Shortly after arriving in the City of Anuire, Orvo, Tiegan, Esme, and Cirian split off from the party. As Harlan, Qadira, Strogar, and Tristan took stock of their surroundings, a few things became readily apparent: they were in a less-reputable section of the city known as the Piers, Tiegan and Orvo absconded with most of their funds, and there was a dead guard not 30 feet from them.
Investigating the body, they discovered the guard had a slashed throat, was missing a knife, and was apparently poisoned. As Harlan began looking around for loot, the protagonists heard the sound of the approaching town guard. In a panic, Strogar and Harlan threw the body of the dead guard quite a distance off the pier. However, when questioned by the guards, Strogar’s somewhat inept attempt at subterfuge backfired, and they were all taken into custody and all possessions confiscated.
While in jail, the protagonists bemoaned their situation with various levels of blame thrown about, but eventually settled in for the evening. Tristan received a visitor – an individual he recognized from Mossfall Keep – who proceeded to ask him questions regarding the reason for his visit (errands for Pavon), how they arrived (some unknown person teleported them), and if they murdered the guard (no). Satisfied with the answers, he gave Tristan an alibi to give to the guards to allay the guards suspicions. As he turned to leave – with a long hard look at Strogar, muttering “not today, devil” – he left the protagonists in peace. As he was leaving, Tristan managed to catch a look at his hands…and the bloody daggers they held.
As morning came and breakfast was served, Strogar used his magic to break his bonds. The party heard before the saw the response – 4 armed soldiers came down, flanking 2 wizards. One of the wizards cast a silence spell on Strogar’s cell, but upon satisfactorily inspecting the rest departed one again. As the hours passed, the protagonists received a visitor – that immediately raised Harlan’s hackles – that they hoped would help them out of their situation.
The strange visitor introduced himself as Colwyn Dosiere, and held aloft the letter from Pavon. After asking a series of random questions to confirm identity, Colwyn arranged for their release and left an invitation for dinner at 6 pm at his tower. After he left, a guard unlocked the cells and ushered the protagonists upstairs.
While they were inspecting their gear – finding some coinage missing – and rearming themselves, Harlan struck up a conversation with the desk guard. The guard, who introduced himself as Duke, spoke with Harlan about local customs – blunt weapons were confiscated, bladed weapons peace bonded unless you were a noble or a member of the constabulary, no spell casting unless you were a noble or member of either a local church or the wizard college, no harm to be delivered unto a noble – and slipped a little extra information to the protagonists after Harlan delivered a very lucrative pay off. With a gem in hand, Duke informed them that representatives of the 2 most powerful kingdoms of the former empire, Boeruine and Avanil, had descended on the town as part of a periodic attempt to garner allies for a claim to the vacant Iron Throne. With their arrival, the already questionable nobles were being particularily unruly as of late, picking fights and abusing the common folk. Prices had skyrocketed with the influx of foreign gold steering merchants more to the nobles and even less towards the common folk, resulting in squalid living conditions in the rest of the city. As a parting gift – as he was writing his resignation notice – Duke swapped Harlan’s bag of Gorgon’s Crown coins and forged the documents to appear that they belonged to another individual held in custody.
As they left the jail with some time to spare, they flagged down a local carriage boy – no more than 15, with clearly ill-fitting and dirty clothes but a serviceable horse and carriage – and had him take them about town. As they traveled, they observed more of the City of Anuire: soaring towers, impressive yet outdated and ill-maintained stonework, well dressed and armed nobles lording themselves over the peasantry, backhanded generosity towards the poor, and how easy life was in the city provided you had coin to spare…and how horrid it was if you didn’t.
Promising the carriage driver, Emmet, 32 gold for driving them around for the day, they first visited a reputable armor and weapons shop – Silvercrest Arms. As Strogar noticed the shop was filled with weapons yet had no guards, his gaze was fixed on the armored suits placed throughout the shop. Harlan and Qadira looked over the weapons and armor, finding them rather exquisitely crafted. As Harlan inquired on the prices, they were shocked at just how expensive everything was. As the proprietor explained the social standing that came with the gear, not just it’s ability to prevent and cause death, Harlan made the decision to leave, shaking his head at the stupidity of it all. As they were leaving, Strogar muttered something about the armored suits moving…
Boarding the carriage – and realizing they were short on time – Harlan sweetened the pot for Emmet to take them to a less reputable area for some slightly questionable merchandise. As they were heading to a “blacksmith”, Tristan noticed one of the passing nobles savagely club a young girl appearing to bed for alms. As he saw her crumple – and no one pay her any mind as they kept going about their business – he exited the carriage. As Harlan told him he was being an idiot, Tristan informed them that he would catch up to them. After a minute of hesitation, Strogar also exited the carriage.
Coming to the aid of the young girl – no more than 15 – Tristan was about to use healing magic when Strogar reminded him of the local laws. Using bandages and first aid techniques, they managed to staunch her bleeding and keep her stable. Deciding against leaving her behind, they carried her with them as they trekked throughout the city. After attempting to inquire about the local of the Boeruine faction’s armory or tavern in the city and getting led in circles, Tristan was approached by a wandering group of nobles. Complimenting him on his “catch”, and informing him of a place to go if she lived and was carrying a whelp to dispose of things, Tristan was barely able to hold in his disgust as Strogar led him to the Chamberlain’s Tower to meet with Colwyn Dosiere.
Meanwhile, Harlan and Qadira were taken to a blacksmith shop in the Poors – a section of the city populated by homeless, wanderers, and all around “undesirables”. Upon gifting a small bribe with a message of “seeing the special stock horse shoes”, the blacksmith showed them to a cellar where he kept black market, counterfeit goods – with Emmet asking for new horseshoes if they found a pair. Finding a set of chainmail with a forged maker’s mark, and bartering his broken suit and some coin, Harlan was able to adequately protect himself again. As he was leaving, Harlan did buy Emmet a new set of horse shoes at quite a marked up price.
With the next stop, Emmet took them to a local clothing shop. Putting on the horse shoes while they shopped, Harlan purchased a nobles outfit for himself, a royal outfit for Qadira, 2 sets of clerical vestments, and a courtier’s outfit for Tristan. At Qadira’s suggestion, they also bought nice clothes fit for a servant for Emmet, instructing him to clean up himself and his carriage for their trek into the Tower District.
Arriving at the Chamberlain’s Tower, Harlan and Qadira met back up with Tristan and Strogar. With some exasperation, Harlan instructed Tristan to put the girl in the carriage. Feeding her a healing potion and some goodberries, they left her resting in the carriage under some blankets, giving Emmet strict instructions to not harm her. Putting his hair in a pony tail while Tristan took off his armor and stowed it in a haversack – barely managing to fit it in there with the other weapons – and put on his courtier’s outfit, the group took a few minutes to catch their prospective breath before going in to meet potentially the most powerful snake in the nest of vipers that was the City of Anuire.