It was a dry and dusty day and there was a queue forming at the western gate into Crossings.
Leaving Mark in charge of his own wagon, Parker made his way up to see what the hold up was.
A wagon had suffered not one, but two broken wheels as it passed through the gate and was causing a major obstruction.
Always quick to try and realise a profit in any situation Parker offered to solve the teamsters problem for 1 silver. The teamster counter offered with 5 copper. After some haggling, with the teamster holding firm, realising 5 copper is better than no copper, Parker agreed and disappear to put his plan into motion.
Returning to his own wagon, he had Mark hold and support the wagon, whilst they removed two wheels from his own cart, which they then carried up to the broken wagon, and with the assistance of a passing dwarf, Angus, used to effect a temporary repair, allowing them to move the cart out of the way.
One of the people who had been stuck outside the city offered to stand the heroes of the hour a few pints at The Fallen Soldier.
Jumping up onto the back of the cart Angus travelled with Parker and Mark to the Academy of Engineers to complete his teamster contract for the day.
Remembering the offer of some free beer they headed off to The Fallen Soldier to see if the men were as good as their word.
On the trip across town Mark noticed that they were being followed by a nondescript man they vaguely recalled as being behind them earlier in the queue to enter the city.
Upon stopping to question him, he introduced himself as Henry Kane, and explained that he was new to town, and had overheard that they were going to a tavern, and wanting a drink himself and not knowing the town he had decided to follow. Henry commented that with the general run down state of the place, it reminded him of somewhere called Doun’dai.
The four fellows entered the bar whilst talking about themselves. It transpires that none of them had any profession of note, causing Henry to remark that this place was sounding more and more like Doun’dai!
Much to everyone’s surprise and gratification, when they entered The Fallen Solder, they were called over to a table by two young men who introduced themselves as Tom and Ted – who then called out, “Querian! Two pints of ale”, which they handed over to Parker and Angus as being the two men who had helped sort out the broken cart.
As they sat around the shabby inn, talk turned to what they could do now to earn some money.
Tom spoke up that under normal circumstances, he would have recommended seeking out an old soldier by the name of Tyrus, who could usually be counted upon to find something for enterprising folk to do. But noone has seen Tyrus for nearly 2 weeks, he had just disappeared!
Querian overheard this, and came over and informed the group, that before he disappeared, Tyrus had claimed that he had seen the boy Trout being snatched by an odd man wearing a hooded cloak.
Talk around the tavern centered on these disappearances and other drinkers added in that Asa Myn, an aging prostitute and the paraplegic Old Pete had also disappeared recently.
They remembered Sergeant Alyse from the Brown Cloaks had started investigating the disappearances but that line of enquiry seemed to have dried up and stopped.
Thinking that there may be some reward for finding out what was causing these disappearences our new crew decided to head down to the Brown Cloaks headquarters and talk to this Sergeant to find out what was going on.
It was a fairly long walk from The Fallen Soldier to the headquarters, and upon arrival and asking about Alyse, they were told by the surly Brown Cloaks that she was out on patrol somewhere in the city, and that she normally returned about 6 in the evening.
Having a few hours to kill, the group went off in search of some food for a late lunch, whilst they discussed their plans.
Realising that all the disappeared people seemed to be helpless, they came up with the idea of having Henry appear weak and feeble and wander off on his own, whilst they followed at a discrete distance ready to lend a hand should anything befall him.
A bit before 6 the group decide to find a local hostelry near the Brown Cloaks HQ and see if they can find Alyse or at least get a description of her. They are fortunate, in that someone present does indeed know her, and gives a description : Young lady, mid 20’s, thin short brown hair, well muscled body. Oh, and wearing a brown cloak.
Armed with this new knowledge they return to the HQ to enquire after Alyse once more – only to be told she had come in half an hour earlier and had already left for the day, and no, they dont know where she has gone to.
With no better plan, they decide to head back to the Grievings and put their Henry-as-bait plan into action.
Parker has a moment of genius, and asks the brown cloaks if they have a spare whistle – realising if Henry has this, he will be able to more easily call attention on himself needing assistance.
Unfortunately the Brown Cloaks have no whistles, spare of otherwise. Though one of them does suggest that they can probably get one in The Emporium.
With night falling, the group head back.
Ahead of them in the darkness they spot someone who seems to match the description of Alyse that they had been given!
With a sense of things coming together finally, they head off, trailing her to see what she is doing and where she goes.
After following for 20 minutes or so, they see her pop into a shrine to Astrid.
