Seeing the party's unease, Barnaby seems to want to reassure them, but, hearing Bala's words, is unable to restrain himself and bursts out laughing quite loudly.
"You are definitely my kind of people. You'll fit quite well in Needham harbor. Hewer, take them to Edgor".
Hewer accompanies you out of the building, and towards another a couple hundred feet from it, saying, while walking:
"The Rear Admiral is not what one would call of noble birth. Unlike the local lords, who can trace their lineage to before the Empire, his is not even certain what his grandfathers' names were. That's why he likes people like you and me, but is never friendly with the likes of Duke Joharr and Count Gerrold".
The building you enter is smaller than the citadel you just left, but is still quite impressive in its own right. there is no reception desk here, and you follow Hewer, who leads you to a rather cluttered room. In it, you find a rather heavy-set man with messy black hair and a goatee. He looks like this:
"Hiya, Hewer, what did you bring me this time?" He asks, in a jolly manner.
"A gift from the Rear Admiral. These people are newcomers to... well, the world, really... He asked to help them with some supplies, and, in way of payment, they are to help you with some of your errands".
Edgor the quartermaster seems puzzled, but then delighted:
"So, you're telling me, that these people are not from the Navy, nor are they beholden to the emperor, the duke and the count? I mean I can ask them to do stuff without thinking about jurisdiction and other darktaken crap like that? Well, count me one happy fella, then".
The quartermaster turns to you:
"So, tell me, what type of errand would you prefer? Reconnaissance, intrigue, or good old-fashioned fighting? Oh, and what do you need from me?"
"Well, quite a few peasants here are not well versed in the identities of their ancestors either, and that is exactly the point. The aristocrats, who consider themselves better than everyone, know who their great-great-great-great-grandfather was, while the Rear Admiral most definitely does not. To them, this means, that despite all of his achievements and status, he is no better than a common peasant, and, therefore, is beneath them. That's why, Duke Joharr, despite knowing that he cannot challenge the Imperial Navy and live to tell the tale, is still very rude and condescending, and dares to raise an army, even if it is, right now, not doing anything".
Then, after the party has arrived to the quartermaster's office and are talking to Edgor, he listens to the opinions expressed, and says.
"First, reconnaissance is, basically, scouting. So, you lot prefer to scout and to fight. Well, I have just the errand for ya to run, then".
Hearing Gedyr's words, about the lack of arms and armor, Edgor says:
"Well, that is not a problem whatsoever. Follow me, please".
He turns around and leads the party to a much larger and far more cluttered room. it is not particularly well lit, but you can see well enough. In the room, you are greeted by a sight of numerous weapons and armors, as well as a bunch of tomes lying about in a corner, which, you can assume, are spell books. On the other end of the wall, there are several racks with armor overlaid on them. There are all kinds of swords, daggers, axes, bows, spears and so on strewn around the room. Basically, any simple or martial weapon, be it ranged or melee, can be found here. The spell books are also for, pretty much, all schools of magic. As for armor, they range from all types of leather to hide armor and chain shirts.
Edgor, slightly apologetically, looks over the room, and turns to you:
"Sorry for the mess... I've been meaning to clean it up for... Oh, I dunno, the last couple of years or so... Never managed to get to it... And, ya know, I can find where everything is here, so why bother? Just don't let the Rear Admiral know how things are laying about, and we should be fine. Also, we are a Navy, so, generally, don't tend to wear heavy armor, or have magical weapons, unless specifically requested, and specifically requested items do not stay long in my inventory, so there's that.
Now, each of you can take any one ranged weapon, any two melee weapons, any one armor piece, and any spell tome, if you require, though I somehow doubt that. Consider that part of your fee for the first errand you will run for me. Also, and I am being very charitable here, I will throw in 30 Gold pieces for each of you, upon successful conclusion of the assignment. And don't bother negotiating, I'm the undisputed king of hustlers here, and you won't get a better deal however you may try".
He waits for you to pick up your new gear, then escorts you back to his study, and says:
"So, if ya remain in my service after this, I will have more choices for ya, I'll even prepare a sheet with payments and stuff like that. But now, since ya made your choice about the style of the errand, here's what I want ya to do".
