The next day, the party arrived at the street of the Board & Blade to find Snakebite and Ogranak already there, accompanied by a large group of grunts from both gangs. They stood huddled together in an alleyway, safely hidden from the view of the Griffon base. Seeing them approach, Snakebite waved them over to where he stood with the Black Hammer boss, looking over the papers that Papalonius had delivered to them.
“We have a problem,” he announced. “The leaders of the Griffons are holed up in the hideout under the Board & Blade, but they have another outpost very near by—a former guard barracks, well-fortified and teeming with Griffon men. As soon as we make a move for Pegason, they’ll swarm down on us and we’ll be backed into a corner.”
“We should split up,” Ogranak continued. “We’ll need a group of warriors to hit the guard barracks. They will draw the attention of the Griffons away from their headquarters, and hold them off for as long as possible while another group goes after Ian Pegason. The Black Hammers will gladly volunteer for the barracks attack.”
“That won’t be enough,” Snakebite argued. “That barracks houses every Griffon in the district. The Wyvern’s Sting will assist you. All we need is a small strike team to take Pegason out…and I’ve got a few people in mind for that task.” He turned to the party. “Ogranak and I will be splitting up as well. One should handle the barracks, and the other will come with you. Who do you want?”
After some deliberation, the party chose Snakebite to accompany them. Ogranak led the gangs off in the direction of the Griffon barracks, while the others casually entered the Board & Blade.
Heart of the Griffon
Amorion smoothly walked up to the counter, where the shopkeeper stood eyeing them. “We’re looking for work,” the sorceror said nonchalantly.
“We ain’t hiring.”
“That’s not what I mean.” After some thought, Amorion changed tactics. “Tell me about Ian Pegason.”
Andreus shot him a look, but Amorion ignored him, staring down the shopkeeper. The man behind the counter returned his stare, then sized up the group of them, one by one. Finally, he muttered, “Come with me.” He exited the shop through a door behind the counter, which appeared to lead to a storeroom. Pushing aside some crates, he revealed a wooden trapdoor, which he opened and descended down through. The party followed, with Snakebite in the rear, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.
The shopkeep led them down into a cold, stone passageway lined with doors. After a moment of weaving through the underground base, three heavily armed Griffons pushed past the group, running towards the exit. The party shared a knowing look—the barracks must be under attack. Their guide was noticably unnerved, but continued nevertheless.
“He’s suspicious,” Damathus warned the others under his breath. “He’s leading us into a trap, I bet.”
Amorion decided to quickly remedy the situation, drawing his dagger and pressing it against the man’s back. “We’re not idiots,” he stated. “You’re going to take us straight to Ian Pegason, and nowhere else. Understand?” The man gulped before hesitantly nodding. They continued into the base.
As they neared their destination, the guide opened the door in front them and promptly threw himself to the ground. Several crossbow-wielding guards stood in the large room ahead, and made the connection immediately, opening fire. The party dove into the room, eager to get out of the narrow, vulnerable doorway. Gorgalac stormed straight towards the guards, hacking at them with his greataxe, with Andreus not far behind. The others lobbed spells at the Griffons until the last enemy fell, spectacularly beheaded by Gorgalac. There was only one other way out of the room, which led to the heart of the base—Pegason’s office.
The Truth Comes Out
“Don’t move!” he screamed as they entered. He was a human, dressed in fine clothes that didn’t match his ugly face, which was contorted with a mix of anger and fear. He was flanked by half a dozen well-equipped guards, their weapons drawn.
Amorion stepped to the front of the group after retrieving the severed head of the guard they had killed in the room behind them, holding it up for the Griffons to see. “This is what happens to people who stand in our way,” he warned, his voice dripping with menace. “If we got this far, why would you fare any better than this guy did? Now…” He tossed the head towards Ian, where it landed with a sickening plop on his desk, rolling until it was staring the Griffon boss in the face with its dead, haunting eyes. “Drop your weapons.”
GM’s Note: This is what happens when you roll a natural 20 on an Intimidate check ;)
Half of the guards complied, leaving their positions and sprinting past the party and out the door. Pegason hesitated, then ordered his men to attack before dropping to the floor behind his desk. The party made short work of the remaining guards before turning to the man cowering behind the desk.
Snakebite strode up to him, lifted him from the ground, and threw him against the wall. He pulled out the stolen Griffon orders and thrust him in the human’s face. “Start explaining,” he commanded.
Pegason fidgeted nervously as he spoke. “Okay, okay! Oh, gods above…I’m a dead man anyway. I had to warn my men against you and Ogranak, because I knew you’d come for me eventually. I knew you’d want revenge.”
Snakebite punched him in the gut. “Revenge for what?”
“For setting you up!” Ian confessed. “I learned about your meeting with the Black Hammers that night, and tipped off the guards. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. With both of you out of the picture, the slums would lose its two biggest powers, and I could get the Griffons to take over in your absence. I had more power over this city than you or Ogranak ever did! I don’t regret it…you would have done the same thing, in my position!”
Snakebite scowled, refusing to give Pegason the dignity of an answer before driving his dagger into the coward’s throat. “We’re done here,” he told the party.
After finding their way out of the underground base, they headed for the barracks to assist Ogranak with the assault. It turned out to be an unnecessary endeavor, as they arrived to find Griffon bodies scattered around the premises and Ogranak standing outside, unharmed.
“The Griffons were even weaker than I expected!” announced the half-orc. “We had no trouble. Our men actually made a pretty good team.”
“That’s good to hear,” Snakebite responded. “We found Ian. He was the one who turned us over the to city guard during our meeting.”
“I hope he got what he deserved.” Snakebite nodded.
“Now that this is over, though,” he said grimly, “the truce is off. Things have to go back to how they were before.”
“Do they?” Ogranak asked. “If you didn’t sell the Black Hammers out, and I did not sell the Wyvern’s Sting out…perhaps we could find an agreement. Perhaps even-”
“Settle this on your own time,” Damathus interrupted. “We did our part. Now you need to get us out of the city.”
The gang leaders turned to the gnome. “Very well,” Snakebite answered, slightly annoyed. “Follow us.”