As the party sleeps soundly in their modest accommodations above Marina’s Magic Shoppe, the sly Westimus “West” Connors eyes pop open, and a fox like smile creeps across his face.
He artfully scoops up his copious amounts of treasure and sneaks out into the bustling Waterdeepien night, bound for the docks distract and his old stomping grounds.
With much haste he scales the final gate, and without making the slightest noise, leaps to the ground and finds himself back within the familiar confines of the docks. The moon is full, the air is rank, and an eerie wolves howl can be heard echoing in the distance.
The accustomed twists and turns of the various streets and back allies he knows so well lay before him. He knows that his old hideout is a little less than a mile from his present location, in the West end of the distract, perhaps he picked that corner for a reason other than for it’s security and seclusion?
The last known hub for the Thieves Guild, that he’s aware of, is in the far Northeast section of the distract. However, they’re notoriously paranoid, and headquarters could have changed half a dozen times since you’ve been gone. There’s also the fondly remembered residence of his old flame, a girl named Desmona, not too far from where he is right now.
Despite a certain amount of longing to at least see Desmona again there was no way West was going anywhere except his hideout so long as he had a pack full of loot.
With a deep breath, one part a longing to see Desmona though knowing he probably never will again, and two parts a healthy dose of trepidation at what probably awaits him in his hideout, he sets out, ever cautious and with weapons ready.
Nooks, crannies, rooftops, and shadows mark his path as he slowly and stealthily make his way to the secluded ramshackle building that served as his hideout for so many years. Much to his surprise he sensed no one following him, nor does it appear that anyone is staking out the building as it finally comes into sight as he scales the abandoned warehouse across the threadbare street. His lips curl into a grimace, he doesn’t like surprises, that is unless He’s the one doing the surprising.
Although the place seems dilapidated from the outside, he knows full well that looks can be deceiving. A lot of blood, sweat, and hard stolen coin went into overhauling the interior of the structure with various deadlocked safes, some of the most lethal traps he could get his greedy, dexterous hands on, and one very tasteful, comfy bed if he does say so himself.
Atop the warehouses roof he takes another deep breath. The air is salty, but not unpleasant this close to the shore. Men of all races can be heard working tirelessly in the various shipyards and loading docks even at this time of night. He gazes up at the sky and watches the clouds start to roll in with a slight breeze, it’ll rain tonight he thinks to himself, followed by the realization that he’s stalling. Whether he sees them or not, they’re certainly out there, waiting for him, and he can’t hide forever, even if he is so damned good at it. That final thought brings a smile to his lips, but he quickly sobers, gathers himself, and decides that it’s time.
Nobody wants to lug around a wet sack…. of loot. There is one back door that he didn’t even tell Jack (his back stabbing old partner) about – Thieves are, after all, thieves. He hefts the loot up onto his shoulder and shimmys down the drain pipe of the warehouse. Despite the numerous daggers tucked into his clothes and strapped to his wrists and ankles, his mind turns to his blackjack. West finds it difficult to contemplate murder, even for revenge. Not only could he maintain myself almost indefinitely inside his hideout should he be besieged, but he’s sure an underground passage he had installed which led into the sewer systems could serve him well.
West finishes stashing his hefty sum of coin in one of his safes, slams close the heavy adamantine door, and spins the dial for good measure. Back on his feet he moves to the East wall to check one of his “windows” which is in fact a rather ingeniously constructed serious of mirrors which function in a way similar to a periscope and allow an uninhibited view of the hideouts surroundings from a much safer perspective.
Everything seems clear…there, across the street, third floor window of the old tenement building. It was only for an instant but he’s certain he saw the business end of a mean looking crossbow, West darts back behind the wall. They’re here, they just must have not seen him go in…or maybe they did, and wanted to see how he did it, and now are going to get him on the way out as well as figure out for themselves how to loot the place! Perhaps he’s being paranoid, but either way, it seems prudent to finally put that trapdoor into the sewer to good use.
He checks the windows one more time. Damn, they’re not even hiding anymore, he counts at least five armed enforcers approaching the exterior of the building. “They definitely know I’m in here.” he thinks hurriedly. He’s confident he could take most of them out before they even got inside, and it would save him from having to worry about them robbing the place after he left, but that kind of bloody business was for assassins, anyways that’s what the traps were for. “If they figured out how to get into the inner sanctuary, were deft enough to pick all the locks, and clever enough to disarm all the traps, then hell, they earned it, and if not, well that’s their own damn fault!” he thinks with a chuckle. His amusement is cut short however as he hears the telltale creaking on footsteps on wood. “They’re in, time for me to get out.”
He slides the old carpet out of the way, and lifts up the wooden trap door, making sure to pull the carpet back as he lowers the door back over his head and descends into the little alcove he had installed. Once West was satisfied the door is secure overhead he gets to work prying up the purposefully unsturdy floorboards beneath him to reveal the next door. The gnomish contractor whom helped him construct many of the various “precautions” his hideout had to offer made it very clear he thought the trap door beneath West’s trap door was more than a little excessive, maybe he was right, but he’d take excessively paranoid over excessively dead any day of the week, thank you very much.
West finally pries up the last floorboard as the stench of the sewers bellow begins to assail his nostrils in earnest. He’s about to lower himself down when out of the corner of his eye he sees a large shadow brush by below and perhaps a faint grunt or growl? He hesitates, but the sounds of footsteps above are growing louder and more numerous. The possibility of danger below must outweigh the certainty of it above, right? His mind made up he takes his last big breath of clean air and hop into the sewers.
