The Stirrings of War

Jailbreak

The main party was taken to a general holding cell at the Lion Guard’s headquarters, where they were told to wait until the Lieutenant has time to see them. Their weapons and equipment were taken from them, but they are left with their armor. The party is promised they will be held in the guard room until such a time as they are either released or sentenced. The guard leading the party remarked, “Whatever good it’ll do you bandit sons of bitches. We’ve been waiting to catch the sorry bastards who’ve been attacking the merchants and the ‘tenant’s ready to take it out on you directly. I can’t wait to see you all strung up.” The holding area has a milieu of cells with various numbers of humanoids in them, mostly non-human, and the party is escorted to a larger cell with only a few inhabitants. After the guards leave the party and before they have time to settle in, they are approached by the group on the other side of the cell, a large half-orc shirtless and seemingly entirely covered by scars who is followed by a shifter walking on all fours and dressed in little but a loincloth and a collar that is attached to a long chain being held by the half-orc. The two other humans behind him were generally unremarkable for prison inmates but are actively cracking their knuckles, necks, and anything else that might make them appear foreboding. The half-orc spoke out to the party:

“Hell. Look at the fish they brought on in here. Now Tooth here, (he gestures to the shifter by pulling his chain slightly), he likes ‘em mean and tough so they put up a fight ‘fore he wares ‘em down, but me, I’s likes ‘em perty.” He smiles in the direction of the warlord. “And you sure is perty.” The shifter lunges towards the warlord in question, growling and gnashing his teeth, but falls short as he reaches the end of the chain. “Now don’t get yerself riled up there Tooth. You know I’s always leave you the leftovers.” (perception check can have the party identify the same tattoo that was on the Big Man). “Now a perty thing like you deserves a chance. These guards here, they want someone to blame for their woes and y’all look like a nice ‘ol scapegoat. If you’d prefer, I gots me some friends who can help you on out of here. I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.”

At this point, they were all interrupted by a pair of guardsmen. “The lieutenant’s ready to sentence your sorry asses. This way.”

While this is going on, the evening had begun to fall on Brindol, and the shadows lengthening provided the assassin with plenty of cover to move from the wagon. The assassin came, unnoticed, upon a pair of guardsmen wearing red armbands dragging the dwarf’s body away.

“Tell me again why we’re out here taking this carcass to be burnt when I could be bouncing a redheaded barmaid on my knee?” “Orders from the Captain, you same as me. Ol’ Grammy here’s been identified, so we don’t need him anymore.” “But why in the same hell do we gotta do it tonight?” “That damn lieutenant again. The bitch wants to inspect the body, thinks it can help her identify the killers.” “But ain’t that why we got them patsies?” “Hey, the Captain said be thorough. You wanta go back on the Captain?” “Hell no.” “Then hurry up.”

The assassin quickly dispatched one of the guardsmen and intimidates the other into helping him, but quickly thereafter heard voices in the courtyard and saw lights present at the wagon. A stern woman’s voice rose up, “Where’s the body private? I need to conduct the ritual promptly if it is to have any effect. Is guarding a dead body too much responsibility for you?” “No sir. I mean ma’am. He was right here. We’ll search the area immediately, sir, ma’am…squeak.” The assassin left the dwarf’s body where it could be found by the Lieutenant, and moved into the guardhouse with his unwilling guide.

Lieutenant Shieldheart:

The main party was escorted, chained together at the wrists, to a small room near the cells with a plain, wooden desk. The chains were tied off to rings bolted into the ground, and the party was left alone for a moment. Before long a short human woman stormed into the office, unsheathed her longsword and slamed it on the desk, taking a seat behind the desk and staring each of the party in the eyes one by one.

“I want you to listen because this will be the only chance you get. A good man and friend of the city is dead. A man you were supposedly assigned to protect. As far as the administration here is concerned, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go ahead and see how many of you I can cut down at once. You have two minutes to tell me everything you know before I see if I can go from dwarf to gnome in a single cut.”

Info obtained from party’s skill challenge to convince the Lieutenant of their innocence:

1. “Gramorn was the head of the Hammerfast informants and was working closely with us to locate and neutralize these bandits. His position was known only to a handful of people at the top of each city’s leadership which brings us back to how he was targeted and killed under your watch.”

2. “The Lion guard is not what it was in my grandfather’s day. People are already scared enough without Tarmakas and his damn Red Eyes bullying them further. “

3. “Gramorn was a personal friend of mine. He and my father worked together intimately during my dad’s term as Captain of the Lion Guard, and Grams was like an uncle to me. (She leans forward her voice dropping in volume but remaining steady). He brought me my first sword, custom made from Hammerfast forges. He taught me how to hold a shield. I want to know who’s responsible for this and I want to know now.”

The Lieutenant finally comes to believe them, more on her own evidence than what the party had to say, and offers to speak on their behalf in court. She hoped to allow a stay of execution in exchange for their undertaking a mission for the city.

The party was escorted back to their cell, and the half-orc was sitting silently with a smug smile on his face. They were not there long, however, before the jailhouse was attacked by groups of undead hounds and demons seemingly intent on causing as much chaos as possible, attacking guard and prisoner alike. The party managed to escape from their cell just as the assassin arrives with their weapons, found with the help of his unlikely guide. The party fought off the waves of otherworldly attackers, and ran to investigate screams heard from the other part of the guardhouse. They found the Lieutenant surrounded by a pile of demon bodies but heavily wounded, and as they went to her assistance they are attacked by a larger demon placed to spread further panic by taking out key members of the guard. The party managed to defeat him, after some trouble, and attended to the heavily wounded Lieutenant. She wanted the party to stay and stand trial, but was convinced to let them go if they would investigate a possible base for the bandit activities on the merchant caravans, information hidden on the dwarf’s body she was able to obtain before it was destroyed. The party escaped in the chaos, moving into the forests surrounding Brindol.

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