Bozmus and Furnok leave morning April 2 for Ferd to check in on Lupidides and hopefully finish things with Adolphus and Gerber. Arrive late April 3. Lupidides was told, come beginning of season, check for us a couple times a week at the Inn for us.
Bozmus wants to lay low until he makes contact, so we keep to ourselves and eat in.
Billy and his fighters get into the underground shindigs, waiting to hear from us. Byron stays with the thieves.
April 5: Lupidides arrives. We introduce him to Lord Byron.
Lup says it took him a while to get a job. He didn’t have to kill anyone, but did poison a servant sickly to the point where he needed to be replaced. It is a fairly secure compound. After Malenko’s attack in Guttenberg, he is a bit paranoid. The construct you spoke of is still his guard. Average of 30 guards at the compound at any time working in shifts, but are all live in. Servants number about 15. Most are just peons, like Lup. He does have a personal chef; personal butler/assistant who is the house steward; head gardener; and alchemist.
Gerber himself works in alchemy.
Bosmus “I knew he had an interest in it, but not that he himself practiced it.”
Lup can give us a good layout of the 3 floor estate. Entirety of the grounds is 80 yards x 80 yards and is indeed walled, w/ primary front large double gate (w/man door built into the main doors), as well as a shipment receiving door at the back wall. Servants go out to unload everything. Delivery men never enter. That door leads directly into the storage building which then leads into the compound.
The front gate always has at least 2 men. No one gets in w/o being an expected visitor or well known associate. Passwords are sometimes given to the person to give to the guards, other times they are on a list with a detailed description. Appointments are set up via the steward.
Back door guarded by 1 man at all times on the inside (bell to ring on outside), and also the door from the storage shed into the yard. He stands inside the compound.
2 walking patrols on the grounds always.
House is centrally located. Servants quarters, guard barracks, guardhouse at front gate also on the grounds. A few other small outhouses; between house and storage shed is the external kitchen.
The house is NW of Ferd; the main gate faces east. Garden is on NE corner of property; just west of that is servants; guardhouse is to the South of main gate; barraks to west of that. NW and SW corners are copses of fruit trees, and some underbrush like little private nature areas.
Walls are 15’ high.
He can give us exact layout of 1st floor; only some info on 2nd floor; no info on 3rd. That is Gerber’s bedroom, lab, etc.
House itself is N to S 60’, and 80’ E to W. Front door faces main gate, goes into a foyer. 3 doors out of that room. South to waiting room (dead end); West door to hall goes to servant’s room one way and formal dining room the other. A door from there leads out to cookhouse.
A long hall way on west side has stairs to 2nd floor and door to guard room with at least 1 man at all times waiting for alarms raised.
House has a servant entrance as well. Each floor has a bath with indoor plumbing.
2nd floor has another guard room at base of steps going to 3rd. They are in a different place than first, on the SE corner. There are guest bedrooms and a sitting room.
He has come across no hidden passages. Lup says it is difficult to search for them.
For first 2 months, he was never allowed to do anything alone. Still, there are always servants or a guard moving around you. When one gets a job at the estate, you are given an amulet which ID’s you as staff (he wears it now). If forging is an idea, do NOT ask around here in Ferd. Only one man does it here, and it’ll get around to him.
All weapons and shields, other than maybe knives, are checked at foyer.
Employees leaving have to be scheduled, so one can’t just leave for his couple days off and pop back in. So, in order to forge the amulet, we would have to get someone to come here with their tools and make it her in town. Lup could not leave long enough. They are taken back, of course, when someone quits.
The construct guardian is not always with him. Any time he leaves it goes. If he is walking the ground, it is at his side. So an ambush assassination means you will have to deal with it.
Adolphus has visited. He came shortly after Lup getting the job. He stayed about a week but has not been back since. The local sheriff is a regular visitor to the house as a friend. Dinner at least once a month.
Gerber does leave the grounds for the city periodically, but most entertainment is brought to him. When he does he is always heavily protected. The construct typically joins him!! So he has been seen out and about with this thing. Also, at least half a dozen guards including the cpt. of the guard who is a known badass. Nothing regular that we can plan on.
