The Alexandrian

Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 2B: A WOMAN ASSAULTED

March 18th, 2007
The 16th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

By early afternoon, hot and sweaty from hiking through the city in the muggy conditions, the group decided it was time for lunch. Tee led them towards the Griffon pub on Tavern Row, but when they were almost there Tee suddenly spotted a woman being assaulted down a short alley by two muscular thugs.

Rushing over to assist, Tee demanded to know what the thugs thought they were doing. The thugs looked over and, despite the rest of the party following at her heel, told her to shove off and mind her own business.

At that moment, the woman they had been harassing rolled over and they could all see that she was pregnant. Upon seeing this, Agnarr flew into a rage and hurled himself at the two thugs – although in his fury, his blows were wild and uncontrolled.

The two thugs drew their own weapons, and one of them managed to land a fairly solid blow on Agnarr. But even as he did so, Dominic stepped up with his mace and – with the satisfying crunch of broken ribs – slammed one of the men up against the wall of the alley. The man weakly tried to stagger away, but Dominic brought the mace down a second time on the back of his head and dropped him to the ground.

The other thug, seeing his companion fall, cried out: “Dammit! Ortry!” And then tried to turn and run. But Agnarr, his vision still tinged with red fury, seized the opportunity and tore open the man’s back from shoulder to stern.

The woman, seeing her assailants so suddenly felled, burst into relieved and sobbing tears. Tee and Elestra moved in to comfort her and, gently, asked what had happened. The woman, between sobs, said she had no idea – she had just been out distributing fliers (for a Republican rally to be led by a man named Helmut Itelstein in two days) when these two thugs had pulled her into the alley and started beating her.

Dominic inspected the two thugs. The one he had knocked to the ground was still alive (although unconscious), but the target of Agnarr’s rage was dead. After confirming that, he stepped over to the woman and laid a blessing upon her which healed her bruises and cuts.

Elestra helped the woman to her feet and back towards the street, while Tee turned aside and searched the two thugs – stripping them of any valuable equipment. She found that both of them wore brass double-rings, while on one of them, she found a note:

Ptolus - Ortry's Note

Tee turned to the woman, “Phon?”

“Yes? What? How did you know my name?” The woman looked confused.

Tee handed her the note. “It looks like they were looking for you specifically.”

Phon looked at the note and then shook her head. “This doesn’t make any sense. Why would anyone want to hurt me?” She sobbed and then pulled herself together. “Could you take me to St. Gustav’s Chapel? I’d feel safe there.”

The group agreed – they were beginning to attract stares anyway – and headed back towards Delver’s Square and St. Gustav’s Chapel. When they arrived, Elestra called out for Brother Fabitor, who quickly appeared. When Fabitor saw the bedraggled and desperate-looking Phon, he quickly hurried over to comfort her. Soon, the entire story had spilled out.

Brother Fabitor sent Tee and Dominic over to the watchhouse across the street to report the crime. When they got there the guards looked up, “Twice in the same day? What do you need now?”

Tee and Dominic quickly explained the situation. “They were attacking a pregnant woman, we felt we should help,” Tee said. “Sure,” said the watchman. “But you need to keep your nose out of trouble.”

One of the watchmen headed towards where Tee and Dominic had said the bodies had been left. The other headed across the street to the chapel to get a statement from Phon and ask some questions.

Shortly thereafter, the other watchman returned: “You said there were two of them?” Apparently the unconscious thug had woken up and ran off.

It didn’t sound as if the watchmen were likely to follow up on the note the party had found, so Brother Fabitor asked them to check out the “red wairhouse” themselves. He’d keep Phon with him there at the chapel for now, but he didn’t feel she’d truly be safe unless they could figure out who was behind the attack.

The party headed back towards the Griffon to have their much-delayed lunch (which turned out to be a delicious suckling pig – Agnarr picked up the tab). Then they bided their time for a couple of hours, before heading down to Able Row an hour or so before dusk.

THE RED WAREHOUSE

They easily found the only red warehouse on the street – it had one door facing Able Row and another facing a complex of alleys just off of Ingot Street. Tee and Dominic stayed on Able Row, mingling with the crowd, while the rest of the party headed around to watch the rear entrance.

Even as they arrived, it became apparent that the warehouse was shutting down business for the day. Crates were being closed and stacked up, workers were beginning to leave one by one. About half an hour later, the place was shut up tight for the night.

About fifteen minutes later, the night foreman left… and Tee noticed very specifically that he failed to lock the door facing Able Street behind him. After he was gone, she sent Dominic around the block to tell Agnarr, Ranthir, and Elestra that she was heading into the warehouse. Then she slipped across the street, opened the door, and went inside…

… just in time, too, for as she slipped the door closed behind her, she saw two figures – a man and an elf – heading straight towards the darkened door behind her. She quickly slipped in between the tall stacks of boxes and disappeared from sight just as the man and the elf entered the warehouse behind her. She watched as the elf sought a hiding spot and the man, with a dog at his side, did a quick check of the warehouse’s interior.

Dominic, oblivious to the two men who had followed Tee into the warehouse, went around the block and told the others what was going on. Agnarr snuck up to the doors of the warehouse and pressed his ears against them… he couldn’t hear anything, but he stayed alert.

Then it was just a matter of cramped waiting, followed by a flurry of action: Ortry, the thug Dominic had knocked unconscious earlier, came running into the warehouse. “Vagger! Vagger! It all went to hell!”

