We left our, erm, “heroes” in a tavern, The Charred Boar, a gin joint at the bottom of the city, the Downstairs district of Sharn. It’s a part of the city where the streets narrow as the bottoms of towers get closer together, a place where if you look up you can’t ever see the sky past the many-storied web of bridges and thoroughfares criss-crossing the cathedral of space above you. This is where we left them, and this is where we must find them once more.
Not a lot of what was said that night can be clearly recalled, and perhaps that is for the best. Actions speak louder anyways. Let us look at our scene: A rather peeved Warforged sits at a table across from a grinning Teifling. Two Halflings stand behind him, holding what appears to be all his gold, while a slightly dazed and likewise penniless Kalashtar watches from the bar, trying to focus on the scene that has evolved around her while she was focused on that luscious indigo hair, those perfect lips…well, you get the picture. She looks around at the Halflings with their infuriating grins and drawn daggers, and then over her shoulder at the door where a towering Bugbear in grimy chainmail has entered the room and positioned itself behind her, resting a rust-stained morningstar on its shoulder. Yup. They’re in trouble.
At which point Brasshead flips the table. It careens past Chance’s suddenly upright and tautly alert form and through a window into the street, trailing a shower of silverware and wine glasses. A dark, slender hand darts out and deftly plucks two carved dice from the airborne cloud of debris. And then there is a fight. Blades clash, arrows fly, the pants-less Half-elf snores on, and at the end of it all two Halflings lie torn and bleeding in a crumpled heap on the pine floor.
Have you ever had a moment where what you felt just didn’t make sense? Where a certain note in a song or a line in a poem made you said when, for all other reasons to be found in your life at that moment, you should’ve been happy? This was one of those moments. With guilt heavy on their hearts after a hard won and well-deserved victory our heroes leave the tavern more than a little confused. They didn’t mean to leave, but they must. They leave behind a Tiefling grifter and his wounded friends, vowing that if they ever cross paths again there will be blood. BUT…they have their information. Go see Zanne, Chance said. He has what you’re looking for. In Cogsgate, the warehouse district. He’s a fence for Boromar, but he’s been doing a little…side business of late, dealings with the Coghunters. Now, on your way.
Zanne is rather a portly fellow. He is sweating profusely as a Deneith rent-a-cop escorts them into his shop, breathing heavily and looking more than a little anxious. He snaps around as they enter with an “About bloody time! What took the two of you so long?” A pause, as our heroes ponder the meaning of this, and then: “Yes, well, um, we were…delayed. Apologies.” from a Kalashtar who has decided to bluff her way through this one. Against all odds, it actually works. Zanne has been waiting all night for the guards to escort this shipment, it’s past due for departure, Cannith doesn’t like to be kept waiting and the Coghunters have been paid and thank the gods you’re finally here and…what in Khyber was that noise outside?
It’s Daask, as it turns out. For those of you new to the city, Daask are the new kids on the block. And by kids, I mean Ogres, Minotaurs, Lizardfolk, and Golbins, newly arrived from Droaam and intent on slaughtering, pillaging, and burning anything and everything Boromar. Stand-up people, I assure you. And tonight, this is the lucky warehouse.
The guards outside are already dead, with their throats spread all over the cobblestones. A quick peek out the door reveals a small raiding party, Kobolds and one hulking Blackscale lizardfolk Brute with a less-than-amiable looking mace. Battle plans are drawn. The door is barred and the group splits off, leaving Brasshead and Zanne alone in the warehouse while Manekatari and the Deneith guard slip around the side to flank them. The battle is joined,arrows are flying, and all is as expected until the Brute kicks down the door and is confronted by a Warforged…with a shotgun. There is a cry of “PULL!”, and Zanne hurls a flask of oil past the Blackscale Brute and over the heads of the milling Kobolds behind him. The shotgun swings up, steadies, and BOOOMM blows the flask into a showering inferno that rains down over the raiding party. Turning his attention from the now smouldering Kobolds, Brasshead puts the shotgun down, picks up his hammer, and proceeds the thrash the crap out of the Brute who had the audacity to shoulder his way into the shop and start swinging his tail around. Zanne has retreated to the safety of a pile of shipping crates behind which he cowers, though not entirely helpless. Brasshead notices him mumbling under his breath in the back corner, and feels the corresponding surge of vigour return to his limbs. Zanne is buffing him! He shall henceforth be known as Zanne the Man.
The battle doesn’t last long after that. The remaining raiders are cleaned up with little difficulty, and Zanne emerges from his shop shaken and flustered but alive. He is immensely grateful to the two adventurers for the fight they put up in his defense, and is willing to answer their questions. And so the truth begins to unfold. Yes, Zanne says, he has been doing dealing with the Coghunters, but he was by no means the one who hired them. These guys are top of the food chain Deneith mercs, and that kind of steel doesn’t come cheap. No, he’s just been the intermediary: they bring him the harvested parts from the Warforged they’ve been hunting down, and he packs them up and waits. Eventually a couple of freelance guards, like you two, show up for the shipment and take it into the Cogs. They all say they’ve gotten instructions to take the crates to Ashblack, but they won’t say who hired them and Zanne never sees them again. They’re probably getting paid on delivery. So, um…how would you guys like a job? ‘Cause I’ve got this crate, you see…and it’s overdue.