Vitoli Grimm, Part 1

Grimm took another step through the sewer tunnel, his shield arm raised high, his eyes attentive and his ears alert for stray sounds. His companions were at his back, preparing themselves for whoever or whatever they might find. Don-tonian sewers were known for being home to all sorts of nasty creatures. No matter how many times they flushed the system, things seemed to survive and even multiply. Grimm was nervous, but he’d never let his companions see it. He’d need their resolve to get him through this mission.

Grimm was doing everything in his power to keep his attention on the march, attempting to steel himself against the nagging thoughts which worked to find a crevice in his mind to infest. It was getting harder. Grimm looked again at the sewer walls, and then back again at his shield and the pauldrons on his armor. It was too tight. Far too tight. He would not do well to get involved in any major conflict in this space, and Grimm was more than aware of that fact.

Grimm clenched his jaw and refocused on the dank and dark path ahead. Memories of his father, Vitoli Grimm played on the edges of his mind. He just hoped he could keep them at bay long enough to get this job done. Grimm had known that coming into the sewers was likely to bring up some old memories, but he trusted that his Judge training and years of suppression would be enough to keep his head clear. Grimm swallowed hard, willing his stomach to settle against the mounting stress.

The sewers were still and stale. Even as Grimm marched stalwartly on in the darkness with great strides from long muscled legs, it felt as though he was not moving. Instead Grimm felt as though the sewers themselves moved under him. It felt like a giant and cruel serpent, playing with its inevitable meal and robbing him of any progress, but taking his energy and resolve from him none-the-less.

It was the silence that was getting to him. The air was so heavy. It closed in around him, isolating him. The steady march of Grimm and his companions became a droning rhythm. It carried the weight of the air with it. The edges of Grimm’s mind were starting to give way to memories of his father and the Grimm crypts. Vitoli’s voice started to play on the edge of Grimm’s hearing. Like a faint and distant echo bouncing around the old sewer system, hunting for Grimm.

Grimm did his best to ignore the words, but the still, stale and fetid air of the sewer compacted the space around him. The distant voice was stalking him. It was slowly getting closer, and louder. It was starting to break his mental barriers.

You are not enough! You are weak, like your mother and her line! You are not a true Grimm!


A small figure appeared ahead in the darkness, having just come down from a manhole.

“This is Judge Grimm! Stand down and identify yourself!” Grimm commanded, his mind immediately focused. Justice was at hand.


Dumathaday, the 23rd of Fireseek, 10:25pm, Central Judges Headquarters, Don-Ton

                Master Judge Roberts sat as his desk going through the ever mounting pile of legal complaints from off circuit lawyers, lords and merchant guilds, his boys were certainly making a splash, he just hoped he could keep this crap at bay long enough to convince the ruling council that the judge program was worthwhile. He opened a new scroll from the law firms of Schmit and prepared to read about the latest assault on Don-Tonian rights when the blue crystal on his desk began to flash.

                “Go ahead…” he said and looked up as the ghostly image of their crystal network appeared

                “Sir, I am to inform you that Judges Cruz, Nehro, Kane and Grimm have uncovered evidence that they believe will shut down many of the Thines holdings, they also believe that they have discovered a tunnel that could put Don-Ton security overall at risk. They are requesting additional guard support at Pier 14 off the 6th spoke. They also request an audience with you as soon as they return.” The Master Judge scratched his chin and considered the request for a moment, he hated using the city guard, but the program had been designed that he had to trust his boys and their training.

                “Send a guard detachment to meet them, figure out their ETA and notify me when they are ten minutes out” the crystal throbbed blue once and went dark. He turned back to his scroll but did not get far, as he was interrupted by a knock at the door.

                “Judge Fargo… what can I do for you?” the Master Judge asked inviting the Judge to enter his office. The Master Judge took a hard look at Fargo, he did not look well, pale and a thin sheen of sweat on his brow… his armor was blood spattered. “Where is your helm Judge?” the Master Judge noted

                “I… I… Can’t… Say…” Fargo replied with an odd stutter, things were getting weird here. He stood up and leaned in to get a better look at the man

                “What’s happened? Report Jud…” The Master Judge never got further as Fargo ripped a long black bladed Dirk from his belt and slammed it up through his throat and into his brain… the Master Judge shuddered once and slumped back into his chair blood cascading from the wound. Fargo stared at the Master Judge for a long moment, before horror at what he had done crept into his features.


