We arrived at Fellig and reported to the garrison to drop off the wagon. Bronah was offered medical assistance by the contact we met, who turned out to be an old acquaintance of Bryce’s, who was now working for the military. The guy was nicknamed ‘Weasel’ and had the look of a street roamer about him. I’m not sure I trust him and we’ll have to watch our backs for any double crossing.
I had set my mind on getting a nice carbine, a while back and put a plan in motion back in Armandor to get hold of one. There should be plenty of officers here in Fellig now with some tasty kit that if it went missing they wouldn’t even know or care. With this in mind I spent the afternoon looking for a friendly face in the quartermaster’s area.
As it happened someone recognised me and we spent the evening catching up over the nice whiskey I bought for this very purpose in Armandor. His name was Jones. He was an old hand and was borderline retirement now, but they just couldn’t let someone with his amount of experience go, and to be honest he didn’t want to leave. He’d been in the army for so long he’d be lost without it. So Jones and I were reminiscing and the catch up was in full flow by the end of the first bottle. After a break for a piss and a bite to eat, I opened the second bottle and beckoned him to sit a little closer as I unveiled my plan. Jones knew what the score was and it wasn’t the first time he’d done something like this. I knew I could trust him as close to half a year’s salary in gold had a profound effect on someone of his moral fibre. Also there was always someone about who was dead wood to take the fall. Either too stupid or too incompetent to even be in the army yet here they were, every regiment had them. Getting them booted out of the army would be doing both parties a favour, as gods forbid that you would have to put your life in their hands in a battle.
The deal was struck and in the morning I would be the owner of a shiny new Radcliffe Heavy Carbine. Widely regarded as one of the finest weapons ever to come out of the Radcliffe Gunwerks, the workmanship on these pieces was exquisite and the action was as smooth as a wench’s bosom. It would give me the advantage at range that I had been missing so far.
After finishing the second bottle, considerably quicker than the first I might add, I tottered of back to the tavern to turn in for the night. An evening well spent, as I also pumped Jones for all the local scuttlebutt and told him to spread the word that we were in town and looking for work.
I felt bad for the guy. He was just trying to scrape by and things can’t have been easy around Fellig recently. But him and his mates definitely picked the wrong bear to poke that night, and only one of them would live to regret it. Still that night’s events might have been enough to scare him onto a more honest path. We had been jumped almost every night since leaving Five Fingers so you can hardly blame me. The stump must have been sleeping with one eye open to notice the buggers as they tried to sneak into our room in the middle of the night unnoticed. Stump even gave them a verbal warning, whereas my automatic reaction was to point ‘Thunder’ at the first chap and let him have it. In retrospect I was too hasty but we were all still highly strung after having been on the road for the past week, and add in the best part of a whole bottle of finest Ordian spirit and you’ve got a bad mix.
The first guy earned himself a fist sized hole in his torso and Stump redecorated the corridor with the second. The last guy rightly pissed himself but ran into the loving arms of Bryce and Mortlock further down the corridor.
The innkeeper called the watch and the Stump and I got to sleep it off in the cells whilst we awaited the magistrate in the morning.
Just our luck then that the Ordian troops decided to spend the next day shelling the town which delayed our hearing indefinitely. I spent the day playing ‘What does thy eye espy?’ with Stump and finding out his favourite colour and discussing effective methods for incapacitating scumbags barehanded.
We find out the next day that Bryce and Mortlock had met with the town bigwig and secured out release at the cost of our last mission payment. Bugger. On the plus side we did get a new job off said bigwig so I guess it all evens out in the end.
I headed back to the inn to collect my gear and apologise to the landlord, then ran off to meet Jones to collect the Radcliffe and a few ammo wheels. We then all met up and sat down to hash out a plan for the coming mission.
While we sorted out the details, Bryce cooked up some armour black for us all, as with this one stealth would be key. We would have a detachment of rangers supporting us which was a nice piece of good news, as those boys are handy to have in a fight. The job was evicting a couple of mortar crews from an abandoned mansion on the road south of Fellig. This lot were hampering the civilian evacuation effort and removing them would certainly buy us some goodwill with both the general populace and the military in Fellig.
The plan was to carefully sweep the woods surrounding the mansion and then locate a hidden rear entrance and then clear room by room inside.
It was only a day’s trek to the outskirts of the woods and as we cleared through them we took out a couple of woodsmen holed up there. We found the secret entrance easily enough and Bryce seemed to have a sixth sense as to where it was and his knowledge of the local geography was uncanny. What took the biscuit was him having the key for the door to the secret entrance. Evidently all is not what it appears to be with young master Bryce. The questions would have to wait until later, although the only not who seemed not to be bothered by these events was Mortlock. Something had transpired whilst we were in jail that they didn’t feel like sharing.
As we walked single file down the dark and narrow corridor towards the mansion’s centre it felt like the rabbit hole had, as yet, no visible bottom.