It was the 13th when our adventuring band first banded together. Wednesday the 13th. Of April, to be precise.
Spikka, an albino tale-teller, and Archibald, a stoic sorcerer, having traveled with a now-defunct group—who, it is rumored by the creatively honest bard, encountered a dragon—from Heer to Thair and onward to Port Narid, met up with a pair of clerics also heading westward to the city: Miles, a brilliantly clothed follower of Cecil, the god of light and truth, and Fagen, a behorned devotee of Zitzie, the trickster goddess of philosophy. Once in the grand city overlooking the Weeping Sea, the group dispersed to tend to their own business, but regrouped within Hydorn Hall, the renowned adventuring guild, where they picked up another, gallant Gilen. Dominated by the red-haired and red-eyed (with the Arch-the-bald presenting a notable exception), the group (#452 per Hydorn’s logs) registered as Red Justice and set to picking quests and seeing justice done.
The reports of missing twin girls, also being investigated by the city watch, proved most dire among the quests posted—more so than the reports of undead and theft down on the docks and rumors that undead are terrorizing a nearby fishing village—and thus Red Justice made their way to the mercantile district to speak with the mother of the girls, a modest seamstress who, in her grief and frustration, has done little work of late. Their investigations revealed that the twins were not the only ones going missing in that corner of the business district, but that various gnomes and halflings, too, have vanished over the past few months, thought, in most cases, to have set off to other business. What, then, do these wholly human girls have in common with those shorter folk, save that they, too, were not of an impressive height at the young age of twelve? Does their mother’s relationship with the gnomish potter Paulisimo have anything to do with the girls’ disappearance?
Conversations with a particular member of the city watch, Officer Janice James, have proven enlightening… in all the wrong ways. The further the group investigates the disappearances, the more involved a local humanist organization seems to be. Humanist sentiments within the watch are thought to be affecting how the officers do their jobs. Are they involved in the kidnappings or just not looking to closely because they think the gnomenappers are cleaning up Port Narid’s streets?
Spikka—quite obviously not human or, at least, not normal—was found to be ‘tagged’ with a tiny dart tipped in red feathers. While it possessed no poison, Miles noticed that the dart shown with a rather non-specific magic. The tagger was caught fleeing the scene, a shadowy figure who, it would seem, can walk through walls. Pursuit offered little insight into the mysterious person’s nature or motives, but a handful of the same red-tipped darts was found, possibly spilled in flight.
The group also got their first look at a sneaky creature dressed all in brown leather who, it would later be found out, is just a petty pickpocket. She had thought, upon spying the group again, to liberate some of Fagen’s property, but she was caught in the act. Fagen subsequently relieved her of her own possessions and hit her in the face, making an enemy of a low-ranking member of the thieves guild.
During their investigation, the group stopped by Flying Philoneas’ Fantastic Menagerie to speak with some of Spikka’s old acquaintances, including an exceptionally flexible acrobat named Henrietta, a dwarven dog trainer commonly called Nearly Beardless Nick, a sometimes-lion named Old Moses and, of course, the magnificent and aging Philoneas himself. Though their visit was entertaining—and they found that one of the others reported missing was just a child seeking to join the circus in hopes of avoiding hardwork despite all the hardwork involved in keeping a circus running—it proved to be little more than a pleasantly distracting dead end.
More promising was the gnomenapping in progress which they spied as the sloppy abducters attempted to tote away a gnomish pie merchant, carrying him down a side alley and leaving his spilled pies to cause quite a commotion among the local—hungry—populace. Pursuit of the gnomenappers ended with the death of one and capture of another who would later refer to himself as ‘Bob.’ Both wore signet rings marked with a circle around three vertical lines. Is this the symbol of the humanist movement? As they tried to take Bob back to the inn for interrogation—covered in a cloak to hide his bindings and splashed with liquor to look drunk—he began to choke. Quick thinking—and a bit of luck on Miles’ part—saved the man from dying before he could reveal information… and let the group catch the shadowy would-be-assassin fleeing from the scene.
