While the party unwinded a bit from their previous job, they started to feel a little more at home in the city. Ross started looking for a way to draw heat from Baron Zygon by telling a traveling merchant to bring word of his presence in Bridgeport. Anathul spent more time in Hell’s Gate to get a better feel for tiefling society in his new city. Kieran started checking for any sign of his old crew from the Blue Bolt in the Portside docks. Maphira began researching whatever ancient entity she inadvertently made a pact with. However, the guildmates’ individual initiatives were put to a sudden stop when they were ambushed in their own bar by a rival guild – the Bridgeport chapter of the Capital Venture Exploration Syndicate. Claiming that the Durgenheim Delvers were mere upstarts who didn’t deserve their newfound publicity, they proveked the intrepid adventurers into starting a fight.
It was a quick and bloody fight, with Capital Venture delivering most of the damage. “Just” Finn downed Ross with little effort – two strokes of her longsword enabled by some careless spellcasting on the cleric’s part. Kagemaru Ishimoto struck from the shadows and disabled Anathul with a single shuriken. Kee Lo Watts enraged Ba’ab with some deeply felt insults and magically superheated his armor, causing him to recklessly charge the spoony bard, only to be cut down by Vignar Rimewalker’s massive axe.
Capital Venture did not leave without taking losses. Ulno the Oathbreaker’s greatsword failed to hit its mark, and Maphira drove him to madness before he could do any damage. Tess managed to wound Alya Shatterstar (who had just summoned a quasit to aid in the battle), and Kieran managed to drop Kagemaru with a few well-placed blows. Despite this, Capital Venture was clearly the victor, and as one final insult Finn instructed Ayla to burn down the liquor behind the bar with a flaming sphere before leaving.
A few days later while trying to rebuild the bar, the guild was approached by a shady-looking gentleman who introduced himself as “Sweet Tooth” Saccharo Trather. Claiming to work for “the man with very big nuts” – an undercity crime boss occasionally spoken of in allusion in Bridgeport – he tried to shake down the party for his organization’s protection racket. Reluctantly agreeing to his terms, they parted as amicably as could be expected.
A few days after that, the guild was approached by a peasant named Simon Sylphwind claiming to represent the Sylphwind Lumberworks, a lumber company that operates on the east side of Pallan’dur. He claimed that his family had an agreement with a dryad who lived in the forests near the lumber mills that allowed him to ship high-quality wood back to the city, but in the past month the trees had been stricken with some strange affliction that made them unsuitable for building. On top of that, he is unable to locate nor contact the dryad. Inspired by their bottle-cap advertisement and blissfully unaware of the drama surrounding the guild the past week, he offered the party 750 gold pieces to resolve the issue, as well as provide the guild with the escort contract for any future shipments in the city. The guild, short on work and hungry to blow off some steam, accepted the job immediately.
Unfortunately, however, on the way out of Bridgeport the party was surrounded by some thugs who also claimed to work for Mr. Big Nuts. Claiming they’d been told that they rebuffed Saccharo’s offer, they attacked the party to make an example out of those who defy their organization. The party swept up the thugs without significant effort, but interrogating their leader revealed that one of the mobsters they’d killed was actually Saccharo’s sister. Meanwhile, Simon withdrew the job offer from the guild, terrified at the idea that he may be calling down some unnecessary heat on himself for hiring them. Brimming with anger over whoever had interposed themselves between the criminals and the guild, the party immediately contacted Saccharo in order to explain the situation.
A few hours later Saccharo arrived at the Shady Corner with a few men, demanding to see his sister’s body. While visibly perturbed by the events, he indicated that he understood that someone had been deceiving both parties involved, and suggested that they meet with Mr. Big Nuts himself.
Leading the party through serpentine Bridgeside streets, they finally met Mathuk Bignutz at what was apparently his headquarters – a surprisingly upscale tavern called the Peacemaker’s Paradise. Explaining that he meant no disrespect to the guild, he expressed his consternation that a third party had been meddling in his affairs. Unfortunately he had more pressing matters to attend to, and proposed a new contract to the party in consolation for the one they’d lost from Simon – the retrieval of a long, thin parcel that had recently been shipped to Bridgeport and had hundreds of gold worth of nondetection spells cast on it. Offering an exorbitant sum of gold for its retrieval, the party happily accepted the job.