Rogues Gallery (The Thieve's Game)

Mugshot's Journal #141
EDITED 01/23

Good news, bad news, and… Interesting… News here. The good news is that my plans so far seem to be working. The caravan guards that didn’t outright join the town guards have become a wandering, semi-independent auxiliary force. They’re always on the move, so you can’t really predict where or when they’re going to show up next, and because of their mobility, they have an edge in response time when necessary, as Hansen explained. It’s like guarding a caravan.

The extra eyes and ears are extremely helpful as well. The pages guild is damned good, my thieves are damned good, but I’m never going to turn down an extra information source if I know it’s reliable.

Also in good news, the Circus was invited back for the Games this year. Bastards didn’t even tell me they were coming, and I somehow missed any reports that mentioned them. Just showed up out of nowhere! The gnolls were in great spirits, and there were enthusiastic greetings across the board. The show, as always, was excellent, though I’m afraid I certainly did my best to make THEIR juggler’s look good…

You can’t tell, but I snorted derisively at myself as I wrote that, and ‘Nali snicker-… Giggled, I have been informed (Apparently, girls don’t snicker), at the memory. Just thought I’d share that note here.

After the show, we had a more serious chat over wine, and we were given a warning of things to come. Here is where we get to the bad news (My juggling didn’t count, for the record).

Apparently our preparations for illness and Khemosh were misplaced. He is not likely to strike here, but rather possibly Ciarrancere, or Jiaren’s lands. Instead, we are expecting something quite possibly far worse. I have heard that “She” is coming, and right now I can only think of one “She”. I fought her once, and we all nearly died to do so.

We may be stronger now, but I have a feeling that’s not going to help as much as I would hope.

Word has already been sent to the areas we’ve been warned about, but I’m not going to ignore the threat of Khemosh here either. Luckily, we already prepared as much as we could, but I don’t want to let my guard down on that. We still have a lot of eyes at the gates, at the fountains and wells, and at the docks. Kudos to anyone that gets something in under us (and as soon as we find out, we will, of course, destroy whoever was behind it).

I’ve sent out incospicuous scouting parties up river, just to the next couple of settlements and towns. If anything noteworthy happens, or they poison the river up stream, they will contact me and we’ll work to counter or at least limit the damage here.

I’m going to get with Hansen and see if he’s got any ideas beyond what I’ve already implemented.

Oh, and lastly on the bad news, which leads nicely to the ‘interesting’, is Trolls. Apparently, bigger-than-usual, magically appearing trolls. I have yet to find hide nor hair of the nasty fuckers in my woods, but I’m definitely going to keep my eyes out, my nose sharp, and possibly see about getting my hands on a lot of acid.

Hmm… Actually, if we may be having a troll problem, I might want to get with Hansen about making sure that our men are properly equipped for that issue. Fire in town is not a good idea, fire in my woods is also not a good idea, so I’d definitely prefer acid…

Though fire is a lot cheaper…

Speaking of fire… The interesting news. A group of adventurers have come to Olympia calling themselves the Brigade of Fire and Steel, and escorting a 3rd Continent Elf. I have a feeling she is important, but Liad has not yet seen fit to share information with me, and we sure as hell know better than to pry in that wagon of his.

As for her escorts? It’s not terribly often you see adventuring blacksmiths. Seeing a pair of them working together is certainly noteworthy. Seeing that one of them is a Cleric of Kossuth, and that he’s working with not one, but a pair of Rangers? Now we’re getting interesting. The young Death Mage, the Kender-thing, the Half-Elf that doesn’t appear to be a Ranger, the reappearance of Corky, and their pet Thief rounding out the bunch?

Well… Let’s just say I have a feeling things are going to get interesting.

Their leader can be mistaken for nothing else, he just has an aura of command about him to the point where I am half-tempted to follow him. This in amusing counterpoint to his rather unsure, and somewhat tongue-tied demeanor. He leans heavily on that fire Cleric as a second-in-command, who seems much more comfortable in that position. Their Leader, his name is Drace I believe, is with most of his party at the Common Inn.

The Krondorian Cleric, Hammig has made himself useful, setting up at Crombie’s forge where he is acting as an apprentice since Crombie’s last one is out on his journeymanship. As well, he is holding a service to their god every morning as they start with the forge. There are not many followers of their god here (thank goodness), but he’s not making trouble. Rather, he’s doing a bit of good; I haven’t seen old Crombie that happy since I gave him the dimensions for my mug! So long as he doesn’t burn my town down, he’s welcome to stay.

Corky is looking… Well? They were very happy to see me (which is certainly better than the alternative). Floral chainmail? Really? Nothing else to note here, beyond that I’m glad that Corky? Or is it Kitty now? is still alive and working with a group of adventurers not us. Hmm… Speaking of, I’m going to have to get someone to give me some background on this group. I think I’ve heard a few things that can be attributed to them, but I want better details on who we’re dealing with and if necessary, how best to either deploy them against the coming storm, or destroy them if they be harbingers of it.

Probably the former though.

