After hearing the proclamation, the party met up back up at the Greedy Wurm. They sat at their favorite table and conspired on how to deal with the situation regarding Gail.
“With the tunnel, we can easily sneak in and bust Gail out!” Bast said emotionally, struggling to keep his voice down. “We would be in and out before they could mount a real fight.”
“Listen to yourself. You want us to break into the citadel and sneak in? And how pray tell you, do we hide her?” Said Innathia, gesturing towards Bex, “No offense but I highly doubt a sea giant could tread those halls and not make a scene! At the very least we should have Bex hang back.”
Bex looked at Bast and gave a shrug, acknowledging the truth of the statement.
“If shit hits the fan, I want someone there who I know can handle their own, and won’t leave me stranded. No offense, you’ve shown yourself a capable warrior when necessary but it is your resolve to see things through that has me doubting.” Bast said.
Innathia sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration. “We can’t fight the entire monastery. What we need is guile, not brute force! Which seems to be the only tool you know how to wield!”
The tavern door swung open and light shone into the murky tavern. Through the doorway in walked a female dwarf, her dour face scanning the room as if searching for something. The sight immediately stopped Bast in his tracks, his first thought was that the Underbelly had returned. He gave a curt nod to Bex to look behind her. At seeing the dwarf walk up to the bar and order an ale, Bex gave Bast a look that she understood. Innathia also deduced what the new trouble was and gave another sigh, expecting to be dragged into another dire situation by this impatient human.
The dwarf sits down in a corner table and broods over her beer, taking in the room. It seems that she didn’t find what she was looking for because as soon as she finished her beer she dipped back outside. Bast immediately stood up, “I’ll be right back.” And followed the dwarf onto the streets.
Bex watched him head out, trouble, but eventually shrugged and ordered another round.
A couple of hours go by, and several beers later the dwarf returned without Bast. Bex was several ales in by this time, but for good or ill, her giant constitution meant she was as damn near sober as birds could get, the fact that Grygaa watered his beer down helped as well. Surprisingly the dwarf sat down next to her.
“Have you seen any dwarfs around here?” Asked the strange dwarf.
“Uh, yes? You.” Bex answered earnestly, what a strange question.
The dwarf stared hard at the giant as if gauging if she was being mocked, “Besides me. Have you seen any dwarfs around here, besides me?”
Bex took another sip of her beer, before replying. “There was a small party of dwarves here recently, but they are gone now.” Bex decided it would be best to not advertise that they had killed the dwarves.
The dwarf grumbled something about this damn town and got back up, “Thank you for your time.”
Eldeth stood up, cursing her luck. If she hadn’t lost their trail, she wouldn’t be walking around town chasing her own tail. Her inquiring around town had turned up little other than that a party of dwarfs had been in town, but hadn’t been seen in several days. And to make it even better, it seemed they used to haunt the Dirty Wurm. But the only thing at the Wurm seemed to be a sea giant who took everything literal. Sighing Eldeth decided to try her luck around town again.
As she was making her way to the doorway a dark-skinned human walked in, as Eldeth went to move around him the human also stepped aside to block her path. Glaring up at him she said simply, “Move.”
Bast was near the end of his already low patience. Tailing the dwarf proved a bust, she didn’t lead him to the leader of the Underbelly like he had hoped. But it did seem that she was looking for them, a dwarf turning up at the Greedy Wurm and then heading around town questioning people spoke would be too big of a coincidence. But now the dwarf had lead him back to the Greedy Wurm.
He entered the tavern the same time the dwarf got up from the table Bex and Innathia were sitting at. She began to make her way towards the door. Tired and frustrated from the previous night’s stake out and the cooling trail of the Underbelly, Bast decided to forgo subtly and handle this head on. As the dwarf tried to make her exit Bast blocked the exit, glaring down at her.
The dwarf glared right back, “Move.”
“What were you talking to the giant about?” Bast said unmoving,
“None of your damn business, now move.”
