The robed man stands, rolling up the maps with his wizened hands and tucking them in the folds of his velvety mantle. "Excellent. We appreciate your assistance and wish you success in your first mission."
With that, he departs as noiselessly as he came. As the door swings shut behind him, you hear footsteps approaching: The halfling, returning, slips in just before the door latches.
Bowing slightly, he addresses you each by name: "Astaban, Annette, Karn, Sikhandyn, Sofia, and Wyngard. Welcome to the service of the Black Crocus. If you will be so kind as to report to our safehouse in the East Village--the Grey Fox, it's hard to miss--by sundown tomorrow, our quartermasters will see to your needs and have you on your way. Don't be late; the only way out after the city gates close is the sewers, and we won't be sending anyone to guide you that way." The halfling wrinkles his nose in disgust.
Despite the pleasant-sounding name, you know the East Village is little more than a collection of simple homes and huts, the dwellings of the city workers who are too poor to afford residence in Astangard proper. The Grey Fox is well-known by its reputation for bawdiness and cheap drink, the kind of refuge favored by those in need of escape from the harshness of their reality.
As the halfling leads you back through the silent corridors, the holding pen is empty and the doorman a little less gruff as he shows you out. The moon has risen in the late summer sky, a waning crescent against the blackness of the wee hours before dawn. Fortunately, the patrols have all moved on to more pressing matters, and you are able to return home without incident--to contemplate what you have just gotten yourself into, and to prepare for the unknown.