Sitting in Layla’s Flophouse, a seedy old gin joint in the Merchant’s District of Fairhaven, the members of the 421st Delta Roughriders are scraping out a meager existence. Kiri Applefield sits in the corner with two drunks telling war stories of the glory days of Cyre. Many of the people who come to Layla’s are Cyran refugees. She had just regailed the two men with a story of how she shot a famous Thranite general while he stood behind his private guard. The men were skeptical and demanded a show of skill. Arden Colt, Egnarac and Honest Ja’wn talk her up, and whip the crowd into a frenzy placing bets on if the young girl can pull off some trick shot that involved shooting a tankard off of a drunks head. The 421st fills their personal coffers with 20 gold pieces, and Kiri has another story to brag about while swilling down liquor from her hip flask.
This feat attracts the attention of Kerrek Reichsgard, a thick necked Cyran expatriate with a well trimmed black beard and an eye patch who sits down to speak with the 421st.
“The loss of our homeland is a terrible injustice, and the plight of our people pains my heart. Could I interest you in a job fitting a proud military unit of your caliber?”
“We’ll take it.” Arden says before the job is even explained.
“I’d like to be briefed on the particulars before I send my unit into any sort of mission” Honest Ja’wn says, ignoring Arden.
“I need your unit to escort a package from the river. You’ll meet my man Haggash on the riverbank. He’ll pay you when the job is completed. 100 gold.”
“I don’t know if you heard me…but we’ve already accepted.” Arden repeats.
“Will there be any danger?” Ja’wn asks.
“Honest, the man wants a military unit…not flower children. Of course there will be.”
They accept the job.
The unit leaves Layla’s flophouse the next morning after a rough nights sleep under a table, and meet up with Haggash. Haggash is a stout dwarven seadog with a tricorn hat and an oversized cigar sticking out of his thick bearded mouth.
“Yer merst ber ther mersle.” He says through gritted teeth smoking his stogy.
Removing it for a moment he explains the plan. “A group of boys from Breland are bringing me a crate. You carry it with me back to my man, we sell it. You get paid.”
“What’s the package.” Ja’wn inquires.
“You’re the muscle. Not the brains. I’m the brains. You get paid when it gets there not when I inventory it.” Haggash brushes the captain off and mount his horse.
“Let’s go swabbies.” He sticks the cigar in his mouth.
Travelling aside Haggash the unit makes their way along the river to a raft. A group of Brelish soldiers sit around on the raft jawing and smoking.
“Ok, ser jerst lert mer herndle thers.”
“Ok, I’ll take the two on the right…you get the rest.” Arden exclaims.
“I do not believe we were ordered to attack.” Arc248 responds.
“Yeah, we guard, not slay.” Kiri says taking a tug from her flask.
“Derd I ser we nerded ter kill ‘em?” Haggash asked before laughing. “I’m dering business her. Ok?”
He steps away and walks over to the men. A few moments later, his transaction finished the men hoist the crate up and drop it at his feet.
“Alrighty, swabbies. Lerft.”
“Lift?” Kiri says “We’re guards not mules.”
“If I may captain.” Arc248 begins casting a spell. A transparent floating disk appears under the crate and it hovers weightless.
“Wer ter thern outserd the box.” Haggash puns.
The troops head out.
“So back to Fairhaven then?” Egnarac inquires.
“Passage?! That’s like 3 days journey from here.” Kiri sighs.
“On a merchant road.” Arden adds.
“With a crate that has markings for the Royal Eyes of Aundair.” Arc248 interrupts.
“…ye..rrp?” Haggash seems shaken by this revelation. “Must’ve reused the crate…”
“If I may.” Arc248 casts a prestidigitation spell to cover the symbol with a false one.
“Great jarb sir…clearly one of you has brains.” Haggash pats Arc on the back.
The unit travels down the road a ways before being stopped by an Aundairian merchant in purple robes.
“Hail traveler. Care to trade?” Haggash is silent and seems sweaty and nervous.
“Urm Sure man. Selling cigars. Zil cigars.”
“I do so love a good cigar. I’m selling wine.”
“Should I kill him?” Arden asks Haggash.
“Only if I say this is my last cigar…” Haggash mutters under his breath.
“You’d better not have to many…”Arden sighs rubbing the hilt of his sword.
The men trade a cask of wine for a box of cigars, before the merchant inquires about the crate.
“More cigars. Need em for a deal in Passage.”
“Ah, good luck to you. If it doesn’t work out I’ll buy them all in Fairhaven.” The Merchant happily offers.
The two men say good day and the unit moves on leaving the merchant behind.
“I wish you had run out of cigars.” Arden chuckles.
“Yerr blerrdtherster. I lerve ert.” Haggash says smoking another cigar.
Hagash and the gang pull off the side of the road to sleep the night, and the unit is on edge. They have a strange feeling they are being followed. Kiri and Egnarac go out to the road to scout. They’ve been gone a short time when they see the merchant from earlier riding towards them. They hide, and prep to ambush. The merchant parks his cart by the camp.
“Sir, if I might speak with you.” The merchant inquires of Haggash who is in his tent.
“Sherrr… ber… right ourt.” He stutters.
Arden, sitting in the tent with Haggash, is ready to attack.
“Um, What’s up man?” Haggash asks sticking his head out of the tent.
“I just have to have those cigars.” The merchant says with a smile. “Best cigars I’ve ever had.” “Oh… we’ll they aren’t for sale. I got a deal in…”
“Passage you said. I’ll double what they are offering.”
“Perhaps we can talk about it in the morning. I’ll camp next to you. I’m Zeke by the way.”
“Pleased to meet you and your crew, Haggar.” Zeke heads into his tent and goes to sleep. The night is tense, and Arden and Kiri almost kill Zeke in the night. The next morning Zeke is making breakfast. After some small talk Zeke tries again to buy the crate. He is rebuked numerous times.
“Well I guess I’ll be off.” He says.
Upon standing he claps his hands together sending magical energy flying everywhere and knocking the party around like rag dolls. 2 warforged jump out of the back of the wagon. Combat ensues. Arden buries his sword in Zekes head. Ja’wn leads Egnarac and Kiri against the others. Arc supports with magical fire from the back. Haggash hides in his tent. After the attackers are killed the party searches Zeke’s cart. Inside they find a secret compartment. Inside they find multiple different id papers for different nations, a dagger, and a seal for the Royal Eyes of Aundair. Zeke is a spy.