The Gatekeeper

9. Layer upon Layer of Treacheries

Of Awful Fates, Friends Reunited, and Love Triangles

At a local tavern, the heroes found that the quom had horribly eviscerated several members of the Chromium crew. At least two had gone into hiding.

The heroes began asking around, but Brandis froze at the sight of a ghost from his past: Algas, a much-scarred thug of his original band. The knave had a hulking troll with barbed war gauntlets for a bodyguard, as well as a tavern full of combatants who looked loyal to him. Rather than start a fight openly, Vayne plied her charms to lure the big man up to his room while Brandis climbed up to his window.

The reunion between Algas and Brandis was anything but pleasant, and Vayne had the uneasy sense that she would have to step between them to keep Brandis from throttling Algas. This was not the Brandis she knew and respected, but one consumed with rage. The troll bodyguard chose that moment to begin pounding on Algas’s door, creating a distraction that let Algas attack unhindered. A vicious battle followed, in which Algas focused his wrath on Vayne, assuming she was Brandis’s woman.

The heroes ultimately triumphed over Algas and his goons, and they took the unconscious crime boss back to the githyanki ship for safe keeping. They interrogated him about Brandis’s old band of thieves, learning the location of several, including the halfling Henri in Sigil and a changeling (the leader) in Hestevar. The monk absorbed this information with cold focus: it seemed the heroes’ quest would take a broader path in the future. The heroes determined that holding Algas could prove dangerous considering his gang connections, and matters grew worse when (despite Vayne’s explicit instructions) Ruthchek “accidentally” killed Algas when he “tried to escape.”

The heroes realized they would have to expedite their search, so they did something unexpected and potentially deadly: they approached the quom to strike a deal. The quom would withdraw from the Shrapnels to allow the mutinous crew of the Chromium to surface. In return, Vayne promised she would turn them over under the strict assurance that the quom would try everything in their power to extract any motes of Lakal without harming them.

Vayne also called upon Sunic to keep an eye on the port, a task the elf found tedious but was more than willing to undertake in exchange for a smoldering kiss from his mistress. Ruthchek witnessed the moment between the illicit lovers and confronted Vayne about it. She asked the hobgoblin if he really wanted to talk about it just then, and he grunted an affirmative. Then she unbuttoned her leathers and repeated the question.

They tabled the discussion.

TO BE CONTINUED!

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