Part 2: Local Heroes


Gozzik Redknife

Gozzik nods thoughtfully. "The trail is likely quite cold, but its possible that there is something about the wagon that would be distinctive. If you don't recognize it," he says, with a nod to the sheriff, "Then I assume it isn't local, and you're right that it was probably stolen. But if nothing else, its worth looking at, to see if the driver left anything we can find."

He laughed at Jan's remark and shrugged. "I don't propose to investigate incognito. If the Hagfish is home to unsavory types, it may help our position to be known as people not to be trifled with."

Aegon rubbed his chin at Jan's comments regarding the town's history. "That's not a bad idea. I was at Risa's Place earlier in the day yesterday before the attack and Niska was there. Perhaps she'd still be there? If any of you know her better than I, by all means... otherwise perhaps I should follow up with her? Perhaps the good Father was buried with something of interest to our conspirator?"

Tom o' the Six Strings

Brego leaned back from his chair, Brego the lawman, the thought brought an amused smile to his face. "Then should we meet back with you in a day or two then?" he asks, still looking amused that he had been deputized. It was good in some ways, to be directly connected to the law enforcement was also more potentially dangerous. As the others began to leave Brego tipped his hat towards the Sheriff

"Well Master Halfling, are you ready to go look at the wagon full of goblin sh*t?
he says appearing to be slightly amused "It seems clear what Sir Veritas thinks of us, giving us such a lovely assignment" he said in a tone to imply more of jest than an argument

Gozzik Redknife

The tiny ranger shrugged. "He thinks we are competent," he replied, "And he probably wants to keep you away from the bar." With that he began walking out of the room. "Hopefully we can find something of value, anyway."

"I'm not sure that the wagon will hold any more clues, but if you want to take a look, it's been moved over to the stables for the time being, and it will soon be turned into kindling. Daverin Hosk is a trustworthy fellow; tell him I sent you," Sheriff Hemlock instructed as the meeting drew to a close. "You can come see me anytime you like. I'm not hard to find. I'll probably summon you once I hear from my outside agent anyway. Until then, my friends."

As the meeting drew to a close, those in attendance dispersed and went their separate ways for the evening. Some sought some sort of relaxation after a long day, or simply retired for the night, while others had business yet left unattended.

Aegon Skye felt inclined to visit the Sandpoint cemetery, quietly moving into the moonlit graveyard without drawing much attention. As promised, he found that the grave of Father Tobyn had been carefully covered over to show no signs of the robbery. He also noticed that next to the priest's grave was a gravestone bearing the name of his adopted daughter, Nualia, with the same date of her passing as Tobyn's. As he made his way around the grounds, he also saw five fresh burial sites which held the victims of the goblin raid. There was not much more to be found there, as his instinctive tracking abilities were nearly useless given the sheer volume of traffic that had passed through the graveyard earlier that day. He did enjoy a fine view from the edge of the high bluff as a low fog rolled in over the lower part of town.

Jan returned to the Pixie's Kitten to find that Aldern Foxglove had indeed found his way over to the storied cathouse, and was currently enjoying the company of not one, but two of the Kitten's finest felines. The nobleman had spent the entire afternoon drinking and being expertly enticed by Miss Kaijitsu until he felt compelled to give the brothel a visit. When he arrived at the Kitten, the shrewd Madame Tesarani immediately sized up the mark, and inflated her usual prices accordingly. When Jan arrived, she was given her cut, and a generous portion for Ameiko as well.

When Brego finally made it back to his inn, he was surprised by a small stack of fan mail left at the front desk in his name... well, "Tom's" name, that is. They were love letters from young ladies all over town. Most were fairly innocent in nature, but some were quite scandalous, and even included return addresses should the minstrel decide to take advantage of his sought-after status among the town's female population.

Gozzik found that Lucky Star was being handled with great care at Goblin Squash stables. Daverin Hosk was off duty at this time of night, but he ran a solid business, and the halfling was let in by one of the stable hands to spend some time with his pony, and to take him out for a late night ride around town. From what Gozzik could tell, there wasn't a whole lot of major damage done to the town. Small fires had been lit and windows broken, but the goblins did not have the ability to do any sort of serious structural damage.

The group of six ended their day with just as many questions as they had answers, and they retired for the night intent on collecting some information of their own the following day...

