Wilds of Neverwinter
Goes by the name Petros Milner. Human soldier, noble birth, heir to the merchant family Delo-Trillo
The hot air of the city refused to yield any relief of breeze or moisture. Instead, the room baked in the midday sun of Flamerule. The figure stood at the balcony, peering down the tower at the line of prisoners being led to the gallows. The faint sound of drums could be heard over the din of the city.
Garrin Trillo swatted a fly away and returned his focus to the chained prisoners. He counted 15, mostly young men, a few looked more like boys. The line was flanked by Mintarn guards. Their armor gleamed in the bright sunlight.
The young man ignored the sweat beading on his forehead. His focused was broken only by the voice of another man in the room proper.
“M’lord,” called the voice of Silas Grenco. The old man was weathered, frail, and tired. His robes were well made, but old-fashioned. In his arms he carried a bundle of correspondence and parcels. Garrin didn’t answer. Silas turned more and called out louder, “What are you staring at, may I ask?”
“Prisoners. A group of prisoners is being led to the gallows. Execution, I’m guessing.”
“Ah, yes. I had heard that would be happening today. Dreadful business.”
“What was their crime?”
“I believe, sir, public dissent. Open support of the Nashers and their ilk.” Silas read the next letter, then called out to Garrin. “Lady Evelyn invites you to spend midsummer with her family. They’ll be hosting a party in honor of her grandfather’s eightieth birthday in addition to the normal midsummer fextivities.”
“Decline,” he replied, without looking back. “Were they the ones who burned the storehouse?”
“No…no I don’t believe so. I think they were rounded up during a protest of rationing rules. If I may, sir, Lady Evelyn is a very attractive prospect, both in beauty and in standing. You would do well to pay more attention to women of her measure.”
“Since when does simple dissent merit a death sentence?”
“Please, my lord, reconsider Lady-“
“Oh, for the love of the gods, enough with the…Lady Evelyn can wait. She isn’t going anywhere. These boys are going to die for an act…they’re unhappy with the way their city is being run.”
“If I may, sir, they knew the penalty for the rule when they broke it.”
“You sound like Uncle Carlin. We used to help defend this city. We built weapons and armor for brave souls who volunteered to protect our way of life. Now we make a living arming these…thugs…they’re little more than brigands. And they are about to hang 15 boys for dissent. This is not what dad taught me.”
“He also didn’t teach you to measure your actions against your foes. You speak too loudly to the wrong person, you’ll end up in that line as quick as lightning. And no one will save you. Your uncle will be lucky to get out of the city with his head intact himself. You can’t rid the city of Sabine yourself, and even if you could, who’d keep the guards in check then? Hmm? Some idealistic, proper noble with no battle experience at all? The son of a merchant family? The last heir to a weak name that only carried weight in a court that was dead long before any of us was born?”
Garrin remained silent. Silas walked to the doorway.
“Open rebellion will gain you nothing, m’lord. Find a wife. Marry well, make an heir, bolster your standing with the Lord Protector. Maybe in time things will settle down and you’ll be in a better position to make the impact you want. Doing so now would be suicide.”
Garrin remained silent. Silas returned to his desk. The drums stopped, and gasps and screams drowned out the sounds of the trap doors and snapping rope.
Garrin cleared his throat before speaking. “Lady Evelyn is in Waterdeep?”
“Write to Lady Evelyn, with my regards, and accept the invitation. Also, send a letter to Riley, and tell him I will need the villa for at least the next month.”
“I’ll have Gerrard organize an escort for you.”
“No. I’ll ride to Waterdeep alone.”
“I can reach the city faster and safer alone than with a convoy of guards that will only draw attention. I can take care of myself.”
“Yes, m’lord,” the older man sighed. He knew it was pointless to argue. Instead, Silas prayed to whatever god was listening to watch over his young master during whatever dumb plan he had concocted unfurled.
It had been a tenday since Garrin had taken the room at the House of a Thousand Faces. A week of waiting, of eating, of drinking, and more waiting. He’d gained weight in that time. His beard was patchy and rough, which broke his facial lines up, making him nearly unrecognizable. And he still waited.
He was camped out, as he always was, in the corner of the inn, with good sightlines of the other patrons. There had been quick bursts of excitement now and then, breaking up his boredom. A fight here, a spontaneous round of singing there. And still, he waited.
The newest patron walked straight to the bar and spoke quickly with the elf serving the crowd. The elf pointed a finger to Garrin’s corner and the patron followed it. He was a hard-faced, middle-aged human with a scar over his right eyebrow. He nodded approval and approached Garrin.
He stood at the table, his grey cloak obscuring the weapons and gear strapped to his body. With a hushed tone, the man spoke. “What’s your name?”
“Petros,” Garrin answered.
“Uly said you were asking about work?”
“He is correct.”
“How good are you with the bow?”
“I served on the Waterdeep guard for four years.”
“No kidding?” the stranger looked back to Uly, then turned back to Garrin. “You were under Captain Ilgar?”
Garrin shook his head. “Ilgar? Not familiar. I was on the south wall, under Hinkle.”
The stranger smiled. “Hinkle likes archers.”
“What’s the job?” he probed.
The stranger sat down. With a hushed voice, he continued, “We’re hunting Rats.”
Garrin’s eyebrow raised. “Rat-rats or Dead Rats?”
“They’re not dead yet.”
“We’re putting together two groups to hit two sites, keep one alive to interrogate elsewhere.”
“We hear they made a move against Silas Veil about an hour ago. Using kids to murder people, even Teiflings? We think they’re planning something big for Midsummer.”
“You think any more than a half-dozen people know their Midsummer plans this far out?”
“We have to start somewhere.” The stranger leaned back in the chair. “So, Petros, are you in?”