DM: Steve; Characters: Ilbrech, Isleen, Telos
Having lodgings at the Friendly Flounder, Isleen descends the narrow staircase one morning after a particularly long night. She is the first of her 'band of adventurers' to occupy the common room of their hangout. A new set of guelder rose and hornbeam flowers have grown in her hair. Isleen the ingénue hears more chatter than normal. The common room is abuzz with gossip, rumour, or news of the street. A table is open, 'their' table is free, the young elf ranger calls to her companion, who has just entered, "Telos, over there. Our table."
The mature looking half-elf Telos makes it to the spot and sits down. Munin, his raven familiar, hops from his shoulder to the edge of a small square wood table. Wiped clean of obvious debris, the tabletop is nevertheless stained and marred after years of use. Tall and lean--the blond, green-eyed wizard greets his friend. The others have yet to arrive. Pansy brings over some morning refreshment, the usual for each then asks if they want food too.
Isleen questions the halfling waitress about the seeming excitement. She informs the pair, word is filling the nearby streets west of The Way of The Dragon, a major north-south boulevard dividing the eastern Southern Ward from the western Dock Ward. Pansy jokingly asks if the adventurers have heard about the monk, the rogue, and the wizard? Thinking it a lead-in to joke, Telos admits he has heard it where Isleen is anxious to have some fun this morn. Pansy clarifies the three are known, vicious bounty hunters; they are currently searching for someone, and several people have been bullied or hurt, likely at the hands of those bounty hunters.
"Everyone says the wizard has odd spectacles that make his head look twice as large, the lens is large and shiny. Word is they are looking for a criminal, a changeling in disguise." The halfling woman breaks away to fetch the pair some food and attend to a new customer. Telos proposes to help in the search. Isleen reiterates the phrase, "a monk, a rogue, and a wizard," and suggests they are a joke waiting to happen. This wizard thinks it might be an opportunity to make some money. The ranger, seemingly uninterested, says changelings are not necessarily bad people, as some stories might suggest.
For years, several races were cast as 'evil' by nature yet that narrow, biased view has proven exaggerated time and time again. As groups of people, of various races, have come together in social communities: hamlets, farms, towns, cities, etc., many 'evil' races have produced descent people in various occupations. Bigotry still persists and many believe the old ways.
It is actually Eaengul, the owner of the Flounder who brings over the food and a message for the adventurers. The goodly paladin Aaban left word he is off on an adventure and has taken the fairy and the odd young woman with mushrooms on her clothes with him. The aasimar left no details or time when they might return. The elven ranger asks the big bartender if he has heard from Ilbrech? Then she remembers she is in possession of barbarian's roving Sending Stone.
Isleen calls for Ilbrech but a woman's voice is heard in the response. It sounds like an elderly woman with a distinct Shire accent. "Hello. Hello, this is Terri of the Sleeping Dog. Ilbrech is not here at the moment." Both try to remember the name of Ilbrech's hostel or boarding house. Telos recalls a boarding house named the Sleeping Dog but cannot recall who owns it, or where it is in Waterdeep, or even what ward it is in. The wizard-artificer-cartographer produces his own map and after several moments is able to find a mark along Lackpurse Lane which he believes is the Sleeping Dog. The quickest path to the hostel is out to Snail Street, north to Shesstra's Street, west to Gut Alley, north to Belnimbra's Street, west several blocks to Crook Street then north to the corner of Lackpurse Lane and Crook Street. Telos teases their Celtic barbarian friend could be stuck in another tree.
A young gnome, Jocksey Lawnyard with an orange conical cap, faded blue trews, and bright green boots rushes into the tavern. He spies some acquaintances, "By the gods and the avatars of misery, those nasty bounty hunters are just up the street, they just killed someone, and the Patrollers (aka City Watch) are okay with it." He takes a deep breath before continuing, "Those fiends said they were looking for a criminal changeling, and the person they found ran from them, so they stopped him. They killed him in streets like a rabid dog."
Isleen and Telos decide to split up, the ranger will go find the overly large spearman and the wizard/artificer will investigate the commotion in the street. Along the way, Isleen, the young innocent elf teen sees several animals en route. She is quick to leave the area. Many are loose or stray, perhaps feral. She notices various dogs, cats, and rats. But also sees a small weasel with collar and lead, a tiny drake in a large bird cage, and a collection of butterflies encircling a soft yellow glowing rod.
* * *
Up Book Street in the shadow of The Honourable Knight a large crowd of people are filling the lane, blocking normal traffic including wagons, carriages, and equestrian riders. Telos weaves his way through the throng of locals. At the scene are three City Watch, donning green and gold liveries with pot helms. There stands a blade (constable), a sword (sergeant), and swordcaptain (lieutenant, armar) by mark and rank. Though several of the townsfolk refer to the lieutenant as commander, less of rank and more by being in charge. There lies a headless body on the street, a gruesome splat of blood and brain matter soaks the dirt. The lifeless victim of a brutal death appears to be commoner, maybe a peasant judging by its clothes. Near the body but nearer The Watch stands a short goblin with wizard's robes with an odd helmet, a tall tabaxi (with tiger-like features) in black leather armour, and a taller gnoll, with monk's clothing.