Let’s see, who else? The Half-Elven, self-proclaimed Hero, he’s an interesting one. Well armed, carries himself both confidently and competently, and certainly knows the way to a mead-hall’s heart. I’ll certainly hear about his capabilities with a bow from the archery contest he’s apparently entered. If he’s as good as he says, he might even give Ashe a run for her money. That would be a sight to see.

Speaking of sights, their Kender certainly fits that bill. She’s dressed even flashier than my best juggling finery, and has an almost insane level of energy and innocence. And sticky fingers. I swear, she passed by me and I didn’t see her get closer than ten feet, yet my pouches later were short a couple of buttons and had rock candy. I’m a shit pickpocket, granted, but that’s unreal. Also, of the members of this group, she’s the least worrisome to me. Like I said, the Paiges like her. That’s good enough for me.

The Death Mage is an interesting one. With that hood up and her scythe out, she gives off a decidedly uncomfortable aura and has done an excellent job of disturbing some of the local populace. Under the hood, it’s a teenage girl. Couldn’t place her accent, but from what I’ve heard, she says she’s Indoponese. Apparently, she’s a talented healer, and has even managed to re-attach the Kenders arm. Not sure how it came off in the first place, but if that’s true… Well. Certainly interesting. I know she’s visited the creep shop by the Dick’s, but not sure if she’s actually a necromancer or not. If she is, this group is even weirder than I thought originally. The Cleric and this mage treat each other as almost father / daughter or uncle / niece.

Ian was grabbed by Gloves fairly quickly and inducted to our little family. Jaffa has briefed him on how we manage our town, but he is as yet unaware me. For now, his contacts will continue to be Jaffa and Gloves. No reason to pull back the curtain yet, especially considering the idiot apparently likes to blab about his profession. He’s very lucky he did so in front of one our friends, or his visit to this town would’ve ended somewhat more abruptly for him.

And then, there’s the Rangers. I was in the woods when the Halfling made himself known and waited for my response. I’ve never seen a Halfling Ranger before, but Sylvannis, Vylwinalli, the Owl that’s as big as he is, and that axe he carries on his belt put any doubts out of mind as to what he is. Nate is a cocky little man, but I certainly know better than to underestimate the height challenged. He also, despite his cockiness, was quite respectful of the territory he had entered. I’ve given him free reign in my woods, with warning that my wolves were off limits. Otherwise, he and his owl are welcome to hunt or escape the town as necessary.

I neglected to mention something about that, but…

After he left, I treed myself for a nap before I headed to Russet’s when less than an hour later, the Human Ranger showed up. The legendary Ciarra’s own sister, making her own name as an adventurer, and she had to come to my town? Why do I feel like bad things are going to happen? Luckily, aside from being the ranger in charge of these woods, the Lady Ciarra is unlikely to know of any other ties I may have, should her sister suffer an early end in the troubles coming, so I should be in the clear from her. Hopefully. I think. Lucky for her, I remembered to warn her away from my woods at night. I don’t hunt as a wolf every night, in fact, I only do so once every few weeks, but there’s no sense in taking chances with tourists. Especially not during these next couple of weeks.

The rest of them, I’m less worried about, but Ciarra’s sister dying in my town strikes me as a very, very, very bad thing. Getting caught overtly protecting Ciarra’s sister would also probably not be a good thing. I think the Paiges and a few of the caravaners are best suited for this. Just a couple of extra eyes where she’s around, nothing overt. She looks like she can handle herself, but better safe than scorched Earth, right? I’ll discuss this with Hansen, he’s still a better tactician than I am.

In other news, I now have a mages tower, and Krys now has a much expanded kitchen. In her case, extra profit for the house as the Paiges and Sally bake goods for sale in the market and about town. In my case, the Dick has easy access to the guild, and we have significantly improved our communication capabilities with field teams.

Someone’s coming with a report. I’ve covered the important bases here. I have a few more ideas kicking around my head, but I’ll get to them later.

~Mugshot Wolffang Dragontooth, Head of the Olympian Thieve’s Guild, Ranger of the Order of the Arches

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Krys and the Lady
Regret

Krys poked her head out of the door as quietly as possible. She had desperately tried to escape her etiquette coach all morning. Miss Rivers was a austere woman with beady dark eyes and sharp chin that cast a shadow over whoever she spoke to. Krys hated that chin. A tiny hand pulled at the bottom of her running clothes.
“Mommy?”
“Shh baby, we’re going for a ride.” Krys quieted down the chestnut haired toddler, and placed her in a tiny wagon with a small rope harness attached. Dahlia looked positively gleeful as the half elf slipped herself into the harness as the lead.
“OK Love. Hold on,” she said quietly.

The small child felt a jolt as her mother started off like a dart. She screamed in joy as the small elvish woman raced as fast as she could toward Olympia’s market. Dahlia rarely got to spend time with her mother; as she was usually off adventuring, or taking etiquette lessons, or other things (that the grown ups refused to explain). The child continued in her exuberant ruckus.

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Missive to Sgt. Hansen

Greetings and congratulations (again) upon your promotion, Sergeant.

