Cragar's question echo his own thoughts, so Faust gives a brief and approving nod to the dwarf.
Cheerfully, Voitto supplies, "He lives all alone. The alchemist downstairs is his next-door neighbor, but the shop closes up at night, so it'll be empty." Another gout of smoke from his nose punctuates this statement, and he adds, "A staircase in the alleyway next to the shop leads up to his door, which is the only way in or out unless you're ready to go through a window."
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
Cragar nods, then gestures with his head toward the door. He walks back out into the weather with slight squishes as he goes.
"Now that is a sound basis for a plan. My suggestion is that someone keep an eye on the street for anyone jumping out a window while the rest of us go through the door as discretely as possible. Probably a little later when we're expecting he's already asleep." Gravington doesn't seem to mind that Cragar missed his suggestion or is getting wet again for no apparent gain.
"Plannin' now is a waste of time. We could sit 'round and talk all night about the ifs and what hows of it or we could just walk over and see." Gruum shrugs, "Maybe we'll get lucky and get ta wackin' the guy over the head with no trouble at all. Worse of it, we come back knowin' a bit more how its gonna be done and I haven't had to sit 'round with you sops all night chattin' 'bout shit we ain't done yet."
Having kept silent, save for a soft 'snert' sound of stifled laughter at Cragar's soft but boldfaced question, Fricka finally speaks up. "I concur," she says, still all smiles and rainbows. "There's no sense planning thug work as if it were a heist of the crown jewels. We can figure out a plan of action when we see the place... if we need one, that is. I mean, if one, two, three, four, five..." (she points to each person in turn) "...of us can't manage to get in and neuter a single pervert without a bunch of fuss, then why would we ever hope to expect greater responsibilities?" If she's aware of how at odds her bright demeanor is with talk of literally emasculating a man, she doesn't show it.
"That works for me. The one benefit of leaving now is that a mixed gang of our nature isn't likely to draw undue attention that it might at a later hour." Gravington moves toward the door in league with the team.
"Oh, one last thing?" says Fricka to Voitto, still all smiles and rainbows. "The club girl, the one our target can't stop pining for? Do you know her name?"
"She calls herself Sohvi, but I don't really think she was born with the name," replies the half-elf, cheerfully, "and frankly I don't give a damn."
"That will suffice. Thank you," says Fricka pleasantly as she turns and leaves.
Late Night, Urthan 27, 973 IRStreet of DistillersVellum Quarter, Floresta, Aureshan Empire
It takes you almost two hours to get to the Street of Distillers, and the downpour doesn't ease the entire time. You'd be able to hear your feet squelch when you walk, if not for the steady patter and hiss of falling water. It's just cool enough, now that the heat wave has broken, for the whole experience to be uncomfortable and annoying. But the gate between Foreigners' Gate and the interior of the city is closed to anything except "emergency" traffic during the night, and none of you is volunteering to bribe the guards into considering your errand an emergency. And even if you did get inside the walls, you'd just have to go back out again at the Mountain Gate (or more likely, you'd have to wait for dawn, since the Mountain Gate is locked and unmanned at night).
So it's a walk in the rain for your not-very-merry band, until you're standing in the street outside what you believe to be the correct building. The building consists of two floors, with an alchemist's shop on the ground level, at least; there's a sign out front, bearing the name 'Minka Gabor.' The front of the building is dominated by a large window, currently shuttered, but probably open during business hours to display goods to entice customers. And down an alley to the east side of the building, Cragar can just glimpse a set of stairs leading upward to what he guesses must be a landing or stoop.
Immediately to your right, there's a much larger structure, four floors in extent. To the west of the alchemist's shop, there's another two floor structure that looks like it must be a townhouse for purely residential use, because there's no sign of a large shop window like the one that dominates the front of Gabor's shop. Since Voitto mentioned that the alchemist lives next door to his business, you can surmise that it's Gabor's home.
It's dark out here. The last light source you saw was out on one of the broader avenues that has municipal lighting hung from cables or stuck on posts, which also is where you last saw anyone awake and moving around—a little cluster of young men, probably university students on their way home from a drinking session at a tavern somewhere. But that was a few minutes ago, and the rain is still pouring down. It's quiet now.
Blue 1 - Cragar
Blue 2 - Faustus
Blue 3 - Fricka
Blue 4 - Gravington
Blue 5 - Gruum
Cragar points to himself, then down the alley. He points toward Faustus, then down the alley. He points to Gruum, then down the alley. He points to Gravington, then he points to where he is standing. He points to Fricka, then he points to where he is standing.
Fricka looks Gravinton up and down before turning to Cragar. "Why?" she asks. "This doesn't have to be difficult. Or loud. We leave two out here to watch and I talk the rest of us into his place. A messenger sent in secret by his lady-love and her two bodyguards. Once inside, we do what needs to be done, you make sure he doesn't die, and we all walk away. Quick, easy, and as quiet as... well, you."
Cragar contemplates, then nods. He points back and forth between Faustus and Gruum while looking at Fricka with a raised eyebrow. Realizing that the gnome may have difficulty seeing the eyebrow in the dark, Cragar takes one step into the alley and waits patiently.
Fricka wastes no time. "You." She points to the orc. "We'll need some muscle in there. Would you come with us please? You and you..." She points to Faust and Gravinton in turn. "Watch the door and make sure nobody surprises us before we're done." Her tone isn't impolite, but she's all business. She moves into the alley, allowing for Cragar to move ahead of her.
