The Shadow Hagglers (Part 1)
Now safely back in town, Malachi made his report to his Captain. Once that was over, the captain had a mission for Malachi and his friends. A crimminal had been captured who was known to work for the Shadow Hagglers, and was obviously in town for a mission of some type for that orginization. The captain wanted Malachi to find out what was going on in the town.
Using some brute force, malachi found out that the man was a messenger from the city of Trader's Heaven, and was to meet with another messenger and receive information in the form of a scroll for his boss. Because the man was new in town and was captured right away, Malachi decided that his group could disguise themselves and act as the recipient of the scroll.
The plan worked well, and Malachi and his friends discovered that Kesmos, leader of the Shadow Hagglers, was offering the Crystal Shield, a royal heirloom lost in the battle of Midtown almost 200 years ago, for sale. The shield was thought stolen by the Dark Queen, and it's recovery would be an enormous boost to the morale of the Arember troops, as well as a welcome treat for the king. The captain decided that he wanted to do everything possible to retreive the item.
Searching for any lead possible, Malachi went to the local prison to interrogate prisinors there. Once such person revealed that he often sold item to the Shadow Hagglers, and that they woked out of a small tavern known as the Falcon's Rest. He also mentioned the names of Vilos and Rotan, two crimminals who were in town and two of the most deadly men around.
Once hearing that the famous crimminals were in his city, the Captain decided to end the misson, thinking the risk too great. malachi insisted that they try to uncover the Crystal Shield. The captain agreed to give Malachi ten men and to allow his friends to help him, but that the kingdom would have no official part of the investigation. If they were caught, malachi would take the blame. Malachi agreed, not thinking highly of the captain's decision.
Disguised as common thugs, the group visited the Falcon's Rest and discovered that Vilos and Rotan were at the tavern. They also discovered a secret exit in the well in the back of the tavern, an obvious escape route. Finding it not guarded (as it was well hidden deep within the well), the group decided to use the opening as a way to sneak in and possibly steal the Crystal Shield. Of course, they decided to have the ten soilders waiting if things got ugly.
The Shadow Hagglers (Part 2)
Malachi and his men traveled to the secret entrance early in the morning, so they would have the most likely chance of catching their foes asleep. they could then steal the Crystal Shield without a fight.
Once inside the well, they discovered that the secret entrance led to an opening to a hidden set of rooms, just as they had thought. Malachi had heard that the theif Rotan loved to set traps with riddles and puzzles, and this dungeon was no exception.
One of the Shadow Hagglers was singing in a drunken stupor ahead in the dungeon, which served the group well as they investigated the rooms. Although they did set off some traps that were meant to alert the Hagglers, the man's loud voice allowed the heroes to go without being noticed.
After solving many riddles and discovering the location of various keys, Malachi and his men discovered a false Crystal Shield, and then the location to the real shield. However, they had taken too long and the Shadow Hagglers, including Vilos and Rotan, had awakened and were coming their way.
Malachi and Michael blocked the doorway as the rest of the adventurers escaped up the well. Lynnya used her magic to cause many of the guards that did enter to fall fast asleep, but Vilos and Rotan finally entered, leaving Malachi and Michael to face them.
However, Vilos was not interested in fighting, as he knew that he had already lost the shield. He claimed that he would find Malachi in the future, and let the men go, thinkiing them normal crimminals.
Malachi decided to wait in the barracks for a few days to let things die down, and then planned to travel to Portraven to give the Crystal Shield to the king himself. However, the Rod made a strange glow and sound that Malachi had never seen or heard yet, and he decided to let armed guarda deliver the shield and he and his band left in the morning to the south west, in the direction the Rod was pulling them.