The last 10 posts pre-migration, for your perusal:
Arvindur polishes off the last of his breakfast with gusto, "I expect we would be back tonight unless everything goes splendidly and lethally wrong. In that case we'll be back a bit later."
"An admirable attitude, master Arvindur, although perhaps a little carefree and overconfident. Do you have a plan of action for the day?"
Volos shakes his head at the halfling's comment, but hides a smile by drinking from his cup again.
"A busy day by any standards. We'd get back to the wizards about the scroll, see if the Watch got anything out of the captive, look for more sites and look into some of these tattoos from our attackers. I wouldn't take them out now though, they're disgusting to have at the breakfast table."
Arvindur picks up a slice of bread and some jam, doodled a crude image of one of the tattoos on it, and then took a bite out of an unused corner, waste not, want not.
"Probably a little rough to recognize," Volos muses as he looks at the slice.
"Is that a letter or symbol of sorts?"
"Snakes, scorpions and a spider on their wizard, I think. With an 'S'."
"Snakes, scorpions and a spider on their wizard, I think. With an 'S'."
Volos shakes his head.
"It sounds like something people might get to show they're part of a group, or shared an important experience - like soldiers from a special squadron, or after a famous battle. But I can't think of anything that would connect the letter S with various species of crawling vermin."
The bread disappearing down his mouth as if by magic, Arvindur commented,"Well, it was just a wild shot anyway. I expect if we'd probably get attacked again if they are significant."
He brushes off the remaing crumbs, "So, shall we go bother the wizard again guys?"
Dorian dusts the crumbs off of his hands and places his bowl in the sink.
"That's our best lead. I'm not sure of the magister will be up already, but if not we can always pay another visit to the Temple first."
Zade nods, pocketing an apple just in case.
"Thanks for breakfast, master Volos. The food is a lot better here than at the barracks. Maybe we should put in for a permanent assignment in the city," he winks.
"I'm sure those ancient benders of reality are up before the dawn breaks."
Satyre nods in agreement with Zade.
"Yes, that is a good idea. Mother knows how I've missed the city. So... to the tower of grey beards and aching backs?"
"Mage Blund looked fit enough to make you eat those words if you said them to his face," Dorain grins, "although he may agree with you if you're referring to his peers."
The sky is still lightening when the band arrives at the Hightower, but there's already more activity than the other evening. An elderly lady is sitting behind the desk in the hall, as they can see through the open door.
OoC: Arvindur took it to the Hightower thread, I suggest you do the same.
A gnome, small by gnome standards, steps into the guild hall and looks about rather nervously. She is wearing a robe and a satchel and holds a curved walking staff in her hand upon which hangs a glowing lantern.
"Hello there. Can I help you?"
One of Volos' aides has come down to see who's at the door. He doesn't really look like an adventurer, more the bookish type, but he seems friendly and ready to help Sliverny out.
Gathering herself up to her full height, she announces to the aid, "I am Sliverny False-Eye on official Hightower business. I... er... I need to, hire? your assistance. Or the assistance of your able bodied silver swords adventuerer guildmates if you are busy. I shall be venturing into the depths of the city sewers in search of... magical reagents... Um. How much do you charge for a silver sword adventurer? Do you have any really inexpensive ones?"
"It's, well, it's not that I want cheap adventurers, but I've got a fairly limited budget. Of course, they're welcome to claim whatever moss, lichen, and eels I don't take for their own uses... Do you accept payments of moss, lichen, and eels?" Sliverny looks about nervously. "I suppose I could just put up my flyer?" She offers a weak smile.
Sliverny nods curtly, puffing herself up as best she can manage. "Thank you, I will indeed be locatable at the Hightower."
Turning on heel she step-step-clacks her way out of the guildhouse and off to accumulate her supplies.
>> To Elsewhere <<
All is quiet at the Guildhouse, now that the small band that was investigating the events surrounding the ritual known as Gorza's Folly have returned to the compound.
OoC: testing to see if a fresh post gets the thread title in the list fixed again.
Ru'naga knocks on the door, curious as to the building's residents.
Ru'naga nods, leaning this way and that to get a peek into the building's interior.
"Sure, Volos, I'm here to see him. I'm...new to the city, and am both in need of work, and curious about this building and it purpose. Might you or 'Master Volos' be able t help me with either?"
Ru'naga fidgets slightly, more out of boredom than restlessness.
Ru'naga takes his seat, pouring himself a glass of the water and taking a sip before responding.
"My name is Ru'naga Wildmane. I have recently traveled to this fine city to learn more of its inhabitants, as well as its impact on nature. I hope to do this by working alongside the city's occupants. I saw this building as I was wondering the streets and began wondering what its purpose is. Also, I am looking for work. Might there be anything you know of?"
Ru'naga begins eying the room around him, though his gaze never completely leaves Volos.
The elf listens intently, his eyes widening slightly at the mention of 'more dangerous' jobs, and then grins slightly as he is questioned.
