Day 2. Malas. Pauli’s Journal.
We set out for the jail we’d overheard the curious prisoner to be held at, on a fact-finding mission. But, before getting far from Ceduil’s Church of Pelor we encountered a small child beset by wild dogs. I ran to the church to seek more help before we knew the extent of the threat, and called off the acolytes when it was clear the child was no longer in danger, as the others in our band quickly put down the brutes. It was nothing, really – a bit of civic do-gooding after breakfast. Notable, though, was the girl’s mother’s observation upon their reuniting that normally the city guard would’ve come to the child’s rescue. They are evidently occupied with other, unknown business of late. This confirms yesterday’s hints that something apparently major is afoot.
The girl’s mother also let slip that her son, Jerico, has been missing for a few weeks. He used to hang out with friends at the Red Dragon Inn and was described as of a tall height comparable to Kalhandre, our noble companion. We pledged to the bereaved mother we would keep an eye out for Jerico, and urged her to look after her daughter.
The rest of the day – and well into the night – we staked out the prison, learning very little. A weaver’s shop across the street from the well-lit, solid structure, confirmed that a new priosoner arrived the day before, an event that occurs with some infrequency. Ceduil’s attempt to gain entry as an emissary of Pelor was rejected flat out by the tight-lipped guards. They did convey that “only the worst of the worst” were kept there, and only men. We suspect some deception in that last bit. Our stakeout ended upon nightfall when the captain of the new guard approached us directly to ask our business. Our loitering, it seemed, had aroused suspicion. My last ditch effort to level with the guard on our curiousity about the new prisoner was completely wasted on him. We set out towards the Red Dragon Inn, hoping for better luck with our curiosity there as to young Jerico’s disappearance. (Mention of our destination only steeled the guard against us further – apparently the place is known for its ill repute.)
We did not get far, though, before four menacing, well-armed mercenaries detained us, demanding that we go with them. I heard a fifth sneaking up behind, and recognized him as the man who had shadowed us the night before at Leaping Mule. It became clear from the men’s threats and our insistence on more information before going with them that they were in league with the prisoner and had observed our effort to assist her in the marketplace the day before, mistaking our effort to placate the guards for complicity in her capture. After some diplomacy later, we ended up talking “in private” at the Red Dragon Inn, which did turn out to be in a rather dark, rough, part of the city.
Here is what we learned, according to the mercenaries: City Councilman Oir (who we know to be power-hungry and to command the city guard) plans to betray Malas to an invading army currently on the march toward us. The prisoner is of interest to the mercenaries’ employer and to the guard as an opponent of the plan.
We decided the news had a ring of truth, and elected to join the mercenaries in an attempted jailbreak in exchange for 1,000 gp apiece, 100 gp up front, and a pledge for complete information after the prisoner’s successful recovery. The mercenaries would contribute four men to our operation.
We agreed to the deal and departed for the night with plans to reconvene and plot the jail break next day.
Addendum: Upon reflection, it occurs to me we my have chosen to turn the men in the next day. Why did they instill trust in us? They must have had very little left to lose, or had uncanny instincts for whom to trust. It is also possible they kept a man shadowing us to ward against the possibility. In any event, we went forward with the plan…