The glow from my earlier pyromaniacal episode continued to light the night sky. Dolwen and I, having located the home of “The Fist”, made our way back to our inn. We needed to regroup to plan our next action. The Fists’s men were out in force looking for us. We had narrowly avoided several small groups of them back at the burning remains of “The Pig.” By now, I can only assume that they already know were our inn is. Even if Adam hasn’t cracked under interrogation, how hard could it be for someone to find where a group with two Halflings and an elf were staying? With a little of Ranald’s Luck, maybe we’ll find our friends before they do. I was about to suggest to my silent friend that it might be best to stake out our inn rather than go to the room, when he noticed them leaving the inn. Looking a little worse for wear, I asked “What happened to you guys?” Pieter explained how they had gone up to the room and were attacked by the enemy waiting within. “You mean you actually went up to the room?” Shaking my head, I dismissed the matter as either over-confidence or foolishness, it pretty much amounts to the same thing. To add insult to their injuries, the innkeeper decided to throw us out, something to do with damages and disturbing the other guests. Having nowhere else to go, we made our way to the Temple of Vereena to seek refuge, and report our findings to the High priest Klatis.
The temple was fairly quiet, given the late hour, so we were able to enter without attracting too much attention. Klatis summoned some priests to tend to the wounded. Since I had nothing better to do, and waiting patiently is extremely boring, I unshouldered my satchel and pulled out the ledger to examine it more closely. The entries at the front of the ledger were clearly standard entries keeping track of loans, transactions, etc. The back of the ledger, however, contained coded entries. Unfortunately, I couldn’t decipher any of the code names, so for now, their identities remain a secret. I asked Klatis if he could provide materials to copy the ledger, and he offered the use of some of his scribes for the task which I accepted gratefully. My companions were finally done being poked, prodded, and bandaged so we made our report to Klatis. He confirmed that Faustman “The Fist” was the leader of one of the largest thieves guilds in the area. He went on to tell us that the guild is currently involved in a war with some rivals. We were also told that “The Fist” has an unknown ally. I suspect it may be one of the Lietdorfs, although I am not sure which one. I can’t be sure whether Raymond was at the “Upright Pig” as an ally or potential victim. We then discussed our plans for the following day. We needed to save Adam of course, if they hadn’t killed him already. Eckhardt suggested we go to the watch first. I suggested that it would be simpler to just knock on Faustmans door and ask him if he’d like to discuss the matter over tea. My prejudices towards the watch aside, the guild will obviously have agents in the watch, what self respecting guild wouldn’t? “Lets just sneak into his place, save Adam, and if he’s not there, burn it to the ground.” “It’s not like he doesn’t already want to kill us.” We discussed options further and eventually decided to try stealth, not really the groups strong suit, but what are you gonna do? Dolwen reminded us about the gathering in tent city tomorrow night, and suggested it might be better to accomplish this mission first to avoid showing up potentially half-dead from a previous skirmish. We all agreed and turned in to get as much rest as we could for tomorrow.
We were awakened the following morning by an initiate who asked us to report to Klatis. Once in his chambers, Pieter asked “What is it?” “There’s been another burning” he answered. Dolwen asked “Besides the bar?” I’m not entirely sure, but I think I saw a smirk. I may have been wrong about the elf; he might actually have a sense of humour after all. The victim was Raymond Lietdorf. I guess I can cross him off the list of suspects. He managed to survive and is currently recovering at an inn called “The Rivers Secret” in the merchants quarter. We left the temple immediately and made our way to the inn. We were allowed to see Raymond who was looking pretty good for someone who had just burst into flames. “Who might you gentlemen be?” “Just well-wishers with a few questions, my lord” He readily answered our questions about the night before. He was down by the waterfront when suddenly he was engulfed in blue flame. Before being tackled into the river by one of his more loyal bodyguards, he was surprised that there was no pain. He also mentioned seeing colours, and drinking some Tilean wine but was unsure as to where it came from. We tried to question him further about who might want to kill him, but he became tired of the questions, and dismissed us. As we were leaving, we discussed what our next step should be. Suddenly, the entire upper floor was surrounded in a shimmering blue globe which quickly vanished in a silent detonation taking the engulfed portion of the inn with it. “Wherever they went, at least they’ll have a nice barn to take shelter in.” The others did not look convinced. It was time we confronted Castor Lietdorf. We arranged a meeting with the Baron through the Baroness Genevieve. He agreed to meet us tonight during a party he was attending. I ran through the nights itinerary, first meet with the Baron, second go to the cutthroat convention, third save our field warden, and if there is enough time, burn down another building. It was turning out to be a busy night. I decided to get some rest until this evening.
