New Haven Crew

McMannis Clean-Up

Following the initial job at the McMannis estate, Gabril went and inspected the ruins of the house. He had a feeling about the basement that he could not shake. Sending in his familiar to scope the ruins, he find there is a safe and a large door in the rubble but it is more than he can move out of his way. So he opts to include the rest of the crew to investigate it further the next day.

As the day breaks, Taru and Grageon start their mornings early. Taru is running about her usual errands and animal caregiving. Grageon is training and exercising to keep his skills honed. Mid-morning comes about and Taru and Grageon return to the Valkyrie for breakfast and upon entering they see Khar sitting getting his breakfast and Gabril coming down the stairs. Everyone sits seperately. Seeing this Gabril very intentionally sits at a table with three empty seats and then using his magic, speaks telepathically with the rest saying, "IF you are interested, I have something to discuss." The others acknowledge the message and come and sit with Gabril.

He quickly informs them of his venture back to the McMannis estate and what he found. He sees if there is interest and the others agree it is worth inspecting further. So they agree to meet back at the Valkyrie in the early afternoon to undertake this adventure. They all run various errands or bask in a bit of leisure until that time.

Once mid-afternoon arrives, the crew assembles and departs for Newport. Using similar tactics, they survey the area and when nothing seems amiss, they go around to the backside fo the property and enter into the estate. Upon approaching the ruins, they find the house seemingly deserted and gone. All that remains are charred timbers and rubble. They see it has not been disturbed other than some cat paw prints. They decide to clear the rubble to get at the safe. 

After some heavy lifting and strategic removal of timbers, they are able to quickly make the safe accessible. Upon further inspection they see it appears to have been a wall safe and given its placement in the basement it would have been in McMannis's study on the second floor. Despite its fall it is intact.

Gabril quickly sits down and attempts to crack the safe. During the initial attempt, Gabril can hear tumblers falling into place but is unsuccessful. Khar, decides he wants to try but in frustration quickly resorts to punching it to no avail. Gabril tries again and is successful. Inside he finds a cantaloupe-sized bag of gold, that he pitches over his shoulder to the group. Grageon waits a beat then bends down to snatches the bag. Gabril also finds a large folder of what appears to be business documents for McMannis and two books. One seems to be a journal and the second is a ledger. He takes and puts them into his backpack.

The group then turns their attention to the alcoved door behind the safe. Grageon and Khar lift and toss the empty safe to the side and then they find that the reason teh door survived the fire is because it is a metal door. 

Gabril looks them over for signs of a trap and not finding any pushes it open. Behind the doors is a set of stairs leading down. The group decsends the stairs adn find themselves in a small chamber with a hallway leading away from the stairs they just came down.

Gabril proceeds down the hallway followed by Grageon, Taru, and lastly Khar. Suddenly a human carrying a short sword jumps out narrowly missing an attentive Gabril. Grageon seeing his companion attacked, quickly steps up adn in one deft movement takes the man's head right off his shoulders.

The group progresses further now even more. They quickly realize there is another bandit in the hallway ahead of them. Gabril moves out of the way and Graegon advances followed by a large wolf spider and Khar. Grageon hacks at the bandit who is joined by a second bandit. The spider drops down and bites the bandit. Khar rushes at both bandits and levels the first one, snapping the bandit's neck and knocking the second one down hard. they make short work of the remaining bandit.

They advance further and realize there is a large number of bandits ahead and quickly are in full-blown battle with multiple opponents. Khar quickly resets the odds into the crew's favor when he levels the majority of the attackers with his fire breath. Taru engages into a battle with the bandit leader and bites and poisoning the captain multiple times. She even successfully chases him deeper into the cavern. The group makes mincemeat of all the bandits and then assess the remainder of the cavern to ensure they will not be jumped again.

Once they realize they have eliminated any and all threats, they see a stack of shipping crates nearby. They seem to have been dragged out off the water that is at the head fo the cavern. Taru, still in spider form, scurries out and finds the passage leads out to the open sea northeast of the city proper. Opening the crates reveals that they are filled with mid-grade quality goods found throughout the city and what McMannis is known to trade in. They quickly surmise that this is how McMannis was able to get rich as quickly as he did as he smuggled goods in to avoid paying the tariffs on imported goods.

