Oathday, 17 Desnus 4708
The last few days since our debacle at Eel’s End had been quiet. Most of us attempted to lay low and lick our wounds. I know I wasn’t eager to show my face anywhere north of Northgate Avenue. Damn Barvasi. I know that he isn’t going to let this rest and it is only a matter of time before our actions, or failure to act, comes back at us a hundredfold. Best not to dwell on that though, unless we want to return to Eel’s End and finish the job there is little we can do to stop whatever he might plan. No, Barvasi will keep.
The house on Lancet Street (Zellara’s old place) needs a lot of work. We don’t yet have title to the property but we are working on making that happen. Aula doesn’t think Zellara has any living descendants. It would be nice if we could turn her place into something befitting her memory. I think Aula wants to set up a storefront to sell some of her father’s wares. Apparently Master Wintrex isn’t well received in most quarters and having a shop that didn’t obviously bear his name might aide his fortunes. I think Crispin wants to open a pub. All I want is a place to call my own. My father was never able to aspire to much more than a shared tenement room in Bridgefront. None of my grandparents ever had the means to do more than rent or squat. And after my father left…well I was lucky to eat regularly. I wouldn’t call living with the succession of my mother’s paramours secure. And after her addictions wore her down to the point none would have her…we didn’t even have that. If nothing else Gaedren Lamm has insured I won’t have to go back to that. How quickly my fortunes have changed. I catch my reflection sometimes and I’m not sure who it is.
I was doing some cleaning on the main floor this morning – mostly sifting through the junk to see if any of it was salvageable. Cleaning, and watching Corvis. He had cornered a rat behind some old burnt boxes. I think he was just playing with it, as he always knew exactly where the rat would appear next. Of all of us he was probably the happiest to be leaving Eel’s End. When we got him out of there Amber and I carefully examined him. I don’t think pseudodragons have the same concept of time as humans, but the scars on his hide showed how ever long his captivity to the Spider King had been it hadn’t been pleasant. He seems to be recovering well enough – but nervous doesn’t begin to express his demeanor. I think the thing he enjoys most is spreading his wings and taking to the air. He is engaging to watch and inordinately proud of himself. He is still a little unsure after his confinement in that iron cage, but he is improving. I won’t be sad if he takes flight and decides not to return, but so far he seems content with my company. I wouldn’t call him a pet by any measure – I’m not sure what he is though.
I’m also not sure what to think of the rest of the group. What are we? Are we an adventuring party now? I never thought of myself as adventurous – but I suppose as a group we have certainly grown bold. Individually any one of the perils we have faced would have eaten us alive. We are stronger when we are together – but is that enough? Already I can feel each of us pulling in different directions. Aula is drawn to her magic and obligations to her family. Crispin is bound to his god. Amber has more in common with her ally cats than with most people. And Lem seems only to be using us as a cover for her scams and thievery. Am I any better? For now I think common cause unites us; but it would take little to fracture us entirely.
The others had gathered at Number 3 Lancet as well. Even though it is little more than a shell it seems more welcoming than the barracks at the Citadel where we are subject to the unfriendly glares of the Guard. Aula and Crispin joined me in what was once Zellara’s parlor where I taking a break and watching Corvis. Aula explained that if we wanted to legally claim Zellara’s townhouse we needed to fill out the proper forms with the Properties Bureau and tender a significant portion of the property’s value. We had pooled 400gp each – but that didn’t nearly cover the down payment. We agreed that we might be able to secure a loan from the Temple of Abadar. I was donning my new embroidered robe when an out of breath Guardsmen arrived at No. 3. Given his anxiety I shucked my new robe and eased into my old, torn affair – the Temple of Abadar would have to wait.
“The Field Marshal needs you urgently,” he sputtered. “You must come at once.”
Crispin summoned the others. We slung the exhausted guard between us and made all due haste to the Citadel.
