The next morning, Helion and I go to check on Lyssa. She’s in bad shape still. I heal her up with Moradin’s blessings and we wish her well in her recovery. Back at the inn, we’re still getting lots of people coming up to us like we’re all famous. One guy looks like he’s seen a few battles – he’s got scars all over. He introduces himself as Pherros, and he’s all impressed that we’ve been to Castle Whiterock and says that he’s got some information and maps and notes that we could use.
When Helion asks him how much he wants, the guy says he’s more interested in the stuff we’d bring back. He wants to be a partner with us. He’s really, really interested in us. Kinda interested like a dog is interested in you when you have a sausage in your hand. I can tell there’s something a little not-Good about him, but maybe he’s just greedy. Helion asks him to bring the information to the Slumbering Drake, but he insists that we come to his inn – The Manticore. We tell him we have to discuss it with Fin and Errich when they return and we’d get back to him.
We meet up for lunch and talk it over with the group. Chauntessa doesn’t know Pherros but she does know about the Manticore Inn, which is her direct competition. It’s a nice inn, smaller than hers. We want to send our stinky dwarf friend to follow Pherros and spy on him.
“Will you accept the mission?” Fin says.
The dwarf shrugs.
“You might get to kill someone,” Helion says.
The dwarf’s eyes light up with happiness.
Helion offers him ten gold pieces to wash up. The dwarf points to the blood on his hair and grunts, “This is my family.”
“Twenty gold?“ Helion asks.
Apparently not. Ew. “I’m sure Moradin still loves him,” I say, rocking back and forth nervously. “Moradin loves all the little dwarves…“ He shoots me a dirty look.
Our plan was for the new guy to sit at a different table than us so he can follow the guy afterwards and check him out. Pherros drops by our inn for dinner. He’s looking cleaned up nicely and judging from his clothes, he must be a wizard or warlock. He seems pretty nice, tho, and tells us about how he’s been learning magic in the southlands, adventuring, traveling. His former adventuring party had been to Castle Whiterock and when they retired, they left him with the maps in case he wanted to go.
He seems greedy for treasure, but not evil. Helion asks him what kind of caster he is and he shows a few wizard tricks. He tells us that the owner of the Manticore is a friend of his and that all the maps are in a vault in the cellar. Fin suggests we bring the maps to Silverheel to get them verified and Pherros agrees, saying that we can get the maps today and go to Silverheel tomorrow to get them checked out.
We walk down to the Manticore, which is just like the Slumbering Drake, just a lot smaller. The dirty dwarf is following behind us stealthy-like. Pherros goes to the bar and tells the bartender that we’re the people he was talking about and he’d need to take us to the cellar. He nods and goes back to tending bar. We go to the kitchen and through the trapdoor to the cellar.
There are rows of shelving with bottles and boxes and casks full of food and drink down here. Pherros tells us that his safe is at the back. I see Helion put his hand on his longsword – something is up. He draws his sword and puts it to Pherros’ back. “This is a double-cross, isn’t it?” he asks. Pherros disappears and reappears at the back end of the room.
Helion yells for Fin to get the dirty dwarf and Fin runs to the top of the stairs. I feel a wave of thunder hit me and it throws me for a loop. There are thugs approaching from the shadows. NOT COOL.
Errich runs up and kills Pherros. We’re trying to battle the thugs, but there’s a lot of them. We hear hollering upstairs – what is the dirty dwarf DOING? We need him down here!
Helion shouts to the thugs, “The wizard is dead. If you don’t want to be with him, lay down your arms.“ His voice is quavering a bit and the attempt at intimidation doesn’t work. At all.
Meanwhile, the thugs are attacking us from all sides. I whisper a crazy scared prayer to Moradin and cast Beacon of Hope. I feel his strength in me and sense the thugs getting weaker. Yay Moradin! I activiate my shield of awesomeness so Fin and I could be more protected since we’re surrounded by four baddies.
Fin unleashes a bolt of lighting, grabbing the big guy and dragging him across to the stairs. Fin burns the big guy and sets some of the shelves on fire. The dirty dwarf comes howling down the stairs and hits the big guy – FINALLY he shows up! Moradin allows me to heal myself – but my sparkles fail. Grr.
I keep getting hit over and over. This being in the middle of battle thing is not cool. I call on Moradin again and swing my frosty hammer, smacking the big guy hard. Helion’s arrow finishes him off. The guards drop their weapons and surrender.
Fin says, “Where are the maps?”
Helion is not satisfied. “Dead! Dead! Kill ‘em!” I have never seen an elf with such bloodlust. It’s pretty disturbing, if you ask me.
At the top of the stairs is a handful of very unhappy bar patrons. Helion shouts up the stairs that the place is on fire. We climb up into the kitchen with our thug prisoners. There are some inn people wielding various cooking utensils in a not-so-cooking kinda way. The dirty dwarf puts on his scary face and many of them back off. The guards come and we help out, passing buckets of water to put out the fire.
Oh boy, are we gonna have some splainin’ to do…