Blades Oblique

Session 4: Going Under

The Rutting Cocksman Tavern (“The RC”) had been burned down with Bazso Baz’ lieutenant Pickett inside. The Goon Squad had ushered the Lampblack thugs Finn and Fane into their armored carriage, holding them in the hope that Bazso would remain in the dark about what happened a bit longer. Many buildings had been burned down in the Brigade’s arson spree, perhaps The RC was one of them. The Goon Squad formed an alliance with The Dark Cloud and they both needed more time to marshall their resources before the inevitable war with the Lampblacks.

The blacksmith’s shop on The Dark Cloud’s turf was also burned down. The one with the master blacksmith, Hanspeter, who was being urged to come out of retirement. He had been the Crow’s top Cutter before falling for a woman that pushed him to go legit and return to his original profession as a blacksmith. With the Crows still holed up in their tower and their territory being encroached on by both The Red Sashes and The Lampblacks, the word on the street is that they need Hanspeter to go back into action…

The explosion in Charterhall is still in the news. The Iruvians have sent for some “specialists” to come find out what really happened as they don’t trust the local investigation and a ship from Iruvia is on its way.

The Red Sashes have made it clear that they are the ward boss that The Dark Cloud now needs to kick funds up to and the crew obliges as they aren’t looking to make more enemies.

One thing is clear, The Dark Cloud needs coin if they are going to rise in stature and equip themselves for war. The crew decides to pull off one of the heists that Rope had planned: the missing cup and saucer from the KASAVAR TEA SET. A family heirloom. When the Immortal Emperor visited Akoros four centuries ago, he used this tea set with the patriarch of the Kasavar family. They are still one of the most decorated and entrenched
military families in Duskwall. Their tea set is a symbol of Duskwall’s prominence. However, a saucer and a cup from the set are missing. This stuff is priceless to the family and Rope obtained a lead on their location: one of the underground lairs of Batty-Fang. These lairs are connected by underground canals which the crew uses for their human trafficking operation.

Comments

Moriset’s Handbook – Entry 102, Serpentine Connections

The voices grow ever louder and inopportune. A few patterns are beginning to emerge so I will take note. The deeper voice, when discernible prattles on about moisture. Sometimes it seems a complaint about water and other times a warning. Initially I took this as a reference to the strange collection of condensation plaguing my quarters and spoiling the results of my experiments, but now with our initial foray into the lair of Batty-Fang behind us, I think there is another explanation.

The feminine voice is more perplexing. She speaks with a lisp. Naturally, I assumed this was meant to imply the speaker was a child, speaking in such an imperfect manner. I will try remain open-minded, as this may be a ruse.

Rope managed to obtain a good lead on a cup and saucer of significant value. It’s strange, the things that people assign value to. Her lead was legitimate and now the Dark Cloud has risen from obscurity. Too late to avoid burying the lede, but still I try.

Hole did some amazing scout work, learning much about this Batty-Fang crew. Tea sets are not their main area of focus. It seems they kidnap and enslave youth. If Hole is to be believed they infect particular subjects with the ghosts of Constantine and Constantinia. Apparently this makes the subjects more debauched and therefore more valuable. Were that our business model, I think I’d favor tea sets.

We set off in our leaky boat, deciding to approach their lair from below…as it played more to our stealthy manner. We recovered a better boat and scuttled ours. Saw immediately became fascinated with a large pickling barrel. I mention this because it initially seemed improper and concerning, but in the end it proved a worthwhile project. I need to watch this Saw fellow more closely.

Soon, the Aardvark wandered down for a smoke. Hole slit his throat and challenged me to dispose of the corpse in under 30 seconds. I think he was impressed that I managed to send the Aardvark down to the bottom of the canal in just under 15 second by cutting 4 holes in the 3rd and 5th intercostal spaces for proper venting.

While I carved up our would-be sentry, Saw began his own craft project. He modified the aforementioned barrel in such a way that it became both a disguise and a makeshift weapon. He truly works wonders with that serrated blade of his.

At this point Boots and Coryphee made their presence known and our stealthy mission became much less so. Boots stumbled into me, despite my position in the shadows. Pressing her blunderbuss into my abdomen, I answered back with a stiletto to her throat. During this, Coryphee engaged with Hole in a strange, gymnastic dance involving an incredible risky pirouette. Hole has some skills he’s been reluctant to share with us.

I was assisted in taking down Boots by Saw, who decided to use his barrel like a wheel and roll over the opposition. He even managed to shoot her from inside his briny armored compartment. As Boots slid down to the floor, she looked into my eyes and requested to be my prisoner. I desperately wanted to make her regret such an absurd decision. But she seemed a screamer, so I answered her with a deep cardiac puncture. Hole and Saw seemed unhappy with this, but they will thank me by enjoying their freedom. Boots was a filthy woman and not someone we need to dwell on much longer.

With our body count growing, we decided to make haste. We split up and found a jail cell full of girls to be sold into slavery, an empty husk of a man, perhaps that once housed the Constantine ghost, and a young noble girl that have been their “Constantina”. I explored a room and found an obese man sleeping through our murderous intrusion. Sprinkling “Standstill” (Mother’s seizure medication in a concentrated form) instantly immobilized him. I began playing the lullaby to appease the Maw before I split the sleeper from gullet to groin, when I find myself being squeezed my a large snake! Well, before deciding my melody was to her liking, Akasha bruised my right arm. Orlan says I will recover fully, but as of yet, my arm is semi-functional.

Hole swam through a passage and unlocked a small gate, where they tried to hide the cup and saucer. I tried to get him to check on the position of the increasing number of corpses now at the bottom of the canal, but we were distracted by a ghostly apparition.