"I have my fair share of talent with animals, I would say. I am a druid of my tribe. However, mundane marketplaces and inns are not so much where my...academic interests lie. If this guild sends out groups of people out on these 'adventures,' I think it would be in my best interest to tag along every now and then so that I might get first hand experience how this city interacts with the local flora and fauna."
Taking a moment, Ru'naga raises his glass of water and drains it, seeming to relish the clear, slightly mint-tasting liquid. After wiping his mouth with a bit of his sleeve, he continues.
"Moreover, I would also be able to gain insight into the workings of an organization within...or without...the city. So, I guess my question is, how do I join this guild, and what exactly will be required and expected of me should I do so?"
Ru'naga listens intently as Volos goes through his speech. Nodding here and there, the elf smiles when the old man is finished.
"Well, that sounds like it would fit me quite well. The patrols would allow me ample opportunity to view the city, and the adventures will get me some good experience. Is there any advice you might be able to give me?"
Nodding, Ru'naga pours himself another glass of water.
"Well then, may I ask you to point me in the direction of the guild compound? I have been in and about this city for a few days, but even so I still find myself discovering new places, such as this. And if the compound is outside the city's walls, then I have even more need of guidance."
He smiles as he sips the water, noting that he'd have to remember to pick up fresh mint leaves whenever possible to add to his skins of water from now on.
Ru'naga thanks Volos, then downs the rest of his glass of water.
"I'll be sure to do that. Have a good day sir."
With that, the elf turns and heads immediately to the guild compound outside the city.
Volos looks down in despair on the chess board before him. The redheaded maiden sitting across from him smiles sweetly, victory and her prize secured.
"I don't know how I'll explain this to your mother, dear, but a promise is a promise. I'll be true to my word and find you a fencing instructor," the steward sighs.
"I knew I could count on you to make good on your promise, uncle," Zohrina replies, bending over the low table to kiss her elderly relative on his white brow.
"And you don't have to worry. I'll be careful, I can stay out of trouble. I know the streets aren't safe for anyone associated with the guard right now."
"It's not you I worry about: my snowy hair is no protection against you mother's temper, you know that," Volos snorts. It's a thin and easily seen-through pretense though. Zohrina knows her great-uncle will be afraid for her as long as the violence against and targeting of the guard will continue. It's just that she feels knowing how to wield a blade will let her protect herself, while he - and his niece, her mother - think she'll be reckless and overconfident.
"Here, I'll give you a rematch. No more bets though, I won't let you win back my prize," she says, offering him her closed fists, concealing a white and a black pawn, to choose from.
After wandering through the city for a few hours, Seryth found himself standing before the building he was looking for. He only had a description to go on, as the various peasants or merchants just pointed him in this general direction. It took a little pressure on some of them to get what little he had. But it didn't matter; he was there now. Knocking on the door, Seryth stood waiting, idly checking his equipment.
After a minute or so, the door opens inward and a young man looks out, squinting his eyes at the visitor. He notices the battle-ready armour and imposing weapon and swallows.
"Yes? Good day, sir. Can I help you?"
He doesn't look much older than 15, sleight of build with slender, dexterous hands unused to hard labour.
Seryth looked at the boy with a sneer of contempt for a few moments before replying.
"You can direct me to the person who runs this chapterhouse. But be quick about it, or I'll and find them myself."
Seryth waved his hand dismissively at the young man, indicating there was nothing that needed to be said.
The boy hesitates for a moment, then opens the door completely. Looking in, Seryth can see a small room with a couple of chairs against the side walls. Across from the entrance is another door, flanked on one side by a tower shield emblazoned with a silver sword and on the other by a long, deep green banner showing the same symbol.
"Wait here, if you please," the boy blurts out and then rushes off through the opposite door. He does close it, but Seryth doesn't hear him lock it behind him.
Seryth stepped into the room, taking a few moments to check it out before walking over to the shield. Running his fingers over it, Seryth traced the grain of the wood, noting the care and craftsmanship that went into making the shield.
"Heh, that boy sure can move when he wants..." Seryth chuckled to himself.
After a few minutes, an aging gentleman opens the door and steps into the hall. He must be at least in his seventies and moves carefully, the frailties of age taking their toll. He is well-groomed however, and Serryth can tell there's nothing wrong with his mental faculties.
"A good day to you, sir. I am Volos, the guild's representative to the city. You have something to discuss, I take it?"
Taking a moment, Seryth looked the old man over before replying.
"I wish to join the Guild, and I thought it prudent to announce my arrival here, rather than just show up at the gates of the guild's training compound unnanounced, with no one knowing who I am."
Volos invites his visitor inside and shows him to a small office. There's a chair there for Serryth and a pitcher of cool water with a hint of mint flavouring.
"You needn't fear getting sent away," the former steward of the guild says once he's seated behind his desk.
"The Silver Sword doesn't turn applicants down easily. Our ranks can stand more filling out, after all. Is there a particular reason you wish to join, some goal you have in mind?"
He steeples his fingers before him and looks intently at Serryth, evidently curious.
Seryth shook his head in response to the question.
