By Jaap-Peter Hazelhoff
Chapter 70 - Rewards
Berdusk 1371 DR, Eleint, 11 – 12th day, afternoon, night and early morning hours
After leaving the warehouse, Matteo returns to the guard barracks to make his report to Zaina as well as to check that the details of the message delivery system they worked out have been put in place. He also sends an early report to Lord Sillisten, informing him of the death of one of his followers. From there he travels to the Angruatil estate to double-check that the ruse of cloth samples being sent to the guard barracks is being instituted and will work correctly. From there, a quick trip to Mumadar’s ensures that the innkeeper is being correctly reimbursed for his troubles by the Jalarghar family.
Having ensured that all the financial arrangements to cover the group’s expenses have been taken care of and a reliable system of information exchange with the guard has likewise been set up, Matteo returns to the Angruatil estate where Lady Angruatil wishes to see him. There she explains that certain people within Berdusk have been following the exploits of the group closely and that these certain people, who shall remain unnamed, wish to offer him and his companions some indirect assistance. She then wordlessly extends her arm and says that she has been asked by these unnamed people to offer him something. In the palm of her hand is a Harper pin.
A little surprised, Matteo then journeys down to the docks. He spends an hour or two there, observing the comings and goings of trade barges and the dock workers, trying gauge if there is any fall off in trade activity since he last spent time on the docks. Circulating amongst some of the trade factors he knows, he makes discrete enquiries as to how business is faring and what concerns they may have for the short term. Unfortunately, this involves having to buy – and consume – a few drinks. The caravan season is nearing the end of the season, yet it appears a little quieter than normal. At least two caravan’s are reported to have been completely wiped out, and a third one has been attacked by Zhentarim and could only escape by leaving half of its goods in the hands of the forces from Darkhold.
One of the factors informs Matteo of a slight increase in trade of timber, coming from the North. Most of those caravan’s turn east at Scornubel, but one or two came down to Berdusk in the past tenday, heading towards Iriaebor. Also prices of tools and construction related items have gone down, with an influx of trade coming into the region – Scornubel, Berdusk, Iriaebor.
Not only does Matteo pick-up information he inquires after, he also catches parts of conversations in an atmosphere that appears a bit cool in relation to Waterdeep and the North.
- A dragon has been spotted in the warehouse district; apparently it demolished an entire warehouse – though none of the rumors can pinpoint the location or the type of dragon.
- The Lords of Waterdeep seem to want to dominate the Lords Alliance, trying to divert more trade to the City of Splendors and more and more subjugating the other members.
- A group of Harpers led allegedly by the Blackstaff himself – have caused strife within the organization and have started ‘friendly’ talks with the Zhentarim.
- Lady Dragonbreast is ill – allegedly by poisoning or magic – the illness started not long after a small delegation from Waterdeep led by Khelben Arunsun paid a visit to Berdusk and Lady Dragonbreast.
- A base of the Zhentarim has been uncovered within the city, the guard and the harpers didn’t know about it. It would not be surprising if the renegade harpers are behind this trying to discredit the organization.
Afterwards, he returns to the guard barracks – taking his time to clear his head of any lingering effects of alcohol – to enquire as to patrol reports regarding activities in the nearby forest and also to see if there is any word on recent Zhentarim activities. Eating a late dinner with Zaina at the barracks he discusses likely plans to cover the next few days. This proves a little awkward, as both of them have feelings for each other and are trying not to show it.
After stumbling out of the guard barracks late that night, Matteo returns to his town house where he crashes for the night. Early the next morning – around dawn – a guard patrol turns up, saying the captain left instructions that Matteo could ride out with them this morning on a patrol to get an idea of the lay of the land and patrol routines. So Matteo stumbles out of bed, his eyes red, and spends all morning riding on patrol outside the city with the guards. Returning to the city just after midday he returns to his townhouse to wash up and change into clean clothing.
A quick trip down to the docks follows, just to get a little feedback from a couple trade factors who the day before said they might have a little information by the next day. Though not much more is learned other than some confirmations of what was mentioned the previous day, Matteo does find out that the warehouse where he and the others were involved in the battle with the undead, was one of the few warehouses in Berdusk through which the increased trade in tools and construction goods went.
From the docks, it’s back to the Running Stag, though Matteo takes a small detour to stop at the Crystal Mansion to see Lord Sillisten and to see that Tempest’s body is being taken care of.
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