The night after Bractoon walked around drinking with his friend Bodkin, the warlock rustled up Scott and Sieglinde for their delve into the main body of the dungeon. While they were all gathering together, they looked at the newly posted jobs on the newly erected “Keep Chronicles” board in the bailey. Recognizing the cryptic one as the Ghost Beggars wanting to talk, the small party sets out and heads up the switchbacks to their hideout.
After being led inside, they are met by the leader, Zorell Gnast, a mountainous man with an eyepatch and scraggly black beard. He tells them that he appreciates this group and those associated back at the keep as being capable adventurers, both from their own experience with them and from what his spies have seen of them. He also knows that the local law, such as it is, won’t take kindly to his group’s more antsy members pilfering off of the caravans crossing the Borderlands. So, he’s got a deal for them.
He says, “Here’s the deal. I’m not here for the marks. This place doesn’t have anything I want and the pickings on the road are shit. Besides, I want to become a legitimate businessman. Set up a trading company down on the coast somewhere. Maybe captain a ship again… Anyway, I want out as much as everyone wants me to leave. But I have something I got to do here. I’m here for my sister, Esmalia. About two months ago, she ran off with this shitheel from a rival gang, Jack. I’d be pretty pissed off about that as it stands, but it turns out he’s also a gods damned wererat! My sister ain’t gonna run around in some piece of shit hole in the ground with a rat! So I’m here to get her back. But my boys aren’t up to the task of finding her down there. They’re good at knocking over poorly defended wagons in out of the way places, not finding their way through territory defended by who knows what sort of weirdo around the next corner. That’s more your style, am I right?”
He takes a big swig of a mug on his table but doesn’t really wait for an answer. “So, you guys go down there, find Esmalia and tell me where she is. When I have this information, I’ll go deal with the situation. After that, one way or another, you’ll not have to deal with me anymore. I can throw in a little extra for your troubles as well. What do you say?”
The party all seems amenable to this setup. At first. Scott pipes up and says, “how about we get half now and half when we complete the gig?” The others silently do a facepalm while Gnast sets his mug down.
“First off,” he says, “I didn’t say what I was going to pay, so you can’t get half of that. Second, I’ve been in the business of deals and negotiations and back stabbing longer than you so don’t try anything funny with me. That’s the deal, take it or leave it. One extra though. Tell the guards at the little camp back there that they’ll not have anymore trouble with the caravans. I’ll keep my boys in line, so long as we’re making progress. Now, I can also offer you something else. Follow me.”
He takes them through his cavern complex and down a steeply slanting tunnel. At the end are two bandits playing cards next to a complex looking wooden elevator contraption. “This’ll take you down past those assholes, the Open Sores. Fuckers are doing more extortion down there than we ever did… Anyway, just pull the rope at the bottom to ring this bell. That’ll signal the guys to pull you up. Good luck.” And with that, he walks back up the passageway.
Bractoon, Scott, and Sieglinde get into the rickety basket and the winches are turned. They slowly descend into the darkness…