As you enter the so-called “Silent Merchant” district of Waterdeep you instinctively reach for your pockets and double-check if all of your possessions are still where they should be. Thankfully everything seems to be in place. “Let’s try and keep it that way for once”, you remind yourself, finding it unconvincing and far from reassuring. Last time you left without one of your boots and no coins left, and that, in hindsight, was quite acceptable. “Why did this retard merchant have to meet on such short notice in some far-off, shabby inn?” you wonder in silence as you pass a couple of suspicious looking thugs, catching them ogling you as you walk past them. “Gah, why can’t my type of business ever be conducted over a proper meal and some drinks, you know, like normal people would. Still, it pays the bills and usually I have people fix this stuff for me, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining”, you say to yourself, remaining unconvinced.
You eventually reach the inn, not quite coincidentally named “The Lost Pouch” and you take a deep breath before opening the door. Usually you wouldn’t enter these kinds of establishments alone (or at all for that matter) let alone without proper muscle to protect you, but none were available when your contact called. Hoping to get things over with swiftly, you step inside. The scene is pretty much what one would expect, some simple tables, a simple bar and a cleverly hidden door to, presumably, some hidden room behind the bar. Not intending to pass through that particular door anytime soon, you examine the people present in the bar, most of which ignored your entrance. A handful of thugs are playing a game in a corner, undoubtedly using marked cards while trying to swindle one another out of money that isn’t theirs to begin with. The irony makes you smile for a second. A couple of harlots sit at another table, one of them has spotted you and winks. You wonder if despite the fact that you altered your appearance she can still tell you’re wealthy. Women these days… Close to the bar you spot a third group of young people talking and then you also spot your contact, sitting alone on your left.
You approach him, sit down and state: “Nice dog you have there”. The person responds by asking you if you’ve brought the promised goods. You reach into your pocket and take out the bag of lifestone gems. You drop it on the table keeping your hand firmly around it. “Do you have my key?”, you ask. Your contact reaches into his coat pocket and places a finely crafted, strange-looking key on the table. “Any non-magical door”, he states. You exchange the bag for the key and prepare to get up when the door of the establishment opens and all of a sudden the inn turns silent. In walks a city guard who pushes a young, shackled boy forward. The boy is in tears and clearly afraid. The guard ignores the card-playing thugs who pretend not to care, but who now all have concealed weapons at the ready. The guard approaches the table close to the bar and pushes the boy towards it with considerable force. The boy falls over and smacks head first into the hardwooden floor, letting out a muffled cry of pain. “I caught this boy fencing equipment which was stolen from Baron Druper’s Mansion last week”, the guard states. “He told me the person responsible for this could be found here. If none of you speak up I have the right by law to punish this kid for his crimes right here and now. And most of you thugs know what that punishment will be”, the guard spits at the entire inn. The boy will lose a hand, you realize as soon as the guard (who’s got some balls alright) mentions punishment.
The group remains silent for a second and then you are confronted with an unusual sight. Someone stands up; a small, slender, attractive young woman. You have trouble discerning any features properly, but would guess she’s of elven descent. The girl is wearing a strange grey robe-like garment, that lacks the true grandeur of normal robes; no expensive embroidering, the cloth tight and without wide, dragging parts and a lot shorter than usual, yet undoubtedly some sort of robe. A similar grey cowl hangs over her slender shoulders. Not something a thug or robber would wear. You can’t tell if she’s wearing armor. “Please, mister….?”, she inquires with a soft, soothing voice. “Redwing”, the guard states. “Mister Redwing, I’m sure there’s been a terrible misunderstanding. How could a young, innocent child such as this have possibly been involved with such a heinous crime?”. “I assure you, ma’am, the proof is there, the only reason he’s still got both hands is because he promised to take me here.” A lot of gut, too little wit this guard, you imagine.
“What’s your name ma’am? Are you responsible for this kid?”. “Mr. Redwing, how rude of me. My name is Elisa Gray and I am indeed responsible for the boy named Regis”, the girl answers. I apologize for any mistake he might have made and am more than willing to compensate for any damage or loss.” “I’m afraid that’s out of the question, ma’am. Since you have accepted responsibility for this boy’s behavior, you are officially placed under arrest for fencing stolen goods and will now follow me to Gremvor.” Gremvor, one of Waterdeep’s many “containment areas”, where criminals awaiting trial are kept. Not a lovely place at all, especially for such a young woman. “Can’t we work something out?”, the girl asks politely. “No, ma’am. We cannot”, the guard makes clear. “Now if you would accompany me to Gremvor, we can end this situation without any more problems.” “I’m afraid, Mr. Redwing, that I find myself unable to comply with what you ask of me. You see, these people (the girl points at Regis and some of the other men at the table), are under my guardianship and I cannot abandon them. And we wouldn’t want these poor souls to be without guidance, right?”. The guard, visibly getting annoyed, states: “Ma,am, you can either comply and come along or I will have to use force.” As he says this, he forcefully grabs the girl’s arm. “Not good”, you realize.
The next events happen in a split second. The moment the guard grabs the girl, she opens her mouth and spits one word at him, sounding cold and sending a small shiver down your spine. Gone is the soothing voice and the calming, warm demeanor. “Freeze”. One word is all it takes for the guard to go fully numb, frozen and paralyzed in place. The girl reaches for her back, pulls out a jet-black Morningstar and in one smooth movement swings it with full force against the helpless’ guard’s unprotected skull, sending blood and brainmatter flying through the establishment. You watch the guard drop to the floor with a small thud. He was dead the second the mace hit him.
When you look back at the girl the Morningstar is gone and she is calmly striding towards Regis, who is still on the ground. She removes his shackles, puts him on his, still shaking, feet, touches his forehead shortly and pulls his small black cowl over his eyes. “Come, child. May the twilight bring you comfort and guidance, it will make you strong.” Returning to her calm, charming self she asks the bartender for another round of drinks. She spots you and makes a polite bow. One you find yourself quick to return.
You leave the inn, skeleton key in pocket, wondering what you just witnessed and who you just met. Deciding that it might be best to suppress your usual curiosity you depart for the Temple District, glad that this time you left with everything still in place. Well, apart from your mental state perhaps. Brainmatter will do that to a person.