Thirlim Grayhand – James
Baern “The Bear” McCade – Casey
Bolos Liberalis – Peter
Mathieu d’Escales – Keane
Nagarajoss – Ryan
Wilhelm Deadeye (Bolos’ contact, who Thirlim has also encountered named for his glass eye) seems to have somehow become known to all of us via various methods. Otherwise we haven’t yet met.
We all are talking around a table with this Wilhelm person around a table in a tavern called the “G String” (referring to a skimpy piece of women’s underwear, having nothing at all to do with musical instruments’ strings). We’re in a back room with Wilhelm at the tavern. He’s saying something about books and suddenly asks us if we’re interested in accepting the mission. We all balk and ask him to explain the mission. He indicates he’s after some books held by a guy named Ibn. He possesses some ancient books that Wilhelm wants and doesn’t care how we get them as long as it happens quickly. Apparently Ibn is a fairly wealthy individual, living in the rich part of town on a street with a French name. We can try and talk him into selling the books but likely he won’t be interested in doing so because he’s a religious bigot and we’re “infidels.” Wilhelm offers two months’ pay to us ($1400). Wilhelm provides a parchment with the list of the books. The books are in a locked, magically-waterproofed chest. There are 10lbs of books and the chest is about 11lbs. Thirlim asks where the chest is in the house but Wilhelm tries to say he doesn’t know where they are. Thirlim presses him, stating that he seems to have some specific information about the chest but not their location. Wilhelm indicates that the books were found in the region but were sold to several different individuals previously so that’s how he knows, but he still doesn’t know where in the house they are located. Mathieu tries to make out what the book titles mean but they don’t quite make sense to him; something about war and unification.
We ask him a bit more about this Ibn person. He’s a powerful merchant, one of the more powerful families. He likely has some skilled and loyal house guards as well.
Wilhelm reminds us that this town is under bizarre stupid laws that prevent us from carrying weapons except for knives, staves and slings as long as we’re not a part of the mercenary’s guild. He mentions that we could talk to the leader of their guild but it could be an expensive proposition as they take 20% of profits.Wilhelm leaves, tossing six silver pieces on the table, one of which Thirlim pockets. We proceed to party and drink and enjoy ourselves. Baern manages to carouse extremely well and attracts a crowd of serving wenches while Bolos and the snakeman have a philosophical conversation in the quiet backroom.
The next morning arrives. All of us except for Bolos go to join the Mercenaries’ guild in the western part of the city. Because we are moving to that part of the city we have a white armband tied on to indicate we’re not Muslims and thus not subject to Sharia law. We head to Southhold, the mercs’ guild headquarters which happens to be a huge building, capable of housing up to half the guild – 3,000 men.
The greeter at the gate’s guardhouse, a slightly older merc (likely "retired), asks us in a bored voice what he can do for us. We let him know we’re interested in joining the guild, while Mathieu indicates that the guild needs him. The man laughs and directs us to one of the sergeants within. We enter to find out more.
One of the guards escorts us inward to a stone room with a number of other individuals there as well, perhaps some kind of either waiting room or mass recruitment area. About 15 minutes later an old but solidly built man walks in with a flowing cape and a fancy sword. He introduces himself as Master Harold. He blabbers for a bit about the process, that it will take several years and that if we wish to learn to use weapons we can gain guild membership. We look around the room and realize that likely these other men are all young and look to be untrained. Thirlim and Mathieu speak up that we’d like to dispense with the learning as we already know how to use weapons. He indicates somebody will come in to get us so we can prove that’s the case.
Harold comes back and resumes his pitch about the responsibilities about the job. A younger soldier comes in and points us out to leave the room, which he does with some barely-intelligible gestures; probably some kind of merc code for their highly-trained operatives (or he screwed up his roll). He indicates that if we can last a few rounds against experienced soldiers we might be allowed to skip their training. We follow him to their armory where he indicates we can pick up weapons. The room looks to be filled with training equipment and padded armor.
