Small Scale Rebellion
Mendes Maeasseth and Turalyon Lightbringer had no way of knowing what they were involving themselves in when they pulled into Tumbledale as the sun started to go down. The rest they were seeking, the supplies they were hoping for, and any other motivation they might have for coming to the city, went right out the window upon turned down the main street.
There were a pair of men engaged in hand-to-hand combat directly in front of the Stonehill Inn, and the sounds of nearby fighting drifted over the rooftops. There was some obviously distressed shouting as well, mixing and mingling with the ringing of steel on steel as the men fought in the middle of the road.
Mendes called out, and the man wearing a ragged scarlet cloak looked up just long enough to provide an opportunity to his opponent. The distracted ruffian sprouted the point of a sword from his back before being tossed to the ground in a lifeless pile.
The remaining male strode over to the wagon and introduced himself as Sildar Hallwinter, urging the two newcomers to follow him to the inn. Mendes and Turalyon were a bit taken aback by the man’s commanding tone, but it was obvious that the situation was dire, so they hopped down from the wagon and hurried into the tavern.
The scene inside was a mess. Tables were overturned, chairs were in splinters, a few dead bodies wearing scarlet cloaks had been left where they fell, and two elven individuals were tending to an injured man by the bar. It was to them that Sildar hurried.
One of them was actually a half-elf, and he introduced himself as Dominique as he worked, hurriedly and under his breath. His companion, the female elf in scale mail, seemed delighted to see Sildar, and surprised that he had brought company. She inquired about them, but Sildar only said “they just arrived.”
The man (whom Sildar called Toblen) appeared to be in a lot of pain, but stable. Dominique nodded at the elf, then went back to healing the man’s wounds.
She walked over to Mendes and Turalyon, and introduced herself as Sister Lia. She explained that the town of Tumbledale had come under the thumb of a local gang of ruffians calling themselves the Redbrands, and that the situation had recently come to a head with the arrival of another party of adventurers. After the murder of one of their members, they had decided to take the fight to the gang, assaulting their hideout via a secret tunnel just an hour ago.
Shortly after the group entered the hideout, the Redbrands decided to storm the inn, probably hoping to catch the adventurers unaware and put a stop to their interference. They injured the innkeep, Toblen, who finally stood up to the bullies, but Dominique and Sildar put them down before they could finish the job or hurt anyone else. Unfortunately, their act of self-defense was seen as an act of aggression, and the Redbrands began to attack and loot the other establishments in town, kicking off a bit of a riot or rebellion.
She explained that most of the Redbrands harassing the town had been driven back, thanks to Sildar, Sister Lia, Dominique, Daran Edermath, and a few others, but she was worried they would regroup and attack again. Also, she was concerned about the adventurers down in the hideout, unaware of the uprising happening in the streets.
“I know you have just arrived,” she said. “And I know that this battle of ours is not necessarily your concern, but still, I must ask. Would you aid us, newcomers?”
Seeing as how they would not be getting any sleep with the inn currently closed for business, Mendes and Turalyon agreed.
It appears his screaming, and potentially the pitched battle just moments before, had attracted a group of Redbrands who were enjoying a few downtime drinks in the next room. They came knocking at the door, demanding to know what the bugbears were up to. After trying the door and realizing it was stuck (due to the pile of bugbear bodies stacked against the other side), they began trying to force their way into the room. Torbjorn took a swipe at one with his handaxe, but the Redbrand managed to pull back his hand, and all it did was alert the ruffians that something was wrong.
Attempting to take the Redbrands by surprise, Torbjorn attemped to smash down the door, hoping it would land on top of them. However, he misjudged the size of the pile and lost his footing, slamming into the door awkwardly. Gremmer attempted the same feat, but also failed. Just as the Redbrands looked like they were going to shove the door open, Torbjorn tried again, this time succeeding and knocking the Redbrands back down the hallway.
Torbjorn and Gremmer held the doorway against the four enemies trying to get inside with relative ease, while the other party members tried to inflict some damage with ranged attacks from behind their living shields.
It was at this point that Sister Lia, Mendes, and Turalyon arrived in the large cavern where the party had previously fought the nothic, it’s severed head and purple body still lying on the floor to their left. As they approached to investigate they heard the sounds of scuffling, and were able to see Gremmer and Torbjorn engaged with a few enemies down a narrow hallway. Sister Lia pointed out the adventurers to Mendes and asked her to assist them. She then asked Turalyon to help her with the wounded back in town, and the two left down the hidden path they came in through.
