Author Topic: Lucius Corvinus Draco  (Read 6789 times)

Captain Shortworth

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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2010, 10:38:55 PM »
It’s worth noting that we didn’t spend the entire planning time working on the one job, there was plenty of other stuff going on too, and so before we get to that, I’m going to talk about our fishing trip. It’s a bit strange because even though we worked so well together, it’s one of the few jobs we did that not all of us got involved in. Red and Gaius were both still laid up from the Adoni debacle, so Drona, Stalland and I had to figure it out with just the three of us.

It was just another night at work, but most of us hadn’t gone down yet as it was still pretty early, leaving just Lawrence down there; poor bugger hasn’t been much involved since he turned up, but Nensia seems happy to have him just sat on the door. He came up to grab us that night telling us about some bargeman who had wandered in showing of about some good luck he had had in the bay. When we got down there the scruffy bugger was holding court; he even had the two most exotic of the girls on either arm with a bunch of fair weather friends taking advantage of his luck and his generosity. He was merry enough and so full of himself we didn’t have to wait long to hear his story, and the bare bones of it was that he had heard about all the gold in the sunken Pelosian fleet and decided to try his luck. The gamble paid off for him making him a rich man so I paid close attention to where he was talking about.

It rang a bell so after that the three of us got to work, Drona was the lynchpin in all this as none of us wanted to dive down ourselves, what with the things that live under the water of the bay being big scary bastards, so we were going to send a daemon down there. That took a bit more effort than I would have liked and cost 15 swords straight away just so Drona could prepare himself for summoning it in the first place. Then he needed to know what to summon and that was the biggest ball ache of the entire thing. I wasn’t there for the conversation but what I heard is enough to convince me that regardless of his expertise, he wasn’t going to negotiate anything ever again.

I don’t which was first but apparently he promised to kill a guy or pay 100 swords for the info he needed. He was talking to two twins, in the same bar, and one of them wanted him to kill the other. Now, I know he knows his shit, but he must have made some monumental fuck for them to take him for a ride like that, because once Stalland went in their negotiating style changed considerably to just wanting a favour. That was when I got called in to give the word of the Umbruc that the favour would be honoured. Got to say; it’s kind of nice to have that power now I’m a Terto and it’s a damn sight easier to get a table when the Barge is a bit full.  That out of the way it was just a case of getting a ferry and in this city, that is not even a little problem. It would only cost a couple of swords both ways so we planned to make the trip at first light.

On the open water it was all down to Drona with the two of just spectators for the most part, maybe offering some advice on how best to use the beast, but very little else. That was until it came up for the first time with bugger all in its mouth and we had to try and figure out if we were in the right place. Luckily we had a bargeman who knew the waters much better than the rest of us and with a quick prompt from me took us right to where our lucky bargeman had told us he found the ship wreck. Sadly Drona lost control of the beast after only a couple of trips down, but the haul we pulled up was well worth it; as well as a couple of hundred in assorted coin, there was plenty of jewellery and a few other items of value. Some just with a cash value, but others that proved to be a bit more interesting...
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2010, 01:38:35 PM »
In a way, the fact that Lotho is a complete and utter fool makes this job easier, but having to spend time with vapid little fop is very much the worst part of it as far as I’m concerned. We had damn near every part of the planning down; Veyron was as well rehearsed as he was going to get, and seemed quite happy to be looking less disfigured than before and earning money too, Red had enough of a basic knowledge to be able to convince the idiot Lotho that she knew what she was talking about, and we all had our jobs to play. I was going to be friend to the mark, coming across as confident and in control to lead him in the right direction if it looked like has veering too far of the path we had laid down for him. Red was the honey-pot and primary contact. Gaius was bodyguard to Red and there to keep the piece if need be. Stalland would be back up and there to remove any obstacles that may present themselves in the form of voices of reason to make the mark think too much about what was going on.

With all that sorted, it was time for a night on the town, hunting through the kinds of bars lay-about Pelosians frequent. It didn’t take long to catch sight of him, but it made more sense to get introduced and also meant that I had an idea about how the idiot saw himself with regards to the battle at the villa. It didn’t surprise me to find out that he had painted himself as hero to all his cronies and they were lapping up the stories. A bit of quick thinking as to why I would go along with his story – I was knocked out early on and woke up after the fact to hear tales of bravery etc. – and the night went on from there. I made sure I was drinking the smallest amounts possible and getting watered wine for myself whenever possible, and when it was my round, I slipped a little something one of Nensia’s girls had given me into his drink. Not sure what it was, but I was assured it would leave him even denser and addled come the morning after.

The only problem of the evening was in the shape of a possible ring leader, only he was one who seemed happy to lead from the shadows, directing Lotho where he wanted him to go but letting him stay the centre of attention. It was for just this reason the Stalland had been shadowing us all night and with a pre-arranged signal, he had his mark. I made sure my timing was perfect and when he went to relieve himself I ushered people from one tavern to the next, bullying Lotho on just enough for him to start thinking of me as a bit of an alpha male, and not quite the toady he would have presumed me to be when we first met. Not quite sure what Stalland did to the other lad, but I know we weren’t interrupted by his return for the rest of the night.

I was very much taking the lead from that point on; knowing his patterns, every time it looked like he was wavering and looking for instruction, I was there to point him in the right direction without taking him out of his comfort zone. Before too long, the lot of them were the worse for drink and we retired to Lotho’s place. The night passed by and I woke as fresh as a daisy, but looking around the room I was the only one. Lotho looked like he was barely conscious so I seized the opportunity and suggested breakfast to wake him up, getting him outside and into the clutches of Red. Gaius was waiting, ready to do his bit and within a street we were accosted and the game was on. Gaius did what was needed and I suggested taking the conversation to the eatery, after all it was too sensitive a matter to be discussed in the street. With how open to suggestion he was behaving, I was fairly sure it was almost payday.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2010, 11:52:34 PM »
When planning a con, it is always worth being careful that you do not underestimate the mark because of their stupidity. By the time the story if the Lotho job is done, you will realise that it is also useful, every once in a while to expect them to be dumber than a bag of hammers; unable to grasp concepts such as self-preservation and the desire to avoid scandal. Hell, the silly sod cared more about getting his wick wet than he did his father’s name; that father, by the way, who allowed him to live like such a wastrel that he could afford to blow a pile of gold on the chance of getting with a pretty girl. Hold up, getting ahead of myself a bit there; we were going for breakfast.

I think I missed Red’s talents for this one; she is great at playing the arrogant rich girl, and has done us proud doing just that on many occasions, but hard done to and uncertain? Not her forte even a little bit. I did my best to get Lotho sympathetic and to keep her close to the script, but she can’t do that kind of character easily. We managed to get through the breakfast OK though, the big problem was convincing him that the con we had prepared was the safest bet and not to do something stupid. I swear, the daft cock wanted to just kill the ‘husband’ instead of dealing with the problem through back channels, the way any other aristocrat would try and solve a delicate problem like this.

After breakfast it was back to his, with Gaius running off to get our daemonologist, named Abdul something or other, and get more drugs to slow him down. At that point of course I hadn’t realised quite how stupid this boy was. He did have enough wits – in his cock I’m guessing – to send me off for some wine to try and get some time alone with Red. Luckily for us, not only was Stalland parked outside to keep an eye on stuff, Gaius hadn’t gone far, so I sent him off to run for the nearest wine shop he could find and get it back to me before Lotho had even the slightest chance to be an even bigger cock that we had labeled him as with Red. I got back in time to brush all the other lay-abouts out the door and water down my own and Red’s wine. The details of the conversation were hugely important to pushing him in the right direction for the job to work, but writing them down, even for the attentive audience I have, would make me so frustrated at Lotho’s intellectual short comings I may want to kill people. Suffice to say we did what we could and Got Red out of there to safety, leaving just me waiting for the return of Gaius and Veyron, or Abdul as he was to be known.