We all grab suitable armor and arms. Mathieu even finds a proper training rapier with a balled point. We muster in the ready room and are directed to, upon the door opening, to enter the arena. Four merc soldiers enter the arena as well. There are marks made in the dirt and we’re directed to stand there. We get the sense that the one running this test has done this a number of times and normally those being tested aren’t actually proficient. He indicates that he’s not interested in whether we can work together as a unit but more whether we can handle the equipment we’re holding. He directs us to ready ourselves and begin.
Baern goes first. He steps up, taking one normal step and a second, long stride and strikes, his blow deflected by the target’s shield. His opponent steps forward and strikes but Baern parries and steps backwards.
Mathieu steps once, takes another large step and attempts to feint his opponent, which he does successfully. His opponent steps in and also feints to try and keep Mathieu off-balance.
Thirlim uses the same two-steps and tries to feint his target to throw off his attack, barely succeeding but not enough to be effective. His opponent strikes back but Thirlim is able to raise his shield to stop the blow.
Nagarajoss moves up one step and is able to swing with his long staff and catch his opponent unaware, who fails to block the thrust and connects solidly. The man charges in swinging his sword but Nagarajos is able to step backwards and parry the attack.
Baern unleashes a fierce flurry of strikes with his large blade; both attacks are blocked. His opponent, instead of attacking, chooses to wait for Baern’s next move.
Mathieu tries a fierce swing but his weapon turns in his hand and the blow doesn’t connect with force, causing him to spend a second adjusting his grip. His opponent, seeing an opening, attacks fiercely and strikes a fierce blow in a sensitive spot. He wobbles a bit but is able to stay on his feet.
Thirlim tries again to feint his opponent but is no more successful. His target tries a shot back at him, aiming for a vital spot with a committed thrust that misses entirely.
Nagarajoss attacks fiercely but his target blocks the attack; he takes a step backwards after.
Baern tries again to attack from distance, throwing extra muscle into the thrust to extend his reach, but fails to connect. His target responds by charging at him, trying to level Baern with his shield. However he trips on the way in and manages to drop his weapon.
Mathieu throws himself into an attack without regard for defense; unfortunately his attack is blocked at the last second. His opponent makes a mighty strike, hitting Mathieu squarely on the top of his head. Everyone in the arena hears the sound like a wet melon of the practice sword hitting and creating a large crack in Mathieu’s skull. He drops like a wet noodle.
The trainer stops the combat at that point. Someone wearing light chain jogs out from the side, lays his hands on Mathieu and heals him a fair amount; he wakes shortly after. We’re all ushered back to the armory where we leave our equipment. We’re sat down, where we’re informed that we do seem to be able to handle our weapons despite Mathieu’s unfortunate incident. We shouldn’t feel bad given we were up against some of their experienced armsmen. He advises we return the next day around 10am to meet with Guildmaster Darksword, which we agree to.
With part of the rest of the day we take a trip by our target house to have a look. Bolos meets us there; he’s able to heal Mathieu further. It’s a large mansion with a storefront for some of the wares he imports. The grounds are surrounded by a 12’ wall which we’re unable to see inside as the storefront opens into the grounds. A large muslim man keeps the shop, greeting us in arabic; Nagarajoss responds in Arabic. Bolos interjects and asks the shopkeeper to speak our common language. He greets us in English instead although he looks askance at Nagarajoss, surprised he speaks Arabic at all. We let him know that we’re just there to browse, which we begin doing. The store looks to contain luxuries mainly – teas, spices, etc and are priced accordingly, slightly higher-priced than they ought to be (although there’s a social expectation to haggle to some extent). Thirlim notes the location of the waterskins in the room (as he needs one). Nagarajoss speaks to the shopkeeper regarding how well-connected Ibn is and whether he ever trades for goods. The shopkeeper answers both in the affirmative. He offers to go and get him but Nagarajoss declines.
A guard comes out the rear door for a shift change, offering a brief glimpse into the back room. A hallway is present there with several doors in it with a door at the far end that, likely, leads into the courtyard behind and the estate. Otherwise no additional guards look to be present. Thirlim asks what the shop’s hours are; the keeper indicates they’re normally open from 10am until dinnertime. We try gathering intelligence from current or former employees of the estate. Thirlim isn’t able to turn up anything but Mathieu gets a name of an individual we can talk to and some vague directions as to where he can be found.
The night passes. We all receive two character points.