1. Does this count as a separate encounter for the purposes of skill tricks?
2. Are the gates behind the guards shut or left open?

"Yes, unfortunately I was ambushed by some thugs and was force to flee. Luckily I know how to change my appearance quite well, and did so that I won't be recognized by them." Maz said. If this didn't work, he'd have to either change back into his original form, or sneak past them.