Back On The Trail To Kai

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The brave halfling pursues his armored attacker across the warehouse and ghoststeps through the already closed door. Keeping very quiet he assesses the situation: the gang leader is standing at the opposite side of a big table, flanked by an archer and swordsman. There are two doors on either side, while the door behind Larryl is locked with bolts. Out of options for now, he slides under the table and coats his kukri with scorpion poison.

Meanwhile his three friends climb in through the window on the first floor. Ignoring the door upstairs, the Monk simply jumps down towards the spot where his brother had been. Magnys and Tonks take the stairs; no use ending stuck with their two feet in the floor, heavily armored as they are.

With Larryl nowhere in sight, they walk up to the door where Darryl saw the leader last and an infuriated Paladin starts kicking down the door. Eventually she succeeds and as a thank you, catches an arrow.

Magnys rushes in and attacks the archer. In her haste she completely misses and slams her mace straight into the wall. Fortunately her target is a bit surprised and misses the counter attack. In the confusion, the Ninja ghoststeps once again and stabs the armored man, doing a lot of damage.

Stop, the whole building is surrounded. You can’t get out! Surrender and your life will be spared.

Tonks yells to try and stop the violence, but the men are too busy fighting. The archer gets out his dagger and tries to make a hole in the Paladin. He misses, just like the swordsman who is attacking the Monk. Magnys defends herself and gives her opponent a blow, while Darryl goes after the swordsman with a flurry attack.

The Cleric calls on the Vengeance of her Deity and together with Larryl, she attacks the leader, telling him once again to surrender.

Hearing the Gnome’s words, Magnys uses her diplomatic talents to persuade the archer to lay down his dagger. She succeeds and immediately kicks the weapon out of the way. Darryl is having fun, creating dents in the swordsman’s armor. Defeated, the man surrenders and throws his sword on the ground. Magnys binds them both tight.

The leader, seeing his buddies taken prisoner, escapes up the stairs in the corner of the room, with Larryl once again in pursuit. Tonks directs her spiritual weapon to the villain, but fails. Darryl comes to the rescue of his brother and together they grapple the bloke. All are down!

After disabling the sword trap on the outer door, Larryl lifts the bars off and opens the door for the guards. Djuhah and his men rush in to take the prisoners into custody. The halfling then searches both of the headquarter’s side rooms. One is a storage room for food, containing nothing special, the other a kitchen. In a big cabinet they find maps, dice and card games.

When asked for his name, the armored man tells Darryl it is Mutamin. As for his motives: money; the art of robbery is profitable. Djuhah comes back in with his guards and then escorts all prisoners to the Guard House.

The two halflings, the gnome and woman return to their inn at the break of dawn to catch a bit of sleep. Magnys first prays to her Morning Lord Lathander and thanks him for keeping them safe. They wake around noon to their growling stomachs. After a healthy lunch, Darryl takes his brother to the Bathhouse for an afternoon massage. Refreshed and relaxed they go back to the Golden Bracer. In the evening the four of them return to the Sandpit Inn, where they are supposed to meet Dijab.

Tonks and Magnys order a beer while waiting for Dijab, and Darryl tries the wine. Horrible! A little later Dijab walks in, orders a beer and then joins them at their table. He has the information but first wants his money. Larryl shows him the 900 gold pieces.

Dijab tells them that Kai is a middle man who works for one of the big slave traders, Ghunayya. The trader has a good reputation. Dijab will send a messenger to the Golden Bracer, as soon as he has set up a meeting. He has earned his 900 gold pieces. They are finally back on the trail leading to Kai!

Warehouse #352

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It’s good to see commandant Djuhah again, that makes things so much smoother. Two guards stay behind to take care of the prisoner and the bodies, while the other guards join the party. Together they set out towards the Trades District, travelling in an open coach. Since it is getting rather crowded in the coach, Darryl hangs on to the side.

