When I got to Martin’s place the windows were darkened. I was in a hurry to get out of town as I had already sold my spells.
I love working the South. No one wonders why I’m walking around with uncut diamonds worth a few thousand gold in my pocket.
I was at Martin’s to pay him his cut. If you are going to work a game, always better to have the owner on your side. Martin prefers to take this shady business around back. As I walked around to the alley, a bleeding, burnt, Hunter stormed through Martin’s back door.
Ahh, so it appears as if someone got to the bounty hunters first. This fellow looked pissed, so I just hung around outside.
“Did you know they had a caster!,” the half-orc bellowed.
“Keep it down Oban, you’ll wake the misses,” hissed Martin in reply. “No, of course not, a caster?”
“They are all dead, three half-orcs. I saw Zargoz cut down by a beam of light, there was no blood, no blood, no blood.” Oban repeated as his voice trailed off.
Martin was smart enough not to say anything. An angry half-orc is not one to be trifled with. I thought I heard something like a cry but more like a moan and then Martin came flying into the alley landing in a heap next in the gutter.
Oban notched an arrow and held it to the back of Matin’s head.
“You’ll pay for their deaths in blood dwarf!” the mercenary snarled.
Now, normally I would consider this a fortuitous event. With Martin dead, I could keep his cut. And there would be one less person alive who knew me. Well not really me. Martin thought I was a courier for a big wig in Halesport.
Truth was I was the bigwig too. I had been writing to Martin as Freidiah, the owner of The Bearded Lady, a brothel and gambling house in Halesport. I told him I knew a card shark that was looking for a game to take, and if he was willing to get this shark into the game, he would get a cut.
I am never myself. With each encounter I invent a new identity. No one sees me twice. In fact the fence that bought the spells thinks I’m Martin.
So, like I said, Martin dead was mostly upside to me, but the fact that the half-orc was here meant the $50,000 gold reward was still up for grabs. And the fact that this Hunter couldn’t tell the difference between a caster and a cleric meant that I knew more than Martin or Oban.
“He’s not a caster, he follows the Lady.” I offered, slinking from the shadows.
As I expected the bow was turned on me, but my disguise added a few inches of padding and I had a few tricks up my sleave so I wasn’t worried.
“Oh, by all means keep that bow pointed at Martin, my master would let me pocket his cut.”
My gambit was right. The bounty hunter was worried about his friends, but more worried about his money. With that, the half-orc lowered his bow, Martin got to his feet and ushered us back inside.
Oban, still spitting with rage and grief said, “Talk fast.”
“Can’t say I’m one for fast talk, fast women maybe, but not fast talk.” I drawled. “But it’s easy to mistake a cleric for a caster. It looks the same, but the power comes from a different place.”
“Well this one moved himself from inside to outside in a second. And when I ran through him, he shattered into pieces.” Oban grumbled.
“Certainly a worshiper of the Lady then.” I replied, “She grants all sorts of favors to those that follow her.”
“So they still live?” I continued.
“Aye, I left them right where we followed them to. I can’t go back in there alone, it’s not worth $50,000 gold pieces.”
“Don’t forget about my cut,” Martin jumped back in.
Both I and the half-orc turned our gaze to him, and he shrank from it.
I said to Martin, “Our mutual friend told me about the cleric.” “He also told me that those halflings blew your bar to bits.”
At this Oban chuckled. “Indeed they did. We were waiting outside like you asked when the Prince stepped out of the door, just for a second before he got blown back inside. The blast nearly ripped the whole side of the building.”
If there was any color left in Martin’s face it drained.
“That’s what you get for letting halflings trade various and sundry in your bar.” I quiped. Turning to Oban I said, “Where did you leave them?”
I counted out the few gold I owed Martin as Oban described the storehouse where they were.
“I can’t imagine they are still there, and if they are, I doubt you could take them,” Oban said.
“I ride for Halesport tonight, but if you keep an eye on them and send a raven to the Bearded Lady in Halesport, Freidiah will send you the firepower you need.”
I slipped into the night and left them to haggle. I might still get lucky and Martin might get killed.
I began to walk towards the storehouse. I was going to head out of town, but now I had something far more interesting to tend too.
I too follow a Lady. I’m not a cleric, too much groveling. But I do bring misfortune, and I was looking forward to visiting misfortune on these adventures.
I’m currently playing through a campaign DM’d by the indomitable Erik Maxwell. As a writing exercise I’m giving myself 30 minutes to recap our weekly adventures. I’m starting to write a parallel story focused on Thenardier, a Rouge Mastermind.