Our summoning to the Citadel wasn’t much of a surprise. The streets had been in a major state of agitation since the latest rumors surfaced. According to most, the Curse of the Crimson Throne was still active; our late king already dying of the leprosy, had been poisoned. Regicide was a good a reason as any to rile the mobs to violence. Wild talk ran rampant in the streets. Strange figures in red masks had been seen in the city. Neolandus Kalepopolis the Castle Seneschal had mysteriously died in the riots. It was only a matter of time before something fanned the smoldering embers of the city into flame. Under the wary eyes of the duty Guardsmen we were conducted into Field Marshal Kroft’s office.
Kroft was quick in getting to the point. She had a lead on the King’s poisoner, a portrait painter named Trinia Sabor. She had apparently conspired with a guard named Sandricks to slip poison into the King’s tea. Sandricks had fallen off the wall of the Castle during questioning, but not before naming Trinia as his coconspirator. With all the violence in the streets and the Hellknights enforcing their own brand of “peace”, Kroft needed us to get to Trinia before some lynch mob found her. Her flat was at 42 Moon Street in Midlands right in the middle of the worst of the current street mob activity. She needed us to get into Midlands, find Trinia, and bring her back safely to the Citadel.
“I want to be absolutely sure of Trinia’s role in Eodred’s death,” Kroft assured us. “She’ll be safe here at the Citadel and we won’t have her dying during questioning.”
I knew it was going to be a busy day when I woke up, but I didn’t know it would get this busy so quickly.
We were all pretty familiar with the streets of Midland. Moon Street wasn’t far from the University of Korvosa. We made our way in haste through the riotous streets. We were doing okay until we got to Gryphon Row. A number of the little shops had broken windows and there was some indiscriminant looting and arson. But a crowd gathered around a young Shoanti boy stopped us cold. They had beaten him to the ground and were about to string him up over a broken shop sign frame. None of us were comfortable letting this continue. As an outsider myself I’ve always had a soft spot for the Shoanti – on the streets as a boy I had even picked up some of their fragmented lingo. With practice born from years living in the streets, Amber and I eel’ed through the crowd into the packed center. He was being held by two brutes – looked like stevedores or porters – and being beaten by another. I chain-stroked the first and he kissed the cobbles. Amber shrieked in the face of the beater which rocked him back on his heels. And I pulled the boy from the last one’s grasp before he realized his fun was at an end. Lem ascended the side of a nearby building and her barks and growls quickly got the crowd’s attention. Amber grabbed the boy and sheltered him while I eased the mob back with my whirling battle chain. Lem dropped into the crowd snarling, biting, and threatening all sorts of mayhem with her blades. It took them little time to realize that despite her size she was mad enough to take them all on. They rapidly dispersed to find easier prey. Amber made sure the boy was alright.
“Don’t worry boy, we won’t hurt you,” I told him.
“Thank you dark one. I will not forget your kindness,” the boy answered. He then darted off into an alley. Lem thought to give chase, but we convinced her that we had other business to be about.
Moon Street was quiet. An old woman sat on the stoop in front of Number 42. She turned out to be the landlord and we told her we were her to see on of her tenants: Trinia Sabor. She indicated that Trinia was in #C on the third floor. On the way in another of the tenants told us that Trinia hadn’t been home in days. We told him we would try her door anyway. He grumbled but left us to our business. We made our way up to the third floor and stopped outside the door to #C. Amber continued upward to the Shingles to make sure Trinia didn’t try to slip away over the rooftops. Listening at the door we heard nothing.
“Miss Trinia Sabor, we are here from the Korvosan Guard,” Crispin barked as he banged on the door. “We would like to speak with you.”
Lem and I winced, “So much for the element of surprise.” Lem made short work of the lock and we advanced into the room.
It was a small artist’s flat. On the far side of the room Trinia appeared to still be asleep in her bed. She must be a sound sleeper not to have heard us. I approached the bed and as I reached to wake her my hand passed through her slumbering form.
“It’s an illusion!”
We heard scrambling on the side of the building outside the window.
“She’s going for the roof and the Shingles!”
I hesitate to describe what transpired next. It was a roof top chase through the Shingles. It became rapidly apparent that several of us were not prepared for such a venture. Crispin in his heavy armor. Aula with her lack of physical prowess. And me with my apparent inability to stay affixed to a sloping rooftop. While Trinia was easily able to outdistance the three of us; Lem and Amber were another story. Between Aula’s magic, Amber’s cajoling, and Lem’s intimidating manner (and purely awesome leaping ability for one so small) they were able to corner Trinia on the roof of a haberdashery and convince her to cease her headlong flight.