The Trades District sounds more chic than it is: a collection of shabby buildings and sand roads, which are mostly deserted. The coach pulls up near #352. The brothers get out to scout ahead, leaving the Paladin and Cleric behind: sneaking is not one of their virtues. After a short while, the halflings find themselves staring up at a warehouse two stories high with a slightly pointed roof. Narrow corridors flank the house. There are windows on either side at the first floor.

With his keen eye sight, Larryl spots someone kneeling on the left side of the roof, while his brother thinks all is clear on the right side. Via an evading route Larryl nears the building and climbs up towards the first floor: the window shutters are open.

Finding enough hand holds, he climbs to the top of the warehouse and crawls towards the guy on the roof. He has to prevent the sentinel from alerting the rest of the gang and sees no other option than to take him down. When Larryl is real close, he attacks and hurts the guy very badly. In a second attack he finishes him off. The roof cleared, he cleans his weapon and climbs down to return to Tonks and Magnys, who are waiting impatiently.

Meanwhile Darryl climbs up the right wall of the warehouse. The window is secured by bars. Peeping through, he sees a kind of balcony with a wooden balustrade. He jumps down and meets with the rest. Quickly the brothers explain the situation to the others. They will have to get in through one of the windows and open the front door from the inside. Larryl and Darryl then go back to assess the situation on the windows.

After a thorough inspection, Larryl notices that a bar in front of the first window on the left side has come loose. Very quietly he gets it out of the way and – followed on his heels by his brother – he enters the building.

They step onto the wooden balcony Darryl has seen on his first climb. The landing winds itself all around on first floor level. Larryl walks boldly towards the guard, who whispers

Who is it?

It’s Larry, Darryl is right behind me.

The suspicious guard is still aiming his bow at our friends. They try talking their way in. Meanwhile another guard comes up the stairs.

Doesn’t Mutamin tell you anything? We are new recruits, we were scouting the Inn. I’m unarmed, lower your bow!

Larryl shows him the heavy money pouch and the gold tinkles softly. Both guards relax a bit and they exchange some smalltalk. Suddenly the door at the bottom of the stairs opens and a man walks in, fully armored.

What is happening here?!

Seems play time is over. Darryl jumps into action and charges with a flying kick against the second guard. When the guard defends himself, Darryl attacks with a flurry and kills him.

Larryl stabs the first guard with his kukri and then shoves him off the balcony. The guard tries to escape down the stairs but the ninja reacts quick as lightning and drops him like a fly. He jumps down and tumbles towards the front door. They need help!

The armored dude grabs his bow and shoots at Larryl. It’s a hit. After this, he disappears through the door into the interior of the warehouse again.

Inspecting the door, the Ninja discovers traps, so upstairs Darryl jumps out of the window to report back to the others. Tonks casts a Dark Bridge towards the window and, together with the Paladin and the Monk, climbs in, while the City Guards guard the building from the outside.

The fight continues

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Larryl also goes down to the alley, disarms his prisoner after stabilizing him… and then throws him against the wall.

Two more archers appear near Larryl and Darryl and suddenly the Paladin feels a dagger in her neck and a voice growls fiercely at Larryl ‘Let him go!’. They’re surrounded! The guy changes his grip and then points the knife at her throat. Magnys freezes. The Ninja duplicates the move, aims his kukri at his prisoner’s throat en takes a step towards the beleaguered Paladin.

The Cleric casts her invisibility spell and steps behind Magnys’ attacker.

An arrow hits the ground near Larryl’s feet and again he hears the command ‘Let him go!’, which he ignores. Another attacker tries to hit Tonks, but misses. Her invisibility helps enormously. Very annoyed by this all, Darryl charges the second archer but his flying kick only hits air.

Meanwhile Magnys is getting mighty pissed and tries to free herself with an elbow blow aimed at her attacker’s solar plexis. Alas she doesn’t succeed and only manages to get herself cut as a reward.

The Ninja pushes his prisoner against the ground, then runs along the wall and tumbles behind Magnys. He stabs her attacker in the side with such ferocity that he manages to kill him. Magnys is free again!