Before too late, Lup has to head back. He will try to get more in depth now that he has backup and can dip out in an emergency.
So, it’s now info gathering in the city.
Furnok starts hitting up street urchins, contacts and the like he knows from the past. Billy, the seedy underbelly.
We are trying to get info on the property, Gerber himself, especially find former employees to get info from them, business dealings. We will begin tomorrow.
April 5:Nunu and Bosmus are going to inspect the outer rim of the property, a feeler op, at night.
Perimeter is fairly well lit, especially at front gate. Plenty of light w/in the house and lots of windows; see people moving around inside.
More light is coming over the wall then from a few torches. The grounds inside must also be well lit.
We keep watch late into the night. Lights at the gates never change. The house lights, of course, begin to dim or go out. 3rd floor lights remain on very late, sometimes lights at one area on NW corner are of a different color and flickering, so that window is likely the lab. The grounds lights dim considerably but still light sources throughout.
Over this and next couple days:
Billy: not much word on Gerber. He is not known to attend the underground fights but has been known to request fighters to come out to his compound to entertain guests. Once, a very well known promotion fighter he DID actually come into the city arena to see. Was not an illegal thing like this though.
Billy puts the word out offering private shows.
Furnok: Finds 2 ex employees that still live in the area that we may want to talk to. Ex employees who quit his service tend to move away shortly after. Those that are fired often disappear, a couple have ‘committed suicide’.
These 2 are one man and one woman. Both quit. The man was a guard up until a couple years ago but should be trustworthy. Was there a couple years and quit suddenly and never really spoke of it. He works as a bartender at an inn called the Black Talon. Name is Henry. The woman was one of the housekeepers; worked there as recently as 8 months ago (just prior to Lup). She had worked there for some time but not from Furd originally. Had been passing through and was likely in right place at right time to land the job. Quit suddenly like Henry and moved into town, bought a small house, and cleans houses and such. Also, never has gone into detail about her time at Gerber’s.
Bosmus talks to some toughs in case we need muscle, the knuckles, skulls and fangs. He finds that they have no interest. He gets a universal “That place is heavy” and they want no part of it. When asked about what scares them off, they are apprehensive. They say the 2 biggest reasons to want no possible fight with Fritz and his men: there are a lot and none of them are wimps; the construct. They know not what it is, but they did see it in action once, years ago. Gerber was in town and appeared to be alone. Couple thugs tried to mug him until the thing hit them out of no where and crushed both of their skulls in a short fight. If we can guarantee that thing is not any part, come back and talk again. Otherwise, forget it.
We also find the location of the amulet maker.
Lup meets us again with new info. Gerber had a visitor arrive yesterday, a merchant from somewhere further south, darker swarthy tones. He is there with a female companion. First visitor in couple months, other than the sheriff. The man is staying at the compound, it seems for at least a few more days. They talk in the sitting room on the 2nd floor. The alchemist supped with them.
Otherwise, business as usual.
He says he’ll take a risk if it looks like he can, to get up to the 2nd floor and see what they might be working on. He thinks he may be able to put the right person out of commission for a couple days. If so, he may get picked to fill the void.
Furnok goes to meet Henry, the former guard. He goes to the Inn and hangs in the tavern. Lord B offers to join him. Furnok sends him off, instead, with a few of his street operators (Byron refers to them as toughs, and Furnok quickly corrects him) to ‘run into’ the girl and do his poet/knight thing. Her name is Sofia. Byron’s pickup line isn’t particularly great. He’s not really rebuffed, but not real suave either. He makes another move shortly later, which is even worse. She remains indifferent.
For tonight, Furnok is just being nice and starting to make a friend. He starts off a bit slow tonight though, but ends the night better than he started. Tips well.
Late night, Nunu and Boz back at the compound. They are testing a corner with a grove. Boz climbs up at the right rear grove. This is the corner from which we can see the lab window. He can see the back and side door from here both have lanterns hung at them. Servants quarters to our left. The delivery shed straight ahead has a guard at the door to the yard too.