Trinia confessed that while she was involved with the guard Hendricks, she had nothing to do with the poisoning of King Eodred. She seemed sincere. I have met many convincing liars in my day and Trinia was not one of them. We believed her. The mysterious circumstances around Hendricks’ death increased our suspicion that other parties were using Trinia as a scapegoat. We needed her to live long enough to be truth-read and perhaps expose the plotters. Crispin and Aula wanted to return Trinia to Field Marshal Kroft straight-away. The rest of us counseled that this might not be the best plan. We compromised by agreeing to take her to the Lancet Street house. She would be off the streets there, safe from the mobs, and presumably safe from whomever was behind this plot to frame her.
By sticking to the back streets and less travelled neighborhoods we were easily able to avoid the mobs running amok in Midlands. As we darted across Nightingale Court the cobblestones in front of us erupted in a fury. We were tossed around like rag dolls as an enraged otyugh burst forth from the Vaults below! Trinia was hurled to the far side of the Court and down with a cobble to the head. The rest of us picked ourselves up and made ready to engage the vile smelly poop-eating beast. A tarnished identification tag around the otyugh’s forelimb proclaimed this one to be named, “Ralfy”.
Ralfy spat out a cobble. “Fresh meat!” he roared. I bashed the beast in the side with my battlechain. Crispin darted underneath a slimy tentacle and skewered the otyugh. Ralfy flailed rather ineffectually at us as Amber darted around to the prone Trinia.
“She seems okay. I’m going to get us out of here,” Amber stammered and began casting.
Aula singed the creature with her magic and both Crispin and I dealt it another blow. It flailed at us and gave Crispin a bite. Ralfy seemed to be tiring of this game. “Hurts!” he whimpered. Magical mist enveloped Nightingale Court making it hard to see.
“Back beast!” I shouted at him, “Back into your hole!” I clouted him again. Crispin poked him. Ralfy wailed and slunk back into the Vaults.
“Hurts bad,” groaned Ralfy, quickly retreating out of range of our weapons.
Crispin and I shared a look. “Either we are getting better or those aren’t as tough as everyone seems to think,” quipped the war priest.
We gathered up the rest of the party and made haste out of the area least our din draw the curiosity of one of the roving mobs.
Number 3 Lancet was quiet and mobs hadn’t ventured this far south. We settled Trinia. We decided that Aula and I would go the Citadel to talk to Marshall Kroft while the others stayed at No. 3 insuring Trinia’s safety.
Marshall Kroft saw us immediately, but she wasn’t terribly happy with what we had to say.
“Trinia Sabor must be questioned by the Guard – we can best determine her guilt,” Marshall Kroft insisted.
“She doesn’t trust that you can keep her safe Field Marshall,” I replied. “Look at what happened to the Guard Hendricks.”
“True,” Kroft steepled her fingers and looked over them at us, “you can see the quandary this puts me in. Trinia needs to be under Guard protection.”
Aula looked pained. She really hated to disappoint Kroft.
“Maybe we can find a compromise,” I ventured. “Does the Guard maintain any safe-houses? Places away from the Citadel?”
Kroft brightened. “Yes, as a matter of fact we do maintain a place outside the city where we occasionally stow witnesses we don’t want to bring into the Citadel.”
We arranged to have Grau Soldado and one of Kroft’s lieutenants accompany us back to No. 3. Kroft also provided a Guardsmen’s livery for us to disguise Trinia in to get her out of the city – something Lem had suggested when we first got the assignment. I mentioned to Grau that we had encountered his old master, Vencarlo Orisini who had spoken well of him.
We headed back to No. 3, convinced Trinia of Marshall Kroft’s noble intentions, and got her into her Guard disguise. The trip outside the city was uneventful. The Guard’s safe-house turned out to be a small working farm. We settled Trinia, Grau, and the Lieutenant and departed.
For now Trinia is safe. I hope we have thwarted someone’s plans but I can’t help but think that a larger game is being played and not all of the players have shown their hands.