Io kicks the archer twice, not letting him stand up again.
Nonlethal Flurry of Blows, Power Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 251d6 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Nonlethal Flurry of Blows, Power Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 221d6 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Crit Confirm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 151d6 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Headsman looks at his axe, then the downed man, and huffs in irritation. Not confident in his chances of subduing the man without killing him, he opts to instead attempt to grapple the man.
Grapple: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
Yanis pulls the arrow out, placing his hand on Macaera's wound and willing it to close up.
3 PP for 9 healing
"Don't get shot again." Yanis says with a smile.
“I’ll try, but no promises while there are still doors to open,” Machaera says, grinning back. The sounds of a vicious pummelling from the next room give her hope that at least this archer won’t be a problem for much longer, but as she considers her options, another idea strikes her.
Archer, so that’s not the best option. Then again, he could shake the worst of this off. Still… Calculating her approach, she realizes that if by some unholy miracle the archer does get up again and manages to get another shot off, there is a slight possibility that Yanis could get hit, depending on which way the archer breaks. Pushing off from the wall and wheeling through the door to join the others, she warns, “Careful, Doctor! Hug the walls for a second!”
Ignoring her own advice, Machaera deliberately slows her pace through the door, spreading her arms and focusing her intent into a vicious scream audible only to her target. She only needs to see him, and keep her gesture focused… Casting ear-piercing scream. Arcane spell failure, trying to beat 20%: 1d100 ⇒ 88 Phew! Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 4 sonic, and dazed for 1 round, unless he makes a DC 16 Fort save for half damage and no daze.
With apologies to Sharon Knight, 'Banshee, banshee, keening at the well...'
Seeing the others take the archer down just once she’s got too far into the workings of her spell to stop, Machaera winces as it goes off redundantly and Headsman pounces on the man to make doubly sure he doesn’t go anywhere. Then again, there was something to be said for not doing things by halves.
Rope: that’s what I’ve forgotten. There’s always something, isn’t there? she reflects. As the dust settles, she pulls herself together, taking a moment to reload her pistol, almost primly. Still, there’s a sparkle in her eyes that shows that she’s hardly immune to an adrenaline rush as she addresses the others, “Thank you, everyone. I would be in a sorry state right now if it weren’t for people who know what to do when a damn fool mage opens the wrong door or otherwise pokes about where’s she’s got no business doing so.”
Nonetheless, without (much) irony or skipping a beat, she continues, “Let’s see what we’ve got here then, shall we?” Unless she’s needed to search goons, she’ll start with any obvious places in the room like the table on the map, or any cabinets and so forth.
"Alright, you guys feel free to handle this guy however you like. I've got a guy to talk to..." Headsman growls. He returns to the goons and picks up Baldrago by the collar, attempting to slap the man awake.
|The Black Merlin|
'If you have a handle on him,' The black-beaked vigilante nods to Baldrago 'We can slap my manacles on Vancaskerkin, here. He's probably worth more than any of these others anyway.' The Merlin takes a queue from Machaera and reloads his pepperbox as he speaks.
Yanis moves over to the man that Headsmans is trying to wake.
"Lets try this." Yanis pulls out some smelling salts and runs them under his nose.
"Do you have anything stronger there Doc? That doesn't appear to be cutting it."
Corvus nods at the Black Merlin's suggestion and steps forward to take his manacles to secure them to Vancaskerkin.
This might be too late, but no worries, really: I don't have much of a stake in it.
Hearing the conversation about waking Baldrago in the other room, Machaera’s head whips round from where she’s searching. Leaning into the open doorway, she calls out, “Wait!”
“Can we do this downstairs? This looks like most of them, and this one’s the best bet for our man, under the blood and bruises, but I’d hate to find out otherwise the hard way, or if there’s a deaf old brute of a lieutenant doing the rounds. At least there should be a bit of chain or rope we could use to keep these ones tied up before we try waking them.”
She wouldn’t lose much sleep over it if they manage, the thug tries something stupid, and a quick swing of the axe or tug on the trigger becomes necessary, but she’d rather not have to make that decision if she doesn’t have to. Casting her eyes around the back room one more time, she wonders if she should just go through Vancaskerkin’s pockets. No notes lying around of his clever and cunning plan? No incriminating evidence lying around: diabolical. Or dull, if the scheme is just – what? Rabble-rouse and sell cheap meat?