Tonks turns around and goes after her opponent with a melee touch attack that inflicts a lot of damage. As a reaction the guy stabs the gnome with a dagger. The Paladin – seeing that her friend is now in danger – deals the man a huge blow after which the Cleric finishes him off.

Darryl is also being stabbed by his attacker, and then the dude runs away.  He shouldn’t have done that… the Monk chases and kills him.

Larryl quickly checks the bodies but – apart from 80 gold pieces and a bag of jewels – finds nothing of importance, no identifications. Darryl and his brother take their prisoner inside, while Tonks and Magnys haul the other one up. ‘What in all hells is going on here?!’ The inn keeper, awake from all the tumult, stares with big eyes at the battered group. They quickly inform him of the prowlers and continue to their rooms.

After a bit of threatening, the brothers’ prisoner is willing to spill the beans in exchange for his release. Apparently the bandits were sent to rob the Inn by a guy named Mutamin. Afterwards they are supposed to meet in the southern part of the Trades District, at Warehouse 352. Because the front door is booby trapped, they need to enter through a window. This kind of cooperativeness has earned the man his freedom and they let him go… he immediately flees town.

Meanwhile the women are having a less successful conversation. The guy is rude and won’t admit to anything. The Cleric releases the spell Chain of Eyes on the villain, planning to set him loose while spying through his eyes, but then Larryl and Darryl walk in the room with satisfied grins on their faces.

‘Too bad your friend told us everything we need to know eh? Now you have nothing to offer!’, Darryl says to the suddenly sullen captive. A pounding on the door interrupts and Magnys opens it wide to let in three guards, who have been alerted by the Inn keeper. ‘Do come in gentlemen,’ she says, ‘we have captured this gentleman who’s the representative for the group responsible for a massive burglary!’. The guards tell them that other guests have also been robbed of their gold and jewelry tonight and are happy with the catch. Larryl hands over the bags of jewels he’s taken off one of the corpses and asks the guards to return them to their rightful owners.

The Monk explains the guards about Mutamin , the meeting place of the thieves in the Trades District and suggests they go there together to check out the place and end the thieves gang once and for all. Tonks and Magnys don their armor, Darryl pulls on his new boots and together they set out into the night again.

Attack at the Golden Bracer

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Back at the Golden Bracer, Darryl, Tonks and Magnys go to sleep but Larryl decides to check out the surroundings of the inn one more time to see if they have been tracked. He sees no one conspicuous, so he follows the others to bed.

In the morning they visit the market, as the gnome wants to buy jewelry and Larryl needs a better weapon. They sell their unnecessary items and check out the wares. After some negotiating, Larryl’s kukri is upgraded, which costs him a pretty amount of gold. Magnys gets her chain mail enhanced, while Tonks buys a brooch of wisdom. This will help her with her spell casting. Boots of striding are Darryl’s choice.

When they return, Uncle Sealamin is waiting for them. He doesn’t have any news on the list with traders yet, but will check out Diyab for them.

The next days pass uneventfully. Larryl hangs out at the Sandpit Inn, while Darryl visits the bathhouse. In search of other gnomes, Tonks roams through the city, and Magnys spends her time in the Temple of Horus-Re.

On the third night, Tonks wakes up to stealthy noises in her room. In the gloom she sees a figure going through her bags in the closet. Quickly she activates her light amulet and the intruder runs. Tonks chases him towards the window. He’s trying to climb out! Magnys wakes up from the noise, grabs her mace and runs after her friend. Tonks casts a spell and manages to totally confuse the unknown visitor, who’s climbing down towards a lower roof. There she spots two more villains.

Meanwhile the brothers also have an unwanted guest. Larryl ghost steps onto the roof and looks up towards the window. He sees the intruder fall out, bull rushed by Darryl, and ‘catches’ the guy with his kukri. Darryl jumps after and hits the prowler so hard he dies on the spot. Nobody messes with the brethren! Well, no one except the ‘poor’ confused fellow. He attacks the monk and pisses off Larryl who defends his brother fiercely. This one also doesn’t live to see a new day.

