After a substantial history of adventure-seeking, Willibrick and her companions, Derecho, Elbereth and Collum found themselves kicking around in the port-town of Daggerford. having performed a few services for the captain of the guard, Devron Tolm, they were approached and asked if they could help in the locating of a band of smugglers that had been plaguing the area.
After asking a number of questions of the captain, they learned that the smugglers had been operating to bring solicited items, drugs, poisons, slaves and evil artifacts and magical weapons and items into the city. The guard had tried capturing thieves and robbers and coerce them into spilling information about the smugglers but nothing they had tried had gotten them anywhere with their investigation. As Daggerford is located on the Sword Coast, where almost every inch of the coast line for hundreds of miles was lined with un-climbable cliffs and treacherous rocks. Though only a few locations were possible to smuggle along this stretch of coast, even having spies watch these locations had turned up nothing.
The party spread themselves over the town, each pursuing what method they could think of to get inside the underworld of the town. Derecho pumped the sailors who came to pay favor to Istishia, goddess of storm and wave, but was unable to turn anything up. Elbereth tried to acquire poison to “deal with her abusive husband” from a few of the herbalists in town. m On her second try, she found woman a dsiheveled old woman selling various herbs and tinctures from a tray in the poor section of town who told her that she could acquire what she needed at midnight up on the top of Stone-top using the password “Crazy Betty”. Collum hired a fisherman to take him out to sea where he used his druidic powers to talk to the porpoises about ship behavior in the area near the town.
Before the meeting at Stone-top, a stone crested hill on the tall grassy meadows that lined the cliff-tops to the south of town, Elbereth and Willibrick decide to scout the place out. They passed over the bridge across the river-mouth that Daggerford skirted and through the small suburb on the south-bank, a slightly less oppulent community, then up a winding path into the hills to reach the high meadows and finally to the top of Stone-top. They found a well-worn path, indicating that many people came up to this spot, but there were even more paths that led off through the tall grasses toward the cliffs, or the forest to the south, or to the east. Being Gnomish, and quite small because of it, Willibrick had a terrible time passing through the high grass, as only the hair atop his head was able to be seen. She spent most of the travel walking through a corridor of grass, with only brief respite when they passed over stone, or through the momentary places where the grasses grew shorter. After scouting the top of the hill, Willibrick decided to hide up here and wait for midnight when she would be in a good place to listen to the exchange and be able to help Elbereth if need be.
On her own on the way back to town, Elbereth passed again through the south bank suburb, when she was suddenly and rudely shoved into an alley and a hand was placed over her mouth. A rough man told her to be still, but she tried to struggle anyway. She whipped off a quick flash spell which dazed her attacker and impaired his vision before pinned her down. She managed to free her mouth, and screamed for help, but no one seemed to hear her cries. They struggled for endless seconds, but she could not escape her captor. Finally, a man down at the end of the alley called out about the noise, and her attacker sprang from her back and tried to flee. As quickly as she could rise, she launched a few magic missile into the man’s back and sent him sprawling to the ground. Again and again she launched her terrible attack, until the man lay unconscious on the ground with terrible burns all across his back.
Collum spoke for a while with the porpoises until he found one that mentioned seeing some odd behavior of a ship a few days past. The porpoise had seen the ship head south before reaching the river-mouth where Daggerford lay, and then when it approached a place near the cliffs, the ship disappeared. Collum asked the porpoise if it would show him the place, and then after promising an even greater sum tot he fisherman, they followed the porpoise to a place a couple of miles south of Daggerford, just off of the coastline. With the cliffs looming overhead, the he tried to see if he could notice anything out of the ordinary, but found nothing. Finally, he tried to memorize the cliffs in case he needed to come here again.
When all but Willibrick returned to town, they met in a tavern where they roomed and partook of supper. While they were eating, they discussed the adventures of the day, and decided that they should accompany Elbereth to the midnight meeting. But the old woman had insisted that they come alone, so Derecho said that he would go up to another of the hills near Stone-top and rail and pray to his goddess to bless him with lightning. He would do this for hours before the meeting, so no one would think it was strange for him to be up there. Collum would have to find his own stealthy route to the rendesvous.
And so Derecho left shortly after to begin his prayers. It boded well for them that the night was looking to be quite overcast as dark cloud broiled overhead.