The party make their ways to the Town Hall where Mayor Brelog works during the day. It is a single story wooden structure with a main entrance hall that town meetings are held in. It is large enough to fit over 500 people inside. Though at the moment it is empty except for a lone clerk near the entrance.
The clerk looks up as the party enters. “Welcome, what is your business today?”
“We’ve come to speak with Brelog,” Thrax replies, “He’s expecting us.”
“Ah, Captain Finthor alerted me that you might be coming by, right this way please,” He says, leading the group to a doorway at the front of the hall. “The last door on the right is Brelogs,” the clerk says, knocks on the door, and leads them inside.
A dwarf sits behind the desk looking down at his notes. A fireplace burns in the corner, and other than that the only light in the room is a candle lit at his desk. He looks occupied and as he reads over a note on his desk. He looks up and his expression changes, he smiles and welcomes them in.
“What can I do for you, gentlemen?” He asks, “You are new in town, yes? I know every face in Tordek…”
“I don’t doubt it,” Alistair says. “But if that is the case, then you haven’t left this office for a while. We’ve been here at least two weeks. In that time, I can definitely say I’ve been disappointed. I came to Tordeksvale looking for a break, but all I found was kidnapping, murder, and treason. This town seems to be out of control.”
Brelog begins to speak in defence of his city, but Alistair interrupts. “No no, don’t you worry yourself.” He waves a hand in front of the mayor. “See, ‘out of control’ is where I thrive. This town needs a metaphorical cleaning, and we’re the ones to do that. Oh, I apologise! I haven’t introduced myself. How rude! My deepest. My name is Alistair Trevaalt, emissary of the Raven Queen. These are my compatriots, Thraxus, Tarrasol, Haunt, and Moloch. Now tell me, where shall we begin?”
The mayor takes this offer with astonishment, “Ahh.. I.. I seem to be at a disadvantage,” he stutters, “You’ve come to clean up this town? Who do you intend to clean? The people of this town are a good people. I.. uhhh.. how did you come to end up in my office?”
“Yes, they are good people.” Alistair continues. “I quite enjoyed my stay, up until being ambushed by one of Tordeksvale’s friendly gangs. Now I don’t mind if there are rival gangs. Good on them, etching a living out of poverty. Unfortunately however, especially for Mikal – one of your guardsmen, if you remember his face – the gangs have decided to turn to killing soldiers. Mikal’s partner Dunnlis was lucky to escape with his life.”
“I mean, yes, sure, it was Mikal’s time to go. He was young, but we must all face the winter in our lives. My only concern is for the protection of this town, should its very guards, already stretched to breaking point, be the targets of malicious street gangs. You know who and what I am talking about, don’t you? Please tell me they haven’t gotten to you too.”
Brelog’s face pales at hearing of the fate of Mikal. He looks ready to break. “I’ve put my life into make my great-grandfather’s greatest achievement become something to be even prouder of,” he says. He hardly seems to believe it anymore. “Tordek fought to save this valley, he always put others before himself. I… I… would do the same. But the war has been different for me. I’ve made this place safer, I know it. And my ‘political’ opponent is nothing but a fool that would stretch our resources so thin that we would fall before a season had past. This town needs me… I know it… but at what cost?”
Alistair gets a flash of inspiration. He remembers hearing about Tordek and his companions last stand against demonic forces that attempted to enslave this entire region. Tordek himself threw down the evil being Bezgarlul, and with a stroke of his hammer smote him. Sending him back into the abyss. Since then Tordek and his line of ancestors have lead the survivors, broken off from the rest of the realm, here in Tordek’s vale.
n the years that followed, Tordek rallied the people and made a home for themselves here. Other forces of evil have spread in during the dark times and the land was even more dangerous then than it is today. Hobgoblin raids became frequent and if not for the valour and leadship of Tordek, the people would have fallen or fled long ago.
His name is held in such high regard that it is a large part of why Brelog so easily took the position of Mayor, as his heritage is known by all in the town and it has spread a small way to local villages via merchants and travellers.
“Be that as it may,” Haunt jumped in, “but recently the villagers have been looking for some way out of their current strife, and most of them are shifting the blame on to you. That naive politician running against you is looking better every day that this trouble continues. We’re just here to help.”
“No! That will be terrible for this town! I can’t let it happen! I won’t let it happen. But what am I to do?” He looks at the five adventurers. His posture changes, his shoulders relax as if a great weight had suddenly lifted from his shoulders.
Dismissing the clerk, Brelog opens up, “I now will trust you five with a secret. You are not from this town, so it may not shock you as deeply, but you should understand the potential repercussions.