A cog was thrown into the works at that point, and I must admit, it wasn’t one I saw coming. Lotho thought that he might have been in danger and had buggered off to get himself a bodyguard; the reason I hadn’t seen it coming was that we had done everything we could to keep the fop in his comfort zone and be as none threatening as we could. It was about then that I realised we have overestimated his intelligence and would have to improve a hell of a lot from here on in. the bodyguard was a grizzled looking man named Lart, and I would not have wanted to go against him in a fight one on one and did my best to play the part of someone at Lotho’s level of intellect whenever he was around.

Before too long though Gaius had arrived with Veyron, not before we had taken advantage of a house to ourselves though. The moment he was round the corner a quick whistle got Stalland out of hiding and Red back from round the corner. I knew we didn’t have long, but did have a very unobservant target, so I added what I had pocketed earlier on in the kitchen and gave the two of them five minutes to grab what they could and head out the back way. I have no idea how much the grabbed, but they were gone long before either Lart or Gaius were on the scene. When anyone turned up I was the picture of cool, calm and collected; with the only exception being when a problem from last night resurfaced, but that wasn’t until later.

Gods love Gaius, but that lad did more than was asked of him with very little prep and moved us on at speed. The only thing that got in his way was an annoying trait in Lotho to ask a few too many questions regarding breakdown of costs, which to be fair even I would have had trouble making up on the fly; as it was he did well and got the more important things down at a higher mark up. Every time it looked Lotho was trying to move us off script, I corralled the conversation back and when the two of the left to give us time to think on it until the following day we had agreed a price of 850 for everything with 50 paid up front for materials. All in all a great end to the first full contact, but it has already got me thinking that the next job we pull can’t be based on what was put in front of us, but what we can do well.

Next afternoon I was to meet him at a bar and decided to make myself look even less threatening to Lart by getting Gaius to make me up looking the victim of the worst hangover ever; little did I know how useful that was going to be later. The three of us went back to Lotho’s in next to no time, but not before giving me a chance to pass on his plans to Stalland; who was once again lurking in the undergrowth. Turns out he was more than happy to pay almost full cost, but wanted his house daemon-proofing first thing, and then he was going to send for Red before the assassination of her ‘husband’, wanting her safe when that happened. Nice to know he was paying attention and not just wanting to get into her pants, and if he was willing to pay Abdul once he was done, we could just say we were off to grab Red and scarper with the money. The money, by the way, that was sat in a small chest on the dining room table when we arrived. My heart damn leaped when I saw it as it meant he was so far on the hook he would be shitting fishing line for a week. But, nothing ever runs as smooth as you would like it to.

Gaius got Veyron to play his part well after getting trained by Drona, but then the second spanner was thrown in the works, again with the name on Lart embossed in big sodding letters on the side. Lotho wanted to make sure red as coming, so half way through the protection spell being cast, or whatever the hell was supposed to be happening, he asked Gaius to head out and bring red over, expecting the casting to be done by then, and sent Lart, the dangerous sod, with him. Knowing full well that this could end bad and also that there was a chest full of red swords sat on a table, I took a hell of a risk. I went to the furthest part of the back garden away from the house and whistled form Stalland to head over and told him the situation. It took us a matter of seconds to work out the best course of action and I was once again reminded of his usefulness, not just as a silver tongued bon vivant, but as criminal mind to rival my own, and round to the front door he went. I would have loved to give Veyron the heads up for this plan to make sure he was safe, but it was a risk worth taking.

I took a handful of loose soil and kept my position, waiting for a knock at the door that I would be expected to answer, and being grateful I had turned up looking the worse for wear. In case you’re wondering why I was expecting to be called to answer the door, here is what happened earlier, the time I was more than just cool and relaxed. There was a knock at the door when Lotho was already on edge, but instead of sending the brute to answer it, yours truly is told to get rid of them. Who should I see in front of me than the fellow from the other night had been accosted by a member of the Golden Claw watch cartel; and he looked battered, bruised, and more than a bit pissed that he had been left behind to get assaulted. At first I was quite happy to play my part of the new best friend, but he was having none of it, and that just made me even gladder I had picked him to be removed from the drinking party. Enough was enough though, and if he wasn’t going to head off peacefully without talking to Lotho, he was going to leave because I fucking told him too. Once again I risked character but kept us on track and stepped forward just one pace until I was in his way as he tried to push past the door; I’m not the biggest lad out there and there are those in the legions who would make me look like a child, but I know how to use my size and the turd bounced off me like rubber off a wall before stuttering his apology and retreating. Fucking Pelosians.

Anyway, the second knock at the door; within seconds a shadow appeared at the back door asking for me and I took my chance. Leaning over I put my hand to my face and made some frankly disgusting noises while letting the small stones and pieces earth fall from my cheek to the ground, hoping the light as poor enough for Lotho to be convinced that my hangover was real and what he was seeing was the inevitable result. Luckily he took the bait and went to answer the door; knowing it was Stalland knocking and he wouldn’t be there for long, I ducked quickly back inside and damn near dragged Veyron with me out the back door before leaping over the hedge. At that point, with the plan taking new twists and turns every few minutes, all I could do was get myself and Veyron back to Nensia’s and hope to meet everyone there. A quick ride back, weighed down with a chest full of coins was all I had between me and making sure the rest of my crew were safe.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 09:54:14 PM »
Unlike other jobs that the crew has pulled off, we all managed to get back without even a scratch on us, and got paid well; came in at roughly 100 red swords a piece in fact. That’s not to say it went off without a hitch at all; I got back with Veyron to find only Drona sat at the bawdy house with the rest of them still out there somewhere. Turns out Gaius hadn’t done what I thought he was going to and just slit Lart’s throat, instead he had been back to Nensia’s to pick up Red to deliver her to Lotho. Not an ideal situation, but I was fairly certain that Red would have no problem relieving him of his life’s blood. Stalland had gotten back before me and gone after them hearing what had happened, so I figured the best thing to do was hang back and wait to see what the score was. Running off into the night alone leaving Drona a stoned wreck would do no one any good.

Gaius and Red got back not too long later and I wanted to punch someone in the face as hard as I could. The daft fucks had taken Lart, in the carriage, all the way back to Lotho’s’ place and then proceeded to stab him once and then burn him to a crisp when he didn’t die from his wound, all while Lotho was at the door watching. I swear to the Gods!!! They were talking of a crisis of conscience and a lack of proper instructions as if there was anything else they should have done but slice his throat somewhere quiet and get the Umbruc to disappear the remains. I knew damned well there would be repercussions, but when Stalland got back and told us about the heavy watch presence round Lotho’s I started to get a bit scared. I figured the best thing at that point was to get an alibi set up so asked Red to have a chat with Nensia while Stalland and I counted out the coin.

Of course it wasn’t long until I was putting that fire out as Red had walked in and told Nensia straight up that we had been involved in trouble and it might get back to us here. I’m useless talking to women, but I hope I managed to calm her down; the last we needed was to be looking for somewhere else to stay. There was a quick conversation about a card game with Lawrence, for which he was paid a handful of swords in ‘winnings’, and then it was back down to work. I don’t think I was my usual self that night since I knew I had to report everything in the morning, and depending on how high the report went and how much attention Lotho had attracted, I knew we could all be in trouble. I hate to say it, but the only thing that kept me away from a sleepless night or two much drink was the knowledge that red was a Terto just like me, and I couldn’t be responsible for her; add to that the fact that Gaius was in the coach with her and it looked like I wouldn’t get the brunt of whoever’s wrath would targeted at us.

Next morning was a good pay day as we also managed to flog off the letter to Lotho’s father, but I knew that the report, being as honest an account of what happened as I was aware, would get someone in trouble. I couldn’t let that bother me though, so I joined the rest of them in going shopping; picking up a few extra sets of good quality clothing and one set of very fine threads, the kind of stuff we see Magg in every once in a while. It wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but part of me was thinking that if Red liked the look of Magg in his clothes, getting something of a similar cut wouldn’t be a bad thing. I also shaved the beard off, had a nice close haircut and picked up a sword much more suited to me. All told we had a good few days of spending our money and kicking back, but it wasn’t going to last.

