Ugarth, Sven, Aurora, and Allan-a-Dale each ended up at the Blue Moon Alehouse for what appeared to be a sold-out performance by Allan himself (strange given he had little luck drawing a crowd with his series of songs about his elemental sister).
Allan was performing for small villages in Harkenwold when he got the word to be at the Blue Moon Alehouse in two weeks. This was the best gig he had ever been offered, so he made his way there.
Aurora was already in Fallcrest researching a strange mark she noticed on the wrist of one of the militia recruits, and happy to hear that her adopted brother was coming through soon.
Sven was escorting Ugarth back from a militia encampment near Nenlast, where he got a message from Lord Entwhistle (signed with his seal) to bring Ugarth back to possibly be released early from service. Ugarth had been inducted two weeks earlier for a six-month stint. They were to meet a halfling named Piper to get more information, which pleased Ugarth because Piper is the leader of Ugarth’s gang of thieves and toughs.
Allan was first to arrive, and as he was performing his set, his sister Aurora arrived. She was held up at the door by a goon who insisted this was a closed party, but she hypnotized him and went in. Her entrance was met by a roar of approval from the rough crowd, who apparently assumed Allan was making up his songs about an blue sparky sister. One of the customers shooed away a few drunks from a table near the stage, furthest from the exit, for her to sit.
Sven, escorting Ugarth, arrived next, and was allowed right in. Ugarth, who knows well this watering hole next to the river, was surprised that the place was packed and that he did not know everybody here. He grabbed an ale and sat in the corner table with Aurora, so she could remove his militia mark as soon as Piper arrived to sort it out.
As they were all seated, and Allan was attempting to exit the stage for a break, the crowd entreated him to keep singing, and they all got up to dance about. The party noticed that they all brought their weapons to the dance floor, which kept them from being surprised when the entire bar (except three hapless drunks) suddenly attacked them, led by a halfling and four human ruffians. After a long fight that exhausted all of their resources, the party defeated the attackers except for one ruffian who fled out of a back door.
After the battle, the party found the proprietor and his serving wench tied up in the back. The attackers were clearly thugs for hire, but they had no loot on them. The rabble were local, but the halfling and the tougher thugs were not. The halfling had this note:
“Keep it quiet — and only involve others who know how to keep their mouths shut. Take them alive and bring them to me at your camp. If any one dies, so will you, your entire gang, your families, and your town of birth. But for each one you bring back alive, you will receive 1,000 gold to split amongst you.”
The constable soon arrived, and took the party to the barracks for safekeeping until the morning when Lord Entwhistle could meet with them. Lord Entwhistle was disturbed that outsiders were apparently willing to pay exhorbitant prices to kidnap citizens in his town and more concerned that the orders Sven received to bring back Ugarth from the militia were forged using a well-crafted replica of his seal. Lord Entwhistle was anxious to get back his seal for obvious reasons, and told the party that if they returned it to him, he would pay them 100 gold or let Ugarth out of his service, their choice.
The party went back to the waterfront looking for clues, and ran into Piper, who had been tricked into being away from the Blue Moon Alehouse the night of the attack. Piper and Ugarth figured out that if the gang meant to kidnap the party using a boat, there were only a couple of places along the river that would serve as a suitable hideout. Piper offered up a boat for a cut of the gold they might find back at the camp, which promised to be substantial if the buyer was willing to pay 1,000-a-head.
To protect his investment, Piper also offered to captain his boat up the river to the first of two possible locations for a river camp.
Loot: 20 gp