Skullport Shakedown: One Night in Keel Hall

“Your cloven-hooved friend plays it close to her chest.” Tio smiles and replies. “Sometimes. I wonder how long it’ll last. Her surprises are usually good ones.”

From out of nowhere, Din appears next to the pair of tieflings. “Speak of your elders and betters that way, huh? For shame.” With a wink, she disappears again, either to some dark corner or perhaps to the middle of the revelry in which Elissa holds court; the various guards and patrons of Keel Hall mill around her in a carousel of drink, gambling and shouted challenges.

Damien, off to the side, inclines his head towards the bartender, who grins and reaches under the bar for a small bottle. A single drop falls into a beer stein. The dwarf sinks into his beard with satisfaction.

“So,” Bosskyn says, nudging Tio, “have any theories on why The Guild would be after Drow couriers?” “Hm. No. It even seems early days to conclude that they actually are. Especially if they’ve been playing The Guild for fools by letting themselves get caught on purpose.” Elissa busies herself convincing a trio of the ever-present guards to form a human pyramid and seems to try to cajole Din into being at the top of it. “Though,” Tio continues “if true, I’d say that Cory and the key were bycatch of a hunt for one of those nimblewrights.” “So you have no idea what Volothamp needs that key for?” Tio shakes his head. “None of my business, either.” Boskyn tilts his head. “Really? Not even a tad bit curious?” Tio shrugs, then realizes that Bosskyn can’t see him and makes a noncommittal sound.

Din, having more or less escaped from Elissa’s acrobatic displays and random bursts of flowers which now grace the trio of piled up guards, looks up at the pair. “Of course he is curious. Hells, I’m curious.” She pokes Tio in the thigh. “Trying to play it cool, huh? But I know better. You seemed pretty willing to accept that proposal by… whatstheirfaces… Fel’rekt and Kerbbyg and their little clanky pal.” “Bhinros. From the Bregan d’ Aerthe.” “Yeah, that’un.” “Aaand you were plenty eager to help that nice old lady from the place where you can get your papers all fancy made” Bosskyn guffaws. “I’ll tell Tasselgryn you referred to her and the Poisoned Quill that way.” “As you should.” Din responds, primly, turning a gimlet eye towards the horned Zhentarim, whose eyes are fixed a few inches over her head. “She seemed quite pleasant and proper. And I noticed she was quite good friends with your scaly flying friend.” “Oh, yeah, Zsokia is very fond of her.” Din beams. “Do you think she’d know a place to find a sweet friend like that?” Bosskyn shrugs. “Maybe ask her?” Din sniffs at this unhelpful comment, turns on her heel and walks over to the stool next to Damien.

Soon, a rapid-fire questioning about the domain and history of Loviatar starts, questions high-pitched and clearly audible, answers grumbled, slightly slurred from behind beard and stein.

Elissa rappels down from somewhere near the ceiling on what looks like a decorative piece of rigging, landing on the floor boards with a decided click. “My wife, as per usual, has a point,” she says, staring at both tieflings. “Explain to me what use a glorified thieves’ guild has for religious fanatics?” The satyr seems to almost sway on her hooves, but then recovers. “Yeah, sure, they’re sadists and all, and I am sure torture is, like, both their hobby and half their trade, so why outsource the fun to a bunch of uptight, self-flaggelating godbotherers?

Bosskyn laughs. “Indeed. Not a bad point.” Elissa stares up at him, unimpressed. “We already killed one of them. Him and his fell monster buddies. What even were they. Well, doesn’t matter. Those leather-clad, pale-haired boys said there was a more powerful one up in… Skull keep. Skull castle. That prison thing.” Bosskyn smiles at the satyr. “I’m sure. But do you want to concern yourself with that right this instant, or would you rather try some Luskan sparkle?” Elissa’s eyes light up, but still she says. “I’m not that easily seduced, young man.” “Auntie,” Tio sighs, “I don’t think he’s trying to seduce you.” “Well if he has any sense he’s not. I am very firmly off the market.” “Enjoy the sparkle wine, Auntie. I’m off to bed.” She stamps a small hoof. “Mixing business with pleasure can be very edifying, Tio. You should try it sometime.” She reaches up, pats him on the cheek and moves to the bar with a hop and a skip.

As Tio turns towards the bedrooms, Bosskyn says “Not taking her advice, then, huh?” Tio smiles “To every bird its tune, Bosskyn. That’s hers. I save the revelry for after.” “I’ll remember that. I’d like for you to prosper with your family.” “I’m sure you do. Good night, Bosskyn.”