He pulls out a painted map of sorts from his desk. Here's what you can see on it:
"Here's the map of Kirkleigh and Needham Harbor, the town's on the right, and we are on the left. The author was a Hellkin, and, we forgot to specify, so he painted it in their style, meaning that the North is down and the South is up. That makes it too confusing, so I will just give this thing to ya, free of charge... And, well, ya can see your crash site here too. That is not your ship, of course, but that is where crashes do tend to happen, so ya can consider the beached ship below Needham harbor to mean your vessel...
So, what was I saying? Right... What I want ya to do... to the bottom left you can find a ruined temple. It is not a temple of Light, instead being devoted to some god or goddess that I can't be bothered to remember, and who nobody really worships any more. So it is in disrepair. That is usually not a problem, but the thing is, we have reason to believe, that the Duke's men may be decided to use it as a covert base of operations. We don't want for the Count to find out, of course, and the Navy can't openly intervene, since it is out of Needham Harbor, so that is where ya come in. Go to the Temple, scout it out, and make sure that there is nobody there. If ya find them, make sure that they are dead, and there is no way to identify them as the Duke's men, or anybody else's for that matter. Ya can keep all the stuff ya find there, though please keep the grave robbing to the minimum. Oh, and, we know that if there are indeed the Duke's men there, at the very most, there will be a dozen, probably fewer, so no need to worry that ya'll have to kill an army. Also, getting there ain't gonna be hard, follow the road, and, when ya see the temple in the woods, go towards it. The woods are, supposedly at least, quite safe... So, what do ya say?"
Once the map is brought out and the description begins he gets serious and follows all of it very closely. He won't interrupt it, but is ready with questions. He is obviously in his element approaching these types of situations.
"Do you have any other intel? How do they communicate, how is the resupply organized, are there any other access points? If they flee, which direction would they most likely head in?"
"And by chance do you maybe have anything that would help at least one of us disguise themselves as Duke's men?"
OOC: Yup, that was what I meant, I amended Edgor's words to be more clear.
Responding to Dihek'nir's words, Edgor says:
"No, we have no information on how they are organized, as they are beyond our territory and we're just trying to deescalate the situation. As for the access points, well, the Temple, as I recall, has only one entrance, so if they are inside, you can go in and be sure, they won't run away. And no, closing the door won't work, it's a huge entryway, and it's way up high. As for disguising, no, that is not an option, as, say, you disguised yourselves and then the Count's men found you, they'd attack you on sight, so not really a good idea".
Gedyr nods..."This sounds like something we can do." Gedyr will grab a scimitar, longbow, and Studded leather armor, and peruse the spell tomes. He will also investigate the area looking for crystals. "Would this be the quartermaster's stock you were referencing earlier? Perhaps we can ask about the crystal?"
22 Investigation of room and books.
ooc: Note that it would take 2hours and 50 gp per level to copy any spells, so not something to use right away per my understanding. Should I just pick a few of a certain type and assume they are in the book?
"This is indeed the quartermaster's, so, my, stock, but it ain't the only stock, friend, the Navy has way more stuff, ya know" Edgor says, then, listening further, continues: "I ain't sure what that rainbow crystal is, though. Tell yea what, you go run this errand for me, and I'll ask around and find out about it".
OOC: As for spell books, they have nothing particularly interesting in them. They are there, which means, that if any of you forgot your spellbook, you can add one in your inventory, and if you want to change your spell loadout, you can use them for this and you'll automatically know that spell (but you won't learn any spells that your character couldn't know at this level, of course).
Dihek'nir finishes donning his new armor and strapping the heavy crossbow to his back.
"Do you happen to have like a shovel and a crowbar? I find these always seem to come in handy."
He looks at Bazhak appreciatively for taking a heavy crossbow as well. "Lets rest for the night somewhere close to the edge of the city so we can get going before first light. We don't want to be seen heading out heavily armed like this and then later some bodies are found in the same direction, do we."
"Edgor, what would be a suitable lodging for us so we can stay quiet and private and leave really early with the least possible fuss? Which direction do you yourself live at?"
Edgor, listening to your words, tends to go around a corner, disappear, and soon reappear with the items you mentioned. He has everything excepting heavy armor and a glass eye.
