Vorzheva decides to take a night off away from the Gryphon where she can attract some male attention, with Zath along to provide extra backup but no sense of a “chaperone.” The two head to the White Chimera, an establishment a little rougher around the edges. There they strike up a conversation with a lone bladesman who has an interesting sword: Ashta, a human warrior who has spent some time in the drakhan homeland of the Dragonskull Isles. He and Zath hit it off well, and Zath participates in a drakhan custom by adding a pinch of burned herbs to their drinks.
While Vorzheva’s getting another round of drinks, she overhears some men speaking in a gutter-cant, planning to waylay Ashta and steal his sword. She returns to her drinking companions with the news, and the three decide to turn the tables.
The thieves use a prostitute to try to lure Ashta into an alleyway so they can jump him. The ploy works well enough that they are able to put him out with one of those sleeping powder grenades that Valmer had used. Vorzheva fights off a dark-skinned, slender swordsman with a Kheran cast to his features. Though she gives as good as she takes, he manages to cut her up pretty badly before he escapes. They managed to capture the prostitute, but the other thief also gets away.
The prostitute is unwilling to talk until they assure her they will kill the thieves, as they had apparently threatened and intimidated her into working for them. She tells Zath, Vorzheva and Ashta what she knows, though it isn’t much. There are three thieves; Ryson, the one who hired her; the dark one Vorzheva had fought; and a dwarf with terrible burn scars on his face, who seems to frighten her the most, but whom they hadn’t seen. She says the thieves have a safe house that they call the Cold House, but she doesn’t know where it is (Vorzheva speculates that it may be near an ice seller). Vorzheva gives the girl some money for her trouble and makes sure she isn’t followed when she leaves.
The three of them set out for the Hall of Swords, where Vorzheva shamefacedly asks if Par will heal her. He seems upset that she is out getting into fights without him and not telling him what is going on, but heals her anyway. After looking in a few likely places for the thieves and turning up nothing, the group retires for the night.
In the morning, Vorzheva brings Zath and Ashta to see Roarsh the Bald to find out where they might have gotten those sleeping powder grenades. Roarsh says he makes them, but you have to be a licensed bounty hunter to purchase them. Describing the thieves to him, he recognizes Kewish, Vorzheva’s dark-skinned opponent, as a bounty hunter that used to buy from him, but hasn’t been by in some time. When they ask how one goes about finding a bounty hunter, Roarsh tells them that the guard posts usually keep a list of names and how to contact them. Becoming a licensed bounty hunter entails going down to the courthouse, filling out some papers and paying 100 gold crowns for the license.
The three of them consult the bounty hunter list at the guard post nearest the Tattered Gryphon, where they talk to Constable Querth. Kewish is still on the list and the place to leave a message for him is indeed very near an ice seller’s place.
Vorzheva and Zath head over to the courthouse to become licensed bounty hunters. Ashta then hires them (for a copper each) to track down the thieves, so it’s all official. Zath sends a message to Kewish about a potential bounty to lure them out. They set the meeting for that evening in the room across from Vorzheva’s at the Tattered Gryphon. When they show up Zath, Vorzheva and Ashta jump them. The dwarf panics when confronted with one of Zath’s fire spells, and is dispatched shortly afterward. Ryson uses a sleep grenade to knock Vorzheva out as she chases him down the stairs, but her fans among the clientele come to her rescue and capture him for her. Kewish surrenders to Ashta.
The three turn Ryson and Kewish over to Constable Querth. Vorzheva points out that he may want to question where they got their sleeping powder grenades from, since Roarsh is the only licensed dealer in Tor’s Gate and the ones they were using were not his work. Returning to the Gryphon, Vorzheva buys her patrons a round of drinks by way of thanks and relates the entire tale to them, proudly showing off her pewter bounty hunter’s badge. She also gives Osgrod some money to cover Zath’s fire damage, but he doesn’t seem too upset. As her reputation grows, so does the Gryphon’s.
The next day, Vorzheva goes to apologize to Par and explain why she didn’t want to get him involved. At first he doesn’t seem to think it’s any big deal to make enemies in the local underworld. He gives some ground when Vorzheva explains that he’d get a knife in the back when he least expects it rather than a fair fight from them, but is still a ways from chastened.
Characters Introduced: Ashta, Ryson, Kewish