@Yanis, he's -13 hp nonlethal under,so that will cost you 5 power points. Vancaskerkin is well manacled and unconscious, so he definitely won't be going anywhere anytime soon. The room has a single large desk that stands in the eastern part of the archer's office.
On top of it likes a bedroll and several blankets and pillows. A chamber pot sits under it. A table and three chairs sits to the west, with several papers strew about its surface. One of the papers in pinned to the tabletop by an exquisite silver dagger. Perusal of the papers shows nothing but inventories and shipping lists of meat. Nothing incriminating that you can find, at least in this location. Or perhaps someone has disguised the Cow Hammer Boys' effots in code.
Machaera disappears for a moment before reappearing in the door with a handful of hastily folded papers in one hand and the wonderful dagger in the other. Before she tucks the former into one of her many wizardly pouches, she gives them a desultory wave. “As far as I can tell from these, there’s nothing more sinister here than bookkeeping. Unless entries like ‘2 steers, 3 hogs’ really stand for something else.”
The dagger has obviously captured much more of the mage’s attention, though, and she lavishes an expert gaze upon it, testing the ebb and flow of magical energy around her to see if the weapon holds a spark of magic. Machaera almost positively purrs as she quickly assesses the blade, “Everyone loves a dagger…”
After “Is it magic?” and “Is it a weapon?” the next question any magus will ask about anything is, “Can I use magic to make it a better weapon?” ;)
More seriously, although it makes sense, daggers seem to be popular in town. Lamm also had a fancy one that we sold off, didn’t he? Anyway, once she’s found out if the dagger’s magic or not, and given it a Spellcraft check if it is, Machaera will either help move the unconscious thugs downstairs, or wait until everyone’s done with Baldrago.
"Hopefully we can kill two birds with one stone with this guy. He can tell us about what they were up to, and also 'bout my pops."
Headsman retrieves some ropes from his pack and makes sure Baldrago is tied up tightly and securely before he awakens.
|The Black Merlin|
After finishing reloading, the Black Merlin retrieves and offers up his rope to bind other men. 'I'm going to sweep the building and make sure we're alone.' The vigilante makes for the stairs to perform a stealthy reconnaissance of the remaining rooms.
Stealth: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
The group secures Baldrago tightly, as well as the rest of the guards and the archer. Rounding up the various equipment of the guards you find the following
412 gold pieces
1 suit of masterwork chainmail with bullet holes
1 masterwork composite longbow +3 Str
19 masterwork arrows that radiate faint magic
1 masterwork spear
15 tanglefoot bags
40 non-magical masterwork arrows
150 regular arrows
8 suits of leather armor, one with a bullet hole
11 vials that radiate faint magic
1 deck of cards
@The Black Merlin The lower levels are the meat processing and storage areas as well as the empty animal pens. You find nothing of note except for a rusty grate in the killing floor that leads into darkness. You would have to pry it off in order to get into it
@Machaera, the dagger detects as magical, but you can't seem to identify it. Scanning the guards, she also finds 8 sources of faint magic coming from the guards, and 22 sources of faint magic coming from Vancaskerkin.
"Shall we take them back to the guards and turn them over? Then we can see what other work they may have that we can do for them?" Yanis says with a half hearted smile
|The Black Merlin|
The Merlin returns to the top floor and smiles seeing the prisoners trussed up. 'I suppose before we do that, we should ask Headsman what he intends to do with Baldrago there. If we turn him over to the Queen's men he'll likely be out of your reach.'
"I'll have a word with him first. Then I'll see. I want to know why he had it in for my father," Headsman explains.
@Machaera, the dagger detects as magical, but you can't seem to identify it.
Huh, weird. Too much magic around, I guess.
Although she tries to pay a certain amount of attention to the conversation around her, Machaera’s focus stays on the weapon in her hands as the dagger’s aura proves maddeningly elusive, like trying to pin down a target on a thin branch on a windy day. Patience. Pay attention to your breathing. She knows what to do in such a situation, but it’s no more satisfying than ever.
Knowing that her own gear, to say nothing of what everyone else might be carrying, is interfering with her cantrip, she takes the time to sort out what part of what she's seeing goes with what. So some of the arrows are magic: how lovely. And a handful of potions…
Machaera will take just enough time to try to a Spellcraft check on one arrow, and one potion, on the presumption that they’re likely all the same. With that out of the way, she’ll see if that makes looking at the dagger any easier. If not, I guess it’s time to learn identify.
