Call to Arms

Way of the Jade Mantis, part 2

The Paper Mantis

Safely docked in the port of Hellas in Menios, Roan warn Sova and Knedal their names and families cannot protect them here. The Yan are deeply racist and will use any excuse to arrest them, harass them or take their property. They agree to keep a low profile.

The wharf is segregated: the Yan section is well maintained and decorated with colorful flying banners, the non-Yan side is decrepit and is where Menios processes 3-day-old fish for bait. The smell is memorable.

They try to get a room at the only tavern/boarding house on their side of the wharf. The Castaway is just as decrepit and smelly as the rest of the docks. The barkeep agrees to kick 3 patrons out of their private rooms for 5gp per room. Anselmo and his friends reluctantly agree.

Anselmo hears there is a shrine to Caetar in town and wants to visit it, but a guard stops him and insists there is no shrine open to outsiders.

Returning to their dearly bought rooms, Dorn insists they all use an iron spike to secure their doors for the night. Sova and Kendal share a room, Dorn and Anselmo each have a room little bigger than a closet. At least it’s better than another night aboard ship.

In the morning they discover Anselmo is missing. He seems to have spiked his door, though the spike was removed from the inside. The only window is barred and too narrow to crawl through. Questioning the patrons and staff they find a waitress who saw him walk out, carrying all his gear, sometime after midnight.

They search his room and Kendal discovers fresh ink spots and quill shavings on the tiny desk but no sign of a letter. Instead they find a green origami praying mantis. When Sova asks the barkeep about the mantis the man quickly leaves the tavern without a word! Infuriated, Sova finds the tavern’s strongbox and steals back every copper they paid the man.

Eventually Dorn rouses a sailor in the common room who recognizes the origami. “we found it in our friend’s room.” The sailor replies, “then your friend is dead.” An assassins guild called the Jade Mantis uses it as their calling card. Only the rich and powerful employ them.

In a rage Dorn demands someone bring him to the Jade Mantis so he can help Anselmo or pay them back for his murder. Banging the fellhammer, Dorn’s adamant plate rings like a bell and wakes the whole tavern and beyond. Panicked and remembering they are supposed to keep a low profile, Kendal hurries them all out the back door before guard arrive to arrest everyone.

After speaking with Captain Bosmun and Roan, they decide their only course is to wait a few hours until after the exchange, then seek help. They meet with Anastasia, a wealthy Yan merchant, and exchange Roan’s chest for a chest of gold. Anastasia clearly despises outsiders and treats them like dirt, but she’s good on her word. The chest contains the promised 5000 gp.

While they are counting the gold back on their ship, the town guard takes interest and questions them, looking for an excuse to seize their gold. Before things turn ugly, Master Chen Tao, monk and Abbot of Silvalin intercedes. The guards show him reverence and depart. Master Chen knows all about the Jade Mantis and was hoping to find Anselmo before they did. He agrees to lead Sove, Dorn and Kendal out of Hellas to a hideout used by the Jade Mantis in hopes that Anselmo may be there.

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greymorn

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