The rogue is growling and warding the onlookers off the area. The tabaxi is speaking with the lieutenant, sharing a parchment with an official looking seal, and the goblin is searching through the pockets of the slain runner. He finds gleaming curved dagger, and three potions. He takes possession of the items as though the items were his. The goblin stands and squeals to his cohort, the catfolk, "Curses, this is not the one. We shall get our prize next time." The snarling wizard is agitated yet not remorseful.
The blade and sword move in to stop the goblin from taking the dead person's things but the swordcaptain waves off their intent. He indicates they have no authority to stop or detain the bounty hunters. Was the parchment a writ of some kind of legal authorisation to hunt bounties? It is hard to say but whatever it was, it was enough to make the lieutenant to call off his men. The officers seem perplexed but obey their leader.
Telos gets the attention of the seven-foot monk, he explains he is an adventurer himself and wonders if they bounty hunters needs help or wants another member. The gnoll snaps back, yapping and hissing, "We are looking for wicked and wanted Changeling. It is murderous and vile cutthroat. It killed diabolical and villainous creatures but has slaughtered nobles. We are after it. Do not get in our way." Its words and bark sound almost like cackling as it spits slobber and syllables.
Undaunted the six-foot wizard with a raven on his shoulder, almost half the weight of the monk, begins to cast Charm Person but thinks better of it, if he fails or when the charm ends the gnoll will know it was magically charmed by Telos. A couple urchins rush forward past the crowd to witness the events, instinctively the monk notices their movement and encroachment, the huge gnoll stops the boys and pushed them back forcefully. Had the children not fallen back into the crowd they surely would have fallen down. The throng of onlookers reacts with distain and anger at the gnoll's action. The crowd, or more correctly a mob now, is angry the actions of the bounty hunters and the lack of action by The Watch. A couple of stray voices from the mass of denizens calls for the arrest of the three agitators.
The goblin scans the restless crowd using his dark round helm and reflective goggles. He makes a second pass before removing the helmet and putting it on top of a duffle bag near the headless body. The tigeresque tabaxi quickly rolls his parchment and places back into an ornate scroll case. The gnoll waves back the neighbourhood locals even as they demand the patrollers do something. Telos addresses the over-large hyena-faced monk. "Maybe we can help you locate the correct shape-changer."
"We do not need help from dabblers and birds," spits and cackles the gnoll monk. The sun elf assures the hunched canine he and his friends are bounty hunters. Titan, as his fellow bounty hunters call him, is annoyed by the claim. "You said you were adventurers, not bounty hunters. There is a difference. Do not be mooncalf." In a confident tone, Telos declares they are the same thing--adventurer and bounty hunter. "You are amateurs, blunderers. We are professionals. Stay clear, well clear or feel my fury."
The wizard steps back seemingly unimpressed or intimidated. He mumbles to himself, "Fury, oh. Feel your fury, indeed." Telos steps back up, "At least let me know how to get ahold of you, in case I find something that might be useful. So you don't go after or hurt an innocent person."
With breathy cries and words, "This one was not our prey, but he was not innocent. Be assured. Not innocent was he."
Frustrated he is unable to get anywhere with the gnoll, Telos looks at the other two bounty hunters. The roguish tabaxi Blink seems to smooth things over with the acting commander of The Watch on sight. The goblin wizard Tracer is still looking around the recently killed person checking for something. Telos spies his odd helm lying next to him and thinks, "Oh, I am terribly interested in that. As an artificer I would be very interested in how that works." Munin caws twice. The wizard motions the raven to fly to a nearby perch.
In the middle of the crowd Telos thinking himself subtle, cast an illusion school spell upon himself: Invisibility. He tries to minimise the visual and semantic requirements, most of the crow around him are too preoccupied with the bounty hunters to really care or notice. He goes invisible then sneaks forward to quietly seize the Helm Visor of True Seeing. Thinking it would go invisible as well once in his possession he reacts quickly when it does not. He uses his cloak to swiftly wrap his prize. Once fully wrapped it disappears from sight. Telos, who tells himself he is not a rogue or thief moves away promptly. He can justify the theft later if he needs to.
What the wizard/artificer does not see is one in the crowd did notice his spell casting for what it was. The spectator also noticed the helm float up in the air then partially go invisible before completely disappearing. Lastly the viewer of Telos's action spots minute puffs of dirt moving away from the scene of the pilferage.
Tracer is quick to notice his artefact has gone missing, he makes an immediate search of this duffle back then scans the crowd again. There is easily 5-10 feet between him and the circle of onlookers, if not he then one of his confederates would have seen someone break from the crowd and approach him. Magic has been used. Just then Titan holds up his hand his right hand, he is wearing a glowing studded leather cestus. "Tracer! Blink! Behold, someone shrouded in invisibility is nearby!"
As though on the hunt, the gnoll monk erratically begins to move and weave around sniffing wildly as though he could smell invisibility. Of course, he cannot. But he has an impressively acute ability to recall smells and scents. He is registering various odors as though to catalogue them for later recall. Did Telos make it out of the area in time to avoid being sniffed?
