The Freeport Chronicles

The Best Laid Plans

A bounty fulfilled, a debt repaid

Summary

  • Anton disguises himself as Felius Phelps for a performance at the Muggy Underpants
  • Rooster takes the bait and attacks Anton, who fakes Phelps’ death onstage
  • the gunslinger manages to escape, again
  • the bounty fulfilled, the companions are released from their debt with Hollister
  • the opening ceremonies of Swag Fest, hosted by Lord Brack, are attended
  • Rooster attempts to kill Brack, the companions intervene
  • Freeport loses one fine southern gentleman

Details

The companions awake giddy with anticipation for another encounter with Rooster. The morning is spent running various errands. A building energy can be felt across the city as residents prepare for Swag Fest.

After dinner, the companions travel to the Muggy Underpants. Anton dons his disguise in the cab, using his magical mask to take on a similar countenance as Phelps. Arriving at the tavern, the companions are happy to see that Maggie has come through on her end – various posters advertise Phelps’ surprise performance this night. Anton circles around to the performers entrance while the other companions go in through the front.

Anton takes the stage with an armful of instruments, a hush falls across the tavern. The companions actively search the crowd, but Pumpernick is nowhere to be seen. Anton begins the evening with a soulful tune on the kazoo. The crowd appears displeased, they have come to hear the jazz flute.

Lando spots a dapper looking Rooster on the opposite side of the premises. To his chagrin, he notes that several of the orc crew have arrived with him. Lando points out the group to his companions and casts invisibility on Romica.

Wanting to get the crowd into the show, Anton picks up the flute and plays a lively ditty. Spotting the companions opposite, Rooster and his crew make their move. The gunslinger fires wildly at the stage as Anton rolls behind the curtains. Unphased, Rooster loads a hooked net into his blunderbuss as the orcs charge after Anton.

Playing his part in trying to publicly frame Rooster, Anton slashes his chest behind the curtain, a self-inflicted flesh wound that provides plenty of blood. Stumbling out from back stage, Anton drops to his knees and proclaims, “Rooster Pumpernick, you have slain me. In front of all these people, Rooster Pumpernick, I curse you with my dying breath.” The gunslinger fires his blunderbuss, ensnaring Anton as he keels over. Rooster commands the orcs to scoop up the body as he heads for the exit.

The crowd erupts into hysteria as the famed bard gasps his dying breaths. The companions, excluding Lando who has crawled under a table, and the orcs arrive at the stage at the same time. Freight pulls rank, using his sailor’s cunning to whip the orcs back into shape. They advise that Rooster offered to split the bounty and return the Bloody Vengeance to their control. Freight abrades them for their short-sightedness. Romica hoists the limp body of Anton over a shoulder and the companions, orcs in tow, sprint out the back door as the brouhaha picks up intensity.

The companions load into a cab and head directly to the Fortress of Justice. Anton cleans himself up to a presentable state on the ride. Arriving at the Fortress, Hollister is unavailable but the companions manage to gain audience with Nicola Cage. She advises that her sources have confirmed Crick’s death. The contract fulfilled, the companions are released from their debt. As the group leaves, Nicola passes a note to Romica. It reads:

You have completed the task at hand. Thank you for a job well done, you have chosen your companions wisely. We have complicated pasts you and I – please understand that I will continue to hold evidence of your prior exploits, as I know you do the same. Let’s move on with our lives. Go freely with my blessing.

Their business done, the companions travel to the Sword of the Edict headquarters. The compound is abuzz in anticipation of the opening ceremonies for Swag Fest. The companions chat with Carson, who passes along a letter from Maggie. The companions have been duped – there is no payment. Maggie feels bad for misleading the group, but she and Crick required the money to ensure their escape.

Disappointed, the companions head towards the docks to take in the Swag Fest ceremony, On the way, they bump into their good friend Ansor, who is running a roulette table on one of the piers. With some time to spare, the companions sit down for a few rounds. As always, Ansor has some juicy rumors to share:

  • Lord Brack, who is hosting the opening ceremonies of the Swag Fest festivities, is vying for a seat on the Pirate’s Council.
  • there are a number of stone work and quarry contracts which are up for grabs now that Milos is dead. Rumours abound that the head librarian was in league with devils. The side business whereby he provided consultation services to the Sealord has ceased. Undoubtedly, there will be unrest between the trade unions and other business magnets as the vacuum of his death is filled.
  • famed rivals Sproket Skyhigh, the gnomish pyromancer, and the Blackpowder Clan’s lead Goblin fireworks engineer, Glurp Gasdrake, have put aside their long-standing feud to join forces for the Swagfest Finale feast. Ansor has front row tickets, which include a meet and greet with the famed lunatics.
  • many of the Town Watch Reservists and off duty guards have been called on to add to the ranks of order this Swagfest. Many a reveler will wake up in the Fortress of Justice with a lump on their heads and count themselves lucky to be waking up at all. Further gossip abounds regarding the reservists and watch being boarded in the War Mercenary barracks – not a good place for a pick pocket to be hanging about this weekend, but maybe a fine area for those providing service to the servicemen.
  • there’s been somewhat of a flood of Dwarven artifacts, mostly weapons and armor, which have been finding their way to market through unknown means. Few of the items are worth more than their martial value, but some are quite powerful in this regard. One of my regular customers was trying to sell me such a weapon earlier tonight with the hopes of getting back to the tables, but alas, I have no use for fighting or its associated accessories.
  • Commissioner Hollister has declared that the Dock-Side Splitter has been captured. It was revealed that he was a disgruntled druid from the reclamation project looking to sow unrest for the Sealord’s lighthouse project. The assassins sister has been handed over to the Sword of the Edict, as it is said she is also possessed by a terrible deamon.

Bidding adieu, the companions make their way to the waterfront, where Lord Brack is preparing to speak to a large crowd to officially kick off the festivities. The group angles close to the front as Brack takes the stage to a large cheer. “Welcome to Swag Fest! Like the days of Drac and Francisco, we are here to celebrate three days of revelry in recognition of the three months of terrorizing our enemies in the great raids of yonder years. Drac is, unfortunately, busy building his namesake lighthouse. But I happy to be here with you to plunder and pillage.” The plaza erupts in gleeful cheering.

As the speech continues, Freight takes note of a certain southern gentleman slipping through the crowd. He appears to be making his way to the front. Pointing at the gunslinger, the companions climb onto the stage to get a better vantage point. Rooster draws two daggers from their sheaths as he nears the platform.

Freight and Romica break into a headlong charge as they bull rush Brack away from the podium, just before Rooster can get there. They position themselves in between the gunslinger and his victim. Rooster attempts to negotiate, offering to split the bounty for turning a blind eye. The offer is declined. Rooster shakes his head as he uses a phasing ability to teleport closer to Brack.

The companions close the distance and engage him in hand-to-hand combat. A desperate melee ensues. Rooster refuses to give up the fight. Romica buries his axe in the gunslinger’s chest as Freight skewers him with his pike. Rooster falls lifeless to the ground.

Lord Brack is suitably impressed, “Thank you for saving an old salt – if you stay by me, I’ll make sure we have a fine day yet.” The town guard quickly remove the body as Brack signals to his crew to tap the kegs, officially commencing the festival.

—> Flip to next chapter
—> Return to prior chapter

Comments

688777630

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.