We were eventually summoned to the Umbruc hall and the moment we got into it there was something in the air that put me on edge. I was really hoping that we were all going to be able to walk out of the place, but to be honest, I wasn’t one hundred per cent sure we would. It was Alsune who had called us in and she did not look happy. She cut straight to the point and started in at Red as to what went wrong, and like me wasn’t happy with the answers she was being given. Thankfully Red didn’t rely on me for too much and after the basics of the story did what she could and got away with it as much as she could have hoped so. I was right about Alsune going for the Terto, as Gaius was barely spoken to. The rest of us were told that we needed to make amends for our little cock up and to do that we would best be out the city for a few days.

I could have kissed Alsune when she said that the reason we have cocked up was that there was a small chance there were outside influences on my crew; I don’t think that at all, but if it means we get less of a shafting, that’s fine by me. But, we were still going to be out of the city for a while so it was time for more shopping, although not as exciting this time. More that some of the crew haven’t been out the city other than in a carriage and we needed outdoor supplies. While we were finishing off, Stalland went ahead to sort us out the boat we would need, and after a long walk, a rough night under the stars, and some labour in the morning, we were off.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2010, 04:14:47 PM »
If you have read this far it will be no surprise that the ex-legionnaires had no problem with the hard work of keeping the boat moving against the current, or that the Whitelander knew what he was doing at the rudder; it would be even less surprising to find that Drona and Red were barley better than useless. Both of them had ripped the skin from their hands by the end of the first hour and that meant a little bit more was expected of Gaius and I, but we did our best and managed to cover even more ground than our boatman, Cob, thought we would.

That said by the end of the day we were all exhausted and it didn’t take any of us long to get some sleep. We set staggered watches so that Drona and Red would get the most rest, with the more rest of us being more used to an outdoor life and surviving on less sleep would be awake for longer. That would have been a great idea, but the two city-folks were so nervous about being in the wilds that Red was on edge the entire night and when Drona heard something he wasn’t sure what to do. Instead of waking everyone up so we could be ready for anything that would come crashing out of the water to eat us, he went to have a look by himself.

Other than that we had an easy night and a damn fine breakfast, much better than I would have thought possible, but Cob obviously knew his stuff and fed us well for another hard day pushing against the river. Drona’s hands were just as bad the next day as he had decided to ignore the advice of everyone and pee on them. I think he thought we were just taking the piss instead of trying to help him out. It meant that he could do bugger all at the punt all morning but we still managed to cover some good ground. By lunch time though, we had other problems.

While taking a break from the punting I spotted a couple of fingers on the horizon and although I eventually got everyone looking in the same direction, they had moved away from our sight. Not too much later though we spotted them again and this time Stalland was ready with a neat little geomantic trick. With little more than a wave of the hands he had conjured up a disc in front of us that acted like the greatest field glass on Uma. While stood seemingly miles from them we could make out details on their armour and their beasts; more than enough to tell us they weren’t farmers on a walk around their land. No, these buggers were out there looking for trouble and profit, and this boat was laden down with stuff they could sell without too many troubles. Luckily the ‘eye’ only worked one way so they couldn’t see us, or even know we were getting such a good look at them and it gave us the time to make decisions before we were forced to.

Going back to avoid them would only delay the inevitable attack, so the best we could do was pick a place to meet them. With the river narrowing and the current becoming stronger it made sense to make as much distance as we could, that way if things went too badly wrong we just un-moor ourselves and float away from them. We had no idea how many of them there were, but if they thought we were nothing but boatmen and were easy targets they were going to be surprised.
We managed another night without incident though, as long as you don’t include Drona’s creature freaking people out a little. The next morning we just did what we could to keep moving forward against the current; with rain possibly on the way we needed to be as far up river as possible before the water pushing against us was too strong for us to get through. Then it all started.

We saw one of the riders approaching closer than the others until he was within shouting range, and he gave us his terms; half of what we had in exchange for safe passage. Suffice to say, none of us were happy with that, least of all Cob. And since it was his boat we were on, it only seemed fair to help him keep hold of his merchandise. My counter offer, death to as many of his men as possible as they tried to take what was ours, was accepted, so all we could do after that was try to use the terrain to our advantage, after Red put an arrow in him as a warning about getting too close to us again. We moored up on the far side of the river hoping that their beasts would be unable to jump over the water to the boat. We were right on that so they sent foot troops round to try and flank us that night while the riders bore down on from the darkness.

With Red, Stalland and Drona loosing arrows into them, Gaius and I held the other half of the boat, with shields held firm to block any attack and swords and spear ready to run them through. Until they reached us, all I can remember is the sound of strings hitting would, grunts of pain as we took more than one arrow in return, and Stalland’s bow giving way during the fight. I think we were giving as good as we got at that point considering even just counting bowmen we were outnumbered, all I could do then was hope the two of us wouldn’t let the side down.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2010, 10:29:43 PM »
There are only snippets of this fight that have stuck in my mind and few of them involve what I did. Before I even had a chance to brace for the foot soldiers to leap onto the boat Gaius had flung the spear I had given him into the guts of the nearest and the horrible three-legged beast that Drona commanded had leapt from the water and was savaging another one. With his bow out of commission even Stalland took the opportunity to slow their advance and threw a hand axe into the fray. Of course, being the showy bugger that he is he had been throwing lightning bolts at the mounted troops, and was doing more damage than almost everyone else. Red was of course the exception to that rule and with her monster of a bow she took out two of them seemingly single-handed and although none of them were killed I doubt that they would be walking easily for a few weeks if at all.

It was about there that I came in to the fight. Looking back it seems that the fight took a lot longer to reach its conclusion than it could ever have really done; maybe it was due to the confusion and my mind spreading the events out to make them easier to remember. Not only were myself and Gaius at the front, shield to shield, but Stalland and his zolt, Hengist, also jumped in, although les of an actual jump in Stalland’s case. With those two also fighting it would surely only be moments until the bandits either fell or fled and then Drona swung in too, his sword doing little but distracting the swine which did make it easier for the rest of us to slide a blade into them. I think at one point even Red helped out on our side, but since all she had was a bow and the thought of one those arrows cutting the air is enough to keep me awake at night, I may have done my best to remove that bit from my memory.

I remember the fight ending for me, and in my elation I was proud, knowing full well that I promised the bandits what would happen to them if they chose to attack us for the cargo I couldn’t resist gloating, shouting to the horizons, ‘This is what you get’! I may have been done but since of the buggers had tried to flee and I was the only one not concerned with hounding him down, I got on with stripping the goods from our attackers while Red carried on loosing arrows, Gaius tried to bring him down by tackling him with Stalland and Hengist also at his heels. They didn’t have much on them, and I gave the handful of coins to Cob while we took the arms and armour hoping to get a good price for them for ourselves. I think it was Red who finished off the runner, but while that was happening I had the displeasure of watching the daemon sucking on the head of its snack; after a while he just stopped struggling, but his eyes were open, blinking, and his breathing was constant for a few seconds before he finally passed away. I have no idea what happened but I don’t want that thing coming anywhere near me.

Even tired after a few days on the river and a pretty hard fight, we still managed to make a good few miles before we decided to call it a night and set watches, this time letting Gaius get a bit more sleep than usual. It was halfway through my watch that I spotted a light on the horizon and roused everyone as soon as I could. Stalland and Drona started thinking of ways to find out what the hell the light was, but after the last day, Gaius and I were strapping back into our armour within seconds. Gaius was doing his best to keep an eye just like I was and saw another light on the opposite horizon and at that point we were all on edge. Drona used another of his pets to get a better idea of what was flashing the light; a seemingly incorporeal creature he had in an item of jewelry. If I ever find that he has bound one of these daemons I will have no problem dragging him in front of the authorities; they’re all useful, but not worth removing the freedom of any sentient creature.

