Previously: Five people coincidentally met in an Inn in the morning. A Dwarf, an Elf, a Half-Orc and two Humans. While the Dwarf and Half-Orc asked one of the Humans for directions, all of them quickly had to witness an attempted murder on the Inkeep by a misterious red Tiefling. They managed to tackle the Tiefling and prevent any murders.
The Hell’s Inn.
“My name is Riven and I am an alcoholic”, the brown-haired man says in an awfully staged voice.
“Indeed, he has been frequenting my little tavern for weeks now. I count him to one of my closest…”, the Inkeep hesitates for a bit, “customers.”
“What now?” Ownka asks.
“Let’s keep him down. Bind him to a chair”, Andell suggests. “And question him.”
Riven throws a rope to him “here ya go”
With the help of Ownka and Dagnal, Andell tied the assassin to a chair.
“While we get to the bottom of this, does anyone fancy a drink?” The Inkeep asks.
Dagnal needs a strong tea, the elven woman wants a jasmine one and Andell asks if they have Chai.
“It is a very exotic drink”, Akmenos wonders, “you must have traveled a lot.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have that, no. But I could give you a tea of herbs and roots that I plant myself, that should taste just as spicy.”
“Is the drink on the house because we waited for you and made sure you were still alive?” Riven wants to know.
Akmenos thinks for a moment. This whole time the red Tiefling just stood there a bit awkwardly, hands falling from his body, head sunken in.
“I don’t think you of all people here did… particularly… anything”, Akmenos answers. “If I recall correctly, you even wanted to leave.”
“Come on, we’ve been friends, haven’t we? Just a bit of Ale for an old friend.” Riven tries again with his best smile.
“Okay, you get my worst one. But that’ll be the last one for you today.” Akmenos draws him one. “In that matter, a drink on the house for everyone here.”
“Drink for free?”
Akmenos nods at the half-orcish woman.
“Then Ale for me, too.”
The Human man draws a gulp of his fresh drink. “Now it really looks like a circle for group therapy”
Akmenos joins the group with a tea for himself. “This beautiful elven woman here has been playing her stunning music here ever since she came into town”, he gives her a slight bow with the head, “Theiastra”
She returns his bow “Akmenos”
“And might I know the name of my savior?”
“I merely tried to save you. But you can call me Andell. You might have heard of me. Andell from the West”, the mage states.
“I am afraid I have not. Thank you, Andell from the West. And am I right to presume that you are an... Arcanist?”
“Ah” Akmenos grins slightly, seemingly content that the wizard has fallen into his little trap.
“Well that leaves only this guy”, Riven points to the red Tiefling with his mug of ale.
Dagnal gives him a judging glance. “Aren’t you a little early to drink?”
“I drink what I can drink and I get when I can get when I get what I drink!”
“He works in the night, it is fine”, Akmenos defends him, “It is basically his evening.”
“He still has to show me around later”, Dagnal points out. “I basically paid him for that already.”
“And I will. Do I look like a thief to you?”
The dwarf looks him up and down. “You do.”
“Well I am really offended! But back to this guy”, he adds quickly.
“He said something about Loviatar earlier”, the elven woman states quietly, “As far as I can remember it is an old deity. But I don’t quite remember the domain...”
“Are you working for someone? Did someone tell you to kill him?” Dagnal demands.
“Yes”, the red Tiefling states.
“Well, then just point them out and we’ll hold them responsible for this.”
The Tiefling stays quiet.
Akmenos sighs. “Okay, let’s do this differently.”
“Yeah, we can do the good cop, bad cop thing”, Riven suggests in a louder whisper than he wanted to.
Akmenos slightly leans towards the fellow Tiefling. “What is your name?”
“Tell me your fucking name you bastard!” Riven shouts so forcefully that he spits.
“Hey, stop it! Not like that!” and to the other guy he says: “Excuse him, he has been drinking.”
“Just tell us your name”, Theiastra takes over in a gentle voice. “Nothing will happen to you.”
“Shit is gonna happen to him”, Riven talks into his mug. “What?”
“He is kinda right. Don’t try to protect him, he is clearly mad”, the wizard agrees.
“I can’t help it”, the elf defends herself, “He looks so young. Too young to be doing something so harmful. What if he is being controlled by someone?”
“I can cast detect magic”, Dagnal suggests and concentrates for a bit. “I can sense a tiny bit of magic coming from him… but it is not applied to him.”
