarded the silver weapons. “Practicality should determine who wields these weapons. Nitram favors a curved blade. He is the strongest of all of us. The falchion would be devastating in his hands. Though he does have the ability to fight with two weapons at once, so the paired swords would also be an option. This would unfortunately mean that one less person be armed in such a fashion. Gravnar has expressed interest in the falchion also. However, he has shown to be extremely resistant due to the immense shield he carries, which he would not be able to use with both hands gripping a sword. I assume he can use a longsword though and would be able to wield it at the same time as a shield, therefore not giving up any defense. The only other person who has been consistently up close and personal is me. The short sword is appealing though I have not used one in awhile. Perhaps I can make due in a pinch. Perhaps Nitram can use it better. I’m sorry, but the rest of you have more talent with your bows. I would suggest heading to Horace’s to see about procuring some silver tipped arrows.” It was apparent that Blend was appreciative of the thanks the party gave him, but did not expect them to be beholden to him in any way, shape or form. “As far as what to do next, the good news is that we don’t have to rush. Patience will be our greatest ally. My suggestion is to concentrate on our individual strengths. Let me work on the subtlety and see what I can figure out. Nitram, work with the militia, but do not tip our hand just yet. The has to be more than one corrupt guard working for Gracier. Daelin, Jharron, see if you can find any leads with the local temples. Aeron, my guess is that someone has to have written something down is a musty old tome that could help us and you’d know where to look. Gravnar, I apologize, but as I don’t know you as well, I am at a loss. But there may be a small contingent of dwarves in the city and they most likely keep to themselves. I’ll ask a few questions and see if I can point you in the right direction.”

“I agree, although many untrained tallmen consider this waraxe to be a two-handed weapon. But I certainly will not quibble with the one who has delivered our secret weapon against the foul beasts. I will take the longsword for as long as Blend wishes me to carry it. What about Shylent, does she require a weapon?”

“I believe that The Vaesir have put me on this path, and as such I wish to do my part. I would like to see this city guard for myself, and to know how they have let their ranks rot. I will join Nitram in working with the militia, but as I am not accustomed to their ways, I will let Nitram do all the talking.”

I shall let the others choose a weapon first. I can wield the falchion with both hands, or dual wield the longsword and shortsword, or some combination of Kinslayer and either the long or short swords, or continue using my current weapons. I do agree with the dwarf that Shylent should probably use the longsword or the falchion since she enjoys melee more than most.

Nitram looked at Gravnar, I don’t plan on telling the militia about the mole yet. That would deny our advantage and ability to leverage that information. And, I think Blend is right. There are bound to be more moles in the guard. Once we have decided on a final plan to deal with the guilds, I will let Gracier know what we discovered. But for now, I think a little rumor spreading is in order.

“Take the falchion. Shylent can use the short sword.” Blend said.

Shylent agreed with Blend, and showing her usual impatience with talk talk talk, strode towards the table and picked up the shortsword, sliding it into an extra loop in her belt. She glared at the rest of the group and then went back to sitting on the window sill, tapping her fingers on her arm.

Nitram shrugged and picked up the falchion, feeling its weight and balance in his two hands. He turned to the others, Shylent, Gravnar, do either of you want to come with me to the militia headquarters to see if we can spread some rumors? We can use the dwarf to identify Stan…. He can ask for Stan, citing some random reason regarding trade or a drinking debt or something. When he sees Stan, he can say he doesn’t recognize Stan…it must have been someone else. While Stan is there, I’ll mention to Gracier or Johan that I heard something about Pete Rejo’s ambush of Cromag’s men and that they should send some men to Pete’s location…somewhere in the area of whatever block that is…in case Cromag retaliates. Does anyone have any better suggestions?

Shylent stood up and waited for Nitram next to the door.

Gravnar had previously requested to see the city guard himself, so the three of them prepared to head to the militia headquarters.

Nitram and Shylent led Gravnar to the city guard headquarters to look for Johan or Gracier. On the way they discussed what Gravnar would say.

Since it is confirmed that Stan knows Nitram and Shylent, but not Gravnar, Gravnar will stick to his original plan to remain silent during the exchange. If someone from our party will be staying at the room in the inn, he will leave the silver longsword in their care. He will hide the gladius in his backpack.
“I think if act as if we are visiting Stan to report the knife fight we saw at the bar last night and the other signs of increasing tension around town, that might be enough to make him make a revealing statement. If that is not enough, we can ask him about the preparations being made for the outpost along the trade route. Perhaps we can get him to mention something about trade route security and then push the issue from there.”

