The Finder Journal Entry 1

Arodus 17-18, 4709 AR

Approached by Janiven, a local citizen I’d known only through acquaintances for some years. She’s decent enough, with good skills and not too talkative. She offered a goodly sum to track down some missing friends of hers who were three hours overdue for a meeting with her, and she was worried. Where were they? In the sewers, of course. I didn’t ask. She wouldn’t tell me where they were headed, which raised some small flags, but said they’d let me know where they were going when I found them. Two humans and a dwarf. The two humans, I could understand, but how a dwarf gets lost underground, I have no idea. Granted, the sewers are no place for most folk. Anyway, the rest of the payment would be delivered when I brought them where they needed to go – as long as I then left, immediately. More small flags. Whatever. It’s her coin. Shouldn’t be hard to find them – they’re probably making enough noise to attract every goblin and sewer zombie for miles around.

Headed down and found them soon enough, battling some Hellknight skeletons. Not too much trouble, but they were pretty fairly beaten up and dog-tired. The woman, I faintly recognized, but I didn’t realize who she was until a bit later. Some kind of arcane caster, but low on resources. The first man, with noisy armour and a bastard sword, was another Hellknight wannabe, but why he was risking breaking the law by being down there was a mystery, for now. The dwarf was some kind of priest, and not Asmodean. Ballsy, and probably not too bright. Anyway, they told me they were trying to find some chalk waymarks that Janiven had left for them, but were being chased by Hellknights. Ah – the flags all turned red. I backtracked them to the last intersection, found the proper direction, and started leading the way.

Naturally, with all the noise we continued to make, we were ambushed by goblins a few minutes later. After a tough fight, we managed to take them out. Luckily, the group had a number of healing potions, which came in extraordinarily handy. This was getting dangerous for my liking, and I was keeping my eyes open for ways out. Plus, I slipped on a pipe and fell at some point, and I think I swallowed some filth. I’ll have to get that looked at. From the looks of the woman, she may be in the same boat. Travel in the sewers and it’s bound to happen. I’ve fought off more than my share of filth fever in my life. From then on, I tried to stay ahead of them, in the shadows. They were competent enough, but definitely attracting attention. The swordsman had a strong arm, anyway.

Somewhere along the way, overheard some imps talking about subverting a local merchant, Jan Candor. Some infernal plot. Will have to find him and see how valuable he thinks the information is.

Soon enough, we found a waymark that led up and out, into a back alley behind the old temple of Aroden. I saw that we were being watched by people on the rooftops, figured that as my cue to leave, and bid my farewells. In they went, and off I went to find Janiven and get paid.

Not a moment had passed before Janiven came out of the shadows and wanted to talk. She paid me, then started going on about some group she was forming. Interested in righting all the wrongs in Westcrown, and upsetting the balance of power. Working for good, and getting the citizens on their side, so they could push out the bad apples in power – the House of Thrune, the Council of Thieves (whoever they are). Real naive. Real treasonous. I kept my tongue. She said she had heard that I thought likewise – that people should be able to walk the streets at night, that the weak should no longer be downtrodden. I told her she might have misheard about me, but that I was willing to meet them, and continue to work on a similar basis – coin for jobs – with one caveat. That she tell NOBODY, not even her mentor, Arael – who’d been arrested by the dottari, so it may be a moot point – that I was considering actually joining their cause. She agreed. Fine. Let’s go. As long as I don’t stick my neck out too far, and keep getting paid, I’m probably reasonably safe. If I can find out more about these people, who they are and what they know, the information could be invaluable … to certain parties … Then again, behind her naivete, she had a point.

Met the gang. A total bunch of dreamers, real head in the clouds types. Not a skill or good sword arm among them, except Janiven. Very disheartening. I started making meticulous notes on names and descriptions. Then, the witch-woman approached me. Told me her name was Jezzie Brightgaze. Oh, yeah, the circus folk. Naturally, she was looking for information on her father’s murderer, Samson Steelcoin. I knew the story. Told her I didn’t know anything, but I’d keep my eyes and ears open. She’s decent enough, probably the only functioning brain in the crowd. I’ll start to put the feelers out. If he’s in town, I’ll find him. Then, they wanted to talk. Oh, how they wanted to talk. The philosophy of their cause, what to do, what to wear. I tuned them out, and looked to cleaning my gear properly. Told the dwarf about my probable case of filth fever and he gave me the usual herbs. We’ll see how it goes, but I can already feel it coming on. Started casing the joint. Only a front and back door. Kind of a death trap, if you ask me. Needs a good sewer entrance, but I don’t plan on staying too long.

Went to sleep, with one eye open.

Was woken up at dawn by Janiven. Arael had been turned over by the dottari to the Order of the Rack Hellknights, and was being taken to Rivad. Bad news. He gets in there, he doesn’t come out. They wanted to ambush the prisoner transfer outside the city. Dangerous, dangerous work. I ask for the same pay, with half up front, again. Most of the gang, led by Janiven, will distract and draw off the mounted knights. Hopefully, they can do that, at least. Myself and my three new comrades will then take out the rest of the guards – with as little bloodshed as possible – and rescue Arael. Sounds like a shitstorm, but I agree, for reasons I can’t fathom. The money’s good, I guess. Off we go. I have a bad, bad feeling.

At least the first part of the plan goes well. The gang manages to draw off the mounted escort, and we get ready to ambush the rest of the guards around the wagon. But luck isn’t with me, and as I’m crawling around a boulder off the side of the road, the damned Rack leader spots me and all hell breaks loose. Before I can even get up, I’m being charged by two of them. I scramble to my feet, glaive in hand, waving it to keep them back, but they’ve got me outnumbered and I take a wound backing up. I avoid being flanked, jump back and lob a javelin at one at point blank range, but the ground is rocky and I stumble again and it sails wide. Before I can right myself properly, I see the longsword of the other one stabbing at my throat. Then, things get kinda hazy. I hear myself coughing up blood and choking, but all I can see is a rapidly dimming sky. Then, I hear a big armoured body crashing to the ground near me and I’m coughing on something other than blood.

A minute or a lifetime later, I come to. The fight is done, with most of the guards having sodded off. My big Asmodean swordsman friend helps me to my feet, and I can see that the Dwarf has used some divine magic to see to our wounds. Well. That went shitty. This is far, far too dangerous. I think this group needs some more experienced warriors. I’m no soldier. This isn’t what I signed on for. What DID I sign on for? The money can’t be enough for this.

We quickly grab a few trinkets from the Rack leader, then use his key to open the wagon and let Arael out. He’s a half-elf. Huh. I’ll have to look into that. He seems pretty nervous about everything, and doesn’t trust us. He starts heading back to town on his own. Brightgaze tries to smooth things over and goes with him. I advise that it’s probably best if we split up and make our way back individually, anyway. I wait a minute, then track Arael and Brightgaze, staying well behind them, out of sight. If she gets into trouble with him, or if the Rack finds them, I’ll be able to help out. Or, … well, maybe not.

I remind myself that it’s almost always best to keep your distance.

The Finder Journal Entry 1

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