“There are other controls”, Ownka says, “threats…”
“yes..”, Dagnal nods.
“You say he looks young, huh… I don’t know anything about Tieflings - no offense”, the Wizard gives an apologetic look to the inkeep.
“None there. He looks… to be premature, you are right, Astra. But not as young as a child. I’d say… around 17, 18 years old?” Then to him he goes: “How old are you, boy?”
Akmenos gives him a kind chuckle. “Behaves like a teen.”
“Listen, you know all of our names, now. So what do you have to lose when you give us yours?” Theiastra tries again to persuade him.
“Kairon” he states slowly.
Theiastra claps her hands “Yay! I got it!” then settles herself. “Thank you, Kairon.”
“Very helpful”, Andell admits. “I still can’t comprehend why on earth he would have thought to be doing the right thing? I mean, he said you owed him.”
“But that doesn’t give the right to kill people”, Dagnal throws in.
“Exactly. So... What did you owe him? Drugs or something shady like that?”
“Oh no. I think what he meant was a badge of fire Whiskey”, the Inkeep admits.
Riven downs another one. “Well that is worth killing for.”
“But I owed not him directly… “So, the thing is… those people I owe…”, Akmenos begins to tell the story, “a few weeks ago, I had a delivery come in to make more beverages. I am also the owner of a brewery not far out of town, you see. The ‘Brewing Kettle’. I make fine wines there, even a few potions, and whiskey. I was attacked when I escorted this delivery, by simple street bandits. Coincidentally, one of them saw it and offered to retrieve my stuff with the help of some guild members, provided I give them a fair share of whiskey in return. They are… some thugs of this town to be honest. But I didn’t know that then, just when they stood on my door with all my stuff and demanded pay. I didn’t brew that much whiskey, since I needed the supplies. Brewing takes some time, you know. A few days, maybe weeks and then it has to ripe. I gave them all I had but… they are not the patient type”, he tells as honestly as a priest.
“From the fire into the frying pan”, Riven jokes.
“What was I supposed to do? I need to brew to make money”, Akmenos sighs. “Speaking of which, I might have a job for those who are interested”, he offers, “you could help me bring those to justice who made Kairon do this. For a bit of money as a reward.”
Dagnal gives an estimating look. “Bring them to justice? What do you mean by that?”
“For now… we can scare them”, Akmenos thinks, “show them that they shouldn’t toy around with the townsfolk and make them forget about my debt.”
“By which means?”
“By any means you think are necessary.”
“How much are we talking about?” Riven scratches his beard.
“Let’s say… 200 gold, total.”
“That guild you spoke of… could it be the ‘Skullaby’?” Dagnal wants to know.
“I know them thugs”, Dagnal frowns, “I was on my way to have a discussion with them anyway. I’ll help you.”
“I help too”, Ownka decides, lifting up the parchment, “This was your paper, yes?”
Akmenos glances at it briefly. “Yes, I looked for an escort for my supplies… Unfortunately, no one showed up to take the job. You are a bit late, young lady.”
“Then I help now.”
“Thank you, that is very much appreciated.”
“If I could have a look at your potions, I would like to help as well”, Andell suggests.
“Ah, fuck it, I’ll go as well.” Riven sighs.
“To make up for everything…”, Kairon speaks up, “Could I help as well?”
The group throws some unsure glances around.
“I didn’t want this. I just needed money. They said it was an easy job. But I saw he is also a Tiefling”, he looks towards Akmenos, “and I didn’t want to anymore. But they… only they gave me food.”
“So you are a street kid or something?” Riven looks sceptical. “Got quite the armor and weapons for that.”
“They gave them to me. I ran away from home. I have nothing else.”
“Awww poor kid”, Theiastra makes big eyes, “They just used you. Let’s help them together”, Theiastra suggests, smiling, “I think we can support them or be a distraction. Anyway, it’s gonna make an amaaazing story!”
“I can’t say that I fully trust him”, Dagnal points out.
The others agree.
“But he might serve well as a distraction. He might be able to get you in”, Akmenos remarks.
“i’ll watch him closely”, the Dwarf states, then turns to him and says like a mother tired of their toddler’s shit: “If you try to cross our back…”
“So, we all are working together now, are we? Then that makes… 33 gold for everyone”, Riven calculates.
“33 point 3 infinity, to be exact”, Andell corrects. “a nice number.”
“Not… really…”, Theiastra cringes.
“Let’s make it 33 for everyone, and a favor, any favor within my abilities you can redeem in the next year”, Akmenos gives in.