I’m afraid that this little vacation may be a bit less drinking, merriment, and relaxation than I had intended with my initial invitation. From the looks of it, there is trouble brewing and it is likely to come to a head during the games. As such, it will most likely be safer for you and the men to stay with the Caravan, and simply come next year when things will hopefully have settled down.

No, this is not an eloquent request to avoid having you lot see me get beaten a third year in a row by the cook.

Should you ignore this warning and join me anyway… Well, I would not turn down a friendly blade, and one can never have too many trustworthy friends when trouble calls. Just let the men know what they might be getting into.

If you need to find me once you’ve made it into town, flip a coin into the air.

Good luck.

~Mugshot Dragontooth

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Mugshot's Journal #138
Mission Successful

We reached a small lake of healing hot-springs about a week ago, and everyone was ordered to bathe and wash their clothing (and rightfully so). I picked up some very nice herbal soap that ‘Nali approves of. I don’t know that the waters are actually healing at all, but my men and I all were definitely more fresh minded (and scented, thank the gods) after scrubbing down.

Before we left, the five Principals ran a full inspection of the caravan. In my section, the two suspicious Principals did their damndest to ensure the remaining three do not look long at the third wagon. There was great temptation to intervene, but I held my tongue and my place as I made sure my guards were properly positioned. Inspection complete, they moved on.

It wasn’t until a couple of hours later that I noticed a note tucked into a sheath on my belt. Bearing the mark of the Lady Principal whom I trust significantly further than either of the slime balls (which, to be fair, is not saying that I trust her further than I can throw her, but considering our disparate masses, I’m confident that I could actually throw her about a wagon-length if necessary), warning that the forces we are up against would likely make a move in the next forty-eight hours.

Apparently, the Mage has some additional skills. Good information to have.

There are only two further items of note at this juncture. First, a representative of Dwarfman and Lobo enterprises. A lizard man with inscrutable facial expressions (to myself, at any rate, and I didn’t think to ask Nali if she had experience with them), who noted that Dm & L would be taking over security for our section when I left. Load off my back. He also signed Thieve’s Cant at me, and displayed his Imperial Badge, leading to enough authenticity that I explained the current situation to him.

He didn’t appear to be happy that he might be inheriting a bit a shit storm, but understood the situation and took his leave.

Secondly, it turns out I have at least one more professional colleague within my guard roster. The lizardman apparently outed me to Hansen who happened to be watching our exchange. As it turns out, Hansen is also a guilded thief put in place by the Dunbarian thieve’s guild for the same reason we are, though until the Lizardman blew my cover, he did not know that I was anything beyond what we had made ourselves to be.

Hanson added some more valuable information to the mix noting that the Healer Captain had apparently attempted to join the Dunbarian guild and was not allowed to. Comforting. Hanson also has apparently run with some unsavory folk, very much like those who have been attacking us lately.

We hit the road the next day.

I noticed a group of a dozen riders with lances and pikes on a shallow intercept course, and brought my guards to a low alert level. I gave orders to Ashe to drop the lead rider when I gave the command, and otherwise had my guards watching their surroundings more closely in case the riders were merely a distraction.

Hanson caught my attention and mentioned that they looked quite a bit like some his former compatriots, and further that if so, they were very, very good with those lances.

More good information.

Later in the day, a full-stop is called sometime before our scheduled stop. My guards are rightfully on edge. A call is sent out ordering all healers to report to the head of the caravan, where it turns out that one of the Slimebag principals has come down with the swampfever. As none of the healers are able to cure him, and all of ascertained that he is indeed ill with the fever, it is decided that he will be brought ahead of the caravan to the next town to receive treatment.

When this knews gets back to me, I bring Hanson up to speed on the time-frame that was given to me by the Lady Mage Principal. My guards top up their laughing water, and we all are now on duty.

The attack came the next morning. My first inkling that there was a problem was a spear being jammed into my side. The attackers had snuck to us under the bog wearing camouflage, and attacked as they rose from the water like so many monsters.

To my credit, my first action was to bring the entire guard cadre to “WE’RE BEING FUCKING ATTACKED” levels of alert, followed immediately by diving off Snotface and punching my attacker in the face. He tells me he won’t die like some little girl. I explained that, “No, you’re going to die like a little bitch.” and cleaved him with Brichard’s Axe.

Of course, by the time I had finished him, Ashe and Garrus had both finished their respective areas and were taking the time to lob arrows up the caravan to steal kills from other sections, and the cries of, “ONE HUNDRED GOLD!” as my men felled the enemy were music to my ears.

Teemo yelled for me, so I called for Ashe and Garrus (and got Shepherd as well), and hauled ass for Teemo and the third wagon. By the time we arrived, there were multiple attackers laying broken in the marsh, with six more and a chanting cleric remaining. Varrik was wounded, Braum was wounded, and the jewlery merchant was dead, obviously (and stupidly) having tried to defend his wagon.

Leaving the remaining pikemen to the rest of my men, I flung a pair of daggers into the cleric, only one finding it’s mark deep in his shoulder. Thankfully, this interrupted his spell, allowing me to close the distance and bring my axe into play. He fell quickly, as followers of Keemosh are wont to do, and rapidly began emanating a fetid cloud of disgusting. I stomped his festering corpse into the bog as Nith, Jarvan/Melvin, and Luciatto made their appearance.