All doors visible have lantern at them, lit, as does the outhouse past the servant’s quarters.
Nearest tree to the wall would be a jump check, but not a hard one.
He lays in wait, watching. The 2 man patrol goes by. They check doors to house as they go, making sure they are locked.
Once they are out of sight, the 2nd patrol indeed comes by, doing the same thing.
They do not seem to approach the wall or into the grove. Rather, sticking close to the house.
Byron approaches Sofia again. The Skulls offer to fake a mugging, with Byron chasing them away with a good thrashing "just give us the signal’ they say.
She’s impressed at Byron’s diligence and agrees to a drink, during which she opens up more to him. He does not push the job question yet. Byron invites her to dinner, pick her up at her house. Perhaps a ride into the countryside at some point. She agrees for tomorrow.
Furnok back to Henry’s bar. Tonight, he puts on a masterful display, keeping Henry involved in the tomfoolery. They plan to get together for drinks the next night. We’ll each bring a couple friends to the tavern.
Billy and the fighters keep on the circuit.
Byron meets with Sofia for a ride into the countryside and really pours it on excellently; gets her to mention that she worked for FG some time ago. She gets into no specifics, but says “just something about that place felt wrong to me” so gave her notice.
It’s hard to get her to explain further. He keeps trying to get back to it but she is kind but evasive. He leaves it be for now; still having dinner later. Maybe some alcohol will help.
Out to dinner, enjoying a nice meal and drinks. He broaches the subject again. She looks across the table at him, then glances around. Leaning in closer “I’ve never mentioned anything, why are you following me?” to Byron.
Byron “I insist, you have the wrong idea, Miss.”
She does not believe anyone would ask of that place, stands up “have a good night” and walks away.
He gives the signal as he follows behind her down the street, yelling goodnight and apologies to her; then the knuckles make their move to mug her! They grab her, drag her into the alley. There is Tony and 2 dudes holding her mouth closed attempting to disrobe her, going through her purse. Byron counts to 5, and rushes for them, gallantly saves her in the knick of time.
He yells “Brigands!”
They draw out their knives and clubs and Tony “This don’t concern you.” He draws his sword.
They look at him and flee for their lives hahahahaha!! Perfectly executed by the Knuckles.
Byron “Are you ok?”
She is very appreciative of the help, but soon as she composes herself she asks “Were those your men?”
Byron “Not in the slightest. I do not associate with common ruffians. I am a Lord and knight.”
“Why are you testing me?”
Byron comes clean about needing info because we are out to get said merchant, as he is our enemy. She ponders and asks “if you know who I worked for, tell me his name.”
Byron “Fritz Gerber.”
She leads him to her house. As soon as they are inside, she battens down the hatches, tight. She explains that some of his servants have worked for him for many years. they are the ones who work closest with him. The others may work for a year or so, but come and go. She always felt uneasy on the grounds altogether. Strange things happening; Fritz and his close servants (alchemist, steward, cpt of guard) all seem off. Always watching us. There were stories about some who left the job and were never heard from again. Also, strange goings on at night. Once a delivery came well after dark, she heard the bell at the rear delivery entrance. Saw, while taking a night walk, the alchemist and steward plus 2 others go to the gate to meet the delivery. Brought in a large box, like a coffin maybe. Shortly thereafter the lights in the lab were on upstairs. Like work was being done. Never saw anyone harmed herself, but they are very suspicious and protective. WHen she left, she was told by the steward never to speak of my employment and never to even mention that I had worked there to anyone or they would find out. Never came across anything hidden, like rooms or passages. Strange visitors periodically, as well as many traders. 2 of the most common were Adolphus (every few months) and a man whose name she never got. Smaller, pointy ears. Last time he was there they were having a very animated discussion about something.
We figure that’s Tregoss.
Now that she is done, she asks Byron if she can provide her protection if need be. Other disappearances or deaths seemed to have been preceded by them mentioning their work at the house.
