The cover of night. Sun had long since set, and the streets were clear of all but furtive passers in the night, and town guards sauntering the streets with torch and spear.
In Callia it was not uncommon to see people in the streets after dark, even until mid-night as when we left the tavern after Dusty’s mortifying scene with the redhead fighter and her companion. Here in Mid-Plain, come darkness the streets are deserted, as if it were a ghost-town or there was some curse upon the settlement after sunset.
So much the better for our ends. With our Guild sashes on display, we were not held up by guards on patrol. Petty criminals would not engage our numbers either; they stayed in their shadows and let us pass.
We went first to what Spiritz and Pulp considered the most likely den of smugglers; the locked, unremarkable warehouse on the left-hand side of the livestock pen we’d seen earlier. By night it loomed up grey-black and still against the night sky. There was no-one around; Xel’Xaran made a quick study of the side of the warehouse. He handed his bow over to BOB, stole up to the rough wooden wall, and with a few swift, elegant pulls and step-ups, our Elf scout made short work of the seemingly impossible ascent to the roof. He disappeared from sight.
Moments later, there was a scrape and clunk from inside the large double-doors around the corner. Xel’Xaran had the bolt undone; we hurried inside and closed up behind us.
Inside, a mausoleum of boxes, crates, barrels. We fanned out, doing our best to stay quiet. We were alone in there. We checked high and low, finding nothing. Leaving things as we found them, our group re-emerged onto the street, again unseen and unnoticed. Xel’Xaran locked up behind us and climbed out the ventilation panel on the roof he’d used to come in.
At this time, we went around the far side of the warehouse to the stockyard. There were a few goats visible, asleep. And standing among them, a guard. Not a town guard – some kind of private mercenary, watching over the animals.
BOB and Pulp each made a pass by on the street, reconnaissance that served little purpose but to attract unwanted suspicion from the guard. The rest of us were tucked back in the shadows, well out of sight but with a clear line on the yard. I quietly commented, quite rightly, that it seemed very strange that anyone would have hired an armed mercenary to tend goats. The others agreed.
Reece took some initiative with an idea. He slipped away from our huddle so as not to give away our position. Then, as if he were out for a stroll, Reece wandered down the street, casually noticed the sentry, and approached him in a friendly manner.
Xel’Xaran tensed; slowly drew an arrow from his quiver and nocked it, staring hard at the discussion under way. Reece seemed to be asking the guard for directions. The watchman did not look helpful. Before the situation turned into a fight, Reece appeared to give up his attempt to get directions, and he walked away.
Spiritz, who had remained quiet until this time, heaved a sigh and shook his head at Reece’s tiresome, roundabout method. Our young Sorcerer uttered a word, waved his hand and flicked away a pinch of sand, and successfully cast Sleep on the guard. The night watchman sank to his knees, toppled over, and was out cold.
We broke cover quickly, dashed across the street and into the stockyard. Xel’Xaran produced rope and bound up the mercenary’s wrists and ankles, looping a cloth over his mouth to keep him quiet on waking. A passing town-guard caught sight of what we were doing; he would have intervened and raised alarm, but Wilhelm showed our Guild colors. The guard obediently saw nothing, heard nothing, and went on his way.
All that was left now was to check the warehouse before us. BOB, Spiritz, and Reece slipped back into the shadows, to take position at intersections down the street to ward off interlopers who might happen across our next clandestine break-and-enter. Xel’Xaran went over and tried the door-handles. Should have been an easy thing for our Elf scout, Wilhelm, Pulp, and myself, to sweep out this building.
It should have been an easy thing.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
14th Day, town of Mid-Plain, territory of Ælim.