Spy Master,

That was a lot harder than I thought. We accidentally kill people so much, but trying to do it on purpose is so much harder. I had Sim and Kris help me find him, they did a really good job, but couldn’t figure out where he goes other than work. Then it was my turn. First day, I got distracted by a kitten, so I went to get potions, instead. The second try, he seemed to notice someone was following him after he went shopping and ran off. The third time, he just closed his shop and didn’t come outside.

Clearly my plan was terrible, so I went to ask for help. Maybe Orange would come back with me and we could go inside. I told Orange there was a bad guy who helped Manshoon, but he said I needed proof so he could report to The Hand. I said I didn’t have any, so he said to talk to Red. I really didn’t want to talk to Red, but Orange would tell him if I didn’t.

I told Red there was a threat to our flock, one of Manshoon’s supporters was still lurking around. He wanted to run him out of town, but I said he was too dangerous, we had to kill him. Red and I were going to pretend it was a robbery, but it didn’t work. He went upstairs as they were closing, and didn’t come back down. Red tried to find him, but he was gone. He didn’t open his store again after that. I think Red robbed it all the next day.

We went to talk the owner of a shop he visits. He told Red about a meeting the man goes to. So, we go there, and I watch the doors outside, so he doesn’t see me before we get him alone. But after awhile, Red came out and said he was taken care of. I didn’t want to go in and be seen, and I trust Red. Well, he keeps his word, at least.

I’m sorry it took so long. He was very paranoid and the shadows weren’t as sticky as they usually are for me. That’s why I need those boots like Red’s got. Then I wouldn’t have needed help. Sorry.


The Volo Job, Part One

Spy Master,

The Big Man had a big job today. Gathered up the Grunges, the Cat Bard, the Mouseman, and even Candlekeep. Said Volothamp Geddarm needed some work done and took us all to the Yawning Portal. It’s a strange place, Spy Master. Trolls and Stirges came right up out of a big whole in the middle of the room. But we helped the Barman put them down and he gave us free drinks.

Volo said that the Zhentarim and the Xanathar Guild have been fighting a gang war in the streets. The Grunges were interested in joining up, and did not seem to care which side. That’s not the problem though, Volo’s friend Floom Blagmar is missing, and maybe taken. From near the Skewered Dragon on Snail Street, two nights ago. He wants to pay us to find him, and everyone likes money, so we agree.

On the way down, we see half dozen corpses in the road, and three bloody men being arrested by the guards. I don’t look too closely, too much blood, but the others start mumbling about a flying snake tattoo and a semi-circle wheel tattoo. I think the flying snake is like yours, Spy Master, and they say the other is the Xanthar folk. Don’t worry, I didn’t tell them anything.

Down near the Skewered Dragon, there’s a shop with a giant, purple, stuffed eye monster in the window. I head for the tavern, but everyone else goes in the shop, so I close my eyes and followed them in. Everything is purple, everything. Even Xoblob, the gnome owner. Red starts buying stuff to get him to talk, and soon everyone is buying things. I even found a tiny book of ship manifests with the most interesting names.

Xoblob tells us that Floom was with another guy who looked just like him, and they got attacked by a group of men right outside the tavern. One of the men had a flying snake tattoo on his neck, but Xoblob didn’t stick around to see what happened.

We head to the tavern, and spread out to talk with folk. Floom’s friend was Daggult Neverember’s son Renaer. The men that attacked them had been inside the tavern and followed them out. There’s a warehouse up on Candle Lane with a flying snake on the door, some old drunk told us, so we head out.

It isn’t hard to find, and the street is fairly quiet. Red jumps up top to take a look, but only found an upper storage room. He and Orange decide to do something called Plan Haunted Doll. Red and Cat Bard head up to the Roof and the rest of us head around back. Orange and Candlekeep want to get through the gate to the back door so we can go in at the right time, but they make a terrible noise getting the chain off.

No one comes running out to stop us, so we sneak in. I stay well back from these noisy men. The Big Man’s steps are so loud, and Mouseman has a Construct with him! There’s a weird voice coming from inside, and Orange says it’s time to go in. He and Candlekeep head in first, and get jumped almost immediately. There’s a lot of fighting then, and too much dying.

When it stops, there are twelve dead Zhentarims that we didn’t kill, and seven dead Kenku that we did, and one still alive Kenku that Red questions. His name is Click Switch, and Red offers to join the Xanathar Guild, because they took out all the Zhents, and fought so well. Click Switch tells him what their orders were: Follow the Yellow Signs in the Sewers, Tie Up the Pretty Boy in the Back Room, Get him to the Boss.

