- A long day. When we spoke to Skarett, it was clear that he was disturbed by the theft. He made several of his staff members available for questioning. The first person we met was Ben, the Head Guardsman. Ben was cooperative, and described the two men responsible for watch the previous night. Their names: Charl and Pitt. Ben was especially suspicious of Pitt, who apparently has a criminal past. We decided it was best to track the men separately: Zef, Eckhart and I pursued Pitt, while Eil, Adanel and Kethlan pursued Charl. Ben provided some information that helped get us started finding them. My group began to make our way to the fish market on the east side of Seahome, where we were told Pitt lived. As we arrived in that vicinity, we headed into the local inn to ask some questions. The White Scale Dalliance, it was called, and it was early enough yet in the day that the inn was closed. We were able to talk to some of the barmaids, who were able to provide a bit more information on where we could find Pitt. It seems that he lives somewhere on Red Flounder Alley. As we arrived on the designated street, we patrolled the area, considering where to start. We arrived at a fruit stand, run by a colorful young man. Zef ordered a piece of fruit, and began asking some questions about Pitt. The young man’s responses led me to believe that he knew more than he was letting on. Eckhart tried to bully the boy, but was rebuffed at the counter when the lad drew an iron object from below it and struck it loudly! I chuckled quietly as Eckhart recoiled. While Zef was offering a bribe, Eckhart noticed someone quickly dart from a window as he looked up. When he indicated it to us, we quickly ran into the building to check it out. However, by the time we got inside, and asked around, Pitt was long gone. We talked to the attendant, who allowed us to such Pitt’s room. I haven’t seen a room that bare since my own days after first having dedicated my life to service for Halav. Between the stories of the young man and the attendant, I began to believe that Pitt may not have been involved. There was no telling for sure until we could question him. We waited in the area for him, but found that he had returned to his apartment and left again without us seeing him. We decided to return to the Storage Area, since that appeared to be where he left for. We met the others on our way back. It seemed that they had much the same experience we did. We decided to question the two again. To aid us in our questioning, I cast a prayer of truth on the area. The questioning left us doubting either’s participation in the theft. One detail did come out: Ben was present on the night of the theft, a detail that he left out of his own account to us. We quickly determined that Ben should be our next visit. We first tried to find him at home, but he wasn’t there. We made our way to the tavern in the area, called the Boatswain’s Bosom. Ben was there. We talked with him for a few minutes, asking him questions about the previous night. He denied any wrongdoing, but offered an address to a brothel. I thought we might be able to gather more information there, but it proved to be too much self-control to be asked of Eil and Zef. Not surprisingly, no information was found there, despite the large amount of coin wasted! We decided to split up. Zef and Adanel would check out Ben’s apartment, while the rest of us met up at the tavern to talk to Ben once more. After a while of drinking with Ben, he decided it was time to go home! We tried to delay him, but he wanted to go, so we walked with him. When we reached his house, we started to sing and act in a boisterous manner, as to alert our friends that Ben was coming home. Our plan worked, with Zef and Adanel escaping without being noticed. As we left the area, their report confirmed our suspicions. They found the chest of papers and bindings in his house. My anger rose, and I told them we should go back immediately. Some of the others felt like we should wait until morning, and so that is what we’ll do.
- We left the inn first thing this morning to go back to Ben’s house. When we arrived, we knocked, but there was no answer. We knocked again, and Ben cracked the door. Eckhart tried to get Ben to invite us in under the guise of having some good news to tell him, but Ben was wary and didn’t buy it. As Eckhart rambled on, I hissed in his ear: “Push him in!” Finally, Eckhart did just that, and Ben tumbled to the floor. The rest of us quickly filed in and shut the door behind us. I could see the fear in Ben’s face. His eyes told me of his guilt as his mouth lied of his innocence. We confronted him, but he insisted he was innocent. Adanel took him upstairs, and we found our chest again after a brief search. After being confronted with our possessions, and a sword pointed at his chest by Adanel, he finally confessed. He told us that he had tipped off a man named Smudge. Smudge, an Animal Trainer with Guild Corser, also seems to have an interest in rare books, such as the ones possessed by Moridin. I’m sure the value of the gold and other objects didn’t dissuade him at all. Ben distracted Pitt and Charl, which allowed Smudge and his crew to escape with our goods unnoticed. As Ben confessed, he begged us not to tell Skarrett of the deed, or Smudge about where we got our information. We assured Ben that as long as his information led to the full recovery of our goods, that we would not turn him in. Ben then told us where we could find Smudge: in the East Grotto by the Waterfront.. Having gotten what useful information we could from him, we ordered him to stay around, so that we could find him again. We mulled over a couple of plans to confront Smudge, but finally settled on the direct approach. After arriving at his store, we sent Adanel in to determine if Smudge was there or not. She saw him, and returned to let us know. We then entered as a group, and confronted Smudge. He asked if we had gotten our information from Ben. As I said “Yes”, Smudge opened a door and closed it behind him. The two other men drew weapons, and a fight was on! Admittedly, I’ve wanted a fight since the day we dealt with the Barony Slavers and by Halav, even Kethlan wasn’t going to stop me this time! I ignored the two men and began to make my way to the door that Smudge passed through, Adanel right along with me. As we reached the door, Adanel slammed into it. She mentioned that she thought it might have been barred somehow. We drew weapons in an effort to get through. In the meantime, the others dealt with the two men in the room. As they finished, a tapestry folded up, and revealed three more men, firing arrows! Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. The archers withdrew after some return fire from our crossbowmen, and the tapestry folded back down. We pulled down the tapestry, and saw that a small portcullis had dropped where the men had been. Eil and Adanel lifted the portcullis, and the group took turns sliding under it. On we were all through, they let us close again behind them. In the back of the new room where we stood, there was a flight of stairs going down. Kethlan said he saw the three archers go down. We cautiously took to the stairs, Eil leading the way. As he stepped on one of the bottom stairs, a huge dog was released from its chain, and it lunged at Eil! We watched, unable to help Eil as he fought and defeated the animal. While we waited, I felt an urge to draw and make use of the new weapon we found on Island 7. I had put it away, but felt the time had come to use it. As Eil finally killed the dog, we moved forward. There was nothing else in the hall, except the spot where the dog had been chained up, and a steel door. Zef was able to pick the door, and we cautiously entered the room. Instead of Smudge and his men, however, we found several kennels containing ferocious hyenas. After a more careful search of the room and the hall, we found no other rooms or doors, but we did find a lever. Certain that it would open the cages, but hopeful that it would help us find where Smudge and his comrades went, we got into a formation and pulled it. The steel door slammed shot, and the kennels opened. A ferocious fight ensued. I was able to keep the fighters healed until we finished the hyenas. Searching the kennels, we found a secret door, which led us to a shaft leading down. We readied ourselves for a continued chase. We would soon discover where the chase led us….