The three of you are drained as you approach the city of bridges. It has taken you almost a full two days ride. Luckily, except for the ettercaps that attacked you in the Wyrmbane Grove, your ride has been uneventful.
The city is settling into dinner time and the smell of food wafting over you makes your stomachs crave a good meal. But you also know that you have to get to the right people as soon as possible. Dinner may just have to wait a little longer.
You notice as you approach one of the entrances to the city that the guard has been increased. Several militia men are heavily questioning the people in front of you.
A particularly rough around the edges dwarven militia man makes his way towards you. His right eye is squinting like he is trying to get a good look at you in the twilight, “Ey, off yor ‘orses … what ‘ave we got in the bags?”
Justinian, impatient as always, glares at the dwarf, “Guard, let us pass. We are on an urgent mission for Dragonlord Harrak and must speak with Sir Tordell immediately. The safety of the Vale is at stake!”
“I am a member of the Luminous Order”, Grigory holds up his shield so the guard can see. “I must pass to speak to my superiors. The city is in grave danger.”
“Eh, looks like I’ll be callin’ ya Gloom and Doom. Now down off those ‘orses. My orders come from the Crimson Guard and if ye needs reminding that would be the kingdoms soldiers. Ever since the incident at the obelisk in the center of town everyone and I mean everyone is subject to the once over as dey come in. Luminous Order, Priest of Melora and … what the ‘ell are you?!” the dwarf is now staring at Hap trying to get a better look at the halfling.
“Cursed. From fighting more of the creatures that attacked the Obelisk.” Grigori gets down off his horse and walks to the dwarf. “If you must search us, then I ask that you do it quickly.” Grigori gives a slight bow of respect to a fellow combatant and holds his arms out to his side to be searched.
“He got curse from touching one of the statues in—Grigori, whose bag did we put that foul object in?—Oh well… it’s in one of these. Just make sure you only touch it on the left side with your forefinger ONLY. Otherwise….. Oh well, Here are the bags.”
“Now wait just a secon’ there Doom, put down the bag, slowly … don’t take another step towards me with those bags.”
“Yah, I got cursed, what of it? I bet ya’ve felt worse yerself there, brother, the mornings after yer pay got spent in a local alehouse, eh? Don’t worry, I’ll seduce some Meloran priestess, and get this curse off in no time…”
“In the meantime, we were sent out on official business, by Dragonlord Harrak hisself, and Naryalla of the Ebon Cabal as well, and just between you’n’me, we were asked to investigate who’s trying to bust down our Obelisk, y’hear? I guarantee you they are waiting anxiously for our return, and we bear some really serious messages for them. Now reflect a moment on those two names, dear sir. I would think there might be some coin in it fer ya – if you could get us where we need to go, pronto. As in, we’ll praise your beard to them by your name, should we get there within the hour. And if you don’t get us to them pronto, well… while they rip us new bungholes, we may mention you by name. Mistress Naryalla didn’t strike me as the…shudders... never mind. Anyways, this here is what I call a win – lose proposition! Which is much better than a win – win proposition, cuz you don’t even have to think too hard to make the right choice!”
“What’ll it be?”
jangles his coin pouch
The dwarf has now backed up some. He was going to take a closer look at Grigori but Justinian has caused a distraction. Grigori gets the feeling that the dwarven guard was just being cautious when suggesting that the group get escorted to Sumberton Castle. The rest of the guards have moved along the people that were ahead of you and are now beginning to make their way over to see what is going on.
(Grigori was successful in his insight check.)
(Just a reminder that the Crimson Guard runs Sumberton Castle. This is where the meeting with Dragonlord Harrak, the Sage of the Azure Eye Fenigan, Naryalla and Captain Donellgan of the Crimson Guard happened.)
“Any troubles Hennik?” the question comes from one of the other guards.
“I think I ‘ave this under control,” Hennik looks at the pouch . “The little devil ‘ere, and I mean that in the physical sense, claims the Luminous Order and the Ebon Cabal are workin’ together. Har! That and they claim the whole vale is in great danger and they need to be let in now with several bags full of cursed items. What do you think Josen, does this warrant getting Gatekeeper Calha down here?”
(Hap was unsuccessful in his intimidate check)
“Look, I’m just doin’ what I’ve been asked to do,” Hennik says in normal tone of voice that the others cannot hear. “The city officials have been on edge lately. The obelisk, the break in at Scholar’s of Arken, and the raid on the Nighthand crews secret guildhouse. I see you are in a rush but I can’t just let you right in. If you are serious about rushing in and getting to the top officials, give me the coin and I’ll get Gatekeeper Calha here in a flash. She’ll be able to handle you and get you to the people you want to see and it’ll keep my hide intact. If you are telling the truth,” Hennik huffs a little laugh “and the Luminous Order and the Ebon Cabal are working together then it really has to be something serious. And if you are truly cursed, you lil’devil, then the first order of business might be to get uncursed. Ya can’t just go traipsing ‘bout the city lookin’ that way. You’re bound to cause a panic.”
(Sigh, you’d think Donellgan would’ve given us a gate pass or something… let’s hope this was important enough for him to mention us to the Gatekeeper!)
“Then do what you gotta do, and summon the Gatekeeper as fast as you can – these two men here need to get through, and lives depend on it. I’ll make it easier on ya, and I will not enter the city until your superiors wish it.” Hap leans over and hands the dwarf 10gp, then straightens and throws his cloak on, raising the hood over his face.
“Well that right there will get us on our toes,” Hennik turns to face the other guards. “Josen, get Calha immediately! We need to make sure ‘ese fine gentlemen get through the gate if they are telling the truth.”
Josen runs off quickly and soon returns with a strong looking human female. She wears a fine set of chainmail, carries a scimitar at her side and on her cloak is embroidered the stone bridge insignia of the Sumberton Militia.
“What is going on here Hennik? Josen tells me a halfling devil has showed up with a knight of the Luminous Order and a priest. And they claim the vale is doomed and will be cursed unless they can get to Castle Sumberton.”
“That’s not quite right … Josen, can you never relay anything correctly?” Hennik looks perturbed. These three … hey, where did the lil’devil go?”
“Have you been drinking the hard stuff again Hennik?” Calha jests.
“No, ma’am, there were three here and the lil’ one was a devil I swear!” Hennik flusters. The other guards agree that there were three of them though they cannot confirm that the halfling was a devil.
Gatekeeper Calha quickly looks over Grigori and Justinian and gives the order to search the equipment. Upon seeing a few of the pieces that you have brought back from the Slaughtergarde Temple, she takes a second look at the both of you.
“Yes, there was a third one. I believe I was given a report recently. An eladrin warrior, a priest of melora and a halfling sorcerer were the ones who saved a militia man and prevented the obelisk from collapsing. The question now is, where did the halfling go? Anyway, you will come with me. From the looks of it, what you carry in those bags needs to be brought to the Crimson Guard immediately.”
As a quiet aside to Justinain and Grigori, “My white foot is gettin’ itchy, I smell a trap. We can’t risk all of us being detained, or captured if this Gatekeeper ain’t on the level. I am gonna head down the river outside the gates, and find riverfolk. I’ll hire a few separate boats to carry a message south to the Ethnari. You try to spread the other warnings inside the city. If you get through and still trust Donellgan, have him leave word at the gates to let me in. Otherwise, I’m going to have the riverfolk smuggle me in. Try to rejoin each other each night at the Inn we last stayed at. If any of us get captured… we’ve got Harrak, Naryalla, Fenigan, and Donellgan – figger out who to trust, and get ‘em to help.”