Shadows of Absalom

Chapter 1
The Grinning Goblin

In which the empty-pursed human investigator/drug purveyor Russo "Russ" Axillia, native of the city of Absalom, and Svala Lorendotter, dedicated Ulfen slayer of Damerrich a new arrival to aforementioned city, met and became acquainted in the Eastgate District and began to share in an adventure.  Russ, needing coin to pay off his landlord, the surly and somewhat silly brawling gnome owner of Easthome, Evona Peesami, went to peddle a bottle of "Happy Juice" to an acquaintance of his, one Korlax, a Shoanti warrior currently employed as a guard at the Postern Gate.  Russ was able to track down the Shoanti at the Grinning Goblin, a grungy, dark, and goblin-infested gambling den and tavern in Eastgate which also features (among other dubious offerings) a semi-nightly critter race on a large table-top maze filled with obstacles, traps, and magical 'surprises', to the delight and betting enjoyment of its drunken, hooting, mostly non-human patrons.  Having lost most of his week's earnings at the rat race, Korlax was unable to purchase his monthly allotment of Happy Juice, at least for the moment, thereby leaving Russ searching for other means to refill his purse.

In the meantime, Svala, a newbie to Absalom, made her way through the city to the Ivy District thanks to her mission passed on through her god, to one of the lesser temples of Calistria and to her ally and new patron,  Luna, a lovely and equally-dedicated half-elf priestess.   Luna offered to employ, house, and feed the slayer in return for finding and punishing murderous client Yeddig Lyshev, a former First Guard who worked for a while as security for the temple before killing a priestess/prostitute of same temple, then re-joining the  Post Guard at the Postern Gate.  In spite of his obvious guilt, Lyshev is protected by someone higher up who values his other talents, and the only way justice can be served upon him is through the Slayer of Damerrich.  Svala immediately went off to stalk her victim.

In time, Russ and Svala eventually met up at the Grinning Goblin, where the two agreed to assist each other – but not before Russ needed to meet up with another of his low-life contacts, a fixer and fence known as the " Bug Man", so called because of all of his 'little flies on the wall' he employs.  The loathsome Bug Man knew of an opportunity for Russ to make some good coin, but would only pass on the information if Russ and his new friend would assist him in the matter of another of his little flies, Erno Grabblethorp, was 'taught a lesson' for stealing from the  Bug Man and for breaking off to start his own fencing operation.  Erno was presently operating in a place in The Docks District of the City known as Salt Mans Alley, which Russ and Svala went to visit.

While investigating the dark, narrow alleys on The Docks, the pair were jumped by several of Erno's thugs and attacked – Russ nearly succumbed during the fight, but the Slayer's brutal axe work turned the tide and shortly 4 dead thugs littered the street.  Having cornered Erno and his very large dog in a dark dead end, it seemed as though more blood would have to flow, until, following a show of intimidation by the axe-wielding Slayer, the wanna-be fence gave up the  Bug Man 's gold necklace and agreed to flee the city.  Having accomplished their mission for the   Bug Man, and richer in coin and by a very fine dagger and pearl ring (Which Swarthy Bill appraised at 20 gp, and  Varushka appraised at 15 gp, and Swarthy Bill eventually purchased for 18 gp), the two went home to deal with the Bug Man the next day.

Impressed by the duo, the  Bug Man told of the opportunity he knew about: an up-and-coming House in The Petals, House Junius, was broken into, and a young woman stolen away.  House Junius is seeking someone with the skills to quietly and discreetly resolve the affair and return the young lady safely to her home.  After a meeting with Korlax, who seemed to have some information regarding a possible job in the Precipice Quarter, Russ and Svala traveled through the city to The Petals District to the pink stucco villa in which the scion of House Junius, Lord Aemon Kraal, lived.   Having explained their purpose to the house guard, the duo was admitted, and interviewed by the house scion's secretary, Verenus Cielo - who confirmed that Lord Kraal's teenage niece Daria, had her bedroom broken into, and now was missing.  Out of desperation, the secretary of House Junius then hired Russ and Svala to find Daria and bring her back home safe and sound for a sum of 500 gp a piece, plus House Junius' 'lasting appreciation', ie a nice favor down the road for both of them.  Cielo informed the two that young Daria was attending the Arcanamirium, studying magic, and led them to her room when Chapter 1 came to a close.

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