“I am not Tordek’s heir… well legally I am, but not in blood.”
“There, it is spoke. Let my fate be in your hands. But first let me tell you the full story: Tordek’s line was broken, he had a son, Torlek. And Torlek had a son, Brelek. But Brelek had no son. His wife was lost during the year of the red winter. During that terrible time, when the Hobgoblin raids seemed unstoppable, many good people died. My parents were some of those good people. Brelek, son of Torlek, son of Tordek, found me in the ruins of what was my families village. He adopted me in secret and raised me as his own son. I didn’t find out the truth until he was on his deathbed and I was already seated as Mayor of Tordek’s Vale.
“The people elected me for the blood they thought ran through my veins. I was brought up with the ideals and honour that Tordek lived by, and I would give anything to keep the Tordek name in it’s rightful place of honour in the history books. But I am his legal heir in name only.
“I kept my secret and the town continued as it had, safe enough considering the lands we live in. Until a stranger came to see me and told me he had come across some interesting documents. He knew my secret and threatened to expose me. He blackmailed me and his price did not seem to high at first.
“He said his name was ‘Devlin’ and he had wares he wanted to sell and wanted the freedom to do so unnoticed. He didn’t want any guards asking questions about him. He also wanted to be able to discreetly transport goods out of the town. Of course he wanted some gold as well, but that was hardly surprising. And that was all I heard from him… at first.
“Then came the reports of new faces in the town, then a rise in the number of fights. Then I heard that the local thug squad the Nightcats have taken a step up and are challenging the Ghost Wolves. Today I was trying to figure out what to do as you just entered my room. It seems Captain Finthor has reported some people missing. And now you tell me one of our own men is dead.
“When the first reports of new people in the town began I went back to see Devlin, who had become head of the Nightcats.” Brelog chuckled bitterly, “They nicknamed him Whiskers. He saw me and assured me at the time that there was nothing to worry about and reminded me of the power he had over me by knowing of my heritage.
“I’ve come to know in the past couple of days that I made a grave mistake. This man is behind everything, he operates from the shadows, using Felicia and her Nightcats as a blunt instrument.
“I don’t know where you five have come from, but I believe I know who you are. Are you not the five who rescued Nate’s sons? I apologies for not having thanked for that deed weeks ago, but I have been concerned for my entire town. And you are right, lately I shut myself inside here in the gloom to escape the world. If you were brave enough to rescue those boys, perhaps you are also noble enough to rescue a fool of a dwarf and the people who he has put in jeopardy?
“Will you keep my secret and stop Devlin? His are sinister deeds, I know it now in my heart. If none of these are reason enough then I will also pay 100 gold pieces to each of you, a total of 500 gold, if you can restore order to my town.
“Will you aid us in our hour of direst need?” He finishes in a huff, face red and eyes tired.
“You can keep your reward to me,” Alistair says. “These are tough times and I am well-set for gold right now. The people of this town need the money more than I do. There is something you can do though. Your ancestors fought hard to keep this town safe, first from demons, then from the hobgoblins. You may not be their blood descendant, but I see the same fire that ran through their veins smouldering behind your eyes. And what do you do with it? You sit cooped up doing paperwork and hiding yourself from the town.
“You must show them that you are worthy of the role you hold. That you are not just Tordek’s heir, but are a man in your own right! End this blackmail, and help us root out this threat to Tordek’s legacy. Cast away these rival gangs. And then admit to your subjects the knowledge you guard so secretly, so that none can ever use it against you again, and so that you might find a new foundation to rule upon. Not a false one as you do now.”
Brelog thinks long and hard over this. Finally, he replies. “You are right, the time has come to come out from the shadow my ancestors, and cast aside my sorrows. But I can’t do this too soon.” He holds up a hand to stop Alistair interrupting.
“If I were to reveal myself and expose Devlin, who knows what might happen? The people might attempt to rise up against them, and many may be lost. Innocent people may turn on each other in suspicion. Trust will be lost and the town may turn to ruin. Sometimes I believe Devlin wants me to do this very thing you suggest.
“It must be done. I must let go of this burden, but not at the cost of my people. Once Devlin is stopped I believe the time will be right for me to let the light of truth fall on all that has happened. Then the people can judge as they see fit.
“I can help you to find him and I even know a way you can get inside a little easier. And once this is done, and he is captured or dead, then I will reveal my secret to the town.”
“In that case,” Alistair says, “I will take you at your word. Point me in his direction,” he opens his fingers and lets a small amount of Eldritch energy crackle between them. “We need to have words with him.”