* * *
Isleen, happy for her own reason, is thankful Telos wanted to separate, he to investigate the public disturbance and she to track down Ilbrech. Isleen heads almost due west finding the Sleeping Dog, a quiet boarding hostel. In front of the of the simple two-storey building is a halfling woman putting out the laundry, there are several lines upon which she is hanging various linens and clothes.
"Hello ma'am. Do you have to know a very nice gentleman? He tends to not wear a shirt. His name is Ilbrech?" The elf ranger engages the matron of the hostel, Terricott Calumn, she goes by Terri. The halfling giggles at the mention of the tall shirtless tenant she boards. With the giggle, her cheeks go red. The two women have an instant rapport. Terri informs the inquisitive woman that he is not in at present, but he might be found at the Three Pearls Nightclub. She believed he has been spending a lot of time there of late, not that it is any of her business.
They introduce each other. Terri says she recognises Isleen voice and questions if they have met before. The friend of Ilbrech say she likely spoke to Terri via the Sending Stones. Before she can ask why the landlady has the communication stone, Terricott pulls out the stone from her apron. "He gave me this stone before he left for the Pearl. He told me is anything goes awry to reach his companions using this magical rock. Nothing has gone awry, I hope. Oh, my. I don't know what I would do if that strapping young man was in some type of trouble."
"Oh no, there is not trouble. We just like to check in with one another. We are good friends," replies the female ranger. The ladies begin to chit-chat. From around the corner of the Dog a burly dwarf appears with tall ale stein in hand. "Morning chores are done. We are ready for the morning feast. What's coming out of the pot this morn?" Then he notices Terricott is speaking to woman upon the road, "Have ya a new lodger?"
Isleen says they were just discussing that very point but first she is looking for her friend Ilbrech. Perhaps Grady knows where he is? "Ha, the big brute? Trouble just by the look of 'em."
Then ranger thinks brute is a harsh word, declaring he is actually a very nice man.
"Did you not see how tall he is? Then how wide he is? Burned like a criminal, scarred for his misdeeds. And that lance he calls a spear. Brute if ever there was one."
Terri notes how handsome Ilbrech is. Isleen says the scars had character to his sweet personality. Both women are scoffed at as daft by the dwarf. The 'brute' is making googly eyes at the Pearl. The ranger is unaware of the location. Is it a tavern? Grady clarifies the Pearl is a fancy festhall. Again, the ingenue is unsure of what he speaks. Grady then clearly spells out that her friend Ilbrech is a house of rigged gambling, bawdy music, and ribald company. A place men go to pay for pleasuring themselves.
Terri cuts in saying he is just there for the music; he seems to be taken by a bard playing at the Pearl. The landlady then invites the ranger in for some tea and to look at a room she has for let. Isleen excuses herself, she needs to find her northman friend right away. Isleen bids adieu and departs in search of the Three Pearls festhall.
* * *
Tracer is annoyed and angry. Annoyed at not finding their bounty. And angry with the broad daylight theft of his prised possession. "We are done here. Commander we are leaving. Titan. Blink. We are away."
Blink notices the helm visor is missing. He asks Tracer who says someone just took it, someone invisible. "Three gold to anyone who finds the thief who took our helm," offers up the tabaxi. The crowd hears of a reward, a sizable reward and start searching for a helmet. They check the ground, the stranger next to them, the friend on the other side of them, they are quickly stirred up by another cause. Telos is able to easily sneak away unnoticed.
The invisible wizard/artificer moves away some distance before trying on the helmet, as he places it upon his head two things happen: one, it becomes visible; two, Telos experiences a strange sensation of disorientation, his vision is blurred and distorted. He gets nauseous and dizzy. Colours begin to bend. People start to melt. And buildings pulse. He looks at a young man passing by, and the lad's face shifts grotesquely into a forced smile, his cheeks radiate a happy glow, and his eyes beam joy. Then his face returns to its original countenance. An older woman moving in the opposite direction glares at the floating helmet, a darkness seeps out of her chest, rays of cruel light emit out of her mouth, eyes, nose, and ears. Telos almost tastes bile from his throat. The woman's craggy face is etched with age, sun, and bitterness but she looks normal again. Even objects appear odd, a freshly painted baker's sign dissolves from bright colours to a dingy grey wood, a faded image of a beer mug spilling brew. Then a large pie appears with white wisps of heat rising above the crust. The baker's new sign hangs in open display.
Telos calls for his corvus companion, Munin caws from his perch nearby but cannot see his master. The invisible half-elf tells the raven to find Isleen and bring her back to his location. The bird looks odd, even as he gives it a chore to perform. The black matte feather, dull in the daylight begin to glow. Shine with pride as they spread out so Munin can take flight. He flutters away to do his master's bidding, gleeful and jubilant.
Telos sees a hansom cab drawing up to the edge of the street, right where he is standing. It veers off The Way of the Dragon and stops. The invisible wizard is able to avoid being run over just in time, the hire-coach driver and the carriage's occupants do not notice the floating helmet. Telos draws his cloak hood over his large head to hide the helm from view. He retreats across Drakiir Street then down Book Street heading back to his room at the Flounder before removing the Helm Visor of True Seeing.
