Bignutz informed the guild to meet him in the Bridgeside marketplace the following morning to discuss the finer points of the job at hand. True to form, he had no escort save for the Delvers themselves, and they hammered out the final details about the last known whereabouts of the “parcel”, how payment would be dispensed, and instructions for handling the contraband upon successful extraction (short version: DO NOT TOUCH).
However, the otherwise uneventful stroll was cut short by a small group of orcs and half-orcs (concealing their faces with bandannas) attempted to attack Bignutz. The party’s newest employer instructed them not to interfere, and welcomed their attack with the same poise and serenity he displays in his business dealings. Only one of the would-be assassins found the stomach to actually attack the man (the rest seemingly gripped by a sudden, borderline supernatural fear of Bignutz), and when the attacker’s shortsword connected with his neck, the blade shattered as though it had struck a brick of adamantine. Horrified at his failed attempt, Bignutz had a short conversation in Orcish with the man, instructing him to return to the Peacemaker’s Paradise later for some work. Thusly, the Delvers were introduced to Bignutz’s peculiar techniques for “talent acquisition”.
Later in the day, the guild cased the warehouse where the parcel had been shipped to. Between Kieran’s prior knowledge of the old Dockside shipping hub, Anathul‘s infiltration skills, and Tess’s penchant for investigation, they learned that the warehouse was home to some very questionable activity. Outside of the premises, a group of ostensibly drunken sailors were in fact acting as a sort of clandestine guard shift for the facility. There also appeared to be more people entering the warehouse than leaving it, and with no ships stopping by to pick any cargo or personnel up, there were far too many people inside to simply run a warehouse. What few people did leave appeared to be dressed in the telltale chainmail, shield, and spear of the Bridgeport City Watch. Also, the doors appeared to be soundproofed, which is an expensive enhancement for a building that otherwise looked rather dilapidated. Posing as a group of ne’er-do-wells (with little acting necessary, if we’re being honest), the group made contact with the facility’s apparent supervisor and were instructed to return after dusk for some “shipping” work.
Upon returning, the party immediately noticed that the “job” entailed unpacking what appeared to be counterfeit City Watch arms and armor. The supervisor, himself posing as a guard captain, noticed the party already equipped with various weapons and armor, and immediately sensed their ill intent. The ensuing fight was a short one, as aside from their captain none of the fake guards were ready or equipped to deal with a team of seasoned adventurers.
About ten minutes of investigating (read: looting) later, the door to the waterside portion of the building opened. A guard with a terminal case of curiosity noticed his dead comrades and the building’s apparent invaders, and called out to Lyra for help. The human weretiger-for-hire put on an impressive display of force, but ultimately yielded to the Delvers. The party judged that she was merely a hireling of the real menace behind whatever plot the party was in the process of uncovering, so instead of killing her they merely tied her up and stuck her in a shipping crate for the time being. She did indicate that the man who hired her was in the room beyond, and that it was unlikely that the sickly-looking old man would put up much of a fight.
Indeed Lyra’s estimation proved to be true, though in a roundabout way. The party opened the doors to see the rest of the miscreants draped in the telltale red robes of a cult of Asmodeus, Infernal Lord of the Nine. Their leader, endowed with infernal spellcasting, summoned a devil to aid with dispensing the adventurers. A bearded devil sprang forth from nothing, and told the man his price was “five years”. The particulars of devil summoning and the pacts, deals, and bargains that bind them were beyond the present party members, but the lead cultist seemed particularly perturbed by this, commenting that previous prices had been in seconds or minutes at most. When the devil commented that it was simply a matter of supply and demand, the lead cultist, exasperated by desperation, accepted the terms.
While the cultists fell in quick succession – even the leader, who attempted to harass the party with infernal magicks – the bearded devil fought on in accordance with whatever pact he made with their leader. He seemed to be focused primarily on Ross, whose chaotic radiant spells seemed to offed the devil on a very personal level. Eventually, with the party’s combined efforts, the devil was discorporated and the battle was won.
On the leader’s body, the party found a tome detailing some of the finer points of infernal summoning rituals, as well as a personal notebook with some esoteric notes making reference to an object referred to as simply “The Nail”. The destination address of the parcel was also contained in the notebook, and so the party set out to finish the job they started after untying Lyra and inviting her to work as a bouncer in the Shady Corner.