Jarvan did an excellent job protecting Nyth, while Lucy did an excellent job of murdering the bastards, and Nyth did an excellent job of patching up our men and not getting killed herself.

The fight did not last long after that, and I began taking stock of our casualties as soon as we were in the clear. Among my guards, while there were a couple of critical woundings, we scraped through intact, with the majority of my men uninjured and back at their posts. Seven wounded, in total, plus myself, though thankfully my werewolf healing had kicked in and was closing my wounds somewhat quickly.

I must have been worse off than I thought, as Nyth took one look at me and used her most powerful healing spell on me. My side is a bit stiff thanks to the new scarring, but that’s nothing that some stretching and exercise won’t sort out.

There were only two deaths in my section, aside from the 35 attackers. The merchant, as I mentioned earlier, and Leto, Chrys’s kitchen boy. The Captain arrived to the party badly wounded, and I filled him in on the situation, and showed him the body of the cleric. The Captain, being largely immune to the diseases that plague humans and demi-humans, pulled the body from the marsh and removed his mask, revealing the man to be the ‘sick’ Principal, and very obviously a follower of Keemosh.

At the Captain’s orders, I grabbed six of my men to stand guard over the body and kill anyone who approached, with Hanson taking my place when I moved back to the wagon. A scribe of Deneer had arrived, followed shortly by the Captain of the Healers. The Scribe gave Nyth a scroll of Resurrection for the Jewler, per a gaurantee of the Caravan. After resurrecting him, Nyth handed me her scroll and sent me to bring Leto back. I pulled her aside before I left to let her know Hanson’s revelation about the Captain of the Healers, and booked it for the Kitchen Boy with Chrys.

While I brought the kid back, The Captain of the Healers had Luciatto carry the dazed-but-no-longer-dead old man into his wagon, forbidding anyone else from entering. After sharing her misgivings with our Captain sent Mondar and Nyth in after Luciatto and the shady Healer. Inside, they found the Jewler unconscious and bleeding again, Luciatto on his ass, and the Healer opening a trap door in the wagon. A fast thinking Lucy dumped a Cure Serious potion on the injured Jewler, while a surprisingly fast thinking Mondar tagged the Healer with a marble of Paralysis, allowing them to tie him up and get the Captain inside and involved.

By the time I had returned to my post with the body, the remaining four Principals had arrived. As it turns out, the Lady Mage is the top dog. Getting to watch her throw her weight around was fairly entertaining. She inspected the body in our care, had as wrap it and move it to the Healer’s wagon, and then, despite protests from two of the remaining Principals, order two guards from every other section to take our place over our section, as my entire cadre was shifted to guard the Jewler’s wagon and the contraband it was carrying.

For we are the biggest bad-asses in this caravan.

The caravan skipped all intervening stops, and went straight to Easton, where the Caravan guards were heavily supplemented by Dwarfman and Lobo soldiers. Liad arrived shortly after the Caravan had, and the Blue Bastard went and outed my whole crew as he called us to assist him with his work.

Important facts that were revealed: We found Imperial Crown Guard tabbards with the stone of power. We found a stone of power, thankfully interrupting a plot that had been put in place apparently before even the Emperor was born. The BadHealer has been sent to Lobo, and the Jewler is largely innocent.

With my guards receiving a much needed reprieve, I was able to break news to Hanson about his promotion, and then to my guards that the caravan, in honor of their badassitude (I know that’s not a word, dear, but I’m keeping it. It’s MY word.), would be giving them all-expenses paid time off to come to Olympia for the games to see me fight!

I also promised them drinks on me when they arrive. Jarvan has also had an offer extended to him by the Lady Nyth for a post as one of her private guards if he was looking for work when his caravan contract ran out. Everyone in my cadre has similar standing offers for letters of recommendation should any be interested in moving to Olympia, whether they’re looking to join the Guard or really anywhere else.

On our return to Olympia, I gave Russet Chrys’s request to have Leto join up in either his or Sarah’s resturaunt as a line cook, gave Jaffa a headsup that we were going to get some friendly color entering town before too much longer, let Rolph know that there were people I had vetted and was willing to put to Rolph for vetting should any be interested in joining the guard, found out Sarah was pregnant, got tackled by eight-hundred pounds of very happy feline, sent Luciatto to check on the Training Keep and our demon dragon friend…

Hm, also of note, Olympia looks to be getting a very high-quality Silk merchant, I think in no small part thanks to our Lucky Luciattio catching the eye of the merchant’s daughter. She seems a fair match for him, and it should give the old biddies something else to gossip about.

While we were gone, apparently Jaffah finally realised that the Paiges guild had full run of the Thieve’s guild. And also that Pip was terrifying. Apparently not all fo the assassins knew we were on a caravan, and so tried to strike at home.

You would think with this town’s reputation, they wouldn’t have done that, but…

It is nice to be home, but this is most definitely the calm before another storm, one that will likely break at the Games. To that end, I am opening the guild coffers to ensure that every member of both my Thieve’s Guild and the Paige’s Guild are equipped with a Cure Disease potion at all times. The Lady Nyth is getting the Temple outfitted and stockpiled with similar potions and ingredients. Rolph, and by extension Reggie (and likely on further extension, Dar’s Brother) have been warned that servants of Keemosh are on the move.

