Arson and other Skulduggery

Another session of our Zweihänder campaign on Roll20, where we continue to cause trouble across the city in our pursuit of the slavers. Eva continues her account of what happened.


After we had finished our observation of the church, we headed across the city to the warehouse which we had previously broken into and rescued some slaves from. This time our plan was to try and find some documentary evidence of what they had been up to. The plan had just been for a quick in and out, with a minimum of fuss. Sometimes plans have a habit of running away with themselves.

We didn’t particularly want to head out of the city to use the tunnel again, and they’d patched up the roof, which left finding another way in.

Why not just use the side door? What could possibly go wrong?

— Djarin

The set of keys that we had stolen previously still worked, and with the building looking dark we let ourselves into the sound proof room which had a cage in the middle. There was the stench of human sweat and waste in here – to be honest I’d assumed that they would have stopped using the place to hold slaves after we broke the previous group out, but this assumption turned out to be false.

There were no slaves in there, but there had been some here recently – maybe as recently as the last day.

The warehouse, red arrow shows point of entry

The room was pitch black, so I borrowed Calthar’s lantern and shuttered it as much as possible to give us a minimal amount of light. Exploring the door at the far end, it led to the room which was probably used to wash down slaves. The door beyond that though we hadn’t tried before.

With the lantern pointing away from the door, Calthar and Djarin opened it and crept through, finding themselves beside a large pile of crates. Over to the far corner there was a hay loft from which the sound of snoring came, and there was a lantern by the main doors to the left which lit up that side of the warehouse.

Calthar crept around to the other side of the crates, and managed to thug over the one guard that seemed to be awake and doing the rounds. I’m sure that the clattering from whatever it was she kicked whilst moving around was a deliberate action to attract the guard over. Regardless, it worked, and we dragged the guard back to the cage and locked the door. Though Calthar had wanted to go to the trouble of tying him up and gagging him, I suggested that we simply close the sound proof door.

We decided that trying to climb into the hayloft to knock out the two or more guards up there was too risky, so tried instead to just keep quiet.

Back along the wall, there were a couple of storerooms and a small office in which there was another guard busily slurping at her chicken soup. I suggested just threatening her with a crossbow, but Calthar was confident that she could rush in and thug her before the guard could say or do anything. She turned out to be right.

There wasn’t much else in the office, just lots of old pamphlets picked up from around the city. Most seemed to have been used to clean things. At any rate, we took her to join her companion in the slaver’s cage.

The final room was a standalone shed with a locked door, which fortunately was unlocked by one of the keys on the keyring. Inside was another office, this time full of paperwork and a rather nice desk. Calthar was able to break into the desk drawers, obtaining a couple of ledgers, a letter and a purse. There was also a rather strange looking stuffed bird on the desk.

We took these, as well as the last six months of paperwork that was sitting on the shelves – about all that we could carry. It was then that I had a dangerous idea.

The slavers were not only annoying, they were also slavers. We couldn’t take everything, but destroying what we left behind would make it difficult to determine what had been stolen – if anything. So I suggested that we light the room on fire, lock the door and leave. It may hide our tracks, and it would probably cause them aggravation.

The others agreed, so we set a small fire and locked the office door, then quickly left via the way we came in. I unlocked the cage holding the two unconscious guards, not wanting them to burn to death, then got hit by even more of a conscious and went back to bang on the outside doors near the hay loft, to try and wake those inside. Then we scarpered quickly.

We made it back to the inn, though I had the unnerving feeling that something shifted in the shadows behind us as we left.


The rumour in the city this morning has been that the House Martins have sought revenge on the Heavies by burning down their warehouse. Nobody died, but the fire had spread slightly further than I’d hoped. If Captain Sarkas ever finds out that we’ve been behind some of the trouble he’s paid us to investigate, he’s not going to be happy with us.

Today we need to go through the material we’d taken to try and make sense of it.


Most of the papers turned out to be routine financial transactions, but the ledger was different – it was again financial, but seemed to be a record of one particular type of good that was unnamed and also had no monetary value associated with it. We guessed that this ‘good’ was probably slaves.

There seemed to be two different sources for the ‘goods’, one of which became a lot more prevalent about a month ago. Some of the timings could be linked to the phases of the Moon – on the dark of the Moon and during the full Moon. It does seem a suspicious coincidence that the Church has its major ceremonies around this time.

The second ledger looked like it was probably the missing record from the guard’s house. It tracked missing people which roughly matched entries in the first ledger. At least it did until recently, when the two started tracking each other perfectly – until a week ago when it stopped completely. There were some notes in the ledger that said they had been told to stop investigating some of the missing people.

My assumption is that the city guards were really trying to hunt down who was responsible for the missing persons, and then at some point they become involved in the whole business so had direct access to what was going on. But nobody told them to stop recording things, so they just recorded what they saw happening first hand until someone actually realised what was going on.

The final piece of interest was the letter, which was written in code. Fortunately it seemed to be a similar code to one of those we had previously broken, so wasn’t too hard to break again.

Mistress,

May I thank you for the assistant you have lent me over the past weeks – meeting your targets (given the unfortunate misplacement of an entire shipment of pure material) would have been more ‘noisy’ if not for her ‘skills’.

However, I must point out that at current demand levels, let alone those forecast, I will have difficulty in sourcing enough resources without noticeably depleting our stocks. Unfortunately, field expedient resource acquisition has dried up (pardon my turn of phrase) as the peasantry seems to have become more organised of late and my harvesters are operating under your standing orders to avoid direct confrontation with organised opposition.

The Baron’s conclave will present a particular challenge. Increased demand combined with increased security. I will of course do my best, but could I suggest that a village might be attacked by ‘slavers’ or some other non co-opted group? This might even serve to advance the political aspects of the plan, though I realise I have but a lowly perspective on your grand design.

Your humbly,

Nightjack

So I guess that our encouragement of the peasants to defend themselves has helped to some extent, though it has forced the slavers to turn to the city for their supplies. Who the Mistress or Nightjack are I don’t know, though the ‘assistant’ may be the swordswoman that Calthar has encountered before.

There was also the pouch, which was full of coins and a couple of nice gemstones. Even the pouch itself is probably worth a few gold it is of such high quality.

One final event that occurred today whilst I was working on the decoding, after Calthar had disappeared off to do some shopping, was when somebody left a small parcel for me outside my door.

By the time I’d hidden away some of the papers and opened the door, the gift giver had vanished, but there was a parcel with “Do not look a gift horse in the mouth” written on it in good quality hand writing.

Inside was a spyglass. I was initially confused as to why anyone would want to leave me such a device, but on thinking about it, it may be useful for examining the stained glass window of the new church. Something to do for tomorrow maybe.

Samuel Penn

Samuel Penn