Hideous laughter echoed inside my head. Frozen with fear, I watched as Malkin’s ghost pulled our boat away from us. Thanks to some heroic feats Saw managed to reclaim the boat. Hole loaded his gun with some luminescent bullets that seemed to scream when fired. These sent Malkin to his death, yet again and we escaped in our new boat. For the record, the trance powder I’d been experimenting with came in handy by sedating the young noble girl, who was distinctly uncomfortable with Akasha’s presence.

As Akasha’s venom glands continue to evade me, I have pointed her in the direction of Orlin’s new goat-friend. Enjoy your meal, Akasha.

Session 4: Going Under
 

Vlad’s after action report:

… big score for the crew. We seem to be coalescing nicely. Though I do find them a bit more unpredictable than I am comfortable with, I am discovering that might be our strength. I suppose my days as a solitary operator, and the control that affords, are over. Retrieval of the …

The new crewman, Vadim the Saw, has a suitable demeanor for the job, and a penchant for collecting vials of blood from anybody he can puncture with a syringe. I think he collects them for the same cult for which Moriset plays the flute (an uncanny duo in our midst!). Though I sense, he is hiding something from us. It will be wise to keep an eye on him for the time being.

Despite its success, the op was sloppy in my opinion. I blame myself. Incapacitating the man called Aardvark went smoothly, I even managed to snatch the the cigar from his slacking jaw as I lowered him to the floor. Then a large male (Coryphee?), approximately 115 kilos, smelling of fish, and wearing a bandolier of knives, emerged from the doorway. I had the drop on him and a plan, but my execution was an embarrassment. Rather than sending him over the rail and to the ground four and a half meters below, it was I that tumbled over. Contorting myself to land on my feet, I was uninjured, but I must do better. I will not fail the Cloud. Perhaps Veleris can assist me in…

… shot in the abdomen, but Mal dispatched her too quickly. The tenor of her plea for mercy had a message of bargain in it. Unfortunately in this case, Moriset was singular in purpose, her blood was spilled, and so she too was being sunk rapidly into the canal (he is quite skilled.) I suspect she was a either the utilitarian shell for Constantina (surely she does not exist solely in the sexual vessels) or the whisper that controlled her and Constantine. I base this on nothing more than a hunch.

… up the rocky passageway. To the right, there was an opening to the surface. The rock is steep pink granite (with impressive crystals of black mica and several dikes of quartz). Traversal would require excellent free climbing skills or climbing equipment; none was present. (This is an interesting lair.) At the top of the passage, was another room with a large stock pile of weapons; mostly quisarmes, assorted blades, numerous pistols, rifles, and boxes of ammunition. These may be necessary in the coming troubles with the Lampblacks, and likely Batty-Fang, too. In the near future, I will seek out the surface entrance to the complex. There cannot be too many such openings in the city.

… saw that bastard Malkin’s ghost (or Mr. M as Mal calls him) coalesce in the boat. Still in the canal, I began swimming toward the retreating boat and saw Vadim jump past me into the water. I assumed he intended to help retrieve the boat. But then, with no other fulcrum than his own will, he launched the boat onto the landing! He is already proving a valuable asset. After assisting Vadim in returning to the security of the canal stonework, I hastily climbed onto the landing. Still dripping wet and half naked, I reached into my sash for the last of the ectoplasmic bullets and loaded the pistol. Fearing Malkin might evaporate, I forewent the proper precautions and unleashed the vile slug into his head. The demon shrieked with delight as it found its victim and my ears suffered for it. It was then I noticed Moriset beset with paralysis. The sight of any ghost, particularly one that you dispatched from the living, is arresting, and Mr. M was the last thing Mal expected to see that night. My foolish childhood games in the bush of ghosts on the Dagger Isles has numbed me to their disturbing presence, but the rest of the crew obviously might have troubles dealing with them. As the ghost count is piling up for Dark Cloud, we will soon need a find a whisper as a crewman. I will consult with Rope. Gathering our …

… was out of her mind until Moriset plied her with some sort of powder from his box of tricks. She stated her father as allegedly Arnaud Colburn, the noble shipping magnate. I had intel that Batty-Fang was abducting the children of nobles for their ghostly prostitution operation, this seems to be confirmed. Perhaps, we can ransom her back to her father. However, I saw Sutton exit a shop in Charhollow hours after the op (I did not see his face, but I could tell it was him be the way he moved. Sheer economy, minimal energy, nothing unnecessary). As we walked, I gave him the short version of our score and upon telling him about the girl, he stopped, his eyes widened, then he turned, and quickly disappeared into the dark, I assume on his way to the sanitarium. Obviously he has some history with the Colburns.

Addendum: Tensions are beginning to come to a head with the Lampblacks. War is near. As a contingency, I have begun stashing weapons and explosives, similar to those used in the (spectacular) destruction of the carriage in the Iruvian hit, around Crow’s Foot and the Docks. (If the gang survives, we need to ramp up the gunpowder operation for income and our own uses. Again, I will consult with Arthesia). My source in Charhollow for ectoplasmic ammunition is “missing.” When pressed, his neighbors spoke in hushed voices of violent shadows and black demons. Well perhaps, but it could just be run of the mill thuggery, too. Either way, I must find another source. Additionally, I will speak with Stiv today about Mylera Klev. He has a congenial social and artistic relationship with her and perhaps he can gauge the Red Sashes’ temperature on the coming troubles. We will need allies. And Stiv is likely able to identify Aardvark’s cigar by the leaf and wrapping method. It was excellent. I’d like to buy a box.

End report.

Session 4: Going Under
Demolissionary Demolissionary

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