Bast had to fight the urge to kick the dwarf in the face. Taking a moment to compose himself he instead said, “You’re not going to find them.”
“Find who?” Despite herself the comment caught her interest.
“Your Underbelly friends, they are either dead or have fled.” The dwarf started cursing repeatedly in dwarvish. The list of curses caught Bast off guard, of all the reactions this wasn’t what he had expected.
Finishing her tirade, Eldeth pointed a finger at the human, “I was hunting those bastards, now tell me everything you know.” The human appraised her for a second, Eldeth finally noticed the odd glint they had, as if something cat like was appraising her. He took a second before he spoke, “I think we can help each other, and I think it will be better told with an ale.”
The two-ordered a round of beers and began discussing about the Underbelly.
As the standoff was occurring a human of middling years saw the two blocking the doorway and decided it probably better to sell his wares to a less intense looking pair. As he stepped into the Wurm his enthusiasm waned a little, the bars patrons didn’t look promising. At one table sat a sea giant and a hooded figure, some possibility there maybe, and at a different table was two cloaked figures. His merchant instincts ringing he approached the two cloaked figures.
“Hello friends, you look like some folks in need of fine trinkets, baubles and other more…exotic items, for the right price of course.” The pair didn’t seem impressed, both dipped their heads to further hide their features and waved the peddler on. Taking the hint, he decided to check with the giant and her friend. “Very well, if you change your mind you can find me at the bazaar from sun up till noon.”
With that he sat grabbed a chair from a nearby table and dragged in next to the pair. “Why hello friends, in need of any trinkets, baubles, and for the right price some more esoteric services.”
The giant stared at him blankly, Innathia glared pointedly at him before replying, “The seats taken.”
“Well it’s a good thing I took it from that table friend. Now about my wares, go ahead make me an offer.” He had them right where he wanted them.
Just then a dark skinned human and a dwarf walked up to the table.
As Bast approached the table he noticed the strange human sitting at the table, he had the look about him of a nomad.
“And who are you?”
The man looked up at him with a broad smile, “Hello friend, I am just here offering my services.” And he gave Bast a wink.
He frowned, “If that is what you are about, the brothels are down the street.” The man stared at him dumbfounded.
“What? No, wares, im selling my wares. Trinkets and baubles from the desert.” With that he opened up his robe where had several items. Bast appraised them the items and then dismissed them.
“This is a private party. You will take your leave now.” Bast glanced at his companions and nodded towards Eldeth, “This is Eldeth, it seems her path aligns with ours.”
Eldeth merely nodded to the party, still not sure if she was making the right choice by trusting this human. Although for the most part a dwarven organization, she wouldn’t put it past the Underbelly to use human operatives. But sea giants were rumored to be trust worthy people.
“She has been hunting the Underbelly as well. While the trail has gone relatively cold, I think she can bring a fresh perspective on how to hunt them down. And having someone skilled in tracking could be useful.”
Innathia regarded the dwarf coolly, “I hope you didn’t feed her on the notion that the Underbelly and Luhi are working together, because we have no proof of that.”
“Nor do we have proof that they aren’t working together. Luhi rules by any means necessary, I wouldn’t put it past him to make deals with slavers.”
At this point Bex spoke up, “I think we should focus on one thing at a time. Gail doesn’t have much time.”
“You guys are going to help Gail?”
The party looked back at the human, it was apparent that they had forgotten he was there. “What is your name?”
At this the human smiled and replied, “My apologies I thought I had started out with that, my name is Mael Du Dama. And not only am I peddler of fine wares, but I also happen to be a powerful druid. And if your planning on helping Gail, count me in.”
The party looked at each other, and then back at the druid. “Well enough, I seem to be in a trusting mood today so why not. Yes, we are planning on breaking Gail out of jail before his execution.” Bast said, “Gail is a hero, and doesn’t deserve to die for only speaking the truth.”
