Well, that didn’t go as well as expected…
Our scouting was mostly unfruitful. We had someone watching the building for three days. I was immediately turned away from the meat line because I was clearly not a local and they weren’t “in the business of helping outsiders”, so I was unable to get a look at the inside. Zoe made a pass or two as an entertainer on the street. We were able to confirm the rumors we had heard at the Three Rings. They did give out free meat, and they did run out about noon everyday. At nights we had either Aria or Kell with Shorenka watching the building and the surrounding area. The only thing of note we found was on the last day of our scouting. Aria spotted a man walking a really pitiful looking cow toward the building. However, after he entered the stockade she was unable to see anything. Kell let us know that Shorenka had been able to sneak a peak in an upstairs windows and count at least 5 men.
The time passed slowly for Zoe and me. I couldn’t get too close, or be seen too many times because of how unfamiliar I was and Zoe couldn’t because she was too familiar. Her uncle has been very kind and let me stay in his home. I have helped him some around the forge. At my request Zoe has not revealed my racial heritage to him. I keep my dependance on water hidden by taking a bath everyday. He thinks me odd for this but just laughs it off as a silly habit since I waste nothing by conjuring my own water every night.
At Zoe’s insistence we have taken a walk each night since accepting our task from the guard to help me learn my way around the city. She has also accompanied me every day to go searching with Yelena. We still have not found her brother but we remain hopeful as it is not uncommon for homeless children to sleep in the shingles. He is also a bit older and I suspect he is starting to feel independent and may be shamed by having to accept handouts from the church, which may keep him away as well.
After the end of the third day we decided we already had all the information we were going to get and began discussing a plan. Several ideas were discarded, brute force attack didn’t seem like a good idea because we had no solid data on their numbers, Gregoria kept stressing that all we knew was that there were at least five. Sneaking in and disposing of them one by one seemed like a bad idea for two reasons, one, we didn’t want to kill them if it could be avoided, and two, only a few of us are any good at moving around quietly. We eventually settled on trying to convince them that we wanted to join them. Our excuse was that we wanted to help the city just like they were doing. This started off bad and ended up worse.
We first approached the shop with Aria and Zoe in the lead. They seemed the most likely to be able to diffuse a situation without drawing weapons. The thugs we talked with wanted them to come inside for a private “talk”. This made the rest of us very nervous as we had no way to communicate with them from a distance.
To our extreme relief, a few tense minutes later our ladies returned and told us what they had learned. They had been taken into a cold room for a private conversation. They were only able to talk with the subordinates, they didn’t see Vancaskerkin at all.
The thugs they talked to were very cagey and hinted that they had a side business where they “dealt with” certain people for a price and were willing to share the profits if we would help in the labor. They scheduled another rendezvous earlier this evening to get our objective.
On arriving they told us that we were to confront a man about cheating on his wife. Again hinting that it didn’t matter if he was brought back dead. Needless to say, all of us were uncomfortable with this idea. So we hatched a plan to try and have our cake and eat it too.
For one thing Vigo wasn’t particularly thrilled with the idea of lying, even to mercenary criminals. The plan was this, we would wait an appropriate amount of time to seem as if we had gone and done the job. Then, we would return with Vigo carrying Shorenka over his shoulder under a tarp of some kind. We hoped to be able to pass her immobile form off as a dead body, at least enough to get us into the building and hopefully get us a moment of surprise.
All was working at least marginally well until one of the thugs caught a glimpse of movement from Shorenka, blowing our cover. What followed was a bloody mess with several close calls.
In short, I was badly wounded early on along with multiple others. I was running around using our wand to help as many as possible without getting hit myself. Shorenka managed to kill a man by severing his spine, one got too close to me and I put my trident through his neck with a bit more viciousness than I had intended. One of them was knocked unconscious and Gregoria really shone with some very well placed sleep spells. The first caught the last of the thugs, leaving Vancaskerkin alone able to resist. Realizing that he was outnumbered we started discussing what was going on he didn’t seem to know about the side jobs the others were doing. We were just getting him to relax when he passed out. Turns out that Gregoria had begun casing sleep and decided to finish while he was distracted.
After that, it was all over, we tied them up, searched the building for anything that could be used for a profit. We obtained a nice suit of masterwork chainmail, a composite shortbow with a decent strength rating, and a quiver of very carefully fletched arrows. I took the chainmail, Zoe took the bow and arrows. In addition we found a pile of other assorted armor and a silver dagger. We sold all the scrap metal to Bavolio. And went to collect our payment from Kroft. After returning the three still living men to the Guard and collecting our fee we went to our separate accommodations for the night.
I find myself curious that Verik didn’t seem to know anything about what was happening under his leadership outside of his helping the people. Fortunately, I don’t find myself too troubled by his fate. He knew what he was doing when he decided to desert his post. And, whether or not he was aware of them, the actions of the men under his command are his responsibility as well.