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Malignant Militia Hopefully, members of the Saltwalker Militia know something about these bandits, or at least why they didnt come forward during the beating. I should head to the militias camp to find out.
Investigate Saltwalker Militia
Uhrih: Those bastards, if they hadn't outnumbered me ....
Hero: What happened?
Uhrih: I came to join the Saltwalker Militia, but a bunch of bandits stopped me, roughed me up, and tossed me to the side of the road.
Hero: Why'd they do that?
Uhrih: They didn't stop to answer questions, just told me to be on my way. You look pretty capable. Why don't you go up to the camp and figure it out for yourself?
Hero: I'll look into it.
Geinarre: If you're here to join up with Captain Usnagikh, his day is over. And if you stick around, so is yours.
Hero: If I am?
Geinarre: Then we'd have to "persuade" you to change your mind.
Olduzah the Cutter: New around here, aren't you? I advise you to have a talk with Captain Usnagikh.
Hero: Captain Usnagikh?
Olduzah the Cutter: He's the officer in charge of the real militia here. Those of us still loyal to the effort to join the Covenant answer to him, and not Gudarzand his thugs.
Matthieu Vette: What? Are you one of Gudarz's thugs come to harass me again? You want your arm broken, too?
Hero: What are you talking about?
Matthieu Vette: I guess not. Apologies, stranger. Ever since the bandits moved into our camp we've all been on edge. And I suspect they've been scaring away new ' volunteers.
Hero: There's bad trouble ahead, if you ask me.
Captain Usnagikh: Are you from the Covenant army? I didn't expect you quite this soon—and frankly, we're not ready.
Hero: I'm not from the Covenant.
Captain Usnagikh: Sorry, stranger. I'm expecting a liaison from the Covenant military to visit and decide if our militia qualifies to join them. However, since Gudarz took charge I'm afraid there's little chance of that. I
Hero: got the impression from your soldiers the militia is divided.
Captain Usnagikh: Ha! Noticed that, did you? Yes, the camp is divided between those still loyal to the militia and those loyal to Gudarz and his promises of easy living and gold. His gang are little better than bandits. I suspect he's up to no good.
Hero: Why not run them out?
Captain Usnagikh: Because I know Gudarz from way back—we were in King Ramzi's service together. He was a good man then, and I have to believe there's still some good in him somewhere. Maybe it's just an old man's wishful thinking, but I'm not ready to fight him.
Hero: Maybe if I ask around, I can find out what Gudarz is up to.
Captain Usnagikh: And if you find out, maybe then I can decide what to do. Thank you, I accept your offer. Just be discreet about it. I don't want any fights breaking out.
Matthieu Vette: I saw you talking to Captain Usnagikh. I hope he's finally going to do something about these ruffians and thieves.
Hero: Possibly. What do you know about Gudarz?
Matthieu Vette: Heard he used to be a pirate. Got his ship by ambushing a captain and cutting his throat in cold blood. Then he claimed the title of captain for himself and made it stick.
Hero: How did he do that?
Matthieu Vette: He'd already gotten a gang of his own bully-boys into the crew, and he bought some of the others. The opposition was shouted down or chased off.
Hero: So what's he doing here?
Matthieu Vette: Same thing again, is my guess. He gets his gang to infest the militia, gains our trust, then murders the captain and takes over. Why mess with success?
Olduzah the Cutter: I You don't look like one of Gudarz's bruisers. What do you need?
Hero: What can you tell me about Gudarz?
Olduzah the Cutter: Well, you can't just call him a bandit—he obviously has military experience, and he's smart, no doubt about that. He was someone of consequence before he sank to being a gang boss.
Hero: Why did he become a bandit?
Olduzah the Cutter: Who knows? Perhaps he made a mistake and was disgraced and discharged. Or maybe he just developed a taste for gold and blood.
Hero: What do you think?
Olduzah the Cutter: Blood. I saw the look on his face when he killed our old captain. He enjoyed it.
Geinarre: I'm half a heartbeat from throwing you out of this camp.
Hero: I just wanted to learn more about Gudarz.
Geinarre: Why didn't you say so? I thought you were another sand-eater come to fight for the Alik'r. Gudarz is a great man, but he has a tragic history. It's given him a gruff exterior, but his bully-boys would follow him anywhere.
Hero: Why is that?
Geinarre: Because if you're part of his loyal crew, you get treated right—the pick of the loot, and backup when you're in trouble. He learned how to handle troops when he was in the army.
Hero: Which army was that?
Geinarre: The Sentinel Army, under old King Ramzi. He was an agent, part of what you call military intelligence. Lived in Tava's Blessing—had a family and little ones. On a mission, he learned that some pirates were planning to raid Tava's.
Hero: What happened?
Geinarre: He reported what he'd heard, but the general dismissed it and sent him on another mission. The pirates raided Tava's Blessing and killed Gudarz's family. He swore revenge and went rogue. Who could blame him?
Hero: I want to know more about Gudarz.
Ysgravald: You've come to the right man, mate. I've been with Gudarz longer than anyone—I was part of the group that helped him take his first ship.
Hero: Take a ship? So he was a pirate?
Ysgravald: That's right, mate. Gudarz had a grudge against this Captain Kroner. So he goes around and gets together a small gang of boys who are sharp with a blade and none too nice about it. We join the crew, he kills this Kroner, and we take over the ship.
Hero: Then what?
Ysgravald: Oh, we pirated for a while, but now with the war going on, all the navies are at sea and it's too dangerous. So Gudarz conies up with another scheme, and we comes ashore to work it. But that's private, see? Only told you 'cause I like you. Keep mum.
Captain Usnagikh: What have you learned of my old friend, Gudarz?
Hero: Gudarz went rogue because the army ignored his warning and pirates killed his family.
Captain Usnagikh: I see. That's terrible—but I don't see much left of the man I knew. And now he's demanding that I leave and take the other real militia with me, or die. We have no time left for wishful thinking.
Hero: What now, then?
Captain Usnagikh: He's left us no choice: we have to adopt his own methods, kill Gudarz and cut off the head of the snake. I wish I was certain I'll succeed. I'm not too old to lead, but single combat against a younger man?
Hero: I'll take care of Gudarz.
Captain Usnagikh: Good. I'd hate to lose a battle in my own camp. Beat the drum in our combat arena, and Gudarz will come to fight. He glories in turning the sand red with our recruits' blood, and set this up to show his prowess. It's time to show him yours instead.
Captain Usnagikh: So, you did it. I must admit, it's a relief. Traditionally you would now be in command of the militia, but is that what you want? If not, who should be?
Hero: I didn't do this to take command. You know your business here—you're in charge.
Captain Usnagikh: Thank you—I appreciate your trust. We'll have to act fast, but the loyal troops and I will get this camp cleaned up on the double. I think the Covenant will be proud of us.
Hero: Complete Quest.
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