Dumathaday, The 23rd of Fireseek, 385 ONT, (12 hours after the burning of Thines Fine Rugs), Undisclosed Location

Ange sat down in front the large scruffy Human. The surrounding was harsh and dank. Using sewers was a gamble in Don-Ton these days, but when privacy was required comfort often suffered,


“They sent four judges after Torkin? Are you sure?” the Human asked the dwarf. Ange scratched his beard and nodded


“yes, four of them. I barley escaped myself… but the Judge needed intel and seemed to be in a generous move, he gave me an out and I took it”


“You should have killed him, coward” the human growled but regretted it immediately as he heard the click of a retractable crossbow snap into form.


“I didn’t need to come here and tell you, that was out of respect… if respect is gone now…well…” Ange gestured with his crossbow.


“Ok, Ok…” the human said hand held aloft “It has been a hard night… an expensive night” Ange nodded to this and lowered his crossbow


“Fair” was all he said


“You said they took the boy and his nanny into custody?” the human asked, trying to regain his composure


“Aye… that’s what they said anyway… I didn’t tail them once they left the area… wasn’t going to press my luck any further… not for what I was being paid anyway”


“Hmmm…” the human said thoughtfully “and is there an amount that would convince you to press your luck?” Ange sat back for a long moment considering

“I am open to hearing you out” he said

New Recruits

The living. So unreliable. Thought Thaddeus as he put the finishing touches on his report about the day’s events.

The large man placed his hands on the table, which creaked as he put his weight on it to assist him in standing. Thaddeus was still wearing the heavy black full plate combat armor that he wore to do his daily patrol. The stern man had been taught at a young age that the job wasn’t done until all the clean-up had been completed. It applied to books, ink and pens when he was younger, but Thaddeus saw no reason for it to end there.

The gargantuan man came to his full height, flexed his back and shoulders and adjusted his armor to sit more comfortably. It had been a long, hard day, but a good one.

Thaddeus picked up the parchment in front of him and began to review his work. Without realizing it, he began to pace back and forth in the small office. Thaddeus began the ritual of combing through to make sure that everything in the report was accurate, considered all aspects of the mission, and hide any inconvenient personal opinions. Objectivity was critical. Thaddeus knew that any report might go up the chain of command, and that there may not be an upper limit of who read it. The idea that Lord Strahd might read Thaddeus work excited him. Although he knew it was unlikely, he wrote as if writing to the High Lord himself.

In actuality, Thaddeus was fairly pleased with his team members. For a collection of highly aggressive, anti-social, misfits… they worked pretty well together. It would take a little time for them to find their niches. Thaddeus was no exemption to this. Each man had a strong set of skills, and each set were varied from the other. This boded well for the team, but focus would be needed.

It occurred the Thaddeus that his companions did not truly understand the depth and scope of their position. There had been much talk of the mission being a failure, as it did not apprehend the target. Thaddeus did not feel the same way. The target no longer had financial and legal control of his properties, his heir was in Judge custody, Thaddeus had secured enough evidence to freeze (if not confiscate) the holdings, and most importantly the team had sent a clear message. The Judges acted with power, purpose and authority, but were there to protect innocent civilians. The fire had been a stroke of luck. It demonstrated efficient containment of a dangerous situation. The populace would be thankful.

As Thaddeus completed his revisions, he made a decision. The living were unreliable. Crowd control and containment were going to be constant themes. People needed to be herded, situations needed to be restrained. Thaddeus knew how he wanted to handle this.

Thaddeus completed the submission of his report, asked Sentinel a few questions about licenses and legal subtleties, collected his belongings, and went home for the day. The next morning Thaddeus would be first in line at the local law office to process paperwork, then would find an overpriced tailor to make some very basic garments.

Not those kind of briefs.