When Tonks flies out the window – activating another spell – Magnys is finally able to join the fight. She climbs down from the window wearing her shield and mace – nothing else. The villains are startled by the hovering gnome and the extremely casually dressed Paladin. Darryl uses the distraction to bull rush another one over the edge of the roof – ribs crack – and jumps down towards the street, where he continues to fight with the guy. When he tries to run away, Darryl kills him.

Magnys goes for one of the attackers and hits him with her mace. She’s only trying to wound him and tries to avoid lethal damage. Unfortunately he falls off the roof, but Tonks flies after and makes sure he’s immobilized. The Paladin climbs up to her room, quickly dresses and then runs down the stairs, opens the inn’s front door and helps Tonks dragging their prisoner in for interrogation. Larryl has managed to hamstring the last of the villains and binds him securely.

This could get interesting!

Sandpit Inn

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In the afternoon the four adventurers gather again at the Temple of the Aster, where Uncle Sealamin tells them that Essafah was the leader of the smugglers. There’s a nice reward on his head: 2500 gold pieces! They thank Sealamin for the reward and head back to the Golden Bracer for dinner. After that our friends take a coach to the Warehouse district, in search of the Sandpitt Inn. They find themselves at the door of a shaggy establishment, where they order a couple of beers. After a bit of smalltalk the inn’s owner tells them that the White Mist cargo ship is transporting slaves and other ‘goods’.

The Sandpit Inn seems to be popular and soon the place is crowded with mostly thirsty sailors. Darryl decides to participate in a game of poker. Suddenly there’s a bit of a riot near Darryl and both he and Tonks jump right in: bar brawl. Larryl ghost steps behind the counter and Magnys keeps an eye on things, staying in her spot near the bar, determined – even though severely tempted – not to join in. While the barman’s attention is focused on the fight, Larryl searches for doors, but he doesn’t find any. He hops onto the counter and systematically checks the room.

Tonks and Darryl enjoy themselves mightily banging mugs on people’s heads and even flying around, literally! By now the bartender, Larryl, Magnys and a stranger, who’s sitting quietly in a corner on the far end of the room, are the only ones who have not joined the ruckus. Anyone that gets too close to Magnys, gets stared at with ferocious glares. Larryl’s attention is drawn towards the stranger. After a while the fight quiets down and Magnys starts dragging unconscious drunk outside.

Larryl jumps off the bar and walks over to the man in the corner, offering him a drink. He turns out to be a local guy, with a rough unshaven face, experienced but without any distinguishing features. The guy introduces himself as Diyab, businessman who trades with lots of people, as long as it’s profitable. Larryl tells Diyab that he’s a jack of all trades who’s looking for a job. ‘My talents,’ he says, ‘are all about shadows, tracking and disposing of people to take care about certain problems.’ He offers himself and the group as bodyguards and asks Diyab if he knows someone who would want to hire them. Then he asks about exotic slaves. Diyab sips his beer and tells Larryl that exotic slaves are not common in this area. Slaves in Unther are mostly from war zones. Perhaps a very small group of traders would engage in exotic slaves. Larryl thanks the man for the talk and company and saunters back to the group.

After consulting with his friends, Larryl – accompanied by Magnys – returns to the businessman to ask for his help. They tell him about Kai, about the abduction and offer 1.000 gold pieces for more information about Kai. Diyab doesn’t know him – it’s not one of the main slave traders – but it might be one of the suppliers. After giving the man more details, Larryl pays 100 gold pieces in advance and they agree to meet in three days in the Sandpit Inn.

Under suspicion

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Saturday, September 11th

With our prisoner securely bound, we take care of our wounds and then investigate the house. It turns out to be a well-stocked hideout.

