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The tribe was busy for another week.  It ended up being pretty bad for the fighter and the druwitch.  But that is for later.

We are given a mission.  We were supposed to go on patrol in the city.  We were paid, and then we left on patrol.  Commander Knowles wanted us to get to work, and get out of the office.  I get it, we are supposed to be busy, not hanging around, trying to look busy.

Commander Knowles wants us to patrol around one of the market areas.  We all leave, and within two bells of starting our patrol we are approached by several town guards.  It seems that they have found a body.  I ask if the body is dead or alive, and they just look at me like they couldn’t believe that a Kobold could speak common.

The guards take us to a human who has been murdered.  His throat is slit and he has bled all over his fine clothes.  He is dressed very well.  He has marks on his hands that make it look like he had several rings taken off his hands.  The fighter and Dre ask a lot of questions, but it doesn’t seem like they are getting any good answers.

Dre draws a picture of the dead guy, so he can show it to other people, hoping to have a person recognize the picture.

Capture

Unfortunately, no one recognizes the man from Dre’s picture.  I think it is because no one wants to get involved in a murder investigation.  There is too much chance that it might come back on you.  There is a lot of undercurrent here on the surface.  The people here are lucky that they don’t have to fear imminent attacks from the Drow.  Now the drow wouldn’t bother murdering a single being.  The Drow would come in and murder entire lots and families.

But we are looking at a single dead human here.  The human was murdered and left in the alley.

Dre thinks that this means that he was simply murdered, maybe for the possessions that he had on him.  He had some rings, and nice clothing. He may have just been mugged and left to die.  Dre is pretty sure that this was not a ‘hit’, since he was not left out in a place that had high visibility.

We go to a nearby pawn store, hoping that someone may have heard something.  Between the pawn store and a nearby smith, we find that the pawn store owner thinks that he is a general player, but he doesn’t know anything and doesn’t recognize Dre’s picture.  The smith heard some commotion outside the window last night.  The people sounded like they were speaking common and sounded like they were human, but the smith didn’t listen too closely.  He was busy etching designs on weapons.  The smith thought that it was dangerous to poke outside his door at night.

I can’t disagree with the smith.  We had some bad things happen during some night missions.  Dangerous people and beings are outside at night.  IT is a pretty good idea to stay inside where you can be warm and dry, and hopefully keep your neck properly attached to your body.

We did some more investigation.  The druwitch and fighter investigated the body.  The fighter and druwitch take the shoes off the corpse, and find that someone had carved a symbol onto the heel of the corpse.  It looks like this:

Capture

The druwitch and the fighter seem to think that this is important.  Mostly because people don’t usually have fresh wounds carved into their feet.

The man who hide behind conjured rocks thinks he knows what this symbol is.  This symbol is what slavers from Mallow use to brand their slaves.

Slavers. Kobolds hate slavers.  Drow have slaves.   Deep gnomes, svirfneblin, have slaves.  Orcs and goblins have slaves.  No civilized race has slaves.  Only the evil horrible monster races have slaves.

Now I know that slavery exists in this “civilized” world of the surface.  That is disturbing.  Slavery always preys on the weakest elements.  Beings conquered in battle, beings who are indebted to others and can’t pay their way out, beings who are born into slavery and have no chance to get out.  Slaves in the underdark are in a horrible position.  The Drow have a hierarchy in their world.  The females are the most important.  The males are a very distant second.  In the males, if you have magical talent, then you might be treated somewhat better, but they still must placate the females.  Within the males, the magic blessed ones then come the fighters, and then the merchants and below that are the slave traders and slave masters.

I have never had the misfortune of  dealing with Drow, but I heard plenty of stories.  They are evil creatures.  The Drow slaves can do any number of tasks, from tending to food needs (farming and food preparation),  being experiment subjects for the Drow sorcerers and clerics, to being front line soldiers intended to reduce the number of arrows and blunt the weapons of defenders to the Drow onslaught.

The svirfneblin, or deep gnomes are another horrible race that keeps slaves.  The deep gnomes don’t keep slaves for too long.  They are very suspicious creatures, always wary that someone will find the vein of ore or fancy rocks.  They use slaves for short periods of time to help clear out their mines, then once something that they find valuable is dug out, they slaughter the slaves.

In any event, slavers are always a bad thing.

While Dre and I are asking the pawn shop owner and the smith for information, The wizard decided to go to his favorite bar and ask for information.  The druwitch and the fighter take the shoe to a clothing shop and ask about it.  The proprietor of the clothing shop recognizes the shoe, since he made them.  The shop owner says that the shoes belonged to a man name Tomlin, a trader and merchant from Mallo.  This is good news, we finally have some information.

Now we are onto something.

The shop keeper says that Tomlin stays at the Wings Respit in.  We all decide to go over to the Inn.  As we enter, we notice several groups of people eating, all minding their own business.  The fighter shows Dre’s picture to the barkeep, and asks if they have a tenant named Tomlin present. The barkeep goes and gets the owner of the business.  As we wait, the druwitch and sorcerer both notice that two men look interested in the conversation.  The owner approaches the fighter, and asks what this is about.  The fighter tells the owner that Tomlin was murdered last night, and we are investigating the murder.  The two men who looked interested look extremely distressed and start to leave.  Dre and the druwitch stop them and ask them why they are leaving.

It seems that these two men were guards in the employ of Tomlin.  They had accompanied him, along with three other guards to guard the convoy of carts that he took into town.  The carts had spices that Tomlin had imported from another island.

