We gathered our gains together and looked at what we could buy. The various stores – especially Garwan’s shop – had all sorts of tempting weapons, armor, and other items. Though I felt that the money should go to a wand for Colibri or armor for Arjan, they all were more than willing to pitch in for this fancy bow. Though it was hard to part with my current bow, it had been damaged and was getting old and worn out.
The new bow was made of a dark wood that seemed to shift and waver when an arrow was drawn. This affect even affects the user apparently! Though it is not noticeable at more than a few feet away, it does help when I am shooting at close range. I have to admit I was quite happy with the purchase and was itching to put it to good use.
We also found that the “Horn Totem” could be connected to the mace (Skull Totem) that Rong used. The magic twisted to Rong’s “vibe” (or some magical crap like that) and it now crackled with electrical energy. He was quite a sight – a huge dragonborn with a sparking skull weapon!
One thing we found as we traveled around to various stores in town is that there seemed to be an issue with paying someone protection money. A little investigation allowed us to determine that the prime culprit was Naros who ran a gang in town. They apparently required protection money from all businesses. We heard that Brasha, the Apothecary, refused to pay but was very worried about the situation. We also learned that the rough tavern down by the docks – the Fisher’s Friend Pub – was the hang out of this Naros character.
Clearly the town guard wasn’t doing much to solve the problem and perhaps helping out would get us in good with the local merchants.
We entered the Fisher’s Friend pub and the patrons all stopped to look at us. The place was a dump and the previously mentioned patrons were as expected; ugly, rough, and sloppy.
The bartender ignored us for a while, until I stood up on a bar stool and made it clear we were not to be trifled with. No sooner had we gotten his attention when a big ugly dwarf walked over with his toady and started giving us some lip. When we stood up to him he quickly backed down. Before he left though I relieved him of a sack of gold he had casually hung from his belt – pretty much begging me to take it!
I could see he still wasn’t about to give up and soon he realized that his money was gone and came over with two friends to try to get it back. The oaf thought he could knock me down by kicking out the barstool I was standing on. I saw it coming a mile away and executed a perfect, balanced landing, grinning the whole time.
Of course this just made him angrier but I was apparently too small for him to prove himself against. Heh, he shouldn’t have judged me by my size. He went after the dragonborn with a ham-sized fist and suddenly we had a full out bar brawl!
Arjan scuffled with the two toadies, giving them all they could handle, while Rong wanted nothing to do with fisticuffs and clocked the ugly dwarf with his skull mace. The blow left the thug reeling and struggling to clear the cobwebs. I dodged behind him to get better position while I saw the wizard start waving his hands. I landed a beautiful two-handed strike on either side of the dwarf’s head that caused his ears to bleed and he howled in pain.
He must have realized he was in trouble as he struggled to get his axe out just as Colibri launched his spell. I was really hoping that in this dusty, wooden structure full of flammable alcohol that he wasn’t going use a big fire blast. Fortunately it was a non-burning explosion that sent the dwarf flying into the far wall, leaving a dwarf-shaped impression where he hit!
The two toadies took one look at what had happened to their “leader” and took off like scared kobolds.
After that display it didn’t take us long to “convince” the bartender to direct us to where Naros and his boss – some “Lady of Shadows” – were located.
So off we went to a small corner of town that was run down and filled with the poor and homeless. There was a larger building with all of the windows boarded up. Two thugs hung out in front of it, trying to look casual. We told them we wanted in but couldn’t initially convince them. Still, after a little work they opened the door and rang some bell. These guys weren’t all that bright.
Down some stairs was a large room filled with thugs. Three leaders stood in the back – one was clearly Naros, a second was an elven archer, and the final one must have been the “Lady of Shadows” as her form wavered and was hard to see.
We had a quick discussion but they weren’t really interested in talking. I told them what the result of resisting us would be and apparently that just made them think they had a chance. Wonder if these guys were related to goblins?
So the fight was on and that damn elf was pretty good with that bow. The shadow lady did some fancy crap and moved through the shadows to get next to me and hit me hard. I responded with a pair of arrows; one for Naros and one for the shadow lady.
Meanwhile the dragonborn was throwing down lightning and dropping thugs while a flash of fire from the wizard did the same. Arjan had some weird black stuff launch out at the shadow lady and though it didn’t seem to have any significant affect I could see…maybe feel an aura around us. When I drew back my bow to fire and she attacked me I swear I saw a dark raven form appear above her and scratches appeared from where the claws would have been.
Unfortunately the lady’s blade struck and drew lots of blood. I was getting a little worried about all of the attention I was getting but the Rong did something that caused many of the wounds to heal and Arjan gave a little prayer that stemmed the bleeding! While all that was going on I could have sworn I saw that dang dark raven form again. Maybe it was just the shadows in that room…
Despite the fact that we had cut down most of the thugs the leaders were still on us. The shadow lady disappeared again and suddenly attacked Colibri. Well that was no good so I moved over to help the pyrologist. My new bow helped the arrows fly true and the lady screamed as her form dissipated.
Rong and Arjan had taken this time to teach Naros the error of his ways but also half the group was blinded by the various evil powers of our enemy. That didn’t slow down the wizard as he created a ball of flame and slid it around the room to burn whatever it was near.
The elf archer was clearly not as good as he thought he was as his arrows often failed to find their mark. Mine, however, continued to fly true.
When Colibri’s vision cleared he chased the archer around with his sphere of flame and slowly burned him to death. The room was full of dead bodies and I couldn’t help but consider that we gave them a chance to surrender.
Arjan started to arrange them in some funeral format for the Raven Queen – kinda weird but I guess I should learn to expect that from him. We relieved them of their ill-gotten gains as well as a few nice magical items.
Meanwhile I heard some whimpering around the corner and snuck around to investigate. There were three rather dirty and malnourished children in a cage. I released them and asked how they had gotten here. They indicated that they, along with several other children, had been taken from their homes and moved down the river to Loudwater (in casks that smelled of apple cider).
These three had been held behind for some ritual (that I am glad we had prevented) but others had been sold into slavery! Apparently this was a stop for slavers to transport kids through to get them to some gang called the Zelbrass Bandits. Clearly this called for further investigation as a slave operation had to be shut down, no matter what the costs.
I brought the kids out and relieved myself on Naros dead face. Slavers don’t deserve funeral rights.
Across the room was another area that was protected by some sort of runes on the floor. Colibri took a few minutes and made this strange disk that moved me over the runes to where I could remove the chest they were guarding. It contained a few more items of value that the thugs had collected from their sick profession.
We took the kids out and decided that the town government should take care of them. The Mayor (Lady Moonfire) had no clue that her city was rife with crime and slavers. I was pretty disgusted by her high class, no clue attitude. She was “sure” that her captain of the guard was investigating things but we all knew he is overworked and can’t possibly have a clue what is going on.
I wanted to go after the Zelbrass bandits right away, but figured that upgrading our gear was a good idea first. We also need to do some investigating to find out where we might find these slavers.