It came back with reports of a half-blood waving a lantern, and since were expecting that very same thing in the village ahead it helped us all to relax and everyone else went back to sleep leaving just Red and myself. Although due to the other light I noticed that Gaius was sleeping in his armour and I didn’t take mine off until the sun came up. The morning was the last time we were going to see the sun for the rest of the day though, in fact by lunchtime we would be lucky to see one side of the boat from the other. The rain up in those hills needs to be seen to be believed, and even the city, not that many miles away it just doesn’t seem as bad, not when you are only a few paces away from an eave or a doorway to shelter under. I have never been so wet in my life, and there has been more than one occasion - unlikely though it may seem – that I have been fully submerged in a bath of warm clean water.

There was no point even attempting to use the wind at that point so we put down the punts and each of us grabbed an oar, trying our best to pair up with someone who wouldn’t work against us as we rowed. Again there should be no surprises as to who knew how best to put their back into the work and keep up a steady pace. It was Red this time who couldn’t keep up though, and before too long she had popped her shoulder out and needed Drona to look after her. This slowed us down somewhat, but after a while, time being hard to measure due to the rain and only Stalland’s rowing songs to keep us at a steady rhythm, we eventually told by Cob to pull over to the bank and caught sight of several figures through the pouring rain. After the light from last night we were all still a little on edge and Cob jumped to the jetty with a weapon hand as the rest of kept our close to the hilts of our own.

Luckily these were the people we were expecting and helped us get to the village a lot quicker than we could have done under our own power and we were docked quickly and they even helped us unload the grain in a matter of minutes. Cob seemed very happy to have gotten everything in the barn and out of the rain and we stored our loot in there too. We were met at the entrance to a large oval building by another Uriel named Geneveive who told us she was the spokesperson from their group. The welcome we got was second to none, and soon we were stripped out of the wettest of our clothes and been brought drinks and food by anyone who seemed to be up and off their feet when it was ready. Myself and a few others of our group decided to help out at that and while going round I did my best to talk up Stalland as much as I could and got him to recite a poem about our journey here. I would like to think that the reaction to his words was partly due to my skill in getting people in the right mood, but he is very talented. Very damned talented.

I noticed something else as were sat around talking; something to do with the way people were looking at us, one person in particular was keeping an eye on us more than was seemly. Asking a few questions I found out he was a seer of the Uriel and decided to send Drona over to question him; out of all of us he knows more about what could loosely described as other-worldly. The answers did nothing to set my mind at ease. Apparently the world is changing, not in a good way, and we seem to be involved in the change that is coming.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2010, 05:15:05 PM »
One night and one day in Bassica was amazing; the food, the company, the stories. The day did have a cloud for its silver lining to surround however and it started to form when we asked where we could find the Copper Flow Inn. The man we asked seemed confused that we were looking for it at all and after we pushed him for an explanation I was just as confused. It seemed that the pub was no more; burnt down over fifteen years ago with no real clue as to what happened. Gaius, Stalland and I decided it would be best to still check it out though and with a guide we walked the quarter mile out of the centre of the village and found the remains of the inn. There was no way it was a recent fire and our guide must have seen the look of confusion on our faces and made his excuses to get back to work, leaving us alone, surrounded by rain, grasslands and the burnt stumps of a building far too big to have been nothing but an inn by the lake.

A quick poke around gave away little, the last day’s rain having washed anything of interest far away, but after a few minutes poking around I did spot the signs that we were not the only people in the last week to have been here. There was no way to tell how long ago they had left since the rain had been so heavy, but I guessed at about a week ago. I had no idea if it was a sign that Protern had arrived early and fallen foul of something in the wilds, but when we got back to town and started asking around, it was confirmed that we were the only visitors in the past few weeks. I felt a little redundant even asking for specifics such as skin colour using Drona as an example, but since we were asking these questions while helping out with cleaning up the detritus of the previous evening’s meal, I didn’t feel totally useless. Stalland took a different tack and begin asking about the Inn itself.

I wasn’t sure as to the relevance of the answers to our own particular mission, but it was interesting to hear at least. Seems that the building was something of a lodge for the more well-to-do residents of the city, and that they would use it as an escape from the bustle of city living. Not just that though; it was also a place to partake of activities that the charter frowned upon. No one in the village could give us any details, but I have seen what passes for amusement amongst the jaded wealthy elite, and I wasn’t the least surprised that it would have burnt to the ground eventually, either due to what the visitors were doing there or some other agents of the city removing it as a problem. With Protern not expected until the following day the three of us who were capable of doing some work leant a hand. Stalland used his geomantic skills to sharpen the blades of those who needed the help, Gaius put his family’s trade to use and helped out in the fields and I – with no skills of any use in that situation – was roped into the role of pack mule, lifting and carrying as much as I could to where it was needed. All this while the rain pounded down on us, thankfully not as heavy as the day before, but Gaius predicted that it would carry on coming down like this for a least another day or two.

That night was not as easy going; the food and drink were just as pleasing and the company just as engaging, but something was wrong, and it was affecting Gaius pretty badly. This was a man who had slept like a baby on the hard earth and had no problem waking up to at dawn to another day of heavy lifting but that night he was more than a little unsettled. Although he managed to sleep through his discomfort, the rest of us were woken at least once by his tossing and turning and it put us all a little on edge when we the next morning expecting to meet Protern. We once again left Red and Drona in the main hall; Red being too badly hurt to be off much use with her bow, and Drona would only be useful if we needed a translator, something that would have to wait until we got the Dromish man back to Bassica.

The rain was still obscuring our vision as we walked through the grass to get to the inn so Gaius and I couldn’t see very far as we helped Stalland erect a simple low shelter made of canvas over the taller of the burnt stumps. I may not have seen anything, but I did hear something, as did Gaius; a grunting sound, followed by a loud crash, and it seemed to be coming from some distance. I kept my position but sent the other two to slightly higher ground, with Gaius having a much better bearing on the noise than I did and Stalland able to bring objects in the distance into sharp focus. They weren’t long out of the ruins when I heard Stalland shouting for me, and it didn’t sound good. I grabbed my shield from the ground and ran to where they were, shouting through the rain for information on any potential threat. Wiping the rain from my eyes I saw both of them pointing back to where I had come from and I turned just in time to see the beast crash its entire body onto the exact place where I was stood only moments earlier.

I was told after the fact what the thing was called and where they usually live, even that they’re not usually hostile to humans, but in the heat of the moment, it was just a monster. As I was rushing to close the rest of the distance to lock shields with Gaius Stalland was shouting that it may be a daemon and killing it could be bad if it was tied to Protern. When I reached the top of the hill and turned however, it was till piling up the shallow incline towards us and it looked angry enough for me to start barking orders to Gaius to throw his spear into it. Its thick hide was more than enough to protect it though and the spear skittered off it, doing little more than grazing through its skin to draw a thin line of blood. It definitely didn’t slow it down but as it got closer we saw that this was not the first fight it had gotten into; its front flipper like arms were heavily wounded, one almost hanging off, and it had other much nastier gashes around its throat and on its back. The size and depth of the wounds made me worried about facing whatever could have done them to the phoca. Before it had had a chance to get too close we had a plan of action in mind and I shouted for Gaius to retrieve his spear while Stalland kept at it with his ax, swinging with both hands trying to get through its thick skin. I stood right in front of it, slashing the tip of my bassada back and forth across its face, keeping it angry at me.

And it stayed very angry at me. I kept having to leap backwards out of the range of its lunge; I had more to fear than just its huge tusks that looked like they could rip me apart from throat to groin in a single swipe; if I didn’t move back far enough its weight alone looked like it would be enough to kill me. Within seconds that was to be put to the test, but it was not me who was to be crushed by the creature. Gaius had retrieved his spear and after his first attempt was mistimed he took the time to get closer and plunge the spear deep into its hide; sadly this called attention away from me and Gaius must not have been prepared for that. He stepped back a little but the lunge forward was further and quicker, trapping his legs beneath the bulk of its upper body.  As it reared up again Gaius dragged himself clear of the phoca and Stalland planted his axe blade into its mouth, grunting with effort, hoping to give Gaius the chance he needed to get away to safety. Any other animal would have had the top of its skull taken clean off with the force of that blow, but the phoca was made of sterner stuff. I took my chance though and switching grips, stabbed the thing upwards into its mouth, forcing as much of my blade into the jagged hole made by the axe, pulling the sword free just in time and falling back as the beast started thrashing about uncontrollably. As its thrashing became twitching and finally it fell silent and still, I had moved Gaius away and Stalland had brought Hengist back under control.

