The prior Wednesday at Pawn & Pint a portion of the party almost turned pirate. The temptation remained great, but with none of them actually knowing how to sail a ship, the odds were stacked against them. Instead, they turned the ship and goods over to The Crown and to Felis.
Last Wednesday, in the sixth session of the campaign, we will see how much attention the team has drawn to themselves. If they have gained the notice of powerful people, what is likely to be the result?
Additionally, without Iolaus’ moral compass to steer them along a path to honor Felis, what other trouble might they see. The holy warriors’ abandonment might make room in the party for a barbarian pirate more familiar with the god Denar.
The night Howl, Gemma, and Simon drop off the ship, Wilby and Rowan manage to make it back into Antar and the party is able to rest in their normal accommodations, either in the temple’s barracks, or The City Watches’ barracks. The sailors from The Urkack that went free use the money they took from the ship and find a nice room in the city.
The next day brings some changes to Antar. The column of soldiers from Kynto now camps outside the western side of the city, the castle guards have been reassigned to the City Watch, and the youngest and most junior of the City Watch have been reassigned to the castle. Those impacted by the change are unhappy. Some might blame a loss of prestige, but the former castle guards feel the castle security has been jeopardized as the new guards have no idea how to protect the unique castle, even if some of the Kyntian soldiers will be commanding the force. The argument that crime is too high in the city does not sway their opinion.
The next day, the party will all be summoned to meet with Lord Artest, Howl and Gemma’s commander. The lack of a return of Iolaus raises some questions, but the letter he had sent with Gemma detailing all of the parties activities and Iolaus’ concerns did not make it back to Antar.
Artest will congratulate them for having managed to capture a pirate ship and he will inform them that Duke Burdger is very happy to have his family’s possessions returned. It seems that Arnold Burdger had been keeping a watch over the possessions at a country estate, where these items had been moved for protection. It was discovered that someone killed Arnold Burdger and stole all the valuables. The Duke has offered his thanks for the party’s help.
Artest will also inform the group that The Crown has reviewed the value of the ship and each member of the party will receive a letter of credit worth 1,225 gold crowns. However, it will take a day or two for the letters to be written. Wilby thanks Artest for the offer, but refuses the money on the grounds that he was merely doing his job. He wants no special reward for the salvage.
After returning to their rooms, Gemma finds a note on her bed. The note reads:
You and your friends owe me for all the trouble you have caused. Bring 50 swords to the abandoned barn at the junction of Ega and Durn within 5 days or you will die. Inform your superiors and your families will die.
Upon reading the letter, it bursts into flames and burns her hands.
Startled, she quickly finds Howl and tells him that someone managed to get into the private quarters of Felis’ temple barracks and place the note on her bed. Worried about the implications of a priest attacking them, the two of them set off to find Wilby, Rowan, and Simon. Once the group is together, they start talking about options.
- Buying swords is expensive with the war going on, the cost of a basic sword is running over 20 gold crowns. Until they are paid, they don’t have the money to buy them, but Gemma would prefer that route. However, Howl is reluctant to spend the money even once they have it.
- They could report the note to Artest, but the fact that likely a priest or holy warrior was the one that left the note that exploded in Gemma’s hands means their enemies can easily get to them and are likely powerful.
- They could run off and become deserters, but they are still waiting on the payout from the ship to have enough funds to do that.
- They could steal the swords. With the turmoil of the changes in the guards, it may be possible to break into a barracks on the northern side of the city where a stone wall had collapsed sometime back due to a sink hole and it was only repaired with wood. Alternatively, they could target one of the many blacksmiths in Antar making swords for the war effort.
- They could acquire some crates, load them up with stones, and fool the people into revealing themselves, so they can kill them and end the threat.
After much deliberation, the majority of the group feels going with “a box of rocks” is the best plan and so they set off into the city to look for a place they can purchase crates. On the way, one of the sailors from the ship, a tall man from across the Straights, spots them. With his think Rawnerian accent, the nomad, turned sailor, approaches the only people he knows in Antar.
Unbeknownst to the party, this sailor named Unferth has just survived an attack that left the other people from The Urkack dead. He is now a bit bloodied and looking for safety in numbers. Overhearing the party’s need to carry heavy objects, Unferth quickly offers his services.
Locating a source for three crates large enough to hold fifty words, Howl, Gemma, and Simon use some of the money they acquired while on the ship to pay for the crates. They then locate a carter to rent a cart and a horse for the day (Gemma and Howl’s holy warrior status garner them a discount).
While arranging for these purchases, Rowan observes someone following them and slips away from the party to get a better look. Their tail, like Rowan, is quite average in appearance, appearing neither too poor or too well off. After watching, Rowan comes to the conclusion that the man is focused mostly on Unferth.
Wilby also finds a chance to break away from the party and get behind Rowan to act as an even further rear guard, though he does not spot any other people following them.
The others, leading the horse and cart, wander through the streets of Antar for a while until the person trailing them breaks off. After which, Howl, Simon, Unferth, and Gemma leave the city and head north to acquire rocks for the creates. Wilby and Rowan stay back to watch the barn for activity.
After bringing the boxes with rocks back into Antar, Howl, Simon, Unferth, and Gemma join up with Rowan and Wilby. There has been no activity at the barn, but Rowan and Wilby continue to remain back while the others drop off the crates with the rocks.