Vagger – apparently the man with the dog – held up his hands and tried to calm him down. He succeeded to at least some extent, and Ortry spilled his guts about everything that had happened that afternoon.

“So let me get this straight,” Vagger said. “The girl is still alive. Darrel’s dead. And there are five guys or more that may know who you are. LAUCIO!”

At that, the elf in the corner let fly an arrow which struck Ortry in the back. At the same instant, Vagger whipped out his dagger and – as Ortry staggered forward – sliced open his neck. Ortry dropped into a spreading pool of his own blood. Vagger wiped his dagger on the dead man’s shirt and then turned to the elf, “Let’s get out of here, Laucio.”

Vagger and Laucio headed towards the door emptying out onto Able Row. Tee tried to delay them by shooting the dog, but wasn’t able to get a clean shot. She did make enough noise, however, for them to stop and turn around. “Did you hear that?” Tee tried shooting again, this time her arrow thunked heavily into a wooden crate. “I know I heard that! Lock the door!”

Laucio headed to the door and locked it, while Vagger started searching the warehouse. “We know you’re here! Come out now and we’ll let you live!”

Agnarr, hearing that from outside, threw himself against the door, trying to knock it down. But it was no good. He gestured for Ranthir, Dominic, and Elestra to follow him to the other side of the building. They took off.

Tee stepped out of the crates and fired at Laucio again – her arrow struck the door right next to his head, and he whirled around and leveled his bow at her. His shot was truer than hers, taking her full in the chest. She gasped, gurgling on choked breath. Stumbling out from amidst the crates, she wasn’t able to put up any kind of defense as Vagger came around the corner and ran her through with his sword. Tee collapsed to the floor in a heap.

The rest of the party arrived at the south door… and found it locked. Agnarr turned to Dominic, “I thought you said this was open?” Agnarr threw himself against it. It creaked, but wouldn’t give. “Quick! Get back around to the north and make sure they don’t escape that way!” Ranthir and Dominic turned around and started running back around the block.

“Shit!” Vagger shouted inside. “There’s more of them outside!”

Laucio turned halfway around and then was knocked into the corner as Agnarr finally managed to batter his way through the door. Agnarr, seeing Tee lying on the floor and apparently breathing her last, flew into a fresh rage and leapt at Vagger.

Laucio tried to come up on the barbarian’s flank, but Elestra came flying through the door and cut him off. Agnarr cut Vagger down where he stood, then spun and opened a massive gash across Laucio’s chest. Laucio, staggered, fell to his knees and threw his sword away, “I surrender!” Agnarr reeled back and slammed the hilt of his greatsword straight between the elf’s eyes. Laucio slumped unconscious to the floor, still bleeding profusely.

Agnarr, hearing Ranthir and Dominic knocking feebly against the rear doors, ran there, threw open the doors, grabbed Dominic by the collar, and dragged him across the warehouse, “Tee needs help!”

Dominic quickly healed Tee, and then used a minor orison to stabilize Laucio’s wounds and stop him from bleeding to death.

Tee, despite her near death experience, began searching the three would-be assassins and the foreman’s desk. She found that Vagger and Laucio did not wear the brass double-rings that Ortry and Darrel had worn.

Agnarr, meanwhile, pulled out a hundred feet or so of silk rope. After trussing Laucio up, he strung him up from the ceiling near the middle of the warehouse. When the party was ready, Agnarr had Dominic use his magic to wake him up… and then Dominic and Elestra excused themselves to guard duty in order to avoid the ugly business they knew would follow.

As he woke up, Laucio was still cocky – despite being hung upside down from the ceiling with a growling barbarian in his face. “Is this the part where you torture me?” he sneered.

Agnarr leaned in close and whispered in his ear: “Yes. Yes, it is.” Then he bit his ear off.

Laucio started screaming as blood poured from his ear. Agnarr backed off. “You will answer our questions.”

Ranthir wrung his hands, “Oh dear…”

Tee was uncomfortable with this sudden outburst, as well, but she decided that what was done was done.

Laucio cracked: It turned out that he and Vagger had been hired by a man named Toridan Cran to kill Phon Quartermail. They had been paid 100 gp for the job, but he didn’t know why Toridan wanted her killed.

Tee wanted to know where Toridan Cran lived. Laucio, even in his terror, demanded that they promise to let him go if he told them. Agnarr was having none of it: He grabbed a torch and came up behind the elf, who went into a terror-stricken panic, unable to see what the barbarian was doing. Eventually he babbled out that Cran’s house was located on Nar Street. He begged them to let him go. Tee forced him to promise that he would leave town. “Yes! Yes! I’ve got a cousin in Freeport! I’ll go there!”

Agnarr clubbed him across the back of the head and knocked him out.

Agnarr spat the ear out. “I should have listened to that dwarf. He told me elves tasted bad.”

Tee glowered at him. “We need to have a serious discussion about your tactics. Are we the good guys or the bad guys here? I’m losing track.”

Agnarr just looked at her. “He tried to kill a pregnant woman. He nearly killed you. Or did you forget that part? We just did what we had to, and now we know where this Tordan or Torigan or whatever lives.”

Tee made it clear that this discussion was far from over. The party quickly made sure the warehouse was clear of any evidence that they had ever been there, and then left.

The rain had started again – a downpour that washed the city clean and left the air fresh and pure…

NEXT JOURNAL ENTRY

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