"Rat's Bastard" Plot Recap
The orc should have been executed. Mercy is a virtue, but Haargh slew one of Loudwater's finest, cutting the guard in half with his axe. I knew the guard since he was a boy. His name was Rendell. He hadn't even drawn his sword when Haargh killed him. The orc was given exile. It should have been death.
Violence begat violence one night at the Red Boar Tavern. Two orcs were killed in the alley out back and passions were running high. An orc named Haargh led a group of his fellow orcs to the tavern. His brother had been one of those killed, and he wanted vengeance.
As I mentioned in my previous tales, High Lord Kalahar Twohands had issued the Decree of Reception, which allowed the orcs into Loudwater. Not everyone in town agreed with this Decree, and orcs often get a cold reception when in town. The Red Fellowship and their leader Stedd Rein are particularly vocal in their disagreement with the Decree. Kalahar knew of the trouble at the Red Boar and posted two guards at the inn to keep the peace.
So, when Haargh kicked the door to the inn down, one of the guards, Rendell, was there and tried to stop him saying, "The High Lord wants no trouble here." The orc snarled, "The High Lord can rot!" and killed Rendell with a single blow of his axe. Chaos erupted as the other orcs moved into the tavern to butcher everyone inside.
A massacre was prevented by the quick action of the Order of the Jade Blade, who happened to be at the Red Boar that night. They interposed themselves between the orcs and the panicking patrons and calmed Haargh down enough to talk. They learned that he was upset about his brother's death, and how no one in town seemed to be doing anything about it. They learned that he blamed the humans at the Red Boar for the deaths, especially the Red Fellowship. The Jade Blade managed to get Haargh to back down by promising to look into the murders. Haargh gave them three days or he would torch the Red Boar Tavern to the ground.
The Jade Blade began their investigation the next day. They spoke with Fist Keshel of the Loudwater Guard, who told them that there were eight murders in all and they were all within two blocks of the Red Boar Tavern. She had only lead she had – a drunk named Hookus who claimed that the murderers were a drow and a demon dog.
About this time, a strange boy from the Ivy Enclave approached the Jade Blade. The Ivy Enclave is the local Thayan Enclave and has been here for decades. Misban Rensha signed the original treaty when he married Thola of Thay (The Jade Blade found her tomb under the High Lord's Hall). When Nanathlar Greysword overthrew Pasuuk Rensha, he allowed the Red Wizards to stay on the condition that no Red Wizard within Loudwater could own a slave. However, there is more to this tale than just that. The Red Wizards aided Nanathlar in his rebellion, and the continued existence of the enclave was the price.
The boy beckoned the adventurers to follow him to the Ivy Enclave, where they met with Beyvan Keth, the leader of the Thayans. Keth revealed the true culprit of the orc murders – a half drow named Dusk who could be found in the Duelists' Grotto. He asked for no payment, but did request that the adventurers not reveal his role. How do I know what was said at this secret meeting? I was there when Keth aided Nanathlar, and there is a lot more to the tale than is commonly known. More than that, I will not say.
The Jade Blade went in search for Dusk. Their inquiries attracted the attention of Sparrot the Jack. Sparrot provoked one of the adventures into a duel. When he was bested, Sparrot revealed that Dusk stayed at an old bath house called the Steam House, which was being used as the hideout for a gang affiliated with the Hark called the Rat Bastards.
The Jade Blade approached and found that they were expected. It turns out that Sparrot was part of the gang and he had warned them of the adventurers' approach. A halfling member of the Rat Bastards posed as the receptionist and allowed the freeswords into the Steam House. He showed them into the steam room where Dusk waited for them. Sparrot and the halfling joined the battle, attacking the freeswords from behind.
The battle was a difficult one and a few of the adventurers were bleeding on the ground before it was done, but they slew the Rat Bastards. In the subsequent search of the Steam House, they found a secret passage leading down into the Earth. Down there, they met the "Harkson".
Lazurak Harkson turned out to be a barghest, which is a demon from the Abyss that takes a goblin form when on Toril. It had aligned itself with the Hark because that gave it plenty of opportunity to kill and spread chaos. It immediately attacked the Jade Blade, revealing its demonic nature when it turned into a demonic wolf. Again, the freeswords faced a tough foe but emerged victorious.
Once the Harkson was slain, the Jade Blade discovered evidence that it was the one behind the murders. The Harkson liked to take trophies, and it had collected bits and pieces from each of its kills. The Jade Blade gathered up the trophies and carried them back to Kalahar to show him what was behind the murders.
They even spoke at Haargh's trial, and their testimony was crucial for the decision that he be given exile instead of death. I can understand why they did this, but I cannot agree with it. Haargh killed Rendell in cold blood. Anger, no matter how justified, does not excuse murder.
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