Title: Kagen's Revenge
Date: Mid Dalan, 1333 Avard
Synopsis: Roswyn's shoppe is broken into by thugs from Teras, and touches off a battle in the middle of the streets of Chasadan.
Late afternoon of Dalan the 19th, 1332 Avard.
The company spent much of the afternoon planning what they wanted done to the warehouse Hershel had been deeded, but eventually it was time to leave. Greff and Ryviik took Althis back to the pad. Hearne headed out of town to secure a sapling that was 'just right' for the warehouse plans. Roswyn headed back to her shoppe.
At the shoppe, Sorsha let Roswyn know that two heavies had been asking after her, asked for a tour of the shoppe, and said they'd be back. After that, Sorsha headed out to enjoy the evening. Varis was off visiting his kin, wherever they were. And Nadar had decided to take a short vacation. Roswyn locked up the shoppe, and moved into the back to tinker with her myriad of projects.
When Greff and Ryviik and Althis got back to Greff's pad, a delivery arrived from Rustos. A message from Donald the Miller, along with a sealed horn of Donald's winter spirits, put Greff in a good mood – until he started noticing a few things missing from his pad.
Althis seemed a good kid, once he was scared down the right path, but he had a compulsion about stealing. Greff found his valuable and prized rug missing, and a quick search turned it up underneath the stairs to his pad. Greff and Ryviik decided on a plan to teach Althis a lesson without hurting the boy. They headed off with Althis in tow, to the Scarlet Armor tavern. There, they talked with some off-duty Guardsmen, and asked for help in their plan. The Guard thought their plan was great, and set out to help the two.
They got Althis too drunk to take notice of the world, and sent him on home. Right outside, the Guard 'arrested' Althis, and hauled him off to jail. Later, other Guardsmen came in and let Greff and Ryviik know that Althis had been tossed in a cell with 'Old Stinky', a homeless man that liked to stay in the sewers, and was covered in lice and fleas. Old Stinky would come up out of the sewers to panhandle enough for moonshine, get puking drunk, cause a public disturbance, and spend the night in jail. Despite the best efforts of the priests, the homeless man had chosen his lifestyle. The Guard figured that a night in the cell with Old Stinky might deter Althis from his thieving ways.
Greff and Ryviik and four of the Guardsmen set out to relax and have a good time, though Ryviik had a bit too much ale. Greff had quite a bit himself, but was used to stronger drinks than even the great hunter Ryviik was. The two heard the funniest thing from the Guards: a ship had come in with over a score of big men that looked like thugs. The Guard were obviously keeping an eye on the men, but the funny part was the name of the ship they had come in on – the Breaking Wind. Who would name their ship Breaking Wind? They all laughed hard at that one.
Roswyn heard glass breaking at the front of her shoppe. She used her arcane powers to draw the darkness around her, and peaked into the display room. Two heavies were smashing and grabbing. They moved like professionals. One had a bar of iron stuffed into his belt; the other, a cudgel with bits of copper studded into the head. Both wore mismatched leather armor and clothing, and cloaks that could have come from anywhere. Slung underneath those cloaks were dwarven-made crossbows of high quality, indicating the thieves were anything but thieves.
Roswyn turned invisible, and used one of her arcane powers to 'leash' herself to one of the men. When they had ransacked the store portion of the shoppe, they moved through the rest of the building, searching for people. Both men kept a wary eye out, crossbows slung to the ready at various times. Though one of them could not read, his companion instructed him to go through the books. They took anything of value they could find, including questionable objects, such as a bag of square-cut rocks. One went upstairs, tramping around, looking for secret compartments or stashes, while the other hunted around the workshop.
The petite gnome could only watch from the shadows, maintaining her invisibility. She briefly considered using some her powers on the men, but her powers were simply no good at one-on-one combat. Roswyn used others as her weapons, and in return, ensured that others were arcanely enhanced to be good weapons.