"So, armor - I can requisition it for ya, not really a problem. Same with a glass eye, I don't even want to know why ya need one, but both will take some time. As for the rainbow crystal, as I said, I will inquire about it and will have news soon, probably after ya have returned from my assignment. Now, as for lodgings, I will be kind enough to grant ya a night at the spa".
He finishes speaking and pauses, as if expecting applause, or, at least, a chorus of thanks, and is slightly disappointed, but then realizes:
"Oh, ya have no idea what the spa is, do ya... Basically, it is a hospital, hotel and rejuvenation center rolled into one, built upon some naturally occurring hot water streams, which is very popular here with our soldiers and officers, though to prevent overcrowding, we only let people in when they actually need it. Ya do look like ya have been in a fight, so ya're free to peruse its services. And there will be a room for ya there as well. Dark take it, ya can even bring Hewer with ya, he deserves some rest".
Hewer thanks Edgor and you leave the quartermaster's offices. You turn right after exiting the building and, several minutes of walking later, enter a round building, built with red bricks, with quite a bit of steam coming from it. Within, there are a number of large rooms, each the size of the Void Skipper's deck. The rooms are rectangular, with domed ceilings and a lot of round columns within. The rooms do not have doors, with open hallways separating them. You enter one of the rooms, seeing a huge pool of steaming water in the middle and large beds around it. An attendant, clad in white, takes each of you and instructs you to disrobe and first take a swim in the pools, resting within waters for at least half an hour.
"Don't worry about your items, they will be as safe as anywhere here", Hewer says and does as the attendant told him.
The waters of the pool are very warm, but also extremely pleasant. It is clear, that the water is not just sea or river water that has been heated, instead being chock full with healing minerals. After the thirty minutes have elapsed, you feel absurdly relaxed, though when Hewer starts climbing out of the pool, he says:
"And now the real healing begins".
This seems confusing at first. You are soon instructed to get onto beds as well. The initial attendant is replaced by individual attendants for each of them, who, disappointingly, are not scantily clad beautiful women. Instead, they are generally quite overweight men with either a mustache, a bald head, or both. However, their hands seem to be magic, as the massage you receive leaves you the most relaxed and rejuvenated you could ever imagine anyone feeling. All of you, having had a rough day before, fall asleep on the beds after the massage is over.
You are woken up the next day by Hewer, who, it seems, had gone to sleep in his private room, woken up, gotten dressed and has come to retrieve you.
"That's a rookie mistake, fellers. These beds are good, but the rooms Edgor got us were the officer lounges, you would have slept even more amazingly there. Now, get up, you have a job to do".
You get dressed, realizing that you are completely and entirely healthy, being cured of all your recent injuries. After seeing you get ready, Hewer accompanies you outside and leads you to the gates of Needham Harbor.
"Now, f you follow this road, it should take you within the vicinity of the temple. The last couple of miles will need to be walked within the forest, but no worries, there is nothing dangerous there. I cannot guarantee anything about the temple's contents, though, hopefully Edgor's right and there will only be a handful of lightly armed men there. Also, remember, the assignment is to make sure there is no diplomatic incident. If the Duke's men die and their clothes are destroyed, that would be a simple solution. However, if you take prisoners, make sure that either the Count's men do not find you while you're en route to here, or, at the very least, be certain that they do not realize it's the Duke's men that you are hauling. Good luck to you, may Light shine your way".
With this, you leave Needham harbor and go alongside a nice paved road, which soon gives way to a slightly less so, but still nice dirt road. After several hours of walking, you see a stone building protruding up from the forest. Realizing this is the temple you are supposed to investigate, you go towards it, replacing the road with a tiny footpath. Another hour or so later, you see a large temple. it looks roughly the shape of a pyramid, with two smaller buildings flanking it. The smaller buildings are in a very rough shape, with clearly nobody having entered them for quite some time. As for the main temple, it looks like this:
The huge flight of stair leads up to the only entrance of the building. Upon approaching the stairs, you notice, that the dirt covering the lower steps has clearly been disrupted, with several human footprints being visible. You have certainly found what you were looking for.