* * *
Passing Blackstar Lane heading south towards the Flounder Isleen sees a large blackbird swooping down from the sky. She motions allowing Munin to alight upon her arm. Caw. The raven sweetly pecks at her cheek bone. Caw. "Telos?" The wizard minion flies off and towards the familiar tavern. Once inside, the elf ranger does not see her friend. Munin flies up the narrow staircase. She follows him. The bird lands on the handle and pecks at the door. Tap. Tap. Caw. Tap. Tap. Tap.
Telos opens the door, Munin flies in and rests on a metal stand perch, and Isleen smiles brightly standing in the corridor. The half-elf found the bounty hunter. The elf did not find the Northman. The hostel is a cute place, plenty of room for the Crit Crew. Ilbrech is probably at the Three Pearls but gave the landlady his Sending Stone. She produces the second stone and hands it to him, she has the first stone still. Isleen understood Ilbrech was or is interested in a bard performing at the nightclub. Telos produces his own city map and points due south, as the Munin flies a couple of blocks--Three Pearls Nightclub, a festhall.
Downstairs in the common room is heard a boisterous commotion. Before responding and heading down, Telos tells his tale. He found the bounty hunters who are looking for a changeling. They murdered an innocent beggar man. A large crowd had formed and surrounded the three suspected killers. Based on what Telos heard and saw, they do not seem like very good people. A gnoll monk, cat-person rogue, and little goblin mage-wizard. "Oh, and I got this really helmet." Isleen ohs and ahs at the shiny new object. Telos puts the helmet back on. His vision grows distorted again but he is not dizzy or nauseous.
As he places it upon his head, he explains it makes everything and everyone look unusual or unreal. He looks at Isleen but does not see Isleen. Firstly, he notices her visage is radiant, colour bubbles: red, pink, purple, green, orange, yellow. They float off her skin and pop, they explode in dazzling energy, joy, exuberance, elation, and sunniness. Then as her face returns to a less fantastical image, she lacks elf ears, flesh coloured skin, high cheek bones, a red, rosy smile, green eyes, green hair. In its stead is a near featureless pale face with a scaly texture, white-silverwhite lifeless hair, still with flowers, and white orb eyes. Any lines of contour are lacking, where is the nose, the check, the chin, the lips?
In disbelief, Telos asks, "Who are you!?"
"Wha-, what do you mean?" a sheepish Isleen responds.
The helmet wearing wizard lifts the visor, he sees Isleen elf teen ranger woman. He lowers the visor and sees an animated mannequin-like face with flowers in its hair. He recalls a race known as changelings. Changelings are a humanoid race of shapechangers who conceal their true identities behind false faces. Their gifts of mimicry allow them to appear as members of any humanoid culture as they camouflage themselves among common races: humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, etc. This is first time he has witnessed someone's race change. She is not an elf, rather she is a changeling. A happy, gleeful young woman, but a changeling woman.
The person calling herself Isleen is confused by her friend's facial expression. He has described how he has seen people's personalities through the visor and now he looks at her as though she is not a friendly, curious, outgoing, bubbly youth. Which she is. She is almost frightened at what he sees in her. Maybe she has been hiding from herself and he sees a poor personality quirk she did not realise she had.
"You have something you haven't told us about you."
"What are you talking about. I tell you guys everything. You're my best friends, my bestest friends."
In a whispered voice, as though to hide the conversation from Munin, "You are not an elf, are you?" Telos looks her in her blank white eyes.
Isleen voices trembles slightly, "Of course I am an elf. What do you mean?" She is looking about the room in confusion. Is someone there telling Telos something?"
Changing his tone, "So you know how we heard about the bounty hunters? They are looking for a changeling?"
Stammering, "Yeah. Yeah, and you went to look for them. They are such bad guys."
"I stole this helmet from them. This helmet can see the true form of everything. Including you, I can see your true form. And I know you are not an elf."
"Shut up! That's not true. Shut up."
Isleen moves back to the door, opens it up and look in the hallway. No one is there. She returns and searches the small room of Telos. No one but them and Munin are found. She moves to the small window, it is closed and latched. They appear to be alone. She is sweating slight, her pulse is racing, her elven face loses its colour. She has been found out. She is exposed and vulnerable now. She looks at Telos, her eyes grow wide. Munin flies over to her shoulder and pecks a sweetness upon her cheek. He coos instead of caws. She moves her finger under his beak, along his neck to his breast. Her eyes water slightly.
Isleen stands before Telos. He removes his helmet as if apologising. Her soft tan elf skin melts away. A pale, scale flesh emerges. Her green eyes bleed colour and turn white. Her full green vibrant hair transforms into white limp hair. Her cute nose, high cheek bones, and defined chin grow formless as though she was wearing a thin sheet over her face. Her only feature that identifies her as 'their' Isleen are the flowers in her silver-white hair. Munin sees the transformation. He sweetly pecks her face then rubs his beak along her scaly flesh. Her bland changeling eyes do not emote the fear she feels inside. She is unsure how Telos, the half-sun elf feels about her now. She tries to read him, truly understand him now. Curiosity. Yet no malevolence.
