A Bad Apple
Point of View: Misrael al Halladun
It was quite exciting capturing all those people and I can’t believe all the silver we got! I’m rich! Rich! I think I could get used to this freedom business.
I was so excited after the battle with the bandits that I stayed up all almost night talking with everyone as we waited for morning. Finally dawn came and we headed back down to the Gray City with our prisoners and turned them over to the Gray Knights. I was so proud to be able to help the people who found and took care of me after I arrived so suddenly in the region.
Captain Massasa, the big Lizardman leader of the town militia, thanked us for our work and sent us along with a few words of encouragement. Everyone went home and changed and we decided to meet for lunch at the Golden Apple to investigate the place. I’m sure it is somehow tied in with the Plunging Blade cult and the plots against Tanelorn.
We arrived around lunch time and I have to say the place looks like it has seen better days. There is a beautiful golden apple tree out front but the paint is chipping away from the building and the fence out front is missing a number of slats. When we went in it wasn’t hard to spot Hestwing. He is a big half orc with plenty of jewelry and he was sitting with the half-elf boy who attacked the crowd just two days ago! I couldn’t believe they let him of prison so quickly but this Hestwing must have some sway in government. There was also a very attractive woman sitting with him and they were talking quietly so I decided to head over to the bar and eavesdrop on the conversation.
My skills at said activity seem to be somewhat lacking because after a few moments a rough looking orc came over and asked if I liked listening to other people’s conversation. I tried to talk my way out of it but the fellow was having none of it and sent me on my way. I got the feeling he would have split me open with a knife right there in the bar if I didn’t vamoose as quickly as possible.
The others sat at a table near the center of the room and when I got back a nervous young girl of Gith heritage took our orders. The poor little thing looked like she might jump out of her own skin if someone tried to order something off the menu. The owner of the place, a Denaria Matriallian, came over and introduced herself. She apologized for the rudeness of the Orc but explained that he worked as a bodyguard for Hestwing and that the half-orc was a wealthy and influential person.
Rhia got up and began a conversation with an immensely fat dwarf sitting at a table not far away and we soon all found ourselves congregating at that table. Jellybean, as the dwarf prefers to be called, is a jolly sort and is apparently an iron merchant from Felhelm. He travels all over the region making sales and friends. After a bit too much apple cider we began to stagger home and Josephus offered to walk the obviously inebriated Jellybean back to his hotel, the Horse and Goat. The big dwarf took us up on our offer and we departed soon after.
Jellybean told us in hushed, well, the dwarf doesn’t really have an inside voice, tones that he suspects that Denaria and Hestwing are working together towards the overthrow of the Gray Lord. Jellybean said that Denaria’s husband, Ashamaga died about a year ago in the basement when a keg rolled over him. Since then Denaria has let the business slip and now Hestwing controls a strong interest in the place.
As we staggered on a group of armed ruffians attempted to accost us. Azraim rushed forward in a drunken haze, breathed lightning on a number of the creatures, and then went down under a flurry of blows. Rhia rushed to aid him while Borrombo and I attacked the foes on the other side.
Within a few seconds Rhia was badly bloodied and I feared the ruffians might kill us all but Josephus rushed forward and healed the Dragonborn warrior and the half-orc girl in short order and we quickly took the upper hand in the battle. If the dwarf healer had not acted with such decidedness I fear we might all have finished our story right then and there.
The surviving thugs told us their leader was hired by a big orc that chewed tobacco and we all guessed it was likely that fellow from the bar who suspected we were onto his master’s plots.
We managed to navigate Jellybean back to his hotel and then took the captured muggers to the militia headquarters. The captain saw us in his office and congratulated us on doing such a fine job. He gave us authority to break into the Golden Apple late that night and see if we could find any incriminating evidence in the place.
We waited until the early hours when no one was around and decided to go in the cellar entrance. I led the way as Rambledon was unable to join us and cracked open the door. A group of huge, vile rats were guarding the place and immediately started squeaking loudly. Denaria popped her out of another door and fired magical darts at me doing causing considerable pain.
Rhia and Horus charged in while I retreated to recover from my wounds. The sounds of battle raged for a few moments and a big lightning bolt shot out of the cellar and struck me a nasty blow. At this point I realized, belatedly, that Denaria could still see me as she looked out from her position of cover in the doorway.
Soon enough the tide of battle turned and we took down the woman and her guards. While everyone began to search the main cellar I went back to where Denaria came from and found the young waitress girl, Ashmia, lying on a cold wooden table and bleeding from nasty cuts on her wrists and ankles. It looked like Denaria was bleeding the poor girl for who knows what terrible purpose.
We found a terrible book of rituals that used blood in many of them. I’ve seen some awful things in the slave pens of the Nomads of the Golden Worm but for a mother to do this to her own daughter makes my skin cold. Poor little Ashmia fell into my arms and I’m afraid developed a rather significant crush on me. We also found a chest with some 500 silver in coins and a note from someone named Trucify written to Denaria.
Later when we split up the treasure I decided that my share of the money from the chest should be given to Ashmia. We dropped the little wretch off at the Militia Headquarters although she put up quite a scene when I tried to leave. Eventually we managed to quiet her down and the guards promised to take good care of her.
Captain Massasa met with us the next morning and again congratulated us on our fine work. He said he would look into matters but that we should take off a few days to rest up.
Josephus seems quite paranoid that Hestwing and his ruffian bodyguards are going to seek us out for harm but I’m less concerned.
A full week went by without word from the captain although I received a funny invitation to attend a meeting of the Sitka Club at the Harper’s Lodge. After some investigation we found out that the Sitka club is an upscale historical society run by Madragus Hramdarabar. I purchased a fine set of clothes so that I won’t be out of place at the meeting and Josephus followed suit although I’m not sure about the others.
I strongly suspect the invitation has to do with our intervention during the ceremony in which the strange girl appeared. This adventure is getting more exciting every day! I can’t wait for the meeting.