Our meeting with the Baron accomplished little. I suggested that if Raymond was not the intended target perhaps he was. The persons behind this may have intended for Raymond to be with Castor when the delayed effects of the wine activated. He listened to our warning but could not give us any reasons why someone would want Raymond or himself harmed. As for “The Fist”, he said if we could prove his involvement, he would ensure that there would be no repercussions to us if we were caught bringing him down for these crimes. I recommend that we don’t get caught. I don’t know that I trust this noble to live up to his end of the bargain. As we made our way through the crowds towards tent city, a disturbance down the street caught my attention. Based on the screams, we had another burning. Casting a quick wink at Pieter, I ran towards the commotion. The unfortunate soul was completely engulfed in purple flames, his screams piercing through the roar from the panicked crowd. The warriors armour was melting off him from the intense heat. This was obviously not the same stuff that Raymond had drank. Erik, noticing a Halfling staring in awe at the event, told us that this same halfling was at the “Upright Pig”. Deciding to question him about these burnings, Erik called out “Hey you!” The halfling startled from his rapture, made a rude gesture before fleeing down the street. The pursuit ended at an apparent dead-end alley. Not wanting to run in blind, I stayed at the mouth of the alley as the rest of the group advanced towards the halfling. The halfling was waving a torch and shouting some nonsense about lies and truth, and how we’ll all burn. While thinking that this couldn’t be good, I noticed a little too late, the barrels stacked around the enraged halfling. I was about to warn my friends when the halfling dropped the torch, igniting the gunpowder. The series of explosions was deafening. When the dust had cleared and my ears stopped ringing, I made sure that everyone was okay, before looking for the remains of the halfling. There was no trace of him anywhere in the alley. Curious as to how he had managed to escape, we left the alley before the watch came and accused us of blowing it up.
Slightly charred, but otherwise none the worse, we arrived at the gathering place. Tents surrounded the fire pit, as did brigands equal to our number. Wondering what this gathering was all about, my query was answered by a man with a torn ear emerging from one of the tents…of course…Trap. The man limped towards us and confronted Erik “My plan succeeded in luring you out.” Sneering at Erik he spat “Lets make this a fair fight.” The group sprang to action as the outlaw and brigands attacked. I target a thug as the rest of the group targeted the gimp. Apparently it’s fair as long as the halfling doesn’t join in. The lackey, not thrilled with receiving a slingstone to the shoulder, tried to take a swing at me. I decided to target his other shoulder this time. Nope…still not happy, there’s just no pleasing some people. Evading his clumsy swing, I was very aware of the cursing nearby, indicating that Erik was not faring well. I tried a shot to the gut this time which bounced harmlessly off his armour. I’m not sure he even felt it. Still managing to dodge his attacks, I fired one more stone, connecting with a satisfying splat between the eyes. His head rocked back, followed by his twitching body. Turning to find my next opponent, I saw Erik getting crushed by an overhand blow. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he collapsed to the ground. I snapped a quick shot at the boss, hitting him solidly in the mid section, he didn’t look happy either. I found my rhythm and started to bob and weave while snapping off opportunity attacks. As most of the brigands fell, the limper not liking the odds, tried to flee. Eckhardt fired a quick shot as he fled, as did I. Erik having regained consciousness also fired an arrow from a seated position. The outlaw realizing that Erik was still alive, returned to try and finish the job. Besides, it’s really hard to run away with a limp. Erik got unsteadily to his feet, and adopted my tactic of evade and shoot. Eckhardt landed a crushing blow, rocking him back. Erik, catching him unbalanced, knocked him down with a glancing shot. I landed another stone to the head rendering him unconscious. Erik dropped his bow, and drew his sword. Standing over his helpless foe, he thrust his blade into the outlaw’s eye, silencing him forever. He then proceeded to do several unmentionable atrocities to the corpse, which I won’t mention because they were…well…unmentionable, while the rest of us chased the remaining brigands into the night. A short while later, as Eckhardt and Dolwen patched up Erik and Pieter, I recovered the outlaw’s diary. It revealed that he had no intention of going after the Baroness. It was all a ruse to lure Erik out and get revenge. Looks like it only half worked. Pieter and Erik were in no condition to do anything accept groan, so we decided to postpone Adams rescue until the following night.
The next morning we went to see the Baroness to inform her that she no longer needed to worry about the outlaw. “He wasn’t happy to see us.” I informed her “But it’s done.” Before leaving with our reward, Erik had a private discussion with her, but wouldn’t talk about it. Returning to the temple we updated Klatis on the nights events, and Pieter and Erik received some more healing. Klatis brought the ledger and the newly made copy, and provided us all with good luck charms. Every little bit helps. We spent the day resting and preparing. Having verified the copy was a complete match, I stashed it with my gear and brought the original with me. I figured, if things didn’t go well, we may need it to try and negotiate Adams release. The time had come, and we made our way to “The Fists” home. Shockingly, we somehow managed to eliminate the two sentries without attracting any unwanted attention. Pieter and Erik dressed in the sentries clothing, and we proceeded to the backdoor. Finding a Halfling servant scrubbing pots, we convinced him that no harm would come to him if he kept quiet. He then told us his brother was in the next room. He was as agreeable as his sibling, so we tied them both up in the cellar. Searching the main floor, we discovered some papers and a manifest. They detailed a shipment of goods to the “Iron Circle” I suspect this is the same group that had summoned Mr. Demon a few days ago. Making our way upstairs, we confront the two remaining occupants. The trollop was less than useful, but Joe the accountant had some interesting information. “The Fist” is currently prepping for an auction tomorrow. There is supposed to be some bigwigs coming. He provided us with the time and location, but knew nothing about Adams whereabouts. We searched the house further and were about to leave when I noticed a secret door under the stairs. A hidden spiral staircase led to a lower floor. We quietly searched the area and located the guard chambers. These guys are actually starting to get the hang of this stealth thing. Easily subduing him, we continue to search until we found the cells. We found Adam clutching his knees, while slowly rocking back and forth muttering “I’m missing it.” “I’m missing it.” At least that’s what I imagine he was doing since I was too short to actually look in the peephole. He did, however, look extremely hungry and relieved when we unlocked the door to release him. We locked the guard in the cell, and prepared to leave. We were well on our way back to the temple when I realized, that in the excitement of rescuing the field warden, I had forgot to light the house on fire.