While the party was on their way to Mussum, they were attacked by some rogues who were fleeing the village. After defeating the rogues, the party interrogated the last scalawag about his now former friend’s motivations.
The rogue’s name was Boris Sterm, a ruffian who worked within Mussum as a raider and thief so that he could fence stolen goods in Iljak. Boris and a few of his filthy associates were fleeing Mussum when they spotted the party as an opportunity for some additional money. Boris claimed that he urged his associates to leave the group alone, but Victor (last name unknown) claimed that the party would pose no threat – a mistake that cost Victor his life.
While spilling his tale under duress, Boris said he worked for Fandall Jurdek, owner of the Jurdek Inn in Mussum. Boris had been happily employed up until he woke one morning with an elaborate dagger next to his head with parchment attached. The parchment contained a threatening message stating: “LEAVE MUSSUM OR FORFEITYOURLIFE!” Adding to the fearsome mystery was the fact that the note had been written in a colored toxin crafted from an animal which matched the scent of the dagger’s blade. While a note written in poison might have been frightening enough, the fact that the hilt of the dagger was a vile serpent that protruded its head when held within the bearer’s hand made it all the worse.
Once the party was satisfied with the information Boris had shared, he was released…but Amnon still could not resist hurling a shuriken at Sturm’s fleeing back…
Compiling the information and realizing that more was at hand within Mussum than first expected, the party reached the village with their plan formulated. Four members of the Dusk Riders would seek to infiltrate the town while the remaining members would contact the Baron, Klytus Bowman, and seek information as to why commerce passing through Mussum was being disrupted. Also, if possible, the Riders also sought out why are so many scoundrels were fleeing town.
The Party Members seeking to infiltrate the town, Munn, Horatio, Amnon and Haddarai, quickly found the Jurdek Inn, approached and entered it so as not to draw attention. Sadly, one member of the Riders, Amnon, was not as clandestine. Amnon had noticed that a gentleman had spotted the group as they approached the village and immediately begin to run away – seemingly to share the information of arriving visitors within the village. With reasoning unique to Amnon, the solitary Dusk Rider immediately hurled a shuriken at the man (later learned to be named, Lewis) that struck him full at the base of the neck and dropped the man immediately.
Immediately after an innocent villager had been struck down by an outsider, screams erupted from multiple village homes as various House Matrons pulled their children inside fearing further attack. Soon after, warning bells were heard throughout the village and the militia began to rush towards the commotion.
Sensing trouble from the incoming forces, Amnon only then paused to assess matters and his methods. Determining that his wisest move would be to flee, Amnon began to run but before he could get too far, he was struck by two arrows fired by militia members. Wounded by the attack, Amnon attempted to hide near the Jurdek Inn in hopes that trouble would pass. Seeing such dire events unfold, Munn, reading the situation from inside the Inn, feared the very worst and burst out from the Inn.
Furious at what had transpired, Munn showcased his amazing strength as a Dragonborn by viciously striking Amnon and demanding he yield. Realizing Munn’s intent, Amnon performed a brilliant bluff and appeared fully “subdued” by Munn while the militia circled around and stood ready to kill Amnon on the spot.
Munn effortlessly lifted Amnon onto his shoulder while also making sure to display the body markings that denoted his affiliation with King William. Munn then requested immediate audience with the Baron. Due both to Munn’s stature as a warrior and his markings, the militia members stood down and warily escorted Munn and his captive to the Baron’s keep.
Inside the Inn, various village men had readied weapons in support of the militia, but they realized that the issue had been removed and were now trying to return to their seats when Horatio loudly stated, “You can’t hire good help nowadays…”
Upon hearing and realizing that someone in the Inn was affiliated with the maniac who had just attacked an innocent man, the bar’s protector, Carlow Luntz, demanded that Horatio accompany him to the Baron. As Luntz approached, Horatio was able to surmise that Carlow was ex-Chondathian military and seemed like a man of considerable skill. Knowing full well that tensions were rising, Horatio instead asked that he be allowed to speak with Carlow in private as he was an emissary of the King. Not fully trusting Horatio, Carlow called for two other stout men, Munan and Arthur, to accompany them.
Once in the back room, Horatio detailed his service to the King and did his best to explain the elements that had brought him and the Dusk Riders to Mussum – the party wanted to find out all they could about the peculiar departures, numerous commerce issues and now this strange serpent hilted dagger. Examining the weapon, Carlow detected poison on the dagger and said it matched others that had been discovered in the Village. Carlow said that the poison was highly potent and either killed those that came into contact with it, or caused violent dementia – an affliction Carlow incorrectly surmised as having affected Amnon. Overjoyed with this logical misstep, Horatio agreed that the poison must have spurred the attack before departing with Carlow to speak with the Barron.
While this sordid event unraveled plans, the remaining members of the party arrived in Mussum just in time to discover that the grave disorder Amnon caused had disrupted everything… Originally, Jacael, Ferris and Banner had delayed entering the village in order to not be affiliated by the villagers with the other party members, but as they approached town, they couldn’t ignore the warning bells and proceeded to investigate the disturbance.
As they reached town center, the others quickly saw Munn carrying a wounded Amnon over his shoulder while surrounded by the local militia. Also visible was the presence of a War Priest of Bahamat tending to the grievously wounded villager accompanied by the local militia that had arrived in order to support the other villagers and deal with the disturbance that had rocked Mussum.