West descends into the sewers down a makeshift ladder, secure in the knowledge that both trap doors are sealed behind him. He pulls at his shirt, placing it up over your nose in a vain attempt to escape the smell, and climbs down the rest of the ladder. There’s about a ten foot drop at the end of the ladder, he lets go, and lands nimbly on his feet trying hard not to look down at whatever filth he felt squashed under his boot as he landed.
It’s been a long time since he traveled this route but if memory serves him, he’s got to have about four blocks to travel until there is any other entrance to the streets above, but about seven or so if he wants to travel far enough away from your hideout as prudence would require. Seven blocks wouldn’t be so bad, he thought to yourself, if it wasn’t seven blocks over terrain like this, climbing over rubble, crawling under low or collapsed stonework ceilings and trying to remember all the various twists and turns that will eventually lead him out. Not to mention having to avoid that dire rat, or whatever cast that shadow, he saw on the way in, they rarely travel alone and he’s got more than enough trouble to deal with already.
He traverses the first four blocks without much difficulty, and find himself at the nearest manhole to his hideout. He briefly considers using it, but it’s a fleeting thought. “I’d rather deal with the smell than the thieves guild tonight.” He decides, and just as he were about to continue something odd catches his eye. At the base of the ladder there’s a leather shoe, splashed with a bit of blood. It’s still bright red, so probably rather fresh. “Some poor, drunken sod must have fallen down into the sewer, doubt he got very far, if he survived the fall at all. Guess someone’s having a significantly worse night than I am.” West thinks to himself as a smile creeps across his lips and he continues on.
The smile is still on his face until after a few more blocks something else occurs to him and the smile quickly fades. “If he fell in, why was the manhole not uncovered? Perhaps someone came by afterwords, noticed it open and closed her up, least they suffer the same fate? Aww well, not my probl-” His thoughts are immediately interrupted when he turns the next corner and finds a body missing a head, an arm, and what appears to be a significant portion of necessary organs , oh, and a shoe, and he realizes it has unfortunately just become his problem.
In the moist humidity of the sewer he can see a sickly steam rising up from the recently gutted victim’s exposed torso. Fresh blood stains the walls and parts of the ceiling, it drips and runs down into the slowly flowing water waste that traverses the sewer. He cautiously approaches the body, rapier in hand, to get a better look at the wounds. They’re deep, and viscous. The gnash marks on the bones are large, and spread out, this was no dire rats, that’s for sure. Some of the blood splatter seems to form a haphazard trail leading North, heading the direction he traveled, as his gaze follows the trail into the distance it is eventually obscured by the darkness. “To the hells with it, I’ll take my chances with the closer manho-” again his thoughts cut off abruptly as movement catches his eye in the distance, in the direction of the blood trail. He strains his eyes against the darkness, but sees nothing. As they slowly adjust he can just make out what appears to be eyes. Large, pale yellow eyes, reflecting what little light there was down here. They blink, and before he consciously realizes what he’s doing he’s halfway back to the manhole, running faster than he’s ever ran in his life, and he can hear it chasing him, gaining on him, and it’s big. He turns a corner, than another, and the exit is in site. He leaps over the pile of rubble, grabs onto the rungs and pulls, the manhole is in site, just a few more feet, he’s almost there when he feels a terrible pain run up his leg, and suddenly the wind is knocked out of him as he realizes with great disorientation, that he’s on his back. It’s on top of him, his thoughts are racing, it’s growling, it’s spittle is clouding his eyes, West’s leg is in agony, the beast, it’s so hairy, some kind of animal, feels like it’s burning up its so hot to the touch, West’s rapier is still clutched tight in his right hand, and he thrusts out blindly towards the creature and feels his blade pierce the creature, he doesn’t know where he hit it, but the blade entered the beast without much resistance, it’s deafening howl hurts his ears, it’s gotten off him, he madly reaches for the ladder and scrambles up it as fast as he can, oblivious to the searing pain in his leg as it takes his weight during the climb. West takes one look down over his shoulder at the monster as he lifts the manhole cover, it’s a fleeting glace, and all he sees is a mass of blood and hair, teeth and claws, and those eyes, those chilling, pale yellow eyes…“No, EYE, just one eye, HAHA! I got that bastard right in the eye!” West thinks triumphantly as he staggers on to the street above. He makes for the nearest ally, and the blackness of the night sky seems to be clouding in around him as his vision narrows. “It’s not following me…” he mumbles as he falls to his knees near a pile of refuse. His eyes close, and he hears footsteps near by. “Who’s there!?” West tries to say but not much manages to come out, his last conscious thought is of the delicate, yet strong hands which gently begin lifting him up. “It’s not the monster, anything’s got to be better than the monster…right?”
When he wakes up, West is lying on a couch. A rather comfortable one at that. He’s almost forgotten about what just happened when the pain in his leg hits him with a vengeance, as if punishing him for not remembering. He’s just starting to get a sense of familiarity from his surroundings when a sweet voice says, “For a minute there, I thought I was never going to see you open those pretty green eyes again.”
West looks up and sees a striking figure leaning against the door frame. A stern, but never the less, warm smile lights her face, and it occurs to him suddenly just how much he missed that smile. He looks her up and down one more time, and as his eyes finally come to a rest locked on her own he says in a weak voice;