Byron will stay the night to make it look good.
At the taverns with Henry:
Furnok and a couple of his pals are out with Henry and a few of his. Drink, carousing, gambling.
We act out that a couple of us are worried about something, then another knuckle comes in and whispers something, and we are all distraught. Henry asks, and we say a friend
back to Fredrik’s
Henry pretends to know nothing.
He is evasive.
Asks to check us.
He was allowed to the upper floors of the house. On rare occasions he was called to the 3rd floor. Only twice though, and never beyond the hallways. Never in any rooms. Gerber is EVIL, Henry says. Always felt that he was odd, like all of his closer workers; trust very few. The group of them, plus friends are part of some secret organization. They do horrible things. Publicly he is only a wealthy eccentric merchant, though wasn’t always so wealthy. Henry can give us some backstory on the man he has heard, of when Gerber was younger even:
Only a moderately successful local trader as a young man. Then got involved with a group of merchants and expanded primarily with the help of a much more successful businessman. He took Fritz and Adolphus under his wing. Over the years, expanded in influence and wealth. Somewhere along the way, something happened where Fritz and Adolphus became involved with this organization, whatever it is. They turned on the older partner. His understanding is that they had him killed and took his fortune and holdings as their own. This guys name was foreign_(Bozmus uncle) No one speaks of it anymore though. No one speaks poorly of Fritz around here. The final straw of Henry leaving the job was that he had a friend who worked as a guard there; loyal, never caused any trouble. Was on leave for several days and had come into town. Got drunk one night and started spouting of about things he had seen and heard out at Gerber’s compound. When he returned to work, the Cpt. (same as now) was waiting with a squad of men. They took him into custody, led him into the house. You could hear the screams for several hours, then they brought him back out and took him to the courtyard where they hanged him. The made sure he choked to death; he didn’t die quickly. No one ever saw the body again. Henry quit not too long after. The friend’s family (wife and kids her in Ferd) were told he had taken his last months wages and skipped town. No investigation. None of the workers could tell anyone any different or we’d be killed. When Henry quit, the steward said to never speak of anything that happened or they’d find him._
He hopes we can get rid of Gerber, whatever we have planned. Otherwise “I’m probably a dead man.”
Furnok insists Henry stay here. He does not know Sofia.
We ask about his guardian, Henry just says it’s a large stone and wooden construction that follows him around. When it’s not visibly with him, he does have a way of calling it to him almost instantaneously once he summons it.
Furnok “I thought so. Did you ever notice him wearing anything, like jewelry, a particular piece every single day not matter what else he dons?”
“Yes” a ring and an amulet. The amulet has a symbol on it. We have him draw it for us: a circle with a horses head inside, surrounded by 6 runes. For sure the alchemist, Cpt. and Steward all have the same amulet.
So the ring is likely what summons the construct.
None of us recognize the symbol. He thinks it’s from the Master’s time.
We meet at Fredrik’s and trade info. So, how to get to FG, what the heck is he involved in.
Lup reports again on schedule "You guys better just hang out in here, Fritz is coming to town today. Has business to attend to. It’s him, his steward, and a cadre of his soldiers, plus a couple other servants. It’s his wagon, plus 2 others driven by servants. The other soldiers escort on horseback.
Furnok tells Byron to get to Sofia and get her over here, too. We send a couple knuckes out to watch their entrance into Ferd.
As they approach the city, they are met by a couple horsemen. One of which is the sheriff. There is a discussion with Fritz into the carriage for a few minutes, then the riders return and the convoy continues on.
The 2 servant wagons with 2 guards each breaks off into merchant district for business. every shot a servant goes into, a soldier follows him in and the other stays with the wagon.
Fritz’s carriage continues to a rendevous in the wealthy sector, stopping at the home of the mayor. Fritz and the Steward go in with 2 guards. The others stay outside (one is the driver; one at the front door; other 2 patrol perimeter).
