"I fear it may be the better deed to give him his wish." Tarrana says. "If the curse is true then he'll be back on us or suffer horrible consequences. If it's not he'll suffer horrible consequences by another's hand anyway."
What he's describing sounds like a geas, though the more powerful form seems like a waste to use on a band of convicts. There is a lesser form of the spell that, while causing extreme discomfort and sickness, would be unlikely to kill the recipient. Rather, he'd be terribly put out until he once again set himself to the task he was given.
At Magnus' request, the dwarf tells his tale. Two days ago, he was working as a day laborer on a ranch, building walls around a pasture. He was visited by a dwarf wearing the red robes and mask of the Inquisition. This priest knew him by name, and knew that he supplemented his income with banditry when times were lean. He offered a reprieve from exile if he joined with the group of ne'er-do-wells with one simple task: make sure that the two dwarves in your group did not make it back to Dunshale alive. He did not say why, nor did the dwarf think to ask. The priest's offer seemed very convincing at the time and he never did second-guess it or think it may have been a lie. In order to receive his reward, the priest said he needed to be bound to the task by magic, as was the rest of the group in question. The tall human suggested that the ambush be laid here, with the gnome using his magic to make it sound like someone had fallen down the well as a ruse to draw you in.
Stilgar steps towards the dwarf, intent on protecting him from being skewered by his gnome ally.
"It's a lesser geas. What comes will not be pleasant, but it almost certainly won't kill him. If I'm not wrong, it should wear off eventually. We should take him to the proper authorities. Let the curse run its course and then let the law have its way with him. There is no need to spill any more blood here."
Jinjer grunts too as she shoves her knife...back in its sheath. "He's a bandit and a would-be murderer, and would gladly take everything we had while we lay about dying!"
She kicks snow on the unconscious dwarf, grunting again in frustration and anger, turning to look one final time in the direction of the fleeing human. "Long Jon will be back, so we'd better get moving and sleep lightly when we camp."
Stilgar sighs in relief, relieved that Jinjer decided to relent.
"Agreed. Now would be a good time to tend to our wounds, but I am no so keen as to do the same for them," he says, glancing at the dwarf's fallen allies.
With the dwarf unconscious, Stilgar takes the opportunity to peruse his and the other prisoners and exiles' belongings for any useful items or further clues.
And I suppose now would be a good time to heal up as well. If I remember correctly, Jinjer took quite the beating back there.
The group moves on, with your prisoner in tow, around the bend as it wraps the base of the hill into which the Jarl's stronghold is built, then over the bridge across the Shale river and into the village.
Your first stop is at the Constable's office, where you find Deputy Landon on duty. He gives a smile and greeting to Jinjer when he sees her, with his usual lazy manner. When presented with the prisoner, he gets a bit more business-like, listening to the report of the attack and locking the dwarf into the one cell in the building. Landon says he'll pass on the report to the Constable when he comes back in.
Heading over to the Flask and Flail, the smells of hot food beckon you in. A roaring fire warms the place and good cheer seems the order of the day, as you've arrived back on the eve of the Midwinter Festival. The common room is strung with holly and folk banter merrily over bowls of mutton stew.
Selling the other equipment nets you another 57gp, 3sp, and 5cp.
Oops missed the boat here. Was going to snag the throwing knives and the sling bullets. I was running a tad low. Same cost as daggers for the knives? When I buy them back? Oh and cash shares are 61g 4s 7c each including the sold items. Who is carrying the acid and fire?
At the jail: "You may want to have somone take a look at this one. He claims there is a magical binding on him that will kill him if he does not kill us. There is something on him but exactly what, I don't know."
Gaius, if you keep the throwing knives and the bullets, just subtract 2gp, 3sp, 5cp off your share.
Landon gives a skeptical glance at the dwarf in the cell. "Some wizard forced him to waylay folk on the road, eh? I've never heard that one before. Still, if you think there's something to it, I can send for the Seer and have him look in on the feller."