"Nothing in particular, no. Not really. I'm just looking for something that will put my skills to use, and afford me the opportunity to explore. I was told this was the place to seek that, so here I am."
As he spoke, Seryth waved away the water Volos offered him.
"I will say this now; my methods are...unorthodox. Some might call me brutal or even cruel. But I get the job done. If the Silver Sword will accept that, than I shall accept placement with them."
"Getting to use one's skills with a generous amount of leeway towards one's actions is a popular reason for joining an adventurers' guild such as the Silver Sword," Volos smiles.
"This is indeed the place to look for you.
As regarding your methods, the guild will afford leeway, as I said. You'll have the choice of whichever method you prefer to get the job done as far as the Silver Sword is concerned. In fact, we prize individuality and original thought.
However, I must point out several caveats: first, you will possibly be requested to team up with other members. While working on a joint assignment, it will be necessary for all to get along. This might require reaching a compromise on what means are deemed acceptable to all.
Second, we hire out to employers: these might impose restrictions, which the guild will expect its members to abide by while in that person's employ.
Finally, while the guild will not generally involve the law unless under extreme circumstances, the guild is also not a safe haven for criminals: if a member is sought by the Guard regarding a crime, membership will not entail protection from officers of the law.
There are some other conditions but those have no bearing on your remark and are better explained by our duty officer, since they concern the duties that come with being a Silver Sword. I will explain further should you wish me too, however."
Seryth listened as Volos spoke, nodding here and there where appropriate.
"I...suppose those are acceptable limitations. I have one question for now, though. Does a Silver Sword have the ability to choose which contracts he or she accepts? Or is it strictly they do whatever conctacts are assigned to them by the officers?
As for criminal activity, you have nothing to fear. I have no reason to commit crime for crime's sake."
"You will be allowed to decline any assignment proposed to you, without negative repercussions," Volos assures Seryth.
"You will also be encouraged to seek out missions yourself. The guild welcomes more business. You will not, however, be allowed to accept commissions entirely on your own behalf: even if you handle it on your own, you will pay out a share to the Silver Sword or be stricken from the ranks.
Finally, if you find out about a commission the guild has accepted which you would like to be assigned to you are free to volunteer. This request may still be denied but usually that won't happen, barring specific circumstances.
A large part of your pay will consist of your shares in completed assignments. As such, it's in your best interest not to refuse too many - even if not all of them are equally appealling."
Volos pours himself a drink before continuing.
"Aside from commissions, you must also take part in our regular duties. I'll leave it to the duty officer to explain this in detail, but the essentials you need to know are these: not so long ago, we accepted a permanent assignment from the city of Garic's to help safeguard the countryside and protect the city from outside threats. As a consequence, our members are required to spend half the time not out on a commission taking part in patrolling the surrounding areas. The rest of your time is yours to do with as you please, although it's somewhat expected - depending on your skills and motivation - that some of that time is spent training, honing your skills. Facilities and instruction are provided by the guild."
Not much is said over breakfast: the staff is curious, but probably thinks it'd be awkward to ask what happened to the group. Oswald, Anchors and Onearm are still too tired and beat up, as well as uncomfortable in these unfamiliar surroundings, and take their meal in silence aside from a few friendly hellos and thankyous.
Afterwards, Volos and Sir Dunstan invite the group into a large meeting room with a wide central table for everyone to sit around. There are drinks for those who want something and the chairs are comfortable. Being the only Silver Sword, Arvindur's presence is required - the others are welcome as well, however. Onearm excuses himself, saying he's feeling too poorly, but Anchors wants to help out if he can and after a moment Oswald decides to join too.
When everyone's seated and Volos has explained who he and Sir Dunstan are, he asks Arvindur to explain what happened and sits back: this might take a while, he expects.
Arvindur begins by outlining the events leading up to the acquisition of the poison and the coded messages, including their contents, in particular, the locations, nature and times of each attack, starting with the reversed ambush in the slums(glossing over the collateral damage), the assault on the watchhouse with the traitor guardsmen, and finally, the deception and ambush at the Hightower.
"So whoever is behind it are well placed in the city. They performed several attacks at public locations none should have dared, and it all comes down to the letters. Whoever is behind it should be stopped, whoever they may favor. They flouted the Silver Sword, the Hightower and the Watch all at once." He considers the circumstances,"By my reckoning, the location of the prison lies within the Aetheling, which stands to reason, but also means whatever we do would have to go through the tunnels or risk greater troubles."
He frowns, "What of Wizard Blund? Was there any news?"
I assume we can skim over the earlier stuff? No need for a blow by blow, but they'd definitely get full detail.
1) Gearing up. Masterwork weapon(clubs, sling and lance), armor and shield as per my starting kit.
2) Check in on Blund
3) Go to the outskirts to bond a new companion(this would take a day I think)
4) Strike back.
"We got a short message from wizard Blund: just a couple of lines to say there is trouble afoot, that the Silver Sword might wish to strengthen its position in the city and that we should contact him urgently. We tried to do so immediately, but I fear he has disappeared. We do have reason to believe he did so on his own initiative, since he informed his superiors he would be away for a few days, but we cannot be certain."
