June 26–27, 3430, Age of Kings
Once in Leedshire, the party found beds and food at The Fanciful Anchor Inn to rest for the night and stay there until their task was completed.
* * *
After breakfast the next day, they headed out to get a look at Gower's residence and make a plan. They easily found the the collector's home mid-morning: an inn converted into a single family home. A short wall surrounded the grounds of the large manor and had a separate cottage for guards and hired hands. They spotted two groups of two guards—one with a guard mastiff—patrolling the grounds. On one of the exterior walls of the manor was an alarm bell.
Boots stepped away to summon his imp in a nearby alley. From there, his imp, Yattering, transformed into a raven to take a closer look at Gower's manor. Looking in through windows inconspicuously, the Yattering was able to get a basic layout of the home, and saw that much of the large estate was filled with antiques, art and various bric-a-brac.
After circling the grounds they returned to the inn to formulate a plan. Knowing that Hiller's men would remove the threat of interference from the local watch they decided that Ander and Grabby would break into the home via the roof of a neighbouring building, while the rest of the party provided support from outside if things went south. (The bell was a point of great concern which took up most of the conversation)
Once their plan was worked out they decided to spend the rest of the day tending to menial tasks—including Grabby and Audrey gambling down in The Fanciful Anchor which netted them both a nice profit for their efforts.
During this time Boots decided to investigate the manor himself. Sending Yattering to the manor again he spotted Gower and another man sitting at a table eating and drinking. Through Yattering Boots cast charm person at the two men, charming them both. Once this was done Boots approached the guards at the gate and requested entrance to see "his old friend Gower." After some back and forth with the guards, and introducing himself as Aladnaril, he managed to convice one of the guards to get Gower to come to a window to see that his old friend was at the gate.
Eventually Gower came to a window and waved to Boots, an elf he had never seen, but somehow knew he was a friend. Boots entered the manor, introducing himself with his new alias and joined Gower and his friend at the table.
After niceties were exchanged, Boots led the conversation to an old, large iron key that was in Gower's collection of rarities. Shortly Gower and Boots were in a cramped room filled with ancient weapons, armour, statues, books and shelves overflowing with all sorts of items so Gower could dig through the mess to try to find the key. Within minutes (and Gower rolling a natural 20 to search) Gower found the key and brought it back to the table so they could discuss it—which quickly became about Boots purchasing the key.
Despite "Aladnaril" being an old friend, Gower wasn't about to part with this key for pennies without knowing its true value. Gower could have another expert take a look at the key to get a better idea of its value the next day, but knowing his spell would only last for about another half-hour, Boots tried to pressure the sale.
Gower decided to meet him in the middle and go upstairs to his study in an attempt to find some information on the key. Taking the key with him, he went upstairs.
Getting nervous as time passed, Boots went upstairs to continue to pressure Gower as he pulled stacks of books off a shelf. Opening a window to "get some fresh air" Boots let in a now invisible Yattering to keep an eye on the key. Knowing his spell would end within minutes, Boots gave Gower a quick excuse to get going and made a hasty exit from the manor, leaving his imp familiar in the room with Gower.
Finding a secluded alley nearby, Boots waited, maintaining his psychic link with Yattering to view the scene through the imp's eyes. Sure enough Gower came to, now aware that a starnge elf had charmed him, he ran out into the yard yelling at his confused guards to "find that elf!" Enraged, Gower ran around the yard to assemble more guards to join in the search and called fro the town's watch.
During the chaos, the Yattering materialized in the study and grabbed the heavy key, lugged it to a window, and with great effort manged to fly out the window to the roof of the manor next door to wedge the key behind the manor's chimney. His task completed, Yattering returned to Boots and they two headed back to the inn.
Back at The Fanciful Anchor Boots managed to (easily) convince Grabby that he had returned to the manor to further scout out the area and sensed a "strange, magical aura" on the roof of the house next door, and that he should sneak up to the roof to investigate it.
"After all, it could be worth money!"
And Grabby was in...