Burnin' Down the House

While waiting and hoping to hear back from the orcish wizard about the horse deal, Damir continued to roam the town looking for further information. Peregrine staked out the stalls quite often, and one night during the first week found an orc poking around the big horse. Peregrine tailed him to his home, then went to fetch Damir. The two broke into the orc's house, woke the drunken, sleeping orc, and interrogated him. They found that he is not actually the orc wizard but was hired by the wizard to do some chores. Damir told him not to meet with "Grbac" and to make the wizard go instead, then Damir and Peregrine left him. The next day, Peregrine tailed the orc and found him talking to another orc at a pub. The two left together, so Peregrine followed. During this, Damir happened to find the two and joined the tail. The two tailed the orcs to an abandoned building on the outskirts of town. The new orc took the other downstairs, then tied him and began to torture him; Damir and Peregrine watched and quickly planned a way to stop this. Damir first made Peregrine invisible so that he could slip past the tapestry hanging at the bottom of the staircase as a makeshift door and hide in the "torture room." Next, Damir cast a Ghost Sounds spell to duplicate the sound of little children entering the house and slowly approaching the stairs. The orc stopped the torture to listen, and when the children finally were "at the stairs" he began to barge toward the stairway to scare them off. Meanwhile, Damir had positioned himself with two daggers just behind the tapestry, prepared to lunge through and bowl over the orc (now confirmed as most likely being the wizard, Skragg). Damir bowled through the tapestry and assaulted the orc, dealing him a grievous wound; almost simultaneously, Peregrine lunged and sliced Skragg's leg up badly. Skragg prepared to counterattack, but seeing that he was in a bad position he quickly retreated and drank a healing potion. He fired off a volley of magic missiles, injuring Peregrine and Damir, then ran off. Damir and Peregrine began the chase, with Damir quickly catching up to Skragg and slashing at his wand in an attempt to destroy it or disarm him. This failed, but when Skragg drew forth a scroll, Damir quickly slashed it and destroyed it. Skragg made for the door; Damir bowled him over again, dropping him to the ground and allowing Peregrine to take a clean shot to his head. This did grievous harm to the orc, but he was made of tougher stuff than most. Skragg hit Damir with a volley of magic missiles, but Damir managed to rip the wand from his grasp. Skragg then ran for cover around the side of the house. Damir ran around to flank as Peregrine pursued, but Peregrine's pursuit was set back as he had to dodge a lightning bolt. Skragg made it into the back alleyway and cast invisibility on himself as Peregrine circled around to surprise him. Damir managed to see enough of Skragg to fire a shot, willing the stolen wand to discharge missiles at its former owner. The missiles bit deep, but Skragg still had enough life left in him to run - barely. Damir and Peregrine pursued, but they quickly lost their prey in the confusion of the central city. Damir and Peregrine immediately healed themselves a bit and began to gather enough of Skragg's dried blood to form a material link. They then went to the wizard's guild the next day and negotiated the use of a location spell to find the orcish wizard. Damir paid the gnomish spellcaster with the wand he'd stolen from Skragg. Damir asked the wizards to continue to scry on Skragg over the next few days and notify the guard should he ever be alone. Damir and Peregrine then immediately went to the guard captain to enlist their help in watching the newly-discovered "safe house." Peregrine paid the guard captain to hire additional mercenary support for a few days, then went to stand watch as well. Over the next few days, Damir checked in regularly and discovered that the guards had captured some 6 Scarlet Wolf members who were trying to leave the house. Damir also learned that Skragg had remained in the house, lying low. Damir talked the justice-minded wizards of the guild into fireballing the place to oblivion in return for the gear stored within; they agreed so long as the guard gave permission. Damir absolved the guard captain of any "knowledge" of this action, talking the captain of the guard into agreeing to "happen by" this location and be able to help capture those who fled. Damir and Peregrine both stood guard, arrows at the ready, to help the guards fire on escaping Scarlet Wolves. The raid seemed to be going off without a hitch, fireballs blowing the place apart, until near the end. As the building was falling around him, Skragg happened to spot Damir and fired a vile lightning bolt into his right hip, burning him badly. Damir and Peregrine fired at the orc, but the damage they did was not enough; he cast an invisibility spell upon himself and escaped under the hail of arrows. As soon as the fight was over, Damir dragged himself to a temple. Upon entering, he tried to heal himself temporarily to stop the bleeding; as this seemed to have a major effect on the wound (which Damir recognized as vile), he healed himself again, patching the wound fully. He still sports a long burn scard down his right hip and thigh, however, to remind him of this day. Damir concluded that the vile damage must require healing on the grounds of a temple and made a mental note of this should he be so injured again. Over the next few days, Peregrine (and occasionally Damir) interrogated the captured Scarlet Wolves. During the interrogations, we and the town guard learned names of some accomplices of the Scarlet Wolves, established members of the community who'd helped the Wolves set up shop. They described the higher-ups who escaped, all four of them: the orc wizard, the human warrior that was the leader, the half-elven rogue, and a human priest/rogue. When they're shown the skull, the captured Wolves admit that this confirms their suspicions that the warrior leader, a great fighter, was once a member of the Necromancer's army. They also spill many little juicy tidbits of information that they were gathering on important Tantorians to use as extortion leverage. Damir also visited and thanked the wizards at the guild hall for their help, coming clean with them about who he was and why he needed their assistance. Damir and the gnomish wizard got along much better once everything was understood. Over the next few weeks, Damir continued to search the town for information. In the process, he learned about "Roguish Bard," the lyrical transmutation of "Scurvy Rogue" that the girls at the Silky Doll had written about him. He also performed regularly to pay for his normal expenses. Damir learned a little more about the Scarlet Wolves during his perusal of the town. He found out some of their activities in town, which revolved around extortion; they tried to stay clear of the existing organized criminals. He also continued writing Emby (whose letters always seemed to have a postscript hinting at what she knew about his Nevermoorian escapades) and Chastity (who seemed not to REALLY WANT to write him, but was doing so out of obligation - and also was trying to slip elven etiquette nuances past him, which really didn't often work). He kept his parents informed about his performances and chatted with Ferella, occasionally taking her to supper and vice versa. All seemed to be settling down again for a while… until the end of November, when he received a letter from Emby stating that she'd be home in three days. She informed him that she was riding home with some friends on horseback and since he seemed to be so pointedly avoiding her little jibes at him he'd better use these three days to get his story straight. Damir read the letter and began to think about how he would deal with seeing Emby again.

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