In which the party goes recruiting and solves one problem by potentially creating another.
Bits and Pieces
In the remaining time between the gala opening  and the open day, member s of the party pursued personal bits and pieces to wrap up some loose ends.
Kelain, Kozuket, and Jamir sought payment from House Theedul for services rendered, and although the rake mentioned the riot the party did not enlighten House Theedul as to Filcher’s involvement.
Eric, Sebastian, and Rune Stoned visited Thane Steward to seek further information on House Farstone. After a pleasant afternoon tea, Thane Stewart promised a letter of introduction to Lady Farstone and Eric promised to take some of Thane Stewart’s dispatches to Lady Farstone. Eric also met Thane Stewart’s librarian Taliesen , and researched the inheritance records of House Farstone and Gray held by Thane Stewart .
Rune Stoned visited the Royal Library to research the history of dwarves in the Realm, but didn’t find much. Meanwhile Sebastian was spruiking the Free Company in the various taverns of Redia. Kelain also spent time upgrading his crossbow.
Hector, Rune Stoned, and Sebastian visited Matthias Script to follow up on the discussions of the gala opening. Sebastian negotiated for a supply of weapons with favourable marketing to guild members, as well as for a smith to operate in the guild. 
Hector was seeking a special ore that would become a special weapon, and Rune Stoned was also seeking a special dwarven axe. In both cases Matthias promised to inform them if something turned up in his shipments. In terms of dwarven lore, Matthias suggested that Rune Stoned join one of the northern convoys.
More on THAT prophecy
Jamir visited the temple of Pharasma to do ye generic good works, and also to discuss the prophece with the Bishop. For reference the prophecy reads as follows:
“The masses will was not done
Four became three
Stars, Moon and Sun.
Yet soon these shall be eclipsed
Unless the realm should come to grips
With the powerful few that hold in their hands
The balancing factor, that item so grand.’
Although it is a legitimate vision, and likely to be significant for the realm, the bishop is not convinced it applies to the party. The bishop warns Jamir to be wary, and to not make any assumptions.
The Open Day
The open day went off without a hitch, although there were a few delicate moments. A party from House Hewitt consisted of soldiers looking for opportunities post retirement, and a House Ramsey detachment were seeking to retain their exclusive control over arcane training.
No real agreements were made; this will be an area to be carefully navigated in future. In essence Free Company members will continue to have access to the Mage Guild universities for the moment.
Rotmind ended up joining the guild, along with his, ah, partner .
The other recruits were:
- 9 Barbarians
- 5 Bards
- 8 Clerics
- 7 Druids
- 26 Fighters
- 6 Monks
- 17 Rangers
- 12 Rogues
- 4 Sorcerers and 4 Wizards, 7 of whom are still members of the Mage Guild
Half of these are 2nd level, the rest are 1st level.
Shortly afterwards a smith arrives to set up in the Free Company, as does a merchant sent by the Alchemists Guild.
Dealing with Filcher
Shortly afterwards a letter from Filcher arrived to set up a meeting in the Royal Gardens.
The meeting is reasonably discreet, and on relatively neutral ground, and proceeded fairly smoothly.
The protection money turned out to be something of a minor issue to Filcher: the real concern was the assassin and insisting on an obscenely large weregild.
Along the way it Filcher or his captain Jesse made a number of unverifiable, but plausible, claims to having 400 swordsmen, thousands of agents, and a vampire.
The negotiation eventually ended with providing Filcher with the intelligence about the Seeds of the Hydra and suggestions for how he could verify it. If Filcher does verify it, the price he will get for selling the information to Houses Vance and Ramsey will be the weregild.
An agreement was also made that the Free Company and Filcher would not mutually target each other’s leaders.
When the party returned to the Free Company headquarters, a merchant delivered a contract to take out a sea serpent for substantial rewards. The thing is claimed to between 100 – 200 feet long, and there is a reward of 65,000gp on presentation of the corpse.
Out of Character Commentary
Out of the frying pan, into the fire, but where else could we go?
I haven’t gone into details but there was substantial discussion prior to the meeting about how to handle it. Sebastian has worked out (being a bard) that Filcher is probably a Rakshasa and therefore extremely tough.
I had some ideas for dropping all the major houses on Filcher , but the party agreed to not set these up in advance. In retrospect this was the right call, and talking our way out of both the protection money and a war with Filcher was a good short to medium term outcome.
The problem is in the medium to long term where the information provided to Filcher may help trigger the civil war. This does mean that the Free Company has less time than we thought to become an effective force that can prevent or mitigate what is coming.
Unfortunately I can’t see any other option that would buy us enough time, and preserve the independence of the Free Company.
Overall I think the party worked well in these negotiations and achieved the best possible result (for now).
This was fun session, with the group working fairly well together, but it was also another session without combat. This may be frustrating for the more combat oriented characters such as Rune Stoned, Kelain, and to a lesser extent Eric (BOOM!), but I do appreciate the world building.
Hopefully there will be a balance emerging, particularly as the Free Company starts taking more challenging jobs.