Excerpt from Stories of the Maw: Xencarn’s Great Escape
The Dragon Mawlers party met Stalker, a slaver gang leader with a drawl suspiciously similar to Powder Keg’s, who was working in the Maw and specifically targeting ex-raiders. He met them in Skyfall to deliver a message, paraphrased: “To Burner and Brass Knuckles, if you’re considering attacking me, you should be aware that I have people very close to you at my camp. I am, however, open to bargain for their release, if you’re interested.”
After Stalker left, their medic Firelight left the room in a huff, and the zebra necromancer Xencarn followed. Firelight was privately very disturbed by Stalker’s message. Xencarn suggested that they go off to Stalker’s camp to investigate the truth of things. Firelight accepted, and the two of them went on ahead.
At the camp, Firelight and Xencarn were welcomed as business customers, albeit customers kept under heavily armed watch. Stalker introduced first introduced them to Trigger, a blind pony from Firelight’s past, previously assumed dead. He then showed them Copper Wire, a minotaur mercenary in Stalker’s employ who seemed to be Brass Knuckles’ (ostensibly Tempered Steel’s) brother.
Stalker explained that it would cost them 5,000 caps each, both to free Trigger from his slavery and to provide severance pay for the mercenary Copper Wire, for a total of 10,000 caps. Riches that neither Firelight nor Xencarn had available, nor did the rest of the Dragon Mawlers.
Just as Firelight and Xencarn had decided to leave and come back with either the caps or a new plan, Stalker got a call on his radio, presumably from the Executive. Stalker then informed the group that the price was reduced to 3,500 caps each, for a total of 7,000. In exchange, Firelight would have to stay at the camp until the transaction was completed.
Xencarn offered himself up as trade, to stay at the camp and let Firelight get the payment instead. Stalker agreed to this, saying that he could use a necromancer around the camp in the meantime. Firelight objected at first, but Xencarn insisted that Firelight was more useful to the party than he was, especially if they ended up taking on a dragon to earn enough loot for the ransom.
Firelight eventually relented, but insisted on trying to heal Trigger’s wounds before he left. At this point, Firelight had become a miracle worker when it came to magical medicine. Between some healing potions, a doctor’s bag, Firelight’s innate healing talent, and a great deal of luck, Firelight was able to restore Trigger’s sight. Amidst Trigger’s teary-eyed gratitude, Firelight was then escorted out of the camp.
Xencarn was then put in one of the slave cages and told to wait for instructions.