While not actually my intention when the offer was made, I will be glad to have my guards with me again during the games. More friendly faces I can trust in a fight is never a bad thing, and friendly faces that are experienced in working together? Couldn’t possibly ask for more.

One final note, as ’Nali reminds me of my bed.

Each of my companions, as well as myself, have been offered a boon by the Emperor for our mission running longer than he’d promised through Killian. I have been thinking hard about this favor, and I’ve come to a conclusion.

My first boon I might request would be to ensure the protection of those I care about, in other words, a boon that not even the Emperor could truly fulfill. I realize that there is little more I, or anyone can do to better protect my city, my friends, and my family, that at some point I have to trust to their skill, luck, and wit to get them through.

I would like to find the slimeball that helped the plot against the Empire (and more importantly, my men), but that’s already on the Empire’s radar, and I can simply put a hit on him through the Assassin’s guild.

Do I ask to be put in touch with a decision maker for the Companion’s guild to begin the same talks that have already proven successful with the Bardic College? Do I ask for a way to return Nali to a mortal form, if such a thing is even possible?

My eyes grow heavy, so I’m going to take the less than subtle hints.

Goodnight.

~(Ret.) Sergeant Mugshot Wolffang Dragontooth, Head of the Olympian Thieve’s Guild, Ranger of the Order of the Arches

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Missive to Killian
Partius Interuptis

The party favors have proven to be very popular with the local color, but they won’t stop trying to peek at the surprise. No successes yet, but they know where the closet is and they’re not above lacing the cake to get to the presents. Surprise does appear to be powerful. Will continue to guard until further party instructions are given.

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Mugshot's Journal #137

I never thought I’d say this, but I much preferred the previous set of assassins that were sent after me. While not exactly upstanding and decent folk, they were, at the least, direct. My friends and I were their targets, and aside from one small band that got what they deserved, there was a minimal of collateral. Surgical, precise, and trained.

I appreciate that the previous hit on me was attempted by such.

The current crop on the other hand are little better than well-equipped highway bandits. Their poisons are slow-acting and painful (apparently). Their aim is somewhat less than surgical, their tactics are crude and brutish. Who the hell poisons an entire caravan to soften it enough to hit a dozen or so people on it? There is simply no style, no pride in their craft at work here, and that is simply shameful.

I can’t believe those who wish me dead would insult me with amateurs like this. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that my friends and I have a reputation after the previous assassination attempts, and I’m aware that there are very few assassins left (Heh!) that would willfully take a contract on a popular Master in their parent guild, but still. They couldn’t hire someone with CLASS?

At least their brigands are my speed. The leader of the latest large-scale attack did an excellent job of keeping his men under cover and attempting to draw my men out and away from their posts. A couple of them even appear to be (have been?) decent (or lucky) shots, tagging both the Lady Nith and Wrex fairly severely. Not that Wrex is a particularly HARD target considering he’s damned near my height and probably has another twenty pounds on me…

Both will live, though Wrex has gone from a deep, clear voice to a heavy gravel more akin to grinding boulders. I’ll have to let Russet know I may have found a decent replacement for me as security at the Tavern!

Krys finally got her knuckles bloody this morning as well. The assassins laced our spices with curses and poison. And by ‘ours’, I mean the whole goddamn caravan. Keemosh is a cowardly little bitch of a god, and I will forever take great pleasure in killing the living hell out of any and every one of his followers I have the misfortune to come across. While my entire cadre of guards (and pretty much everyone other than the Dwarf, it turned out) were busy puking and shitting themselves half to death, the players made their move on the Party Wagon.

By the time I had cured disease, downed Laughing Water, and managed to get to the Alert, I found Teemo and Burnhilda holding off four assassins poorly disguised as desert people. Teemo was astride a gravely wounded Fiddlesticks, and Cass was obviously dead nearby. I joined the fray with a warcry that would make my ancestors on both sides of my family proud, turning a numerically uneven fight into a three-on-two battle as two of the Hassashins turned and ran in the face of my fury.

No one kills my people. NO ONE.

While I did not Wolf out at the loss of Cass, it did take me a moment to think clearly and yell for my guards to drink their laughing water and get back to their posts.

While we battled our assassins and protected our fallen comrades, Chrys was busy fighting at the cook wagon, where our latest addition, a lass from the swamp, was proving to be an able-bodied combatant despite the disease and poison that was affecting all of us.

While I had terrible luck in our fight, I did kill one of the assassins, and the Lady Nith arrived in time to stabilize and save Fiddlesticks. With him taken care of, I pulled out the scroll of Ressurection given to me to rescue one of my fellow Thieves in the event of the worst, and used it bring Cass back.

I think Nith has one more, but I’m hoping no one else needs it.

We’re getting closer to Easton and the end of our time with this Caravan. We need to wrap up this mission.

Preferably before any of my other guards decide to test my Loyalty to them and try to pull a Cass.

