As the group races off to Rivers Rest, a crowd swarms with people running with you carrying buckets and axes – and with people running frantically the other way, as if to get away from something horrible. Large wagons filled with barrels of water and men hanging off the sides rumble down the streets pushing people out of the way. A massive column of black smoke arises from the direction of the main thoroughfare through Rhydden – in fact, it looks like about where you would find the Craven Raven.
As you approach the Craven Raven, several people are shouting “Fire!” and running to knock on doors nearby, as fire pours from the upper story of the inn, and the roof begins to cave in. Russo sits blackened and bloodied on the back of a nearby wagon, being tended to by a young woman and interviewed by two town guards. Lok recognizes these two men as the guards he saw arguing on the porch of the Red Bearded Dwarf a few days ago. When Russo sees you approaching, he jumps down off the wagon, pushing past the town guards, and runs right at you, screaming “You! You! You did this! You cost me everything!”
Russo ignores your attempts to talk to him and runs right up to Lok, putting his finger on his chest. “Your fault!” Spittle flies from Russo’s mouth, and he has the crazy eyes. “You brought this on me!” People stare at you, and the guards put their hands on their swords and walk slowly your way.
After a little back and forth, Russo calms down and explains what happened: “He came in and asked for you. Wanted to know where your rooms were! I told him you moved out.” He looks at Lok, “I told him you were at Baker Street and he just laughed at me! Said it was a library or a kitchen or something.” He shakes his head. “So he started beating me with his fists. Had that other man hold me down. Said to stop lying to protect you.” He glowers at you. “Like I’d want to protect you lot!” He lowers his head and spits blood. “Couple of guests heard the ruckus and tried to help. He and his goons cut them up.” The fight has gone out of him. “They knocked over a lamp in the fighting. Pretty soon the whole place was on fire. They left me for dead. If not for my girl, Maryna, I’m sure I’d be dead, too.” He falls to the ground, and sits in the mud, his head in his hands, sobbing.
The Guards approach cautiously, hands still resting on the hilts of their swords. Lok is positive now these are the two men who were at the Red Bearded Dwarf, and suspects they may be somehow on the take from Mr. Davos. “What’s all this now?” the larger of the two men asks. The smaller one pipes up, “Yeah, what’s this going on about this being your fault?” He points at Lok.
The guards back down when Lok and Wulfe turn the tables on them about their role in the matter. They look around anxiously, and exchange looks before nodding at each other. The smaller one lifts Mr. Russo off the ground and helps him away. “Come on, Mr. Russo, lets get you some help for those cuts.” The large one turns to you, “Look, we don’t want no trouble. No one was supposed to get hurt. We was just supposed to be here to take down Mr. Russo’s report and…” he looks around sheepishly… “make sure that we found a suitable culprit — if you know what I mean.” He looks at you expectantly, then continues when you don’t acknowledge. He sighs, “Russo doesn’t make a lot of friends, and there are plenty of vermin in this town that could benefit from being… well, from trying to escape while being arrested.” He winks.
When you ask about the Red Bearded Dwarf and/or Mr. Davos, he looks uncomfortable, but finally relents. “Yeah, we was being paid by Mr. Davos to… occasionally look the other way. Or help out in a pinch,” he says, pointing his thumb over his shoulder at the inn. He sees the disapproval on your faces and quickly adds, “Look, we got friends who’ve told us Mr. Davos is a big name in the resistance. We didn’t see anything wrong with taking a little extra pay to help out the cause.” He seems sincere about this.
When you ask where Mr. Davos is now, he kicks his foot in the ground. “He had us show up here about an hour after sunrise, just to keep people out while he talked to Mr. Russo. He had a couple wagons with him, and two men to help him. They was joined by a third wagon with that Trollkin of his, and two other men, including the sneaky little bastard I’d like to throw in a dungeon somewhere. Mr. Davos came out in a hurry, they loaded up the wagons, and rode for the city’s east gate. He laughed and said ‘Mr. Russo might need some help,’ as he rode off. We didn’t think nothin’ of it,” He shrugs. “We didn’t even know there was a fire until his girl pulled him out and smoke came pouring out after her.”
After this, Lok examines the scene. It doesn’t take much more than a quick survey of the area for Lok to piece together what happened. Fresh horse feces and tracks on the mud show two wagons sat side-by-side here. 3 men went inside. A third wagon joined them shortly thereafter, and two men and a trollkin got out. All three wagons departed together, heading east down the main thoroughfare. Near the back of where it seems the third wagon sat, you also find a shattered glass jar and a stopper that has your initials etched into the side, something you often do to mark your concoctions as your own. Residue inside tells you it was vial of bottled light. Clearly a jar of your bottled light fell from the wagon. With what you learned from Russo of the group’s intentions, you believe the third wagon came from your alchemy lab, and that you will find it ransacked. And you are certain that the meeting with “Mr. Davos” was all just a clever ruse to get you all out of the way for this specific window of time. You actually admire the level of intelligence it took to orchestrate such a complicated plan. But you also surmise that Davos had no idea where your current lodgings are, or else he would not have wasted his time here, and so he is obviously not quite worthy of your admiration.
Lt. Hegel appears at the edge of the crowd, spots you, and walks towards you. “Hello, gentlemen. What in the Urcaen is going on here?”