- its Trivia Night at the Storm Raven – the companions participate and Anton wins the competition
- information about Crick McGillicuddy is shared with Pumpernick, a bounty hunter,in return for half the bounty
- Crick just happens to be at Trivia Night, Pumpernick follows him out
- Milos’ contact, Enzo the trademan, is identified and apprehended
- Enzo spills all – he confirms Milos is behind the contract and that he is part of a cult, an address is provided
- a new mission is received from Captain Sil – a conduit needs to be smuggled aboard the Shadow Swift
- the Bloody Vengeance is required for the mission, Kel agrees to captain the ship
- the crew is given shore leave to fight in the Arena, the winner will be made 1st mate
- condolences are passed along to Mark Hawks – running The Treasure Trove is not his cup of tea, a business proposition is discussed
Exiting the gangway to the Docks District, the companions are greeted by a messenger raven. The message is short and to the point: Contact Captain Kel – urgent, Sil.
Nearing the appointed meeting time, the companions jump into a passing cab and travel to the Storm Raven Tavern. The pub is near the Hell Hound Social Club headquarters in the Eastern District. There is a crowd milling around the venue, a party atmosphere in the air. Posters adorn every lamppost proclaiming Trivia Night at the Storm Raven. Lando has heard of this event through local contacts – the venue is generally known as a watering hole for locals; however, this event caters to those seeking anonymity, and many people looking to conduct “business” away from prying eyes do so on this night. The poster is decorated with strange animal masks and confirms this eve as the “Season Finale”.
A bouncer blocks the entrance, turning back many more than he lets pass. On the way to the entrance, Lando drops a gold coin into a beggar’s lap. The disheveled man is beyond elated, the gold coin representing significant means. As a sign of gratitude, the beggar advises that a password – samdolf – is required to gain entrance this evening. The companions provide the password to the bouncer and are escorted inside.
The doorway opens to an interior corridor that leads into the establishment. Halfway down the hallway is a cloakroom. An old man in dark glasses, a white can beside him, slumbers at the desk. Above the counter is a sign that reads: Your anonymity is as closely guarded as your patronage is welcome. The old man wakes with a startle and provides a cornucopia of masks to the group – Magus takes one with fuzzy hair, Freight a mask with a torch, Anton a ridiculous rooster, and Lando a fine mask adorned with turnips.
The festivities already underway, the companions enter the main hall. A club official signals to staff to shut the door – everyone is accounted for. There are many tables around the room, but only four with one person seated. Seems like the competition is conducted in teams of twos. The companions split up and sit with those persons with matching masks. On stage, the MC for the evening spins a massive drum with trivia questions.
Anton: a solid looking fellow in a matching rooster mask ambles up and seats the halfling at his table. He’s not happy that Anton is late. He introduces himself as Pumpernick and explains that he is here to win, so the halfling better not get in this way. Making small talk, Anton learns that he is a bounty hunter and an acquaintance of Ansor. He hopes to win the jackpot so that he can use the money to pay for rumors to help him track down the Dockside Splitter or Crick McGillicuddy, bounties that he has been chasing for some time with no success. Sensing an opportunity, Anton cuts the gunslinger a deal – he’ll provide inside information leading to Crick in return for half of the bounty. Pumpernick agrees.
Freight: a gruff, sad voice greets Freight as she seats herself. Inquiring why her partner is down in the dumps, he says that he has had much tragedy in his life of late. When asked what she does, Freight advises that she is a dockworker. Her partner perks up at the mention and introduces himself as Chuck of the City Watch. They discuss a business opportunity – Chuck is looking for someone to distribute posters of the Dockside Splitter around the Docks District. It seems the reason for his melancholy stems from the brutal death of his brother, Charles, at the hands of the Splitter. Attempting to gain knowledge of whether Chuck is complicit in the yellow shields contract, Chuck questions where Freight may have come by such knowledge. He becomes confrontational and tries to imply that Freight was somehow involved in his brother’s death. The cleric talks him down and Chuck relents, believing that he is grasping at straws. He leaves the tavern to attend to some urgent business he has with the evidence locker.
Lando: the gnome sits at a table with a sprightly lass named Sister Sprout, the daughter of an incense trader. Although she works at the Office of Public Records, an esteemed career in Lando’s eyes, her world views are too narrow focused to permit productive conversation, likely a by-product of her religious background. They don’t get along. In fact, Sister Sprout feigns indecent conduct by Lando in an attempt to have him removed from the building. It proves unsuccessful and she is asked to leave as a result for causing a disturbance.
