The devil takes a hand in what is done in haste ~ Turkish Proverb.
"So, what you're saying is that William has been arrested for murder?" an incredulous Olaf asked after Suri briefed the assembled adventurers of what had transpired earlier in the day. "Last I saw him he was running from the officers of the Lord Mayor's police force. I don't know if they took him into custody or if they connected him to the dead cleric at the temple of the oracles, given that they were chasing him for punching a shopper in the bazaar", a shaken Suri explained, recounting events that took place earlier in the day.
"I think we should assume, given the fact that they are oracles, William is definitely being sought by the authorities, possibly along with myself. Which is why I've decided to scarper ASAP", the mage added, looking visibly worried.
"Well, let's get going then" Olaf interjected. "Now wait a minute" Barry the Botanical (the party's cleric) protested. "I thought we were going to hang around the city for awhile. After all that time trekking through the wilderness ol Barry needs a little time to take it easy and recharge before heading out again". "Indeed" the fighter Steve said, concurring with Barry. "None of us murdered anyone, let alone a priest from the temple of the oracles! You best be going, but the rest of us are staying put".
"Hold on Barry", the bard Ceraifiot cautioned. "We need to stick together. With the exception of William. Screw him. Sure, I'm proficient when it comes to illusions, but we need the combat magics of a mage like Suri to complete this mission", Ceraifiot concluded. "Well, after all I've been through I'm surely not going to be cut out of the final payment" Barry objected, referring to the reward promised by the geriatric and infirmed sightless wizard who had hired them to retrieve a certain item located within the lands of the minotaurs of the Northern Isles.
"Yes, everyone will receive the agreed upon share of the reward promised by our employer, the uncle of our former mage Morton The Magnificent, for delivery of the item he tasked us to retrieve. Including Suri, who shall receive a quarter share for her help in completing the mission" the bonny bard said, reminding all of their (amended) agreement. Suri, who wasn't entirely opposed to leaving William behind, still thought it unfair to completely abandon him... and said so.
"I say that we get out of town ASAP, but wait for William at our camp just outside the city walls". "Makes sense" Ceraifiot agreed, "given that we did agree to meet up there if something happened that caused us to split up. We shall depart immediately and make camp outside the city walls at the agreed upon location tonight".
"And how long do we wait for William to show?" an exasperated Steve demanded. "Let us not concern ourselves with the details right at this moment" Ceraifiot countered. "What is important right now is that we make haste to depart before any of us are detained by those seeking William, if anyone is". Ceraifiot decided not to mention the fact that it was his preference to leave without William, given the obvious but inexplicable attachment Suri seemed to have to the warrior. But then he really had not known Suri for but a few months, while William was an old friend, and possible former lover, according to what Suri had told him.
And so they all agreed to depart before the sun fell. Steve noted that he wasn't about to stay behind while Ceraifiot left the city with the gnarled staff of green wood, possibly to hand it over to their employer, the Wizard Farber, and collect the entire reward for himself and Suri, whom Steve suspected the bard was crushing on.
The staff being the item Farber had hired them to retrieve. It was a magical item of intermediate power, that much both the magically inclined Ceraifiot and Suri had been able to discern. Beyond that, nobody knew what it did. And Mr. Farber was clear in his instructions - none were to attempt to use the staff, as any discharge of it's power might drain it and make it useless to him. Deliver a useless item and there would be no payment.
And so everyone retrieved their belongings from their rooms, paid their bills, and met at the stable. "Damn innkeeper said I had to pay for the night despite not staying the night!" Steve complained. "A-hole said it was past checkout time" he grumbled under his breath when he realized nobody was paying attention to him. After paying the Stable Master everyone mounted up and headed out.
Night had almost fallen as the six adventurers approached the gate, which was clearly closed. And guarded by more police officers than was customary in Paulina's opinion. This she whispered in Suri's ear after the mage lowered her head to hear in response to the gnomish rogue tugging on her robes. "Wait a minute" Suri declared, alerting the others to the fact that something was wrong. The companions guided their horses down a side street where they dismounted. "What's the problemo?" Steve of Anonymous inquired, visibly agitated.
"Paulina says something is up", Suri explained. "Indeed, while nightfall is almost upon us, it is still too early for the gate to be closed", Ceraifiot the Bonny agreed. Just then Suri noticed a man wearing the uniform of a member of the Lord Mayor's police force walking down the side street toward them. "Hello there!" the man shouted. Barry the Botanical panicked and jumped back on his horse, intending to quickly depart, but Ceraifiot grabbed the reigns, preventing him from doing so.