"I am really glad I took these goggles, this helmet." Avoiding the obvious, the wizard changes the subject. "Turn back."
"Yeah, me too." Isleen presents herself as the cute, young elf ranger everyone knows. Her smile and bright eyes have returned. Her green hair is back. A tear drops to the floor. Isleen is back.
"You can't tell anyone."
"I'm not even going to tell our party."
"Thank you. My parents would kill me if they knew someone learned my secret."
More commotion is heard outside, the pair move to the small window. Telos recognises the three bounty hunters moving down Book Street to the east of the Flounder. They are being followed by an unruly mob, all jeering and catcalling. Taunts and hisses and brickbat comments are uttered and yelled. Isleen can now see the gnoll, the tigeresque-tabaxi, and the wizard-robbed goblin.
Telos explains they cannot detect any changelings or hidden forms without the helmet. She asks if he can hide the helmet, but he really doesn't have anywhere to hide the large item. He could put it on and go invisible, but they can detect invisibility. Not who or where but that someone near them is invisible. He suggests they wait until they pass the Flounder then sneak out and away. Isleen is concerned they might kill another person, another innocent person. Telos doesn't think it is their responsibility, they cannot be held responsible for any other actions the bounty hunters take. They disagree with one another. They are adventurers, yes but they cannot save everyone. They are heroes, yes but they have to protect themselves before they can help others. They need to do something, yes but later when there are more of them, when they have the rest of the Crit Crew together.
Isleen then decides they need to collect Ilbrech from the Three Pearls, once they have him the odds will be better matched against the bounty hunters. Okay, they can get Ilbrech but perhaps they should wait until the blood hunter, or the paladin return too. Isleen is determined to get her barbarian friend. Telos found his backpack and rearranged its contents so to hide the bulky helmet. The ranger and wizard exit the rear of the Flounder, on the west side make their way to Snail Street, head south and snake their way to Pearl Alley and the festhall. Munin, familiar to Telos, is sent to watch the crowd and the keep tabs on the bounty hunters.
* * * *
The two elves, one looking a full elf from the Feywild, though not of the Feywild and the other half sun elf and half human, find the Three Pearl Nightclub, mere blocks from their current residence. There are two humanoids at the front door acting as sentries and/or bouncers. The two enter without disturbance to find a large tavern lit like night. All of the windows are shuttered, the interior is dark save torch- and fire-light. This is a festhall, in every sense. A bard is up on a broad dais, men are chatting up women and slipping them coin. Everyone seems to have a drink, some are smoking pipe, others are playing dice games, card games, and games of chance. There are multiple tables, all long with benches. Looking around it is relatively easy to spot Ilbrech, as tall as he is and with his massive spear in hand. He is seated at table up front next to the stage where the bard is performing.
This is all so new and foreign to the ingénue Isleen, she takes it in with all of its wonder, excitement, and debauchery. The smoke, smells, and even the sounds are a bit overwhelming at first, the young elf ranger takes a moment to habituate to her surroundings. Telos thinks the righteous, honourable barbarian has a darker side than previously thought. The wizard/artificier moves inside and towards the performing platform. Isleen takes a moment but quickly follows. Both now notice the troubadour who has seemingly entranced their spearman ally. The singer is also an elf, 5'9", 138 pounds, soothing blue-grey eyes, long braided silver blonde hair, facial tattoos around the eyes and chin, wearing various pieces of jewelry, and dressed in very stylish clothing. Captivating, alluring is the first impression.
Isleen sees one of most scintillating women she has ever encountered. Telos notices one of the most dazzling men he has run into. Elves are known for their attractive qualities and somewhat androgynous features but trying to discern the gender of his performer is no easy feat. The vocal range is oddly wide, Myriil Ravaran hits notes from tenor or soprano, easily five-octaves for those experienced with such matters. Add to that the singer is an exceptional lute player able to strum the cords with ease and mastery. The wizard familiar to the powers of bards, checks himself to ensure he has note be charmed or affected unduly by magic even as he enjoys the music playing. Not trusting his own ability, he then casts Detect Magic, it is obvious to all around him yet not one person seems to even notice.
Both Isleen and Telos have nudged or tapped their companion though he has yet to notice either. Telos then looks about seeing various magical auras including Myriil's tattoos, some jewelry, and the lute. Other patrons and their possessions glow with magic auras as well. Both continue to attract the attention of their fellow when he finally notices their presence. Surprised to see them, he asks why are at the Three Pearls. Isleen explains there is a problem, yet it is Telos who has to figuratively drag out his two adventuring associates. Ilbrech downs the last of his libation, and the last of two others.
The three find themselves outside of the Three Pearls Nightclub in the bright light of day, a disquieting feeling instantly changing from the middle of the night to the middle of the day. Telos spends several minutes explaining the situation with the bounty hunters who have seemingly killed someone in the broad daylight as they are looking for criminal changeling, someone who killed other including some nobles, possibly. Isleen is quick to iterate they don't know who the changeling is or could be. There is no way to know who they are looking for; the changeling is unknown to them. Of course, how and why would any of them even know a criminal or criminal changeling. Not all changelings are criminal. Just so Ilbrech knows, a changeling can be a good person. "Most are very nice people, or so I would think. Right?"