Larryl walks over to the captive and introduces himself. The prisoner’s name is Essafah. Larryl threatens him into admitting that he works for a smuggling organization commissioned by traders. Essafah won’t tell the names of the people he works for, because he wants to use that knowledge to negotiate with the authorities. After Magnys promises to put in a good word for him, he adds that we should go to the Sandpit Inn. This inn, situated in the South-West of Skuld, is frequently visited by shifty individuals who trade in exotic slaves.

We take the prisoner back to the military harbor and  turn him over to the guards. They tell us that Mulhorandi warships chased the smuggler boat and hauled it back to shore. We are all escorted to the guardhouse. There we meet commandant Djuhah. We tell the commander the story about the stolen oil casks, the pursuit through the dark, the discovery of the smugglers’ house and the fight. Djuhah listens carefully, sends guards out to investigate the hide-out and then leaves to interrogate Essafah. When the commandant returns, his behavior has changed and he wants to know exactly what happened tonight. After hearing the reports of the guards about the massacre in the hide-out, he’s treating us as suspects! Again we narrate the story and Djuhah leaves the room, locking us in.

Of course he hasn’t taken into account Larryl’s amazing skills! After hearing arguing voices, the curious halfling ghost steps through the door to find uncle Sealamin in a heated discussion with the commandant. Djuhah jumps when he sees Larryl appear suddenly next to him.  Sealamin is very upset about finding his niece in custody. ‘This behavior is outrageous,’ he yells, ‘these good people have done nothing but carry out an investigation for our temple! Release them, at once!’ At these words, the commander finally is convinced of the good intentions of our party and, offering excuses, he quickly opens the door. After this nightly escapade, we gladly take our leave and return to the Golden Bracer by carriage. A quick wash up and then to bed!

These nocturnal activities have taken their toll and we all wake up late – in fact too late for breakfast! But our good landlord has some snacks and fruit to still the hunger until lunch. Magnys decides to visit her parents, while the others check out the town. Somewhat later our paladin knocks on the door of the house where she grew up, hope alight in her eyes. When the door opens, she sees her mother standing in the doorway. ‘Hello Mom,’ she says, barely able to contain her excitement, and takes a big step forward, ‘it’s been such a long while…’ Her voice trails away at the blank  look on the other’s face. Her mother barely seems to recognize her own daughter.

‘Magnys?’

‘Yes it’s really me! How are you doing? Are you alright? Where’s Dad? And where are the boys?’

The time on the road seems to disappear in an instant and for a moment she’s sixteen again – eager for attention from parents who never seemed to do anything but work.

‘Can I come in Mom?”

Slowly the woman regains her composure and opens the door  to let her daughter in. The house is much smaller than Magnys remembers and she follows her mother into the living room. The table is covered with papers and piles of books. Soon they’re sitting down with a cool glass of juice.

‘Still working as hard as ever Mom?’

‘Aye, and I need to finish this by tonight when Dad comes home. ‘

The sparkle in Magnys’ eyes disappears at hearing the familiar response. Always work, work, work.

‘I haven’t seen you for fifteen years Mom, FIFTEEN years, and you’re telling me you have to finish the job?? Seems nothing has changed here!’

Her voice falters on the verge of breaking, but then she straightens her shoulders. She was a fool to believe things would be different. A childhood of neglect has hardened her into the strong woman she is now.

‘Lets go and do something together Mom, just the two of us. Just this once forget about your duty and come with me to the market. For old times’ sake. A bit of family quality time?’

To her surprise, her mother agrees and for a few hours Magnys can almost imagine she’s just like other daughters with their mothers roaming the market. Almost…

Nocturnal events

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Sunday, July 4th

After the bazaar, Tonks visits the Temple of Horus-Re. She sells her scrolls Mage armor, Dispel magic and Magic missile to a cleric. Driver Ahmad continues to the inn with Larryl, after dropping off Magnys at the entrance of the Temple of the Aster. In the temple she suddenly hears a familiar voice! Quickly Magnys turns around and then jumps into the arms of her dear uncle Sealamin, the man who changed her life into service of Lathander. Magnys is happy to hear that her parents, who are still living in Skuld, are well. On impulse she invites Sealamin for supper in the Golden Bracer at 8 pm. Then she makes a generous donation to the temple to honor her deity Lathander. Both women follow Larryl back towards the inn as well.

