Grumpkins

A Murder To Solve, With Only Our Ragtag Group To Do It

Can the heroes solve a murder without really being heroes?

 

Ashryn is homesick.

Dearest Oloster,

The moral rot of the Sword Coast continues to appall me. These people love their rules and their laws and have more kinds of law enforcement than I can keep track of, and yet basic decency and virtue are often impossible to find. 

My companions in the Grumpkins School of Heroes and I bore witness to a murder most foul, of a man named Abdel Adrian. He seemed a good-hearted, if somewhat misled man, drawn out of moral certitude to call for a more democratic system of governance. (Alas, from what I've seen, these people cannot get it together to govern themselves.) But while giving this speech, he was brutally murdered by some kind of magic or potion and turned into an evil undead demon that we were forced to kill. 

We are now in the midst of an investigation of this murder, and what I have learned is disheartening. I agreed to a meeting with Adrian's right hand man in the Flaming Fist, Oldar Ravensguard, out of the belief that this man would be interested in solving the horrible crime that took his compatriot's life. 

No such luck. Ravensguard immediately proved to be a insipid, small-minded hypocrite who is too busy nursing his pathetic grudge against the Guild — which appears to be a loose confederation of two-bit, mostly vice-oriented criminals — to pay serious attention to the real threats to peace and safety in Baldur's Gate. He immediately blamed the Guild for Adrian's death on these people, even though his evidence — if you dare even call it that — amounts to little more than assuming that because people like to gamble and carouse, they also like to murder. 

He would faint to see what sun elves get up to when they want to let loose in Leuthilspar. 

As for the hypocrisy, well, the Flaming Fist likes to hold itself out as a champion of the small folk and a high-minded institution of law and order, but in reality, they are shaking the citizens, especially the poorest, down by forcing them to pay exorbitant fees to travel about in the city. Not that the City Watch is better than this lot of gangsters, as their only apparent goal is protecting the nobility while leaving the common people to hang. 

Honestly, now that I think about it, perhaps democracy isn't such a bad idea. It can't be any worse a system than what they have now. 

Eh, what am I saying? If they try to create democracy in this hovel of a country, it's bound to fail miserably. In a generation, these people will likely be rallying around some orange-hued clown with bad hair who promises them he'll build a wall to keep the gnomes out.

So we are trying to solve Adrian's murder on our own. I think we have an interesting lead, as we interviewed one of the Dukes of Baldur's Gate, who is severely disabled due to what appears to be a stroke. But speaking to her, I have the uncomfortable sense that it's not a stroke at all, but that she is being magically controlled and her attempts to resist it have created serious and perhaps permanent damage to her body. 

Right now, I feel the two major suspects are Torlin Silvershield or the Grand Duke Dillard, both of whom might be wiping out their competition in an effort to seize all the power for themselves. 

That said, I am also concerned about our acquaintance — I dare not call him friend — Coran, who enjoys playing the role of an indifferent observer, but is clearly more invested in amassing power than he lets on. 

I do worry about our team's ability to get to the bottom of this. Only one other member of our group — Otto — seems to really grasp the moral necessity of solving this murder and obtaining justice, but he has overly rigid notions of how to go about these things. He has a naive faith in following the law, when it is abundantly clear to me that the law in Baldur's Gate has no relationship to justice and, most of the time, is working against it. I believe he has gone off to pray over his concerns and perhaps will gain some clarity through spiritual ruminations. Not that I can really imagine that guy ruminating much beyond a hearty steak and a pint of ale. 

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