Ilbrech is lost in the conversation. With Telos explaining in detail the events of the morning, with Isleen rambling on about criminals and changelings, and with the sudden departure from the festhall and the company of Myriil Ravaran, the barbarian takes several moments to collect himself. He mumbles affirmations at statements made by each of his mates but actually retains very little information. Telos wraps up his account by stating there were three of them and now there are three Crit Crew members together. Isleen throws in that "our" wizard was able to steal their magic goggles. Telos wished she hadn't mentioned that fact. Ilbrech suggests getting the local constabulary involved then asks what a changeling is. Again, they fill him in the City Watch was there, but the bounty hunters had a writ, supposedly of immunity or some such. And a changeling is a race of shapechangers often feared or hated.
It is Telos' suggestion, that the group somehow engineer a way or reason for the bounty hunters to expose their written 'get out of jail free card', once visible the wizard can use a Magic Missile spell to destroy the paper or parchment. If the bounty hunters no longer have written permission, then they could be arrested, detained, or somehow held accountable for the death of person found in the street with its head taken off. Ilbrech suggests finding Talon, she could swoop by snag the paper and then they would not have that protection. Ilseen is quick to point out Talon, Aaban, and Fi are all off with other business, so it is up to the three of them to sort out the problem with these bounty hunters. Telos claims he is super stealthy but quickly rescinds that notion. He admits he was able snatch the helmet, but it was lying on the ground. The writ is in a case and tucked away so they would have to find a reason for them to bring it out again.
Two people push past the trio trying to enter the Three Pearls, then a third person exits. It is obvious the firbolg is drunk as he quickly expels victuals and libation previous consumed. The Crit Crew trio retire from the festhall entrance. As they remove themselves, Isleen comments on how wonderful Terri was and how the party should all move into her hostel. Then she turns to the wizard and whispers, he actives his cantrip to discreetly interact with Isleen. The elf-appearing changeling says she won't mention the half-elf stealing anything again, but he has to promise not to reveal her race to anyone. They go back and forth as she begins to misunderstand his words and fears he will call her out. He reassures her he will not and would not expose her or endanger her. Just then they notice Ilbrech is not walking along them. He has returned to the festhall. Telos quickly retrieves him but not be for he witnesses the barbarian giving coin to a drow female, attractive save the deep claw-scratch scar on her face.
As they travel to the scene of the killing, the trio encounter a pair of patrollers in distinct green and goldenrod livery. Before they can engage the city constables a third, higher rank city watch officer joins them. Telos and party walk up to the watch officers, the wizard explains what happened regarding three mercenary figures who killed someone. They are bounty hunters and admitted they killed the wrong person in search of their quarry. Thanks to Munin Telos knows their location and escorts the watch constables. En route they are informed a previous contingent of patrollers let them go, a commander was shown some piece of paper or parchment and did nothing to detain or arrest them. The trio of watch stop in their tracks, the leader of the three, a sword explains if the commander did not have them arrested there is nothing they can do. Telos revises his statement and mentioned it was a civilar not the Commander of the Watch, he used commander as a designation of leader.
Telos goes into a more than convoluted explanation of circumstance, one expected of Isleen rather than an educated wizard or registered guildsperson. Firstly, asking if the bounty hunters no longer had their piece of paper could they be arrested? The sword asks what crime Telos witnessed. He saw the three kill an unarmed man. Then the three bounty hunters could easily be arrested for killing or murder is a crime, as a witness Telos needs to make a formal complaint, a written statement of what he witnessed they can arrest, charge and hold someone for a capital crime. Telos doesn't want to draw out a formal complaint, there were other witnesses that could do that. The watch officer said he could collect their statements as well as Telos' and Isleen, as she was confirming everything the wizard was saying. The sword asks if the big fellow saw anything, Ilbrech states he was at a festhall listening to celestial-like singer named Myriil. He was just accompanying his friends to help make sure the bounty hunters are justly dealt with. Telos and Isleen then change tactics and state there is an unruly mob collecting around them, many are witnesses but there could be real trouble if the watch doesn't step in and resolve the complaint.
The three city watch officers discuss the situation. The wizard/artificer turns a pointed ear to the trio in hopes of hearing what they were talking about, unfortunately the noise from the busy street muffled their words. Then a blade is sent off, the armar and a second blade ask to be taken to the bounty hunters. The watch are led along Snail Street and through an alley opposite a few buildings down from Blackstar Lane. A crowd is still gathered, jeering the bounty hunters and cajoling one another into action. The three have enough presence to fend off free-for-all. The two patrollers carve their way through the throng to the eye of a possible storm of rampage. Isleen and Ilbrech follow, Telos having initiated the interaction fades away and finds a spot to use Invisibility.
