14-15 Aslala of the year 73
Several days prior to the party’s most recent adventures
A huge man entered the village of Ravenlem; nearly seven feet tall, Cudge was well over a foot taller than most other men he encountered. He had been on the trail of the Residents of the Dark for over half a decade, since they had stolen from the Derosi temple he resided at. Their theft had been interrupted by the head priest, his mentor, and one of the members had killed him rather than leave a witness. As was their signature, they had also left a taunting note. He had finally gotten close to finding them, and thought Ravenlem might be near the end of his journey.
He sought out the Broken Lute tavern, where he ordered a couple drinks before finding the shadiest looking man in the place; he sat down across from another Derosi man. He introduced himself and inquired about whether the man knew anything about the Residents of the Dark.
Stin had come to Ravenlem attempting to track down a local smuggling ring. As a member of the Burning Fists, he had been tasked with either negotiating terms, as the local ring was impeding on his guild’s business, or eliminating them if an agreement could not be reached. He had heard whispers about the Residents of the Dark, and while he had little information for Cudge he noticed another tavern patron paying far too much attention to their conversation once the topic of the Residents had been brought up. Stin subtly informed Cudge of it, and Cudge, with his usual tact and subtlety, smashed his hammer into the floor next to the man, who fell off his seat.
Stin and Cudge questioned the man, who said the Residents regularly obtained rare, ancient, and historically significant items for clients; Lady Kurral in particular was a generous client, and the Residents had a tower several miles outside of town. They thanked him and departed, with Stin able to find the trail to the tower despite recent snow. Stin was convinced the Residents were the group he was sent to deal with, and as such was more motivated to find them than he previously had been.
As they approached the tower Stin instructed Cudge to create a distraction; Stin would use it to sneak into the tower, and Stin promptly disappeared. He made his way to a door into the base of the tower, then threw a rock into the woods to draw the attention of anyone on guard duty. Unfortunately it hit a member of the Residents in the head as he was taking a piss, which drew four others out of the tower. Cudge managed to convince them that he was lost, and while he was unable to heal the slightly injured man he talked them into accompanying him to town for a drinking contest.
While Cudge got a large portion of the Residents drunk, Stin explored the tower, eventually stealthing upstairs where he found three of the Residents left. One was a dwarf, while the other two were humans, one male and one female. They were discussing plans for their next request, and while Stin was able to sneak up on them he was spotted before he had the opportunity to slit the throat of man that was closest to him. Toragar, the dwarf, asked him what he thought he was doing, and Stin unwisely attempted to attack.
Cudge had headed back to the tower after leaving the other Residents still drinking, and as he approached he heard the commotion of Stin’s fight. By the time he reached the top of the stairs Stin had dropped his weapon, and Toragar hit Cudge with his hammer as Cudge climbed the stairs. Angered and wanting to pound the dwarf to a pulp, he instead dislocated his shoulder when he swung and missed. Stin took the opportunity provided by the distraction to dive out the window, twisting his ankle in the process, and when Cudge realized he was outmatched he followed suit, sticking the landing perfectly.
Cudge and Stin managed to return to Ravenlem; while Cudge rejoined the Residents he had befriended and won his drinking contest, Stin wisely set up camp outside the village. Cudge tried and failed to seduce the two female Residents that had accompanied him, which left him heartbroken and binging on whiskey. Stin snuck into town and convinced Cudge to return with him to the campsite.
While on watch Stin was surprised by the woman from the tower when she slid a dagger to his throat; she questioned him on his motives, and he told her about the smuggling ring he had been sent to deal with. She informed him that was a different group, as the Residents only dealt with high end items, but that she had heard the smuggling ring would be moving a shipment through the area sometime in the next couple days. She had heard rumors that the ring, while previously primarily involved in luxury goods, had branched out into moving comatose people. Stin disavowed Cudge’s vendetta, and the visitor warned Stin that Cudge shouldn’t attempt another attack, before she slipped away into the night.
In the morning Stin told Cudge of the visit; Cudge, still drunk, staggered to Ravenlem to get a side of bacon and continued his drinking. He was, however, intrigued by the smugglers moving slaves through the area. With much difficulty he was able to recruit three of the Residents he had bonded with; while they distrusted him, the pay made it worthwhile for them.
While in the village Stin took note of the lack of silver items, with the exception of coins; silver jewelry was nonexistent, as were plates, decorations, pitchers, or anything other than silver coins. He quietly pointed this out to Cudge and warned him that this was most likely related to creatures of darkness, as demons, werewolves, vampires, and others were highly allergic to silver. To take precautions they paid a local blacksmith for time on his forge and used it to melt down some of their silver coins into sets of silver knuckles, which Cudge was able to craft.
That night Stin heard an argument near the route his visitor had informed him the smugglers tended to use. He stealthily approached, followed at a distance by Cudge and the three Residents. As they got closer Stin was able to see two groups; he recognized the larger one as composed of Kandari, the smaller who had a wagon as Rutani, and they were arguing over the contents of the wagon. The Kandari insisted the slaves belonged to them, while the outnumbered Rutani objected to the Kandari attempt to take the wagon.
The party crept close to the two groups, staying in the shadow of the wagon, and Stin launched an attack on the Rutani men, slicing one with his dagger. As the Residents moved around the end of the wagon, two with swords and one with a bow, Cudge vaulted over it, slamming the head of his hammer down through the injured man’s body. The Kandari reacted by attacking and killing the other two, and as the party and the Kandari began to regroup and sort out what had happened Stin heard hooves approaching.
Four Rutani wearing Lady Kurral’s crest approached the two groups, with the leader reminding the Kandari that they were forbidden to operate in Lady Kurral’s lands. By doing so their lives were forfeit; the party, seeing the opportunity provided, attacked the Kandari. Cudge and Stin both took out several of the Kandari, with Stin sliding behind one and stabbing repeatedly into the man’s taint, severing the femoral artery with one strike, and stabbing another in the vena cava. Cudge, meanwhile, took a swig of whiskey, sprayed it onto a small group of the Kandari, then took another swig and spit it through a torch’s flame, lighting the group on fire. However, one of the Residents, Seathan, was killed in the melee, and Cudge later vowed to avenge him. Lady Kurral’s force, meanwhile, was easily handling the other Kandari, and several used necromancy to weaken the Kandari. When only two of the Kandari were left they surrendered; Kurral’s force questioned the party, and satisfied with their answers, allowed them to go free. The two remaining Residents mourned the loss of Seathan, and they, Cudge, and Stin split the items they found on the dead Kandari and Rutani, while Kurral’s force took the two Kandari and the wagon, along with its contents.
Body Count: 7 Kandari slavers.
Baller Moment of the Week: Cudge’s fire-breathing trick.
Fuckup of the Week: Cudge’s not listening to Toragar’s warning to sit down.
Running Body Count: 132 humans, 56 creatures, 81 undead, 1 demon