On the way back to Fallcrest, Rolsten’s brother, Griff, informed the party, which at the time consisted of Sunny, Dak, Thorir, Gorstag, Splug, and Godfuck, the minotaur barbarian, of recent events in Fallcrest. Aurora and Marshmallow said their goodbyes, and returned to a solitary life in the wilderness surrounding Winterhaven. After the fall of Kalarel, Gorstag came to accept the dangers of necromancy, and turned his studies to the much safer and controlled study of…pyromancy.
Fallcrest had become a hotbed of civil unrest in recent days, as the political activism group, the Sons of Nerath, had been gaining power and influence. After the Lord Warden, Faren Markelhay, signed into law the Equal Tax Act, which balanced historically unfair tax rates which favored humans, a quarter of the town watch resigned, and the Sons surged into the forefront of political debate. They also surged into the forefront of petty crimes such as vandalism, extortion, rioting, and began to use their rise in influence to bully the other races.
Fortunately, the real estate mogul and money lender Armos Kamroth donated a troop of warforged soldiers to boost the ranks of the town watch, and as a result became the new Master of Coin, the administrative head of maintaining the economy. Unfortunately, the Sons were being financed by some unknown party, and were being armed with a large amount of weapons. The rising concern led to Griff seeking our heroes to help quell any potential threat to Fallcrest. He charged them with three tasks, to be carried out in secret. They were to somehow expose a local herald, Rush of Limb Borough, to be unstable or fraudulent, to find and put an end to the supply of weapons, and to eliminate the unknown financier of the Sons of Nerath.
Since our heroes would be working in secret, and could not be tied to the government in any way, Griff forbade them from contacting Markelhay. Instead, he would stay at the Lucky Gnome and establish a base of operations there. Speaking of which, upon arrival at their tavern, the party discovered a boarded up window, scorch marks and other evidence of a fire, and an immensely drunken Bede Eightstrings in the closed remains of their livelihood.
Dak interrogated Bede to learn that a really nice fellow by the name of Raff, who ran community service progects aimed at revitalizing the public image of the Sons, stopped by one night, and then left in a rage and returned with some buddies to torch the place and assault some innocent bystanders. Raff is now wanted by the law, but neither he nor a serving maid at the Lucky Gnome has been seen since that night. Bede also informed the party that, along with the tavern, they also inherited its debts from Kelson. They owe money to the very same Armos Kamroth. Splug requested the back room to start a gambling operation, the fulfillment of his lifelong dream, which was easily granted.
The party decided to make repairs later, and to spend some time instead gathering as much intel as possible. Sunny prowled the streets with an ear to the ground and learned that Rush prepared for his speeches in a tent a short way away from his pulpit, and that if anyone were smuggling weapons for the Sons, it would be a dwarf named Strongbeard. Since Rush had returned to his well-guarded home for the evening, the party decided to follow their lead on the weapons. Sunny tailed Strongbeards shipments, and eventually came to a warehouse which appeared to be the hub of the operation. Sunny climbed to the roof and picked the lock to get inside.
Within, Sunny looked down upon a grisly scene. A man with a swagger stood near a small boat and was looking with a smirk at the body of a dwarf swinging from a rope in the center of the warehouse. Apparently Strongbeard was no longer in control of the smuggling ring. Dock workers were strewn about the warehouse going about their business as if it were any normal day. Another man, with an ornate knife belt, supervised them.
Sunny decided she needed backup to handle this group, so she returned to the Lucky Gnome and gathered the strength of the whole party. They returned to the warehouse, and awaited Sunny’s signal to enter. However, when Sunny reentered through the roof access, she spotted a well-armed and armored man arguing with the swaggering pirate. The man was soon identified as Barristan, a Son who had been attacking slavers on the King’s Road. Sunny watched for a bit, and then sent shurikens flying while the rest of the party burst into the room. Gorstag and Dak opened fire on the workers, who drew swords, and halved their number. Godfuck stormed in and knocked one out with one great swing. Thorir charged the knife fighter, and they locked into combat. When the pirate neared the ladder to the upper platform where Sunny was, she jumped on him and stabbed him with her shortsword.