“Okay, just one thing left”, Riven points out, “if we are a team now, we need to know our strengths and weaknesses to plan an awesome strategy.”
“Or we just go in and punch”, Ownka says shrugging.
“I would be more comfortable with what Riven said, too”, Andell admits, “not only because my profession is already revealed…”
“Yes, Wizard”, Riven speaks up, “What can you do? Show us some magic!”
“I am not… an entertainer”, he puts clear, “but I can cast simple spells, like that shield I tried to protect dear Akmenos with earlier.”
“Aaall right, that will do”, Riven surrenders. “This beautiful creature is an entertainer though”, he winks at Theiastra.
“We prefer the term ‘Bard’. Also, that is not all I can do, thank you”, she replies pettily. “I can also cast some spells.” With this said, she points one of her delicate fingers toward him, shielding her mouth with the other hand and whispers something inside. Only Riven was supposed to hear the words “you are such a troll” now.
He grins at that, covering his mouth with his cloak and not breaking eye contact, he whispers something back that lets her blush and turn away, ashamed.
To avoid engaging in this awkward moment, Andell then clarifies: “Ah, the Message Cantrip. Can come quite handy.”
“I am good fighter”, Ownka continues oblivious to what just happened and shows off her Great Axe proudly.
“Should we wait until nightfall or do you think there’s noone there anymore at that hour?”, Theiastra asks.
“I am pretty sure that just after nightfall there will be enough people still around, most of them probably drunk or sleeping. We’d have an advantage because no one will spot us that easily, and we won’t cause a riot that way.”, Riven explains with great knowledge.
So they wait until nightfall - Riven catches up on sleep, Theiastra is playing her music in the Tavern and Dagnal is going shopping for a few things - and make their way to a little fortress on the edge of town. It has a big front gate, guarded by two people on top that seem to be having fun, being distracted by fooling around. The walls have tiny windows a bit more than one story high and a rooftop, they seem to be functional slim houses. to the right they see a roof that is less high, underneath a back door and what seems to be stables. The roof then connects with the side of the main Building inside.
Dagnal, Theiastra and Kairon are deciding quickly to walk up to the front gate, because that seems the only logical thing to do.
Dagnal speaks up first. “Hullo, I’d like to speak with your boss to discuss some business, please.”
Before she can even finish her sentence, Riven is already gone. He decided to sneak in to get some valuables for himself, just as the guards are distracted by Dagnal. He goes up to the currently unguarded side with the stables.
Andell and Ownka are currently staying behind, confused.
Ownka turns to the Wizard. “What do we?”
“I think we should follow Riven. It would raise suspicion if we walked up to the front gate now; they are already going in.”
Ownka agrees to split the party equally and keep an eye on Riven.
In the meantime, Dagnal persuaded the guard to let them in, even though the guard remarked that they look like a funny group, and they are currently being escorted by one other guy through the yard behind the gate, which is now closing.
Riven can’t really estimate how easy it would be to climb, and he has no idea if someone could see him or what would await him up there. He just estimates that there would be no guards and decides to climb it anyway.
He gets up using some acrobatic movements, as swift as a cat and comes up to two dark windows. He prepares to lockpick one but quickly notices that one of them is open anyway, probably to get some air in. Riven jumps into the dark room and tries to make his way a little further inside.
He tries to see if there are any chests, closets or valuables lying around and also where the door is, but his human eyes see just blackness and while he steps inside a little too uncareful, he hits his thigh on a very pointy edge of a wooden table, which hurt a lot and forced him to suppress a tiny sound of pain.
Still blind, now limping a little, he puts his hands in front of him and walks up to the other side of the room, feeling a doorknob. He tries to open it carefully but notices that it is locked.
No problem for Riven, he thinks, takes out his thief's tools and goes on to pick it. Because he can't see his instruments scratch a lot alongside the doorframe and knob, making an obvious sound for anyone nearby. A manly voice speaks up on the other side: “hey what's there? Get over here, Jason, something is up in your room!”
Riven hears two pairs of footsteps, one heavier walking up to the door and putting a key in to unlock it.
“Shit”, Riven thinks and throws himself silently in the corner which he assumes to be behind the door, readying his rapier and dagger.
The two men go inside, throwing a little light in the room, but don’t notice Riven, who is one with the shadow, going behind the human and dwarf, exiting the room, closing the door to their surprise, pushing it shut and finding the key still in the lock, locking them inside the dark room, hearing but a muffled “Hey what the-?!”