Sir Dunstan looks sombre. The information he already had had painted a bleak picture indeed and Arvindur's tale does nothing to brighten the obvious conclusions, even if they may be premature.
Volos, fingers steepled before him, adds his own thoughts: "Whoever's behind this stands to gain very little wealth, yet a great deal of trouble and the enmity of several powerful groups in the city. If not for coin, I expect all this to be part of a bid for power. Someone's building a reputation at the expense of the guild. We cannot let this stand. Are you up for round two, young man? This is where we will show our teeth and exact retribution - the Silver Sword doesn't flinch from a challenge.
We will need a day, two on the outside, to bring in a few more dependable men and women. It would be good if you were to join them. You've proven to be resourceful and you already have a good name among our allies."
If Arvindur accepts, Volos shows him to the weapons locker room: the guild keeps nothing of special power or worth here but a number of weapons large enough to arm a small warband is stored, oiled and properly maintained, as well as armour of various types and sizes. Whatever the halfling requires is his for the taking.
He frowns at the news of the wizard, "Has the Hightower been alerted? They would not, I think, be amused at one of their members being kidnapped off their grounds, and given that I was captured by one masquerading as Blund himself...odds are he may have been ambushed."
"They hurt my dog.",Arvindur bares his teeth in a humorless grin, "I can hardly let them get away with maiming a lifelong friend. Nor threaten us and the city in a mad bid for power."
"Allow me a day to ask the Mother for assistance. Wolfkin can fight no more. We will take the war to them. And we have a place to begin our search, ask the Ratkin, they know of the hidden tunnels, and the one which led to my prison."
Arivindur heads to the armory and picks out, carefully, the equipment he would need.
Sir Dunstan and Volos exchange glances, then Volos gets up and departs for his study.
"I'll make it so," the old man says, apparently referring to the Ratkin.
While he accompanies Arvindur to the weapons locker room Sir Dustan says he'll contact the Hightower immediately to inform them of the deception.
"If nothing else, they'll be mightily displeased by someone impersonating one of theirs," he says with a wry smile.
"And hopefully it will convince them this is no light matter. I don't think they have been too concerned about the fate of wizard Blund so far."
"The Hightower is rather prone to overconfidence. I suppose they earned it, but they won't take slights very well."Arvindur manages to find replacements for much of his former gear, adding some more weaponry to befit his current temperament. "Is there anything else I should look to? I need a day in the outskirts to pray for the Mother's aid."
"You can have that time," Sir Dunstan assures Arvindur.
"I don't see anything else you should take care of, other than what you personally require. Can I council you to caution, however?"
The duty officer looks concerned.
"You are very capable, of course. And you're not the only Silver Sword to have found himself the target of unprovoked aggression. But the rest... that was just bullying, or angry drunks, or other petty matters dealt with easily enough - some bruises and scrapes notwithstanding, and a few instances where the Brass had to step in to smoothe things over with the city officials."
Sir Dunstan doesn't say it outright but he clearly implies the Silver Sword as a whole is being targeted by someone, for whatever reasons.
"I think it stands to reason you were not a random victim though. More effort was made, more resources expended - and undoubtedly you would have been murdered eventually. You have made quite a name for yourself recently, and your association with the City Watch is no secret. Apparently this puts you high on the list of whoever is coming for us. Be careful - if they try again, they will more than likely just aim to kill you immediately. We'd as soon not see that happen."
He clasps the halfling's shoulder briefly.
"In a day or two we'll send out some teams. You can be among them. We'll see what we find."
Arvindur nods, "They most certainly are not. The attacks during the past investigations are too organized, with too many unusual resources dedicated to them to be coincidence. The tattoos they bear are perhaps significant in some way, but random assaults would not lure people into a prepared location to be caught in a pincer attack with magical backing. I can take all possible care, but likely, while in the outskirts, I would be safer than anywhere in the city. That is my land now."
"I will be."
With that said, Arvindur checks for any last remarks, before heading out of the city with Wolfkin in tow. He had a small place in the woods safe enough for Wolfkin to stay, even in his wounded state, while Arvindur prepared for the long ritual.
OOC: That would be the place Arvindur spent his time before his first adventure doing woodworking a ways off from the city. I figure theres a small hut, shelter, water ,etc assembled in a clearing. If theres nothing else he'd start the day long rite.
Sir Dunstan sees Arvindur out, then returns to his preparations. Normally he rarely leaves the Silver Sword compound: his work as duty officer demands that he stays there to supervise the guild members' activities. If he has been assigned to deal with this issue instead, that says a lot about how serious the guild is taking the threat.
OoC: nothing else, proceed as you will.
Arvindur heads out to his clearing, gathering the materials for the ritual as he went. A bundle of vines, dry tinder, a piece of leather, sprigs of herbal blossoms and a handful of mushrooms. Letting Wolfkin keep watch, he cleared a circle of fresh soil, then ringed it with the vines. Marking three points within the circle, he laid out the tinder, setting the leather over it on a tripod.
