The party reached the city a day later, and were greeted by a pair of city guards wearing an unfamiliar uniform. They said that Captain Soma had disbanded the militia and found funding to keep the city guard up and running, though right now they were severely undermanned and unable to stop the rival Hangsmen and Birdseye gangs from turning the city into a battleground.
They handed the bandits over the to the men and headed to Emberfell Excursions, seeing that it had been emptied out and closed down in their absence. Next, they visited Captain Soma, who had taken the former militia headquarters as his own. He welcomed the party in and paid them the bounty for Honus, and let them know of the recent events in town.
He said that currently he’s on the hunt for a man called The Treasurer, who knows how the gangs are moving their funds, and more importantly, where the funds are, and Soma hopes to use the knowledge to take their money and force the gangs out of the city. His best agent, a woman named Bimm, was out and about looking for him.
He said that it’s best for the party to lie low for the time being, as the gangs weren’t happy with their previous interference and he couldn’t guarantee their safety. Soma also mentioned that he’d likely have some work for them in the near future, as his guard is short on men and he thought he would need some good fighters before long. Soma pointed them toward a relatively safe inn called the Riverden, where he would make arrangements, and would call upon them there shortly.
Over the next few days, the party went about their business, trying to keep a low profile. They learned that Bastion’s Bazaar had been postponed due to the problems within the city, and that Faowyn would hang around until she found out when and where it would be next. The others found out that Soma’s friend Broddic Borse had his tavern, The World’s End, burned down, likely by the Birdseye gang, and the man himself had since gone missing.
Elsewhere, they discovered that most of the other Emberfell Excursions employees had transferred to the Liras Avanor location, though Pitto and Togonia remained behind. The rest of the city was strangely quiet, with most people staying inside to avoid the erratic behavior of the gangs, who had started openly attacking each other (and passersby) in the streets during the day, taking advantage of the few guards available to police the city.
Late at night on Novos 13th, a message was delivered to the party at the Riverden from Captain Soma, who claimed he had found the Treasurer and was offering 1000 gold to the party if they would come first thing the next morning to extract him.
The next morning, the party met Captain Soma, who explained the situation. His agent, Bimm, had found a credible source who said that the Treasurer was actually hiding in plain sight – he had been arrested some time ago and was currently in the city’s own prison, the Stockades, located under city hall, and the party should head there immediately. The only clue they had for his identity was a strange tattoo or brand on the back of his neck.
Upon their arrival, the party talked to Warden Prenderson, who explained that they couldn’t simply go grab the Treasurer, as the Stockades had broken into riots some weeks ago on the lowest level, where their target was said to be. Each day they would lower food and water down to them, but otherwise were allowing the prisoners to run free until the guard had the manpower necessary to restore order.
He marked which areas of the Stockades were being used by which gangs, and gave them a map to use while inside.
The party decided to forego any cleverness or disguises, and simply donned some standard issue prison blankets to cover their armor and weapons, and had the Warden lower them into the center of the Stockades while most of the prisoners were occupied with the day’s food delivery.
Being cautious, the party soon realized that many of the Hangsmen gang members were the same men they had recently had arrested for attacking the caravan, and that the men could likely identify them if they wandered too close. Eventually, they were discovered, but managed to scare off the poorly armed men once they realized the party was fully armored and armed.
Handing out treats for information, they came upon Captain Jacoby, now imprisoned here, who had recently tried to drown them within the reservoir below the city. He attacked Janos and Corvus, and after they subdued him, pointed them toward the only unknown variable in the Stockades, a serial killer known as Arnott the Disembowler, who kept to himself.
The party realized that a man as clever as the Treasurer, who was wanted down here by not only Soma but the gangs, could have disguised himself as such a character, and they pushed their way through the kenku of the Birdseye Gang to his cell, where their suspicions were confirmed. They offered him the only chance he would have for survival, to leave with them before the gangs realized where he was, and that the rumors of his location were already circling around on the streets above.
Realizing that their conversation had been overheard by one of the sly kenku, he quickly agreed, and followed the party as they headed toward the elevator in haste. Along the way, both the Birdseye gang and Hangsmen gang began to pin them in, now aware of the Treasurer’s identity, and, backed against the elevator waiting for the doors to open, were forced to fight the bravest of the gang members who tried to take the Treasurer’s life before he escaped.
Holding their ground, Corvus and Wyverna kept the gangs at bay, while Quinn cleared the main hallway of attackers with a giant fireball sent down a much smaller corridor. When the elevator arrived, the party quickly forced the Treasurer inside with them and shut the doors, rising up and out of danger.
Or so they thought.