Having scratched the itch of wondering about the basement and its secrets, the group decides to leave the estate and return home. as they are leaving Newport, Gabril feels as thought hey are being followed. He starts to lead the group with Taru still in spider form on his shoulder and take a very zig-zag route back to the Hells' Kitchens area. The others realize something is up and question him about it.

He decides in Dogtown to try and catch the tail. He and Taru turn down a side street and then hide in a small shed, while Grageon and Khar go to the STEAKHOUSE and wait for their companions. Gabril sends his familiar, in Raven form, up to see the streets they just came down.  He sees an elf in a dark green cloak walking the same path. The elf turns down the side street he ducked down and stops to investigate the area for signs of Gabril. 

The elf curses, "Damnit!" and turns to follow Grageon and Khar. At this moment Gabril cuts tie with his familiar and pops out of the shed and casts sleep on the elf. The elf crumples to the ground and Gabril pulls the elf into the shed. once there he conjures a metal band around the hogtied hands and feet of the elf. 

A few moments later, the elf awakens and Gabril removes the hood fo the cloak revelling a female elf. "Why are you following me?" he asks coldly as Taru, in spider form uses her front legs to lightly claw at the elf's face. The elf ignoring Gabril is more concerned by the large spider in her face and quickly rolls to squash the spider. Doing so depletes the spider form and Taru returns to her halfling form, laughing.

Gabril repeats his question, "Why are you following me?" The elf defiantly says, "You'll have to do better than that to get me to talk."

Gabril sighs and draws his dagger. "Look I do not have time for this. Tell me why you are following me or I'll just kill you here and go. Your choice."

The elf looks into his eyes and sees he is not mincing his words and says, "Look I was hired by McMannis to watch his estate and to follow anyone I saw there." 

"How long have you been watching the estate?" Gabirl asks.

"Three days."

"How much is he paying you?" asks Taru.

"Hundred gold a day plus expenses."

"So what are you going to tell him now?" Gabril asks.

"… I saw no one." she replies.

"Good answer. So where would I find you if I would want to hire a tail in the future?" responds Gabril.

The elf reluctantly says, "Send word to the Leaf and Flower for Nynaeve."

With that Gabril again casts sleep and he and Taru leave the shed. The two move quickly to put some distance between themselves and Nynaeve before she can wake up.

The two talk and Taru asks, "Do you think we can trust her?"

"No. but I don't think she is going to be able to give McMannis much if she does talk." Says Gabril.

They go to the STEAKHOUSE and find Khar and Grageon sitting in the back and share the encounter.

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The McMannis Job
Getting the Gang Together

 

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Grageon, Khargarazsh, Taru, and Gabril had all received a summons to the Valkyrie from their contact Anatoly. They had all done jobs for Anatoly over the past few months and he has seen that they had gotten rooms at the Valkyrie. The message said to be at the Valkyrie at 10 PM and await the signal to enter the back meeting room.

Taru arrives first in her spider form and immediately goes and finds her usual vantage point high in the rafters of the common room where she can over see all the goings-on. She watches for for  quite awhile and sees nothing out of the ordinary. Until a large human fighter bellies up to the bar and orders water. Taru makes a note of this.

Grageon, sipping on his water, waits patiently for the signal. He notices a little while later a large red Dragonborn step into the bar and finds a table.

Khargarazsh readily slams down his drink when a few minutes later a seemly disheveled elf brashly enters the bar reeking of cigars and wine. In fact he seems to being wearing about as much wine as he has drank.

Gabril finds an open seat and makes a scene as he sits down and  orders a drink.

Grageon is first to have the covered stein brought to him. He quietly stands and goes toward the restrooms and enters the hidden door in the broom closet. He goes into the meeting room and has a seat. He is waiting patiently as he has every other time he has met with Anatoly, when the door he came in, a door that he has not seen anyone else come in while he was in the room, opens and in walks the red Dragonborn. Grageon stands and eyes Khargarazsh. Khar eyes the human before him and quickly dismisses him and has a seat.

