Montresor 10, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

I hate spending the night outdoors.  I should have waited to kill Erist until after he set up a camp – hindsight.  After the second time his tent collapsed on me I just gave up and slept in the heap – I’m pretty sure a deer stepped on me in the night.  Since I was getting no sleep anyway I got up early and headed into Malgareth as the sun came up – leaving all that disgusting camping gear behind. 

Back in the olden days Malgareth was a military outpost, but as the boundaries have shifted it stopped being of military importance a long time ago – the fortifications are now crumbling and partially scavenged for building materials.  For all that it looks like a disintegrating ruin though it’s a respectable place, if I’m remembering correctly the mayor is a friend of the Countess.

Before seeing what disasters my hired folk have gotten into without me the first order of business is getting rid of some of this junk I’ve acquired over the last little while.  It took some doing but I was able to find a nobleman who was interested in Achila’s gear – he hadn’t yet heard of what happened in Heathgrove and I didn’t feel the need to tell him why her stuff was available.  I wager he should have been able to figure it out – why else would the tools of the trade for a gladiator be available for sale?  I kept the hair clasps because they’re quite fetching even though they’re not quite my style. I even found a printer interested in Sir Humperdinck’s book. 

Even though I like the succubi carving I picked up from Piltis I was going to sell it, but then when it came time to hand it over for some reason I just couldn’t . . . . I’m sure it’s nothing.  Once I had my selling all squared away I picked up a few items of use before shopping for some new clothes – wearing peasant rags doesn’t really matter because I’m using my cap and ring most of the time but I still like to be wearing something decent.

Malgareth may be a upstanding place but you’re always going to find pickpockets at a marketplace – one tried to make a lift off me but failed.  It could have been a dicey situation but I managed to shoot him in the back five times as he tried to run off.  The watch response time was very admirable.  When they asked what happened I told them the thief had been attacked by a giant wasp.  There’s a part of me that’s disappointed that they believed me. A small part.

I spent a few hours looking for my crew until I realized the man in the stocks who had called my name several times was Wine. 

“Things are going that well huh?”

Turns out he was just there for public drunkenness and was able to point me where the rest of my hirelings were staying – an inn with the odd name of the Madam’s Saber.  I’m sure there’s some kind of story behind that. 

“Thank you.  Well Wine I have good news and bad news.  The bad news is I’m not going to get you out of here.  The good news is you’re fired so it’s not my problem anyway.  Cheers!”

I’m going to need to see about rounding up a few more goons – with Ancin and Reda gone as well they’re starting to get a little thin if I ever need to rough someone up seriously.  I managed to find the Madam’s Saber incongruously located in a residential area.  Looks more like a small school than an inn – ivy on the walls and everything.  I’ve never been sure why vines tearing your walls up is considered classy but it did look quite nice. 

Heresia and Althith were the only ones there and they told me what Wine hadn’t – they had run afoul of some local crew and Edul and Eberald had been killed in a skirmish.  Drunken idiot, I wish I could fire him again.  I asked them what had happened.  They looked at each other for a moment before Heresia answered –

“We didn’t know how long you’d be so we asked ourselves – what would Ela do?”

“Oh no.”

“So we figured what you would do is get some kind of scheme cooking . . .”

“Oh no.”

They had taken on a job to break into a fence’s vault and steal some item back that had recently been stolen itself.  They failed and in the course of said failure drew the attention of a gang in the employee of a half-elf they claimed was called Grotharar but they must be wrong because no one would ever be named that.  I asked them were everyone else was and they said they were out trying to find out information about Grotharar and his crew.  I’m out of it for a few days and everyone gets delusions of grandeur.   

“Alright you two, while we wait for everyone else to get back – IF they come back – you’re going to take me to see this benefactor of yours.”

They took me to a dance hall – you know the kind I mean – which was closed of course as it was daytime, but I was able to talk my way into seeing the owner easily enough.  A squirrely looking fellow with a nicely trimmed beard wearing a poncho and a wide-brimmed black hat.  For some reason he goes by the moniker of Rattlesnake Jack. He tried to take my hand and kiss it as we came into his messy office.

“I don’t remember seeing you before my dear, and I know I would remember you.”

I didn’t allow him to touch me but I did refrain from spitting in his lazy eye which I think is admirable on my part “No time for pleasantries friend.  It seems my employees have gotten themselves into a little bit of hot water working for you without my knowledge.  Let’s see what can figure out about this predicament.” 

Old Jack had one of his girls working a local wizard and said wizard had his staff stolen – you know wizards and their staffs.  So he had turned to the only lowlife type he knew, Jack, who found out that the staff was being held in the vault of a fence by the name of van Os – he hired my people to break into the vault. 

“So where does Grotharar fit into this?” Turns out that actually is his name. 

Jack shrugged “He must be working for van Os?”

“What kind of juice does he have?  Is this a name you run away from or someone you strike back at?”

He shrugged again “I don’t know.”

I wanted to smack that stupid hat off his head “So what good are you?  What kind of pimp doesn’t know the lay of the land in his own town?”

His eyes burned with rage “I am not a PIMP, this is a legitimate establishment!”

“Sure, fine, whatever.  I’m going to figure this out, if we have to go up against these Grotharar people what kind of muscle do you have?”

He shrugged yet again – he was clearly doing it to annoy me “I have a few guys, but why would I lend them to you?  I paid for YOU to do the work.”

“And how much was that pay?”

“Two hundred, AFTER the job is done.”

“Two hundred platinum?”

He shook his head with a greasy smile “Gold.”

I glared at Heresia “You took this job for two hundred GOLD?”

She at least had the good graces to look sheepish “That’s a lot of money to some people . . .”

“Alright let’s get the Hells out of here.  Rattlesnake it was a true pleasure to meet you, I hope this rat-nests doesn’t burn down in the night with you in it, we’ll be in touch.”

Back at the Saber Althith told me how they tried to break into the vault through the sewers where they came across a shrine to the Lord of the Thirteen and when they took the coins off it they were attacked by a swarm of imps.

“There are so many things wrong with that.”

“Jack said . . .”

“Say no more.”

They ran from the imps but they weren’t able to get into the vault from the sewers and the next day they were attacked by Grotharar and his men as they were trying to surveil the vault to come up with another plan of attack.

I should have been out gathering information but instead I sat at the Saber and stewed until the rest of my crew came back.  They were so happy to see me that I didn’t have the heart to scream at them – after all I was the one who left them alone without instructions.  You can’t expect people like them not to get in trouble when left unsupervised. 

Their joy only marginally improved my sour mood.  Tomorrow we get to work. 

Funds: 7,577 gold

XP: 34,408

Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer

Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, oil of taggit (2)

Potion of Invisibility (3), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (2), Potion of Cure Light Wounds (3), Potion of Spider Climb

Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace, mithril hair clasps (3)

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee

Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)

Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and one team of Soldiers)

Graltontown Buildings – Mill 

Behind the curtain – Technically there should have been all kinds of rolls for what Ela could sell and what was available but what fun is that?