After putting out fires, our courageous group of adventurers were brought before the captain of the guard for the merchant ward by Sergeant Lobo.
The city watch used a small keep as headquarters for the Merchant Ward. As the adventurers walked down a hall past the barracks they could see an outdoor training yard through open-air windows to their left. They were led through a thick wooden double door and entered the prison cell complex.
Watch Captain Thaeron, a relatively tall man who was rarely seen outside his studded leather armor, kept his office in a large jailor’s station that had two cells which opened into the room. As the sergeant entered, with the party in tow, the captain turned from a large map of the merchant ward hanging on the far wall. The two assistants straddling him, a short, ruddy-scaled dragonborn with an armful of parchment, and a sergeant wearing heavy chain mail, followed suit.
“And what have we here Sergeant Lobo?” said Thaeron with a raised eyebrow.
“Please tell me these aren’t some motley crew of troublemakers. We’ve already had to put some of the more difficult prisoners in here with us just to account for the overflow.”
The captain nodded his head toward the cells where a teenage girl and some kind of crystal humanoid paced like caged tigers.
“Bloody shield comes down for a few moments, and half the city thinks the merchant ward is free for the looting!”
He glanced at the adventurer’s hands and feet, “I don’t see any irons on them, so what have we got?”
The sergeant explained to the captain how the group had managed to defeat the Fire Lord that had come flying over the ramparts.
“So this is the crew that stopped that monster?” the captain looked over the group again with a more critical eye, “well the people of the merchant ward are grateful to you for the help. Who knows how much of a mess that thing would have made if you hadn’t been there.”
With those words, the captain stroked his chin in thought, “I could use your help if you’d like to earn a bit of gold.”
He waved his arm over the map on the wall, “aside from the small plague of worries that ill me this night, I’ve got three larger problems you may be capable of dealing with.”
Seeing no major objections among the group, he continued, “First off, Lord Blackley the wizard has apparently been killed, or at least gone missing, since his tower partially collapsed. One of the boulders launched over the wall managed to significantly damage his abode. Locals are reporting that there are ominous noises coming from the tower, and it’s frightening those in the area.”
“The last thing I need is some wizard’s pet or experiment running around devouring half the neighborhood. If you could check it out, and stop any potential danger from escaping the tower, it would be of great service.”
“Secondly, one of those two-headed ogres…” the captain turned his head to the dragonborn buried in parchment, “what do they call those again?”
“Right, Ettins. An ettin was launched into the city and actually survived the fall. Of course the Basilisk’s Brother, a four-story inn near Coinjingle Way, was demolished breaking it’s fall, and now it’s tearing up the marketplace on the east end.”
The captain turned to the map and drew a jagged line with his finger over a series of shops and stalls, “Lastly, we have a series of burglaries that confounds even us.”
Unseen by the rest, the teenage girl in the cell closest to Zanna, was helping herself to the contents of Zanna’s backpack.
“To be a guard in this ward, you have to have a nose for weeding out people who do this sort of thing, and none of my men are having any luck with these thefts. It’s as if the thieves just vanish into thin air!” he said as he waved his hands while rippling his fingers.
Finding nothing of interest, the girl threw some small, squishy item into the corner of her cell, bored.
The captain clapped his hands together, “So are you interested? I can give 250 gold to each of you if you could help us out here.”
The group debated amongst themselves for a while, and eventually decided that they would see about stopping the ettin that was tearing up the marketplace. Surprising the captain, they also decided they would need more help.
“You want to take these two miscreants with you?” The captain asked amazed as his hands stabbed towards the prisoners that were locked up.
“Do you have any idea what they’ve done?”
When the party admitted they hadn’t, the captain’s face collapsed into one of his hands, as the other one waved to the prisoners. “Tell them what you’ve done!”
Apparently the girl, who’s name was Valenae, had decided to try to gain a name for herself by assassinating the queen, who she heard was a horrible tyrant that defied everything that Valenae stood for. Unfortunately for her, the city was ruled by a duke, and as such, there was no queen to be heard of.
Valenae had been picked up after several attempts at ‘assassinating’ some of the nobility. Apparently just about anyone in fine enough attire was confused by her as being ‘the queen’.
Although her botched attempts were almost comical to the watch, they considered her formidable due to how slippery she was to keep in custody.
It ended up that the crystalline creature was known as a Shardmind, and belonged to a sect of his race that was bend on finding and destroying all others of his race. He tended to be a bit more annoying than dangerous, as he didn’t really care enough about other people to try to hurt them.
However, he also had no qualms about going anywhere to follow a lead, or even a hunch, regarding another Shardmind. After the fourth time he forced his way into the estate of a renowned merchant in search of some crystals it was rumored he stored there, the stony beast was locked up by the guards.
After a bit of wrangling, convincing the captain that the prisoners were more annoying than dangerous, and that their skills would be invaluable, the captain agreed to free to them to the adventurer’s care.
A short while later, the group was lead to the carnage that the ettin had caused by Sergeant Lobo, and the battle began…