"I'm so hungry, I could eat a mule!" Jinjer exclaims, breathing deeply of the smells in the Flask and Flail. "But I'll have a bowl of whatever is in the pot with some fresh bread and an ale please!" she says to any server that's close enough to hear.
Speaker Chandler does not make an appearance at the inn. The group is able to eat and drink their fill with more ease than they've had since leaving town. Aside from a few regulars here to wet their whistles, most of the folk are busy preparing for the Midwinter Festival. While in Dunshale it tends to be an event centered around individual homes, with folk going to visit and drop off gifts before celebrating indoors with their families, in recent times Speaker Chandler has taken to opening his rather expansive home to the villagers to use as a gathering place for feasting and dancing.
Edit to the above: your group did not arrive home on Midwinter's Eve. You'll have downtime of a couple months until then.
Your party is able to rest without disturbance, after a hot meal and good drink to wash it down. Whether staying at the inn, at residence in town, or taking up floorspace in Stilgar's chapel, your group passes the night uneventfully.
The following morning everyone is breaking fast at the Flask and Flail, with the exception of Stilgar, who is tidying up the chapel with the assistance of Tarrana. The place did not see much use during your absence and a good dusting is in order. As Tarrana is in a side room pulling new cloths for Stilgar to dress the altar with, the door creaks open, and the candles flutter with the winter breeze that intrudes.
The smoky spirits about you exude excitement. You know what makes them gleeful cannot be good for you.
Stilgar sees a red-robed figure move in and push the heavy wooden door shut behind it with an echoing bang. The visitor then makes his way down the center aisle between the pews, face masked by an Inquisition hood.
Assuming she is not called upon, Jinjer spends the next several days to herself - eating, sleeping, foraging in the woods nearby, and spending the evenings with a glass of cold ale and a hot bath. She will restock her supplies, using the coin she found on the journey. And after awhile, she'll go looking for Magnus and Tarrana.
"They are the very same individuals that hunted the nocturne five years ago. Asheron, a human Baalite priest; Dimble Daergal, a gnome bard; and a human woman, Aidan Hakar. The son of the Eventides, Shade, is likely among them as well."
Stilgar pauses a moment before continuing.
"The agent from the Hand of Jorin, Damaris, is left unaccounted for. However, he disappeared after the murder, along with the others. He might very well be among them as well."
Tarrana will make her way to the inn and walk in on the others lunch panic is set in her face even as she speaks with relative calm.
"Good morning, if any of you had plans to elave town ona permanent basis now it would behoove you to leave while the winds are favorable, the spirits calm, and the inquisition busy putting the irons to poor Stilgar."
The red-robed priest stands silent for several moments. Any physical reaction he might have to this news--from smile to scowl--is hidden beneath the mask. Finally, he speaks:
"You have done well, Stilgar. This information will prove valuable to us, and you have brought more than we asked." He steps back to the chapel doors and raps a mailed fist against a portal. They swing open again, and two armored dwarves move in, bearing a chest between them, which they carry down the aisle and set at Stilgar's feet, before returning outside, presumably to stand guard at the door where they've been the whole time.
"A fitting reward for your service. Pay your men out of it as you see fit. I return to our brethren with this information and see where it leads us. I may call on you in the future. You have proven resourceful. Continue to serve Baal in this manner and you may well be able to leave this parish and enter service more suited for one of your ability. Farewell, Stilgar. Oh, and a final gift," he says, producing a leather satchel and leaving it to hang from the side of a nearby pew. "A bonus for bringing us the name of a rebel agent. We shall pursue any leads this Damaris will bring us."
With a swirl of crimson robes, the priest makes to leave.
Stilgar is taken aback by the arrival of the fruits of his group's endeavors, having never given any real thought to what their payment might be. For a moment he is silent, but as the inquisitor sets out to leave, he speaks up once more.
"There is one last matter I should speak to you of," he begins, his voice firm. He decides not to speak with an accusatory tone, given his situation.