Later that evening, freshly bathed and dressed in clean clothes, the party is waiting for Magnys’ uncle to arrive. On the menu are tantalizing dishes, all the tastier after the long sea trip: pheasant, beef, bread, goat cheese, potatoes, cactus fruit, fresh tuna and a bottle of good wine. Sealamin is late for their appointment, and when he finally shows up,  he explains there was an emergency at the temple. The food is indeed excellent and while they’re all enjoying it, Magnys steers the conversations towards the subject of slavery. Sealamin confirms that slavery is legal in Skuld, but abducting people from the street is not! He offers to subtle inquire after the whereabouts of Kai and will try to get his hands on a list of all traders in the city.

Then a message from the temple of Horus-Re arrives: all the drums of oil have been stolen from the lighthouse! Uncle Sealamin has to excuse himself from the dinner party to investigate, and the others decide to help out.  They all get into the Temple coach that is waiting in front of the Golden Bracer, the ladies wearing armor, carrying weapons and backpacks, just in case. Gone is the lazy evening and Darryl wishfully thinks of the massage that is waiting.

The coach first takes Sealamin back to the temple and then drives on to the military port where the lighthouse is situated. There they find a little warehouse with two guards. After our friends tell the guards that the Temple of Horus-Re sends them, the duo gives full cooperation. They explain how the oil barrels are transported by dinghy to the island tower, and that three guards have been struck down on duty. Magnys asks if something special was at hand, or has happened, but the guards answer negative. The Paladin urges the men to be on their guard in this dark night and then rows towards the lighthouse with a new supply of oil, Darryl handling the oars with her.

When they arrive on the island, the remaining three guards are glad with the new oil. Two of them rush up the tower to rekindle the fire of the lighthouse, while the other tells them that veiled men have clubbed down the guards present and have escaped, taking all the oil with them. Larryl starts looking for clues near the oil storage and finds tracks that lead them to the Northern shore of the island. With the huge fire burning anew, the guards on top of the lighthouse sound the alarm, spotting a ship further down the bay. Our four adventurers rush back towards their dinghy and start rowing towards the ship, while the guards send light signals to the military port for backup. The unknown ship raises anchor and sails towards open sea, but then they spot another dinghy that sets course towards the rocky shore.  Our party decides to follow this sloop.

The unidentified sloop has been secured to a ring near the entrance of a cave-like opening. Magnys and Tonks climb out of their dinghy, followed close at heel by the brethern. A corridor leads them further into the rocks. By the light of Tonks’ amulet of light they follow the passage to the right, when suddenly they hear a click and a hissing sound. It seems they have activated some kind of trap, but everyone can back up quickly enough to evade any nasty consequences of the gas. The corridor leads towards a door, and when Larryl pushes a button on the panel, the door opens into a storage room. There are oil barrels inside! In the corner of the room there’s a stairway that leads up towards a sturdy wooden door. Larryl senses something fishy about it and very carefully disables another magical trap.

The monk tumbles through the door into a well stocked cellar where they find a hatch. It opens into a living room with a couple of open doors. When Darryl hears voices that sound alarmed, he quickly closes the latch again and douses his torch. Footsteps resound above their heads and everyone holds his and her breath. After a while all seems quiet, but when Larryl sneaks back up through the latch, there’s a guy waiting for him with a crossbow. Then all hell breaks loose and everyone is engaged in a fierce fight, in which Larryl uses his cool ability to walk through walls to surprise his opponents. Our companions win and on Tonk’s advice take a prisoner alive.  The inhabitants of the house turn out to be extraordinary well equipped: full plate mail, large steel shield, bastard sword and composite longbow, all magical.