As the sun reaches its zenith, he fills the leather's center with pure water, then lit the tinder with conjured flame. Adding the herbs and fungi, he cuts a finger with a knife, turning the water crimson with blood as the flames made a heady steam rise. Sitting before the flames, he began his prayer with a simple request.
"Mother, I ask of thy aid."
Then he sat, waiting for a sign, feeding the fire more tinder and adding water as the hours passed.
Time passes, neither slowly nor quickly, while Arvindur's soul melds with the world.
OoC: let's head to Beyond the Walls
From Beyond the Walls
"Things are moving along nicely, although I fear overseeing the whole operation will take its toll on poor Dunstan. He would forego sleep altogether if we let him. We've picked up the gauntlet, and the whole city knows it by now. Everyone we know is being squeezed for information, and we're making it very clear anyone found to be witholding anything of note of feeding us false tales will be dealt with harshly and swiftly. Leads and clues are coming in fast and it's Dunstan's job to separate the wheat from the chaff."
Volos steps closer to inspect Sunwing, admiring the enormous wingspan of the great hawk.
"The City Guard and Watch are not entirely pleased with our intended actions - we do not represent the law after all, although I believe you are still sworn in as a deputy watchman - but we've received unofficial word they will probably not stand in our way as long as we don't provoke all-out war in the streets or flaunt city law openly. The prevailing opinion is that our enemy is a shared one, so they do have reason to look the other way, but commanders Gudrunsdottir and Gerug are know to be straight arrows. Their tolerance is limited."
OoC: agreed on both counts
Arvindur frowns, "Indeed, but I suspect we would find many Watchmen to be interested in joining our endeavor. Our foe have after all, openly assaulted a Watchhouse and kidnapped people off Hightower grounds. They would not be pleased at the traitor watchmen either."
He strokes Sunwing's feathers, grooming them absently, "Perhaps we can enlist their assistance as well, ask for watchmen we personally know of and vouch for to assist? It would not do well to go beyond the law too easily, bringing some friends from their number would bolster appearances and give legitimacy."
"We can and will do so whenever we have proof of or at least sufficient cause to suspect someone committed a crime," Volos nods, "but otherwise the Guard and Watch are short on men as it is. Dunstan received word of a man having been assassinated in an alleyway, for instance: he knew several of our guildmembers so we had reason to believe this might have been part of the attacks on the Silver Sword, but he was a swordsman participating in the fencing academy's annual championship and had been doing well so far - and earning a fair bit of coin from wagers. We're reasonably sure he was killed for the money, possibly by some of the bookmakers that lost heavily to him, and that this was unconnected to our current situation. We're not looking into it further, but for the men and women of the law that's one in a great many investigations. They can't spare anyone."
The steward shrugs, although he seems not entirely comfortable with the notion.
"Perhaps that's for the best. I doubt we can afford to adhere to the letter of the law now, and involving watchmen would put us in a delicate position."
"Yet, it is rather unlikely that a champion swordsman would be assaulted for gold alone. He would not have gone cheaply.", Considering for a moment, Arvindur nods, "Perhaps some of our foes encouraged the recent troubles. Far easier to hide a power grab under cover of rising crime than to do them sight unseen."
"Still, you have a point. The law would not enjoy what we would do next. What now?"
"He was killed from a distance, presumably by several crossbowmen. A strong indication they knew who he was, since common thugs within the city walls don't normally use such weapons. He's not our concern at the moment though."
Volos sighs, rubbing his face with both hands. He's clearly tired - Sir Dunstan is not the only one robbed of sleep by all this urgent business, but the duty officer at least has the advantage of youth.
"Now? We hold, for now. The men and women we sent out are under strict orders to return by midnight*, no later. When they have all arrived we will determine our priority targets and make a coordinated strike against those first - well before first light, if possible. When it is to our advantage we will bring in the Guard, when it isn't and we can manage to take captives those will be brought here. We'll have several wagons at the ready to do so inconspicuously, and should have a few hours of darkness left after our strike. Two dozen seasoned guild members have been selected for this and will be arriving in small groups over the next few hours. The first are already here.
That is the general plan of attack. You have not been included so far, since we thought you would want to try a target of your own, if possible. We haven't had any solid leads come in that shed light on those that grabbed you. That may still happen though, as all our scouts are still out there. We've approached the Ratkin and they have agreed we can make use of their tunnels. We'll certainly do that for some other targets, but this would also be a possibility to find where you were held if we get no other clues - even if it would be a highly risky choice. A few guild members will be assigned to you, if you wish to pursue that goal.
Did you manage to find out where you were held?"
* it's early evening now.
"Not yet, I have the direction and distances underground, but with no frame of reference it would be difficult to say more than it being within the Aetheling. I believe with the Ratkin's assistance we might be able to point out their overground location, or strike from below. The former is somewhat risky, of course, should we miscalculate it would be a grave offense against many influential people. The latter involves a greater level of personal danger, but I'm not adverse to such troubles."
