The Finder Journal Entry 2

Arodus 18-19, 4709 AR

Tracked the Brightgaze girl and the newly-rescued Arael back to Westcrown. He seemed to get over his mistrust, and everyone seemed to make it through the gates okay. Went straight to return the borrowed horse to the merchant we got them from, and wouldn’t you know it? That pompous prima donna Thesing Umbero Ulvauno is causing a big commotion about having to wait for his horses. Needs them in some opera he’s doing. Unbelievable. Attracting lots of attention to us all. I skulk up, hand the horse-trader my mount, and skulk off. Lurk around to see if we’ve attracted any undue attention, but it seems to pass. Remind me to dig up some dirt on this guy soon and sell it to his competitors.

Back to the shrine of Aroden, where Arael and the gang give each other hugs and high-fives. He suggests everyone lay low for a bit. No shit. He also suggests that it’s unlikely that there’ll be any blowback from his rescue, since the dottari will probably just wash their hands of the affair. He makes a good point (remarkably?), but I’ll wait to see just how bad the Rack Hellknights wanted him. Turns out he’s another priest of Iomedae. Hopefully, he’s got some sense. I need to find out who his parents are, and what his story is. Not too many half-elves in Westcrown.

Janiven gives me the rest of my payment for rescuing Arael, but I make a show of turning down the “100 gp bonus” for a job well-done. I need to make it clear to people that I’m a hireling, not a henchman. I still don’t want to be associated with these folks beyond that, yet. … Could really have used that 100 gp, though. There’s a composite bow with my name on it, somewhere in the city.

Me and my three comrades head to talk to Jan Candor, general merchant, to see what he thinks about those Imps plotting against him. He’s in my section of town – run-down, dirty, dangerous. Seems like nothing special, and he doesn’t have any special enemies or friends. Give him the low-down on what we heard, and he seems non-plussed. Ask him what he wants us to do about it, if anything, but he gets his back up on us. Doesn’t buy what we’re selling. Huh. I guess he doesn’t want our help. I suggest leaving him alone, but the gang wants to stick around. Brightgaze tries to convince me to stay “for reasons other than money”. I don’t think she gets it, or me, yet. The Asmodean wants to investigate an obvious breach of the law – loose devils, rampant in the city. I try to stop my eyes from rolling back in my head. The dwarf doesn’t have anything useful to contribute – there’s nothing to figure out, yet. We don’t have any hard evidence. The merchant wants proof of what we’re saying, won’t let us look around. There’s no angle here. If we help him, he’ll just shrug his shoulders and think that we brought it on him. If we poke around too much without his agreement, he’ll call in the authorities. I’m not in the favour-business. He’ll reap what he sows, and next time maybe clue in. Or not.

As a compromise, I suggest we continue to investigate the area around his shop while we do some shadow-beast hunting. Word is that someone named “Bluehood” is offering hard cash for the corpses of any shadow-beasts dropped off across from the Leroung estate. There’s money to be made, and information to be gathered here, and I haven’t had time to look into it, yet. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone.

We rest for a day, in a ramshackle place across from Candor’s shop. The casters need to get spells back, and I don’t want to be going out at night without full scabbards. That night, I notice some activity in the shop, but it’s not proof of anything, except that he stayed there overnight and sometimes gets up to look around. Big scoop, that. Maybe tonight we can have a closer look through the windows at about that time. We’ll see. I get my rest.

We return to Candor’s that day to see if anything is amiss, but he’s still being a stubborn fool. Looks like some swords might be missing, and both Brightgaze and Baradin report a magical aura on the wall of the shop, like some kind of portal. Anyway, he’s still totally disinterested, so we leave, again.

That night, we head out. Nobody goes out at night in Westcrown. Even I don’t like to be out too much at night – the streets are dangerous, and full of nervous dottari looking for bribes or a fight. I’m ready for anything.

Shortly, we have a run-in with a half-patrol that sticks up my comrades for a handful of gold. Thieves in uniforms. Nice gig, if you can get it. I stay hidden in the darkness and imagine putting a javelin through the sergeant’s eye. Meh. It’s not my gold. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.

A bit later, we dust off a rat swarm that’s come up through the sewers. Common enough. I just hope it didn’t attract any unwanted attention.

Yep. It did. ‘Cause, then, the biggie. A real shadow-beast, stealthy as all get-out, jumps us and mauls Brightgaze. We get a few licks in, and it shags off, only to stalk us and pounce the witch again. This time, we get in a few clean blows and it falls over. One shadow-beast corpse. Check. Naturally, it starts to dissolve, so we high-tail it over to the Leroung estate and put the sack where we’re supposed to. How much we get, how they find us, who’s paying, why they’re paying … all questions I’ll be getting the answers to, soon.

We jog back to Candor’s shop just in time to see some activity. Candor is walking around the shop with a lantern, looking slack-jawed. Then, the portal appears. To where, who knows. But Candor starts picking up weapons and throwing them in. The Asmodean and the dwarf check the door, and it’s locked, naturally. I come up and check again. Maybe they missed something. Hey, look! It’s unlocked. Huh. Waddya know. We bust in and Candor’s oblivious, but there’s something else inside. One of the Imps, naturally, and he likes being invisible. But, he can’t stab us with that tail-stinger of his and stay invisible at the same time – and he likes stabbing us. So, he gets a few good ones in on me and Brightgaze, and I can feel the damned poison eating away at me, but even without silver weapons, we manage to give him enough good chops that he falls down and doesn’t get up before he vanishes back to hell. The portal disappears. I know it’s gonna be days before the poison works out of my system. Fucking Imp.

Candor snaps out of his Imp-induced trance, looks around at his now half-smashed shop with a bunch of stuff missing … and glares at us.

Big surprise, that.

The Finder Journal Entry 2

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