Back on the roof, Ownka pulls herself up with the help of a barrel, then reaches down to help Andell, who seems to have a disadvantage with his flowy coat which was made to conceal and stand out, rather than help with protection. But as she bends over the edge of the roof she notices that Andell is already up. How he did it so swiftly is a surprise for both of them.
Ownka and Riven come through the window just as Riven closes the door. Thus both parties find no light and are surprised by the arrival of the other. Except for Ownka, who can see the room in shades of grey.
“Shit”, Andell mutters
Ownka is taken aback to not find Riven in there. “Where is Riven??”
“I can't see”, Andell frowns.
“You guys! Who is there?!” One of the thugs shouts out, terrified.
Andell ignites something that he can barely see right next to him with Firebolt, which turns out to be a chair. Oh shit the room is on fire, he thinks first, then: but at least I can see now.
Unfortunately, the two thugs now too.
One of them immediately attacks him while shouting "Fire! You lit my chair on fire you bastard!"
The thug hits him with a mace on the chest, pushing the wizard almost out of the window again. He whines like a dog when the weapon smashes his ribcage, probably breaking a rib or two.
Ownka attacks that guy on the forehead with the grip of her axe, uses a but too much force on the human though and knocks him out instantly. He now lies on the floor motionless with a big red circle on his forehead, probably seeing stars.
“Wow”, Andell nods in awe. "good that we brought you with us"
The friend of the owner of the room now attempts to strike on the half orc with his club, but she parys it with ease.
Andell now firebolts the guy, which lights him on fire and sets him burning heavily, screaming and tumbling towards the Wizard. He steps out of the qas casually, leading the thug to fall out the window then he lands on the roof with a single thump, alerting the horses. The fire is put out but he is now knocked out from the impact.
Riven hears muffled shouts and voices from the room, wonders for a few seconds what is going on in there. Right then, Ownka and Andell try opening the door but notice that it is locked.
"Shit did riven even get here? Why is it locked?" Andell swears while shaking the wood.
Riven opens the door for his companions in a showmanship-way. "Ah, there you are! Oh, there is a chair on fire!"
Andell just remembers "oh. Pardon me", takes the blanket from the bed and puts it out.
The light coming from the lit hallway is enough for Riven to scan the room, finding a chest between door frame and bed. It is unlocked, he opens it and finds some silver pieces, a set of good looking clothes, soap and a crystal door knob. He shoves all of that in the many pockets of his cloak.
Meanwhile Ownka is examining the thug lying on the floor and finds 10 Gold and a few copper in his pockets as well as an old chess piece, which she keeps. "nice" Except that she thinks for a second and puts 2 Gold pieces back. "for bandage"
Andell watches the looting, intrigued. “Oh that's a thing?” and curiously looks out the window. “I could use some more pocket money"
Ownka doesn't seem too amused. "Time. We have to help", she points out the door.
Riven on the other hand nods grinning "yah, sure, get your share."
That said, Andell carefully jumps out of the window, quickly loots the almost-dead person on the roof and comes back to the others within a minute.
Let’s go back to the first group. While that was going on, one thug behind the gate welcomes Kai. “Hey Kai! Back so soon?” Then looks confused, as he sees the other people. “Who are they?”
Theiastra, now being talked to, remembers she didn’t necessarily want to go in here, turns around, sees the gate already closing, and turns back around making a pirouette.
Kai speaks up confidently: “We want to talk to the boss. I’m quitting!”
The older thug doesn’t seem to take the younglings shit. “Don’t you talk to me like that, boy!” And to the women he says: “Declare your business! You can’t just simply walk in here!”
Theiastra raises her eyebrows and crosses her Arms in front of her. “For that, it was fairly easy.”
Dagnal punches her gently in the side, signaling her to stop talking back. “We’ll tell you. Yes, right now.” She now signalizes with her eyes to start a distraction.
“Oh!” Theia gets it now and starts to tell their business but in unnecessary length and detail. “Yes! Hiii, hello”, she says enthusiastically, drawing the thug's attention towards her, “My name is Theiastra, and I come from a land far, far away. Long time ago, I was the firstborn daughter of the duchess of the high elves. In that environment I leant-”
The Thug seems very confused at this point, but eagerly trying to follow her story. As well as Dagnal and Kai, now staring at her in disbelief for a second and also listening carefully to her tale, up to the point where she mentions the affair her mother had with the prince.
to be continued...