“Perfect, so tell me what’s the plan?”
Innathia considered what was unfolding before him, “That is what we were discussing. Our friend here,” He gave a nod towards Bast, “Would have us sneak into the citadel, and attempt to sneak in and free Gail. And if it turns into a blood bath then so be it.”
“I would probably phrase it differently, but that’s pretty much as far as we have got.” Bast said.
“Ok, and stop me if I am over reaching, but what if we wait until the guards bring him out to the execution block. I will turn into a snake and sneak up and stun the guards. Before they know what is going on we break Gail out and flee.”
The group considered this plan, “It has…. merit.” Innathia said. “I could talk to some of my contacts, we have men who are skilled in inciting a crowed. Luhi isn’t well loved, it wouldn’t take much to incite the crowd against him.”
“I could see if Ket could pull some strings to get support from the other priests. Luhi has been harsh on the other churches, if you mess with people’s faith it makes a lot of enemies.” Bex said.
Bast reluctantly acknowledged that the plan seemed sound. “Very well if this is the path we are taking, I can talk to the owner of the Dixie Whick, her husband served with Gail.”
Innathia gave a sigh of relief, glad that the raid had been cancelled, for now.
As the group started hashing out the details for the escape. Eldeth sat there taking it all in, trying to decide if she had made the right decision by aligning herself with these people. A salesman, a sea giant barbarian, a secretive Seraphim, and a human who wants to solve all his problems by killing something. If it got her closer to the Underbelly then so be it.
Later that day a large crowd gathered in front of the citadel. The mood was very somber as the party moved through the crowd, despite his reputation Gail was a popular figure in the city. A line of monks barred the crowd from getting closer to where a stockade was set up on a raised platform. The citadel gates opened up, and out walked two monks with large glaives, between them they half carried-dragged Gail. From the looks of it the monks lived up to their reputation as bad hosts. They brought Gail onto the platform and locked him in the stockades and then took up positions on either side of him.
When the crowd saw Gail, a collective gasp went out, the shock then turned to angry mutters. Maen nodded to Bast and Innathia and then slipped away to get into position, Bex and Eldeth began moving towards the edge of the crowd. Next Luhi came out, his presence subduing the crowd for the moment.
Luhi’s gaze appraised Gail, and then back to the crowd.
“The man before you is a traitor to the crown. He seeks to undermine the law and order of our beloved Ryll, in order to help his dastardly allies who, want nothing more than to see this realm burn.” His gaze went back to Gail, a look of contempt crossing his face. “He would have us in chains, bowed before his unholy masters and gleefully spits in Norvell’s face. For these crimes, and blasphemes his punishment is death.”
The crowds murmuring began to grow again. This entire thing was a charade for Luhi to punish those who spoke out against him.
Innathia moved through the crowd effortlessly. Amongst the people he noticed the agents of his organization and gave a short nod to several of them as he passed. The crowd was almost ready, it wouldn’t take much to turn them against the monks. He stood next to Bast, and said, “It looks like everyone Is in position, it’s now or never.” And with that he began to make his way towards the front of the crowd.
As Innathia walked away Bast steeled himself for what was to come. Not sure why how he got the roll of initiator, Bast began to also make his way to the front. Taking down his shemagh, Bast yelled out, “The only crime this man has done is talk against you!”
Those nearest to him stopped and turned, at the front Luhi glared out looking for where the voice had come from. The crowd at first moved away from Bast surprised by his actions. No one had spoken out against Luhi before, and he wasn’t done. Continuing to make his way forward Bast continued, “Since Luhi has taken over Port Durst has seen nothing but pain and strife. The abandoned district is still a lawless cesspit berefts of even the basic amenities that are needed to live in this city. Trade has dried up, the only people who make their way to this city is because they know the blind eye the leaders take towards their dealings. And now Luhi has the gall to accuse Gail of these heinous crimes!”
Nearly to the front of the crowd now Bast raised his fist, “The time to retake our city is now! Down with Luhi! Free Gail!”