He frowns slightly, "Sunwing here, can operate indoors as well, or at least where any human can fit. Who do you think can be spared? I fear my captors may have since evacuated, it would make sense to retreat to cover their identities, and we may have equal need for investigators and swords alike."
"A residence in the Aetheling can likely be traced back to the owner, although doing so can be made quite difficult if necessary. If your captors want to cover their identities, a quick retreat will probably not work in their favour."
Volos is hopeful that whoever grabbed Arvindur is still pressed for time after the halfling's escape.
"We can spare four or five good men and women, I expect, although Dunstan has the final say. Those arriving this evening are without exception excellent close-quarters combattants and our investigators will return from their scouting shortly, as I said. You'll get a good team."
Arvindur nods,"That is good to know. Then intrusion from below would be best, if someone experienced with traps can be arranged. I expect if they found the way we left through, they'd trap it quite heavily."
"What of others who escaped with me? Do we know what they were imprisoned for?"
"We've been too busy today to investigate that, I'm afraid. They were also in pretty bad shape after their ordeal, and will need a long time to recover completely. It seemed disrespectful to bother them so soon. If you think they're up to it, maybe you should have a word with them? They'll be more inclined to speak with you, at any rate."
Volos indicates for Arvindur to come inside with him.
Following Volos, the halfling remarks,"Indeed, and in other times I would have let them rest longer. But we need the information, and knowing what warranted this abuse would help stop our enemies sooner."
"They stayed in their bunks mostly, although they get along well enough with our people. You can join them with a bit of food later, that'll put them at ease. I expect they'll be eager to have someone strike back against their enemy anyway. Or maybe you can do that now? By the time you'll have spoken with them, I expect several good candidates for your strike force will have arrived. With whatever information you get, you can discuss how to tackle this with them."
"I would be glad to do so." Arvindur sets about gathering some foodstuffs, as he composes questions for the others.
OOC: Should I just ask it all in one shot or space it out over multiple posts?
OoC: up to you, really, maybe depending on how many questions you have. I'll have time this weekend, so I won't mind a really long post though.
A basket of bread, cheeses, ale and hams in hand, Arvindur heads into the others quarters, "Hey guys, doing well? You have any idea you might have been kidnapped for and how you were taken?"
OOC: Mixed option then, short questions to open up the conversation and then long lists once I have an angle.
Everyone's had a solid breakfast and lunch, though when Arvindur brings in the food basket they all fall on the food with gusto. All the escaped prisoners have benefited from basic magical healing, but it will be a while before they'll have recovered completely and in the mean time their bodies burn all the fuel they're getting at an astonishing rate. Anchors, who'd stepped out for a short walk - taking care to remain inconspicuous, of course - joins after a few minutes and wolfs down sandwiches with the best of them.
Oswald is the first to answer, although he is a bit reluctant: "I'd gotten caught up with the wrong crowd, if you know what I mean. Had to do some things I'm not proud of, things the Watch wouldn't agree with." He swallows uncomfortably, then continues.
"It wasn't anything too bad. No violence, if you're wondering. But I have some skills, and I got a reputation for being dependable. One day, I was approached by two men who told me I should join up with them and they'd make it worth my while. I asked for more details, didn't like what I heard and turned them down: they were hardened criminals, they didn't mind a bit of bloodshed. I didn't want to know. They tried again a couple days later, implied I'd be sorry if I didn't do as I was told. They scared me a lot, but I turned them down again and planned to lay low for a couple of days and then maybe leave the city for a while. The next day, when I went about settling my business, I go hit over the head in an alley and woke up in the cell you got me out of."
Arvindur nods, "They tried to hire you? When did this happen? And what kind of a job was it for?"
"A couple of months ago."
Oswald still looks uncomfortable, but also somewhat relieved to have owned up to his sins.
"They didn't really want to hire me. That's what made me want to refuse in the first place, although I heard them out. More like they wanted me to become a member of their gang, or whatever you call it, and not do any work by myself or with others anymore."
The dwarf expresses his thoughts regarding this arrangement by spitting on the floor.
"They had their story ready, making it look like a mutually benefial deal, but I wasn't buying. Like I said, they came back with a more forceful suggestion then, but that just gets me to dig my heels in."
"And then you found yourself in their dungeons I suppose? Odd, that, you'd think they might have just murdered you out of hand." Arvindur shoots a questioning glance across the others, to see if they have any tales to share on the matter.
"I don't know why they stuck me in there, unless they wanted something from relatives of mine."
"They live far away from here and I barely have any contact with them, so that doesn't make a lot of sense either."
The others school their expressions to blandness, but it doesn't take a mind reader to know there are criminal aspects to their background as well. Onearm maintains he has no idea what they wanted from him, Anchors eventually relents and admits he was in a similar situation as Oswald, except he did accept the offer that was made to him at first. He was told barely enough to participate in a burglary, which went wrong almost from the start and resulted in a several innocents getting killed by his accomplices before having to run from the guards with nothing to show for their trouble. He was thrown in a cell when he tried to leave the city after that. He thoughy it'd just be for a few days and they'd either decide he'd learned his lesson or that he never would and kill him - but the days just passed without change, until Arvindur came along and broke him out.