Once she’s made her best effort, Machaera lets her senses return to the ordinary world, schooling her features to a calm mask as what the others have been discussing finally registers. She’s not expecting any good to come of it; while she has no objection to summary justice as such, if that’s what it will come to, in a town as regimented as Korvosa, it’s a possible complication to keep track of.
"Just don't beat him unconscious again I am nearly taxed for the day." Yanis says while monitoring the other men to make sure they will survive.
|The Black Merlin|
The Merlin grimaces beneath his beaked mask. 'That was probably a wrong answer'
"Lemme give you a hint." Headsman retrieves his father's axe, showing its very distinctive red iron head.
"Eight years ago, you and a few other corrupt guards grabbed my pops as he was leaving the smith's shop. You lot dragged him into an alley and offed him like a rabid dog. Big shoanti guy, long hair dyed red. Does that ring a bell, or am I gonna have to ring it for you?"
Machaera silently watches the beginning of the interrogation, privately agreeing with the Merlin’s assessment. She makes a mental note to scribe a few charm scrolls for future use, just to make things easier if she ever finds herself in a similar situation again.
Gingerly, she lets her imagination approach whatever nasty story the thug might reveal. Hopefully he’s not too stupid to realize that, one way or another, fate’s put on the mask of execution to meet him. If Headsman doesn’t kill him on the spot, the Guard will probably do it when it all comes out.
Baldrago looks at the axe, and says "No idea. I've killed several people over the years in the line of duty. Now I'm just a simple butcher helping out my friends here, before you lot came in and bashed everyone unoonscious. Even my lieutenant Vancaskerkin is down. You lot are in trouble assaulting innocent citizens and retired guardsmen of Korvosa."
|The Black Merlin|
'You and the queen seem to disagree on how officially you retired. I don't think it matters much what you got up to after you left. You can try to lie to us, but know our good Doctor here can just pull what we need out of your brain.' The Merlin crouches down next to the blustery man and heavily taps a finger against the deserter's temple as he makes his last point.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
Does he appear honest?
Not at all, unless you want to buy some new bridges to Old Korvosa
Baldrago seems to go a little more ashen at the Black Merlin's insinuations. "Well, maybe the Queen was just mistaken? I mean we just sell meat or give it out for free to the poor folk. Maybe I take some money on the side for odd jobs, but that's not illegal, right?"
Machaera stares down at Baldrago in horrified fascination. A childhood memory of watching struggling creepy-crawlies caught in a spider’s web or a sudden downpour’s puddle flashes through her thoughts. The man’s either an idiot, or he’s bare-faced enough to try talking his way out of it.
The latter possibility makes her skin crawl. If he knew what he was doing, and prepared all the usual stories, ‘He resisted arrest!’ ‘He had a weapon!’… Didn’t Headsman and the dynamic duo recall that some of the other thugs were suspected of ties to some sort of thieves’ guild? Ah, found it!
The other guards, however have a couple of names that stand out. Karalo, Baldrago, Malder, and Parns. Baldrago, Headsman thinks, may have been one of the guards that took out his father. The other three may have been on the take from the King of Spiders, a mysterious criminal who runs a multitude of vice centers (drugs, prostitution, gambling) on Eel's End in Old Korvosa.
So, at best, Baldrago’s somebody else’s cat’s-paw, if he’s not just guilty of a hate crime.
The elf mage adds her contribution to the third degree, her posh elven accent at odds with her matter-of-fact statement of the brutal facts, “Well, since we’re working with the Guard now, let’s see, what were our instructions again? ‘Try to avoid killing any of the deserters if you can, but if you must, they brought it upon themselves when they threw in their lot with Vancaskerkin. I’d really prefer it if you could capture Vancaskerkin alive and return him to me for interrogation,’ and so forth. That means that you are expendable.”
She lets that sink in for a bit before continuing, “The past has a funny way of catching up, doesn't it? So, unless you feel like throwing yourself upon our mercy, you’ll have to do a bit better to convince us you don’t just have a ‘problem’ - murderous - with our colleague’s people. And magic is no object, if that’s what it takes to get the truth.”
Headsman grabs the man by the collar and lifts him up on his feet, staring him in the eye.
"Liar! I don't know what you lot are up to here, but I remember your face! You were one of the men who got rid of my father! Talk or I'll break you in half!"
