An extensive series of failed attempts to talk their way out of the blackmail, some urine on various boots, a mage-hand atomic wedgie and a silently fuming Ignacio left the gang strong-armed into helping the mysterious man with his vague but clearly nefarious task. Given instructions to meet at the local carpentry/wagon repair shop, “Wooden It Be Nice,” at dawn the next morning to meet a contact and retrieve the wagon, the gang decides not to take this lying down. Assuming they’re being tailed, they return to the ship and concoct a 3-fold plan:
1) Stevil will take his chariot and Peter Pantser out into the city to perform tricks as a form of diversion.
2) Lanth will don a purposely bad disguise and approach Wooden It Be Nice as a random civilian to appear to case the joint, but all the while, Ignacio will identify and follow whoever is tailing Lanth.
3) They will subdue the tail and glean as much info about Fulstav the Fence and the organization he runs.
As the plan executes, Stevil’s tricks don’t really seem to be grabbing as much attention as he had hoped. Ignacio successfully slipped off the back of the ship and quickly spotted Lanth’s tail…a young lad of about 15. Lanth entered the shop, tried his best to identify the cart and payload they would be responsible for leading out of the city (to no avail) and decided to leave without having really learned much.
As he left, Ignacio watched as the lad followed him down the street and decided to make his move against the boy. Leaping at him and attempting to grapple him into submission, the boy proved to be quite slippery indeed…Ignacio even lashed out with some magic fire, but the boy began to flee for his life. Lanth heard the commotion behind him and ran over to the clearing where Stevil was performing his acrobatics and told him to quickly go and help Ignacio wrangle the boy. A chase ensued but the boy was no match for Stevil and his chariot, and a quick round of “good cop bad cop” got the blubbering boy to give the following information:
1) Fulstav leads an organization here in Crescent Harbor known as The Shadow Hands
2) Fulstav runs a very tight ship, the only people he meets with in person are his inner circle, so many of the lower level members of his gang have never seen him in person and know nothing about his whereabouts
3) The Shadow Hands have influence in places of power here in Crescent Harbor
The group learns quickly that these lowest level pions aren’t given a ton of information, so they decide to carry on and head to Wooden It Be Nice and meet the Shadow Hand contact. Upon arrival, a cart is brought up to them and they are told they must take it through the guard checkpoint at the northern gate, and take the cart a several hour ride out from the city to a clearing with a small hut. There they will be met by more Shadow Hands to retrieve the goods, at which point the gang will be “free to go about their business.” But the contact tells them that they will be watched the whole time, so no funny business will be tolerated.
Knowing full well there is something sinister about this whole transaction, and REALLY hating Fulstav, the gang decides they are not going to deploy as much “funny business” as possible, and try to get back to their ship to leave Crescent Harbor. They decide that their first mate Montebank must be found and they will need to leave sooner than they had originally planned. Once all 3 had agreed on the plan to meet back down on the docks ASAP if they get split up, they decide to pull off into a deserted alley and look inside the various sloshing barrels and heavy crates on the cart…only to discover something very gruesome: meticulously sorted human remains. In barrels of liquid, floating skulls bob. Packed away in 1 crate are dozens of rib cages. In another, hands and feet. Opening as many crates as they can stomach, they discover what must be the remains of dozens of individuals, all of their parts accounted for in these various crates and barrels.
Deciding they will not allow whatever purpose these remains have to be realized, they decide to “get lost” in the city as long as they can to delay the shipment. After an hour of taking purposely wrong turns, they are approached by a group of city guards, the captain of whom clearly knows the task they are supposed to be carrying out and tells the crew that this band of guards will be escorting them to the gate checkpoint.
It is this moment that the gang decides to make a break for it! Stevil and his Chariot riding next to the cart takes off in one direction, Lanth on the the cart with 1 horse in another direction, and Ignacio and a horse in another…the trio scatters, setting off a city-wide chase!
The city guard is whistled into action and the chase commences. Stevil, leaping a canal and gaining some time to devise a plan, hides the chariot and tell Peter to lay low with the chariot and meet back at the ship when he hears his whistle. Lanth, still on the cart decides he wants to somehow alert the public that something horribly evil is going on with the cart. He uses his magical bardic abilities to create a loud booming voice that proclaims that the Shadow Hands are up to something awful and that this cart is the evidence. Leaping off the cart as he sends it careening into a busy square, Lanth is able to blend in to the crowd and don a quick disguise. From there, he headed straight down to the docks in the attempt to find Monte. Ignacio lead the city guard in wide looping circles, eventually loosing them in the busy streets where he too ventured down to the docks to search for their first mate, Monte.