We split up then, Cat Bard, Orange, and I go upstairs and the others search downstairs. We find some paintings and some silver, and I get two more proper manifests to add to my collection off the boxes. When we get back down, they’ve pulled a guy out of a back room. Says his name is Ranaer and the half orcs took Floom by mistake. Then the City Guard arrive, but Ranaer says he’ll deal with them.

Notes for Spy Master

Scraps of Reports for Spy Master written by Quill

The Big Guy sends strange business my way: frogs and mice. Notes follow.

Met a Red Grung – Forged ownership papers for a building by the docks. Also seen stealing from Lord Smallhat who you asked me to follow.

There’s also an Orange Grung in town, he’s a bit spotty, but hangs out with the Red one, when he’s not gambling.

Met a Small Mouseman – Forged authenticity papers for jewelry. Note: he is afraid of kittens, but likes books on crafts.

Lucern, the herbalist, has a green man working for her. He came from Candlekeep.

Cat bard from Chult seemed far too interested in me and where I came from.

Quill Scratcher

Quill was the smallest of her clutch. Her siblings were always pushing her out of the way, and sometimes out of the nest, or off the roost. She never understood why they always had to be so high up, and got more than her fair share of broken bones from being pushed off high places. Eventually, they pushed her out of the flock altogether. 

She found a new flock though, Penny for Polly. They appreciated her smallness. Taught her to use it, and to be quick, and to stay hidden. But she was always getting distracted by words. On signs, on books that “fell” from satchels, on scrolls that were “dropped” on the ground. Her parents had taught her reading and writing, and all this sneaking about gave her ample opportunity to practice. So, her Master gave her a chance at forging a letter he needed, and she exceeded all expectations. She was Master’s prized forger after this, and earned the name Quill Scratcher. 

Most of the flock teased her about such a boring job. They also teased her about her fear of heights. She could climb like the rest of them, but she clearly preferred to scout from the ground. She even stayed toward the middle of the roost at all times, never watching the city from the eaves with the other young members. They called her Chicken Scratch. All except Master and Whistler, her fighting trainer, and she loved them for it. Not that Whistler knew, she only paid attention to Quill during training. But Quill was always aware of her.

Penny for Polly was a good crew. They took care of their part of Baldur’s Gate, and the Guild left them be. Until one day, Basher and Slicer stepped out of bounds in chase of their quarry. They crossed lines the Guild did not approve of and Master had to turn them over. The Pollies were restless after that, and the Guild paid less and less attention to threats against them. 

It was still a shock to the whole flock when the rival gang attacked in the roost itself. They’d been edging around for weeks, but a frontal assault was completely unexpected. Quill did what she does best, she hid from the large intruders and watched in terror as Master was struck down. Whistler hadn’t given warning, and the flock was falling. Quill ran. 

She ran all the way to the gates and hid in a caravan wagon just leaving for Waterdeep. When it stopped for the night, she crept out, and hid once more. Still deep in shock and despair, she followed the caravan all the way to Waterdeep, scavenging what food she needed from the wagons, but barely eating. 

Halfway through the trip, she started remembering stories of the grand city. It was supposed to be beautiful and there was a great library in the Castle. She wondered if she could be a scribe there. She could lose herself in a library that big for years.

When they arrived, it was not as golden and beautiful as she had hoped. Just as dirty, just as busy, filled with the same sorts of people, good and bad, as home. The castle guards turned her away before she could even ask about the library. She looked at herself then, bedraggled from her escape and travel, and disappeared into the city. Scrounging for a few weeks until finally finding work as a scribe at a dingy messenger service. 

Sometimes though, when work is slow or too tiring, she likes to go drinking at a pub near her room. She loves sweet wine and beer nuts, and writing down whatever snatches of conversation she hears. Occasionally, the other patrons aren’t so happy with her copying. Once in a while, they show their displeasure rather violently. 

It was on one of these occasions that she met The Big Man. She was rather drunk at the time, or she wouldn’t have ended up in that alley in the first place. So, she thought she had imagined the elephant of a man healing her wounds and walking her home. But then she saw him again, and he even hired her a couple times, for scribing. She always accepts his contract, and he keeps an eye out for her in alleys late at night. So far, he’s sent a pair of Grungs, a rather skittish Mouseman, and a job at an herbalist who employs a big green man who knows about Candlekeep.

Spy Master found her there, too. He had heard of her from her clients in Baldur’s Gate, been sent to her by Svetel, the Big Man. He promised to protect her, and get her work, and make sure she was well paid for her talents. He even helped her get a tiny basement room, and gave her a book to start her collection. A collection which covers one wall of that tiny room already, after just a few years. Her room is full of books, her pockets full of quills and gems. It’s a good life. She loves going to Homeward Bookshop at the end of each week to get a new book, visit the kittens, and see her friend Abena. The Mouseman didn’t seem too keen on the kittens, but Candlekeep man liked them well enough.