10th of Granite
We arrived at Kerito at sunset. Almost immediately Aust received a raven and departs without so much as a “fare thee well,” the sneak. No manners at all, those wood elves. We receive a silver coin with an emerald-colored band around the middle from Captain Oscar. He tells us that he belongs to the WeeWalter clan, which bears a double green band on their left sleeve to signify their allegiance to the Walter clan, who wears a green tree. The coin is for a favor in Kerito, from some folk, at least.
We go to Gene’s Harbor Inn, a tavern recommended by Oscar. The jovial sun-browned human innkeep gives us a room after being a bit puzzled by our party’s patchwork nature and odd characters, but I suppose this is only the way of those who have never walked the path of the adventurer before. Regardless, we sleep through the night, a welcome change to last night’s “””inn”””.
11th of Granite
In the morning we visit the temple of Umberlee, which is not far from the sea shore. I look for my mother’s ship, but I see no sign of the fearsome Bronze Dragon, a pity, for I’m sure she would impress my fellow travelers.
The temple itself is small, but luxurious, made of cold white marble and filled with gold ornaments and heavy, smoky incense, though pews are scarce to be seen. A row of mysterious black doors line the walls. A tanned priestess with dark, sea-salted hair greets us and, upon inquiry, informs us that the rooms are rented out for meetings. However, she is tight-lipped about Nadieh or any of his company, and shoos us off when we pry.
I stay inside to “pray,” while the rest of the group set up for reconnaissance in a bar across the street. A younger man leaves a room within twenty or so minutes, followed a few minutes later by an older man. The second man is joined by two thuggish men with red circles emblazoned on their sleeves outside. The barkeep informs my fellows that the red circle is the crest of a muscle-for-hire group, the Boros, who are tough to buy and tough to kill, which makes them the bodyguards of choice around Kerito.
Walter Walter V (I wonder how long it’ll take the rest of our band to catch on to that one) decides that the man looks important enough to warrant investigation, and so tails him at a safe distance. Unfortunately, when he tries to snag a scarf (my friend is a criminal) from a bazaar stand to cover his face, the shopkeeper stops him. He buys the scarf, which really brings out his eyes, but the interaction costs him enough time that he loses the man in the crowd.
In the meantime, I see a third man leave the black-doored meeting rooms, so I take it upon myself to tail him. Unfortunately, he catches me, accuses me of trying to con him, and storms off. Oops. Guess I need a little more practice at this kind of stuff.
Belerin is the most successful of our group: he learns from the bartender that the rooms are anti-scrying and intended primarily for business and merchant deals. Very shady!
Afterward, the boys go out to get the lay of the land, while I go to the library to research. I find some history of the temple and study some of the Ten’s crests, but I’m unable to find anything about the black X sigil that the lizardfolk were wearing.
Nearer sunset, we smudge ourselves up to look a bit more like the common folk and go to the Dark Drink in an effort to find Nadieh. I make an attempt at some sort of “beerwine” in an attempt to connect to the simple folk. It does not go well. In fact, it is disgusting.
Walter Walter V sets about trying to gather information from a mélange of humans and halflings, but gets himself into trouble when he attempts to lay a false trail for some Yadurja folk looking for “a half-elf with a book.” He soothes them over with a song, as is his way.
I scare off a potential suitor by pretending my aunt is a priestess of Umberlee, but get no leads for the first while. Belerin engages a wood elf to greater success: he finds that a red-haired human named Edgar who frequents this “establishment” is “keeping track of” the men with red eyes.
Thordain, in true fashion, finds an older sailor to commiserate about Silverbeard’s glory. They drink a lot of the beerwine, I’m guessing because sailors don’t have a long enough life expectancy to care and dwarves are made of iron on the inside.
A different gentleman points me in the direction of Edgar, so Belerin and I converge on him. Edgar initially assumes I am a prostitute (the outrage!!!), we go with him to a back room provided by the innkeep. Clearly, the crude man has connections.
We pay him 10 gold and he informs us that “only two folk stand to benefit.” One is Toredo, who brought the Igaku a week before tunnel sickness even started spreading, and had more delivered more swiftly than should have been possible when it became a problem. The other man, who benefits from the ship going down, is Tywin Bannister, who controls most of the airships, and whose ships are raided much less frequently by the lizard folk. His house sigil is a black skull. Toredo and Tywin share a warehouse, no doubt filled with crime stuff, in the bigger wharf district near the sea. Edgar also tells us that Nadieh likely belongs to a group from across the sea called the Shadowdancers.
While we speak with Edgar, Walter Walter V is ejected from the tavern and onto the street, where he spots a red-eyed gentleman making his way. Knowing that we’re searching for someone similar, he follows him, only to lose him to the shadows. When we depart from Edgar,
Romero Walter Walter V leads us to the spot where he lost the black-cloaked man, where we are ambushed by none other than Nadieh himself, holding a rapier to Thordain’s throat.
He commands us – uppity twit – to stop asking questions, but we are too righteous to accede. So, of course, we fight. We wound him severely enough that he disappears, but not before threatening to “see us” at Gene’s Harbor Inn. Because of this, we decide to stay at the Salty Dog Inn, which my mother told me about.
On our way there, we see someone following us, but we accidentally scare him off when we try to lay a trap for him, so we get no information from him. We’re not that great at sneaking, it seems.
We start our night of rest, but we are very rudely interrupted by a monstrous white spider on the ceiling. We slay it handily, hewing its head from its body, and find a threatening note: “A gift for your continued cooperation. Yours, Nadieh. P.S. I am a disgrace to my family and will die alone.” (…Okay, so I may have added that last part.) Thordain complains that this is a horrible gift, but keeps the head. Gross.
12th of Granite
We go to Toredo & Tywin’s warehouse in the morning, where Belerin, Thordain, and WWV attempt to gain access through employ, but nothing comes of our snooping. I go across the street for a cup of morning coffee with a friendly-seeming grandmotherly type, but lose my cool when she, too, accuses me of being a courtesan. In my righteous indignation, I accidentally stumble into a pass to Tywin Cannister’s home for a business meeting when the guards come to investigate and I turn on the waterworks.
Tywin’s home is expensive and well-guarded. Tywin Mannister also seems expensive and well-guarded, and on top of that, does not buy our story (we’re with the Walter family and want to ship… something illegal) and are escorted off, even after I try to sneak into some offices by sleeping a guard in the bathroom. Again, we’re not very good at being sneaky.
We decide that our best course of action is to spy on the warehouse, each taking a separate corner of the building. We notice that later there are fewer guards, but a crew of shifty gentlemen set up shop around the premises. Around 7, I see Tywin make his way down the street to one of the rear corners of the warehouse. Though I can’t see from my hiding place, I hear him converse with some of the suspect men and enter through a hidden back door. We decide to try and sneak Belerin and Thordain in and investigate the next day on a forged Walter family work order from Walter Walter V.
13th of Granite
It doesn’t work. At all. Not even remotely.
Or, in other words, they catch on, block off any escape routes, knock Thordain unconscious, then knock Belerin out, then knock Romero out, all the while sending more and more guards. Through some well-placed healing and Silverbeard’s grace, we barely escape with our skins, but without Thordain’s axe. But alive.