A step closer to the identity of this Black Spider, just had to go about it all sloppily.
I’ll back up some…
We were resupplying when a wild-haired dwarf walked into the shop. Now, I’m not easily surprised by the eccentricities of others, what with being a halfling and having dealings with many gnomes, but this dwarf is insane.
Donk…yes, that’s his name…has a fascination (obsession!) with dragons. Everything is somehow connected to dragons. Okay, I understand the need to make connections with available information, it is what I do for my fellow anti-slavers, but what this dwarf does is too close to mania.
We left the shop, Donk following us for some reason with his pamphlets waving, and delivered the supplies to the Lionshields. The dwarven matron was also appreciative for the return of goods…and also corroborated something the previous shopkeeper had said: Stay away from the Redbrands.
They are, apparently, some group of local thugs running low-scale protection schemes in Phandalin, threatening local merchants in the typical way. I always have a hard time feeling sorry for the larger races when they’re being victimized. Yes, I want to help, and often do, but I won’t deny that there is always the part of me screaming to let them suffer since they should be able to fend for themselves, especially knowing the brutal, horrible things they do to my people.
If you want to find a specific criminal, find more criminals. Specialties, such as slavery or racketeering, lead to territorial boundaries. Step across one and a stern lecture is the very least of the worries coming down. Most often, it means death. Because of this, criminals need to know who the players are, what they’re specialty is, and where the boundary lines are drawn. This survival instinct and territorialism makes for, usually, easy pickings for information gathering.
We learned that the Redbrands littered the Sleeping
Dr (NOT DRAGON) Giant Alehouse. Obviously, Donk’s constant dragon chatter is getting bothersome. My plan was to get into the Sleeping Giant and ingratiate myself to whomever called the shots for the Redbrands, but I wasn’t allowed a chance. No sooner did we arrive than four of them attacked after a few quick barbs. Knew I should’ve gone alone.
One Redbrand dropped almost immediately. I couldn’t here what Donk was saying, but I believe the dragon talk put the Redbrand into a mind-numbed coma. Didn’t mind at all, seeing that I wanted at least one alive…just as long as he could be revived without too much brain damage.
The other three Redbrands proved to be troublesome. They were good with their blades, managing to beat a steady rhythm on Voljenog, but we managed to bring them down with Ayani’s aid and the sometimes wild castings of Reed and Nethor (I will learn that elf’s name someday, dammit). Hated killing them, but Voljenog’s wounds weren’t some bruises from a street fight. These Redbrands had murder on their minds.
I bound the last as he slept. Upon waking, he started with the bluster one would expect from a street thug, but that was soon tossed aside as he stared down either my nocked arrow a foot from his eye or at Voljenog’s very irate, blood-covered face. I’m pretty damn sure the dwarf’s maul factored in, what with it stained by the blood of the thug’s former friends.
I will say that my arrow came close to shifting targets with Donk and his placement of illusory yellow dicks on the thug’s face even as the dwarf asked for confirmation that this was all a part of a dragon conspiracy.
It all worked out, though, as the Redbrand revealed the involvement of Black Spider. Not only is Rockseeker being held in a place called Triador (I botched the spelling, I’m sure, as thugs are not known for their literacy) Manor, but he is one of many being held; Rockseeker for the knowledge he holds, the rest for selling to the highest bidders.
As it appears, the Redbrands are taking their orders from a wizard called Glasstaff who, in turn, is taking his orders from Black Spider. One step closer.
We coaxed more information from the Redbrand, mostly tactical information regarding the manor and its defenses, before taking him at arrow-point to the town mayor for official arrest. It’s was at this point that my distrust of the taller races was once again justified. According to the over-stuffed and assuredly over-moneyed peacock, the Redbrands were local peacekeepers.
At that point, I knew the bastard we brought in would be released as soon as we were out of the mayor’s sight. He assured us the Redbrand would be incarcerated, but I saw no fear in the thug’s eyes since he knew we’d delivered him right to someone who would let him go without incident. I slipped away as the others, including Donk (thank you, Tymora!), stayed behind and tried to convince the mayor of the thug’s wrongdoing. If there wasn’t going to be justice from the authorities, which is not a surprise…as any halfling or gnome can tell you, I would try to instigate some from the very people the Redbrands had victimized. I almost laughed when the dwarven matron got the news about a bound Redbrand in custody at the town hall. Never seen a dwarf move so fast.
We prepare for an assault on Triador Manor. There are people being held there. Regular people who just want to live quiet lives of proud work and simple pleasure. Scared people who just want to go home.
I sharpen my arrows tonight.