Gruum shrugs and follows.
Cragar, shield raised, walks to the stairs while slowly looking for a string or other trap that would alert their quarry of their coming.
No such traps meet his investigation. Before very long, Cragar, Fricka, and Gruum are looking up a flight of masonry steps toward a kind of open-air landing. There's a door up there, but the stairs and landing feature nothing that resembles a railing. It'd be easy to suffer a nasty spill if you were traversing them in a hurry during wet or icy conditions. If you were really unlucky, you could go right off the edge of the railing and fall a ten feet or so to the dirt of the alleyway below. The best that could be hoped for is that a pile of refuse might cushion your fall enough to lessen any injuries.
"Step back a little ways, guys," Fricka says. "We don't need him getting spooked." After waiting for them to do so, Fricka knocks on the door boldly. She's just someone visiting a friend. In the rain. With bodyguards.
There is no immediate answer. But then again, it's late at night, so the man you're looking for may be asleep.
After a moment, Fricka knocks more insistently. "Mr. Philo?" she calls, loud enough to be heard on the other side of the door, but not so loud as to disturb the neighborhood. "Mr. Philo, I come from... from Sohvi." She tries to put a bit of timid uncertainty into her voice.
Finally, there is a faint sound of life on the other side of the door. More specifically, there's the noise of some glass or ceramic container being knocked over, followed by an annoyed, "Shit!" And then the sound of footsteps approaching the door. A section of the door flips aside, revealing a sort of peep hole through which Fricka can see a human male. Presumably Philo.
He's not a pretty man, to say it charitably; if you were saying it uncharitably, you might say he's ugly. If you were just blurting out the first thing to come into your head, you might use the phrase, "face like a stack of assholes." He has the beginnings of a double chin, currently darkened with a couple days' scruff of salt-and-pepper whiskers, and his face gleams as if it's been awhile since he washed. Glassy, blood-shot eyes complete the picture of someone who's been on a bender, probably alternating between drinking himself insensible and crying his eyes out.
The apparition growls, "What? Who are you? It's the middle of the night!"
"My name is Mavris," says Fricka. "Mavris Merryweather. We have a mutual acquaintance in Sovhi. Can I... can I please come inside? It's raining out."
The human squints out through his door, and growls, "You're not alone out there. Why're you showing up with muscle on my doorstep in the middle of the night?"
"Are... are you joking?" says Fricka, mixing indignation into her uncertain, meek facade. "What could a female gnome possibly need with bodyguards in the city?"
Fricka sighs audibly. "You know what? I don't need this. I tried to do a favor for a friend who's in a bad way. She asked me to come talk to you and pass on a letter. But here I am out in the rain and my boss would kill me if he knew I was here, much less why. So you just have yourself a good night, sir!" She practically spits the last.
She makes a show of bundling herself up in her cloak, preparing to brave the weather.
"So where's the letter?" asks Philo, pretty obviously just bent on being a dick to his ex-girlfriend's friend at this point.
Fricka lays a hand on her person, seeming to unconsciously be checking to make sure a letter is still in a pocket under her cloak somewhere. "Good night, sir," she repeats as she turns away. "Gentlemen, let's get out of this rain," she says to her two companions.
"Wait," barks Philo.
He takes a deep breath, and manages to moderate his tone. "If you'll have your bodyguards step away, then I suppose I can let you in. Just you."
Fricka plays at considering it. "Fine," she says finally, with a bit of reproach in her voice. "But only because she seems desperate."
She turns to Cragar and Gruum. "Boys, wait for me down by the street. We'll be on our way shortly." She speaks like someone who expects to be obeyed, like a woman speaking to someone she's hired.
Gruum grunts something unintelligible and shrugs. He glances at the other "bodyguard" and starts backing away from the door.
Cragar nods and begins slowly walking down the alley toward the street.
Philo waits, clearly doing his best to listen in case the pair are trying to retreat only out of his line of sight.
Gruum continues until he's where he was told to go. What does he care of the smart ass lady wants to get raped and beaten?
With the pair finally reaching the street, Fricka says primly, "I've done as you asked and my guards are gone. Can you please let me in out of this rain now?"
Philo pauses a moment, then replies, "Let's see that there's really a letter, first."
Fricka stares at the porthole as though in disbelief. "I don't know what happened to you to make you believe that a woman literally half your size is a threat, and I'm sure I don't want to know. But I do know that whatever this is, I'm not standing out in the rain for it any more. She can send someone else if she wants to talk to you so badly. Enjoy your evening alone, sir." Fricka makes to turn and leave.
"Sohvi never mentioned you. And it seems awfully strange that she'd send someone to intercede for her and also send a letter with that person. A messenger with a letter? Fine. A friend I've never heard of, but who's going to talk to me anyway? Well, whatever. Both? And she needs two fellows with her? For safety?" The human looks skeptical.
"This doesn't add up. I'm thinking you're here from her madam to give me a kicking. Old whores don't like to see their girls get out of the game early."
Fricka gives an almost pitying look toward the porthole. "Yeah, the little gnome girl is here to slap you around. Tip for the future? Maybe it's what we are, but no woman anywhere likes to be called 'whore." I don't know what it is she sent me here to accomplish, but she's well rid of you, I think." Having said her piece, Fricka turns and actually begins to leave.
When Cragar makes it to the street, he waits for Gruum and Fricka. When everyone is assembled, he asks one short question.
"Any objections to Plan B?"
He pulls out his dagger.
"No, but I think we should give him some time to relax."