Garak reentered the tavern with a scowl on his face. There was something new bothering him, but it was quickly dismissed as he resumed his normal blank emotionless look.
He saw Lorem leaving the meeting room.
"Sorry...I had to rush off right away to verify some information..."
He looks bothered by something, but nodded back towards the small room.
"We need to continue in here so we can have privacy for what I'm about to disclose."
Garak had just caught the tail end of Karnak's questions about where to have their feast.
"Karnak, if we may, the food in here would be better, as we have much to discuss and need our privacy. Your efforts to accommodate us is appreciated."
Garak's words were surprisingly pleasant.
Once the man left the room again, Garak stretched a bit and then took a seat.
"I am sure that each of us has some information that will complete the story I'm about to tell. If we can each tell our particular parts, despite being sleepy, wanting to be elsewhere, or thinking that your part is insignificant, then I am certain we can begin to unfurl what is going on and what we're facing. The fact of the matter is that we're no longer facing some simple mage in a cave full of orcs..."
The assassin left his thoughts just at that for the moment.
"The Order originally tasked us with the duty of heading to Sembia to help some spice merchants who are being pressured by a rival merchant guild that follows Bane. This Bane group was reported to have taken over and controlled the entire eastern half of Saerloon."
"Along the way, we were to interrogate a prisoner named Sigphan who had information about the whole situation. As you know, I had the pleasure of encouraging our friend Sigphan to tell me all his information. His information was interesting indeed."
"During the interrogation, Sigphan told me that there is a man named Jon who lives in Saerloon. Jon would give Sigphan his direct orders. Jon's group follows the god Bane. To try to stop the efforts of the Bane group, another separate group who follow Lathandar cropped up. They are based out of Mulhessen. From what Sigphan indicated, this group in Mulhessen is weak." "Further, Sigphan also reported to a mage in Saerb named Berekal. Berekal had recently moved to Saerb to establish a business. This is where the story gets a bit more interesting. As we all know now, Berekal was murdered...along with some dock workers."
"I'll come back to this point in just a bit after I clear up a few other connections and pieces."
"As a side note, there is a druid named Adara who lives in the woods somewhere in this region. Apparently at some point, Berekal became angry with Adara, and sent some thugs after the druid to kill him. The thugs were never seen again, and it was reported that they failed in their mission. I do not know anything more about this, but suggest it might be worth investigating further. I suspect that the druid has some sort of connection with the plans regarding the river...but it is entirely possible that it's something else completely."
"As Lorem and I discussed, we shared a common vision in which we were able to participate and influence a fight between the gods Cyric and Bane. During their fight, we were able to overhear their conversation. It became clear that Bane feels like he controls Saerloon, though Cyric demanded that his followers were strong."
"Remember now our information from the Order and Sigphan's statement. We know that the Bane group is strong and that they control the eastern half of Saerloon. We also know that there is a group of spice merchants that are being pressured by a rival guild, and we know that there is a weak guild that follows Lathandar that has come together to fight against the Bane group. What we don't know is whether or not the Lathandar group and the spice merchants are one in the same."
"If they are one in the same, then great...if not, we have three factions to our story so far."
Garak stopped for a moment to think about the next part of his story and how to weave it into the information given so far.
"Zetroc was part of our original party when we left the Order's compound. He was accompanied there by the half-orc Korrak. We encountered both again in the orc caves when we went to rescue the women from the brothel. Both were encouraged to talk with the help of several of us present, and we learned even more of the story...and also learned that Zetroc was ordered by the Wizard's Council to infiltrate the Order and await further instructions."
"Zetroc has a boss named Andrej. Lorem, Andrej is the one that took one of your arrows with him when he decided to flee the battle in the caves. What we learned is that Zetroc was approached about joining some Wizard's Council, of which Andrej was a leader of some capacity. Andrej, per some writings found in the caves, had ordered Zetroc to buy up a significant amount of land between Saerloon and Saerb."
"He didn't tell us the reason why, but fortunately, Sigphan already had. The reason for buying all this land was because Andrej is in charge of a project to CREATE a river between Saerloon and Saerb for purposes of controlling trade in the entire area."
Garak chuckled. "Of course, you can imagine that some people have become rather violently opposed to that idea."
"According to Sigphan, Berekal violently opposed the river project. Perhaps this is why Berekal had such feelings of anger towards the druid, Adara?"
"My suspicion is that we now have reason to believe that there are at least three factions involved. I say that for two reasons. First, the vision that Lorem and I had is partially confirmed by the information I've gathered...and we know that Bane's statement in the vision about his followers in Saerloon being strong is true. So, that makes me believe further that a group that follows Cyric exists in the region as well. Now, that group may be one of the ones I've told you about already, or it could be yet another group of people."
"The real question is, with whom, if anybody, is this Wizard's Council allied?"
Garak turns to look at Judith and Harrod as if expecting them to fill in that very information.
"In short, here's what we know:
First, a group that follows Bane controls the eastern half of Saerloon. They have a man named Jon within their ranks. Berekal and Sigphan were both part of that organization to some measure.
Second, a group of spice merchants are in Sembia. They are being pressured by a rival merchant guild that follows Bane.
