Around a creaky table at The Foaming Mug
Jolly Cotton and Palegius are brought together by a common contact, Angelus, a Danaan with a reputation as something of a fixer for the Sherrif. He asks them if they would be interested in making a bit of money working for the Watch? If so, he invites them to return on the next night and bring some muscle.
The next night, the party assembles to hear Angelus’ offer. He says that a group of thugs has gotten out of control in the docks in the past months. Muggings have turned into killings, a few victims have escaped but with wild tales. The Watch have no living witnesses, the few survivors of the attacks talk about cloaked figures coming through the walls to assault them. The Watch is willing to pay 200 gold to have the problem solved and any recovered valuables turned over. The thugs are wanted alive or dead.
Erdan suggests trying to lure out the assailants, and so it is decided to use the seemingly harmless (but actually quite deadly) monk Cinder as bait with Jolly Cotton following in his shadow. The rest hide within earshot and see what comes. Cinder walks into a blind alley and is overwhelmed by four attackers who seem to materialize right out of the brick walls of the alley! Luckily for Cinder, his crafty halfling companion has a trick or two in his cuffs and soon Cinder is back in the fight and the attackers wreathed in Faerie Fire. Margoll, Pelagius and Erdan let fly and soon three of the assailants lie dead; Cinder captures the last. They throw him into the town jail, with dire warning to the jailer not to be deceived should the cell appear empty.
Erdan recognizes them as Chel, an ancient race once found in Byland that are said to predate even the elves. They are chameleons — able to blend in perfectly with their surroundings if they but stand still for a few seconds.
The Chel warrior speaks only elvish, and an ancient dialect at that. Referring to Cinder and Erdan as “members of the proud race” he relates that his tribe came to Caedthwaite several weeks ago, stowing away aboard a merchant ship. Since then they have been preying on the “mongrel folk,” gathering in the sewers under the city to replenish their numbers and retake what was once theirs. More disturbingly, he mentions that they hope to rediscover their ancient holy sites and drive off the “mongrels” with divine aid.
The group assumes the failure of the four Chel to return will not go unnoticed long, and decides to press on into Caedthwaite’s sewers in the hopes they can find the remaining members of the tribe. After dispatching a few more of the creatures hiding in a cistern, the party notices a well-hidden entrance to a secret passage. They crawl through a pipe into a disused, ancient chamber, much older than the sewer proper. There they disarm a trap or two and lay an ambush for a group of well-armed Chel playing at dice.