They enter the shrine, but Alyse is nowhere to be seen – though they do hear sobbing coming from one of the rooms to the side.
After knocking and entering, and startling the poor woman, she cries out, “He’s gone! He’s gone – the father has been taken”.
Calming the woman, she goes on to explain that Father Gregory had taken it upon himself to investigate the disappearances – there were 6 people that had gone missing, 7 now with the priest. Asa Myn, Old Pete, Trout, Enid, Tyrus and Vern.
Alyse explains that the Father thought he had been making some progress, and had planned on meeting with Alyse this night.
Upon questioning Alyse reveals that they had found out
- a strange man wearing a hoodel cloak has been seen skulking through the alles of Grievings. He always runs away when approached.
- About a week ago, two men dressed far too finely for Grievings and obscuring their faces were in the tavern. Talking to some local toughs about the old Moore House. Everyone knows about the house, which belonged to an infamous demonologist, but has been abandoned for decades.
She explains that her official investigation had been called off on order of the city council. Despite the orders, she continues to patrol during her off hours, hoping to being the culprit to justice.
The four adventurers decide to head off to the old Moore House to see if they can find out anything interesting. Henry takes the lead with the whistle hanging out the corner of his mouth like an unlit stogie.
As Henry approaches the gate leading up to the house, two young men step out of the shadows with their weapons drawn, and demand, “Be off with you!”, not wanting to press matters on his own, Henry backs off slowly. Seeing that the intruder is leaving the two men step back into the shadows and disappear from sight.
Henry returns to the rest of the party, and tells what has happened. Maintaining the illusion of them not being together Parker cuffs Henry round the head and tells him to “Go away, leave us alone.” However, upon realising that they are alone on the streets and being overtly unobserved they drop the ruse, and start planning.
Henry and Angus head off into a neighbouring property to see if they can gain a vantage point and spy out the Moore House. They find a nice secluded shaded spot, and Henry attempts to give the stout Dwarf a boost up. It becomes readily apparent that either Henry is far too weak, or Angus is far too heavy – there is just no way that Henry can provide the necessary support to allow Angus to reach the top of the wall.
Taking a breather, Angus realises that he has some rope! Maybe this will help?
Uncoiling his rope, Angus looks up at the wall… Reality dawns on him as he realises that a hook or something would be useful, friction alone is unlikely to provide a secure anchor for the rope!
Trying another tack, Angus scratches and scrambles at the wall, attempting to gain some purchase on the stonework, but he lacks the necessary agility for this to provide any assistance to Henry.
Giving up on this, they return to rejoin Parker and Mark.
They decide there is nothing for it, and they will need to try the direct approach again. Parker sends Mark in to talk with the two men.
As before, when Mark approaches the gate the two men step out of the shadows and tell say, “Be off with you!”. Mark replied “Why?”, the simple response seems to throw the two men off a little – they are clearly not accustomed to being questioned! “Um, youre not welcome here – this is private property. Be gone”, one replied after finally getting his wits together. Realising that Mark isnt actually going anywhere, the two ruffians launch an attack at Mark.
Everyone else quickly piles in, and a frantic melee ensues. Mark is a blur of whirling pickaxes, though it would appear that this is mostly a flash and showy combat technique rather than one designed to actually inflict any wounds on the target! Henry takes a more defensive posture, making himself a little harder to be struct, though this itself hampers his own ability to fight, but he does get some good blows in with his staff. Parker is intent on trying to off balance and topple the thugs, this is effective less often than it works, but when it does work his friends are quick to take advantage laying in blows to the tripped and prone opponent. Unable to reach much higher for more vulnerable targets, Angus is content to smash the knees of his opponents.
At some point during the fight, they hear Alyse call out, “Keep one alive, take a prisoner for questioning”
Coming to the conclusion his whirling two handed approach isnt terribly effective, Mark stops swinging wildly and starts using more studied precise attacks, and is rewarded by starting to land blows.
The arrival of Alyse seems to provide a turning point, and first one opponent is dispatched with a pickaxe through his brain. Not much chance of getting any intelligence from him! Finally the second opponent is clubbed senseless, and whilst unconscious is tied securely by Angus.
As ever, always on the lookout for a way to profit, Parker quietly takes one of the knives the thugs was using for himself, and then realising the value of the weapon, he takes the other.
Taking stock, it seems that Angus has escaped unscathed from the fracas, the others are not so lucky, along with Alyse, they are all bearing signs of wounds.
Taking a breath, they look up at the crumbling house whilst deciding what it is they are to do next…