After the Duel:
-The quartet leaves Stony Hills and returns to the village Drotna, where Arcturus presents Gonthu’s head to the mayor. He is impressed and thankful, so he writes up a letter to The Archon which states his support for the republic and his gratitude for dealing with the orcs.
-Ironbeard goes to a local artifact peddler, and trades Gonthu’s shield for an enchanted longsword
-The quartet heads off to the old city to tell Saren that their mission is complete, and Irith Hardhammer tags along as the formal representative from Drotna to deliver the mayor’s letter
In the Old City:
-Arcturus once again presents Gonthu’s head, which pleases Saren. Saren welcomes him into the Blood Eagles as an official member. Irith Hardhammer presents the letter from the mayor to Saren, who accepts it on Archon Yukanis’ behalf.
-Saren tells them that the Archon has been busy in the Channel doing gods know what, but he left instructions for the quartet: take an official Ekwan Republic negotiator to Bastion to attend a trade summit involving The Free Cities of Jara, The Kalashek, and several of The Hirogen Clans. Saren tells them that while they’re gone, he’ll be showing the newbies the ropes. Before they leave, Saren tells Arcturus that in case they need backup, one of the Blood Eagles lives in Bastion, but he hasn’t heard from him in a long while.
-As they walk out of the chamber, they run into a group of three elves: one a fighter, one a scoundrel, and one a wizard (by the look of them, and also presumably the newbie group). Alphonse and the wizard eye each other and put on their special wizardly airs of mystery. The scoundrel looks at Ironbeard and greets him warmly, since he recalls him and his business from when he was in Lorath. The fighter locks eyes with Ollin, and they exchange a tense greeting. Everyone looks at Ollin, and he says he’ll explain later.
-They meet up with the negotiator outside, Ethricil Iladar, who says he’s ready to go whenever they are.
On A Boat (to Bastion):
-Ollin tries to not explain how he knew the elven fighter, but Ironbeard breaks through his defenses, and he spills the beans: he used to work as an assassin for The Combine, and had since their founding. He told them how he grew up in a bad part of town, and was in a gang, but joined with the combine when they started. After one too many questionable missions, Ollin wanted out, but was not allowed, so he “jumped ship” and ended up on the Intrepid, which is where they all met.
-Ironbeard spoke up first, and said that redemption and change is what this whole thing is about, and having someone who wants this personally is a great asset. Arcturus agreed and effectively said “we still cool”. Alphonse gave a nod that said “cool story, bro”, since he didn’t really know what to say, nor did he feel that that was a game-changer with regards to their mission.
-After all that, they changed the subject to what they knew about Bastion. Ollin knew the most off the top of his head, since he had been there before on a mission for the Combine. (Information drop can be accessed on The Free Cities of Jara page)
-Boat docks in harbor, a Silent Sisters escorts them up the switchback to the part above sea level where people live.
-Another sister approaches, and tells the other one to leave, since their guests deserve a more honorable escort than “dock scum”. She introduces herself as Loretta. A few moments later they are surrounded by two dozen silent sisters, who turn on them. The sisters lay on the pressure, and they decide that they can’t win, but can survive if they run. Ironbeard and Alphonse work together to make a big flash (which could be seen from the two hundred feet below), and follow Ollin’s lead to the director’s palace.
-On her way out from the merchant’s quarter, Termina Vzorcaya sees the mass of silent sisters stumbling around in disorientation, and goes over to them. Loretta tells her that they’re on business, and that their quarry has escaped. All of the sisters had their weapons drawn, and Termina felt that was a little much for apprehending the five people she saw running away. She slapped the sword out of Loretta’s hand and chucked it over the cliff. Termina left and said “if you really need your sword to apprehend them, then go get it”.
-The quartet plus Ethricil arrive at the palace and see more silent sisters, who are not hostile to them. They are lead inside and exchange greetings with the director, Samantha Desharik. Arcturus mentions that they were attacked by the silent sisters, and the director flips a shit, grabs one of the nearby silent sisters (since they are the guard group that is in charge of the palace), and asks her violently what she knows. After a good wall-slamming, the guard says that Loretta had a Combine bounty notice at the barracks, and she persuaded some other sisters into helping her for a cut of the bounty. The director was displeased, but keeps up the formalities and shows them their accomodations. They settle in.
Out on the Town:
-The negotiator stays in the palace to get some rest. The quartet splits, with Ironbeard heading to the markets, and the other three heading out for a bar.
-The “bar group” finds a good place called the gray gavel, and they head inside for a drink. Alphonse takes up his usual spot in the corner and makes it as smokey as possible. Soon after, Termina shows up and approaches the group since she recognized them. They get to talking, she tells them what she does, and they tell her what they do.
