Late afternoon, the group finally saw activity from the house. A man exited around 5:00 pm to take a large dog for a walk. Moving closer to get a better look, they realized it was a different man from before – this one having similar dark hair and muscular build, but with much fairer complexion. Upon his return a few minutes later, the group decided they simply needed better information.
Moving closer, Cyrmwd, Thurg and Freyja went around to the back of the house while Cotton and Bronn lingered across the street from the front door. Using Mage Hand to secure a rope through one of the bars of the upper window, Cyrmwd climbed up to look in. Seeing nothing of immediate danger, he wiggled his way through the bars on the window (noting how loose they were) and entered the upstairs room. Before he could get any further, though, he was discovered. The large Rottweiler they had seen going on the walk earlier had apparently heard something and gone upstairs to investigate and immediately attacked the small intruder.
The two dwarves waiting below, hearing the sounds of the combat, and knowing they couldn’t climb up the same way started running around toward the front of the building. Signaling Cotton and Father Bronn as they ran, they all met at the front door, slamming into it and crashing it open. Seeing the light complexioned man in the living room, Thurg and Freyja closed on him, weapons drawn. While Father Bronn paused to ask the Lord’s Blessing upon their efforts, Cotton took off down a narrow hall.
It didn’t take long before the tiny gnome mage realized he was in a fight he couldn’t win and as soon as he could safely turn his back on the dog, he leapt from the window. Trying to roll with his landing, he quickly came back to his feet, fully prepared (and worried) the dog had fallen. However, instead it had turned around and taken off for the stairs leading down to the front door. Nearly knocking over the dark complexioned villain as he tore down the stairs, the beast did run into a very surprised Cotton who had just rounded the corner. Both scrambled to their feet but Cotton was now caught between the enemy and his dog, and neither were happy.
Quickly dispatching the fair complexioned man in the living room, Thurg and Freyja tried to move to help Cotton, but with the narrow confines of the hall, only Thurg could get close enough to strike, but was hesitant to hurt the animal. After several attempts by Thurg, Freyja and Bronn to calm the dog, Thurg finally realized that their efforts were in vain and struck out with his hammer, trying to deliver his blow to knock it out rather than permanently hurt it.
Meanwhile, Cyrmwd had been making his way to the front of the house and, seeing that he couldn’t get into the hallway, went back out to the front window. Seeing the dark complexioned man clearly, he attempted to subdue him using his magic. The villain’s resistances were strong, though, and he kept desperately fighting Cotton, slowly giving ground and working his way up the stairs. Noting the difficulty both combatants seemed to have fighting in the narrow confines, Cotton jokingly suggested to his opponent that they stop fighting and move to more level ground. Then, noticing that with the dog down and his companions at the bottom of the stairs, he retreated, hoping for healing as the fight had not been going particularly well for him.
His opponent seemed to take him seriously though and also backed away – to the top of the stairs for him. Suddenly realizing that he had a moment’s respite (and that his companion and dog both seemed to be out of the fight), he made a split decision and turned, making a full run to the window previously exited by the gnome. Leaping from the second floor, he did a tumbling roll and was quickly back on his feet in full flight. Hearing the crash above him, Cotton immediately realized his mistake and took off in a full charge back up the stairs, running to the window and also leaping from it.
Thurg, in the room below securing the first prisoner, noticed both men fall from the second story window and yelled a warning to his companions. Cyrmwd, the only member in position to act quickly, charged after Cotton and his prey. The distance between them was too great though, and his shorter legs simply couldn’t catch up and he quickly lost sight of the chase. Assuming the best of his partner, he returned to the house where he assisted interrogating their only prisoner.
After several close calls as they rounded corners at top speed, eventually Cotton’s prey made a mistake and lost his footing. Quickly catching up, the duo continued their fight from the house. But the injuries sustained by the swashbuckler, combined with the exhaustion of the chase proved too much and he soon fell to the villain’s blade.
Back in the house, Thurg and Bronn attempted to heal, calm and befriend the dog while Freyja began interrogating their prisoner, joined minutes later by Cyrmwd after he got back to the house. Initially, the man was uncooperative, but when Cyrmwd agreed to release him if he told them everything, he agreed. They learned that their prisoner (Vagger Nulus) and his partner (Laucio Dellinti) had been hired by a local crime boss named Toridan Cran to kill Phon Quartermain. They were unsure of the reason, but had decided it would be easier to kill the girl in the privacy of the abandoned building they now occupied rather than on the streets in the Guild Quarter where the girl worked and lived. Further, they decided to outsource the kidnapping to Ortry Gannon and Derral Fank so they wouldn’t be seen taking her. The plan was to kill the girl and the two thugs to completely eliminate any witnesses and then torch the house as they left.
After Vagger told all he knew, Cyrmwd cut him free from his bonds, pointing out that he was keeping his end of the bargain and told the rogue to find him if he found out anything else. Nervously, Vagger left the building, much to the objection of Freyja and Bronn who felt the would-be assassin should be taken to the city watch for his crimes. Cyrmwd explained that he felt it was better for their long-term work in the city if their reputation for honor spread through the criminal element. Reluctantly (and vocally), the others agreed and did not pursue Vagger.
Of greater concern to Thurg, Cotton hadn’t returned. And so, deciding that they needed to help their friend, he took the dog (Marcus, as they had learned from Vagger) and led the others out to follow the trail. With relative ease, they soon found the site of the combat between Cotton and Laucio, but neither was still in the alley. Based on the tracks present, they determined that one had picked up the other and left the alley, away from the house. Setting off with worry, they tried following the trail. After many twists and turns following the trail (supplemented by asking witnesses whenever they could), they eventually found that the tracks ended at a rather upscale house near the northern gate of the slums.
Knocking on the door, they were greeted by an old woman, perhaps in her late 80’s. When told that they were looking for their friend, the woman denied knowing anything and tried to shut the door. The group, led by Freyja and Bronn kept the door from closing, insisting that they simply wanted to look around for their friend. As the old woman continued to resist, the heroes’ feared the worst. Finally, insisting that they simply wanted to look around, Bronn gently pushed the door open, knocking the woman down and out of the way. Before he could reach down to help, he found himself faced with men charging down the stairs. It appeared that the residents of the house were about to force their intruders away.