Eventually I’m able to drag the unconscious Gith cleric outside the bar along with Constance to check on him away from the fight. I couldn’t see much of what was going on as I made my way out of there, but from the sounds of it things were going downhill quickly.
“Looks like he’s going to be okay… he was just knocked unconscious by that Mind Flayer attack,” Constance informs me as she kneels over the sleeping cleric. “Maybe we should slip around back and see if we can help the others?”
CRASH! BANG! GROWL!
Growl? By the Gods, what are they doing in there now?
“I don’t know if I’d go back in there,” I chuckle with a shake of my head at the sounds within. “It sounds pretty insane in there. The others can handle themselves, I’m sure.”
The ring of the city watch bells begin to sound as Hodekin runs out of the bar. “Shit, it’s the law!”
“Come on, help me with the cleric here,” I reply as I put his arm around my shoulder and Constance hurries over to get his other side. “Keep your heads down, and try and act like we’re helping our drunk friend get home,” I mutter quietly as we lower our heads and do our best to stagger down the road. “You, just try and stay out of sight,” I whisper to the Kobold.
“Do you think Waylond and Solon will be ok?” Constance whispers worriedly.
“They’ll be fine… now stagger!” I whisper back as I spy the City Guard making their away around the block towards the bar. I hold my breath as Constance answers some quick questions from one of the guards who stopped to look at Hodekin, and gesture to Constance that we should stagger into an alleyway up ahead once they pass so we can keep an eye on the bar.
We set the still sleeping Khal on the ground for Hodekin to tend to and watch the entrance of the bar intently as the Giff comes stumbling out with his arm around a very inebriated elf. “See? Told you they’d be fine,” I tell Constance. “They might not like themselves in the morning, but they’re no worse for wear.”
“GAH! Where am I? What in the name of Gith did that Kobold stick in my mouth while I was out?”
Ah… looks like Khal is going to be okay thanks to Hodey’s healing machine. At least… I hope that’s what it was…
Once Waylond settles his beer tab with the authorities, I cast an incantation that enables me to whisper to Waylond that they’re to join us in the alleyway so we can decide on where to go next. Personally, I think an Inn would be a good idea, all things considered. Waylond may be used to his alcohol, but I think Khal and Solon could probablly use a good night’s rest. I turn to ask Hodekin his opinion, but I see that his attention has been drawn elsewhere as he peers out of the alleyway and down the street.
“What’s going on?”
“Mind Flayers and Arcane talking means bad business for the rest of us,” he warns as he points down the street to one of those tall blue ship-building creatures talking rather animatedly with a Mind Flayer on the next corner.
“Can you hear anything?” I ask curiously. This can’t be good.
“Berks using silence spells,” he grunts with a shake of his head.
“Yeah, the Arcane don’t like business interruptions,” a new voice says behind us. I turn quickly to find a figure decked in armor from head to toe suddenly in our midst. He must have appeared magically… because there’s no way someone in that much armor could be that quiet.
“<hic> Hey wow… suit’s empty!” laughs Solon in a drunken haze as he peers into the helmet. “By the Light… how dya do dat?” He sticks his hand thorough the visor of the helmet and wiggles his fingers around as he giggles… and then moans in disappointment as whatever was inhabiting the armor seems to have disappeared at the intrustion, the armor falling to the ground in a noisy pile.
“Well damn…” mutters Waylond as Hodekin gathers up the pieces and ties them together. “Do you suppose he’s worth something if he’s broken? Maybe we should take him to a shop and see.”
“I’m all for going back to the ship,” mutters Khal as he finally gets back to his feet.
I’m about to add my opinion when a dark skinned boy runs out of the bar and across the street to us. “I’ve been told to pass on the message that Harliss wants to see you!” he says quickly before taking a deep breath and running down the street to disappear into the darkness.
“Well, it looks like we might have a job then!” I say cheerfully, but any responses are soon halted by the appearance of some rather familiar gully dwarves being marched down the street in chains by the local authorities.
“That is… if we still have a ship.”
Eventually it’s agreed that Waylond and Hodekin will take the woozy Khal back to the ship while Constance, Solon and I go to talk to Harliss. I wasn’t sure about the elf… but I guess he’s got a stronger constitution than I thought.
“We were summoned?” I ask the balding man in the booth as I scoot over to make room for the others.
“These are your friends, I take it?” He replies, not even looking up from a stack of papers in his lap. “Got any skills? Got a ship?”
“Yeeeessss… we’ve got a ship. As to the skills, Constance is a capable pilot and spellcaster, and Solon has the ever-so handy not-so-legal skillset.”
“All have to start somewhere, I guess,” he snorts in derision as he tosses a map across the table to Constance. “This is a recon mission. Go there, look around, tell me what you find.”
“It looks like this place is out in the middle of nowhere in the flow between Refuge and Realmspace. Any idea what we’re going to be looking for?” asks Constance as she scans the map.
“The 1,000 gold includes no questions asked,” Harliss replies.
“What… each?” I ask half-jokingly.
“Who do you think you are… Kaolin the Explorer?” he scoffs before taking a drink of ale.
“Feh… Groundlings … look, I suggest you go lay claim to your ship and get a move on if you want to get anywhere around here.” he finishes as he slaps a few coins on the table and gets up to leave.
“What do you think is out there?” whispers Constance as she scans the map again for any clues.
“Something that’s worth a hell of a lot more than 1,000 gold pieces and incredibly dangerous to boot.” I reply.
“What makes you say that?”
“I’ve seen enough business dealings in my time to know when I’m being played. Why else would he send a bunch of nobodies like us? Rule #1, Constance… everyone’s expendable.”
“And what’s rule #2?” Solon asks as we walk out of the bar and back to the docks.
“It’s always a trap.”