Before they left, Nitram gestured to Shylent’s silver shortsword, You may want to cover up that blade. We don’t want to draw any attention. He made sure the falchion blade was covered so no one saw the silver and suggested they store their weapons in their rooms before leaving.

After they all met in the common room, Nitram agree with Gravnar and he and Shylent began to look for Stan to discuss the half-ogre. Gravnar, if he asks who you are, we just tell the truth. You are looking into trade routes for your people and heard about ogres and thieves. We’ll just make sure we keep directing his attention to the knife fight and tensions around town.

Upon reaching the militia headquarters and identifying himself, a low level guard escorted Nitram, Shylent, and Gravnar into Gracier’s office. He knocked on her door and stated in a bored tone “His Notability, envoy of Dublade….and party.” He then held the door wide and waved the group in, after which he closed the door and left.

Gravier was seated at her desk, and Johan was sitting at a table to the side. They both looked up as the group entered.

Sorry to bother you. I’m not sure why they brought us here. We were looking for Stan…the guard who accompanied us on our attempt to draw out the thieves. Any chance you know where we could find him?

Gracier looked at Johan, who stood up, walked over to the door and yelled “Gus, go find Stan and bring him here.” Johan then sat back down.

After a few minutes the door opened and Stan walked in. “Yes sir?”

Before Johan could speak Gracier explained to Nitram, “As an envoy of Lord duBlade, no one lower than myself or Johan would do to assist you in your needs.”

Johan waved Nitram towards Stan.

Great! Nitram thought. He turned to Stan and said, Stan, when we returned from our failed excursion a few days ago, do you remember seeing that large character waiting at the gate? Nitram paused briefly, but wasn’t expecting much and continued, a little louder so Johan and Gracier could hear. Well, it was a half-ogre. I wanted to know if you had seen him again in town or on patrol or if you’ve heard of anyone else mentioning an increase in ogres…or half-ogres. I was hoping maybe you had recognized him again…. We were hoping it wasn’t related to the increased violence in the southeastern part of town. He waited, hoping it would register on everyone.

There was a pretty violent knife fight at Moe’s Cantina last night and we have been hearing rumors that one of these “guilds” is trying to push out the other ones, physically. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t tied to an increase in ogre activity. Have you heard anything about any of this, Gracier…guild violence in the southeast? Diplomacy checks around!

“Violent knife fight on the southside! I haven’t heard a thing…have you Johan?” Johan shook his head negative.

Gracier pounded her fist on the desk “I have a good mind to go down there this very minute and arrest everyone in Moe’s.” She sat down. “What was that about ogres?”

Yeah. Apparently, one of the guilds operates out of that area. That is, if you believe what you hear in the common rooms. Anyway, yes. There was a half-ogre monk outside the walls when we returned. Did you see him, Stan? Nitram looked at the other guard. I’ve seen an increase in ogre activity on the border of Highkeep and Falconaire and didn’t think it had spread, but wanted to make sure. I’m sure it was an isolated incident, but thought I’d check. Any update on the trade route from your end?

Stan forgot where he was and laughed, “An ogre monk, yeah right” A raised hand from Johan quickly brought him back to heel. Johan spoke slowly and methodically “I always thought Moe’s was neutral ground”.

Gracier hit the desk again and stood up “How can it be neutral ground when all of them are in cahoots with thieves and smugglers?” She cleared her throat and sat down.

She explained that there hadn’t been much progress, as it had only been a few days. But she felt that the idea was certain to be approved and that trade would start flowing just as soon as the route was safe.

Interesting the way Johan said that. We always thought there would be more than just Stan. It would also explain his victory at the drax tournament. I wonder who he is working for. I shall have to mention this to Blend. Maybe he can follow him and find out. I’m sure he’ll need to check in and warn them as it seems Gracier is about to bring some temporary law and order to the area, or at least attempt to.

Gracier told Stan to depart and get back to duty.

She sighed and complained that she didn’t have enough evidence to roust out the entire southside and flush them into the pond outside the city wall like she wanted to. She told Johan that she wanted extra shifts to work that area. Specifically she wanted militia to be seen on the streets near Moe’s Cantina. Johan nodded and agreed, saying “I’ll send the brute squad there in addition to extra patrols”. He then stood and went out of the room to make it happen.

Which Rats? Part 3

Unconquered Kingdoms SkidAce