The halfling's eyes darted back and forth trying to follow the conversation, all the while wondering what would drive people to such heights of pride and posturing, At least Ameiko has a lot of people who care for her, she thought, I'm sure everything's going to be fine.
Feeling somewhat comforted, Bethana began to focus on Jan's reminder that there would be twice as much work to do at the Dragon today. She herself would have to double up her prep work in the kitchen, and she'd have to find a normal sized person to tend the bar in Ameiko's absence. Just when she was about to turn and head for the kitchen to start peeling potatoes for the Fireday special chowder, she overheard Gozzik and Veritas discussing the Kaijitsu Glassworks. "Oh, you won't have to go very far... the Glassworks are just across town, on the other side of Main street in the industrial district," she explained, happy that she could be of some help.
Knowing full well that the girl-it was now rather clear that Kataria Saharkar was a young girl, and probably older than Jan actually was-had her attention on her and the note, Jan casually picked up the note and folded it. She put it away inside her vest, with a warmer smile than before towards the girl.
"Well, it's true. The letter is actually from Tsuto, Ameiko's brother. He requested a favor from her, but more of a favor from an ex-adventurer than a sister, actually." She added, before realizing that Tom had arrived. Gozzik and Veritas had already made a clump near the door with the newly arrived bard, furiously exchanging information
I hope they are muted whispers...
Else, my attempts to ease Betty's worry, keep the panic about collaborators, and keep Kataria from blowing out were in vain.
"Hullo, Mister Tom. You know, I never asked yesterday, but how'd the rat hunt go?" She asked with a cheeky smile at the man, before her smile turned a bit more serious as she answered his unspoken question.
"Well, we're looking for Ameiko. Looks like her brother got some leads about the 'collaboration'." Tom was rather bright, if a bit mysterious, he should caught up with what she meant soon. Probably the eager duo had already clued him in.
"Betty, we'll be going out to check at Ameiko, okay? Maybe you can call in Ambhra to help in the front for now, and ask for a double-shift for Elsie and Jette tomorrow. I know you can't handle the place by your own in the morning, let alone at the evening. Even if your cooking is simply divine, you can't be at the kitchen and man the taps at the same time. I'm sure Ameiko would agree, even if I need to knock her a few times first for giving you trouble and worry." Jan ended her words to the halfling with a cheery grin and a nod, before turning back to the others.
"Anyway, let's go." She said, before stepping out of the Rusty Dragon and marching towards the Kaijitsu's workshop.
Subtlety was at a premium as everyone left the Rusty Dragon and moved west along Market street toward the Sandpoint Glassworks. The market square was a bustle of activity this time of day, and the town's citizens took notice of their heroes moving purposefully as a group; some even stopped whatever they were doing to follow along.
Up ahead, the chimney of the Glassworks was visible over top of some of the smaller buildings, and thick smoke billowed out of it, as per usual at this time of day. The shop ran ten to twelve hour shifts in summer and early autumn to take advantage of the extended light, and only closed on Sundays.
As the group made their way across town, some recalled what information they could on Lonjiku and the history of the Kaijitsu operations. Those with even a
Know(local) DC 10
casual knowledge would know that the Kaijitsus were one of four founding families in this town, and part of the Sandpoint Mercantile League. Lonjiku himself had been running the successful, family business for nearly thirty-five years. Lonjiku's business-savvy father had discovered that the materials needed in the glass-working process could be found in abundance in this area; sand and salt-resistant plants such as seaweed from along the coast of the Varisian Bay, and lime quarried the cliffs of Devil’s Platter and the Ashen Rise. That, combined with the expert crafsmanship the Kaijitsus had brought with them from the far-eastern Empire of Minkai have enabled the Glasworks to grow into a most profitable venture.
Lonjiku is well known as a strict man with a quick temper. Most attribute his abrasive behavior to the loss of his wife roughly five years ago. Unhappy in her marriage, and distraught over the disfunctionality of her family, Atsuii had taken her own life by throwing herself off the cliff and onto the rocks below along the jagged shoreline of the Bay.
Those who had the tendency to be a little
Know(local) DC 15
more diligent in their study of local lore may also recall that the Kaijitsu's were rumored to be in cahoots with some of the seedier elements around these parts, and that they had sometimes used tunnels in the basement of the Glassworks to assist in smuggling operations with organized criminals, though it is known that Lonjiku has since sealed up the tunnels in an effort to put a stop to such activities.
It is also rumored that Lonjiku himself had a hand in his wife's death five years ago. As Bethana shared briefly, Lonjiku's own son, Tsuto, was the biggest proponent of said rumor, which has caused a major rift within the family.
As you arrived at the Glassworks, you could smell the acrid burn of the exhausted smoke and faintly hear the deep churn of the furnace through the stone walls. This was normal, of course, as the shop was clearly in operation, but what was not normal was the fact that the curtains had been pulled shut on all of the windows, and all of the doors were locked, including the main entrance into the display room at the intersection of Gull and Glass streets, and the two service entrances, one at the far end of the structure at the other end of Glass street, and one around the back side of the building. There are also several skylights on the roof of the Glassworks, one above the display room, and a few more over the main workshop on the side facing out into the bay.
Katariah notices the new arrival, who turns up hung over and says something that Katariah, with her extensive experience with her brother in mornings, recognizes as 'Hungover, hungover hungover hungover oh god it's morning where is my coffee'. Jan, attractively muscled as well as garbed as a warrior, seemed to be one of the more reasonable members of the group, for all her pointedness when she first addressed Katariah. "She can't have expected to be gone this long, or she would have told the staff here - that means that, brother or not, she's in trouble. She seems to have a habit of biting off more than she can chew."
She gives the group a bit of a wary look before setting off, but if the bar-staff think of them as Ameiko's friends, that is good enough for her - for now. Still, she doesn't turn her back on Gozzik or Veritas, while she walks, and stays close to Jan.
Katariah gives the bard a single glance with a raised eyebrow. "First the letter, and now this place is closed up tight? A glassworks? In the day? That's one too many suspicious circumstances for me to tread lightly." Stepping forward, she pulled the blade from her back with one hand, now revealed as a foot wide inches thick 'ogre-slaying' greatblade more than 5 feet long. Hefting it easily with a slim arm that doesn't look like it should be able to accomplish this, she holds it above her head, adds her second arm to support it, closes her eyes and breathes out. Then she opens her eyes and slams the blade down, hard, in a short arc that passes between each of the leaves of the large double door.
Perhaps it was the lingering effects of last night's load, but Brego was unable to hear much of anything through the main door to the Glassworks.
Katariah's morally righteous sense of purpose drove her to act quickly. Maybe too quickly, as her overhand swing slapped clumsily against the wooden door to no avail.
The action drew the attention of the few who had been following along wondering what the Heroes were up to, and garnered some suspicious looks as the commonfolk wondered why there would be a need to break into the Glassworks. A few strangers even felt compelled to approach the group and ask what was going on...