The fighter asks the owner if the tribe can investigate Tomlin’s room.  The owner allows it.  As the tribe and the two guards go up the stairs to Tomlin’s room, it becomes apparent that Tomlin has magically sealed the door to his room.  I suggest to the owner that we could bust through the wall, since the door is likely the only thing magically warded.  For some reason, she thinks that this is the wrong thing to do. She does say that there is a window off the back alley.  I go back, climb the outside wall, slip open the window and crawl in.  The room is small, and has a wardrobe, chest of drawers, along with a soft bed.

The door won’t open from the inside any better than it wouldn’t from the outside.  It appears that we need some sort of wizard or sorcerer to undo the magic that is holding the door closed.

I call through the door, and tell the tribe what I see, and that there is a rope hanging outside the window.  Pretty soon several of the members of the tribe join me.  They find several changes of high quality clothes, along with a locked lockbox in one of the drawers.  The lockbox is magically warded also, so it won’t open.  I suggest that we could drop it out of the window onto the ground below, and the fighter is convinced that would be a bad thing, after all, what if there were potions inside.

The wizard takes the lockbox.  He thinks he can get it open. or maybe have one of his wizard buddies help him out.

The wizard disappears for a while, then comes running back to the party, panting and telling me that I need to pick the lock on the lockbox, like right now.  The lock isn’t easy, but I get it open pretty quickly.  It is disappointing. There are no potions inside.  Only a book and a bag of heavy coins.

The party investigates the bag of coins.  There are many platinum coins.  Meh, no value here.  The book is also interesting.  It seems to be a business ledger, detailing how Tomlin brought slaves from Mallo to another island where he traded the slaves for magic items, then traded the magic islands on another island for spices, and he is turning the spices into cash here.  It seems that he takes the cash back and buys more slaves, and keeps the cycle spinning.

The two guards take us to another tavern, and we meet up with two other guards from Tomlin’s caravan.  They don’t know where the third guy is.  We split up, and each of us go with one of the guards to see if we can figure out where the last guard went to.  I go with one of the guards to look at half the gates and talk with the city guards at the gates.  The fighter goes with another guard to other city gates.  Dre goes with one guard to check out some taverns, and the druwitch goes with the last guard to check out the markets.

When we call come back, we find that the guards all come back, and Dre is not with his guard.  The guard says that Dre is at a tavern named the spunky nugget, and he is watching the room that the fifth guard is in.

We all hurry over, well all of us except the wizard.  The wizard thinks so highly of this mission that he leaves to go somewhere else, but lets his flying cat come along with us.

When we get to the door that has the fifth guard behind it, the door is locked.  I pick the lock, and then step back to provide covering fire, or to deny exit from an enemy who charges out.

The party storms in. It is a blood bath. Not the good type.  The guard has three friends, and they are mean and tough.  I ended up shooting one of them twice with well aimed fire arrows, and Dre punched him really hard, and he didn’t even flinch.

In the end, Dre ran away, since he was really hurt badly.  The fighter died.  I mean really died.  The wizard’s cat died.  The druwitch got knocked out, and almost died.

As all of the front line people fell in front of me, I stood in the door with my shortbow and stared as the fifth guard slammed the door in my face and then locked it again, with the corpse of the fighter and ex flying cat and the unmoving body of the druwitch inside.

I pick the lock, and try to open the door, but it has been jammed.  Dre slams against the door and it doesn’t budge.  He must have loosened it for me, since when I slammed into the door, it opened.

It is a horrible place of carnage inside.  A regular charnel house.  Two bodies of our tribe members, and the corpse of the flying cat are lying there on the floor.  The four bad guys are gone.  Dre rushes in and tries to save the fighter, but she is gone.  I rush over to the druwitch and am able to stabilize her.  I fear that her being allowed to live will only bring on the future of a portal opened from hell, with demons spewing forth into this world, while the druwitch cackles maniacally.

The wizard shows up finally, and learns of the news.  He doesn’t seem to care that his flying cat was killed.  He is concerned about the fighter.

We take the corpse of the fighter to a church, and the wizard offers to pay to have the fighter brought back to life.  In great fanfare, the fighter comes back, and looks very confused and very much in pain.

It seems that the wizard agreed to rid a certain crypt of undead creatures in payment for bringing back the fighter.  It also seems that we have all been volunteered to help out.  I guess that we will have to do this by autumn, and it is spring now.  We have some time to get more skills that will hopefully allow us to live.

After lots of discussion, it is determined that we (meaning the wizard) need to turn in the money and the ledger book to Commander Knowles.  He counts out the money, then hands 500 gold pieces to the wizard for a “finders fee”.  I am not sure what that means, since I found the box, but the wizard found what was inside the box after he ran up to me with it and I unlocked it for him.

Oh well.  The wizard tried to give me 100 gold from the finders fee.  I only needed 14 gold to make up a total of 20 personal gold to begin my in depth training.  So I gave 86 of the 100 gold back to the wizard.  Then when I went to pay for my training, Commander Knowles told me that I had done so many things for the Order of the Crown, that my training wouldn’t cost me anything.  So I gave the other 14 gold back to the wizard.  I am paid by the Order of the Crown to be a member of the tribe.  I don’t need any finder’s fees.  I have the best friends, food, and adventures possible.  Who needs extra loot?

Besides, the rest of the party seems to want things like better weapons, better armor, better clothes, and maybe a 10-ft pole.

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