Slim Pickin’s awoke in Hydra’s camp to find many of Kamren’s men already exercising and sparring. Breakfast was being cooked over an open fire, and they were invited wholeheartedly to join them. Groggily, Kiera and Elora straggled out behind, not making it far before throwing up. The two of them quickly retreated back to their tent, clearly unfit for adventuring that day.
Part way through their meal, they noticed Sunsteen had arrived. Kamren greeted him at the edge of the camp, bringing him forward to you. He approached with open arms, “The Crimson Hellfire Guild! It is good to see you all have made your way through this. Your fee has been paid in full. Eight hundred gold, sent to your guild, as is custom. I’m certain they will send it your way, once their cut is taken. In addition, I believe Curuvar has something for your troubles.”
This caused much upset grumblings within the group, for you see, they were not, in fact, any part of The Crimson Hellfire Guild, but had been impersonating them to take their business. There was much argument and voices were raised, though the money had already been sent.
Sunsteen promised them gold to be given to them personally if they could aid him further, stating, “We certainly could use your help in calming the situation current in Loudwater, with the promise of more gold to come. Perhaps more than that should things turn out right. Curuvar is more strategist than I. He surely has a plan.”
He expanded on the situation, “Lady Moonfire and Captain Harrowleaf left town in the night. In their absence, several of the town guard abandoned their posts, leaving things in a rather tumultuous situation. Fermina, Moonfire’s master of the arcane, has holed up in the very manor you stole from, and has already begun to attempt a takeover. The place is surrounded by several guards, though the majority of those that remain are trying to stop the rioting and looting throughout town. The townspeople eager for restoration to what Loudwater once stood for and have no patience for Fermina’s efforts.”
After some deliberation, Slim Pickin’s decided to aid Sunsteen once more. On their way back up river, black billowing smoke, rose above the trees. As they neared town, the sounds of yelling and weapons clashing rose up above the town’s walls, alongside the fire and smoke. In the shadow of the dam, on the docks, several angry citizens bullied a guard. He stood his ground, knocking one of them into the water. Sunsteen leaned over to Rivermaster Sarl, redirecting him to a small alcove, and leading the group into the same caverns that were used to ship out the gold two days ago. In the humid darkness, the sound of a match being lit echoed, and a small flame followed. By its dim light, there stood Curuvar, lighting a pipe with a flame he has conjured from his bare hands. He greeted them, curt as ever, “Took long enough.”
After some pressing, he explained the situation. “Need to restore order. First, there’s Fermina. Running her out of town, probably not an option this go around. Best deal with her in a permanent fashion. With her out of the picture, we’ll still need ground control. With half the town guard gone, people have become a bit… unruly. Best break things up where we can, or there won’t be much of a town left to live in. Once ready, we blow up the dam. Show’s we’re taking it back to the old ways, plus get’s everyone’s attention. Then we thrust a new leader in to power.”
The group snuck back into town, making their way to Garwan’s Curiosities, where Curuvar awarded them with valuable magic items for their troubles thus far. As they were exiting, they saw a man being thrown out the window of the Green Tankard Tavern. He crumpled to the ground, but they recognized him instantly as Marsh, the bartender and keeper of the Tankard. A large guard came out through the door and picked up the broken man, yelling in his face, “Who were you hiding.” He punctuated it with a blow to the man’s face.
As Slim Pickin’s attempted to intervene, the guard finally took notice of them, yelling still at Marsh, “This is them, isn’t it? The ones who ripped off Moonfire.” Marsh looked back, stony-faced and silent. Edgaar took a step forward, arms out, trying to diffuse the situation, but the guard slit Marsh’s throat and cast him aside. He called his men and a battle took place their in the streets.
After offing the guards, the crew caught their breath before heading to Fermina’s base of operations. Once their, Percival was able to overhear a guard instructing 4 others in poorly scrapped together armor.
“You are all deputized. That means you’re officially in the Loudwater patrol. I know a lot of you have questions, we’ll get to that, but for right now I just want to throw you guys in and really see how you do. Don’t be scared, all we’re going to do for today is guard the manor. Easy right? Larry, I’ll have you take point on this, you’ve got some experience in battle right? Awesome. Let’s do this. Positions people”
Slim Pickin’s attempted to avoid potential battle, by scaling the wall of the property and sneaking into the back of the manor unseen. They were successful, but when they found Fermina, she was deep in debate with a strange woman. They were able to make out the words “protection” and “convenient”, but decided to try and hide in the servants quarters. After some time had passed with no sign of the conversation ending, Percival dressed in servants garb and took out some hors d’oeuvres to Fermina and her guest.
The girl turned to see him, pausing for a minute before saying “Percival?”
Percival tried to play it off, like he was but a lowly servant, but he knew all too well who this woman was: Arion Steelsong, the one he gave himself to years ago. The very daughter of the warlord that took his manhood. She had blossomed even more so, but now had a tired look in her eye that hinted of the many battles she has seen.
There was an awkward reunion, that included much fumbling for words, but it ended in Fermina calling for the guards. Valenae and Edgaar brought the servants bed out and blocked the front door, preventing the guards from entering.
During the battle, Arion monologued a bit, explaining the current predicament, "I inherited the family business. We’ve always been looking to expand into Loudwater, but up until now it’s been a bit inaccessible. With the amount of guard it had, it wasn’t worth the risk. Until recently. I was merely offering Fermina the chance to cooperate before taking over. Not father’s way, I know, but you’d be surprised how often it’s done the trick.
Fermina lashed out, putting Valenae into a maze of mirrors, whilst Arion bashed away at Edgaar. Percival tried to reason with Arion, and was successful in convincing her to aid them, but in the end, Fermina drew her back with the promise of far more riches to come.
Arion toyed with Percival, teasing him throughout. “You were my first you know.”
“And you were my last,” yelled back Percival.
Valenae prayed to the Raven Queen for aid from the maze of mirrors, and her prayers were answered by a single black feather falling from above and guiding her through the labyrinth. Once freed, she helped the others to best Fermina. Once defeated, Arion fled without a word.
In the aftermath a booming crack echoed through the town. Stepping outside they watched as the town’s dam collapsed. They approached the wreckage to find Curuvar standing in the rubble of the dam, as villagers start to gather. He projected his voice through magics allowing it to boom through the crowd, “You’re tired. Tired of what has become status quo. No more. Today, we put in to power a new leader, not thirsty for power or wealth, but for peace and tranquility. Someone to help rebuild this town. Someone you know. Sunsteen Urbeth.”
Sunsteen looked surprised and a bit confused, as villagers start to push him to the front.
Curuvar continued, “Sunsteen has lived in Loudwater his entire life, through ups and downs. He is the man to restore it to it’s former glory. What say you? Do you support this man to lead you through a revolution?”
The crowd erupted in cheers, even some of the guard have got in to it (convenient, huh?), thrusting their weapons in the air in approval.
In the midst of the commotion, Curuvar pulled the members of Slim Pickin’s aside, confiding in them, “Marsh has passed. He left the Tankard to me, though I have little use for the place. As reward, I hoped to bequeeth it to the lot of ya. You’ve shared many nights under that roof. Marsh wouldn’t’ve minded.”
The group accepted, finally opening up to him about the fact that they were never really in The Crimson Hellfire Guild. He chuckled, saying it really didn’t matter, but that their discression would be appreciated.