The men left the shoppe, disgusted at not finding anyone, and headed down the street. Roswyn followed, invisible, still tethered to one of the men by an arcane power of her own choosing. As the two men moved down the street, shadows detached themselves from alleys and awnings. There were over a dozen armed men, all with dwarven-made crossbows, and all of them heavy hitters in a fight. The men moved in small groups, so as not to draw attention; to a casual observer, they were just people out on the street, sometimes loitering a bit, sometimes moving forward.
Greff was tipsy, and Ryviik was trashed. Several of the Guard were also trashed, but they all helped one another home. Ryviik collapsed onto a chair near the open window, letting the cool night air soothe the twirling numbness in his head. As always, Ryviik's bow was nearby, but Greff doubted Ryviik could even string it. The desert elf was so drunk, he was mumbling incoherently when he spoke.
Roswyn followed the men to the Red Torch Inn, which had several common rooms. The men moved in casually, not as a small army, but in twos or threes, as though they had just been out on the town. Inside, one of the common rooms was taken up entirely by big men with dwarven-made crossbows. They chatted quietly, but seemed to be professionals – or were just cowed by the man in the middle. The man in the middle was of average height and build, but had a falcon on his shoulder that had to have weighed close to thirty pounds. The falcon was enormous, almost impossibly big, and its talons were capped in steel gauntlets, making its talons terrifyingly formidable.
The two thieves that had stolen from Roswyn's shoppe told how no one was home. The man with the falcon wanted Roswyn and the 'freaky half-orc' found. He sent the men out in groups of three, to check every tavern and inn in the city; after that, they were to report back so they could move out, together. The two thieves that had ransacked the shoppe stayed behind, showing the man with the falcon their treasure – including nearly a dozen weapons Roswyn had enchanted, awaiting shipment to the Guard. The man with the falcon scribed a note to Roswyn, telling one of the thugs to deliver the note and 'the box' to the shoppe. The note said that they had Murdoch, and if they wanted to see Murdoch alive, then they would meet at the Red Torch at midnight. Roswyn high-tailed it to Hershel's tower.
The man with the falcon had been Kagen the Blackknife. Roswyn had never seen him, but Murdoch had, the last time they were in Teras together. Murdoch had been jumped by some of Kagen's men, and then the two had fought one another on the docks, before Murdoch managed to escape. Kagen obviously had not forgotten Murdoch – or Murdoch's friends.
Hearne had only to pry some cobblestones away from the warehouse, and dig into the packed dirt underneath. In the form of a badger, the dirt was not even a minor inconvenience. Once the sapling was planted, and the dirt gently packed back with some fertilizer, Hearne returned to Roswyn's Shoppe. The broken glass was puzzling, and it took the Amaran man a moment to realize a break in had happened. Hearne was from the Amaran savannah, and while he had travelled among the more 'civilized' lands for years, the ways of men still confounded him. Even among his own people, Hearne had been an outcast that spent more time with the animals and the plants, than with human company. The druid, wearing his traditional deer-head hat, complete with antlers, went through the shoppe to make sure no one was injured. There was no sign of blood, though he did detect the scent of the two thugs, as well as Roswyn's scent of annoyance.
At Hershel's tower, she bullied one of the two Guards on duty to go get the rest of the Guard – as many as he could find. Hershel appeared at his door, disheveled and barefoot, mumbling about reading more of the books. Roswyn quickly filled him in on the whole situation. The remaining Guard was told to find Greff and Ryviik, either at the Scarlet Armor, or at Greff's pad, and Roswyn gave the Guard directions. Hershel's backing sent the Guard off in a hurry, though he loathed leaving his position. Roswyn did not appear dangerous, or capable of protecting the Ducal Mage, but the Guard assigned to the Ducal Mage knew that appearances were deceiving.