I don’t know that I won’t wolf out it happens next time. I like my guards! To a man, they are steadfast, loyal, and smartasses. And I have extended invitations for all of them to visit Olympia, with offers of free food and drinks on me should they wander into Russet’s!

I sure as hell am gonna need a drink after all this.

~Mugshot Wolffang Dragontooth, Head of the Olympian Thieve’s Guild, Ranger of the Order of the Arches

Additional: Important notes that should not be left out:

Firstly, we found the body of one of the good Caravan masters (turned out to be a body double). As I said, these assassins suck, and I continue to be insulted by their presence.

Secondly, if there IS a plot against the empire, it will be from the two Not-Good Masters. They’re about eight kinds of slimy, have tried damned near every trick in the book to get through the security to do as they please, and I’m 90% certain that one or both of them are the payroll for the contract on my head. I really hope that I can prove that they’re at the heart of a plot against the empire for no other reason than their shitty assassins are insultingly indirect and killed one of my guards while trying to get me and that damned stone of Power, if that’s what is really going on here. Put a hit on me, and I kill them. Plot against the empire? I get to turn them over to Oblivion.

Frankly, the latter would be WAY more entertaining.

Lastly, I just realised I have lost track of the Slimeball, and I cannot spare Teemo’s eyes. I’ll talk with Hansen about off duty rotations and see if we can’t get eyes back on the bastard. Next real town we hit, I will hire some local guild members to keep tabs on him in addition to my guards.

Bah, I hate this intrigue. I am looking forward to getting back to Olympia for some good-old fashioned punching people in the face for money.

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The Cook Wagon
Crys's Displeasure

Crys slammed the cleaver into the goat carcass with a satisfying crack of bone. The kitchen boy, Leto, watched her intently as another crack broke the goat side cleanly in half.
“What are you starin’ at?! Gemme the spices!” She barked at him with the high pitched sting that one would expect from a schipperke.
The young man obeyed. Despite her power, Leto still towered over her small elvish frame. He himself was slight, but had gained several inches in the last year with the caravan, and obviously carried much more human blood than elvish. He rushed back with the spices, and handed to the increasingly irritated platinum blonde; her face had begun to flush over her freckles.
“I’m sorry Miss Crys!”
“Just grind the pepper!”
“Yes, ma…ma’am…” he stammered.
She had been like this for weeks. Leto had heard rumors around the caravan about an altercation at one of the merchant’s wagons. He did not dare ask, but had remembered her leaving early that previous evening, and had spent the entire morning raving about a blue dress.
Leto heard the tiny cook swear loudly behind him, but let her be.
Crys continued to break down the goat while laying spices and salt on the meat and throwing the bones in a boiling pot. Leto continued prepping rubs.
She had been at this routine for weeks, and yet still did not feel comfortable in it.
After a few hours, the boy risked easing the tension. “Miss Crys?”
“What?” came the short, nasally voice.
“Are you okay?” He winced and curled his body a little to anticipate her scowling, only to be delightfully disappointed. She looked at him with as if he had just then lost his young mind.
“Huh?”
“I… I only mean… you seem upset… more than usual… and and… and your arm is bruised… and…” He stopped as she raised an eyebrow at him.
After a moment she spoke. “I’m fine Leto.” I just… I just…. I didn’t get my dress," She concluded, heaving one last crack of the goat’s ribs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ II ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Varric was a giant while still being full human. The commanding figure stood motionless next to the merchant’s wagon. “I cannot reach my brother.” He concluded. The twins had a psychic link which allowed them to communicate. They had tried to explain this to the tiny bruiser at their last visit to her cook wagon. This was as much as she was able to grasp of the “sy-own-icks” they kept on about. Not that it really concerned her.
“Sooo… that means what exactly?” She countered.
“I assume they are keeping him unconcious.” Luciado offered softly.
Varric nodded. I sense seven total, three are in distress.
“So four to ugly up? We can handle that.” The half elf stated emphatically counting extensively on her small hands. Crys glanced at him with a cocky smile. “Don’t worry. I got this. You guys stay clear.”
“We need the merchant…” The tall man began.
“… To be on the offensive. I go in, cause a ruckus, he attacks me, you and Lucky Luce goes in to help “rescue me”, and we get take care of the other… three?" She paused to count digits again. “And then we get your brother and the others. Bing, bang, boom, done.”
Varris looked at her quizzically.
Luciado broke the silence with a sigh. “Crys, just… just do your thing.”
Crys smirked. Then as she knocked feverishly at the merchant’s door. “Excuse me, Sir!… Mr. Merchant Sir!”
A few footsteps later, and hazard-looking Southerner appeared looking out-of-sorts. “Can I help you?”
“Hello Sir! I am looking for a dress.” She explained as sweetly as possible. She was very glad her new armor posed well as a normal jerkin.
“You can come back in the morning. I have closed my stall, Miss.”
“Buuuut Sir! I am one of the cooks, and this is the first moment I have been able to venture as I have just set the cure on the mutton. I will be breaking it down, and baking bread in the morning!” She spoke very hurriedly, to the point he could swear she was actually part gnome.
The merchant gave a look of defeat. “Fine but you can only enter the front part of the wagon.”
“Oh, thank you, thank you!” She began, taking a momentary breath before starting on her tirade again. “Patsy came by our wagon today. she’s the cook from the first section you know, and she had on this GORGEOUS blue dress with lace trim, and I asked her where she got it, and she said you had them. Sooo, here I am. Please tell me you still have that dress!”
The merchant was clearly experienced with such bombardments. “I have several blue dresses with lace,” he said calmly. “This one here is made with cool flax.”
“No, no, no, not that one. The one Patsy had was shiny! I love the sheen, don’t you think I deserve sheen?”
“Of course miss. This one here is made of fine cambric.”
“Nooooooo that’s totally the wrong blue. The one I want is periwinkle blue!”
“This is periwinkle, miss.”
“No not that periwinkle, the blue of Bab’s eyes…but you don’t know Bab… It’s not periwinkle that’s for sure… It’s bluer…”
The merchant’s face began to contort at the nasally schipperke voice.
“And anyway that one has white lace, not blue lace…”
The half-elf was cut short by the enraged merchant. “That’s it!” He grabbed her arm roughly.
Crys called out in a feigned-panic, “Help, help!”