Meanwhile: Lupidides says has made it upstairs. He got the man sick right before he was supposed to take care of a duty upstairs to wait on the visitor from before who is still there. So, they grabbed Lupe as the only option on such short notice. Not much to tell from that short opportunity. He was able to snoop a bit though. There are 5 rooms: 2 guest beds, a sitting room for meetings and relaxing; an office; and a guard room. He saw only the siting and 1 guest room. Others were locked.
The merchant is some type of desert people. They talked in a language Lupe does not understand. Probably the visitors language.
We make fast for the house FG is at. Fast disguises for Furnok and Boz. We check the perimeter. They do not seem to be expecting an attack.
Furnok comes up with a quick scheme.
We watch a couple open windows on the first floor. One leads into the kitchen, the other a study or sitting room which seems empty.
Furnok, Nunu, and Boz make their move into the house with perfect stealth. Room is empty. it’s a library.
Boz heads out into the 1st floor to scope things out: who is servicing the meeting, where everyone is. Furnok starts rifling through the paperwork in the library for any fishy business dealings.
He hears then sees activity from kitchen, couple cooks making light fare, and couple servants waiting for their time to take things upstairs; and noise from upstairs. He goes upstairs and hears talking down the hallway behind a closed door. There is a minimum of 4 voices.
Back down to hall and he hears a ring “order up”. A waiter walks out with a tray loaded with glasses and beverages. He goes upstairs, Furnok says let him go. They are still cooking so there are more deliveries to be made. Especially the after dinner desert or brandy will the the time to strike. What they are saying may be very very valuable.
Boz follows behind the waiter and knocks 5 taps. The door opens, Boz ducks into a door down the hall and closes it to a crack open; luckily its an empty bedroom. The man who opens the door is one of Fritz’s guards. The waiter enters the meeting. Boz waits for the waiter to go back downstairs then returns to listening in. Difficult to hear what is being said over the clanking of glasses at first. Then hears Fritz speaking of having his current problem dealt with “and if you can’t do it for me, I have someone else that will”.
The other voice replies that we will do all we can, but it is highly irregular. Another voice jumps in “if you need more manpower, I can authorize it”. Perhaps the sheriff came here before we arrived.
Another waiter comes up the steps, tray of food tween his sight and Boz thankfully or Boz would have not made it into the side room in time. Same generic knock, no pattern. After a few, the waiter leaves again downstairs with empty tray.
Boz returns, saying its getting busy up there. Furnok sends Nunu up to act as warning of the bell being rung signaling the next servant.
So back to listening. For a while, its mostly eating. Then Fritz “So sheriff, what is your proposition on how to handle this problem?”
Sheriff replies that this may not work as smoothly as some of your previous problems. There appears to be a stranger involved (we can tell he is searching for words).
Mayor “Look, look. Have the stranger arrested on any charge you can think of. Once he is jailed, we only need to keep him out of the way for a short time to take care of the problem.”
Fritz “And the 2nd problem?”
Sheriff “That one is easy. I just need to form a brute squad for a raid. If in the process, there was to be fatalities, that is to be expected at times when you are dealing with gangsters.”
Fritz “Hmm. Very good, very good. And my 3rd problem, I can take care of on my own. It will be a great pleasure for me to handle that on my own.”
Mayor “Will you need any type of disposal afterwards?”
Fritz “Oh no, I have larger plans for him.”
Back to general convo for a while. Then the sheriff asks Fritz if he is planning on taking another trip to see Adolphus soon. Fritz says “soon enough. I do have to conclude my business with the Sheik before I can leave. Now that the weather has broken, I plan on going to see Adolphus soon to plan our next step for our brothers to the north.”
Mayor “Bloody shame that that whole op was taken down after so many years of thriving success.”
Fritz “Yes it was.”
That seems to be the end of their business talk. But, right as Boz is about to stop listening, he hears Fritz say something in a language he partially understands: the assassins ‘cant. He says ’i need you to take care of our mole tonight’. The 4th voice, who has said nothing since early on, replies in the same ‘cant “of course master it shall be done”.
Boz and Nunu return to library.