Wealday, 25th of Rova, 4707 AR

The air was cool and crisp on Wealday morning, and the fog that had rolled in over night had yet to lift entirely. The town had taken one more step toward normalcy after the early week's chaos, and folks were returning to their typical routines wherever they could. The group of local heroes awoke this morning with some work to do of their own, intent on gathering some information based on what they had learned the night before.

* * * * * * *

When Sai emerged from her room this morning, she was approached by an aging, halfling woman named Bethana Corwin who did a morning shift at the Dragon as a server and a short order cook. Bethana presented Sai with a letter that had been left at the front counter in her name:

Dearest Saitylvaness,
With sincere regret, I am writing to inform you that I will not have another opportunity to enjoy your company here in Sandpoint.

The events of the last few days have left me exhausted, and so I have abbreviated my vacation and returned to my home in Magnimar.

I do hope that if your journeys should find you in the great City of Monuments, you might seek me out and come visit me at my estate.

With my most pleasant regards,
A. Foxglove

(On the back of the letter is a hand-drawn diagram with directions to Foxglove Manor)

Miss Jan had an entirely different take on the departed noble, or at least she was more pronounced in her displeasure, and she spent a good part of the day searching for ways to use Aldern's quirks to her advantage should they ever meet again. What she found was not much more than she had already learned from the man himself. He was born into a wealthy family among the noble class of Magnimar, and had just recently reclaimed the families' mansion, to which the deed had been lost when his parents passed away several years ago. He was a man who liked to be waited on, but he was also known to be rather liberal with his gratuity, so it was no surprise to find that he was a popular man all over Sandpoint, where he often visited for a little rest and relaxation while hunting the nearby Tickwood for wild boar.

* * * * * * *

Gozzik and Brego visited Goblin Squash Stables to take a look at the wagon that had been confiscated from the raid. They were greeted by Daverin Hosk and led behind the stables. As they approached the ruined wagon they were met by the awful smell of human waste. Normally, one might attribute a disgusting aroma found at the stables to the drunkard, Gurgis, who currently slept on a stack of hay behind the barn, but today's hideous stench was clearly not the fault of the halfling lush, but a result of the lingering evidence of goblins inside the large vehicle. The wagon was the covered variety commonly used by traveling caravans all over Varisia, and sure enough, there were some signs of the nomadic people left inside, including a few colorful silks and some handmade costume jewelry, but upon further investigation, there was no other evidence that would point toward a specific owner. Unless someone were to come forward and claim it, which was extremely unlikely at best, the wagon seemed to be a dead end.

* * * * * * *

Looking to unearth some valuable information on the guard who had gone missing from the North Gate during the raid, Brego, Jan and Veritas were forced to crawl into the seedy underbelly of the small town, and after spending a part of their day cleverly cavorting with the scoundrels and scallywags over at the Hagfish, they were able to turn over some dirt. Apparently, Phineas Munch was indeed a frequenter of this establishment, and he had an enormous weakness for games of chance. While being a gambler wasn't really enough to raise suspicion, the problem was that Munch wasn't very good at it, and it was rumored that he had a long-standing debt with a group of
Varisian organized crime family
Sczarni loan sharks. Munch was only able to keep his knees intact by using his position as part of the town guard to his advantage, trading pertinent tips to the Sczarni thugs in exchange for an extension on his debts. On the other hand, it was pretty widely agreed that Phineas Munch was just a low-life weasel who was incapable of murder, much less conspiring with an army of goblins. No one here had seen the man since the morning of the Festival.

* * * * * * *

Brego took the opportunity while at the Hagfish to gently pry for information about Chelaxian agents who may be prospecting in and around Sandpoint, but with his need to be vague about his reasoning, it was hard to get any real answers. The best he could get was a couple of shady figures who said they hadn't heard anything of that sort lately, and there was no mention of Gregori, House Jeggari or the murder that was surely big news in Magnimar by now.

* * * * * * *

Those who sought details about the previous Sandpoint fire were drawn to the home of the oracle, Madame Mvashti. Niska invited Aegon, Gozzik and Sai inside and politely offered them spiced tea as they were seated in a living room filled with the smell of incense and burning candles. The old woman's plea for a few coins to help her through hard times seemed rehearsed, but nonetheless pitiful. She also seemed to have a great interest in elves, who she called "Children of the Millenia," and after a few silver were exchanged, and Sai had shared a few tales of her elven homeland, Niska opened up with what she knew about the fire. "The great fire of Sandpoint started at the old Chapel, and went on to destroy the entire building, as well as the old North Point Stables, the White Deer Inn and several homes," she began. "It is said publicly that the fire was an accident, but anyone who cares to know will tell you that this was in fact no accident at all, but a deadly act of arson; in fact, there are some who say that the door to Ezekian Tobyn's bedroom was found to be locked shut from the outside!"