Seeing Mendes with Sister Lia, the party knew that she was on their side, and when the fight was finished, with one Redbrand still alive and surrendering, they introduced themselves.
They interrogated the Redbrand, asking specifically about the secret doors Droop had mentioned before his head was crushed against a wall. They tied up their hostage and had him lead them back across the cavern to a hallway on the opposite side. The hall appeared to be a dead end, but the Redbrand found a stone on the left hand side, pulled it, and the dead end swung open to reveal a basement storeroom with a deep pool against one wall.
As they investigated the room, the Redbrand let them know that one of the doors in the room led to another small barracks. Torbjorn approached the door and was ambushed by three more ruffians. They dispatched these enemies swiftly and with relative ease, and upon investigating the room, decided to spend the night and rest up before continuing to explore the hideout.
Deception and Persuasion
They began to discuss who would stand watch on guard duty, but Mendes volunteered. She had been travelling all day, but was otherwise uninjured or spent. Torbjorn was skeptical, and agreed on the condition that they lock the barracks door and she stand outside. Mendes balked at the dwarf’s mistrust, but ultimately agreed to his terms as a show of faith. She grabbed a Redbrand cloak that was hanging up in the barracks, put up the hood, tucked her slightly elven ears beneath her hair, and posted up outside of the door. The rest of the party, including the captured and restrained Redbrand, settled into the barracks for the night.
About halfway through the watch, a flustered Redbrand came into the storeroom from the stairs on the opposite side and, seeing Mendes, ran over and started asking questions. He wanted to know where Glasstaff was, because the attempt to capture or kill the adventurers in town had backfired, and they were being attacked by the townsfolk. Tumbledale had rallied around Sildar and Sister Lia, emboldened by the adventurer’s assault on the hideout, and now there was a paladin who had arrived and was helping to slay their comrades. Mendes managed to deceive the Redbrand by saying she was a new recruit, and that the man would likely find Glasstaff in his quarters. The flustered Redbrand ran off, and the rest of the watch passed uneventfully.
As everyone else was resting, Adeline retreated to one corner, took out a number of fine herbs and rare ingredients, and began to concentrate, barely moving for the whole eight hours. Once the rest was declared over, she sprung up and ran to the door. As soon as she flung it open, a loud knocking began across the room where the Redbrand had come down earlier. She bounded up the steps and heaved open the door, revealing the source of the noise: a pygmy elk standing in the passageway. It entered the storeroom and Adeline gracefully hopped up on its back and the two of them maneuvered down the steps to where the rest of the party was standing, awestruck.
Mendes relayed the information she had gathered from the nervous Redbrand, and the party agreed that they should try and locate Glasstaff’s quarters next. Once again, they leaned on their hostage, and had him lead them back into the cavern before turning north and walking the length of the room and into another storeroom. The Redbrand opened another secret door and told them that another secret door at the bottom of the stairs would lead them into Glasstaff’s chambers.
Mendes took the lead, disguising herself as a Redbrand once more and proceeding to the bottom of the steps. The secret door opened effortlessly, and Mendes was looking into a lavishly decorated room with a large writing desk directly in front of her. The bearded mage in grey robes looked up from his scribbling and gave her a worried look. He began to expound upon the troubles that the Redbrands were running into, and seemed to be expecting Mendes to report or deliver some sort of news.
Before she could answer, he realized that one of his gang members had entered his chambers through his secret exit, and demanded to know what she was thinking using the secret door without his permission.
Her reply was just, “I’m new.”
This response left him angry at her perceived incompetence, but ultimately clueless as to her real identity.
He continued to tell her all that had gone wrong over the last eight hours, and commanded her to round up the remaining members and gather them in the slave pens. He would meet them there in ten minutes and inform them of their next move.
Mendes rejoined the group at the top of the stairs and filled them in on what Glasstaff had said. He had given her directions to the pens, so everyone agreed that they no longer needed their Redbrand hostage.
Gremmer took out a pristine beaver pelt, one of thirty they had found in the supplies here, and used it to muffle the man’s screams while he snapped his neck. They left his body in the barrel they had previously stuffed it, and proceeded to the door that led to the slave pens.