As soon as Gaius could walk again I sent the two of them back to Bassica to let the villagers know what had happened; I wanted to stay at the ruins just in case Protern was on his way, but the next hour passed in a blur of running to and fro, trying to figure out just what the hell to do with the woman I found stood in the burnt out shell of the Copper Flow when the others had left. There was something about her, something wrong, and I hate even referring to her as a she; there was something both more and less than human about her skin, her eye – only having the one – and the markings that seemed one second to fade, the next to be carved into her dark skin. She said she was there to meet someone, someone to do with shadows and I had to take her word for it. I could hear more creatures coming closer and if this was what we needed to get back to Solange I wasn’t going to risk her getting pulled apart by phoca. I started to jog back to the village with her but she was barely moving faster than a walk.

I left her behind and set off back to the inn, catching up with the group I had passed on my way in and rushed through them to get to Genevieve to ask if she knew what the hell was going on. I had to go further than the ruins to catch her though and was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw what she was doing with a handful of other Uriel. It looked like they were talking to the creatures, calming them down and sending them back to the lake. I could have sworn I only heard a couple more, but there were a small handful of them, if small could be used to describe them at all. The biggest was another third as big as the one we had killed, and they all looked like they had been in a fight fairly recently. When they were back in the water with a few Uriel in there, under the water with them, Genevieve filled me in on them. The most important fact was that there seemed have been something new in the area, something that had made them uneasy and brought out their more aggressive side. The feeling I got when I met the stranger was enough for my paranoia to kick in, and I knew this wasn’t going to be as easier a trip as we had expected.

Over the course of several conversations with Stalland – Gaius being too badly injured to do any more than sit and heal – it was confirmed that she knew about Solange and was expecting us to take her to the city. Genevieve also made her feelings about the stranger crystal clear and insisted that we get her out of Bassica as soon as possible. The original plan was to send Red back with Cob ahead of us to warn the Umbruc, but the stranger knew what we were planning so we had to come up with something else. Knowing that Drona could summon and control daemons capable of getting word back home we did our best to arrange a time when I could get the message sent back without our guest finding out about it. It did mean spending the day wet and alone, just in case Protern put in an appearance, but after that I managed to snag some supplies for the journey back and just needed to get our message sorted out before bed.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2010, 02:24:57 PM »
I’m sure that usually Daemonologists are more than a little bit proud of the pomp and circumstance which infuses the rituals of their arts, but I have never seen a better example of it than poor Drona in the rain. First there was the bad news that sending a Daemon he already had a deal with would be impossible, and that he would need to summon and deal with another one if we wanted our warning to reach Alsune’s ears before the creature Me’Het did. I sent him as far as I dared from the makeshift campsite, knowing that the creature could sense things, and he did his thing.

The pouring rain made it hard going for him, as the water filled his runes, washing the fine detail away as he was chanting and wailing, but eventually something popped into existence at his feet. It was a tiny thing, no bigger than a tree dwelling mammal, but he still did his best to make out he had brought forth the most evil creature of the pot in his commands of it. Once it was released to send our word back to the city, it jumped from the warding circle, hopped onto Drona’s foot then scampered into the night. Sad to say so many of our hopes rested on something that looked like it would be happier eating nuts and berries, maybe storing some for the winter.

All that done, Drona was sent back to the tent while I took a watch, returning soaked to my skin an hour or two later, to find most people still awake; only Gaius looked like he was sleeping, but with the amount he was tossing and turning, I doubt it was a restful slumber. I slept with my back to Stalland’s while he wasn’t on watch, if nothing else it meant I wasn’t laying full length on cold wet dirt, and also that I would be quicker to move if Me’Het gave us call.
The weather had improved a little by the morning and we were joined by Cob with his boat, clearly resting a lot higher in the water now its weight had been shed. I took a position at the bow of the boat, hoping it would give me more warning of any troubles that could lie ahead, but thankfully the first day passed without event. If it wasn’t for the creature sat with us on the boat, that Gaius had done everything other than swim along beside us to avoid, I think I would have enjoyed myself. I volunteered for the first watch that night, letting everyone else get some sleep before they would have to spend another night sat up staring into those almost lifeless eyes. I tried to pass the time in idle chat, but she was unresponsive to the point of evasive about any questions I had for her.

The next morning arrives much the same as the last, but by lunch everything had gone downhill. Me’Het claimed to have seen something long before any human eyes could have made it out, but we all eventually saw a figure, then more, approaching. All told three mounted men were on the horizon and eventually came within shouting distance. They had to trot to keep up with us as the only way to halt the boat in the current was to jam it into shore, and that would leave us trapped at the mercy of these strangers. The demanded that the creature be passed over to them, but none of us were in much of a mood to do that, Me’Het least of all. Even with their footmen on the shore, we had speed to our advantage if we wanted to use it, just by moving to the faster centre of the river and using the oars we could easily keep ahead of un-mounted men and make it hard for the horsemen to bring anything to bear on us until we got closer to the city. Me'Het however had another plan, one that would see us free to sail into Noster-Pyrax at our own pace.

Stalland would set up a shield of power over the hold that we could all hide under while we drifted closer to the shore, having told the riders we may comply, but when we close enough Me’Het would unleash some of her power to deal with as many men as she could. It became obvious that we would not go easy though; hiding as were so the men started loosing arrows towards us, most skittering off the invisible shield or missing us entirely. As we got close enough for the beast to do her thing some tried to get even closer and we all hunkered down an she stood above the protection offered by Stalland, trusting to her cursed flesh to keep her safe. She was not invulnerable though and before she had worked her magic I saw an arrow graze her flesh leaving a line of slowly seeping black blood from the wound.

Then there was almost silence; followed by what I am sure was the crying of children from the river banks. The magicks over we all stood to finish off what had survived and there followed several frantic seconds of battle, with Red almost getting pulled overboard – only her heart’s fire keeping her from being dragged into the water – and Gaius getting an arrow sliding through his armour to slash at his mid drift. Then we were through, nursing our wounds, and thanking the stars we would make it back to the city. There was more ahead though, much more.

Another twenty men, a barricade, and what seemed to be an agent of the Koryph, a man on fine green robes who called himself Corinthius Barlot, and who seemed known to Red. He demanded again that in the best interests of the city we hand over the creature. For a few seconds I felt guilt for killing agents of the city, but they had not announced themselves as such as they should have done. With the odds stacked against us as bad as they were, it seemed we would have no choice but to hand over Me’Het or fight to the death, and that was an easy choice for all of us. Another option was presented to us though, as the beast told us to leave her behind.

Stunned, we all watched as she dived under the fast moving water, surprising even Barlot who pulled from his robe a feared Spitzroden and fired towards her before commanding his men to swim after her. With them so occupied, they left us alone and the barricade drifted away without men to hold it in place. With no invitation needed we all took up oars and heaved to as hard as we could, putting as much distance as possible between us and them, hoping we would meet Me’Het once she made it back to the city. We ourselves were there not long after midnight, with the help of Cob to get us through the river gates. It was obvious even then that something had happened while we were gone.

Leaving my shield with the others I ran to a coach and made my way straight to Nensia’s where I found out that Alsune had vanished, that there was no one in charge of the cartel, and more besides that would have lasting effects on my city. Not sure what to do next I made for the Umbruc halls, just hoping for more answers. I spoke to Jamal who told me the worst, that the Umbruc was split in two, between our employer, Solange and the other Secus, Thegrin. With little option I threw my weight behind Solange and asked to speak to her. Jamal was insistent that she would not come to the halls, but not knowing where else to find her, I told him to do his best and found myself a drink to keep me company while I waited.