Hearne appeared at the tower not long after, calm and collected, and curious as to what was going on – with Roswyn's billy goat Moxy in tow. His concern for Roswyn was assuaged, and so he contrived to wait with her while the Guard went about their business. Hershel came back down, dressed for battle; he wore an amulet, rings on every finger, a wide belt-sash full of wands, and other implements of the arcane lords. Hershel seemed rather irritated that someone was after 'his' people, especially in Teras. The city of Teras was quick-becoming a cesspool of violence and thievery, and Hershel was rather livid that it had come to his territory.
Hearne dispatched a raven to find Ryviik and tell him and Greff to come to the tower. In the meantime, they waited, wondering what was going on.
Thirty members of the Guard made it to the Tower, including a captain with his golden sash. The captain checked in with the Ducal Mage, assessed the situation and the story, and detailed six of his men to move back to the temple and sound the militia, declaring martial law and locking the city down until the situation could be dealt with.
Greff walked into the torchlight some ways down the street. Just behind him, one of the Guards from the tower helped a very drunk Ryviik along. The tall desert elf had puked on the Guard not once, but twice, and the Guardsman was not happy about it. Trailing behind them, almost invisible in the torchlight, were two heavies.
Hearne saw the heavies and pointed them out in a brief moment, and then ran towards Greff and Ryviik, and the men following them. Roswyn was on Moxy in a flash, and rushing towards her two friends.
The two heavies realized someone was onto them, and saw the mass of Guards about the same time Hearne saw them. They quickly backpedaled, spun, and began to run down the street.
Ryviik strung his bow in a drunken stupor, and fired off two shots. One of them hit a butcher's sign, causing it to spin around several times, but the other slammed into a thug's back, right between the shoulder blades. The thug went down and skidded across the cobblestones. The second thug only glanced over his shoulder, and began running even harder.
The Guard, not sure what was going on, set off in pursuit as well, but focused on protecting an irritated Ducal Mage, who could barely see over most of the burly Guardsmen.
Ryviik rushed forward, firing as he ran, and one of his shots managed to take the second heavy down through the small of his back, bursting his bladder from within. The thug was dead by the time Hearne and his menagerie of animals made it to the thug. The temple bell began to peal, indicating martial law. The milita was being called out. In a city like Chasadan, where every man and quite a few women were trained, experienced soldiers, the militia was a huge portion of the city.
Roswyn knew where to find the rest of the heavies, though – the Red Torch Inn. They moved in that direction, determined to catch the rest of the heavies.
They glanced up, and saw that a small army of the thugs was headed their way. Someone had spotted the group, and assembled the rest.
A hail of crossbow bolts turned the alleyway into a killing zone. The dwarven-made crossbows were deadly accurate, and the storm of bolts tore down Guardsmen, and knocked Greff to within inches of his life. The Guard, surprised, recovered as best they could, with the first rank taking a knee, and leveling their own dwarven-made crossbows.
An exchange of bolts took place in the alley, with Roswyn going invisible and rushing to Greff's side, and Hearne and Ryviik moving forward against all odds to deal with the threat. Guards and thugs alike went down in the fire-fight, and then the huge falcon swooped down out of the sky and savaged Hearne's face, nearly taking his eyes out with its metal-enhanced claws.
Roswyn got Greff back on his feet. Fear ran through Greff just long enough for the fear to anger him, and he squeezed into a nearby side alley as crossbow bolts went by. Hearne shifted into the shape of a huge bobcat, and leapt after the falcon. A snarling bolt of lightning knocked half the flight feathers off the falcon, as Hershel found a target he could see and hit, despite his body guards.
Crossbow bolts continued to sing through the air as both sides continued to exchange fire, the heavies having a slightly better advantage against the more numerous Guardsmen. The heavies were ruthless, evil men that already taken quite a few lives. But the Guardsmen of Chasadan were experienced soldiers, having fought undead, Rakorans, and ograns in their time.
Hearne released a localized earthquake on the heavies, and Roswyn unleashed one of her rolling lightning balls. It was enough to break the morale of the remaining heavies, and they broke and ran. The company continue to chase them down, Kagen the Blackknife being the most dangerous and most sought after.
