Finding himself with an empty beverage, Harry ordered another drink and was a bit surprised to see that this one had a note attached to it. The note told him to go out behind the Micky T’s where he would be met by someone.
He did as the note stated and found T’lemya waiting there, more willing to talk than usual. She informed Harry the heroes needed to stay out of sight for a while as Koshka was very upset after their incursion into the warehouse. She asked where everyone else in the group was and Harry informed her that he didn’t know. She then told him to send everyone he came across to House Sparl where they should all meet up. Then, after getting directions from Harry, T’lemya disappeared, making her way silently through the night towards House Sparl.
With this information in mind, Harry went back into Micky T’s and found a still somewhat drunk Caramel wondering about. She had bad news for the dwarf, informing him that she had gone upstairs with the elven bard Faendal, and he had drugged her to make of with her bag of sharing.
Cursing, the Harry had his badger track down the bard’s scent. They tracked it upstairs and then outside into the back alley. The badger momentarily lost the scent, then picked it back up and they followed it all the way into the warehouse district to a smaller building. Deciding to head inside, they heard voices and silently crept towards the source.
Inside they found Faendal, and the one to whom he reported. Opening the door, it was instantly apparent who stood before them. An elven figure who only had one arm and a vicious looking sword at his side, the one being who would be far more terrible than anything else for Caramel.
All Harry saw was the red dragon before him and his instincts kicked in. He charged in to do battle, but Azar did not engage, instead preferring to laugh at the pathetic attempts to do him harm. He cast a spell upon Faendal and the elven man instantly dropped to the floor and begun a painful transformation.
Several seconds later, a more demonic looking Faendal stood against Harry, ready to fight. By this point, Caramel had very quickly begun running back to Micky T’s. Azar was not interested in pursuing immediately and instead chose to teleport away, leaving his minion to deal with those who were no threat to him.
The fight was fierce and pushed the Dwarf to the very edge of his limits. But in the end he stumbled from the building victorious. He slowly made his way back to Micky T’s, hoping to find Caramel and the others there. When he arrived he found Caramel and the group’s wayward ninja, Crim, standing over the contents of Crim’s empty bag of sharing. Caramel was telling Crim they had to go rescue Harry from the predicament they had found themselves in. He announced his presence and with sighs of relief, the three of them turned their thoughts to what they should do about Azar obtaining one of the bags.
It took a bit of time but it was eventually decided that there was too little to be gained from lying to the other members of House Sparl as to the fate of two of their own. They decided to do the honorable thing and return the bodies.
They made their way back to House Sparl. When they grew closer, Desira elected to stay behind with the unconscious Sindri who had not stirred in some time. Neo, Velius and Al’ev continued forward but a flickering in the shadows caused Velius and Al’ev to stop Neo. T’lemya was approaching and appeared to be doing so with purpose.
They had not seen her since arriving in Basque earlier that day. She finally met up with them and informed Al’ev of what she had been up to. She had attempted to get in contact with the underground in the city. She was successful, but that underground turned out to be largly linked with House Kashka who, after she had dealt with them for a short time, she realized were not good people. They did not know she was associated with the Arbiters and their tag along adventuring friends and as such, sought to use her as a weapon against them. She was supposed to lead them into a trap on a ship named The Scaled Dragon.
Filing this away in his mind as yet another enemy they would now have after them, they all proceeded forward to the front gates of House Sparl. Al’ev rang the bell, but there was no answer. Velius decided to scout the house out while Al’ev listened to more of what T’lemya had discovered.
When it was revealed that T’lemya had a broken hand, Al’ev took her to see Desira and they were able to have her hand repaired. They returned to find that Velius was about to enter the house. The quiet half elf continued on and when he emerged a few minutes later, he informed them that they should try ringing the bell again. Al’ev did so three times, noting that T’lemya twitched each time.
There again, was no answer for a few minutes. But finally, the front door creaked open and a halfling man with his pants on backwards and a rapier at his side came forward. The heroes exchanged a few words with him, establishing that this man was of House Sparl, and convinced the man to let them inside. He was older and appeared to have poor eyesight, so he did not notice the two halflings slung over Neo’s shoulders.
When they were allowed inside, the man went to go find his glasses while his wife made tea. The heroes gently placed the bodies on the table and braced themselves.
The man’s wife, Magda, immediately started screaming when she entered the room, calling them all murderers. They all stood silent, unsure of what they could do or say as the elderly halfling woman cried before them. Her husband returned and was very silent as he gripped the hilt of his rapier.