The tabaxi rogue, Blink, is wearing a magic pair of cesti which immediately begin to glow. The bounty hunters all know that indicates someone within 60 feet of the tiger tabaxi is invisible. The changeling ranger presenting as an elf sidles up to a fervent observer to get a better of idea of how the crowd feels and what has happened over the last half hour or so. She then finds a rain barrel to stand upon even as she raises her hood to remain inconspicuous. Once Blink warns his companions of potential unseen danger, the cestus stops glowing. The wizard/artificer understands the complication of his action should he remain magically hidden. Now visible but in a discreet location he attempts to cast a spell subtly. Ilbrech, closer to the circle of onlookers, surveys the three unique bounty hunters for the first time, none of them appear nervous or anxious by the gathered crowd, they are all confident in their abilities.
The armar approaches the trio, Blink moves in to speak with the city watch. The half-elf and elf-looking changeling are not close enough to understand the conversation. The two green/gold officers confer with each other then turn to the rogue, it appears they are at an impasse. The crow nearest the encounter grows more agitated, they are uproarious at the inaction by the city watch. The armar asks the swarm of local denizens if anyone witnessed the actual attack. Many state they saw the dead, headless body; any 'witnesses' quickly confess they did not see what truly happened to bear witness or give a earnest statement of complaint. The goblin wizard, Tracer joins the conversation, he declares they acted upon a legal bounty claim. From the crowd, "He wasn't even who you were after, you dipshite!" The ranger shouts but then immediate goes quiet trying to avoid detection. The short bounty hunter admits the suspect was killed before they could confirm the bounty, but the hunters acted in self-defence rather than coldly killing the changeling. Another voice calls out his head exploded, who destroys a suspect's head before they confirm the bounty. The sword agrees and presses the tabaxi and goblin. Meanwhile the knoll monk, Titan is pacing around keeping the crowd at bay. Growling and snarling in conjunction with his size is more than enough to meek at a distance. The front line says little as those behind are bolder and willing to call out the bounty hunters for the wanton mercenaries they appear to be.
The blade is startled to hear a voice in his head, "Ask for the writ." From behind the throng of locals the half-elf wizard points to the watch officer of lesser rank as he casts another spell. The patroller looks around thinking he heard the initial claimant. The constable speaks up asking the hunters to produce authorisation for the bounty. Blink states he already showed the previous swordcaptain who was satisfied. The third watchman, who previous broke away from his fellow patrollers, comes forward claiming the lieutenant has vouched for the bounty hunters. He has given them leeway in the matter. The young man tells his equal and superior he found the swordcaptain who dealt with this very complaint earlier and settled the matter. Isleen jumps off the barrel and 'accidently' brushes against the oncoming blade trying to slow his arrival.
In a last-ditch effort, Telos uses Message twice more to signal Isleen and Ilbrech to chant "Show us proof, show the writ." Both immediately comply and several of the others in the crowd join in the chant. It takes a second or two before the whole of the locals are in unison, "Show writ! Show proof!"
It is Blink who continues to deal with the patrol, he coaxes the lead officer into resisting the threats of the throng. A previous patrol has dealt with this matter, a superior officer read the authorisation and assented to their activities, this patrol just needs to settle the potential mob. The milquetoast of an armar would rather deal with his superior later than upset the locals now. The tabaxi bounty hunter produces the ornate scroll case and removes the formal document, signed and sealed.
Telos sees this and decides to obliterate the writ parchment. His choice of destruction is another spell, Magic Missile. A guaranteed hit and damage, with three magic darts enough to disintegrate the document. The wizard needs to reposition himself to actually see the item he wishes to destroy. Once he finds another vantage point, he again discretely casts magic to launch three glowing darts of magical force. Telos focused on the scroll, not the case, and not Blink the tabaxi. The darts fly forth but quickly dissipate, as the spell was created to 'attack' creatures versus objects. It is a weapon to target an adversary or another person or a monster. It cannot be used to damage a door, break windows, or destroy a document.
Tracer, the goblin wizard noticed Telos. He also noted his intent on the document produced by his fellow bounty hunter Blink. Tracer casts his own spell, Minor Illusion to make it appear the writ had been destroyed as if hit by magic missiles. Ilbrech noticed the little goblin cast the spell but once he saw Telos succeed, he presumed the goblin's spell failed. Once the crowd sees the writ go up in tatters and smoke, they are elated. A group cheer of huzzah is exclaimed. Both armar and Blink are taken aback, yet Blink, having spent time with Tracer, was taught to expect the unexpected. He felt the writ still in his hand and quickly, single-handedly rolled the parchment and dropped it back into the open canister. The tiger tabaxi stepped back and dropped the scroll case to add to the illusion knowing he would pick it back up.
Titan, the gnoll monk was not privy to the actual events, he noticed and believed what everyone else saw. Impulsively he assaulted a nearby local that looks suspicious. The minor tradesman happened to be in line between Telos and Blink, hence the direction from which the force darts emanated. The man falls damaged by the rapid series of unarmed attacks made by the oversized monk. One of the patrolmen moves towards the tall gnoll with crossbow ready but is immediately halted by yellow strips of magical energy looping around his feet. Tracer smiles as he lowers his spindly hands.
