Hens in the Foxhouse

Hens in the Foxhouse

A typical evening in the Grey Fox: bawdy, drunken, and filled to the rafters with the riff-raff and rabble of east Astangard. A trio of musicians, comprised of a singer, a fiddler, and a hornpiper, play a merry jig in the corner opposite the bar, where a half-dozen disrespectable-looking men carouse with mugs of ale held aloft. Barmaids, their clothes carefully chosen to enhance their visual appeal, carry trays of the foamy drinks around the room while the patrons carry on with singing, talking, and coarse laughter. A slow fire burns in the pit in the north wall, and the spit-tender watches the roasting meat carefully while also keeping an eye on the adjacent storeroom door.

The sullen sound of the gong from the west, faintly audible near the tavern door, signals the coming of sunset; it is time for prayers for the worshippers at the Grand Temple of the Scarlet Flame, and time for closing the gates for the city guardsmen.
A single man hurries out just as the guards swing the massive doors shut, and the sound of the heavy bar lowering into place echoes down the darkening streets.


Blake looks at the city wall and the closed gate. He suppresses a grin. "We made it, Winslow. Freedom." He turns and continues down the street.

It's but a few steps from the gates to the Grey Fox, and the well-worn streets are practically rutted in the shortest path between the places of work within the walls and the friendly confines of the watering hole without. The sounds of merriment spill out from the half-open door, paired with the smell of stale ale and cheap perfume. There are a few citizens about in the street, but the presence of a passing patrol keeps any conversation to a bare minimum.


Seeing yet another patrol, he keeps his eyes lowered and walks like he's got someplace to be. Again he reviews the job, trying to identify exactly where things went all pear-shaped. Baer showing up drunk? Raddick and that stupid knife? Me agreeing a job were step 6 was, 'get him to open the safe.' Winslow insisted that he smelled no blood on me; that miracle was the only lucky break so far. I will surround myself with neither maniacs nor incompetents henceforth.

The patrol halts nearby to accost one of the townsfolk unlucky enough to be out at this hour. There isn't really a good alternative path that would not include walking directly past the guards or resorting to the rather obvious ducking down alleyways, either of which seems like a bad idea. The best bet, it seems, is to head into the Grey Fox like you really mean to be there.


Blake's not in the mood for the lesser gamble. He stops to adjust his boot, and picking bit of fluff from the lining, points down one of the alleys. He quietly says
Ghost Sound. Will DC13 "if interacted with"
something mystical.

A woman's scream errupts from the alley and is quickly mufffled. There are the sounds of a scuffle, and retreating footsteps. Blake puts his hand to his mouth, unsure of what to do. He looks at the guards, eyes wide.

The guards stop what they are doing and turn towards the sound. The leader makes a curt gesture, and his troops trot off towards the alley to investigate. The other citizen looks relieved to be freed from questioning and quickly disappears down the darkening street.

As you are feigning ignorance, the tavern door opens behind you and a familiar voice speaks. "Mister Morrow," the halfling intones unctuously. "We've been expecting you."


Blake pushes past the little man, once again glad that he doesn't carry his money around. He turns and waits for the door to be secured. "What news?" he asks, careful not to let his anger flare.

The halfling smiles and escorts Blake to the back door. A couple of the 'patrons', seeing the scene, whistle softly as though they are expecting something, but keep their remarks to themselves. The 'host' opens the door and ushers Blake into one of the small, private rooms, which with its walls and floor muffled in cork and lack of windows is indeed about as private as you can get in Astangard. A couple of burly thugs are loitering in the hallway, but the halfling shakes his head and they stay put as he and Blake step into the room. The halfling closes the door behind him and asks, "What in the name of the Four Gods happened back there? You're one of the best young job runners, Blake--we don't expect accidents like this from you."


The muscles of Blake's jaw work as he battles for control. "My accident, when it happens, is going to leave a smoking crater...." He drops the bravado. The halfing is a lot scarier than he is, even without the toughs waiting in the hall. A slight narrowing of the eyes is all it took, and Blake nearly pissed himself.

"Sir," he tries again, annealing his anger with fear, "the job needed thieves instead of thugs. We should have spied for the vault instead of trying to beat it out of him. I know, I was supposed to charm him, but Raddick had this new knife. He couldn't stop talking about it. I can't charm somebody who's scared or angry, and Raddick didn't wait. Well, first he wouldn't talk. And then he couldn't stop screaming." Remembering, Blake gets a haunted, far away look.

"Wait. Why are you asking me? Where's Baer?"


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