Grageon sits opposite Khar and two sits in uneasy silence keeping an eye on one another. Then the south door of the room opens again and in walks Gabril carrying his stein of milk. He sits at the end of the table and pulls out a cigar and starts to puff on it and it bursts alight. He kicks back in his chair and makes a series of snide remarks trying to get a rise out of the heavies sitting across from one another, but neither will bite.

While Gabril is trying to stir the pot, Taru enters the room in her spider form and makes her way to the rafters above the table. Now I know what you are thinking. Why would the barkeep serve a stein to the rafters. He does not. Taru has been working out to the Valkyrie long enough now that the staff knows to simply deliver a stein to a small table by the hearth and Taru will see.

All four party members are in the room for a few minutes when the north door of the room opens and in come Anatoly, flanked by his bodyguards, two stone looking monstrosities. The bodyguards take either side of the door as Anatoly walks up to the table  and says, "Good! You are all here. Let us get down to business then, da? I have employed you all for your various talents in the past. I now have need of all talents combined. My… employer… needs you get something back for him.”

"A statue… it was stolen some time back. It recently came to my employer’s attention that it was in possession of Colin McMannis. Apparently McMannis had the statue stolen from my employer. After much searching and questioning. We have been able to find out that McMannis has statue in private study in his mansion in Newport. My employer wishes for you to, how you say,… liberate the statue and return it to its proper owner."

Taru asks for the time table and Anatoly gives them two days to do the job. He stresses again that nothing should point back at his employer. He also tells them it should look like a robbery so as not to draw attention to the statue. So anything else they can acquire is theirs for the taking.

Many of the group are familiar with McMannis. A successful merchant, McMannis is considered new money and has a large estate on the outskirts of Newport. Gabril remember the name as he had done a few jobs for McMannis before his current employment began.

With that Anatoly and his two hulking bodyguards exit the north door and leave the group to plan. After much bickering, as new groups will do due to a less than forthcoming Gabril, it is decided that they need to go case the neighborhood and the house. They try to decide if there is a good way to exit without being seen. None are eager to draw attention by coming out the bathroom area together.

Then they realize they had never taken Anatoly’s door out of the room. So they decide to do that. Opening the door, they find a a hallway that tees off to the left and up. They follow that since they hope to get to their rooms. There they find that Anatoly has visual access to their rooms and after a little investigating, Gabril discovers that there are secret panels to their closets as well. They make their way to Khar’s room where the idea of going out the window seems pointless to Taru and Grageon and they double back downstairs and say they will meet the other two outside. Khar simply jumps out, followed by Gabril.

Soon the whole group goes and finds themselves scooping out the grounds of McMannis. They find two guards on the gates and two on house perimeter patrol. Taru decides to see what the temperament of the guards are by changing into a cat and approaching the house. The first guard warms to the adorable form of the druid, unaware that she was really a halfling. However, he tries to shoo her off saying that she should not be around when Paul comes around. She skitters away a few steps but then in true cat fashion dashes headlong in the direction that Paul will be coming from.

Paul rounds the corner and curses as he sees the cat on the property and shouts, “Hey now! You GIT OUTTA HERE!” and he throws his spear at the cat, who artfully dodges the spear. The follows his spear and grabs it as it thunks into the ground missing the cat and goes to spin the polearm in a way as to use the butt end of the spear at the car. He misses again but Taru does not stay around to find out what the guard would do next.

Taru returns to her companions and using her silent speak communicates what she learned about the quality of the guards and Khar and Grageon agree that they are veteran but not an overwhelming quality force of guards. They return to the Valkyrie for the night and rest before planning the next phase of the job. Before turning in for the night, Gabril summons a crow familiar.