-Arcturus mentions to Ollin that they need to find the Blood Eagle who lives around here, just in case. Ollin remembers that the Combine told him to stay away from the southern end of the common quarter because of him. They want a better location, so they talk to the gnome bartender, and he gives them better direction to “Sal the hermit”. They head off, and Termina tags along since she’s drunk and wants to go fix the world. She keeps takes her mug with her just in case something happens.
-The three humans and Ollin head out to the common quarter. They get pretty deep with no problem, so Termina figures they’re okay and tosses her mug, which crashes into something and makes a loud noise. A Blue Suns guard appears quickly and asks what’s wrong. They say nothing’s going on, but he doesn’t buy it. Termina says some bullshit about cleaning up the city and the guard gives up, but says if there’s any problems, the Blue Suns are never far away.
-They get to the house that the bartender mentioned, so Arcturus knocks. A wave of unnatural and brutal cold hits them, but they persist. The door opens, but there’s another behind it with an viewing slot, and a pair of pale blue eyes looks out at them. Acrturus discreetly mentions that he’s a Blood Eagle, and the inner door opens (after much unlocking). Only Arcturus is allowed inside.
-Arcturus takes a look around and sees a nearly derelict house, with a trapdoor in the back. The person who opened the door is standing in front of him, with ragged, but once fancy clothes and a sword. They start talking. Arcturus mentions Saren and the whole Ekwan Republic, and asks if Sal (who corrects it to Salchorix) can help. Salchorix tells Arcturus that he was once a Feynriel, one of the great knights of the Combine, and that he was exiled and joined the Blood Eagles forty years ago. He would help, but not in some petty street fight. He would be there for a precision strike, nothing less. Arcturus accepted the terms, then left.
-While Arcturus was talking with Salchorix, Ollin talked with Termina about what their mission was, and how someone like Termina would be a great asset to their cause. She was intrigued, so she went to go talk with her superiors back at the barracks. She found Loricanthe, and filled her in on the offer. Loricanthe like Termina, and told her that her skills were useful in Bastion, but that she needed to do what she wanted. In the mean time, Cassandra wanted her to impress the newcomers from Ekwa, so go stir up some trouble. Termina remembered that they were headed off to the markets, where her foes, the Greenfeet Clan, patrolled.
The Best at What They Do:
-While all of that had been going on, Ironbeard asked around to figure out who was the most influential businessperson in Ekwa. He found a fellow dwarf named Aeral Deepsilver, was the man. He went to the man’s place of business with an offer from the Ironbeard Trading Company.
-He told him that there was a town named Drotna in Ekwa which produced large amounts of iron ore, and that he could connect Mr. Deepsilver with them and thus to a cheap supply of good iron. The pitch was so well-delivered that Deepsilver didn’t even bother haggling or pretending he was uninterested, but asked if he could be guaranteed that it was good metal. Ironbeard pulled out the sword he had traded Gonthu’s shield for, and Deepsilver was impressed. He knew that Ekwa was always in need of good timber, so he offered that up. They drew up an agreement, and toasted to success. Ironbeard left a very happy dwarf.
-Ironbeard stepped outside, and was confronted by two human Greenfeet Clan guards. They asked him what he was doing in the establishment of such a reputable businessman, so Ironbeard brandished the agreement he had just stamped with his seal. One grabbed it and read over it, but handed it back a moment after (probably because he couldn’t read dwarven). They said that such a rich man shouldn’t be walking around unprotected, fortunately, that’s what the greenfeet were for. One held out a hand for Ironbeard’s money.
-At this time, Arcturus, Ollin, and Alphonse showed up. They stared down the guards, but they didn’t afraid of anything. Termina showed up as well, and immediately layed into the guards with insults and trolling. While she was doing this, a big orc came up behind her and said, “I see they’ve demoted you to the welcoming committee, Termina”. It wasGrobak, her old boss. Things got tense, and it was clear that a fight was about to start. Ollin did some preemptive self-defense, and cut the throats of the two guards that had been harassing them with a well-practiced Combine knife kata. Alphonse conjured up some illusory thugs, Ironbeard turned a barrel of apples into golden apples, and Arcturus spread them around so all the people in the marketplace could see. Termina threw/rolled a barrel into the other Greenfeet that had arrived, and took some down. The rest attacked her, but her thorn tattoos rose up and spiked them, taking them down too. Two men dead, and the others in pain on the floor, and Grobak was done (and humiliated). He left, telling them that they’d just made a serious mistake.