Intimidate: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
Baldrago says "Ok, ok! I killed some Shoanti as a guard, but then what guard hasn't? Now I just make money on the side by doing merc jobs! It was Parns' idea to cut up the victims we kill and sell them as meat! Look, if you want our stash, it's out in the animal yard underneath the southernmost pen. You can have all of it, and in return you let me go. How about that?
|The Black Merlin|
The Black Merlin's mouth twists in disgust as the confirmation of the meat source. 'I don't think letting you go was ever on the table. You and all your comrades will hang, if you're lucky. You can have him, Heads.' The Merlin spits at his feet and stands. 'I'm going to go dig up that stash. We'll probably find plenty of hard evidence to seal these bastards' fates.'
The Merlin makes his way down to the animal yard, as much to not be in the room if Headsman decides to take his revenge as dig up whatever's buried in the yard.
|The Black Merlin|
If we can turn up some personalized items linked to missing persons we're set. That combined with the word of agents of the Queen in good standing should be more than enough to see them all found guilty.
"%$&?!" Headsman picks up his axe and approaches the man menacingly.
"Is that all people are worth to you? Money? You'll just kill anyone because it's convenient? I ought to...!"
The Shoanti lad lifts his axe up and falters at the last moment, realizing the irony in his act.
Silently, he tucks the weapon away. "Someone take care of this guy. I've got to step away before I do something my pops won't forgive me for."
With that, he steps out of the room, and focuses efforts on ransacking the place for any kind of evidence instead.
Yanis walks to the guard once Headsman has left the room. "So you are killing people and selling them as meat to whom?' There is malice in Yanis' voice, that and utter disgust.
Wait, what? Yikes!
Despite her show of ruthless logic, Machaera turns pale at Baldrago’s unexpected confession. Memories of things she saw skirting the Kaava lands and the Bekyar city-states rush unbidden through her thoughts, and she forces herself to speak to keep the images at bay.
“To anyone unlucky enough to accept the day’s ‘special cuts,’ I imagine, Doctor,” she says grimly. Queasily, she tries to imagine how one could even tell, and continues, “Do you think, if we take a look at what’s left behind the counter, that we could … identify anything? I’m not much of an anatomist.”
Seeing the others exchange glances and feeling the tension as Headsman restrains himself, Machaera imagines she can guess what must be flying around through their telepathic link. She joins Yanis beside the bound thug, and says, in response to the deserter's offer, “I think we’ll take you the Citadel. The Guard will give you a cleaner end than you deserve. In the meantime…”
She raises her hand and speaks a searing incantation. She hesitates a moment in thought, then touches her index finger to Baldrago’s forehead. A single word burns itself across his face in a neat scribal hand: man-eater. Casting brand: he’ll take a point of damage from that. I suppose we could go with 'murderer' instead, among the things we could brand him with.
I guess after that, Machaera will help move bodies and prisoners downstairs for delivery, while the others are searching the place.
Making Fort save against brand for Baldrago.
Fort save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Baldrago screams in pain as the brand appears on his face. He yells "But I gave you guys the stash and the info you wanted! And it's not all human flesh, just the people we killed. Some of it was animal flesh too! We sold it to those who could afford it and then gave out the rest to the poor! It was all Parns' idea not mine. He shrinks from Yanis even more.
A turnup of the office finds the following:
The meat in the store locker is pork and beef, interspersed with about a dozen cuts of humanoids from various races. The stash Baldrago mentions is under the southermost pen. Inside you find several bags, filled with 450 gp, 740 sp, and 800 gp of jewelry and gemstones. You find nothing else in the building, unless you want to pull up the sewer grate that they dump the leftovers from processing the meat in.
|The Black Merlin|
The Black Merlin sits in the dirt of the animal yard meticulously going over every piece of jewelry, looking for inscriptions or other signifiers of ownership.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
The awful truth about what the Cow Hammer Boys were doing ensures that Machaera’s one concession to their continued well-being as she helps lug the unconscious thugs downstairs to be handed over to the Guard is holding them from under the arms and letting their dragging legs beat against the steps on the way down rather than their heads.
Once they’ve all been secured for transport, she checks with the others to see if there’s anything else left to do. Since we have evidence of people parts in the store locker, Machaera probably wouldn’t think to look any deeper into how the sausage is made, but if anyone really wants to search the sewer access, she’ll resign herself to needing an extra special shower once the night’s work is done.