The sounds of a near riot could be heard inside the Golden Parrot tavern, a dive in the seedier parts of the dock district. Isabelle Quint stared across at the bartender, her gaze steely and determined even as a chair behind her was thrown into the wall, splintering loudly. The bartender shook his head slowly, then reached under the counter to slid the contract to her. “Fine. But get your boys the hell out of my bar.” Isabelle took the contract, letting out a loud whistle that made the whole bar stop to look. “Boyos! We got work to do!” A tall blond man in the corner dropped the halfling he had been holding by the shirt collar, grabbing a glass of ale off the table as he crossed back to Quint. She raised an eyebrow at him as he downed the ale. “Ric, you ready to get cracking?” The man grinned wide. “Born and raised ready. Dwindel, get the big one!” A gnome emerged from under a nearby table, sipping at a flask of wine and nodding. The gnome made an elaborate bow. “As you wish, Ric!” He took a run forward, leaping onto one of the tables and landing on the shoulder of a large cloaked figure in the corner. He yanked the hood back to reveal a sleeping half-orc, tusks frothed with beer. Dwindel smacked the orc in the back of the head, causing one yellowed eye to open as it grumbled. “But it was so peaceful and quiet. Best nap of my life.” As it stood , Dwindel jumped off his shoulders with a cheerful voice. “We got work to do, Magog.” The half-orc chuffed slightly, picking up her hammer and stepping towards Isabelle with a yawn. Quint grinned impishly. “Morning, Ma. Sorry to wake you up.”
The group walked out the door together and down the street before Isabelle started telling them the plan. Normally she wouldn’t use Dwindel or Magog, but she wanted the head knockers this time. No need for subtlety. “Dwindel, find out what other groups are going for it. We don’t need to kill them off, but we need to make sure that they realize it isn’t worth the money. Ric, we’re gonna dress you like Lord Fancypants and then wreck them up.” Ric nodded in agreement as Isabelle produced one of the fake Aldo costumes. A large grey-green finger jabbed at the poster as Magog spoke her part. “What does not hitting him with my hammer pay?” Isabelle laughed. “It pays, trust me. He’s not that bad. He’s trying to wreck the system, we’re just wrecking the people trying to stop him. A drink while Dwindel finds out information?” She produced a flask and a set of dice, and the three set to passing the time.
By the time Dwindel returned, he had missed a large majority of the game. Ric appeared to be relieved as Magog and Quint laughed together, counting the change that he had bet between them. Dwindel stood atop a barrel and started speaking with a grin. “The Wharf Rats are looking for him tonight. Other than that, the Jills are still poking around, but word is that Aldo and his friend fucked them up pretty severely last time. Apparently, the old man can still fight.” Dwindel shrugged. “The Yellow Rose picked up a copy of the contract, so did some of the local scrubs. The scrubs can be scared easily. The Rats…” Isabelle hopped to her feet. “The Rats go down today. They’ve spent way too long trying to run the docks.” Dwindel nodded agreement. “They sent out Devin and his crew.” Isabelle rolled her eyes as Ric scoffed. He spoke first. “Devin is such a tool. He’s a decent fighter, but such a moron.” Magog spoke from the back. “Was he the one that thought I was a troll?” Ric nodded. “I will rip him apart.” Dwindel held up his hands, signaling for Magog to hold her place. “Easy, Ma, easy.” Isabelle made a small firework in her hand, getting the teams attention again. “Get in the robes, Ric. Let’s party.”
An hour later, Ric made a point of walking down every shady alleyway he could. Up above, on the rooftops, Dwindel and Isabelle ran side by side to keep a watch on him. Below, Magog stood in dark cloaks, hiding in the alleys wherever possible. It took half the night, but finally Ric found himself confronted by five large and bearded men from the Rats. Three of them were Dwarves, and two humans – all of equally impressive beards and mass. Devin stepped forward, taking out his shortsword. “Aldo Mondragon. You talk too much. Prepare to…not talk.” Ric let the character slip, giving a confused look at Devin. “That’s it? That’s your pithy one-liner? You are just literally the worst.” From above, Dwindel came diving down and slammed into a dwarf in the background. Shortly behind him was Isabelle, her hands glowing as she threw magic missiles into the faces of the other two dwarves. The man on Devin’s left, his second – a man by the name of Lauric, if Isabelle remembered correctly – came charging at Ric, swords clashing between them as they parried in a circle. Once Lauric’s back was to the alleyway, he found himself lifted and thrown bodily into the trash heap.
Magog lifted him again, her hood falling back as she slammed him into the wall. Devon could be heard yelling. “It’s the troll!” Isabelle glanced back at him as she kicked a dwarf hard in the bollocks. “She’s an orc, and she’s beautiful in her own way, you dick!” Magog came charging forward, almost bowling Ric over as she came for Devin. Dwindel added his own part as he cut the hamstring of his foe. “That was really rude. And stupid.” Magog grabbed ahold of Devin as he turned to run, hardly noticing as he slashed at her with his sword. She wrapped her hand around his throat and held him aloft, feet kicking wildly as she spoke. “Isabelle, thank you for the compliment. What a rude little man.” Isabelle nodded. “Anytime, Ma. Now…as for the rest of you….” She turned to address the dwarves, who laid there holding their bollocks and trying to get back to their feet. “Put the word out that Aldo has paid for protection, with just as many if not more taking the contract. He’s helped a lot of familys. Next time, you’ll all wind up like Devin here. Pile your money up with Ric and get out of here.” The other Rats decided to practice discretion, dropping whatever silver and copper they had and leaving. Isabelle turned back to Magog.
“Boys – let’s leave Ma to hand out her discipline. It might be a long night, but the first round is on the Rats.” She grabbed the coin, leading the way. Behind them, a small snapping noise could be heard in Magog’s large hand. A moment later, she threw her burden into the water and pulled her hood up, following the crew to the next tavern.