As I glanced about the hall however, I realised my visit may either be cut short or indefinitely extended; my exits were being blocked, the movement of the crowd far from natural. I saw a friendly face though and thought to get answers, handing over my bottle of rum to Alric while we spoke, All started well, but he let his hand slip too soon, citing the information I may have at my disposal and the value it held under the current situation. As a Quarti this could move him up the ranks, and I was just pointing that out, hoping it would calm him if I seemed to be on his side, when he swung the bottle at my head. Had I been a slower man, this story would have ended then, recited by some historian instead of my own tongue, but I was safe from his blow and had my sword at his thigh before he had the chance to pull back for another swing. That at least stayed his hand, but others looked ready to join him. With a sharp tug I slit his inside thigh and grabbed the bottle as he dropped it, hoping to stem the tide of blood. I hurled the bottle towards the nearest bastard to me, but sadly threw wide and they kept coming on. With my way out blocked all I could do was take as many with me as possible, but I was saved by the Daemon blooded doorman whose voice cut the air and kept the swine at bay until I could get myself out.

With nothing else to do I caught up with my crew to discuss our next move at Nensia’s. The woman herself seemed pleased to see us; she had had more than one Umbruc member come to her demanding payment and needed to know where she stood. With pride Stalland, Red and I stood tall and declared our loyalty to the house of Nensia and the determination to keep it safe until normality could be resumed. A glint in Stalland’s eye told me he had loftier plans than placing either of the tow Secus in power, and seemed happy knowing that Nensia’s would be a valuable base for any power play we made.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2010, 03:28:45 PM »
Although it would seem unlikely to anyone reading this, I do spend quite a bit of time in the local watering hole. Of course, this isn’t just to drink, but to make myself visible and by extension the Umbruc. Certainly Skafe does his best for that, but all he looks like is a fop with too much money for a Quarti, and someone who needs an eye keeping on them. After all the shit that had gone down while we were out the city, it seemed like a good idea to stay seen in the Barge and Ferryman, looking for all the world like we didn’t have a trouble.

This gave us the chance to have a private word with Magg, a long time drinking buddy of my crew about what had befallen my city, and the Koryph, on the night of the testing. He had put himself forward, even though it had seemed a joke at first at the expense of Nikaneth, and got himself hurt while trying to complete the wish list for the testing night; something about a weather vane from a high roof that he had taken a tumble from. He also news in the form in rumour, an old associate in the Raphelian shadow cartels who was asking questions a bit above his pay grade, and rumours that a fire side Umbruc was looking to swoop in and take advantage of the confusion. Magg promised us he would do what he could to get more answers, but there was little we could that night.

Once we returned to Nensia’s we had to start planning; I was too conspicuous to go asking too many questions about Alsune, so Red and Stalland were going to take care of that, leaving Gaius and I to guard the bawdy house. Drona was going to do be our eyes and ears at the city gate, waiting for any sign of the creature to arrive. With a lack of sleep and strange events, there are only certain points that stick in my mind over the next day, and the order of them is hard to get right in my mind. I know we realized that we would need Skafe dead. His death would be a blow to the other side of the Umbruc divide and give us more leverage when it was needed.

We also found Me’Het; although that alone was a bit of a problem. I tried to secrete her at the Skrite, hoping that no one would know who she was, but word must have made it to the Umbruc because before long she was at Nensia’s, after having to kill a few people to get away. We needed to get her to Alsune as soon as possible, but until we could find her, I had no idea how.

Red and Stalland had had some luck on that front, finding someone who claimed he could get a message through to her at the Rainbow wineries. It had taken them a while but the news was as could be expected, but with the arrival of the creature at Nensia’s I needed everything to move a bit quicker, so I went there myself, hoping to speed things up. The conversation didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but all I could do was hope it would bear fruit. While I was away, which lasted several hours; I had tasked those that remained to start a plan for dealing with Skafe while Stalland went about his own business of information gathering.

When I returned, I really wish I had left him there to keep them in line as nothing had been done other than decide that burning him to death in the streets was a bad idea. It was some time later before we had a plan formed; we had found out where he purchases his company for the night from and had a possible place to get him on his own. All we needed after that was fine detail, but once again, a disturbance kept us busy. There was Umbruc at the door and some very bad news; Tessa Greywater had died.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2010, 03:35:25 PM »
I swear; if I wasn’t such a bastard, I would have made a damned fine hero. Rescuing trapped women from the clutches of evil thieves, just the kind of thing that heroes do, right? Well, my first attempt at such a thing went pretty well, almost flawless in fact.

But we need to go a back a bit first; back to Drona summoning some little creature in the rain, sending it with a mission to find Alsune. At the time we had other pressing concerns and had no idea what had befallen the city or our Vinco, but I was very fucking happy to see the rodent looking thing again. None of us even knew that was what it was; I doubt any of us had even given it much of a thought since we got back into the city walls, but being disturbed by a huge noise from the kitchen woke us out of our reverie and when I got down there I saw Guinine going crazy, flailing at the back of cupboards after some little skrite that had made its way into her domain. Offering to lend a hand, hoping to calm her down, I moved round behind a table and saw the same intelligent eyes, the same human looking eyes I had seen before, and shouted for Drona to get his arse down to me.

Much ado later, we had the thing in a room, with no one getting too badly hurt, even though more than one person tried to tackle the cook to the floor to stop her from trying to kill the thing. It was Red who managed that one by offering it a strip of cold bacon allowing Drona to get hold of it. If I remember correctly it was about then we decided to call it Boo, buggered if I could tell you who came up with the name though. With higher hopes than we had had in twenty four hours, we waited to hear any news from Alsune. There was just one short message, ‘trust no one’.

Boo would prove to be even more useful though, it could take us back to where it had found Alsune, where she was being held captive. OK, so the woman we were rescuing wasn’t exactly a damsel in distress, she was one of the city’s most respected and notorious criminals, but still kind of hero like to go rescue her. Stalland had to go find someone to keep an eye on Nensia’s first of course, she would be most unhappy with all the troubles to have her home and place of business unguarded. I remember he came back with some rough looking stevedore from the Velochi game on the dock front. Hoping he would be enough, we hopped on a barge, then a ferry, with Boo leading the way, scampering up walls and along the underside of bridges, its hands giving it near perfect grip.

It came as no surprise to find ourselves drifting closer and closer to the territory of the Alioth, and then further on, into the heart of it. All of us covered in armour, carrying all the weapons we could, must have made a hell of a site, and I’m grateful that we made it to where we needed to be without too many eyes on us. The bargeman was paid, and paid well to stay close by as we jumped out at the back of a building that Boo seemed to be leading us towards, in fact it ran straight up the wall and over when we touched the solid ground of the walkway, and then came back to watch us, waiting for us to follow. Again it was one of Drona’s pets that helped us out, with Sequor taking the grapple end of the rope in one claw, and used the others to climb almost as quickly up the sheer surface as Boo had done. With the rope in place, we took turns scaling the wall to find ourselves on a flat roof and Boo leading us down another side. There were two guards at the entrance, and we spent only few short minutes figuring out the best plan.

With Drona using another daemon to posses one, the other was made short work off but sadly there was little information to be gained from the one left alive, so after emptying his pockets, he was fed to Sequor. Not something I will be in a rush to watch again, but it was effective and means less worry that the beast will try and feed from one of us in our sleep. From there it was down the building and in through the front door. With any visible marks of our own Umbruc covered by Gaius, we walked straight in and with little effort were inside the deep chambers where Alsune was being held.

At this point we couldn’t just sneak our way past so weapons were drawn and eventually we were the only ones left standing. It was a down and dirty brawl, not at all the stuff you hear about with derring-do and swing from chandeliers and the like, but it did the job and left us with only a couple of locks between us and the Vinco. Luckily they were well kept locks and it was less than a minute before we were looking down on Alsune.