The next morning, the crew gathers in the quiet common room of the Valkyrie. They have come to realize the innkeeper, Sven, and his wife, Marta, are on the payroll of Anatoly, therefore their conversations would be ignored. They decide that the most likely place for the statue to be would be on the second story. To confirm they agree to send Taru in for some recon. She enters in spider form and makes her way upstairs and discovers the lavish bedroom and study of McMannis.

The next phase of the plan is to sneak Khar in using some skills of Gabril to disguse him as bolts of fine silk as a gift for McMannis.Taru cases the second story and identifies the statue in the study. She then rides the crow familiar back to the rest of the group and conveys her findings. So they set off in the mid-afternoon to McMannis’s with Taru in spider form riding the crow, Grageon and Gabril riding a wagon with Khar crouched up into a ball so he can be hidden by Gabril’s illusion.

They arrive at the gates and Gabril tells the guard that he was sent here with this shipment of fine silks as a gift from Bobao in the Hive. The guard goes to inspect the silks but Gabril successfully convinces him not to ruin the fine silks and that he is in a rush. The guard lets them pass and sends them to the back of the house where they will be met by Yosef.

Grageon drives the wagon around to the back of the house. As Gabril is jumping down off the wagon, Yosef comes out of the kitchen brushing off his apron. Gabril pitches the same story and convinces Yosef to show him the path to take the silks to McMannis’s quarters. Yosef takes him into the kitchens and says, “You can take them right up these stairs. Master McMannis’s quarters are just down the hall to the right.” While  Yosef was explaining this, Gabril quickly assessed the situation and seeing only two other cooks and a servant boy, he quickly casts sleep. Yosef and the others fall dead asleep.

Gabril goes out and tells the others to hurry in. Khar and Grageon hustle inside. They proceed up the stairs where they find they are in a servant’s quarters, probably Yosef’s They slowly and carefully make their way down the hall toward McMannis’s suite.

Meanwhile, Taru had slipped back in in spider form and once in the room changed back to her true halfling form and starts to pile up anything that looks valuable. Gabril, Khar, and Grageon stop when they hear a maid down the hall. They see she is fumbling with keys and is about to enter McMannis’s chambers. Taru hears the maid as well and rushes to hide behind the door.

The maid enters and sees the piles of valuables bundled up and starts to call out, when Taru quickly slips the door shut on the maid, knocking her back into the hallway. She is stunned and then turns to see the rest coming down the hall toward her. She starts to scream when Gabril summons a large rock into her mouth to stifle the scream. He quickly secures her telling her to be quiet and no harm would befall her and passes her off to Khar and Grageon to safely tie up and put out of the way.

Gabril goes into McMannis’s suite. Taru quickly points him into the study where the statue is located. Taru resumes gathering extra booty. Gabril goes and inspects the statue. The statue is of a dancing girl. Using detect magic, Gabril sees that the statue and the marble pedestal it is on both have individual magical auras.

Meanwhile, Khar and Grageon take and tie up the maid and throw her back into the room they entered when they first came up the stairs. While in this room, Khar and Grageon hear from downstairs,”Yosef? What happened? You upstairs! You sweep the first floor! Alert! Something is not right!” and an bell starts to ring loudly throughout the house. Upon hearing this Grageon doubles back to the main bed chambers and Khar takes position beside the door. He waits as he hears three people come running up the back staircase. When the first guard emerges from the stairwell, Khar swings his longsword and connects a mighty blow that sends the guard tumbling backward into the stairwell and off-balance, he crashes down the stairs. Khar grins as he hears curses coming from the stairs and what sounds like a second body tumbling down the stairs.

As Grageon enters the bed chambers, he sees Taru scurrying about throwing things into piles and bundling them up. He starts to grab the bundles and when he turns back to see where Taru is, he sees a large Draft horse standing in her stead. The horse says, “Don’t just stand there! Load me up!” Grageon does a quick double take and then shakes off the weirdness of the moment and starts to load the horse up with all the bundles. In the next room, Gabril, hearing the alarm bell, goes, “Screw it!” and grabs the statue off the pedestal and when he does a loud, obnoxious alarm starts sounding. He turns and there is a large horse carrying pillowcases and sheets full of loot standing there. He simply throws the statue on the pile and quickly latches it down magically. The three then make for the head of the main staircase.

