Umar as Link, the Not-Silent Warden
Katie as The Badass Paladin
Collin as Keira, the ever-flexible Swordmage
Hannah as Phelaia, Thief extraordinaire
Josh as DM
After sending the patriar drunks home with their terrified bodyguard, our heroes think about how to return the hands of the Beloved Ranger, and decide that the culprits have been punished enough. They elect to “anonymously” return the hands to the Master of Cobbles, who oversees public architecture for the city. They show him their Flaming Fist badges and say they just found the hands in the street, but he obviously doesn’t believe them and they leave after a rather awkward discussion. They decide to follow up by watching another nearby statue overnight to see if there is anything suspicious.
After a long, fairly boring overnight stakeout, they determine that nothing more seems to be happening with the statues, but the street-savvy Link and Phelaia realize that something seems amiss with the city’s street cleaners and garbage collectors, who seem to have ignored the Lower City that night, along with an unusual number of rats scurrying about. They return to the Master of Cobbles the next day and see that the logs were filled out by the workers as if everyone was there, and single out one garbage collector who was supposed to be on shift where they were keeping watch and obviously never showed. They stop by his house, and he admits to being bribed by an unknown, hooded individual to periodically skip work, with vague threats of violence from the sewers if he disobeys. They pay him for a sewer key and go to investigate. Link’s tracking skills detect a higher than usual concentration of rats in the sewers, and Collin detects some magical thread tying them together that seems to emanate from a central source. They begin trudging through the tunnels towards this, noticing the sound of chittering and squeaking getting louder as they approach.
Finally a figure calls out “who goes there?”, and they throw a sunrod out to reveal two furry, hunched humanoid figures surrounded by rats. They correctly guess they are wererats and ask what they are doing. The wererats claim to have been driven underground by the oppressive humans who don’t understand their condition, and they prefer the stink. They mention an unnamed woman who has been championing their cause and promising to help get them equal treatment above, if they help with increasing the garbage and stink above ground (which they would want to do anyway). The team decides they are pawns with a legitimate plea, and guess that the woman in question is Rilsa.
That night, they notice the smell in Lower City has gotten distinctly worse, and the tavern where they have dinner, they hear others making similar complaints and getting aggravated. Apparently things in the Upper City are even worse (of course, the Outer City always smells). The next day they go see Rilsa to see what she knows about the rates, but she is primarily concerned with questioning them over the anonymously returned hands of the Ranger, and why a set of hungover patriar youth were smuggled into Upper City the previous morning. Team Hero feigns ignorance, as Rilsa caustically and sarcastically lets them know that she is on to them. She also admits to working with the wererat, Stormbuckle, to further urge and incite the people of the city to rise up against the Council of Four as they get a taste of how the Outer City citizens live every day. Tensions mount however, and Link draws steel to attack Rilsa. Several heavily armed bodyguards immediately appear, and she warns that even if the heroes win, the Guild is powerful in the city and they may end up wishing they had died by her hand instead of facing the wrathful revenge of the Guild. Link and the other heroes back down, and ask what they can do to further her cause.
Rilsa mentions that Marshall Ravengard is using some of his loyal Flaming Fist men to frame a judge who is sympathetic to the Guild’s cause with murder. She provides a location where her spies report they will show up to leave the evidence, and the heroes rush over. There they find two Flaming Fist officers being attacked by ghouls over the body of an apparently murdered woman. They help fight them off, and once the officers recognize them as fellow Fist, they confirm they are making it look like a murder. The heroes turn on them, killing one and capturing the other. They find the body was stabbed post mortem with a dagger bearing the seal of the judge, as well as some of his personal effects further incriminating him and making him look like a desperate sable moonflower addict. The other officer refuses to admit more, and they kill him and dump all the bodies back in the dug up grave of the woman to cover their tracks.