Third, Sigphan indicated that some people have joined together to stand up against the Saerloon Bane group, but they are weak. We do not know if this is our spice merchants or somebody else.
Fourth, from the vision, we can reasonably suspect that there is a group of Cyric followers fighting against the Bane followers...or at least the fighting is planned.
Fifth, a Wizard's Council is actively operating against the Order. They have a wizard named Andrej who is presently directing a project to build a river between Saerloon and Saerb. This river project was strongly opposed by the mage Berekal, though Berekal is no longer fulfilling that role. Zetroc and Korrak were both part of that council, but with both being dead, burnt, and scattered, they are no longer an issue either.
Sixth, this druid Adara is an unknown. We know only that Berekal was very angry with him, and hired some men to kill the druid. At this point, it's unknown why Berekal wanted the druid dead, or if the druid is even involved in all of this in any related way."
Garak finally turns again to Harrod and Judith with a smile.
"And that brings us back full circle to you two. Today, an attack came against Saerb. At first, the city suspected it was a normal attack. I felt it was something else...in fact, I honestly felt it was a distraction so the AAGP group could do some sort of act against the city. When I saw them doing nothing, I headed for the gates. Come to find out, the fight at the gates was indeed a distraction. Our two new friends here were told by their employer to attack Saerb in exchange for wealth and power. Their lives were cast away by their employer as a necessary expense so a greater harm could be brought."
Garak looks at Harrod and Judith for a moment and speaks directly to them. "In my book, that is well beyond enough justification to encourage me to hunt down every last bastard that had any input and knowledge of that decision."
He then turned back to everybody as a whole.
"What really happened is somewhat of a mystery, though there is plenty of residue of magic all around the blast locations. It is clear that the buildings in town were destroyed by magic. The question is why. The answer rests in looking at the harm within Saerb...I know only of a few buildings for sure so far, but I know others were definitely damaged." "And with that, you now know everything that I've learned. While we could launch into one of many directions, the rest of you need to fully disclose what all you know regardless of how insignificant it may seem. I suspect that our days of fighting only mortals are becoming quite limited. After all, we all know the purpose of the Order, and by Zetroc's own testimony, we've apparetly earned the attention of the Wizard's Council at the least. Who knows what person or power rests in command over Andrej."
Garak then pulled a fresh mug of ale from the central table and returned to a position in a dark corner where he could sit upon a sealed crate, enjoy his drink, and listen to the discussion of the others.
Garak remembered a final bit to his story and spoke up once again. "I have a head of one of the mages that was sent to attack Saerb. If Harrod and Judith don't want to share or can't remember details, then Raz, you can have fun with the deceased. I didn't know if you just needed the head or the entire body, but I have all of it, just in case, in my pack."
Now he was done.
The rogue sat in silence and pondered all the details. There was more that he didn't know. He hoped the others would be able to piece some of it together.
Harrod's narrow shoulders rose in a shrug,
"I know very little of our employer, only that I was sent word via letter that fame, fortune and power were at my fingertips should I join the cause against Saerb." He sipped his wine again before continuing. "I showed up and found that Judith and the now deceased mage with the dragonne had received similar messages. The cloaked man we met was leading an army into Saerb and we were to aid in the destruction of the defenders ... you," he motioned with a hand waved in an arc around the group.
"We were promised all the wealth we could loot as well as a heft sum of gold, payable of course upon completion." The mage looked down in retrospect, "I think this may have been a bad idea, I didn't ask any hard questions since the promise of wealth and power was so prevalent."
His shoulders now heaved a heavy sigh, "We met with some orcish or ogreish general ... not sure what he was, that led us to the gates and ... well ... you know the rest." He took a large piece of tender lamb this time, washing it down with a gulp of his wine.
With this bit of knowledge, Garak spoke up once again. [/b]"The cloaked man's head and body are in my pack. He tried to flee but I was faster. As for the ogre, he lies dead at the gates. Raz, you are the key to questioning both in the morning."[/b]
[b]"That's too bad," Harrod commented. "I had promised that ogre that I personally would kill him after the attack, I don't think he made any friends with Judith or the other mage as well."
Hearing Garak's earlier words about the Druid in the woods, Ara blinks in surprise, shaking her head briefly.
"Garak, did Sigphan really say that? Maybe you misheard, or he gave a false name..." she says, looking briefly at the rogue.
"Because, well...I have a sister named Adiari! She is a powerful Druid that lives nearby here, in the Archwoods across the River Arkhen..."
She shakes her head, chuckling briefly in spite of herself.
"It's gotta be a mistake; she's obviously a woman, so that part at least is wrong!" Ara adds, taking a wary sip of her drink.
Garak shrugs. "At the point when Sigphan gave me this information, I had managed to convince him that we were allies. He freely gave me that information without prompting. It's safe to presume that he heard the name wrong, and I'm sure that Berekal told everybody it was a guy that had bested his assassins...wounded egos and all that."
He smiles at Ara. "Sounds like we'll get to meet your sister soon. Can you lead us to her?"
Ara then departed the group, apparently to go find out about her sister.
This will be updated later. There was a lot of private tagged posts that are too good to not include in the story.
I will update this soon as well...