"The disaster took place shortly after Father Tobyn's adopted daughter had returned home in an attempt to mend their broken relationship,"
Niska recalled. "This is not to say that Nualia had anything to do with it, but it did seem like trouble followed that poor girl wherever she went. Anyway, we'll never know now, as her life was claimed in the fire as well. I can't imagine who could have wanted Father Tobyn dead. He was an exceptionally kind man who's only fault was the depth of his religious zealotry."

* * * * * * *

Other than the translation he had received during his last visit with Niska, Aegon Skye was not able to find much of sinificance about the strange, runic script on his sword. Savah Bevaniky at the town armory did point out that it was unlikely that the blade was some sort of ancient relic. He explained that a sword that old would have long since lost its ability to hold such a sharp edge, and suggested that it was more likely the work of a modern weaponsmith who had an interest in Varisian legend.

* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *

As the day wore on, the streets were abuzz about an unexpected visitor who had apparently made her way into town early that afternoon. It was said that this elven huntress, who was being called Shalelu, was a frequent visitor to Sandpoint, but wasn't expected to return from the hinterlands until the last week of autumn. It was also said she had looked a little more ragged than usual, and that she had bypassed her usual visit to the town market and traveled straight to the town hall, where she had been ever since entering the town over an hour ago. All of this seemed to be a cause for some concern among the townspeople.

Later in the afternoon, each of you were sought out by members of the town guard who explained that Sheriff Hemlock would like to see you about a matter of great importance at the Town Hall...

Jan sat dejectedly on a different seat than the one she took the last time they had gathered around to meet the Sheriff. The Garund man himself had gone out to attend
Puppeteer-ed the NPCs. Just to get a few minutes of chat between the Heroes.
some internal guard business, leaving them waiting in the same room as before. For the third time since they arrived, the Cheliax woman let out a sigh.

"If only he stayed a couple nights more..." Jan commented with a rueful smile, "Then we could have milked Lord Foxglove's money bags a few more times." Ameiko had agreed and commiserated along with her when Jan came in early in the morning to drop off the Tian woman's share of commission from the Madame.

That said, Jan hadn't managed to get anything else interesting about the man. Except for his wealthy background and noble title, Jan hadn't found out anything else she could have made use out of the fop. At best, she could get a free room and meals if she ever visited Magnimar.

The other avenues of investigation weren't too bad. After Tom mentioned about his and Gozzik's visit to the wagon, Jan took the time later to 'liberate' the leftover silks and jewelry from the wagon. It hadn't been claimed, and after a few thorough washing to clear out the smell of goblins (she paid one of the Kitten's scullery staff to do it for her) they might be worth a couple of coppers or silvers, or perhaps as props for a disguise. The wagon itself seemed to be in a rather good condition, aside from the smell, so if she ever need to use one...

Her own investigation, along with Tom and Veritas, bore a better fruit. The profile of the scum and his circumstances seemed to point towards the Sczarni having a hand with the goblin invasion. And the man himself was either on the run or dead in a ditch somewhere by now.

The rest of the others' investigation seemed to be meeting much of a dead end. With the exception of the rumors regarding the oddities about the fire, and Nualia's past behavior, though it's mostly Father Tobyn's past that interested her, since it was his remains that had been spirited away and not his daughter's.

"It's a good thing we didn't come off entirely empty-handed, but this sudden call concerns me." Veritas sighed out. "No doubt the goblins are on the move again, if they ever stopped." He was quick to share what little information he'd uncovered along with "Tom" and Jan. The involvement of an organized crime family was unexpected, but not entirely surprising. Unfortunately, for Veritas' line of investigation, it meant a whole slew of trouble had just presented itself. For one, it meant there was more than a single suspect involved in the attack. Secondly, it would make tracking the remains of Father Tobyn more difficult, as the area to be investigated had just increased considerably.

And finally, it meant that the Sczarni would probably be wise to them. Depending on how aggressive they were and how big their influence was in Sandpoint, the Heroes would need to be on their toes from now on.

As the group shared the snippets of information they'd gathered, Aegon frowned as he thought. "...the Temple, the stables, and the White Deer... All of those places we're specifically targeted by the Goblins... Was somebody trying to recreate the fires of five years ago?"

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