Taru, in horse form, is point as they get to the top of the stairs. Just as they arrive three guards armed with spears are also arriving from downstairs. The guards, shocked to see a horse loaded with loot, do not hesitate and thrust their spears into the horse. All three strike and severely hurt the horse.

Meanwhile at the back of the house, Khar spins into the rear stairwell and unleashes his breath weapon down the stairs. The unsuspecting guard takes the gout of flame in the face and the ferocious heat of the cone of fire ignites the stairwell into flame.

Grageon seeing an opportunity dives through the bannister and attempts to tackle the guards so his team can make their escape. However, the busting of the bannister gives the guards the slightest heads up of the intentions of Grageon and they narrowly avoid his tackle and he lands on the stairs in a crash. Taru makes the most of the moment of chaos and simply charges down the stairs. The first guard dodges the horse but the second guard is not so lucky as Taru plows him over. The third guard also narrowly avoids getting trampled.

Gabril seeing an opportunity uses his magic to distract the guard at the head of the stairs by creating the sound of a second horse coming from the back of the opening behind the guard. As the guard turns to see if there is another horse about to crash down on him, Gabril swings a kick to his head and sends the guard tumbling down the stairs.Gabril then rushes down the stairs while the final guard is busy dodging his comrade.  

Garageon gets up and swings his axe at the guard looming over him but still being a bit shaken up from the dive, his grip on the axe fails and it goes flying down the stairs missing Gabril and sticking into the floor below. The guard retaliates with a short sword striking Grageon. Taru and Gabril continue to make for the back of the house.

Grageon suddenly grabs the guard and smashes him into the bannister behind him and flings him down the stairs. As the guard lands gurgling at the base of the stairs, Grageon following, swings his large boot and connects a violent kick to the jaw of the guard with a sickening crack and the guard stops breathing.

Khar and the blinded guard start to fight on the stairs, but outmuscled and outclassed, the guard is helpless as Khar grabs him and holds him in the blaze. Taru makes it to the kitchen and bursts through the doors and as soon as she does she sees the prone Yosef lying in her path. Knowing she can’t stop to avoid trampling him, she instead leaps through the large window straight ahead of her. Doing so causes enough damage that she morphs out of horse form and back to her true halfling form. All the loot that had been strapped to her back continues to sail through the air as her suddenly smaller mass drops and rolls across the ground. Gabril runs into the kitchen just as Khar emerges from a flaming stairwell, dropping the limp corpse of the guard. The two jump out of the hole where there once was a window. Moments later, Grageon comes running out of the window just as the fire starts to consume the kitchen.

Gabril tells the group to quickly throw everything into the wagon and get in and sit still. Once this is done, he jumps into the driver’s seat and moments later the image of Yosef pulling a wagon of covered goods rolls up to the gate. He dismounts and throws open the gate and quickly leads the wagon down the street out of Newport. Along the way out of Newport, Gabril recognises McMannis riding up the street toward them, while he still has the opportunity he alters his disguise enough so he is no longer Yosef but simply a older peddler riding through the neighborhood.

The group quietly makes their way back to the Valkyrie and put the wagon back into the stables where Gabril drops his illusion. The group quickly stashes the goods without inspection with the exception of the statue. That they carefully get inside.

The next night they sit in the back meeting room awaiting Anatoly. He arrives with his two hulking stone-like bodyguards who take position by the door. “Good! I see you have statue. Excellent. The fire was even better cover than we expected.”

Gabril says, “We had nothing to do with any fire, but yes we have the statue.” Anatoly smiles and quietly nods. “As you say. I will take statue. Anything else you were able to get is your payment. My employer is happy. We will be in touch soon.” As Anatoly is speaking one of the bodyguards comes forward and takes the 3.5 foot statue into his large engulfing hand and Anatoly and the two bodyguards exit out the back door. The party then goes back to their rooms to enjoy some R&R.

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