[Did Lucy and Varric storm in or just Lucy?]

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Mugshot's Journal #130
Legitimate Enterprises

So far we have found no evidence of plots or immediate threats to the Empire from the Caravan, only threats directly against the caravan. Granted, in light of recent information, it sounds that these threats could be leading to a credible threat against the empire, but until we know more it is best that we do not jump to conclusions or tip our hand.

As an experienced adventurer I have been placed in charge of 20 guardsmen. Over the weeks since we have been working and drilling together, I have been getting the hang of my command, and have built a mutual trust with those who are following me. Hansen has become my right hand man, leading in my absence, offering tactical advice, and just generally filling in for my weaknesses as a leader, which is helping me learn quite a bit.

In other news, Mondar has joined the caravan, much to everyone’s surprise and… Well. Displeasure. They weren’t originally going to let him sign up, but my lucky self happened to be walking by when we spotted each other at the same time.

“He’ll vouch for me!”

Shit.

“What am I vouching for?”

Short story shorter, the dwarf was hired on as a beastmaster and guardian. The look on Krys’s face when she heard was delightful. Well, what I saw of it before I vacated the area…

Anyway, we were attacked during the night by men cloaked in dark robes. My men only had two, who were quickly dispatched. One by Hansen and Bob (with a slight assist from me), the other by Fiddlesticks, George, and Jayne. The urge to leap headfirst into the fray was… Really, really difficult to put aside, but my lady is very proud of me. I kept my head, I held back, and I commanded. I’m definitely not our Captain, but I’m holding my own so far.

While my command lost no one, one of the wagons further up the chain was hit very hard, so I was forced to give up two of my men to shore up their defenses. One the upside, we were close to the port at this point, at which point the Captain hand picked five new guards for my section, Varric, Braun, Jihada, Ashe, and Shepherd.

They have fit in quite well with the existing troops and Hansen has sorted them into the watch rotation.

Now, the plots. I have been tracking the Slimeball whenever I get the chance (I lost track of him when Mondar called me to vouch for him). I haven’t been able to get close enough to hear much of the arguments that he seems to be getting into, but Malakai helped set in motion some excellent spying. Seriously, if we weren’t in the middle of a job where being outed as the head of a Thieve’s guild would probably get me tortured and murdered, there are several of my soldiers I would happily recruit.

Thanks to Malakai’s sticky ears, and some… possibly rigged card games for Shepherd, Garrus, and Wrex, we have a lot more information than we had before.

Firstly: Of the five principles, two are relatively new and not widely trusted among those that I trust. Reason enough to not like them.

Secondly: Whatever the attackers are hunting for is in the third wagon of one of the sections. It is likely an artifact or crystal of power, and the Slimeball is definitely in the middle of what is going on.

Thirdly: And this is conjecture, but with the recent motions made by some of the less pleasant gods, if these people get their hands on whatever this object is, it is likely to cause trouble for the Empire, and by extension, my friends.

Fourthly: We know who is giving the Slimeball a legitimate business face within the caravan, this bit of information courtesy of Teemo.

Malakai has set up our entire section with wineskins full of laughing water out of his own pocket. I have brought Mondar and Luciatto up to speed, as well as Krys. I feel for diminutive Bruiser, the lack of action from the cook wagon is really frustrating for her.

Only two months or so left in our contracts. Hopefully we’ll sort out this artifact business soon, and the rest of our contract will be as simple caravan guards.

Strange as it sounds, I’m actually really liking this whole Caravan Guard gig. If I get the chance, I may have to do this again, if this Caravan ends up being on the up-and-up, of course. As it stands, my men have standing invitations to Olympia, and I will happily buy any and all of them a drink, as soon as we’re in a position to do so.

Oh, speaking of drinking! Mondar has been SOBER. I am amazed. He’s also the first of us to actually backstab someone in our crew. We’ve been fighting together for YEARS now, and somehow, he’s the only one of us to ever actually backstab. How odd.

