As you’re enjoying a pint in the Sword and Board bemoaning the lack of work on the boards lately Ser Robert the Silent and his squire Jacob Plains enter the inn. They approach your table, and with a smug grin on his face Jacob slams his hands on the table.
“What’s up, goblin-@@@@ers. Tubby here got a lead on a job but mister upstanding knight and @@@@ here’s too @@@@@ to take it. So he thought you suckers might be up for it. Some halfling @@@@@@@@@@@@ needs bodyguards and @@@@ to get a shipment of @@@@ back to Llaney. He’s scared some pack of orcs is going to show up and choke him to death with their fat green—“
Jacob starts to pantomime lewdly until Ser Robert slaps him on the shoulder and he stops talking and straightens up.
“What? Alright already! … So, you in or what?”
The party signed on to help a Halfling merchant named Jerry Maren transport a shipment of crates to Llaney. He offered decent pay for what should be simple work, and his main concern seemed to be finding “reliable people who know how to keep their mouths shut.” Everyone arranged to meet up with their horses to head out of town.
As things were starting to get organized outside the stables (with Lord Seth and Siolas seeming oddly mute) Mouse and Edgar noticed that Jerry’s cart wasn’t loaded with any supplies. Upon asking about it they were told. “Yeah, we’ll be picking up the product along the way. Don’t worry about it.”
Lord Seth was approached by another High Elf, based on his clothing clearly a servant of the noble house Lord Seth was a part of. They spoke in High Elven for a few minutes, before the servant bowed and left. (Since nobody else in the party speaks High Elven they couldn’t really understand the conversation. Being able to speak Wood Elven the only part Edgar could make out was that the servant was a messenger of some sort that had come with a message from Lord Seth’s father that he had answered in the negative and then departed.)
The party made their way north for a few days before coming to a stone bridge over the [THIS NEEDS A NAME] river. Jerry took his cart to the middle of the river and whistled a bird call that was answered from below the bridge where a group of Adhil sailors had been keeping a small barge out of sight.
Jerry took Lord Seth with him to finalize negotiations with the captain and overseer of the shipment (“Look menacing…[sigh]…I suppose that’ll have to do.”) while Edgar, Mouse and Siolas stayed back with the two Adhil bodyguards. One of them spoke with Edgar in their native tongue, recognizing him a bit since he had worked on Edgar’s uncle’s boat for a while when he was young. The two talked briefly about the nobleman (Lord Villow Clawes) who had arranged for the Dravet’s property to be seized so he could grant the land to one of the (foreign-born) knights in his service. As the bodyguard turned to leave Siolas noticed the shield he wore slung across his back, an old human-made shield with the heraldry chipped and scraped off with a crude black spider painted onto it (a symbol that Siolas was apparently familiar with). When asked where he got it from the bodyguard told them they had been attacked by Orcs on their way to deliver the product.
The negotiations complete the crates were moved from the barge to the back of Jerry’s cart. Mouse, growing more and more suspicious about the situation asked Edgar if he might know what was in them. The talkative bodyguard (also lugging crates) heard the question and told them the ship had picked them up in the northern islands of Helladhil and had bypassed the port in Haham while shipping them (trying to avoid the customs agents there). He wasn’t sure what was actually in the crates but based on where they had been picked up there were only a couple of options. He pressed his finger to his nose and made a snorting gesture to imply his guess. The crates loaded into the back of Jerry’s little cart the Adhil captain laughed and asked if the cart would be able to carry it all. Jerry just gave him back a grumpy glare.
As the party entered Dorothel they found the roads were made of cobblestone here and it was making Jerry’s ride extra bumpy. They found their path blocked by a large tree where Jerry tried to go around with his cart, but the combination of weight, the miles of cobblestones and fresh mud turned out to be too much for the cart and one of the wheels shattered.
Knowing that there was another village with a wainwright about a half day ahead Jerry assigned Mouse and Edgar to watch the cart. “Keep it safe. Guard it with your lives, the product is very important. This is the key to my gaining control over the Guild…And don’t let it get wet.” He took Lord Seth and Siolas and they went in search of a new wheel.
As they decided what to do with the crates (opting to set up their tents and put the crates inside in case the weather would change) the duo heard the grunting screams of a pair of Orcs descending on them. Mouse ducked behind the cart, but not before being struck solidly by a javelin thrown by one of the orcs. Edgar caught the pair in the pulse of magical energy causing one of them to fall asleep, but the second continued towards them. Mouse drank a potion that eased his wounds and came around the cart to slit the sleeping Orc’s throat while Edgar cast another Sleep spell. Another Orc revealed himself from the top of the bluff and attempted to open fire with his bow, but the string broke instead. His companion wolf began to run for the slope down to the cart. Mouse slit the second sleeping Orc’s throat and braced himself for the mangy wolf’s attack. The beast leapt at Mouse and bit him viciously as he attacked the wolf with his rapier and dagger.
Seeing the severity of Mouse’s wounds Edgar charged towards him handing him another healing potion and scorching the wolf with a fiery blast. The Orc archer slid down the embankment and made his way towards the pair. While Mouse finished off the charred and bleeding wolf Edgar loosed another Sleep spell at the remaining Orc dropping it to the ground where he could slip a blade into its chest.
While checking the Orcs for anything of value the duo noticed that a fair amount of their equipment was clearly cast-off (or stolen) gear from members of more “civilized” races. Another of the Orcs had a battered shield with a similar hand-painted spider emblem across it. Mouse took the remainder of the Orc archer’s wicked looking arrows with black fletching. Mouse also noticed a spot on one of the crates where the javelin that had struck him in the chest had pierced the wood and some white crystalline powder had poured out. On closer inspection it appeared that the shipment was of crates of sugar from Helladhil.
When the others returned Jerry admitted that it was in fact sugar that they were transporting. The guild he was so intent on gaining mastery over was the Confectioner’s Guild (with his specialty being hard-candies, including lollipops). The traditional crops the confectioners of Dorothel had used had been failing for the last few years, and many of them had taken to using “That crap from Adrindest, but it’s all cut with honey.” He had the crates smuggled to him to try to keep the costs down by avoiding the tariffs at the port in Haham.