Before things could turn violent, Al’ev asked if he would hear them retell the story of what had happened. When the man nodded, finally giving his name as Erland, the heroes indicated that Neo start off the retelling as he was the only one of them present when Caj had asked for help. Al’ev took over and explained most of what had happened in the warehouse, leaving out the part of Crim killing one of the guards as he wasn’t entirely sure things would have been any better had the ninja not done as he did. Al’ev explained that it was unlikely either of the man’s children would have felt any pain. The fireball had engulfed the daughter while she was already unconscious. Caj had also been killed while unconscious. The heroes remained silent after they were done retelling the story, allowing the elderly couple a moments to their grief.
Finally the man asked who they were and Al’ev placed his Arbiter’s Tome on the table, explaining they were with the Guild of Arbiters. The man acknowledged this and then went on to say the House of Sparl was done and that they couldn’t do this anymore. Kashka had beaten his spirit when it took his children.
In that instant, Al’ev made a decision for the group, one he hoped they wouldn’t think unkindly of him for. He promised to aid House Sparl against House Kashka, but in return he needed information on where they could find House Stribog so they could help Sindri with his illness. The man didn’t hesitate before pointing out the location of the home.
All that remained was determining how they were going to get there. Two methods of travel existed for them, one would take them across land and possibly up to two or three weeks. The other by sea, requiring only one week. But the faster method also meant they needed a ship, and a crew. The head of house Sparl had long since retired from handling the day to day aspects of the business and did not know if the family still had control over any ships. He retrieved the company’s logs from Caj’s room and placed them on the table for the heroes.
“I don’t think he kept them the most organized…” Erland said.
“I’ve seen worse.” Al’ev observed. But as he looked closer, he also knew they were going to need help. The information was almost entirely in the native halfling language, not one he was familiar with.
They had options though. T’lemya had mentioned there was another ship, one that belonged to Kashka, that the heroes may be able to commandeer. It would leave the two surviving Sparls in a tough spot though and Al’ev wasn’t quick to suggest it until they learned that neither of the Sparls would be able to assist with deciphering the Sparl text.
“Well, that is one option, but it should be a last resort. I don’t want to put these two in any more danger than they already are. Perhaps we can find someone to decipher this company information.”
Velius and T’lemya volunteered themselves to find someone to decipher the information. Al’ev then asked Neo to gather up everyone else and bring them to House Sparl so that they could leave together as quickly as possible. Al’ev told the others he would remain behind to look after the two elderly haflings until everyone returned, mentioning he had a few more questions to ask of them anyway.
These plans were suddenly put on hold when a massive roar rang out into the air, but was then silenced midway through. Neo, T’lemya, Al’ev and Velius rushed outside to find a very large Silver dragon in the middle of the street. Their minds instinctively knew what had happened and they wasted no time in springing into action to calm the out of control Sindri.
The fight was rough. The heroes holding back their power in an effort to not kill the companion they had come all this way for. Neo attempted to get between Sindri and Desira and ended up getting crushed beneath the dragon as he stumbled about. Luckily Neo was okay as Al’ev had cast an enlarge person spell on the plate-wearing fighter. His larger size was more capable of taking a massive amount of weight. Still, he was not in a good spot and while Desira managed to tend to his some of his wounds with a quick healing spell, T’lemya, Velius and Al’ev all tried to reach the Halfling with words. Al’ev managed to get through to him with a message spell as he flew above the conflict which cause Sindri to speak in Silver Draconic, a language none of the group was fluent in but it was close enough to several other forms of Draconic that he could piece out “North, Home….”
By this point the combination of T’lemya, who had somehow managed to get all the way to Sindri’s head, and Desira’s efforts caused the dragon to take flight, heading North. Al’ev knew it was only a matter of time before the transformation wore off. He began to follow Sindri and watched helplessly as the silver dragon used its breath attack on several homes as he flew by. Alarms were raised throughout the city and the guardsmen began reacting to the attack.
Seeing Desira had followed them both, Al’ev continued on. It was a few minutes before they were over Basque Harbor. This is when Sindri reverted and was what Al’ev had been waiting for. He cast a spell that slowed the halfling’s plummet, enabling him to catch the now unconscious Sindri. He and Desira turned back towards the city wondering what else they would confront before leaving.
As they flew back, Al’ev spotted The Scaled Dragon docked in the distance. He wondered if fate would place the heroes on that ship in the future…