Translated from the journal of Dyer’ Mi Shaton. The original text being written in a complex cipher utilizing the languages of demons, madness, elf and the realm of dreams.
Following the breaking off from my fellows at the Rusted Wrench, I set about a quick trip across Sharn, my mind tossing about the various tasks at hand.
First, I found a morose fellow of old acquaintance, negotiated a simple price for a his services. Crump is a street peddler, but he has been known to buy bits from the pockets of the dead the guard sweep up from the streets. The guard get a few coins, and Crump sells some goods that he knows no one will be missing. Now, acquiring the skull from a dead man is little out of his usual business, but my guess is he can convince the same guards who pick the dead’s pockets to subvert the skull of the changeling who died infront of Haven trip to a potter’s field. If not, there are always other ways. I might have engaged a Halfling to steal the bag of bones directly from the grave, but I have decided to forego such services until this current unpleasantness with the Boromar Clan is more settled. Not that my fellows are helping that matter, but I did not know that yet.
Stopping by my hovel to pick amongst the meager books and references I have at hand, I then went to Haven to begin trying to puzzle out the cryptic nature of the shard we have come upon. Taking up my usual corner table, I set to work. Breaking to write a letter to the CLOUD bosses and shell out a few coins to another street level associate, who with a little luck will tell me should any Halfling cut throats start asking questions about my whereabouts. Another break allows me a moment to send off a second letter, this to a friend who manages The Museum of Oddities. The place is an eclectic array of trinkets, some dating back to the age of Giants and most labeled more for show than academic accuracy. Still, Mortimer has good knowledge of the odd and might be able to tell me more about this accursed shard.
Time past. I rested in mediation at the table as needed, but found disappointingly little from my books. Yet, knowledge is the an investment that is often long in showing gains.
When they return, my fellows wear stains of blood and filth. Oddly the smell of oil hangs about them. Nothing prepares me for the new they come baring. They have yet again managed to draw blood from the Boromar Clan. They bring papers and a few trinkets, but as many questions as hints of answers. I would have rather heard less of killing, and seen a sample of the strange ooze they describe or had been given the blood or bone of the great lizard. That is nothing now. I am intent on their tail, and shake my head. I help the scyer through the papers and journals they have scrounged up. Names of drug peddlers, suspicions of the Halfling mind. With that, we set to moving a step forward in this investigation. It seems that shards are being bond to powdered drugs, to enhance their illicit effect. Profit drives these men, but too me it is a waste of potential. The worth of shards should not be measured in coins.
The fellows and I look for a way to find out where these enhanced drugs are coming from, but have nothing more to start with than those on the street who sell them from the alley ways. Proceeding debate, we agree to go to one such knave. A mixed blood orc man titled Jar, who made himself master of like minded simpletons. From behind a cart of apples, these urchins sell their illicit mixtures of both mundane and potent mixes. They are not a hard group to spy. Having taken over a stretch of alleyways, landings, arches and accompanying stairways among the hovels in Sharn. Some of us approach, others try to fade into the scene, and Fang of course tries to hunt a furred varmint in a nearby tree. It is not hard to get one of the thugs to bring forth Jar, as the minions are not capable of contemplating the idea of more coins than it takes to buy a sword. Jar seems to enjoy to prospect of gaining more coins, and calls for the fellows and I to accompany him up to a landing above to talk. He has spotted our friends who tried to stay back, so we all transverse his little corner of poverty.
Sitting next to Jar, I try not to gag at his unwashed smell. Offers of pay for an introduction to his supplier do not inspire him, nor do temptations of biting the hand that is feeding him. I see little glint of anything in his eyes. He is a mongrel, happy with the bit of streets he has and only hungry enough to snap at what seems easy flesh. He does not heed my warnings to take our peaceful offer, and wants instead to take from us what we have about our persons. His men are around us, even Aldos who has hung back away from our parlay with Jar. When the frenzy begins, it is Jar who is put task. Wildlings and other mongrel men-orcs against the blood of fey is not a even fight. Keyleth is an eruption of blades. Zerif cuts are as unwholesome as the curses I call upon, and Erdrick’s discharge flings feral forms over railings. Fang and Aldos do their part as well, with Fang running down those who tried to flee as if they were hobbled does. Jar falls, but we did not let him perish without answering questions about what he knows of where the shard laced drugs come from.
