Jack Meryll, Magician turned Artifact Hunter for reasons of his own, had got wind of an incoming heavily-guarded shipment that he suspected contained one of the relics of the old Empire that he was searching for. He also knew that, Kaden, the outcast son of the Blue Faction’s leader was looking for information about the artifacts. Drawing on his circles, he hired a man named Merkle to lead him to the Exile’s hideout.
Merkle, as it turned out, was a pickpocket and small-time thief who only know where the Exile was because he had robbed him last week. He knocked on the door and ran, but not fast enough to prevent the Ecile from seeing him. Wary of Jack, but in need of resources, the Exile agreed to help with the job so long as they caught Merkle first.
Merkle outran them both, so they went and leaned on an information broker named Theophane. Theo was intimidated enough to know where Merkle probably was: the Leaky Dragon Tavern in the waterfront district.
Merkle was trying to be inconspicuous and failing, so they cornered him and convinced him to hand the purse over to Jack. Jack gave Merkle a single brass coin. He then went outside, along with the suspicious Exile, where he handed the cash over to the Exile (1D cash on hand). Mollified, the Exile discussed the job and agreed to do it so long as they wouldn’t permanently harm the guards.
After casing the joint, they put the plan into action. The warehouse where the crate was going to be delivered had two permanent guards. The Exile trailed one of the two watchmen, who stopped at the Leaky Dragon on his way home. Meanwhile, Jack secured a private room at the Drunken Mandrake on the waterfront, leaving the impression that he was up to something illicit but mundane.
Joining the Exile, the two of them attempted to get the guard drunk enough to safely carry out the next step of their plan. This proved difficult, because the guard was a bit of a loner.
Seeing that Merkle was still in the bar, desperately trying to get as drunk as possible before the bartender realized he no longer had the cash to pay for his tab, the Exile came up with a plan to have Merkle buy a round for everyone. Which failed spectacularly as the drunk Merkle and the bartender were convinced that the Exile was offering to pay for Merkle’s tab.
Jack had slightly better luck in convincing some of the sailors to join in a drinking game making fun of the Harbormaster (and his daughter) and involved Justinus, the guard. The loser of the game bought everyone a round, and Jack was successful enough at telling tall tales that he got the guard drunk and thinking he was his best friend without spending any of his own money.
They successfully lured the guard outside and hid him away at the Drunken Mandrake.
After the guard had passed out and was bound and gagged, they realized that they had forgotten to ask the guard’s name, and Jack made the closest roll of the night to successfully remember it from earlier in the evening. Jack vowed to always remember everyone’s name.
Kaden, disguised as the guard, reported for duty. The other guard was suspicious of the new “replacement” and ordered him to guard the back door. As soon as Kaden was out of sight, the guard started towards the nearest city watch posting.
At this point, Jack stepped in and asked the guard for directions. The guard was suspicious, but complied long enough for Jack to cast a spell on him that kept him out of the way.
Meanwhile, Kaden had gone into the warehouse and looted the shipping crate. The artifact contained within was a black vase with blank lines etched into it, sealed at the top. When in darkness or shadow, the lines glowed. Jack returned to the warehouse and took the repackaged artifact back to his library to study it. Kaden stayed behind to continue the charade of guarding the warehouse.
Jack refused to meet Kaden at his place and was wary of meeting on Kaden’s home turf, so they agreed to meet at the place owned by a neutral third party, belonging to an acquaintance of Jack’s named Lukas.