Trouble at t'mill

With a purpose in mind the group start some preliminary planning about how to kill a miller. The two nobles think about using their social status to gain an interview with the miller with the intention of setting up some kind of business deal. This, they reason, will appeal to Quassia’s reputed sense of greed. At the same time the two barbarians will offer to act as some form a protection after suggesting that his life might be in danger in an elaborate double bluff. The idea is that the two groups will combine at an opportune moment in a pincer and achieve the murder. Their escape should be covered either by the nobles’ approach by land or by the barbarians approach by barge from the lake. Satisfied that they have a workable plan with enough flexibility for improvisation they set out towards the mill.

The party take a barge down the lake. On the way they learn that Quassia is despised by almost everybody involved in his business. He is accused of cheating suppliers of grain by short measuring and short paying. Also, he is alleged to cheat the people he supplies flour to by cutting his product. However, they learn that it is his wife who is the driving force behind the business.

Before they arrive at the mill the two nobles disembark with their horses to approach by land the following day. As Crannoch and Tiagra arrive at the mill they are surprised to see a large compound with a number of guards installed. The mill has substantial docking facilities as well as numerous out buildings presumably for warehousing, processing, accommodation and other purposes not yet know. The land approach has a well built stockade protecting the compound. Crannoch and Tiagra are met by large man carrying a two handed spear who asks them what their business is here as they are obviously not traders. They respond with the prepared story that they are mercenaries here to help protect Quassia from an expected attack. The man who introduces himself as Setia weighs them up carefully and offers them employment at a silver piece a day plus bed and board. However, they will be expected to pitch in with the running of the mill. He shows them a bunk house where the two mercenaries work out that there are probably twenty guardsmen in the compound. Setia is aware that Quassia is in danger but the pay is good. He sets the two mercenaries to work on the day shift and they start a detailed reconnoitre of the compound to look for tactical advantages. During the evening change of shifts they meet a small man armed with throwing knives and daggers at his belt named Paramor the head of the night shift.

While the two mercenaries are becoming familiar with the compound and the movements of the guards the two nobles approach the mill from the land side. They arrive at the gate in the stockade mid morning and gain access without any difficulty. Crannoch posts himself on the stockade giving himself a great view of almost the entire area. Tiagra makes sure that he is close to the large house. He shares a glance of recognition with Pidmerion and Vestorius as they are escorted into the house to meet with Quassia.

The two nobles are shown into a plush office space on the ground floor of the three storey building where they meet Quassia. He is a fat man in his thirties with ruddy complection. The two young men see the arrogance in his eyes and the ostentatious display of wealth in the room. Vestorius sets out his plan to ship Quassia’s flour to the major town of Deva to the south stating that he can get inflated prices because of his influence and that they could share the profits. Quassia only considers the offer for a moment before rejecting the offer stating that he does not need the services of middle men as he is considering expanding his business in that direction anyway. Vestorius and Pidmerion emphasise the importance of noble agents and that they would be more successful working together. Again, Quassia rejects the offer, this time summarily. This is the cue for Vestorius to take umbrage and he draws his sword and lunges at Quassia. Pidmerion, expecting the assault, reacts almost instantaneously and the two noble men slash at the flailing merchant inflicting numerous wounds to his arms and legs. The commotion brings in a guard and the two noble men know that they have a fight on their hands. Vestorius dispatches Quassia with rapid accurate strikes to the left arm and a grave wound to the abdomen, while Pidmerion turns to the guard and runs his rapier through the top of the guard’s mouth. The fight was short but brutal and the room looks like an opulent abattoir. Pidmerion gathers his will and focuses on the fire rune he inscribes in the air. There is a short rush of air towards him and then a whoosh of expelled energy as all the flammable items in the room ignite spontaneously. The two young noble know that their escape depends upon their companions’ efforts outside.

As the alarm is raised the compound becomes a flurry of activity. Setia, the captain of the guard, runs at full speed towards the house gathering other guards on the way. Crannoch sees this and from his elevated position unlimbers his bow and looses an arrow which finds its mark and Setia drops to ground with a serious wound to the left leg. This gives the other guards pause and the hesitation is all the opportunity the barbarian needs as he drops two more guards with two more precise shots. Tiagra, from his position close to the house unleashes an unexpected attack on a guard rushing past him towards the house. His axe tears down the guard’s exposed back killing him instantly and in a fluid motion he reverses the swing of his stroke to fell another guard.

The two nobles exit through a window as the house is now burning rapidly. The courtyard is pandemonium as guards try to decide whether to dowse the flames or chase their attackers. Without clear leadership confusion reigns and the party are able to move through the chaos towards the docking area. As they board a barge and push off they see the house burning brightly with people trying desperately to contain the blaze, with others milling around and some tending to fallen guards.

The party take stock of their situation as they put distance between themselves and the burning Mill house. They have achieved their commission and escaped unharmed. Satisfied, they make for the town of Sendat taking care to scuttle the barge some distance away. True to form they head for a tavern and drink to their success.