The watchman interacting with Blink, immediately looks about. "Who here is responsible? Who obstructed official business of the City of Waterdeep? I am a duly authorised agent. I demand whoever is responsible to show themself." The crowd chuckles at the feeble pronouncement but nonetheless look about to see if anyone admits to the deed. No one volunteers. The third, returning officer breaks through the crowd finally, he too with loaded crossbow warns off the gnoll with an obvious, threatening gesture. The crowd, in general, backs away creating a larger open circle of space.
Telos verbally casts an enchantment spell, he uses Suggestion upon the milquetoast, "Arrest all three of the troublemakers for assaulting a villager." The armar puffs up his chest as though he is taking charge, the denizens watching await his order to detain the obvious ruffians to their neighbourhood but ultimately the man just thanks the locals for their suggestion and assistance then asks them to disperse. "The matters is settled. Return to your homes, stalls, and businesses. Nothing left to see here. Good day citizens. We have this situation well in hand." Followed by a mass sigh of disappointment. Grumbling and mumbling fills the air as the various onlookers move to return to their daily activities.
Isleen steps away from the breaking mass, notches an arrow, and aims it directly at the gnoll, all six and a half feet of it. "You will not attack innocent people that way!" The ranger is adamant. Blink speaks to the armar again, suggests they find his superior, and put all of this to rest. The tabaxi grunts something to his two companions. Titan tosses several copper pieces on the ground near the subdued victim of his violence. Tracer releases the ground bound guardsman and mutters an apology. The crossbow patrolmen are in favour of detaining the bounty hunters but they are not in charge, the mealy-mouthed man in charge has made his decree and motions his subordinates to follow his direction.
Ilbrech, Telos, and Isleen all continue to assert the bounty hunters has committed various crimes, yet they are being set free, justice is not being served. The dispersing crowd pauses in agreement but ultimately understand there is little they can do at this moment. Blink moves to pick up the scroll case, instinctively opens it to make sure the scroll is still there then seals the ornate canister. The three patrolmen with the three bounty hunters begin the leave the area but the barbarian stands in their way, he is reminded of his duty to follow the orders of the city watch or face consequences. The bare-chested spearman understands he and his Crit Crew members have lost this battle, but they also know this war is not over. The bounty hunter will ultimately pay for their deeds. Ilbrech stands aside with his mighty spear in hand. Isleen stares down Titan, who is more interested in the spearman. In one last attempt, Telos makes another Suggestion to the tabaxi, "Throw the scroll case behind you as hard as you can then forget about it." Before he utters the full sentence, he amends it, "Discretely drop the scroll case near me then forget about it."
As the half-elf wizard/artificer stumbles on his suggestion, the goblin wizard uses Counterspell discretely to prevent his fellow from being affected. Telos, flustered by the inability to get one over on these thugs, assumes he is immune to the affect.
Blink, chuffles out a warning, his gauntlet is glowing again. "We have someone invisible again." The goblin and gnoll are on high alert. Ilbrech and Isleen both see Telos, so he is not invisible there is another. Titan is sniffing in the air. The half-elf visible wizard uses his sleight of hand to cast Faerie Fire, centered on the tabaxi. All creatures in the area when the spell is outlined in a 10-foot radius of blue light. The bounty hunters, city watch, Isleen, and a couple of other locals are aglow in cerulean light. Telos notices an outline of what appears to be a halfling next to Ilbrech attempting to steal from his rucksack. The wizard calls out to his companion and gives warning. The three-foot tall pickpocket outlined in blue light flees through the crowd as quickly as his light feet will take him. One of the watch chases after the light silhouette figure.
Telos sends his familiar off to track the blue glowing shape. The two remaining patrolmen leave the neighbourhood with the bounty hunters agreeing to resubmit to scrutiny by the a watch commander. The crowd disperses, with citizens returning to their daily busines. Ilbrech heads back to the Friendly Flounder to have a drink or six. Isleen follows the barbarian, disappointed that the bounty hunters did not get in trouble for their vicious deed. Telos will join them later, then he moves in the direction of Munin, his raven pet.
It takes nearly a half hour to track down Osry Bramblestride, halfing thief. The tall wizard confronts the diminutive fellow. Osry pleas it wasn't his fault, he is unnaturally drawn to gold, and seeing the purse of the barbarian compelled him beyond his will. He was weak in his ability to resist, he apologises and promises it will not happen again. The half-elf, in a rare moment, laughs. He knows the little pickpocket is lying, though his story was very convincing. He knows something the Lightfoot doesn't--Ilbrech does not spend or carry gold. He has a geas. Telos tells Osry that he will let him go without reporting him to the City Watch but the halfling owes him a favour. Young Bramblestride agrees. The wizard senses he is actually being truthful in his agreement.
Telos tells Osry he can be found at the Friendly Flounder, should the halfling learn anything on the bounty hunters, he can repay his debt telling Telos. Osry again agrees and runs off, he looks back to see the half-elf walking off in the opposite direction. He does not know notice the raven above following him to his home. Munin returns to his master with the location of the halfling's stop, presumably his residence.