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Subject: Thieves' Guild of Da'avos, Session 23, "It's a S%!+ Assignment" rss

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J White
United States
Cedar Rapids
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For a bit of background and older session's report, see this thread.

For the immediately previous session report, see this one.

Characters, all Apprentices of the Honorable Guild of Protectors of Life and Property of Da'avos:
Loare, played by Mike, a bruiser
Zeke, played by Tom, unnoticeable
Chappy, played by Benjamin, a first-year apprentice, a raw recruit
With competition from Big Mikos out of the picture, times are very good for the thieves' guild. Profits are way up. In particular, Mikos had a good hold on the smuggling side of things, because the Guild officially doesn't involve itself in smuggling -- just protection money to avoid complications for those who do. But now that's all been thrown into chaos, and sorting out who's doing what (since you can't shake them down if you don't know who) is a priority.

Session 23, Scene One:
All the junior apprentices, so first through fourth years, are training on the Thieves' Gauntlet. The masters (more of them than usually observe) are being especially demanding today, with more mindless run-til-you-drop tasks than usual.

Loare wears down a bit with the constant exertion and gets whacked by a master for lagging behind. Chappy tries cutting the assigned six circuits of one obstacle down to just two, thinking the masters won't notice, and gets a crop across his backside and extra rotations as a lesson. Zeke catches some grief from Master Arcturos pretty much just because. There's noticeable interchange among the masters, all leading to Master Stark (aka Master Scaryface, the one particularly in charge of all apprentices). Stark calls Loare, Chappy, and Zeke upstairs.

Stark explains very briefly that they're assigned to pose as tavern workers at a place outside Westgate in order to figure out who's been running smuggling through there. He says they've been picked partly because their faces aren't known there, since they've worked much more in Eastgate, the Puddles, and the docks. They'll be contacted discretely by guild representatives periodically, but it's critical that they maintain their cover. They'll be outside the city walls, so they're warned that it's important to mind your manners -- the Temple of Justice's swift punishment of murder doesn't extend out there.

Scene Two:
Zeke and Chappy stop by the Graystone Inn on their way to get the scoop on the tavern they're being sent to. Loare goes ahead, and is well received by the tavern keeper, who seems to have been expecting him but is impatient that the other two boys are late. Loare gets assigned pot-scrubbing duties, which seems kinda bad, until Zeke and Chappy arrive and get assigned to clean up a few days' accumulated horse crap from the street in front of the tavern. Zeke makes Chappy do it.

The tavern owners keep them very busy day and night, and cuff them sharply for any malingering, but they manage to gather a few tidbits in the course of things, including a torn piece of what might be a forged letter of credit and some overheard snippets about drug shipments. There's overheard conversation from two guys about a "next shipment" and then they're joined briefly by a third guy. Chappy, who's very good with locks, follows them back to their room in the boarding house across the street and picks his way in to scope things out, then carefully leaves everything alone for now. One of the masters stops by and asks (by guild handsigns) for a report; Zeke and Loare fill him in, but Chappy doesn't even notice for an embarrassingly long time.

Some assorted things happen, including finding an unconscious guy in a nearby alley with a satchel of blank documents that already have an official seal attached -- the sort of seal that would normally be added at the end to make a document official. Hm!

It's entirely possible that Zeke and Loare periodically add the previous day's horse dung back to the street overnight for Chappy to clean up, but nobody's admitting anything.

Our heroes have now gotten the rhythm of their work and are managing to slip off a bit more while still getting enough done to avoid suspicion, and more importantly to avoid thrashing -- one of the tavern's co-owners is particularly temperamental. Watching the two guys from across the street who talked about the "next shipment", they notice a packhorse stop in front of their building, and the guys unload a heavy saddlebag from it and disappear upstairs. Observation shows them to just hunker down in their second floor room until near dusk, when a wagon stops outside and they load an apparently heavy bag onto it and head south. They're not heading toward the gate at all, and eventually unload into a warehouse down in Shoreline.

This sort of cycle repeats several more times over the following days. Most days something gets delivered to the two guys at their rooming house across the street in the late morning, then gets relayed by wagon to the warehouse toward dusk. Our heroes watch carefully and report dutifully, but don't find chances to intervene or learn more specifics.

But then a bit earlier than usual one morning a large bag, you know, maybe 5'5" long and lumpy, gets hustled into the rooming house by six guys. It definitely seemed to be a body in there, so Chappy scoots back up to the roof of the adjacent merchant's house to spy into the guys' room. It's a woman, probably aristocratic by her look, and the two guys are drugging her with some kind of alchemical vapors each time she starts to stir.

Frantic scheming ensues, and after some preparations a couple of empty rooms in the rooming house are picked and occupied, then fire is set (jeez, these guys have been itching to burn stuff down as part of almost every job, but inside the walls you can't because the Justicars will get you for the deaths involved -- out here there's not so much to stop them) and alarms raised. Residents of the building scramble down the stairs and out, but not the two guys with their hostage. After a minute Loare busts open their door, but they're gone, apparently out the window and down to the alley.

After a quick search, Chappy locates the guys and their hostage hunkered down in an alley around the corner. Zeke surprises one and viciously takes him out; Loare rushes the other and pins him to the wall, where Chappy and Zeke take turns hitting him until he drops. Chappy riffles their pockets, Loare takes the hostage back to the tavern (and Zeke discretely finishes the smugglers off).

The aftermath involves a lot of "We noticed that the building was on fire!" (which they reason to be technically true, right?) and Chappy's trademark "It was like that when I got there!" claims. The Masters of the Guild are very pleased with the work -- it turns out the hostage is from a citizen family (an elite few in Da'avos) whose group had been waylaid on the road to the city, and it serves the guild well to have the ruling powers notice their assistance in preserving the order of things. Loare grumbles a bit as things unfold -- he's a bastard son of a citizen himself, begotten on the servant girl and of course unacknowledged, so helping out doesn't sit so well with him.

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