So, the stranger could be Byron, the squad to hit Fredrik’s house, the one Fritz is happy to take care of on his own could be Boz, and the mole Lup.
We abort. Back to Fredrik’s and tell them they need a new hideout.
Henry and Sofia say they knew they shouldn’t have talked to us.
Fritz leaves the house soon after, meets the others at the merchant district, and go back to his compound.
While all of this was going on, Billy was approached. Guy says he’s a promoter as well and has a fight for his ‘big guy’ if he wants to take it. “Since your man is a monster, I got someone who brought in a monster of his own.” No one else wants to fight it. It’s about 9’ tall. Billy sets up a meeting in 3 hrs, guy gives Billy the address, to see it and decide.
Billy, Hunk along, smells a potential trap, but there is potential money involved so he goes.
The place is a warehouse with attached office. Lights inside are on. He pauses, really smells a rat. Seeing nothing really off, he knocks and they are invited inside.
Besides the promoter, there is a couple thugs we pass on the way to the back of the warehouse to a caged area. Growling comes from ahead and the sound of something eating. Around the corner, a large green thing in the caged off area, back to us, feeding. It is humanoid; green skin, muscular but thin; black hair. The food might be human or humanoid as well.
Billy immediately recognizes it as a troll.
The promoter lays out the terms, from the man who brought this creature and wants to put it in the ring to fight. He knows the creature is unkillable. 2 ways of winning on your end: incapacitate or last a predetermined amount of time before it kills you. You lose if Hunk dies.
He gives us time to think about it, but not too long, If he has no takers he is leaving town.
Back to meet the others. Night time now. We go to different tavern altogether, separate part of town.
One of the knuckles comes over to Furnok and says they just raided the old house, but they were cleared out first. The sheriff seems none too happy. Sofia’s house was visited by the sheriff and a deputy personally. Finding no one home he was visibly angry. There are patrols out in the streets right now looking for “all of you”. He says leaving tonight is too risky, its that bad. They are looking for Boz, Furnok, and Byron. Billy and his fighters have not been with us much and seem to be unlinked to the rest of us. They continue to stay in a separate place.
We hang tight, crappy little place out of the way.
Furnok takes first watch, Boz mid night, Byron morning.
During Boz shift, hears a wagon pull up outside. Large and covered, stopped right in front of the place.2 guys climb off the drivers position, look around then open the back. 1 of them enters, the wagon shifts a bit, then he climbs back out with a leash. At the end is the troll and go to front door of the building. Boz wakes us up.
Furnok looks out the 2nd floor window we are at. Looks clear. We grab our stuff and down we go. Lupe is first one out. Furnok drops a rope for Sofia and Henry while Boz ties it off. They go next. Sofia almost slips just outside the window, slowing us down, then makes it. Henry then succeeds. Furnok then jumps out the window and lands deftly. Boz climbs down. Byron is last one left, standing at the window. He hears sniffing outside the door and movement. He makes it down as we hear the door crash open. We rush for their wagon!! The troll sticks its head out the window and roars as we drive away full speed ahead, Byron following us on his mount. We pick up Billy and his crew and load him into the wagon. We ride for the exit toward Fritz’s place, hoping they’ll let us out if they recognize his wagon. Gate is closed, but they give us no hassle. Out we go then cut west toward the carnival.
Hunk “You mean I’m not going to get to fight the troll?”
Billy “No Hunk. No troll fight.”
Lupidides has stored the amulet under a floorboard in the last place we stayed.
We have confirmed for sure these guys were involved with the slavers, but there is something larger going on also. Furnok thinks this try to kill Fritz is over. He wants to head east to Aldon straight through. Sell the wagon and draft horses, get riding horses and go straight south until we hit the river, cross and once on the road, back through Halst and catch up to the carnival.
Everyone agrees. Boz figures, he’s waited years for this, it can wait a little longer.
By tonight Boz and crew arrive exhausted at the riverbend south of Aldon and camp.
Boz and crew, night, arrive Halst and stay overnight.