I have misgivings about what must be done next, but Jar is not a brute to be allowed the chance to stick a knife into one of us a day or week from now. We have crippled his tiny empire and taken his gold, and he is not likely to forget us or suffer such actions without revenge. Diverting attention from our action is required too, and I see a way of doing both. Jar and his hanger-ons conducted himself in open view of their neighborhood. Even if the surrounding streets and their inhabitants know what to see and not to see, I do not want word of our actions being talked of openly. I act as headsmen, with Jar standing in full view of anyone peeking out from their holes. I proclaim the act a sentence of the Boromar Clan, with Aldos’s small frame posed next to us unwitting attesting to my ruse. The act may keep any watching us from talking. Our mustered group has been seen about too much of late, and I fear what motives others are attributing to us. If the guard do hear of this, they may look the other way due to it being but an act of street law being enforced. The Clan of Halflings is a greater concern, Should are actions of late be looked at and pieced together by the clan, my hope is that this execution will confuse them. If the moons are aligned right, maybe they will even be draw to suspect that we could be agents internal to them, who are acting as a part of some internal clan conflict.
With Jar dead, we move pick one of the lead he has left us. Figuring the warehouse where the drugs are said to be enhanced and the dock outside of town where he gets his normal supply are going nowhere, we head off to interrupt a meeting between the city guard and those who purchase shards for later use in the drugs. With little time to spare, we make our way across town to a tavern where the deal is to take place. Aldos stands outside, with Zerif and Fang doing tricks in the street for coins. Before the rest of us enter, I try to be clear to my fellows of how poor an act it would be to assault the guard. They seem too often to insist on finding a way of vexing any authority that is put in their path. Even Erdrick seems to listen this once, though Zerif did announce his intention of at least trying to lift the coin from the guards if the chance presented. We watched the guard go into a back room with a man, while a loathsome breed of bodyguard watched the door. The guard left, unmolested. I discover later that even Zerif’s hopes for extra coin were in vain. Inside I talked my way past the guard and gained a few words with the shard buyer in his den. Enough to verify his business and the need to explore the room more. A few words of planning were passed about us, and Keyleth and Erdrick are set to the task of creating a distraction so that either Zerif or I may encroach into the back den.
Keyleth, for all her grace with blades is not one for the art of subtle distraction. Her portrayal of a inebriated lass, wishing to dance with the man may have been better accomplished by Aldos, had he come inside. Erdrick, as always, took a more direct route. Flinging a dart into the bodyguard creates the distraction we desire, but Zerif is caught with his hand on the door. The door is breeched enough for me to slip through the space between spaces and reappear inside the den, but the man notes my presence inside before the door can again be closed. Again, violence is taken up. The man uses foul magic to possess the other patrons in the tavern. their eyes turning fierce and actions being those of a mob against us. The bodyguard swings wildly at Erdrick, but the dart in his skull proves too much a distraction. Smoke, steel, and bolts of eldritch force lash around. Patrons fall as does the man and his bodyguard. Inside the den, my fellows get distracted at first but then notice a hidden panel. There we discover a bag of shards. The tavern and those inside are looted by my fellows, the pockets of dead turned inside out. We take advantage of the lingering bewilderment of the last two dazed men who had been taken possession of by the man’s magic, and bind them behind the bar. Departing, we make our way to Haven. A message awaits us, telling us of there is a need for us to pursue a task in all haste. The warehouse and our other troubles will need to wait.