"Most unusual, keeping captives requires space and upkeep. They must have some further purpose..."Arvindur frowns,"Say, Anchors, what did they want you to steal and from whom?"
"A bookkeeping ledger, from a wealthy merchant. If money or valuables were found they could be taken by the rest of the crew, but the ledger was the real goal. I know how to read and interpret such things, that's why I had to go along: to make sure we found the real ledger, not whatever he kept as an official front."
Anchors drinks deeply of a cup of watered-down wine.
"He must have been running some shady side business next to his legitimate affairs. They could have wanted to blackmail him, or maybe they were after his contacts, or both."
Assuming Anchors' skill isn't limited to interpreting financials but also to cook the books himself, this at least might offer an explanation why his captors wanted to hold on to him - and if that was his occupation before, it shows why he isn't very keen on drawing attention to it.
Arvindur nods, letting the implications go unmentioned, "So they have greater goals, people to blackmail. Who was this merchant then?"
"His name's Donny. Raphael Donny, or something like that. I think he went to the Trade and Finance Company almost immediately after the failed attempt on his ledger, probably to get his affairs a bit closer to legitimacy, but obviously I don't know what happened while I was held in that cell."
Anchors shrugs, a crook uninterested in another one.
"So they are using blackmail and looking for talents. Likely still new in town as they spread out. Not many direct leads there." Arvindur muses, "Well, if I think of anything else I'd get back to you."
A rugged-looking half-elf sticks his head around the door.
"Are you Arvindur? I'm Hjeld. Some of us are planning to go with you tonight. Want to fill us in and talk business?"
"See you guys later." Arvindur nods, and takes his leave from the others, walking up the Hjeld, "I am Arvindur, lets us talk."
"Come along," Hjeld indicates with a curt nod. Arvindur realizes he's seen him when he returned to the chapter house: the half-elf is wearing much the same outfit, but is considerably more heavily armed now. He must be one of the guild members that were out gathering information and is now preparing to join in the attack.
In an adjoining room, Sir Dunstan is sitting behind a table. Guild members come in and depart again, bearing messages or reporting their findings to him. He gives Arvindur a nod, but Hjeld leads the druid to another corner.
"Meet Asa," - a female dwarf in heavy armour, carrying a large shield on her back and with a stocky mace hanging from her belt - "Charlie," - a badly scarred gnome almost of a height with Asa, dressed in leathers and furs and carrying several pairs of throwing axes and heavy knives - "and Django" - another dwarf, this one carrying a wicked looking waraxe and a smaller shield on his back, with a heavy crossbow standing next to him.
"Volos though it might be easier if he suggested a team to go with you. Everyone, this is Arvindur. He's the one got captured and escaped."
The others don't say much beyond some grunts of acknowledgement and look at the halfling expectantly.
"We don't know much yet," Hjeld continues.
"Just that the job requires navigating a dark underground passage - this is where bringing dwarves and a gnome along will help - that we should expect they're expecting us and that if there's going to be fighting it's going to be indoors. Why don't you fill us in? Staring with who "they" are."
Arvindur nods as he is introduced to the others, "Very well. Firstly, our targets are most likely nobles or led by nobles, so it would be wise to at least keep your identities under cover. They are deeply involved with the current political troubles of the city, and members of the City Watch, as well as the Hightower and the criminals in the city are well ensnared in their grasp, so trust no one you wouldn't personally vouch for. They seem to have something against the Guild, so they likely have nobody with a good grip here. They mainly by hiring people under various pretenses for their schemes, and then resorting to abduction when that falls through. You may have heard of the assault upon the Watchhouse, they appear to be behind that."
Arvindur casts about for a piece of parchment, then copies out what he can recall of the map he got off the guard, "Now, a surface strike might be somewhat unwise, given that we might hit the wrong place, but provided they had not discovered my escape route yet, we have a ways into the building.", he points out the tunnel, "I expect they would have raised security and possibly added some nasty traps, so hopefully one of you know how to deal with such. Any questions or suggestions?"
"Traps will be for me and Charlie to handle," Hjeld comments.
"And Asa can patch us up if we run into a nasty surprise."
"Wouldn't be the first time," Asa - apparently a cleric, and knowing this Arvindur can recognize the finely wrought pendant around her neck as a holy symbol - winks in return.
Django raises his hand.
"I've got a question: what are our chances of finding solid evidence these nobles have been breaking the law? Witnesses, other prisoners, maybe physical proof? You're one of us, which means you're biased. That's what they'll point out anyway, if it comes to that. And I understand the others that escaped with you are not really upstanding citizens..."
Arvindur nods, certain they were in good hands, then addresses Django's question.
"Odds of finding solid evidence are not good, they have stuck to the underground until recently, it seems, and every one apprehended in the act thus far had cut outs in place to break off plausible ties. However, one Master Blund of the Hightower has gone missing of late. If it turns out he has been held captive...the Hightower would not take this lightly."
