Chapter Three begins only days after the events narrated in “The Oldenhaller Contract” and “Sing for Your Supper.” Our heroes decided that they wanted to “convert” Mr. barge into their own property, with the proper Imperial imprimatur. By parting with some coin, they convinced a petty official, one Leo Jaspers, to submit their forms to the proper office for approval, accompanied by a letter of support from Mr. Jaspers himself. Wertha used her charms to reduce the requisite fees considerably. The approval would be forthcoming in two short months (or thereabouts).
Meanwhile, Gottri Truehammer’s last official task as an Imperial Jailer weighed heavily on his mind. To discharge this obligation, he needed to track down the fugitive Karl Warburg, a murdering bandit who had escaped from the very Altdorf jail where Gottri’s brother was being held prisoner. Karl’s last known whereabouts were on the outskirts of Nuln, where he had formerly waylayed coaches and otherwise deprived hardworking Imperial citizens of their coin, if not their lives. Wertha suggested that perhaps they should ask Dirk Huygens, the smuggler they had befriended in the course of executing the Oldenhaller Contract. They traveled to the Merry Halfling, a semi-respectable tavern where Dirk had told them he could be found on many evenings. Dirk seemed pleased to see them all and said that he knew of a good lead on Karl’s whereabouts and would help them out with their problem if they would help him out with his. It was to be a simple delivery job (with some small chance of violence) and was to take place that very evening. The group agreed to return to the Merry Halfling to meet Dirk for the job.
Being suspicious and skeptical sorts, Leopold and Haleon kept a watch on the Merry Halfling from a cafe across the street. After 10 minutes, they noticed two men seated across the way at an outdoor beer garden who were watching the Merry Halfling and also seemed to be eyeing Leo and Haleon. The caught a glimpse of an eight-pointed ring on the finger of one of these men and half-glimpsed their faces. Sensing that their cover was blown, the two men bolted from the table and into the evening crowd.
At the appointed time, Haleon, Rudi, Wertha, Leo and Gottri returned to the Merry Halfling. Dirk and the party made their way to the docks where they were supposed to pick up a crate marked “Brettonian Brandy. Special Vintage” and then deliver it to a coaching inn called the Empire’s End outside of town. They should go there that very night and await instructions.
When they arrived at the appointed location near the wharf, they were startled to find five corpses: the very two men whom they had seen stalking them earlier across from the Merry Halfling, two men whom Dirk identified as cohorts of a Bretonnian smuggler named Jacques Perriot and an unidentified fifth man. In the center of the alley, they found the remains of the crate, wood scattered across the alley. They questioned two drunks in an alley across from the carnage who claimed to have heard a scuffle and screams from the alley moments before a sound of shattering accompanied by what they said was “A lady, but warn’t a woman. All pretty-like, but floatin’ across the ground…” He added “then, we seen two men stumble out, leavin a trail un blood…” Dirk suggested that the party question his Bretonnian rival Jacques. The party pressed Dirk for more information and he told them that he had been hired by a man named Dieter,a very pale man with a jagged scar on his cheek. At Gottri started, pulled out the Imperial warrant with
The party visited Jacques Perriot at the Golden Mead the next day and gained his trust, whereupon he allowed the group to question Clement Petit, Perriot’s agent who survived the grisly events at the docks. The other man, Francois Levesque, was wild-eyed and raving. Taking pity, Jacques deposited Francois in the same Shallyan charity ward where the party had earlier left the poor, chaos-warped butcher’s daughter. Clement told them that they had retrieved the crate as requested at the docks from some rough-looking characters with Sylvanian accents. He remembers the boat as a river barge with the name “Andronicus” or some such. They brought the crate to the dropoff location and were soon ambushed by a number of hooded men. Clement remembered stabbing one clean through with his dirk before being clubbed and dropping to the ground. He heard two men chanting and shouting in a kind of frenzy. At that moment there was a loud noise and blinding light and he passed out. When he awoke soon thereafter he retrieved Francois and they stumbled out into the night and back to the Golden Mead.