Gangs of Ferros
(Excerpted from King Doggerel’s Musings on a Revolution (aka Clark Wainwright’s Journal))
Tears is dead. She’s dead over what amounts to little more than a handful of gold, and the worst part is that I wasn’t even there. Tears was strange and sometimes a little scary, but she was sweet, and more importantly, she was one of ours. It’s bitter indeed that the wake-up call regarding how dangerous what we’re doing is had to come at that cost – Tears never deserved that. I’ve been tempted to give this whole thing up, so others aren’t hurt while we try to build this, but ultimately I think to do so would dishonour Tears’s memory. So we’ll see this through, for her if nothing else. And eventually, we’ll do something really unspeakable to her corpse, which is exactly what she would have wanted…
I think I need to go back somewhat. After the Thorns defeated the half-orc bandits, Greg and I brought their heads back to Lady Selsi. Lady Selsi was not at all what I was expecting – she was a cunning operator, and she suggested that she would have further need of discreet operators who were not too morally upright. Still, she had paid us what we were due, so I told her where to find us and we went on our way. We made sure that Walker got the wagon (perfect for a corpse cart, now that it had been christened with the blood of the half-orcs) and returned to the Rat’s Nest to decide what to do next while we waited for Maggie. We also took a quick side-trip to the quarry to pick up Billy the painter, and employ him. The first task we put him to was producing a map of the city.
Then trouble found us. A few “businessmen” came looking for Maggie, looking to work out the terms of a business arrangement. We appointed ourselves as Maggie’s representatives in her absence, and we quickly intuited the “businessmen” were running a protection racket. This got our hackles up, but we agreed to meet with them at a later time to discuss terms further. They returned the next day in numbers, and we negotiated terms peacefully but tensely for a while, until Tears noticed that one of the “businessmen” had robbed her and Badger earlier. A brawl broke out as Tears attacked her robber. The enemy gang was routed, and began to flee. Taking to the rooftops, I chased one of the fleeing gang-members across the city.
I followed him to a tenement building, and watched him enter. Fearing that he was trying to evade my pursuit, I stayed perched on the rooftop for most of the night, waiting for my quarry to exit, but he never did. Eventually I worked up the nerve to use Father Snegle’s teachings to magically disguise myself as the leader of the gang, and enter the building. I found myself in the headquarters of a gang known as The Banes, and evidently I was expected – or at least, the person whose guise I was wearing was. I discovered that The Banes intended to attack the Rat’s Nest, and was drafted into the attack. I went along to see if I could do anything to curtail the attack, when the fate seemed to smile on the Thorns.
Outside, waiting for The Banes was a rival gang, known as The War Dogs. The War Dogs accused The Banes of attacking them in the company of a dragonborn. The Banes were justifiably confused by this accusation, but to stoke the flames of conflict, I subtly created an illusory image of the only dragonborn I knew from which to draw a likeness – Rhogar. The Banes being seen in the company of Rhogar was more than enough to incite The War Dogs to attack. I took the opportunity to take a rather ineffectual potshot at the leader of The Banes, then fled in the chaos to warn The Thorns of impending danger.
I returned to the Inn to find a stalwart woman by the name of Lily O’Reilly, who had apparently been sent by Maggie to aid us in our endeavours. I was also greeted by the tragic news of Tears’s demise; apparently she had been struck down in the chaos of the initial battle. I was struck nearly dumb with grief at this revelation, but I had to emulate the stoicism of my elven mother and put aside my feelings. I informed my friends of the impending attack by the Banes, and Lily O’Reilly immediately volunteered to keep watch all night. I was amazed at how someone who had just met us would offer to do something so strenuous without a moment’s hesitation.
We waited fretfully for the attack, but it never came. Instead, we had even stranger visitors. The men were foreigners, clad in rich robes of fine silk. Their leader was arrayed with scrolls and potions, but he carried himself with the easy grace and confidence of a coiled serpent. Like our previous visitors, they had a business proposition for us. However, this proposition was much more welcome to us.
Apparently the foreigners had heard of our encounters with both The Banes and The War Dogs (I later learned that a captive from The Banes had duped Rhogar, Greg, and Badger into believing he was a member of The War Dogs, and divulged the location of The War Dogs headquarter, hence the strange encounter I had when I was in disguise). The foreigners have mysterious interests in the city, particularly around the docks, and find the instability caused by the constant fighting between The Banes and The War Dogs harmful to those interests. So the men proposed that they offer support to The Thorns, and we jointly dispatch those two gangs.
Although I had some concerns about these mysterious interests, the men assured me they had nothing to do with slavery, and the proposal served our immediate needs, so the Thorns agreed – provided that they put their best fighter against our best fighter in a sparring match. The foreign champion was an incredibly acrobatic fighter who seemed to spend most of the match on the chandelier, but Greg was our champion and his patience and brute strength won out over the flashier style of the challenger.
Now, armed with potions and information provided by the foreigners, we prepare to go and put paid to The Banes, before they can do the same to us. I’ve taken a few moments to collect my thoughts and put this down in my journal. If we don’t make it back from this folly, then we’ll be seeing Tears soon…