Greff bolted from the alleyway, leapt through the air thirty feet, and snapped a heavy's neck in an instant. Kagen stabbed Greff with his shortsword, shot Greff with a hand crossbow he pulled from the small of his back, and swirled away from the fight to continue running.
Roswyn was there, on Moxy, to help Greff recover – and then rush foward to butt Kagen off his feet and onto the cobblestones. Kagen got up to run away again, despite Roswyn's efforts to keep the thug from doing more harm to Greff. Greff raced ahead and doubled back, throwing heavy blows at Kagen. Kagen whirled away from many of them, his shortsword flashing and his poisoned hand crossbow firing yet again.
Hershel was suddenly there, having left his bodyguards behind, and savaged Kagen's mind enough to slow him down. Kagen, seeing the situation, said, “I surrender!” He dropped his hand crossbow and short sword to the cobblestones.
Greff rushed in and rendered the man unconscious – breaking his cheek bone in the process.
Hearne held up a finger. One of the heavies had dropped a box with a finger in it, and a note. The note was the one Roswyn had seen Kagen write, indicating that the finger was Murdoch's – but it wasn't. Murdoch's fingers, like the rest of him, had lined tattoos that nearly glowed in the right lights. The finger was someone else's. A ruse, to draw the group out.
The Guard caught up to Hershel, out of breath despite their training. They took Kagen into custody, and promised to have answers out of him by dawn.
In the morning, Meridian Explorations met at Hershel's tower to hear the report. Althis had not yet been released, but the former Inquisitors had managed to get all they needed out of Kagen. The thugs had been unable to get to Murdoch, because he was staying at Thayer's Rock, a heavily fortified keep west of Teras. Kagen and his men had been sent by their master to steal what they could from Meridian Explorations, and let them know that Amreth the Gaunt was in charge of Teras.
The situation in Teras had become intolerable. Count Kaleus of Teras had been missing for four months. The able and experienced members of the Guard had been reassigned to other cities. Duke Therinol seemed unable to control the mess, and he had no ducal mage yet assigned to him to help with the chaos.
Hershel let them know that Chasadan was going to help its sister city out, and soon.
Morning of Dalan the 20th, 1332 Avard.
My sincere appreciation to the group for being patient with a five year old girl that wanted a bit of company!
I enjoyed this adventure. I didn't expect the Guard to be drug into a fire fight with the thugs Kagen had brougth with him, but I'm glad the Guard was there! Those volleys of crossbow bolts, unleashed on the company, might have ended them. The whole event has likely raised the company's fame in the city even higher, as the situation gets told and retold how Meridian Explorations managed to thwart a small army of thugs from Teras.
A visit to Teras will give Greff an opportunity to talk with his orc friends, and see if he can get them to Chasadan to help with reconstruction of the warehouse – and while in Teras, perhaps help with the problem of crime lords. And if the company can help bring order to Teras, their fame will spread even farther than Chasadan.
We talked about the future of the campaign, as well. Right now, the characters' fame is spreading, and they are truly acting as heroes – even if they don't feel it or admit to it. Soon, it will be time to become paragons of Meridian Explorations, and embark on quests that may take them far from Chasadan for extended periods of time.
All characters have 15,000 experience points and are 8th-level.
I really enjoyed this one, though it might have been even more satisfying if Murdoch were there to get his vengeance on Kagen. Though it was probably obvious before that the ex-inquisitors are rather iron-fisted against crime, this event should be direct threat that to anyone (Teras in particular) who even thinks about sending their thugs into Chasadan or the Janis Plains, that it will not end well for them. The thugs were there for all of one day and nearly thirty of them were slaughtered in the streets? I think that even the most brazen of crime lords would rethink trying to come into Chasadan again. Soon, though, they won't have to, as we'll be taking the fight right up to their doorstep!