Captain’s coming and my break is about over. Back to the line.

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Mugshot's Journal #124
A Job (Mostly) Well Done

Just forewarning, I may be remembering certain events out of order, misremembering details, and the like, but the gist is the same. Our successful conclusion to the mission, quick return to Olympia, and subsequent party now that we’re going to be home for more than two hours (and subsequent drinking that happened at said party) has muddled my memory somewhat. Vyl will help as best she can.

We successfully entered the town and met up with Bill, the friend we made the last time we were in Riverock, and mutual friend of Rolph. He happily invited us into his home and graciously allowed us to stay in his remarkably secured guest house. I have a feeling that a certain K. S. F. may have had something to do with the… Atmosphere, but did not ask the Guard Captain of such things.

Instead, he filled us in on the current climate and goings on, we relayed the information that we had, and he left us to plot in secret. We decided to split up, for reasons I cannot quite remember, and Krys and I returned to the boat to speak to the Captain about… I can’t remember either. The important bit is that he needed someone to take the specialty barrel that was mentioned in my previous journal to some kind folk in the warehouse district, which worked just fine for us as there were agents we were looking to meet within said district.

So the two of us happily wheeled the barrel off to the warehouse district and meet a small group of thugs, who pay us, act intimidating ish that we saw nothing, and then immediately wheel the barrel through a hidden door in the warehouse. Krys and I make note of this as we leave to meet the agents we were seeking anyway. I don’t remember quite what news we received from them (I’m a little hung over, okay? I don’t want to hear it Vyl! I successfully drank an OGRE under the table!)

We relayed news of the secret door, they told us to meet up with Marco (or was it Marco we were talking to?)… My memory is hazy at best.

During this time, Nith and Luciatto went to the temple of Mishalkall, to relay information and begin gathering supplies, at which point they learned that a high priestess had gone missing as she investigated an outbreak of dysentery. At this time they were also met by a runner telling them that one of the other high priestesses may be in trouble, so the two head over to investigate and find parents with a terribly sick and dying child demanding to see the high priestess while two gaurds essentially tell them to fuck right off.

The parents disappeared into the crowd while the child (actually a dwarf with beard shaven and bearing the brand of Kemosh) dies, and the guards, highpriestess, and the group return to the temple with the body.

When we meet back up, more information is shared, and we decide we may need to act sooner than later. Mugshot checks the door and finds the correct mark in the wrong place.

I am short on time now, but I will finish this hopefully when my mind is more clear.

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Mugshot's Journal #122 / #123
Karlston / KeepTown

#122

There is something about Karlston that puts me slightly on edge, and it has nothing to do with the people. I don’t care what Sylwinalli says, that boat creeps me out. Maybe less the boat, than the man who commands it. The true Heros of the Empire, wherever they may be… There’s something awe-inspiring about them.

And terrifying. I have no wish to meet the Lady Cierra, Lord Greggor, Lord General Dar, or Lord Captain Karl Fischer. I fear that if I ever do, we will be in a situation even WE won’t survive, and frankly, I’ve fought the bitch-queen Tachesis with my bare goddamned hands.

This mission is not going to go down like our first job in Olympia. Olympia was a smaller town, and we were more or less anonymous, allowing free and easy movement as we went about our business. Well, except for Krys of course, but that worked out for the best I would say. RiveRock, however, and now?

Between our adventures and our antics in the Games, Krys and I are known far and wide, and well liked for the most part as well. While it does make some of life easier, it makes clandestine operation nearly impossible, and disguises aren’t going to work amazingly well for this. Not on the silver tusked juggling half-orc especially, and my presence makes the rest of our identities fairly easy to surmise.

As such, I am planning a much more direct approach. After all, we made a couple of friends while we were there, including a mutual friend of Rolph’s. If he’s still around, he may be able to help with information and getting our bearings on the climate of the town. If nothing else, there are both a large temple to Mishalkall and the stronghold of the Order of the Arches, both of which should be beyond suspicion in the matter at hand.

Hopefully we’ll know more when we meet Killian’s spies and Glove’s courier.

#123

There has been an interesting and very unfortunate development. On the barge upriver, the customs officer found a suspicious barrel of Lord Bart’s beer. Inside was a trapped letter, and a leather satchel. Three things of note here:

The first: Explosive Runes is one of the foulest tastes I’ve ever had, and I’ve had Luciatto’s cooking.

The second: Whatever poison or magical disease is contained in that bag is very, very bad.

The third: We now have a lead.

It’s possible we have tipped our hand by opening the letter and setting off the runes, or by opening the bag, but the ability to retrieve the information within was hopefully worth the risk. We are fairly certain They plan to poison the wells of RockRiver on some day, but we do not know exactly when. I don’t know how we’ll stop them, but that satchel is going to be very important.

I don’t know the details of their plan, but they certainly won’t be expecting our move when we make it. The Ranger I have become can’t let them do this to the water supply. We will find them, we will stop them.

We reach RiverRock tomorrow. We start the hunt then.

~Mugshot Wolffang Dragontooth, Head of the Olympian Thieve’s Guild, Ranger of the Order of the Arches

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