"On our way here, my men and I were attacked by what seemed to be ordinary bandits. Upon dispatching them however, we learned that they were acting whilst under the influence of geas spells. One claimed that they were bestowed them by an individual wearing the red of the Inquisition, with the orders to kill me. A mere lie perhaps, but it seems clear that someone intended to thwart my mission."
Having spoken his piece, Stilgar watches, knowing full well that he wouldn't be able to judge the inquisitor's reaction.
The priest pauses at the door as you call to him, only looking over his shoulder as you address him. However, as your tale unfolds, he turns back to face you. As you finish, he strides down the aisle to stand before you, within arm's reach.
"You're certain of this? You took prisoners that confirmed this tale for you? Where are they now?" His voice holds an edge of urgency.
The priest stands silent, eyes fixed on the floor between you. You can almost hear the thoughts whizzing in his head. When he raises his masked face to you again, he's standing close enough for you to see his eyes, gray the color of flint.
"Speak to no one else about this matter," he says. "If any other wearing the colors of the Inquisition approaches you, inform me immediately and tell me everything that is said, every word. I will have men posted at the gate to the Jarl's stronghold. Address any messages for me to 'Scour.' When you are passing a message, ask the guard for a callsign. If he responds with anything other than 'tending embers,' carry the message on yourself and deliver it in person. I will go fetch your prisoner and see what else he has to say."
With that, he turns to leave again. As he swings open the doors he gives orders to the two guards to lead him to the Constable's office.
The chest contains 30,000sp. The satchel holds six vials, potions of cure moderate wounds. Everyone can go ahead and level their character to 3rd.
"Talk. No walk." Tarrana says gravely. "Nothing on any earth heavan or hell is going to convince me to walk tino a chapel with...one of them" Tarrana's voice is filled with genuine fear as hers eyes glance about at invisible demons all around her.
" Alright, you stay here, pack up and get us ready to move out. While you're at it..." Magnus clicks for Tuboo to join him now, and then casts a message spell, pointing at the present members of the group. "you talk, and we will hear from wherever we are. " Magnus looks at the group and gestures. "Let's move out. the longer we wait, the bigger risk we put our friends in. "
Magnus makes note of a red-robed and hooded dwarf making his way along toward the village from the direction of the chapel, flanked by two armored dwarves. The priest seems in a bit of a hurry and passes Magnus without so much as a glance, his escort hustling to keep up.
You find Stilgar alive and well sitting with a ridiculously large pile of coin...
Stilgar initially says nothing as he sifts through the silver, deep in thought. A moment passes before he acknowledges Magnus, though he does so without a glance.
"I passed on what we learned and was paid accordingly," he says as he tosses a coin into a pile. With that, he finally looks to the gnome, letting out a sigh. "Did you by chance see Tarrana? I suspect she fled when the inquisitor arrived."
"Yes I saw her right about the same you gave away every lead that we have to someone who could be at the centre of everything. " Magnus' temper flares. "Do you realize what risks you put us all in? ...but..." Magnus' more gnomish tendencies come through. "Is that silver? "
Stilgar nods solemnly, unfazed by Magnus' brief outburst.
"Thirty thousand pieces. The inquisitor was not pleased when I told him of our would-be assassins. His reaction would suggest that the Inquisition was not truly responsible, but..."
The cleric frowns and shakes his head, rubbing his temples between two hands.
"I just don't know."
Magnus, eyes fixated on the silver before him, speaks absent-mindedly. "Well then, let's find out once and for all, shall we? Do you know where they went, or who they are? " Magnus pulls out the finding sphere and holds it out, looking almost as though he wants to trade it in for the silver.
Tarrana: You watch Magnus and Jinjer as they go off to see after Stilgar, and then turn back to the entrance of the tavern. Standing under the eaves, leaning against the weathered wood, is a young girl. She's seen perhaps ten summers pass. She watches you with large, dark eyes. You are about to move past her back into the warmth of the common room when you realize that she sees you. Not just a hooded, bundled form, but you. She bites her lower lip a moment, then speaks.