Montresor 15, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

Today’s first order of business was scoping out the three Mendev moneylenders in town that Vory had told me about.  People have this impression that with all the money they have on hand that moneylenders are fortified to the hilt, but they’re less well protected than you might think.  In a large part they rely on their importance to the community and their connections to dissuade people from causing them problems.  Which isn’t to say they’re an easy score by any means, just that it’s not like trying to break into a Temple-Vault of Odobenine.  The three Mendev outfits were nothing special – a few guards, a lockbox, the usual.  Their front company for the operation was called Goodwill Lending.  Hilarious.

Next on the agenda was setting eyes on one Francis Fast-Fingers, the only remaining member of the Workshop that seems to be out and about on a semi-regular basis.  He was called Fast-Fingers not for his ability to lift a purse or tease a lock but rather for his lecherous ways.  Sounds like a real sweetheart, one wonders where all the gentlemen thieves in the romance novels are. 

We caught up to him as he exited a gambling hall near the Labyrinth and he immediately started running – not sure what set him off.  Thankfully he didn’t duck into the Labyrinth, we’d never had caught him in there, but rather tried to cut between two buildings and found himself outflanked by my boys.  He went so far as to try and scramble up the side of the building but Oney grabbed him and pulled him down.

“Where are you off to Francis?”

He squinted at me for a moment “I thought you was something else.  My peepers aren’t what they used to be.”

“Well none of us is getting any younger are we Francis?  I need to talk to your people but from what I hear you’ve been scarce around town as of late – what’s the story?”

“I have no people.  I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in this cruel world of ours.”

“Of course.  You look like a tough enough guy, you could probably withstand a halfway decent beating, so why don’t we start off being friends and see where that goes?  Is there a good place around here to get a drink?”

The first place he took us to was a rancid pit that served only grog – clearly Francis was not one to splurge on his drink, one of these quantity over quality types.   I diverted him instead to a nearby dwarfen taproom but he spit at the idea – I guess there’s some issue here with the dwarf clans.  Finally we settled on an inn with a decent bar – Francis swilling Gold Lane Bock while I sipped my Dwarfen Firewine.

Francis wasn’t very forthcoming at first but I happen to be pretty good at getting people to open up.  The drink helped as well.  I get the feeling that he wanted to get drunk enough to tell me what he told me.  Some people need a boost.  His story, told in fits and starts with nonsensical side-tracks – was that after retrieving the gem their leader had started acting strangely and became a recluse.  This behavior spread through the gang and most of their members seem to be involved in some arcane nonsense with the gem outside of town – leaving just the dregs to try and carry on in Malgareth.  Those that are left are terrified not only of what is happening with the gem but also that one of the other gangs will figure out how weak they are and take them out.

“Hmm, well that’s no good.  I need a reliable source of counterfeit coins.  Why can’t anything ever go smoothly?”

“What are you going to do?”

“Save the day of course.  That gem clearly has some mystical mojo going on and has overthrown the minds of all the decent members of your gang.  Do you know where they’ve gone or can you find out?”  He nodded like an eager puppy – one that nods.  “Good, I’ll find you tomorrow.”  He ran off like a lad chasing a butterfly.  

Eormon looked to me “So it’s a trip out of town then boss?”

“Not for you lot.  I need you to stay here and keep an eye on the Mendev moneylenders.”

“Surely it’s too dangerous to go alone.”

“Surely it is, that’s why I’m going to need to find some adventurers.”

I hate adventurers.  Everyone does.  I mean sure if you’re the mayor of a town and your daughter has been kidnapped by goblins – it happens more than you’d think – you need them, but no one likes them.  They’re murders first of all, and unlike assassins they don’t even both to hide it.  And what galls me is that they get away with it.  It’s almost like they’ve been given some special license that no one else knows about to kill and loot.  And they’re blowhards as well.  You ever talk to an adventurer for five minutes without them going on and on about their “deeds”?  No, you have not.  But the worst part is the condescension.  They’re literally vagrants and they seem to think everyone else looks up to them?  I don’t think so.

But when you need swift and blinding violence with very few questions asks they’re first on deck.  And the good thing is they aren’t hard to find.  Anyone sitting in the corner of a tavern with a cloak trying to look cryptic drinking ale?  Adventurer.  Who the Hells wears a cloak anyway?  I found a likely group at a charming little place called the Strangled Goblin.  Enigmatic disappearances?  A magical gemstone?  Mention of the Countess herself?  A stranger telling them things in a bar without any explanation of why?  They couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Five mighty heroes they were – Helgan van Tankerstrum the mysterious warrior with a mysterious past whose mysterious greatsword is the terror of his enemies; “Lightdancer” the elf-maiden priestess of Adariel who’s mysterious healing gifts bring succor to the downtrodden and outcast; Bonder Greysmith, the hard-fighting, hard-drinking, ugly, ugly son of a bitch dwarf who’s mysterious exile from his clan has forced him to mysteriously travel the land in search of mystery; Pegwhistle Proudfoot the stealthy mysterious Halfling scoundrel with a mysterious heart of gold; Lumbfoot Sheepskin the non-stealthy non-mysterious Halfling priestess of Adariel.

“Where’s your wizard?  Don’t you guys always have a wizard?”

Bonder let loose with a thunderous fart “That’s what I think of wizards lassie!  We don’t need no stinking wizards!”

No wizard and they have an elf, a dwarf, and two Halflings?  What is this amateur hour?  Everyone knows you need at least half your party to be humans.  Oh well, I’ll have to make due.  Good free help is so hard to find.

____________________________________________________________

Funds: 7,580 gold

XP: 44,738

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, Ring of Animal Friendship, +1 Falchion, +1 Greatclub, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2  

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, diamonds (14), silver crown

Potion of Invisibility (3), Potion of Spider Climb, Potion of Eagle’s Splendor

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