She barely looked like the same person, her skin was waxen and pale, her hair lank, and it looked like she hadn’t been fed for days. The smell from her cell made it obvious what other comforts had been kept from her, so we did our best to move her away quickly. I can hardly remember the trip back home, but I know we made it to Nensia’s without too much trouble, which was probably a very good thing. The mood we were in when presented with the condition she had been kept in had left us all angry and frustrated.

Even getting her back, and on a real bed, with sheets and water to drink, there seemed to be little we could do. It was Me’Het who gave us a suggestion; to bring a daemon through from that other place that would be able to restore Alsune in mind and body. The cost would be high though; she would settle for nothing less than twenty four turns possessing entirely the body of Drona. I offered myself in his place, anything to get Alsune back to health, but she was adamant, Drona or no one. And he had to make the deal willingly.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2010, 07:41:39 PM »
I am more and more growing in my admiration and revulsion towards those who practice the art of daemon summoning. The things they can, but the things they have to do are beyond my understanding, but the longer I spend with Drona the more I wish I didn’t know. One thing I wish did know however was what it was that changed his mind. He seemed to withdraw into himself, staring into space as we discussed other ways of working with Me’Het, or at least not having her leave without Alsune being restored to her usual self. But change his mind he did, and I was there to watch him shake on the deal, and if you weren’t looking for it, you might even have missed the fleeting look of revulsion that even a man who regularly consorts with daemons couldn’t control.

The deal was set though and before long he and Me’het were down in the cellar with Gaius watching over proceedings as they tried to pull something through from the other place that could help. Time passed by while the rest of us sat in the bar, sipping on drinks, trying to drown out the sounds of moaning and chatting with idle chit-chat, trying to ignore the copper like smell of fresh blood that was seeping up the stairs. Before long, the noises stopped, to be replaced by footsteps on wooden stairs, and as we all moved to look we saw first Drona, then Me’Het, followed by a child sized creature, with brown hair and its modesty covered with a small brown cloth. If it wasn’t for the fact that is was moving, it may have even passed as human, but there was something wrong with its skin. It didn’t stretch and move to match the movements of its body; instead it split and came apart before slipping back together again. And what was worse was its smile; I have never seen anything look so inhuman while trying to look reassuring.

They took it upstairs to the room with Alsune, and reminded us all how dangerous it would be for Me’Het to be in control of Drona. He was obviously nervous around what has just been summoned, and couldn’t even follow the simple instructions Stalland and I had told him to pass on; he stumbled over his words and when it was clear he wasn’t in control of the situation, Me’Het stepped in. This child thing was clearly terrified of her while Drona seemed to be inconsequential to it, just a way in. We were told that it would be six hours for Alsune to be in a fit state so busied ourselves until that time.

We were all there when the time was up and all got to watch as a flesh covered sheet slipped from Alsune’s sleeping form and became the thing it once was, unnatural flesh and all. Just as were feeling the high of expectation, hoping for answers to questions, Me’Het turned on the creature, and told Drona to kill it, saying it knew too much and would be a threat, first asking for a sword to do the job herself, and then when Gaius refused, asking someone else to do it. The creepy little fucker almost got away, as once again my pack of thieves and conmen had a sudden bought of morals, with both Red and Gaius refusing to strike the final blow, claiming it had done all was asked and didn’t deserve to die. If Me’Het thought something was a danger, to us or to Alsune because of what it knew, I wasn’t going to take any chances and shot out of the door after it, with Stalland closing in on me.

I was in the hall just in time to throw my knife at it before it turned down the stairs, the blade passing straight through whatever it was using to look like skin. With Stalland, myself, Hengist and Sequor chasing it down, it had no chance, and within seconds we were back in the room to hear what Alsune had to say, and what advice she could offer. Sadly her memories were still reclusive after whatever arts had been performed on her was still affecting her, but she knew enough to thank us and ask to the status of the Umbruc. After a long discussion – during which I took Drona and Gaius aside to remind them of the occasional need to set their morals aside – the decision was made to move against Thegrin, as the one who we would have a better chance of bringing in alive.

Whilst plans were made, I was taken aside by Gaius who had a very strange story to tell, one of a world god who spoke to him, that had spoken to all his family in one way or another, and that the voice had warned him of terrible things to come, that Me’Het was tied into it just as the Shrouded One was also. The detail to his story was enough to pique my interest so I took him to see Hastur, hoping for more answers. Sadly, sagacious as he is, he also tends not to deal in absolutes unless there can be no argument, so just offered us advice, that we should seek to hear the voice again. Although I was still very worried about Alsune, I knew there was little that could be done, and made the decision to leave the city walls and take the fresh air with Gaius.

After walking for some time, stopping and listening, when we made it to a river, he got his answers, vague as they were; we were to seek out the Shrouded One, she was no friend to the spirit that was talking through Gaius, but would help against a more powerful threat. Talking to Ulema would not the easiest thing to accomplish in the world, even when the city is in better health, but with options thin on the ground; we had to take a chance. By then the hour was too late though, so we returned to Nensia’s for the shock of the night. Stalland was gone, and so was Alsune.

I asked Red to explain and she refused, arguing that was Stalland’s choice whether or not I was informed where my recently rescued Vinco was being held. At the time I didn’t even know if she had gone willingly, but was given no information from my fellow Terto, only derogatory words when I showed my displeasure at what could easily have been a coup. She remained tight lipped until Stalland returned, and even he would not speak to her location, seemingly unable to grasp why I should be annoyed at what had happened, when I told him I needed to speak with Alsune, he gave the information up though, saying he had her safe and away from the Umbruc’s gave at the house of the tavern girl he had been wooing. All that misplaced trust to protect his girl, and all I needed to do was want to talk to Alsune, and her whereabouts were revealed. At a time like this, the last thing we needed was to be at each other over who could be trusted, let’s just hope we won’t have any other problems like that anytime soon. Now more than ever, we need to be able to work together.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2010, 01:25:36 PM »
As has been mentioned previously, I do spend a wee bit of time inside various drinking establishments within the city, but I think it’s time to mention some things of import that happened in our local; the Barge and Ferryman. For the most part it was just another night of catching up with some contacts and having a quiet drink, but then the hooded lads came in, then Hett'Gavaar the watch captain put in an appearance followed by one of drinking buddies, Magg. I took the chance to see what the dodgy hooded figures were doing in the pub, being unusually attired as they were, while Magg sat with the others and Hett'Gavaar kept his tongue for the moment.

The Figures were from an Iddimu, and all of them from another plain of existence, but with very real concerns. Their home shad been coming under attack lately due to the anti daemon feeling that had been running wild in the city for a while now, and had flared up even hotter recently since the monstrosity was released onto the streets. They were there that night hoping to find a Tremallu to get help with their problem, but we were the next best thing so I had a chat. Found out a couple of useful things, including the daemon’s opinion of the Voice and the stories about their lack of involvement in the time of the trembling flame. Not a huge surprise that some of them did fight and die, but it seems that they gave a lot more than was widely reported and were still spoken off with disdain. The more important piece of information was the name of the horror: Grytharnak the Harbinger. Harbinger of Adramalech the Daemonprince of Swords, who is one of the old God-Kings of Pelosia, from the time before Pelo’s great purge, and he is not to be trifled with. Not only that, but the Daemonprince of Swords is an even bigger problem.

They extra scary bit was how hard it is to deal with, even the greatest daemonologist of the last age could only imprison it, not banish to its home plain, and he had help. What was the strangest bit of this conversation was that the item that gave Thernoll his extra powers was the same as the item we were sent to look for while we were in the tower of familiars. There did seem to be someone out there trying their best to fuck with us.

With that done it was back to talk with Magg, and try and figure out why he was carrying another sack. That took a back seat to his bigger news though; Tessa was still alive. She wasn’t at her mill when Grytharnak attacked, instead one of her staff was murdered and she moved herself into hiding hoping to find the hand grasping the sword that was hunting Tremallu, and she preferred to do that while people considered her to be dead. There was other good news too; his friends in the Otavo Grenni had been taken just as much by surprise as us when we returned to the city. That meant they were unable to move quickly against us and were definitely not involved in our problems.

