Date: Mirtul 7th, 1491 DR
The following day was cold, winter seemed reluctant to give up her hold on the land just yet. When the party arose and had breakfast at the Swinging Sword, they ventured outside to find slush on the streets from a fall of sleet the night before. The overcast clouds promised more of the same and a bitter wind blew from the south. Normally a southern wind would herald a warmer day, but not today. Ulryn was perhaps suffering the most – he was used to the milder, more stable environment of the Underdark where there was no actual weather. He still wore his mask and full sleeve outfit and gloves which kept him warm. He cut a dashing figure wherever he went, drawing curious glances, and even more glances when he went with the just as colourful Natas.
They had discussed their position last night, and again over breakfast. Last night they had still been wary of the Town Elders power, and sought to cover up their involvement. Now the excitement had died down, they had rested and they were perhaps thinking more clearly, the party decided that it was time for everything to come out. They decided that they needed the one Town Elder who was perhaps was against what had been happening – Aerego Bethendur, owner and operator of Bethendur’s Storage. They headed there only to find that Aerego Bethendur was not there, the clerk told them he had been summoned to a meeting of Town Elders.
“I bet I know what that’s about,” grunted Kallista.
“It’s not a usual meeting,” said the clerk, mistaking Kallista’s comment as in invitation for discussion. “Most unusual in fact, he doesn’t normally have another meeting with them for a few more days.”
“We are considering hiring some space,” said Natas. “Tell me about the storage you can offer me.”
The clerk advised that they asked no questions about what was stored in the warehouse. They could have a large or small secure – the clerk showed them some keys on his belt – or non-secure space. Stored items that don’t move or burst out of their containers were left strictly alone – as long as the monthly fees were kept up to date. However any crates that smelled of death were taken out the back and opened. If they contained dead bodies, the Constable would be informed. However both Natas and Ulryn believed that the clerk made some subtle gestures that Constable involvement could be negated by some extra payment. While he was talking, Ulryn thought it might be a good idea to see if he could lift the keys from the clerk, maybe see what kinds of things were stored here, but fumbled and ended up having to touch the clerk inappropriately on the buttocks to cover up the fact he was trying to steal the keys. The clerk looked hard at the masked elf and suggested it was time for them to go, and return once Aerego was back in the building.
The party left, deciding to go to see the Constable, when they spied Aerego Bethendur engaged in animated discussion with Tywin Dornen next to the Dornen Finestone offices. Ulryn, keen to make up for his blunder before, snuck up behind the small vegetated rise next to the offices and listened in. He just caught the end of the conversation.
“This is wrong, the game is up. You completely messed this up Tywin,” Aerego was saying.
“Don’t play all innocent, you knew about this, even though you didn’t take part because you were too scared,” retorted Tywin. “It’ll blow over soon. I’ve sent Gundren and Baragustas on an errand to Yartar. With a bit of luck they’ll be killed along the way. Even if they don’t they’ll be gone for a while. We’ve buried the bodies elsewhere, now they can’t be linked to us. We’ll blame Larrakh and his crew. We all just have to keep our mouths shut and we’ll get away with it.”
“So who killed Larrakh and the Bringers of Woe?” asked Aerego.
“I have a pretty good idea, it was those adventurers who were snooping around the other day,” growled Tywin. “I tried to send them to Tricklerock Cave but they didn’t go, more’s the pity. They could have joined the last lot of adventurers I sent there to die. Anyway if you want to remain a Town Elder you’ll do what you’re told. Now get out of my face.”
Aerego stormed off, heading back to his warehouses. The party regrouped and followed. At the warehouse they insisted that Aerego meet with them privately. He took them into his office, nervous and then shocked when the party let on how much they knew. Aerego could only see one way out of the predicament he was in. And it was an opportunity as well, to become the leader of the Town Elders.
“You’re right,” he said. “We have to go to the Constable. Our best chance is to have a messenger ride after Grund and Baragustas and get them to turn around and come back. I’ll organise that. You go see Constable Harburk and I’ll join you there.”
Date: Mirtul 8th and 9th, 1491 DR
Over the next two and a half days Constable Harburk showed he was a man of action and not afraid to make decisions. After Grund and Baragustas were recalled to Red Larch and interviewed about the location of the bodies, the exhumations began. He and his constables conducted interviews with all of the Town Elders, Baragustas, Grund, the party, and even Braelen, the Constable imprisoned Tywin Dornen, Marlandro Gaelkur, Albeiri Mellikho, and Ilmuth Waelvur in secure rooms in Bethendur’s Storage.
He spoke to the party afterwards.
“This is too big for us to handle locally. Dornen and Mellikho have ties to noble Waterdhavian families. Waelvur doesn’t, he’s common, but the other two will likely find some way to wiggle out of this, or at the very least, escape custody through bribes or hiring mercenaries to break them out. I am sending for a magistrate from Waterdeep to deal with this. But I fear Dornen’s part was minimal, and so may escape full punishment.”
By the end of the first day, the entire town was buzzing with excitement and horror at the Town Elders being part of a cult and murdering people. Over the next two days, people began distancing themselves from the Town Elders. Gaelkur’s was ransacked until Constable Harburk sent Riker and the other deputies over to lock the place up. Aerego Bethendur negotiated with Marlandro Gaelkur to run his business on his behalf, and it opened again the next day.
The power of the Town Elders was broken, and already people were calling for a full time Mayor to be elected to run the town on behalf of the town and not for the benefit of a few.
[To be continued..]