In which errands are run and subterfuge is uncovered
Tom Holden’s estate sits in a wealthy area of the city, and the party does not look like they belong as they trek into the outskirts of his compound. After a brief explanation of their business with Tom, they are lead to meet with him near one of his luxurious gardens. Asra negotiates quickly and to the point. She tells Tom to knock off his school yard bull-(Vomit of the mouth redacted) and honor his debt. Denna, Droost, and Cookie glance uncomfortably at the many concealed crossbows trained on them as Tom assesses the situation in front of him.
So as not to break his carefully maintained cool, Tom laughs off the insults and chalks the tirade up to “moxie”, declaring that Asra has character. Tom tells the party he needs people with character for a job. And he would be willing to ignore his claim on a certain piece of tumbledown real estate in exchange for the assistance of a group of persons of character. After the group explains to Cookie what the vague double speak means, they grudgingly agree to assist Tom. (Note from Asra, I told him we’d only do it if he ponied up more than the bar we already owned. He said he’d give us a place to moor the boat we don’t own. What an @%#$&) After a briefing of Tom’s problems, it becomes apparent that he is suspicious of a disloyal party stealing mostly legal goods from one of his ships. He can’t involve the town guard due to the sensitivity of the goods in question, and he can’t trust his own people until he can uncover the problem. After a few more quick barbs from Asra asking what kind of crime lord can’t even keep his house in order, the party decides to make its way to the docks.
At the waterfront, after some witty (read: blunt and drunk) banter with one of Tom’s men named Fred, the group is able to procure the use of a small boat so they can conduct surveillance on Mr. Holden’s cargo laden ship. They grab some fishing gear and head down to the boats to the ringing noise of mouthy sailors. Left in their wake was the noise of a very angry and frustrated Asra, who was not enjoying the lame height jokes being thrown her way. While sailors have a fine tradition of salty language and questionable verbal grace, it is worth mentioning that they can’t hang with an angry gnome that just wants the &%#@ing deed to her &%#@ing tavern. Asra proves this point as loudly as she can.
After a small time spent fishing with mixed results (which is to say Cookie couldn’t even catch his breath and Denna must be related to Melora herself), the party notices a small reed inching across the water toward the ship carrying the targeted goods. There is no telling what is going on beneath the waves, so the party decides to sneak onto the ship to check the cargo directly. Denna offers to hang back and play her lute for the dock-hands to keep everyone distracted while the others sneak aboard.