"Beyond this, my involvement in the matter began over possible involvement with political tampering, if truth can be held either way about their attempts to manipulate the ruling establishment, or solid evidence about attempting, and succeeding, at corrupting Watchmen."
"Something to hope for, at least," Django shrugs.
"What about spellslingers?"
Asa touches her holy symbol for a moment when she asks the question.
"Any magi cross your path when you broke out? Ward spells, magical traps?"
"Strangely enough I have encountered no magical precautions in my escape, the defenses were walls, guards and doors, no wards nor magi. But don't let your guard down. They have spellslingers at their service, if not many. There was a mind-mage with them prior to my capture, and before that, some attacks I suspect might involve them."
"We'll go in prepared," Django rumbles through his beard, "but it'd be nice not to have to deal with fireballs, summoned demons and spirit poisons for once."
He scratches a patch of skin, scarred by ugly red burns on his neck. The dwarf is speaking from experience.
"I think that covers it," Hjeld steps in again.
"Unless there's something else we should know, Arvindur? We sweep the place, try to find evidence of wrongdoing and try to stay out of trouble with the law in case we don't find anything?"
"That should be most of what I know. Beware though, I think most of their men are just hirelings but theres been a few disturbing fanatics and desperate men." Arvindur muses, "Hadn't done this sort of thing much myself, any advice from your end? I'm more practiced with wilderness stuff than indoors."
Despite looking like he's more at home out in the wilds as well, it's Charlie who answers that question.
"The biggest difference is that movement is usually more restricted: doors, corridors, windows... Not as easy to go where you want to go as it is outside. But the footing's better. Makes it better not to bring too many fighters: if there's not enough room, you just get in each other's way.
The golden rule is to be methodical. Go from room to room, make sure the escape route is clear and don't let the enemy circle around us. Rushing forward gets you killed.
We're taking a good supply of alchemicals with us: thunderstones to give us an edge before clearing a room, acid and fire grenades, smokesticks. A sunrod or two as well, just in case. Hjeld will bring some traps and tools to block easy access to rooms and corridors behind us."
"Best to leave Sunwing on watch over the area then, I can whistle him down very quickly if need be. And gather a bag of fresh vines for my spells before we leave." Arvindur muses, "That would cripple a fairly large area quickly"
"Anything else we should consider before we head off?"
"Is Sunwing your companion? I thought you had a dog?"
Charlie leans forward, curious.
"I'll be riding in on one of my goats, but they're just ordinary."
Asa snorts disbelieving when she hears that: "Nothing ordinary about those evil horned monsters of you, mate. And they stink worse than demons!"
"Don't mind her," Charlie says to Arvindur.
"I do breed them for being mean-tempered, but she's just mad 'cause one of them ate the leather straps off of her shield once.
And I'd warned you we needed to stop to let it eat too!"
He turns back to Asa for that least remark. It's obviously a tired old argument between them.
Arvindur's face hardens, "Our target there crippled Wolfkin. He had to retire. Sunwing would aid me in his stead."
The faces of the other Silver Swords harden in turn. All of them have seen brothers and sisters in arms get killed or maimed in the course of adventures or missions, but this is accepted as a trade risk. The willful crippling of one of theirs is something else entirely however.
After a moment of silence, Hjeld coughs and speaks up: "I think that settles everything. If any of you haven't taken care of your supplies yet, get that sorted out first. It'll be a couple more hours before we head out. Get some sleep if you can. You'll be woken up in time."
OoC: if you want to clear up anything regarding your equipment or request something else from the guild, this would be the time. If there's anything you want to do before leaving, that's fine as well of course. When you're ready, we'll head out.
Nodding, "I'll be Sunwing then. He'd need to be more accustomed to the commands we'd need."
OOC: Not much else, just grooming and training Sunwing before we head out.
Two hours before daybreak Hjeld rounds up the quintet. The chapter house is a beehive of activity: dozens more guild members have arrived, been teamed up and given assignments and are now also getting ready to move out. For many the magnitude of the operation is only now sinking in and the mood is grim and subdued. Most of the old guard are there, the guild veterans, and the bulk of the troops preparing for war are indeed drawn from the core of true adventurers that have been with the guild from before it gained the city's commission and the changes that followed. All of the guild's expertise is brought to bear on the enemy.
The adventurers grab a quick meal and are then sent out into the night. Cloaked figures hurry through the streets in silence, focused on the task ahead. Arvindur and the four going with him go to a sewer entrance where a Ratkin guide is waiting to guide them to the tunnel they'll use to infiltrate the mysterious enemy's mansion. Once they get to the door, they see that it had been blocked off but is open now, and a dozen more Ratkin are on guard - at least one mage among them.
"We'll keep the door open while you're gone: if you need to retreat, we'll be waiting. The safe word will be 'Lord of Tails'. Understood? Just call out 'Lord of Tails' if you come back through the tunnel, and we'll know not to attack you. Clear?"
OoC: you can go to Elsewhere from here, we'll pick this up there.
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