I got probably 60% or 70% finished with a great big long write up of Sessions 5 & 6 before my browser crapped out and I lost it all. I’m now tackling it again, but the emphasis for now is going to be on Toadie and it’s probably gonna be concise as I only have 30 or 40 minutes before I have to jet for our Session 8! (note: I failed to finish before the session)
So The Companions (as we now fancy ourselves after the party sat Toadie down and explained that we were not going to refer to ourselves as ‘Toadie and His Companions’ any longer) started Session 5 off headed to an inn in the Midlands district. It was a nice enough place and enough of an upgrade from Toadie’s hovel that he immediately decided to stay there while room and board were paid for by Cressida and the Korvosan Guard.
As a quick reminder, we’d left off Session 4 with The Companions being contracted with the Korvosan Guard and tasked with bringing in Verik Vancaskerkin dead or alive (but with a bonus if alive). There was very little information other than the fact that he was a deserter and may have convinced some fellow Guardsmen to join him. He was rumored to be hanging around All The Worlds Meat, an old butcher shop. We didn’t know why he deserted, but it was assumed that it had something to do with the riots in the streets protesting the Queen’s ascension to power after the death of King Eodred.
The Companions were all in agreement that they wanted to gather some intel on the situation before diving headlong into their mission. After all, if you’re going to be abducting someone (or likely killing them in the attempt), you make sure as well as you can that you’re indeed being morally responsible. Nothing makes you feel like a bigger asshole than killing a pretty decent person minding their own business. But deserters are deserters and as far as Toadie was concerned, a Korvosan doesn’t just abandon his post no matter the political climate. Deserters must be brought back and justice must be served. The alternative is chaos and anarchy.
After unpacking their belongings in their rooms (Olive got the nicest room at the far end of the hallway upstairs — the only room with a window and curtains!), the group moved downstairs and talked their next move over coffee and alcohol. The bartender downstairs didn’t know much as far as I can recall and the party was split as usual on how best to go about gathering information. And by ‘being split’ I mean mostly Toadie was making suggestions on what they could do and everyone (especially Olive) kept insisting on all the many reasons why they were all bad ideas. With gritted teeth, Toadie forced a smile on his face and suggested that perhaps The Companions would get more information if they split up. And so he left in search of a half decent pub in the area.
After spotting the first place that felt about right, Toadie went in pretending to be a merchant from Korvosa’s rival city Magnimar. Got some lunch and a drink and went about asking where he could get some cheap meat for his employees. Eventually he was able to steer the conversation to All The Worlds Meat. Didn’t get a lot of useful information, but on the way out, the barkeeper pulled him aside and told Toadie something mysterious about asking for ‘the night’s special cut’ if you want some muscle. Toadie initially misunderstood this to mean something about this special meat having an exceptional amount of protein or something, but then his old street smarts and history dealing with some of the riff raff of the city reminded him (meaning the group finally told Zach) that this hint was more about hiring some thugs to do unsavory work. The barkeep would say nothing more, so Toadie finished his meal and departed with a friendly nod and little extra on the tip.
On his way out, Toadie noticed a fellow hunched over, vomiting his guts out. The guy looked familiar and after a moment, Toadie realized it was Grau Soldado, a fairly new arrival to the Korvosan Guard. This man was a renowned student from Orisini’s Academy who was rumored to depart under scandalous circumstances in which no one really knows what happened, but the gossip had it that it all had something to do with love and Sabina Merrin and Vencarlo Orisini. Regardless, Sabina ended up Queen Ileosa’s bodyguard, Vencarlo with a scar above his cheek and Grau in the Korvosan Guard.
Well Grau was a mess. He wanted to drink more. He passed out. Toadie practically carried him back to the in that the party was staying. Set him up in his room. Tried to make sure he wouldn’t choke on his vomit and left. The group still wasn’t back so Toadie decided to head to All The Worlds Meat and see what this special cut business was about. On his way out, he passed the gang getting back from their reconnaissance efforts. Toadie was confused why they were bringing a poorly dressed dwarf woman with them. Oh but that was just Faustin dressed in what looked suspiciously like Olive’s window curtains from her nicest room. Toadie was about to ask… but no. This group was an odd bunch and their explanations were often vague and not terribly helpful. Best just to let that one go. After exchanging brief pleasantries and explaining what everyone was about, Toadie went on his way on the gang went on theirs.
Fortunately, All The Worlds Meat was just down the street from the inn. There was a short line to the door with some really ragged looking folks. Apparently they were lining up for free food. Toadie didn’t especially fit in with his leather armor and sword at his side but whatever. Folks were allowed to enter one at a time and always exited with a parcel of food. Finally it was Toadie’s turn to enter the shop. There were two men at behind the counter. The fat one looked like he might die from heart trouble at any moment. The other fellow had a long, sharp nose. There was no sign of Verik. The men asked what Toadie wanted, seeing that he probably didn’t need free meat judging by his appearance. Toadie said he was looking for the night’s special cut. They seemed excited by this, offering a price (I think around 50g or so) and saying they’d take care of just about anyone and make sure they never bothered Toadie again. Toadie chuckled conspiringly and said that he just wanted to make sure that this was the place as he’d heard and that he’d be back tomorrow with the target and details. After dozens of seconds of winking and chuckling and general dumb hobnobbing, Toadie was able to pull himself away and he headed back to the inn.
How confusing that these folks both feed the poor for free and also contract to ‘make people disappear’. Toadie was looking forward to a chat with this Verik once they took him in to the Korvosan Guard.
Back at the inn, The Companions were excitedly talking and gesticulating over one of those meat parcels. Turns out Alika had asked for a ‘special cut’ and been willing to pay with money. Turns out also that this meat was human. The Companions were looking more and more like they were justified in bringing Verik back to Cressida and The Guard for questioning and for justice! And Faustin was still dressed as a woman.
And that’s where we left off! The Companions were making plans to sneak into All The Worlds Meat that after nightfall while um, Faustin went on a date. With the fat dude from the butcher shop. Well done, Faustin.