The operation started with attempting to locate the target, one Turkin Thines, someone who had been identified as being in the beggars guild, and owner of Thine's Fine Rugs. During investigation of the establishment, we found that he was not present, and that he owned a number of businesses all over the street. Judge Grim entered the establishment to put the fear of Strad into the employees, and attempt to flush Thines out. The rest of the team surrounded the building.
After some time, Judge Grim withdrew, and we waited to see what the reaction would be. 
This was the first mistake, for while working to draw Thines out, it also allowed him to prepare for the encounter, and move all his people into position.
We had the building surounded, with each door being watched, including the roof access. Judge Kane had an encounter with a mercenary on the roof, that I can find no fault with, more in depth questioning of the mercenary may have been useful, however the precedent that mercenaries and professional guards can be released if they surrender upon realizing who we are, is rather important going into the future. I believe the right call was made in releasing the mercenary.
Judge Grim had in the meantime staked out a coffee shop further down the street, and intercepted a carriage that had stopped at Thine's Fine Rugs. Interrogating the driver revealed that the carriage had dropped of Thines wife, and was enroute to pick up Thine himself.
The driver was allowed to continue on his way, and proceeded to deliver Thine to the establishment under cover. I believe that Judge Grim allowing this to occur was a mistake, made much worse by the our first mistake of giving Thine time and knowledge of out interest. Thine used the time to gather his best guards and mercenaries, and joined them within his warehouse, where he prepared to escape with his wife through the sewers. His businesses were all sold to his son just before our attack began. It would have been a much better plan to intercept Thine and his wagon before he could unite with his people.
Once Thine had been delivered to his establishment, which did NOT have a known connection to the warehouse, I abandoned my post watching the rear doors, and moved towards were I believed the arrest would take place. This was also a mistake, as at least one unknown entered the warehouse during this time.
It is still unknown how Thine and his wife got from the shop into the warehouse unobserved, however while Judge Grim delivered criminal charges via vocal projection from the front, Judges Nehro and Kane entered the warehouse through a secret entrance in the roof, revealed by the mercenary Kane had encountered. They overheard Thine preparing to descend into the sewers to escape, his wife having preceded him. Upon hearing this, I made my way to the nearest external sewer access, and entered it in order to cut off or pursue Thine should he manage to escape the warehouse.
I found myself heavily outnumbered, as Judge Nehro was held up by an elite assassin [See Appendix A: Known Lizardmen Assassins], and Judge Grim was ambushed outside the warehouse by food salesman. I cannot recall without reviewing Sentinels files what Judge Kane was doing at this time.
I spotted Thines entering the sewers just ahead of me, and gave chase, prioritizing keeping track of Thine over dealing with his guards who had also entered the sewers and attempted to delay me. Despite my attempts to instruct the team on where to block Thines off, none of them were followed up on until Thines himself exited the sewers, and used magic to seal up the exit he used. I rushed to the next available exit, and spotted Thines on the roof of a neighboring building. Having been spotted, he attempted to escape by leaping up onto a building across the street, however he misjudged his jump and fell into the alley instead, were I cornered him, and was shortly joined by Judge Kane.
Despite Thine being inflicted grievous wounds, he demonstrated an ability which allowed him to heal himself quite efficiently merely by inflicting wounds on others around him. As the battle progressed, he showed no problem with using both enemies and allies as targets for his strikes in order to heal himself. Review Sentinel file R613-CRUZ, this healing appears to be nearly equal to wounds inflicted.
After blows were exchanged by all parties, I was forced to perform a tactical retreat, as I had been heavily injured by Thine's attack, and his man who had been chasing me through the sewers had finally arrived and were preparing to assist their boss from a flanking position.
Shortly after my retreat, Judge Grim showed up, however Thines fled. Judge Kane pursued him, while I sought to cut Thine off down an alley he was expected to flee down. My ambush was unsuccessful, as Thine's returned to roof-hopping, with Judge Kane following by air. I returned to the location were Judge Grim was arresting Thine's man, and assisted Judge Nehro in retreating from the sewer were his battle with the Elite Assassin had taken him. The assassin retreated rather then fight all of us at once.
Judge Kane followed and attempted to cut off Thine in his escape into his warehouse, but was unfortunately unable to halt the target. A fireball shot bu Judge Kane killed most of Thine's man, and ignited the contents of the warehouse. Kane survived, and fled deeper. Myself and Judge Nehro entered the burning warehouse to attempt to locate Thine before he escaped. I made my way along the side door to the rear, and attempted to keep watch over both, while Judge Nehro made his way to the sewer entrance. We soon had to abandon the attempts, despite Nehro spotting the target on the roof, the fire threatened to bring down the whole building.
Upon exiting, we scuffled with the Elite Assassin who had made a reappearance, however he managed to escape despite our efforts, and Judge Kane's aerial check of the roof showed Thine had also escaped.
At this point we shifted into preventing the fire from spreading to other buildings in the district.

In summary, the operation was a bit of a shit show, with the main target escaping, and his holdings legally transferred to a new owner before formal intent of arrest was made. It was not however a complete failure, as the monetary value of the goods stored in the warehouse has been denied to the beggars guild, and the target has been chased underground and likely out of town, therefore severely damaging his immediate use to the organization.

I recommend that a followup be conducted in the form a search of all properties owned by the target before their sale, while the businesses cannot be confiscated, or it's new owner charged, anything illegal within them CAN be, and there may be clues as to other establishments or individuals to investigate. Furthermore, a refresher course on planning and teamwork may be called for.

The Grimm Manor
A Shadow Of Past Glory


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