Combat continued, and became more complicated when Barristan joined the fray by attacking Thorir. Sunny incapacitated the pirate, Godfuck finished off the minions and then aided Thorir, and Gorstag caused lots of huge explosions which burned Thorir more than the enemies. Eventually the knife fighter made a break for it, but Dak and Gorstag took him down at range with an arrow through the back. Thorir incapacitated Barristan, and the party tied up the captives. They decided to awaken Barristan first, as he seemed to be the most reasonable.
It turned out that Barristan was seeking the identities of the leaders of the Sons as well, so that he could persuade them to end the crimes against the people and to place aside the xenophobic tendencies of the organization. He instead wanted to focus on their original goal, to rebuild the Nerath Empire to restore order to the Nentir Vale. Dak assured him that they would aid him and eventually, with great difficulty, convinced him to join their cause. The pirate proved less helpful, so Gorstag blew his head off. The other two were bribed into silence and released.
Now that the Fallcrest smuggling ring was all but destroyed, and all owners of the warehouse seemed to be dead, our heroes decided to take advantage of the opportunity by becoming the new leaders of all smuggling operations in and around Fallcrest. However, they could not manage such an extensive operation themselves, so they approached Orest, the tiefling who first hired the party and brought them together. Orest agreed to manage the warehouse and its dealings for 40% of the profits. Our heroes agreed and became the leaders of a smuggling ring, when added to the already developing gambling racket and the tavern which remained the favorite of thieves and other criminals, made them the leaders of a staggering amount of not-entirely-legal activities in Fallcrest. However, it also allowed them to limit the extremity of criminal activity, and to prevent the Sons from arming the citizenry illegally.
Barristan also revealed one particularly interesting bit of information, the seal of the blacksmith who had been making the weapons. Thorir instantly recognized it as his family crest… Apparently his brother, Faramir, was working with the Sons of Nerath. The party, plus Barristan, returned to the tavern and used a magic ritual to repair the damage. Griff retreated to a room to avoid Barristan. The party rested and prepared for their assault on Rush of Limb Borough.
The next day, the party approached Rush’s tent as he prepared for his speech. Sunny climbed to a rooftop while Thorir and Godfuck began a feigned fight to lure the guards. Thorir started belching racist profanities to catch Rush’s attention. Most of the guards, warforged assigned by the Lord Warden so that Rush would not become a martyr, were drawn to the scene. However, some remained, so Sunny released the Mad Priest, who stripped naked and ran past the guards to the podium, where he began pelvic thrusting at the crowd. While all the guards were distracted, Sunny leapt down, cut her way into the tent, poisoned the oranges, which Barristan told them about, with her Id Moss powder, and cut another way out. She was gone before anyone noticed. The Mad Priest was carried off in irons.
The party decided to watch the show from the crowd, and felt grim satisfaction when he began to speak of the army of fairies which were coming to feast upon their genitalia. The crowd, however, did not react as well. Most were shocked, some giggled, and then suddenly swords were drawn and a group of humans rushed the warforged guards. The captain calmly ordered the use of nonlethal force, and the soldiers began riot control protocols. Then, strangely, the runes on the warforged soldiers’ heads glowed red, and the captain ordered the use of lethal force. Alarmed, the party joined the fray and took out the soldiers before they could massacre the rioters. They managed to save all but three.
The commotion brought the attention of the rest of the guards, breathing ones, who arrested everyone involved. After being questioned, the rioters were imprisoned and our heroes were released since, according to witnesses, they simply came to the aid of people in danger from rogue warforged. While at the prison, they also bailed out the Mad Priest and lured him back into the bag of holding with delicious ice cream. All in all, the mission was a resounding success. However, the activity of the guards puzzled and troubled our heroes, who, along with most of Fallcrest, suspected Kamroth since he supplied them.
The party returned to the tavern, and made preparations to travel to Westerfield on the morrow. It is time for Thorir to go home. Godfuck decided to remain behind and work as security for the tavern and as an enforcer for the gambling and smuggling rings.
What will our heroes do upon their arrival in Westerfield? Why had Thorir’s brother been arming the Sons? What are they going to do about their debt to Kamroth? Find out next time!