Fiona made ready to scramble up the ladder to the trapdoor. Maudrin‘s terrifying moonbeam hung eerily in the air next to her, and she could hear Alaric’s knuckles reflexively clenching and unclenching behind her. The prisoners were gone, headed to the well to climb out to safety. Once Anu threw the trapdoor open with her mage hand, Fiona knew there would be blood and death, and she would be the first one through the breach.
Suddenly Hedra came running back; one of the prisoners was dead. Apparently they were watching the well, too…and they had crossbows. The prisoners gathered outside the cages; it was now the safest place for them to be. Anu spoke a word, and the door flew open. At the same time, the moonbeam darted into the room above, and Fiona went up.
Using a steel mirror torn from Maudrin’s magic robe, she peered over the lip of the floor above. There were walls on two sides, men with crossbows on another, and…footsteps. A man with a mace swung it at her, striking the edge of the trapdoor. She threw herself up the ladder and into the room, crossbow bolts flying around her, and slashed desperately at him. Battle was joined.
As Alaric struggled up the ladder, Mica vaulted past him and into the room. Anu’s firebolt started the floor smoldering, and she scrambled into the room behind Alaric. The fight was short, sharp, and bloody, and it left almost a dozen dead slavers on the floor of the basement. Calling the prisoners up behind them, the party climbed the stairs to the tavern.
Expecting another ambush, they found instead a frightened little barkeep and a few faded old drunks clustered around the bar. Gorstag, the barkeep, admitted his complicity in the slavers’ trade, but insisted he had been forced into it, as it was that or die. He also explained a the basement’s history as a Seven Cowls hideout before the purge, and he agreed to lure the slavers at the well back inside to face the music. They weren’t buying it, though…not that it mattered. Dove’s sleep spell dropped the dogs and one of the slavers, and the other threw down his arms at the overwhelming odds.
He spilled his guts to Maudrin, while Dove and Alaric went in search of guardsmen to wrap up the affair. The others, with help from the prisoners, began to cart the bodies up to Gallows Court. He explained everything about the operation, as well as the monthly visits from a Goblinoid ship out of Cuillean’s Isle and the harbormaster’s complicity in the operation. He even offered to point out the ship at the docks, and he mentioned two individuals with Black Mask pins who often brought lists of names to the Slavers to be “disappeared,” and he showed Maudrin where to find the newest list. He never got the name of the man, but the woman was Faya, or so he thought.
Meanwhile, Dove and Alaric found the bodies of the two well guards who had taken the fall to let them raid the hideout. They had been mauled by dogs and shot by many bolts, but had not died without at least trying to show fight. They met a pair of guards who were attracted by the growing pile of bodies, and one of the guards brought them to the Danks and introduced them to Gerritt, the sergeant of the nightwatch. He filled them in a bit more on the tactics the slavers had used, and how they began by intimidating the patrol guards, working their way up the chain of command as they needed to. He was glad that somebody had been both willing and able to end the slavers once and for all.
Witht the Guard cleaning up the mess, the party turned their attention to the list. It named four targets: A dwarven pawnbroker named Adrik, a human scribe named Thalas, a human spice merchant’s daughter named Winifred, and a half-elf criminal named Namoran! It even mentioned her scars, and the fact that she was in hiding. Whoever wanted her gone, wanted it badly, and knew as much about her whereabouts as either of the survivors of the Shadows of Pelor.
Having secured Gorstag’s permission to move into the old hideout (and having bought half ownership in the Gkull & Gibbet through a sizable investment of copper Sheafs), the group headed back to the Maw by way of the Docks. There, the unlucky slaver pointed the Goblin ship out to them before being hauled off to the Danks. Back at the Maw, beer flowed and everybody relaxed. Jarl Siggrid even stopped by, glumly relaying the news that his ship had lost a mast and an entire bank of oars, along with the steering oar. Alaric, with an evil smile, mentioned the existence of the Goblin ship, and the fact that it had three perfectly good masts. He also mentioned the harbormaster’s guilt and that it should serve as incentive to keep him uninvolved in any raid Siggrid might mount. The Jarl rushed off to plan his attack, and everybody went to sleep not long thereafter.
In the morning, Anu disappeared to research her findings (and think about the strange dream she’d had), and Maudrin went to the church to check on things. Everybody else was present when a messenger arrived from Odo. He had been attacked, his goods stolen, and Carlo badly mauled! After hearing his tale, the brave foursome knew that it was finally time to deal with Bloodeye, once and for all…