A loud roar rang out as the crowd took up the cry. Down with Luhi, Down with Luhi!
Innathia smiled as the crowd began pushing against the monks trying to restrain them. Slipping closer he shoved his dagger into the nearest guard’s stomach. It took a moment for even the guard to realize what had happened as he raised his bloody hand from his stomach before dropping. Seeing their comrade fall the nearest monks began cracking out with fists and clubs. Luhi seeing the crowd turning violent and his monks engaging with the populace glared at them before motioning for the nearest monks to leave, heading back into the citadel. The doors ranging with a loud thud as they closed.
The monks on the platform looked at each other and one raised his glaive to take off Gails head. Before he could a loud thunderclap rang out, stunning the guards and Gail. Maen sprang onto the platform before turning into a monstrous dire wolf, immediately lunging for the nearest monk. At the same time Bex and Eldeth broke from the crowd and charged towards the platform as well, Eldeth letting off an arrow from her longbow, hitting the other monk in the abdomen.
Staggering from the vicious bite wound of the dire wolf the monk didn’t even notice the sea giant stride onto the platform and taking her great axe easily cleaving his head off. With an arrow in his gut and seeing his ally’s head taken off, the second monk tried to stagger off. But before he could take a step off the platform Maen clamped down on his leg and dragged him down before shaking him like a rag doll.
By this point the other monks were subdued by the people, breaking Gail out of the stockade Bex easily carried him off. Seeing Gail free the crowd took up the chant, Gail! Gail! Gail!
Not waiting around, the party broke off from the rest of the group and began making their way with Gail to the Dixie Whick.
The party celebrated Gail’s rescue with a couple of ales at the Dixie Whick, it being the first day in a long time the city had much to celebrate. The party didn’t tarry too long because preparations had to be made for the prince’s arrival the following day.
With a threat on the prince’s life, the group went back to the Dixie Whick to meet up with Gail. They are lead down to the cellars where Gail is currently hiding. Sitting on a barrel sit’s Gail, he looks up at the opening of the door but relaxes when he recognizes his rescuers.
“Hail friends, it is good to see you again.” He stands to greet them, “I didn’t get to thank you properly last night.”
“We have come to you because we need help.” Said Bast. He looks back at his party, “It has come to our attention that there is a plot to assassinate the Prince. But two Nephilim have been spotted hanging around the Greedy Wurm. We tried to see what they were up to but nothing turned up.”
An expression of deep worry crosses Gails face. “Listen to me, you must track down those Nephilim’s. The princes must be protected.”
“What about Luhi? We believe he is involved in the plot. A monk was seen talking to them.”
“Luhi must be brought down. If he is involved in this we will find out. But first we must follow the leads we know we can deal with first. I will try and meet the prince before he goes into the citadel, I might be able to persuade him to use caution around Luhi.”
“Thank you, Gail, we will do our part” The party begins to head out but Innathia hangs back.
He takes out a robe from his pack, “If you are going to be meeting the prince then may I recommended some proper attire.” Gail takes the robe and thanks him for the gift.
“Ok, no more games. When we go in we subdue the spies and make them talk.” The group gave a nod and entered the tavern. The spies wernt there.
“Are we too late?” Bast said back outside the tavern. “The prince is going to be here any moment. I don’t even know where to start looking.”
“Maybe I can help.” Offered Eldeth, “I am a skilled tracker. I may be able to find a clue or something.”
Eventually able to find a pair of tracks that matches, they followed them to the docks. Innathia went up to one of the dock workers nearby, “Excuse me sir, but have you seen any cloaked figures about these parts today?”
The worker looked at him for a second before replying, “Well…a pair did take a boat out a couple of hours ago. Headed out past the breakers. Never came back.”
Cursing the party thanked him for his time and began to decide on what to do. From across the city they heard the startup of trumpets announcing the arrival of the prince. They were out of time.