By Carric Naïlo
No sooner had we gotten valuable information and the potential of a usable asset in Lord Bardryn Sarich (and, miraculously, managed to do it without hurting anybody) but he was murdered, burned alive in his bed shortly after Val, Xavi, Clara Viola and myself left his estate.
My concern about this development can’t be overstated. Bardryn had promised much to us. He was going to find out the mole in the common alliance’s identity. He was going to get us the location of the next meeting of the masked lords, along with the password and identifying mechanism to attend the meeting. Most of all, he was going to be on the hook for future demands, thanks to our “kidnapping” of Finnithan Nix.
We know (because Bardryn told us) that there is a mole in the common alliance. We also know that he was going to find out for us who the mole was. Is this why he was murdered? What if his murder is mere coincidence, related to something else and we are now on a wild wyvern chase?
Who knew that we were targeting him? As far as we know, the list is small. Three people, in fact. But if any of them told anyone else, the list’s length could grow. The Common Alliance is uneasy enough as it is, the last thing we need is everyone looking over their shoulder for spies.
I am most disturbed that Shava did not inform me of Bardryn’s death, despite it being the talk of the city. Did she not know yet? Was she in trance during the relevant time? Is she the mole?
At least Bardryn told us of the location of the prisoners. Yet before we could do much about that, his death set in motion some other urgent business. My main task of the day was to help Val find lodging and to send a letter, which I did with the help of my old friend, Rydell Bronzeblossom. I haven’t seen Rydell in some time— us both being elves, we can go decades without seeing each other— but I discovered him as hale as ever. He is in tight with the Common Alliance, in fact, he has at one point sat on its inner council, so he was able to help.
Xavi and I also returned to the Friendly Flounder to warn our human friends to find new lodging and disavow us, and then moved on to Madame Garah’s Boardinghouse.
From there, we all agreed that the must urgent matter was to get three members of the common alliance out of prison: a Tiefling named Ralris Karnat, a half-elf named Valinthenna Nord and, of course, my dear friend Igald, priest of Sylvanus. I turned into a mouse to scope out the prison, and find them. Which, to my credit, I did. But to my great embarrassment, doing so took me across a warded doorway which rendered my my elven self again. Thinking fast, I charmed the guard (Matteus Baywater) and had him escort me out, pretending to by drunk. I high-tailed it out of there, as after an hour he would know that I had tricked him.
We met an “old friend” of Viola’s who works at the prison. Which is probably for the best as his acting chops could use some work. Anyway, we talked over various plans to break out friends out, during which it was revealed that one of our number, Clara, is actually a noble in disguise, and is from the House Arundel. Imagine my surprise!
Anyway, we pulled off a neat ruse, using some official papers and an official seal (both forged by yours truly, who attended the prison break in the form of a horse) and then had the prisoners “transferred into our care.” Sven Korae, an eldritch knight, insisted on escorting us, but Val, thinking fast, blinded and deafened him. We staged an attack on our caravan and helped our friends escape, so that by the time Sven regained his senses, he would think he was attacked.
It is remarkable, really, how ably we’ve avoided hurting and killing people.
Shortly thereafter, an explosion erupted from the docks, and we raced there to discover what was the matter. The general strike had turned into a riot, and parties unknown had lit three of the docks on fire! We raced in to investigate and help. Ges attempted to rescue a dockworker from the City Guard, and we would up on the wrong side of the law yet again. I suppose this is inevitable when the law is being put to such perverse, unjust uses.
We would up battling the City Guard. I managed to charm one, convincing him his family way in danger. I took another one out with a flaming scimitar. When reinforcements arrived, I was concerned we would have to take on the entirety of the Guard and Watch combined, but soon a column of Half Orc dockworkers cleared the place out. We spent hours putting out the fires and rescuing people, and then Xavi, Viola and I departed for Madame Garah’s to meet our friends. Viola somehow seemed to be carrying a heavier load than when we arrived.
On our way back, we hatched a plan to force the mole out of hiding. We will separately tell Finithan, Shava and Lorbrin that we are meeting with a witness to Bardryn’s murder. We will tell each a different time of day and wait to see what happens. If we are attacked or in any way interfered with, we will know who is the mole. And then we will see what our options are.
We met Valinthenna and Igald. Ralris had gone out for the evening. Neither of them had much of use to tell us, as they had been imprisoned for the last twenty four hours. But Igald did promise to investigate Bardryn’s murder.
On a final note: I know that things are chaotic currently and that the Common Alliance appears to be a barely cohered, perhaps-sloppily-run mess. I also know that Xavi is concerned the Common Alliance is being used for nefarious means.
But change is hard. And it is difficult to organize when all involved have no experience of leadership or organization. I believe that they are slowly getting their act together. They are fighting for justice for the common folk and a return to the land. Justice and the balance. Are there more worthwhile goals? In the High Forest we do not have the problems of the City of Splendors. We live off the land, and do not bother much with money. We live in peace. Our only major challenge is exterior forces attempted to take our land so they can use it to their own ends.
The people of the City of Splendors have much to learn from the natural world, and thus much to learn from Druids. If we can reconnect them to the lessons that nature has to offer, I believe that a more just, peaceful society is possible. __