Magus Mike: the half-elf is greeted emphatically by a rather intoxicated patron. The magus is not impressed. His partner attempts to cut through the awkwardness by showcasing a card trick – seems he is interested in magic and wishes to someday entertain at the Mouth of Hell. The magus sends the cards flying via mage hand. A tavern employee asks them to keep it down. When asked what he does, the magus indicates that he kills people for a living. Silence ensues until Mike claps his partner on the shoulder and tells him he’s just joking. They make further small talk and the patron introduces himself as Enzo, a local millwright.
The drum spins and the MC reads out questions to the various tables. The companions are asked many questions during the evening, including:
- Brought to you by the city’s fearless leader, Milton Drac: what at the names of the city’s two founders – Drac and Frisco
- Sponsored by the Mouth of Hell: although proven false, what law official was rumored to be the leader of a famous mercenary band – Hollister (the MC takes note of the companions upon successfully answering this question)
- On behalf of the Office of Public Records: what geological formation is the city built upon, and for bonus points, who was it named for: the city is built upon the Serpents Teeth Isles, named after the serpent people that originally inhabited the lands. A local myth tells of how the serpent god, Yg, broke off a piece of his body to create the land as a bastion of prosperity for his people.
- Brought to you by the Swords of the Edict: what devastating event led to the Reclamation Project, and for extra points, who caused it: the Great Green Fire was the predecessor event and was caused by a young wizard from the Wizard’s Guild. He summoned a creature that wreaked havoc on the city, it took three full nights to get the fire under control.
- Paid for by the good people at Gregor’s Brewery: what noble turned politician was said to have scared off an ogre by showing it his rotten teeth: Lord Brack
- Brought to you by The Bard and the Bastard: the son of a humble lumberjack, who built the statues in the Sealord’s Palace: Ironjack
- Sponsored by the Hell Hound Social Club: which city district houses a prominent business protected by the highly reputable Hell Hound Social Club: the business is the Opera House, which is located in the Eastern District
- On behalf of The Horse’s Demise Drinking Establishment: which district was founded by an influx of labourers required to rebuild the city after the Great Green Fire: Bloodsalt
During the event, a pair of loud and obnoxious contestants wearing donkey masks continually poke fun of their competitors. The crowd is eating it up; however, after several warnings from ownership, the amorous couple are asked to leave. Pumpernick, reviewing the notes provided by Anton, suddenly drops the dossier, “Well I’ll be, he was under my nose this entire time.” He stands up from the table and follows the couple, now revealed to be Crick and Hollister’s significant other, as they are escorted to the exit.
His partner gone for the evening, Lando actively screens the crowd for a potential contact and overhears the guards speaking. Having four teams show up individually and late is a strange occurrence. Further, one of the companion’s partners was the inquisitive type, and not so subtle, attempting to gain intel before show started. The contact is here, and there is only one partner left, the tradesman Enzo.
By answering the last question correctly, Anton and his absentee partner Pumpernick seal the trivia night victory. The winnings are collected and the companions file out, keeping a close eye on Enzo. The tradesman waits patiently outside, keeping an active watch – it appears as if he is waiting for someone. The companions approach and Enzo gets nervous. He bolts down the street – Anton follows quickly behind him, and worried about the number of witnesses, insinuates loudly that Enzo is too drunk to run. Lando places him in a magical slumber and he falls to the crowd’s entertainment. The group loads him into a cab for questioning.
Enzo is justifiably scared for his life and, although somewhat concussed from the fall, happy to answer all questions. He doesn’t know much about Milos but confirms that he was the one behind the contracts – apparently he has it out for the companions. Interestingly, he refers to Milos as “master”. It becomes clear through the questioning that Enzo is merely a pawn in this game. He joined up with a local group, assumed to be a cult, because they promised to teach him magic although they haven’t come through on their end. He runs lots of errands for the group such as delivering food and supplies to a bricked up building in the Eastern District (the address of which he provides), as well as the packages to the yellow shields. All he wants to do is get away from the city. The companions are happy to oblige and arrange the cab to take Enzo to the docks where he can join up with the yellow shields mercenary group and leave town.
