Impoverished in the Northlands

The beauty of improvization.

What happened in Ithas’ little solo adventure is nothing short of role-playing magic. Through a combination of astounding luck, quick thinking, and skillful murder, Ithas may have single-handedly delivered a crushing blow to the Hatchets.

He found himself at night, in a small alleyway watching the hideout from the shadows. There was much activity inside, and many windows had candle light coming from them. After a series of failed attempts and then successfully avoiding notice, Ithas eventually scaled a wall to the top floor of the building, and entered through a shuttered window. Within short order he discovered that several of the rooms on this floor were occupied. Wearing clothes owned by a thug, he considered his disguise. He would need a way to cover his facial features better, and he would need some of the other trappings, namely the small black wooden club each of them carried on their belts.

He found one sleeping chamber with two men in it, one asleep. He quickly dispatched the living one, throwing his daggers at the man, and he tried to silently walk over the creaking floorboards to the sleeping man. Thankfully, he did not wake. Ithas grabbed two backpacks and stuffed them full of small change and mundane equipment, like candles, string, a blanket and other things the party needed. He also took the opportunity to improve his disguise with a club and one of the thugs’ trademark knives (keeping his daggers hidden in his boots). He walked to another room, and was found out as he tried to open the door. One of the thugs inside called their friend’s name, asking what took so long – Ithas muttered something about forgetting something downstairs and fled the hallway (he rolled a 1 to make it convincing, and the thugs within thought it was truly their missing friend). Rounding a corner, he almost stumbled into another man, this one with two large clay jugs, one under each arm. He silenced the man with a hand over his mouth and a dagger across his throat, and lowered him to the ground, not dropping the jugs (which he discovered were full of moonshine), hid the body in an adjacent empty room, took the moonshine and left it at the door of the men looking for their friend. Wearing the dead man’s hat pulled down low over his face, Ithas continued to explore the third story.

He found a staircase leading down, and considered his disguise again as he heard more noise from the second story than he had the third. He went back to the sleeping chamber with the two dead men, and put on an extra layer of clothes to appear more bulky like a street thug. Casually, he entered the second story. He found that the noise came from a sort of dining hall, which he promptly entered, and counted no less than 15 thugs within. Instead of fleeing, he spotted a stack of supplies: sacks of grain, barrels, and one more clay jug. He reached for it, at which point one of the thugs behind him shouted that the men upstairs had already taken their full of the shared swill. Ithas tucked the jug under an arm, and claimed that Jim (the man he killed in the hallway, called by name by the man looking for his friend), had accidentally spilled one jug, and handled most of the second himself. Ithas produced a silver coin, tossed it on the dining table, and claimed that this was coming out of Jim’s profits. He passed another charisma check, and the thugs let him pass.

He moved back upstairs, into the dark room where he had hidden Jim’s body, and considered his options. He produced the tinderbox he had taken from the Old Mill, poured the gin all over Jim’s corpse, soaking his clothes and scattering some across the floorboards and on the walls, and proceeded to light the area aflame.

“Fire! Fire!” he screamed, running from the dark room. Everyone on the floor entered the hallways, and the place erupted like a beehive. Ithas, with his two backpacks in tow, followed the hustle of individuals trying to get out with their personal belongings. He got to the ground floor, where he saw Shady McFingers shouting orders at the men. One, near Ithas, was told to go upstairs and secure a specific room. Smelling valuables in a comment like that, Ithas kept his head down among the milling mass of thugs to keep from being identified, and followed the man to the second floor, where he saw Marl Cao also giving out orders. The man he was following went straight for a room Ithas had not explored, and began carefully removing bottles and clay jars from a series of contraptions. It smelled like grain alcohol in this room.

The thug looked to Ithas and handed him a clay jar willed with some vile smelling substance, and told him to be very careful with it. Ithas purposefully fumbled the exchange, and broke the jar on the floor. The man erupted in anger about the cost and value of these things, and through his tirade, Ithas discerned that the Hatchets used this space to brew moonshine and gin, which they sold to the miners and millworkers to the north, bandits to the south (without paying taxes to the merchants’ guild, of course). Ithas waited until the man’s back was turned again, closed the door to onlookers and put the man out of his fury in short order.

When he opened the door, however, Marl had been coming to investigate. Of course, this leader of the Hatchets, second only to Banup himself, instantly recognized Ithas as one of the men who had caused so much trouble for his band of thieves. A fierce dagger-fight broke out, until Marl lay dead with several cuts on his face and neck, and two daggers protruding from his chest, and Ithas lay near death (one hit point remaining!!) with several broken ribs from Marl’s hand-to-hand style and a wicked wound taken from Marl’s dagger.

A few onlookers saw the battle and were rushing towards Ithas and the distillery. Quickly thinking, Ithas closed the door and barred it with a chair. He took two jugs of the alcohol, and tore strips from Marl’s shirt to stuff down the openings. With a cry, he kicked the door open towards the hallway, a lit Molotov cocktail in each hand and hurled them down each hall. Quickly he grabbed the chair and bashed the wooden shutters off of the window to the distillery, and scaled down the wall to the ground level. He landed in another group of thugs, who looked at his panicked face, and handed him a bucket full of water. Resisting the urge to vomit blood into it, he threw it at the flames on the building and raced towards the river to “refill” his bucket.

With only a few more turns, (and hearing the eventual, inevitable explosion that was the distillery catching fire) and he was at the north wall, ready to dash across the northern farmland to meet his friends at the junction of the two rivers (where they had sent Ithas off on his own earlier in the day). He spotted two thugs, and listened to their conversation long enough to determine that at least some faction of the thugs believed the alibi, that Ithas, Ahab and Gideon had left town, and the tragedy at the hideout was completely an accident. However, Banup had issued the order that all bridges, entrances and the north fields be watched, so some suspicion still exists.

Using his ventriloquism proficiency, Ithas threw his voice down a neighboring alleyway, and the guards were drawn away. Coughing blood the rest of the evening, he moved as quickly as his shattered ribs and blood loss would allow.

At first light the next morning, Ahab sees the smoke rising from Kylamm. Soon thereafter, Ithas arrives, mumbles “that oughta learn’em!” and collapses into Ahab’s healing care.

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Calem

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