The Rime of Infinite Winter: Session 14 — Duplicitous

SESSION FOURTEEN
DUPLICITOUS

After two days hard travel though mounting snowfall, the party finally arrived in Phandalin and made straight for the Lionshield Coster in Phandalin. While Raben gathered the roadcrew to prepare the wagons for the journey north to Cold Harbor, the rest sought advice within. In need of armor and supplies, Linene Graywind recommended Barthan’s Provisions, a well-stocked general store a short walk from Stonehill Inn.

Taking note of Nilsa’s Forcastinations, the neighboring business and home to the woman they’d freed from the clutches of the bandits of Herron House, the party entered Barthan’s. The shop was strangely silent and empty, and while still warm, the fireplace was untended. Looking about, they found the place well stocked, but there was no shop keep to serve them.

Kari called out and after a short span and man entered from the back. Clad in a burnt orange heavy coat, with long gloves tucked into his belt and high riding boots, the man seemed out of place, a long facial scar a cruel testament to a hard life. He seemed pressed for time and had little knowledge of the value of the items in stock. He claimed to be in mourning over the recent death of his brother and that the shop would soon be losing for the day.

Peron didn’t believe a word he was saying, and the entire party found the man suspect, with Elrian taking note of faint traces of blood on the shop keep’s cuffs. “He’s a werewolf,” Nod whispered. Nammosi looked to buy three potions, and Peron a bow, but the prices offered were extremely low. Suspiciously so. As Kari tried to ask about armor pricing, the man demanded they take whatever they wished and pay fair value, writing their names in the desk ledger to settle accounts at a later date. With that, he left the room by the rear door.

Sensing something up, the party followed.

The exit opened into a short hall, with doors on wither side, midway down the narrow pass. At the end, a stair rose upward, and another down. At the bottom of the stair were a set up thieves’ tools and signs that someone had been trying to pick an intricate lock; at the top of the stairs, Nod and Elrian entered an upper room, finding a disturbing scene.

Obviously the proprietor’s office, a man was sitting at the desk, all of his fingers broken and his throat slit from ear to ear, blood spilt across a magical ledger linked to the one below. Another corpse lay in front of two chests, his skin masked by a green hue and with thick purple veins raised beneath the putrid flesh. He was obviously poisoned and his body had been tossed.

Downstairs, Nammosi attempted (unsuccessfully) to pick the lock on the north door, while Peron and Kari examined the bedchamber to the south. The room had been searched, but little else was of note. Nammosi, however, overheard movement behind the door she was attempting to open. She called on Kari to break-in, to which the half-orc obliged.

Bursting into the room, the man they had bartered with before sprang to his feet as Kari attempted to manhandle him, but he was slippery, ducking under the barbarian’s grasp and pushing him into the desk, but Peron and Nammosi were quick to enter the fray, as Nod and Elrian clamored down from above to join in.

The man, armed with twin daggers laced with a powerful poison, was soon outmatched, despite having stricken Kari with a deadly cut that left the half-orc paralyzed. The duplicitous “shop keep” disengaged and attempted to flee the scene out the storefront, but Elrian and Nod raced ahead of him to hinder his escape, giving Nammosi time to cast her Earthen Grasp spell, ensnaring the fleeing rogue.

to be continued

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