While this seemed bad, the group quickly realized that things were actually worse when three warriors with weapons drawn marched Horatio towards the Baron’s compound. Considerably frustrated by events and knowing that the entirety of their plan had been struck down by Amnon’s shuriken, Horatio called to his three friends and revealed their affiliation immediately in order to avoid any further issue. The remaining Dusk Riders, aside from Haddarai, then met with the Baron and did their best to explain.
Despite seeing Amnon incapacitated and held by Munn, the Baron immediately demanded that Amnon be shackled. As Amnon was cuffed by the soldiers, Munn and Horatio apologized for the horrific indiscretion perpetuated by Amnon and called it a terrible mistake. Both Munn and Horatio did their best to explain why they were in Mussum and that they were agents of the King. The Baron was outraged that an emissary of the King would even think to enter his village and attack an innocent man as Lewis (the man nearly killed by Amnon’s shuriken) had been asked to look for outlanders and report anything suspicious to the Baron given the numerous difficulties they had suffered. Trying to quell the Baron’s rage, Carlow Luntz mentioned that Amnon had come in contact with the poison from the discovered dagger and said that the potency of the toxin would explain Amnon’s deviant behavior. Somewhat satisfied with that information, the Baron then shared with the party the other daggers that had been discovered, but only after stressing to the Dusk Riders and Amnon in particular, should any of them ever draw another weapon on a citizen of Mussum, the offender would be killed without hesitation.
The Dusk Riders learned multiple mysteries plague Mussum. One dagger had been found within a horribly discolored body that was found in the Chondalwoods by some children. Yet when the children tried to bring Stephan Morander (the War Priest of Bahamut that runs the church) to the body to investigate, the corpse had been removed, but the dagger still remained.
Shortly after, one house on the outskirts of the village that was being rented to one of Fandall Jurdek’s employees was discovered cleared of all personal belongings in a seemingly desperate haste. By the time authorities could investigate, the only thing remaining in the house was another serpent dagger found thrust into a wall.
When the Party then asked the Baron about Fandall Jurdek, the Baron mentioned that Jurdek always had an excessive amount of money, but he didn’t expect that Fandall had anything to do with the daggers. Carlow also added that based on Fandall’s recent cautious behavior (which included hiring multiple men-at-arms); Jurdek seemed more of a victim to the activity rather than a part of it.
The party and the Baron then devised a plan that would have Carlow Luntz covertly recommend the majority of the party to be hired as mercenaries in order to protect Fandall Jurdek’s home. At the same time, Amnon and Haddarai would be placed within one of Jurdek’s rental homes in order to see if they would be approached by the unsavory element acting within the village. Before departing, Carlow promised to protect the identity of the party from Jurdek so he would not know they were agents of the king.
Carlow then escorted the Dusk Riders to Fandall Jurdek’s manor home – an ostentatious residence infinitely more elaborate than any other building in town. Impressed by the look of the group, Fandall Jurdek offered to hire the party for 10g.p. a day (payable weekly at the Jurdek Inn once all bar tabs had been paid). While this was a fair wage, Horatio objected to the salary and instead asked for 12g.p. a day. Intrigued by such a brash request, Jurdek wanted to see the party’s best tested in combat against his very best man. Jurdek’s best mercenary was named, Verner, and he was an oafish, but dismayingly large member of Jurdek’s mercenary force. Horatio acted as the party’s champion and easily dispatched Verner during non-lethal combat and earned the group the promised pay rate. Jurdek then offered the Party a place to stay within town and then told to report back to the mansion at dusk as the Party was expected to guard the home until sunrise.
When the party returned for duty, Jurdek then departed for the Inn and instructed the Party to come to his aid immediately should a commotion arise while Jurdek was outside the mansion’s protection. It is also worth noting that despite the normal hierarchy, as a result of defeating Verner, Horatio and the party were now seen as the defacto leaders of Jurdek’s mercenaries.
All while this was playing out, Hadarai and Amnon had been returned to the Jurdek Inn by Munan and Arthur so that Amnon could seem like a new employee. It was hoped that if Amnon was seen as someone entrusted only with cleaning the bar and the toilets, he might be approached with work better suiting a rogue.
After completing all of his various menial tasks, Amnon returned to his quarters with Hadarai seeking a restful reprieve. Before that rest could come, both Riders heard a soft knock on the door… Haddarai and Amnon both answered the door and found themselves in the presence of Fandall Jurdek and four sleazy mercenaries. It was then that Jurdek revealed himself to be the cause of the commerce raids on the Emerald Way (the main land trade route of Chondath). Despite being responsible for the various attacks, the reason Jurdek needed additional assistance was the result of losing many rogues lately in covert assassination plots and fear tactics. Not wanting these incidents to further disrupt his business, Jurdek mentioned that multiple lucrative opportunities awaited them all if they could just ignore these “distractions.” Jurdek then mentioned a caravan that would be coming through Mussum later in the week and wealth that would accompany the Princess’ Wedding Party which would tour through Mussum on its way to Arrabar.
Hadarai and Amnon accepted Jurdek’s dubious work but not before they were both cautioned by Jurdek that his reach was long and his ears heard everything kingdom wide. Should either of them betray him, Jurdek’s network would seek them out and exact a harsh revenge.