Expert interrogation by Miles, who has been trained by the church of Cecil as an Inquisitor—though his fellow members of Red Justice seem to not understand the significance of this admission—proved fruitful as Bob revealed details of the organization which had kidnapped the twins, including the woman running things, named Rosalita, the location of a warehouse where the abductees are taken, and information on how to get inside.
Unbeknownst to his fellow adventurers, Fagen then saw to Bob’s well-being… in a manner of speaking. No one but Fagen really knows what happened to the man, but he hasn’t been a problem since. That same night, while Fagen was taking care of their witness, Miles had some fun, becoming Cassie, Spikka’s twin sister and commander of a fierce squirrel army. Fagen was unimpressed with this trick, busy as he was with his own work. Meanwhile, Arch and Gilen did a bit of drinking, fending off a couple of prostitutes hoping to help the adventurers lighten their pockets. Later, once Cassie had become Miles again, Spikka took Gilen out for a show… and made the poor man turn at least a dozen different shades of pink and red with her unsubtle suggestions. They also took a trip to the black market, housed this week in the redlight district, and purchased several interesting substances, including some nefarious goods the presumably holy priest of Cecil had requested from the albino.
The next day, Miles took the lead, hatching a plan to present a pair of twins for sale—Spikka and Cassie, of course—to get them into the warehouse… even though someone within the kidnappers’ organization had already seen the group. A bold plan, to be sure, but potentially deadly! Luckily, Archibald’s vocal disapproval for the plan and Spikka’s flakiness—wandering off just as they got to the warehouse district—meant that another approach would be needed.
The group split up again, with Gilen and Spikka left to scope out the warehouse while the other three went on to investigate the watch’s involvement. The two on surveillance duty proved entirely too obvious, attracting the attention of the Watch who, when presented with the theory that Bad People were working within the warehouse, knocked on the warehouse door in hopes of investigating… allowing “Handsome”, the tall blonde who receives the “deliveries” from other kidnappers, to get a good look at the pair. Ooops!
After the other three gained some more insight into the guards’ involvement in the humanist organization, there was some disagreement on how to proceed next. Miles thought someone ought to go undercover within the organization, but Gilen had already voiced his disdain for the group to at leas one of its members and Archibald had no interest in doing such dirty work. Fagen considered bringing their findings to the local paper—published once a week, on Saturdays—but no one else had much interest in publishing what little information they had. Instead, it was decided, through some tedious effort given Spikka’s inability to tell the truth, that Gilen, Archibald and Miles would seek out one of the albino’s old contacts, Samuelsson, the Provider, who can tell them where to find absolutely anything in the city… including slaves. Spikka, meanwhile, is pursuing other leads, speaking with former associates—and replacing her thieves’ tools which had been stolen by the girl in the brown cloak on her last visit to the black market.
Fagen—disinterested in going to the black market now that Gilen had told him the Thieves’ Guild is not fond of him, a message delivered by that same brown cloak—set his own plans in motion. He’s alerted the Eskarfiun (gnomish) Embassy of the disturbing activities of the humanist organization and acquired from their liaison a surveilance device which should allow Red Justice to better investigate the security of the warehouse where it is rumored the abducted individuals are taken without putting anyone in direct danger. He has also devised a mischievous plot involving propaganda and misinformation, supported by the local church of Zitzie, Temple of the Sage Traveller. Kumiho Miho, Our Lady of the Countless Hats, leader of the Port Narid congregation, bestowed Fagen with his own hat, a token of this stop in his pilgrimage, and challenged him to keep an open mind and not decide the outcome of this ‘conversation’ he is hoping to instigate before either side has spoken.
When the adventure continues, we will begin in the redlight district where the trio seeks out Samuelsson Half-Dwarven in hopes of learning more about the slave trade in Port Narid, we will learn what Spikka has found in her travels and we’ll see what becomes of Fagen as he meets with Krosp, a disciple of the Dragon Reborn, who reportedly has information about the humanists.