Half up front! it was standard in the mercenary game, but Nester usually let people slide, usually ended up being a bit too generous with his gold, and quickly ended up with as little or less gold than he had started with. now he had enough for a bed without fleas and bread without worms, and that was enough to make him a happy half-orc.
At least until he actually showed up for the job. it was supposed to be a nice easy bodyguard mission for some blowhard VIP with more money than sense (Captain Felipa), but then someone blew the hell out of the stage. Normally he wouldn’t have thought twice about someone trying kill Lord Mayor Ian Ashby and his court wizard Toliver, as they represented a system that Nester felt perpetuated many of the evils he opposed in Freiburg, but this time he was being paid to protect one of the targets, and worse by his own standards, the wanton nature of the explosions hurt civilians.
After the explosion, Nester helped the injured in the crowd to their feet away from the blast while an oddly happy seeming gnome healed he injured. Nester went along with the guards as they corralled everyone into the nearest guildhall, where he tried to introduce himself to his client, only to be rebuffed by his client and to discover that Sgt Preis(or Reese), the man who hired him, had not informed her that Nester would be there to protect her(unnecessarily, it would seem). In the encounter with Nystal, deputy Freiburg captain, Nester met Neowyn, an Elven magic user, and the the Gnome turned out to be named Fleetfeet and suffered from some kind of attention deficit disorder.
after being forced to wait in a queue to give an ungrateful Guard captain some vital information about the attack, and was grouped with Fleetfeet, Neowyn (With his silly looking cat), and Lia Amastacia (yet another elf, this one a druid with a wolf, who’s name Nester never bothered to learn, instead calling it fluffy).
They ended up scouring the alleys and streets of the merchant district for what felt like days, but was actually just hours before Nester and his less-than-merry band discovered a basement with Portho Reece and some street thugs. Luckily the four of them were able to subdue the thugs(‘accidentally’ killing one in the process), Unfortunately, Sgt.Reis absconded in the process.
After alerting the city guards as to their progress, getting a cheque for 120GP and then set off to find a place to bed down for the night. Luckily the Topmast Tavern is in a part of town Nester could be comfortable with the distance between him and the nearest member of the guard, while the weird elven Druid slept in a tree. Somehow representatives of Sgt.Reiss and his criminal associates found them anyway in the middle of the night.
In the tavern there was an overdressed poncy guy, and to Lia and Fluffy there was a gender ambiguous, probably elven, hooded figure. both brought the same message: Meet at Old Stoneface at dawn for a civil conversation. luckily a barkeep woken in the middle of the nigh told them that old Stoneface was the the statue of King Arkas I in the old abandoned keep north of city, luckily that is just over the river and through the woods.