The companions are dropped off at The Honey Pot on the way. They greet Brughan before sitting down with Kel. His countenance quickly changes and the companions recognize the appearance of Captain Sil. He is impressed with their progress – he had hired a second group that has been largely unsuccessful in their endeavors. The serpent people under the Temple of Knowledge are discussed. He is surprised to hear of other sentient serpent folk and thanks the companions for the update.
To the news at hand, he has a high priority mission, one just as important as the mighty men, for the group. He requires the companions to smuggle something onto the Shadow Swift. A separate vessel is travelling into Freeport with the cargo. The companions are to hire a ship and crew to intercept the ship outside of the patrol perimeter and provide escort into the city. To do this, the customs agent for the harbour, Barnaby the Uncorruptible, will have to be bribed so that the ship not be inspected. The Shadow Swift is in need of repairs – the package will be disguised as timbers to service the haul. Of the crew, only Pretty Ike the boatswain and Rockinsky the carpenter can be trusted – all other crew members are to be avoided. Sil has it on good word that the captain is planning to be on shore to attend Swag Fest, which will occur in several days when the moon reaches its zenith above Freeport. This will provide a small window that should be sufficient to load the cargo.
The good captain seems nervous throughout the discussion. The companions press him for more information as they are concerned that their lack of understanding could jeopardize the mission. Sil agrees. He relates that Ironjack has enacted many useful rituals for the benefit of the city, some of which are also useful to Sil. None of this will matter, however, if the conduit, part of the cargo, is not in place – it represents the other end of a portal. Sil has created a narrow window of time, through his specific influence and continued loyalty aboard the Shadow Swift, to allow for this mission to be successful. The only person that poses a real threat to its failure is the current captain. The mission is vital and must be completed at all costs – if the captain gets in the way, he must be removed. When pushed on this point, Sil confirms that he was indeed cast off himself long ago when the crew mutinied against him. Time is short, he advises that Kel will furnish the group with 25,000 gold pieces to bribe the customs official and a further 7,500 gold pieces to hire a trustworthy ship and captain. His visage shimmers and fades.
Thinking on their feet, the companions decide that there is not a more trustworthy ship than the Bloody Vengeance. However, they need a captain. Kel is easily convinced – despite his reluctance to leave shore again, the opportunity to help the companions and Sil in turn is too much to pass out. With several tasks to complete before the full moon, the companions take their leave of Kel.
Before exiting the tavern, the group asks Brughan if he had any further insight on blackblood. He has little information other than Erick was tight-lipped about it. He imported the substance from an unknown source and shipped it to Gregor. Those that were press-ganged into helping with the shipment were killed after delivery and thrown into the harbour. He assumes that meant that secrecy was important and he did not pry.
The companions return to the Bloody Vengeance for the night and discuss plans for the smuggling mission. During the night, Freight has a vivid dream – Carson is in his room. His voice, only but a whisper, still dominates the space. He’s been abducted by serpent people and is underground, he is unsure where. He is close to death, his life energy slowly slipping away. He begs Freight to rescue him before he succumbs to his captors – his incorporeal image slowly fades away.
The companions take the dream to heart and decide in the morning to redouble their efforts in locating their good friend. Before exiting the Vengeance, they hold an impromptu meeting with the crew to announce upcoming shore leave. Most of the crew has been entered into a fighting competition at the Arena this very afternoon. The winner of the event will be promoted to first mate. The crew are excited for the opportunity to kill landlubbers without ending up in prison.
Crew morale at a high, the companions cab back to The Bard and the Bastard to check in with their contacts through the communication devices set up in their war room:
- Garvey is fine, he confirms that the yellow shields were unsuccessful in their attempt on his life and have not returned to the Wizard’s Guild compound. He is happy to hear that the immediate threat has been taken care of and that the yellow shields are leaving town.
- Chatting with Eagel, the companions ask about the papers and books that Carson collected during his time away. Eagel was not privy to his research, but confirms that Carson donated it to the Temple in good faith. Many within the order were concerned that Carson was exploiting his position to research arcane and dangerous subjects beyond his station – giving up the information collected helped to temper these concerns, which played a role in allowing him to rejoin the Swords of the Edict.
- Lastly, the group passes along their sincere condolences to Mark Hawks. He is appreciative of the gesture. Besides the death of his brother, Mark is out of his league trying to run The Treasure Trove. He requests assistance in administering the shop – the companions are happy to assist, understanding the value of a reputable import/export business. Mark is open to putting his specific skill sets/knowledge of the underground economy to good use – the companions consider the opportunity to have Mark help them break into the pick-pocking ring or cab business.