BY INVITATION ONLY The Bilge Rats - Prologue [Shadow of the Demon Lord]

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Chaka

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#41
Merry

Merry bows theatrically, the birds chirping angrily as their perch is disrupted. They fly up to perch on the troll's nose, giving Whisper the gears in high-pitched, trilling notes.

"Master Whisper! You found your way alright. Very good! Welcome to our shop." He gestures at the head. "This is Urth'qa the Indomitable. Poorly named, I'm sure you'll agree. He's been in my family for a generation. Are we ready to go?"
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#42
Whisper:

"Urth'qa appears to holding his own against the passage of time and memory at least, though being dead I imagine it gives him little comfort."

Whisper checked his knife, buttoned up his jacket and nodded. "Ready as I'll ever be. No doubt we both have customers waiting on us and time is money. Let's go."
 

Sideris

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#43
Chaka Chaka Sarky Sarky

You make for the Warehouse District via Discovery Lane in the lee of the Society of Lobstermen's ostentatious headquarters at the edge of the Docks. Foot traffic is thick with the usual suspects: noble and merchant cadres thick with privately hired guards yard workers heading to Freiland's; assorted drunks and vagrants pissing off after the night’s run; longshoremen, teamsters, and carts clog streets no matter which way you go.

The air is spicy with fresh citrus and seagull shit.

All these warehouses are just square blocks of concrete or local stone with minimal timbers for support, some still bare slag scars—lessons of the Great Green Fire just a few years back.

The Orphanage lies at the corner of Discovery and Docker’s, distinguishable for two reasons: the strings of ever-drying laundry on the roof and the crowds of children using the alleys and roads as a playground. Usually. Today, only the laundry and a barely-there driftwood sign single it out.
 

Hair

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#44
Blackclaw

"You don't have accommodation yet, I assssume, Ssstarvosss. Yesss, you ssaid ass much." Blackclaw clatters about in the back room, leaving the human and clockwork in the display area. "Hsss, yess. We can lodge you here until you can find ssomething more sssuitable." Blackclaw beckons Savros through to the back room, gesturing at what appears to be a pile of paper offcuts with a vaguely human sized hole burrowed into the middle. "It'sss a bit rough and ready, but it sshould sserve. Honestly, I'm not really ssure how you humansss nesst, but.." he trails off with a shrug.
 
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#45
Stavros

Hair Hair

"I don't," says Stavros, eyeing the pile of paper skeptically. He never thought he'd find a place to sleep more flagrantly diseased than the pile of straw he had on the ship here, and yet... Well, if he's going to wake up in the middle of the night only to be fed to Blackclaw's brood, hopefully they kill and eat him in that order. "Thank you for your... hospitality. If I may ask, how did a serpentman come to run such a shop in Freeport?"
 
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Hair

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#46
Blackclaw

"Ah, but why not assk how did you come to land into Freeport dressssed in ragss and desstitute?" Blackclaw's eyes hood and his jaw gapes slightly in what those familiar with Volassan mannerisms could interpret as a smile, a wry one at that. "A life'ss sstory iss a preciousss thing, for us," his bespectacled gaze falls upon the human beside him. "It may be that I will tell you, in time. Or you could assk Merry, no doubt he will happily essspousse on our sshared hissstory." Blackclaw bustles upstairs to gather his things. Without turning he pitches his voice so it carries to the front room. "Do not dare touch that, Russtbucket. I will know if you do, and then you will have an angry elf to contend with."
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#47
Whisper:

"Usually a lot more alive than this. I guess word reached them exactly who the killer's been targeting."

Whisper banged on the door with a gloved fist, and took a step back. "I wonder which of us will frighten the children less."
 

Sideris

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#48
Chaka Chaka Sarky Sarky

The broad doors creak open showing a gloomy interior, a weatherworn face of an older man resolves from the black along with a multitude of orphans mooning for a look above and below him.

“Wozzon f’is habba? Kinsa ellp ‘ee?” That authentic gibberish kickstarts both of your brains. Must be Father Morris, head of the Orphanage. Not a soul alive can understand him save his second.
 
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Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
#49
Rustbucket

Should anyone look into the display area of the shop they will see Rustbucket comically frozen, fingers inches away from a map of shipping lanes from Freeport to Landfall.
"Just havin' a looksee, is all"
 

Sideris

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#50
Hair Hair Ragoza Ragoza DarckRedd DarckRedd

The front door bursts open in a wave of green flesh and godawful stench straight from the Devil’s anus. Shrill voices and conversation punctuated with kicks and punches. One stands a little taller with brass capped boots, kicking aside the others, his titanic ears rimmed in gold earrings.

Realizing you’re looking at their crass selves, he seems almost sheepish for a moment.

“Uh, you guys the berks wot make with the nice mappin’?

Goblins, mate.

Ragoza Ragoza

Your feet are aswarm with the little bastards crowding in from the street.
 
#51
Stavros

"Point taken." He hesitated on his answer. These people could hardly be trusted not to immediately sell him back to the Sultan, whenever he restored order, and... Well, the giant snake had a point. "My apolog--" And then the goblins burst in. He took a step back, hand dropping to the dagger concealed in his vest. Goblins. The ultimate proof that god laughs at his creation, not with it. He glanced between Rustbucket and Blackclaw.
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#52
Whisper:

Oh gods, he sounds like a drunk with a stutter

"Uh... yes, hello, we were sent by the Watch to, um... ask some questions..?" He looked hopefully at Merry.