The barn itself is in poor shape with holes in the roof. Old straw and dried out manure covers the ground, while cobwebs, dust, and dirt cover everything else. Concealed inside, they leave the crates and then pull the cart and horse out the far end.
Wilby and Rowan watch from separate sides of the barn as the others head off to find a tavern so they can get some food. After a long while, Rowan notices a man approaches the barn and sneak inside. Rowan attempts to signal Wilby with a whistle while he moves closer. From outside, Rowan peeks through a gap in the walls and notices the man has removed one lid and is angry with what he sees. Rowan moves back as the man leaves, but then Rowan follows the man away from the barn. Unfortunately, Rowan suspects Wilby had not heard him.
The man stops at a small bakery for a short time and then a public house. After a bit of time, Rowan follows the man into the public house and takes up a seat so he can observe the man eating some dinner. No one appears to approach the man and after he has finished eating, the person Rowan is following leaves. Rowan then follows him to a block of flats. The light of a lamp is seen a short time late from behind the shutters of a second story room a the front of the building.
Rowan reports back to Wilby and the rest of the party. Wilby plans to continue to watch the barn while the others go to question the man who had checked the swords and found rocks.
At the block of flats, they look for ways to get into the room where they suspect the person is staying. The rowhouses stretch along both sides of the street and tile is used on the roofs. Deciding the direct approach is the easiest, Simon, Howl, and Gemma go up to the room while Rowan covers them from the street. Inside, there is a long corridor with four rooms on the first floor, a set of narrow stairs leading to the second floor, and another four rooms on the second floor. At the moment, only two rooms on the second floor show any indications of people present.
Simon knocks on the door and a man responds asking who it is. A bit of discussion goes back and forth before Unferth kicks the door open. Seeing a man involved with the attack on his fellow soldiers, Unferth pulls free his axe and in one mighty blow cuts into the man’s shoulder, driving the sharp steel down to reach his heart. Blood sprays across the room as Unferth finishes hacking the man to pieces as retribution for the death of his friends.
Gemma, Simon, and Howl seem shocked, but rather unphased by the violence. Together, the three of them start searching the room.
Outside, Rowan has heard the grunts and noises. He even believes he can see some blood dripping down from the inside of the shutters. Concerned for his companions, he runs inside and stops a man running down the stairs who looks a little unscrupulous, but the man is frantic as he just saw heard a murder. Rowan allows the man to leave.
Upstairs, the others finish ransacking the room. They find a fresh loaf of bread and to check the inside for possible messages. There is nothing inside, so Gemma gives it a taste and finds it rather good.
The party then checks the other seven rooms in the building, finding no one there, they spread lamp oil about and Gemma starts a blaze utilizing Felis’ powers. The party slips out the back, using Howl’s ability to summon a cloud of fog. Simon yells fire to alert the people in adjacent buildings of the impending danger.
A short while later, Rowan remarks:
So you killed the man instead of talking to him and then burned down the building because you didn’t know how to cover it up.
After informing Wilby of the events, they return back to the barracks for the night so they can report in for the morning. Wilby decides it is better to sleep outside and simply report in as scheduled in the morning.
When they wake, Simon and Rowan find three dead soldiers near their bunks. The three soldiers had their throats slit. However, they are excused from the investigation so they can report to Artest. Artest will inform them that he had a report of holy warriors and soldiers near the fire last night and they will admit to having been in the area, but having seen the fire brigade, let them handle it.
Artest will accept that report and inform them that the letters of credit are delayed slightly. Since they are not rich yet, they should get back to work.
The party plans to check out the bakery and heads in that direction. While they were reporting in, Unferth has beaten them to the punch. He starts talking with the baker and suggests that he is just browsing, for which he is charged a silver crown. Unferth willingly pays that and then buys a loaf of bread for another silver crown.
Finding the food delicious, he leaves, promising to bring back his friends. A few moments after he steps out of the bakery, the others arrive and he takes them back inside (with Wilby remaining outside to watch).
The baker, seeing Unferth has friends with the church, immediately remembers there is a discount for browsing for those tied to the church and refunds the silver. The others then take a few minutes to persuade the baker to admit to being involved. However, the baker is only a middle man that exchanges messages. He tells them that one of his contacts is a priest of Mertor (a group of priests who powerful people turn to for assassinations) and that the man who died in the fire the prior night was relaying a message for them.
The baker eventually confesses to how to signal a message is waiting and the party asks for a message to be relayed to the priests for a meeting at the barn to discuss the situation later that evening.
At the designated time, the party shows up to the barn. Wilby and Rowan remain outside to watch while the others go inside to find the baker hanging from a noose above the crates. Another note sits on the crates and this time the read it from a distance.
I am not ammused. The cost is now 100 swords.
The note burns up after they read it.
Outside, Wilby sees a group of the City Watch approaching. From where he is concealed, he fires an arrow into the door. Inside, Unferth goes to the door to check on the noise. He sees an arrow and wonders what it means. Wilby, worried for their safety, sends another arrow their way, striking Unferth in the arm, though the large man does not see where the arrow came from. However, he now sees the city guards.
The guards question the party as to what is going on, but once Gemma proves they are actually holy warriors, the City Watch allows them to deal with the body and the paperwork.