Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Adventuring Companions Formulate An Alternate Escape

But meanwhile time flies; it flies never to be regained ~ Virgil (10/15, 70 BC to 9/21, 19 BC), an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period.

"I cast a minor glamer to cover my scars - there was zero accentuating of my looks beyond that" an upset Suri declared, poking Steve in the chest with her finger. "And Ceraifiot is absolutely right concerning the murder you just committed. The policeman you killed was not a threat" Suri added, glaring at Steve. Now there were three murders that could be attributed to their group by the authorities. Provided that the man William sucker punched in the market had died. He certainly appeared to be dead, Suri recalled as she fled the scene, leaving William behind.

Now the remaining six companions were apparently trapped within the walls of the city! "There is another way out" Paulina the gnomish rouge informed the group as Steve and Barry deposited the body of the dead police officer in a nearby trash receptacle. But not before Steve riffled thru the dead man's pockets, removing some coins and placing them in his own pocket. Steve, Suri had expected for some time, was a man of low morals.

But a murderer? She was somewhat shocked. The magic user decided she would have to speak with Ceraifiot about booting Steve out of the group. Later, once they were out of immediate danger. She certainly did not want to attract attention by arguing about it now.

"What about the horses?" Barry inquired as they guided their steeds down the sidestreets of the city, avoiding the main thoroughfare. Barry's concern was due to the riding of horses not being permitted within the city walls. Any non-resident entering the city was required to stable their horses as soon as they were able. Although exceptions were made for residents with special permits. But, with the exception of Paulina, none of the adventurers were residents, and therefore none had a permit.

"The stablemaster at the Northgate Inn happens to be a member of the city of Wallis thieves guild" Paulina informed the others. "We can leave our horses with him and escape via the sewers" Paulina added, referring to the extensive network of pipes running beneath the ancient city. "It just so happens that the guild controls a large portion of the sewer system, which is used for smuggling stolen goods and wanted individuals in and out of the city. There will, however, be a price, and it will likely be steep".

"Isn't there are member's discount" Barry asked, concerned about fees when all of the companions were low on funds. "I'm a member, you lot are not" the gnomish woman answered. "Hopefully the horses will be enough". "Now look what that arsehole William has caused" Ceraifiot lamented. His horse and he had a special bond, and he of course did not want to part with her. But it appeared as though he had no choice.

Suri, who had inherited the steed of the group's former mage Morton upon his death, did not have that problem. Suri recited the word of power and her steed Prisilla shrunk down to the size of a chess piece. In fact it looked exactly like a chess piece, the horsey one.

After shrinking Prisilla, Suri picked up the marble chess piece and slipped it into her pocket. "Prisilla shall not be a part of the price, whatever it may be" Suri declared, referring to the steep price Paulina had indicated would be charged by the thieves guild to smuggle them out of the city. "Let us find out how much first" Ceraifiot remarked before any of the others (Steve or Barry) had a chance to object.

Fortunately they made it back to the Northgate Inn stable without being spotted. Now the sun was just about descended and night upon them. "What brings you back" the stablemaster inquired as the group entered the stable, the seven foot tall fighter Olaf leading their five horse inside. Rufus the stablemaster, while fat and balding, was a man of incredible strength, which all could see due to his broad chest and bulging biceps.

"I am a member of the thieves guild" an unnoticed (due to her short stature) Paulina interjected. "I didn't notice you there, shorty" the stablemaster said, glancing down. Then he frowned and asked gruffly, "what's your membership in this criminal organization to me?".

"Here, take my hand" Paulina implored the suddenly gruff man. The stablemaster, knowing why the request was made, went down to one knee and took the gnomish female's small hand in his much larger one. "This might be problem, given the size difference, but I think this should satisfy you" Paulina explained as she went though the motions. "OK, you know the secret handshake" the stablemaster affirmed. "What do you want from me?"

"We need to depart Wallis without passing though any of the city gates" Paulina disclosed. "And why might that be something you're wanting to be doing?" the stablemaster inquired, rising from his one-knee position. "The reason can't be good, that's for certain". "The authorities are currently searching for one of our companions" Suri replied, addressing the stablemaster. "He punched a cleric at the Temple of the Oracles, killing him".

The stablemaster frowned harder, not looking inclined at to help the companions. "He's not here now. I was the only one with him at the time, and he ran off" Suri concluded (without mentioning how Steve had murdered an officer of the Lord Mayor's police force).

"If see" the stablemaster said, stroking his stubbly chin thoughtfully. "Well, I think I can help, for a price. But it's not going to be cheap, given the power of the oracles in this city" he concluded after a few moments of thought. "Now look here" Steve countered, his voice rising in anger. "You should help us because this gnome chick is a guild member. We already heard from her that the cost from the guild itself will be high to smuggle us out. Now you want us to pay you additionally?".

"You got that right" the stablemaster affirmed. "I can send a stableboy to notify someone at the guild headquarters while you lay low here. But, I'm going to need some something to compensate me for my troubles. If you're low on funds I'm sure an alternate payment method could be worked out" he added, lustfully eyeing Suri Cruz (whose facial disfigurement-hiding magics had yet to wear off).

"Ugg. I'm not interested" Suri responded, picking up on the vibe the stablemaster was sending out. "What, is Rufus not good enough looking for you" the seemingly offended stablemaster countered. "This", Rufus said pointing to his belly "is the fuel tank for a sex machine. If you've only been getting busy with pretty boy here", he continued, glancing at Ceraifiot the Bonny bard, "you're in for a treat. By which I mean the size of my equipment will rock your world. That's a guarantee you can take to the bank, girl".

"Sounds like a plan to me" Barry said, noting his agreement with the payment proposal. "Given the fact that Suri was with William when the murdering took place, I say she should do her duty for the group in acquiescing to this gentleman's request to get busy. You send the boy" Barry said, looking the stablemaster Rufus in the eye, "we'll wait here while you take Suri in the back. I'm sure you can locate a suitable pile of hay. It's too bad she's so ugly. Perhaps you can put a bag over her head" Barry concluded, forgetting that Suri's glamer was still concealing her facial disfigurement.

"What are you talking about, this chick is a knockout" Rufus incredulously countered. "Now, how about it babe?" the horsekeeper asked, turning his attention back to the group's magic user. Olaf The Angry looked angry, and was about to take umbrage to the rude suggestion when Paulina spoke. "We were hoping that our horses would cover the price". Rufus considered the offer, then responded, "400 gold pieces, take it or leave it. But you're still going to owe the guild for their services".

"Wait a minute" Ceraifiot objected. "These horses are worth more than a measly 400 gp". "You misunderstand me", the stablemaster interrupted gruffly. "The price for my assistance is 500 gold pieces. I will pay 50gp for a roll in the hay with this fine looking lass, but that leaves you 50 short. And I'm doing you a favor with the 50gp by the way, given the fact that I usually only pay a few silvers at the local brothel".

"It's a deal. Now send that stableboy and we'll wait here while you take Suri in the back", Barry agreed, shoving Suri toward the fat, sweaty stablemaster. Nearly tripping, Suri collided with Rufus, who immediately took her into his steely embrace, wrapping his large arms around her. "Don't struggle girly" Rufus laughed. "Trust me. As I said, a poking by ol Rufus is something you'll remember with fondness for a long time to come".

SWTD #304, WTM #13.

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