You’ve just been informed that there is another Covid 19 stay at home order. You venture out anyway and see them. They are all in the same place as you, except they’re wearing black clothing with a red cross on them. “What do we have here?” one of them asks. “A new recruit.” The leader says. “We don’t usually get to see these types until after they’ve proven themselves in combat, but I thought it was time to give this one a chance. He’s got potential if he can only show it.” “I’m not sure what to say, sir,” the man replies. “Well, first off, your name isn’t ‘John Doe’. You have a family somewhere; you should consider yourself lucky that the Syndicate allows you any sort of freedom. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to visit them. For now, though, you will address me as ‘Brother’ or ‘Sir’ or ‘Captain’ and you will do exactly what I tell you to. I am your superior for the duration of this little exercise. “Yes, sir. I’ll try to remember that.” “Good. Now then, let’s get to it. We got us a new house to clean.” The leader leads the man to the front door and you follow at a distance. When the man sees the state of his house, his face drains of all color. You’ve never seen a ‘Svelk’ face a bloody battle, but you have read about it and seen paintings of their kind. They have very pale skin so the man’s face looks even more deathly pale under all the blood. “By the gods…” He utters. “Don’t worry, we’re not gonna kill you,” The leader, ‘Brother Gray’, says. ‘We’re just going to use you as an example of how we do things around here.’ Your new ‘mentor’ steps out of the shadows and makes his introduction. “This is your new neighbor, John. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine. He just got lucky compared to the others. Now let’s get to work.” The leader begins barking orders at the man as you watch from the shadows. You don’t catch everything, but it looks like he’s telling him to clean his house, pretty simple stuff. As you’re watching, the man suddenly realizes where you’ve been seen and who you belong to. He begins to run, but only gets a few yards before Brother Gray stops him with ease. “Stop! Where do you think you’re going?” he says as the man turns and stares at him in terror. “Please! I don’t want to die!” he begs. “You’re not dying. You’re just getting your house clean. Now get back here.” The man shakes his head and mutters something, but Gray just grabs him by the collar and throws him to the ground. “What was that?” “I said I’m not an animal!” the man says. “I have a family!” Gray draws his fist back, and you step in to block it. “Stop! Let’s just stop!” Gray turns to you. “What? Why should I listen to a lowly ratling?” “I’m no ordinary ratling, I’m a Shadow Broker. I’ve dedicated my life to the art of stealth and information gathering. You have no idea how much you’ll regret calling me a ratling.” The man stares at you in terror, but Gray just sighs and shakes his head. “Fine. Ratling. Tell us what you were doing before we found you. And don’t try to lie to me. I can see your memories, remember?” The man is silent for a moment, seemingly contemplating his options. He finally speaks.
“I was gathering intel for the Felkan Kingdom,” he says. “Specifically, for the spymaster there, Mr. Mol.” “How did you manage to get into the sewers?” you ask. “I have my ways,” he says. “I was supposed to meet with a contact, but I got the information wrong and it took me through the sewers. I got lost, and I’m not really familiar with them. I’ve never been this far west before.” “What was the info you gave him?” you ask. “I told him that the Shadows are getting ready to attack the Syndicate. This is false, of course. We’re planning on attacking the Felkan Kingdom. The Shadows don’t even have the military strength to mount an attack on the Felkans. They’re a religious group, not a warlike one. But my information was wrong, and I got lost in the sewers. I tried to stay ahead of them so they wouldn’t find me, but I obviously lost track of time and eventually came across this… residence. I was going to just leave and head back to the Syndicate, but these heretics spotted me.” “These heretics?” you ask. “There’s more of them?” “A few, I think. They’re not very well organized. Just a few cells here and there. I don’t even think they like each other.” “Hmm… well you saw what getting found by the them does to someone. I’d say you’re lucky to be alive.” “I’m not lucky,” the man says. “I’m dead. They killed me.”