John encourages his new acquaintance, the guard, to take a well-deserved break. This leaves the area clear for John to have a look around. Near the back window of the tavern, he notices a series of footprints that suggest that someone has stood here either for a long time, or has revisited this exact spot quite a few times. John, experienced in tracking, judges that the footprints belong to a smallish person and that their head height would be just above the currently ajar windowsill. He checks the sill and finds an oily residue. John notices that the oil also trails up the street and around the founder’s statue.
Heading inside the tavern to inspect the windowsill, he finds a continuation of the oil across the floor to the fireplace, next to the table where the Town Council are due to sit for their upcoming Call for Heroes meeting. Footprints in the soot around the hearth match those outside the window.
John calls for the barkeeper to clean up the oil. He looks around for a house or hiding spot that would directly look at the tavern window and sees that an abandoned house opposite has curtains drawn and would be the perfect vantage point. John circumvents the house and finds a backdoor.
[GM: Near to the tavern’s main entrance, where Hax was talking with Warble, a ladder stood against the tavern wall. If anyone had gone up the ladder they may have seen that the chimney had been blocked to cause the smoke to billow back inside the tavern when the fire was lit]
John bursts through the backdoor, spies and grapples Calmont, pinning him down. Calmont half-shrieks, half-laughs “It’s already too late!” and a fire Mephit bursts from the fireplace.
Dragging the his halfling captive outside, John thrusts Calmont at the returning guard to keep in custody, whilst the cottage starts to burn. At calls of “FIRE!” from people in the street, Hax and Hal speed out of the tavern with everyone else and John yells for them to get water. Hax organises a chain-gang using water from a well outside the tavern entrance, he emboldens them with his singing and soon people are flocking from other buildings to join the team.
The Mephit flies up out of the chimney and lands on a neighbouring roof, which also starts to burn. John is six and a half feet tall and with his guisarme can reach to up to the cottage rood to swipe at the Mephit. Hal soon after joins in with ranged spells. Hal gets badly burnt by a return blast of fire, but a few more swipes of the guisarme and the elemental is defeated.
The team take custody of Calmont for initial questioning, having gained the trust of the guards. Calmont will be returned to the guard house afterwards. Their Pathfinder Society contact, Shay, is not at the hut, so they take their prisoner back to the ship they arrived on and leave him in the care of Matey, who seems to relish this task.
[GM: The team are still unaware at this point that Matey has a vendetta to fulfil and will have his own questions to ask of Calmont regarding his missing medic.]
Checking in with Shay a short while later, they let her and her Sword companion know that Calmont is aboard the ship and ready for them to question. Shay is pleased and asks them to make suitable preparations for a further task – to venture up to the Citadel on Hellknight Hill and find out what is happening. First, she advises, they should make some preparation whilst Calmont is interrogated.
Hax attends the Breachill Archives, with the idea of obtaining a map of the castle. He finds the front desk empty and stacked with enquiry papers. He takes advantage of the absent desk clerk to have a glance at the paperwork and discovers that a lot of requests have been made in the last month or so, all pertaining to the founding of Breachill and early plans of the Citadel on the hill.
Hax discovers the librarian half-orc, Jorell Blacktusk, deep within the old oak shelves and finds him to be abrupt, distracted and stressed. The librarian cannot help him with plans of the citadel – they have all been borrowed by others, why do people keep asking him?
John has more luck at the stonemasons where he uses his experience as a manual worker to strike up conversation with the merchant, Rorsk Axebane. and they have a friendly exchange of knowledge about stone masonry. As John turns the conversation to battlements and fort schematics, Rorsk reveals that his grandfather had actually worked on the construction of Hellknight Keep. He notes though that the knights mysteriously dismissed all of their craftsman as they began to dig the dungeons beneath ground level.
John asks about plans and the now-friendly mason, glad of the conversation and proud of his grandfather’s achievements, searches through his basement and finds a copy of the blueprints in a bundle of old family papers. Though Rorsk is reticent to part with it, he is happy for John to send a friend along to make a copy. So Hax heads over to Rorsk’s shop a little later and makes a copy of the fort’s layout, at least how it was intended to be a long while ago.
[The team do not know at this point of the rivalry between Rorik and Posandi’s. Rorik has had nearly all of his trade taken from him… more on that later.]
The team return to find that Matey has removed several of Calmont’s fingers as part of keeping him ‘quiet’. They do not question this too much and seem to find it understandable that Calmont is an increasingly frustrating criminal deserving of this punishment. This response is an overlap between the chaotic good ‘rough justice’ of two in the party and the lawful neutral ‘punishment fitting the crime’ of the other.
[GM: Matey was able to find out more about Posandi’s from Calmont with his harsh interrogation. Matey has let Shay and her Sword know that their medic was likely “vanished” by the same means as his own team’s missing medic – and suggests they team up to follow the next Posandi sea-bound trade mission, leaving in the next few hours. Shay is torn between her loyalty to her team mate and her orders from the Pathfinder Society over securing whatever is in the castle.]
John, Hal and Hax find Shay in an agitated state. She recovers herself enough to tell them that Calmont has trapped the goblins within the dungeons of the castle, that his boss Voz has disappeared and the Pathfinder Society wish for the Citadel to be secured immediately. There are constant glances between Shay and her bodyguard as he silently warns her not to say a word of the vanishing medics. Her eyes keep subtly darting towards Hal, clearly thinking she is putting him at huge risk by allowing him to go out into the field.
[GM rolled perception for the team, though none rolled high enough to spot this – but they do manage to ascertain that her intentions are good.]
John accuses Shay of not telling them everything, leading Shay to give the team an advance payment (out of her own team’s funds) to sort any supplies and lodgings they might require for the night, with the intention that they set out in the morning.
John, Hax and Hal are left feeling rather cut adrift by their Pathfinder contact. They make their way back to the Wizard’s Grace tavern where each tell a story To Trinil Uskwold of their adventures so far, including the vanquishing of the Sewer King. This gains them free bed and board for the night.