"Hold up, I need to talk to you!" the officer shouted as he trotted toward the group, increasing his pace when Barry mounted his horse. "He's on to us!" Steve hissed loudly, a look of fear on his face. The adventurers, unsure what to do, watched as the officer approached.
"Hey, I noticed that you were approaching the gate" he said when he reached the party. "I thought I should check and see why you turned away, given the fact that we are currently seeking a duo of killers lose in the city". The officer stood before them, starring at the group, eyeballing each of them in turn.
"Ah, no, we weren't..." Steve stammered, his voice trailing off. The officer did not look convinced. In fact he looked quite suspicious. Steve, noticing that the officer was reaching for a whistle on a chain around his neck, went for his sword. Acting swiftly, Ceraifiot stepped between Steve and the officer, an action that clearly alarmed the man. The officer grabbed his whistle and placed it between his lips. Ceraifot lunged and grabbed the man's hand, ripping the whistle out of his mouth before he could sound the alarm.
"Excuse me, friend" Ceraifiot said, addressing the man using dulcet tones, a broad smile on his face. "Is there something I can help you with?" Ceraifiot inquired, charming the officer who, instead of responding with anger as might be expected given how rudely he had just been treated, inexplicably and suddenly regarded the bard as a trusted ally.
"That woman, I think she might be one of the killers we're looking for" the officer answered, starring past Ceraifiot, his eyes obviously indicating he was referring to Suri. "No, I'm sure you're mistaken" the bard said, correcting his new buddy. "You may be right" the policeman agreed. "Yet, the left side of her face is disfigured, which is a characteristic of the woman we are seeking... according to my captain".
"F*ck!", Suri cursed under her breath. She should have cast a minor illusion to alter her appearance prior to approaching the gate, the magic-user now realized. Raising her arm to conceal her face, Suri recited a few words, then lowered her arm and flipped down her hood, her legerdemain complete.
"I am not disfigured" Suri said, smiling as she approached the officer. "My mistake" the fooled man replied, noticing that the lady's face wasn't scarred as he first thought. She was, in fact, quite gorgeous. "Wow!" the enchanted officer exclaimed. "You are a beauty" he observed, his eyes moving from Suri's face down to her ample bosom. "Nice to meet you, my name is Allyn" the officer said, addressing Suri warmly. "My shift is ending soon. Care to accompany me to the local tavern for some libations?" Allyn inquired, propositioning the blond bombshell before him.
"Excuse me, friend" Ceraifiot interjected. "My wife and I were wondering why the Northgate is closed. Is it not yet too early for that?" the bard inquired, distracting Allyn as he ogled Suri. "Ah..." the officer stammered, dumbfounded by the young lass's beauty. "Oh, excuse me" a disappointed (in hearing the woman was married) Allyn replied, refocusing his attention back to his new buddy.
"As I already said, we're looking for two individuals, a man and a woman with a disfigured face are being sought in regards to the murder of a priest earlier today" Allyn reiterated. Then, thinking he should be as forthcoming as possible with his new friend, added, "if the two killers attempt to flee the city they will surely be caught, as one of the Mayor's council of mages has been dispatched to each of the city's five gates, in order to see though any disguising illusions the criminals might use in attempting their escape".
The man before him was quite handsome, Allyn thought as he spoke. Perhaps if he was helpful his charismatic new BFF and his bewitchingly alluring mate would be interested in a three-way? I'm not that shabby in the looks department, Allyn assured himself, running his hands though his thick amber locks.
"Sorry that I propositioned your wife earlier" Allyn apologized. "You're both welcome to join me at the tavern for drinks, my treat" the officer implored, wondering if his strong desire to sex up both of these good looking people meant he was bi.
The situation, which had become quite uncomfortable, ended when Steve, who had been slowly maneuvering himself behind the officer, wrapped his arms around the man's neck and twisted. A loud snap later and Allyn's thoughts of a night of three-way passion were cut short. "You went to far in accentuating your looks, f*cking succubus" Steve growled, admonishing the magic user as Allyn's lifeless body crumpled to the cobblestone.
"Gods damn it", a shocked Ceraifiot cried. "There was no need to kill the man, he was under my control" the angry bard barked, referring to the success of the charm magics he had used to befuddle the policeman. Then, wondering if any passerby had witnessed the murder that had just occurred, glanced about worriedly. Seeing nobody, Ceraifiot turned his attention back to the brash fighter.
"It needed to be done" Steve explained. "The pig obviously wanted to screw both of you, and we need to get the f*ck out of here before any of his fellow cops show up wondering what happened to this guy" Steve said, nudging the body of the dead policeman with his boot.