As the sun scorches the cobblestone streets of Callashar, we find our intrepid Callashar Intelligence Agents planning the most practical, and profitable, ways to beat the heat. Various solutions are discussed in their showroom, from flimsy outfits to enchanted comfort cloaks (at quite a markup for their customers, of course). As the financial potting continues, the unit’s secretary, Georg, arrives to deliver news of a murder at the local Brown Mold storage facility.
Belgarog goes to fetch Ismela from her well air conditioned apartment across the street, and then the unit makes their way to the facility at the northern end of their district. When they arrive at the nondescript, one story warehouse, they are met by a worry filled Mr. Sysk, the warehouse manager. Mr. Sysk relates that he suspects one of his men was murdered, and some of the brown mold stolen. He’s been unable to identify the body in the storage room, due to it being covered in the freezing fungus, and the guard golem having been so damaged in the attack that it recognizes all people as intruders.
Danthos and Georgiana quickly diagnose the problem with the golem, that of a damaged head destroying a portion of it’s orders, and shut it down with the standard code phrase. Then Georgiana fishes the corpse out of the fungal sea beneath the catwalk with some rope while the others qustion the employees of the office and Belgarog checks perimeter security.
Ismela, Anakela, and Danthos find out from the office workers that none of the three storage room employees were here this morning when they arrived. McGinty was supposed to be monitoring the mold the night before, and the other two, Relb and Solden were scheduled for the day shift. Additionally, Anakela uncovers info indicating that Relb, at least, was in a significant amount of debt due to a gambling addiction and a bad poker face.
Georgiana identifies the corpse that she fished up as McGinty, based on his description, and also matches the wound on his scalp to the damage on the head of the golem. It becomes apparent that he was knocked unconscious, and the mold slowly crept over him, freezing the life from his helpless body.
Outside, Belgarog notes no other points of entry to the storage room, and that the only door to the room would have been all but unpickable to the average thief, cementing their suspicions that this was an inside job. A little bribery work with a bum sleeping across the street from the warehouse reveals that two young men matching the description of Relb and Solden were seen fleeing the building in the early hours of the morning, along with a female that was decribed as being “powerful ugly!” Upon questioning, Mr. Sysk mentions that he had heard that Relb might have been dating, but that was as much as he knew. The unit retrieved Relb and Solden’s home addresses from Mr. Sysk’s secretary, and the group split up to investigate the two locales, with Belgarog traveling across town to Solden’s apartment in Dirt Ridge, and the rest of the group investigating Relb’s place.
What the group found inside Relb’s place was a horror. Someone presumably Relb himself, due to what features they could recognize in the middle of the room, where someone apparently exploded into a mutated man, with cat bits, and then died. Almost as disturbing was a patch of the wooden wall that had also been mutated and mixed with some cat. Danthos had only heard of such deaths from descriptions of truly fouled up teleportation incidents, and some of the more morally flexible experiments in transmutations. Some basic forensic work determines that whatever caused the bizarre mutation explosion originated from the bed in the corner of the room. A quick search also found a large stash of gold on the corpse, and the murder weapon, a bloody truncheon, stashed beneath the bed. Danthos and Georgiana resolve to meet Belgarog at Solden’s apartment, while Ismela and Anakela hit the streets in an attempt to find out more about their targets.
Belgarog, meanwhile, finds the apartment both locked and trashed, which is an odd and unexplainable red herring. The stealthy half-orc lets himself inside and inspects the areas that suffered the most damage, noticing that both spots would be places where the resident might hide cash. Apparently it was meant to be running money, and Solden is indeed on the run. Questioning one of the nearby street workers and Solden’s landlady reveals the same information: Relb and Solden were known for spending their nights at a local seedy gambling establishment known as Dortmund’s. The team makes their way there only to find the building locked down for the day. This lock was more than a minor inconvenience for Belgarog, but not so much that he couldn’t manage, and soon the unit is scouring the building. They locate Solden hiding scared in a rented room on the second floor, and chase him out the window before bludgeoning him unconscious in the alleyway out back. Belgarog goes to rent a cart to haul him back to the office as Anakela and Ismela, having confirmed most of the information they had discovered about Relb and Solden with informants around town, wander in the unlocked front door.
As Belgarog returns, he sees a perturbed bouncer notice that the front door of Dortmund’s is unlocked. He uses his key to enter, and immediately runs into Anakela, who requests that he goes to fetch Dortmund himself as she and Georgiana sample the alcoholic selections. He does so, suspiciously locking the group into the bar. Belgarog immediately picks they key from his pocket, unlocks the door again, tossing the key out into the street. When Dortmund arrives he becomes quite unhappy with his ineffectual bouncer, but answers any and all questions pleasantly and efficiently once he determines the identity of the group. He does admits that he rented Solden the room, but predictably had no idea that the man was in trouble with the authorities. He also informs the group that one evening he had Relb’s new girlfriend followed home after she injured one of his bouncers in a scuffle. He retrieves the address from his floor safe and gives it to the group before wishing them good luck in their investigations.
The group returns with their catch to the office, where they run into Ruthers, their Handler with CI. They relate to him the events of the day, and he’s so impressed he immediately hands the group a concurrent assignment: preventing the assassination of a prominent member of Callashar society the very next evening. The group goes about interrogating their suspect, who immediately confesses, and asks to be taken into protective custody. Apparently Relbs new girlfriend has access to the product of a master alchemist, and their suspicions of her hagginimity grow stronger…