The worst news was to come though, as Hett'Gavaar approached our table and informed us it would be best to head out the back way. Turned out that Nik and Pio had put out arrest warrants for our group and keeping away from them might be a good idea. This was a damned shame as we were hoping to take Nik up on his offer of using the Herba house to hide Alsune. With that turn of events we went home for our last night at Nensia’s for the foreseeable future.
In the morning we made our plans for the day and arranged to meet up at the Janat gate just after sunset to sort out our next move. There were messages to be sent; to Magg asking if Alsune could be kept in the same safe house as Tessa; to Adoni, asking if we could stay in his villa until our troubles passed.

Then Gaius and I made our way to the temple of storms, to talk to one of the most dangerous people in the city; the Shrouded One, Lady Ulema. Getting there was no problem; all it took was an extra coin to a bargeman to drop us right at the steps. The barges pulled up against them looking out of place, blight on the soft white of the marble temple. Next came the worrying bit; there was a large gap in the crowd right next to the barge, the place we would have to walk right into to speak with Ulema. There was simply no way to do this without attracting attention. Sadly, we had no choice so strode out, into the jaws of uncertain but likely death. It was not us who was to die though, but an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As expected we were the subject of many glances as we stepped forward, and shouts when we stepped closer, when I opened my mouth though, all I could think of was what was about to happen, and it wasn’t until I heard a voice just behind us that I realised a guard had joined us on the steps, hoping to move us away. I took a step further down into the water and asked once more to speak with Ulema, and heard her voice through the mouth of the guard. We explained our problem as best we could, as best as Gaius could anyway with me doing what I could. She was not totally convinced as to the truth of our words, but it seemed like she was open to the idea if there was more information we could give her. When the audience was over it seemed that time carried on its forward travel and the rest of the world caught up to us. Sadly this meant that the man Ulema had used as a puppet also returned to the real world, but he had not survived the ordeal and fell quickly to the floor.

We moved quickly at that point, slipping into the crowd as panic took over, sliding between bodies until we were out of the crowd and away from the temple, trying to find somewhere to spend our day until we had to return to the barbers to pick up any messages that had been left for us before we joined the rest of the group. We got there just before sunset and had some news; Adoni was fine to let us stay at his place until our situation was more solid and Alsune was back in charge. We also received confirmation from Magg that we could move Alsune to a more secure location as long as were careful not to give anything away to anyone.

With things as good as they could be we headed through the market to meet Drona, red and Stalland and caught up a little on events of the day, mainly that Drona wasn’t there and Red had lost him. Luckily he wasn’t too far away and Me’Het was done with him by the time we all got together. This seemed like good news, but since we had no idea where they had been, the fact that they were finished soon didn’t fill me with joy. Nothing to be done though, so we moved on to other news, and Stalland had a little bit of good news, even though it would not be great for me. To get Thegrin where we needed him so that Hett’Gavaar could nab him, we needed bait; bait in the shape of someone important that could help his side out in the power struggle. That would be me of course. The idea was to arrange the grab in a place that I would just be relaxing in, let Thegrin make his move and hope Hett’Gavaar would keep up his end of the bargain. After that I was in Fate’s hands.

A burlesque house seemed like the best place for me to be taken, it was a little bit public and gave both sides an excuse for keeping the violence to a minimum; or so I hoped. But with news that we could shift Alsune, we decided to get her out of Kora’s place as soon as possible. When we got there though, it looked like there was someone already there keeping an eye on the place, and not someone who had been put on guard by any of us. With the risk too great to leave him alive I made my way behind him, and having the drop on him, slipped my arm round his neck and with a quick slash, opened his throat before he could even gasp in surprise. With that out of the way, there really was nothing else for me to do but say my goodbyes, hoping that I would see the crew again soon. I took out my fine blade for Gaius to hold onto, not wanting it to be sold while I was captive, and then made my way to the burlesque house.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2010, 08:00:35 PM »
All things considered, I can think of much worse places to be held captive. The Temple of Hedosia is a very welcoming place at the best of times, and even turning up with wrists firmly strapped, it wasn’t half bad. Of course, that wasn’t exactly my choice for making an entrance.

With plans made for what was going to happen after I walk away, knowing that Red was following me, with sword and money safe with Gaius, I made my way to the burlesque house. After I was taken, provided Red hadn’t lost me, the plan was to meet up at the Flax and Flagon and move from there to have Thegrin taken by Hett’Gavaar, then springing me. I remember the streets being a bit quieter than usual, but the bazaar would be keeping people away, which made it a bit tricky for Red to blend into the crowd, but she did a damned fine job. Once inside, it took Thegrin’s boys a matter of seconds to spot me and invite me over to join them for a drink; a young pick-pocket by the name of Lano making the first move.

These guys were all pretty good at what they did, and when he clapped me on the back I couldn’t tell what the signal was, but I knew the heavies in the corner had seen it. Put me on edge just a bit more than I was going to be anyway, and the moment I tasted my drink I knew it had been drugged. Being carried away without a clue where I was going and not getting the chance to leave even the smallest bread crumbs wasn’t an option, so I did my best to look like I was drinking while not letting more than a drop pass my lips. I could see them getting a bit frustrated, but I wasn’t going to go easy, not knowing what they had in mind, so when they finished their drinks and suggested I follow suit, I offered to buy the round and took the chance to pick up a still sealed bottle of wine.

Again, I watched them trying hard not to show what their plan was, and make it look like I wasn’t suspicious. Of course it was only a matter of time until it happened, and after a couple of them went to the bar to have a quiet word with barman, I knew it was coming; The first one to leap at me only just missed getting the wine bottle in his head, and the rest tried to pile on top of me. One came damned close to pinning me in the first few seconds, but I managed to slip free and draw my sword, hoping it wouldn’t lead them all to do the same; they did outnumber me six to one.

I slashed at the first few who came near me; keeping them at distance long enough so it didn’t look like I was going to give in, and then one swung a blow at me and gave me my chance to go down. I went strong at him, trying to knock him to the ground and presenting a much easier target to the rest of them. Ten seconds later I was pinned and dropped my sword to avoid getting an unnecessary kicking. That was when they strapped my arms up good, pulling my wrists and knuckles tight against each other, causing the fresh wound on my forearm to flare in pain. Fucking Gaius! A great idea to strap a razor blade to my arm in case I could use it, shame it was attempted by a clumsy fuck legionary who dug the tip of it straight into my arm.

We didn’t seem to attract too much attention as we walked the streets, even though I was bleeding and bound; we must have well into territory that Thegrin thought of as his own. I didn’t see Red the entire way to the Temple of Hedosia, which had me a bit worried, but not as worried as I would have been if we had all seen her bold as brass and she had given away her position. We went in through a back door, and it had all the feel of a theatre; men and women striding around in costumes while stage hands rushed around with props. I was taken into a small back windowless room, with chez lounge and a small table. My bindings were left in place though, giving me little chance to make my own way out.

There was bugger all I could do but try and get a message through to my crew and all I could think of that would be useful and easy to get across was who to kill first given the chance. There was some huge toothless bugger at the door when we came in who looked like the biggest threat, even to someone as handy as Stalland or Gaius. Getting that across wasn’t going to be easy though, but I tried my damndest. Getting the attention of a guard I made my feelings towards the ‘backstabber’ Stalland perfectly clear, and told them to make sure he would know that I would deal with ‘his toothless bird’ first, hoping he would get the clue, Kora being blessed with a full mouth of teeth.

That didn’t leave me much else to do until my situation changed, so I spent some time moving the small table into position so that if I needed to, I could kick it into the face of someone in the doorway. Turns out it wasn’t necessary, as before too many hours had passed, I was broken out of my reverie by sounds of a fight in the corridor, and the bellowing that only comes from Stalland. With bugger all else to do, I just took my rest and did my damndest to make it look like I didn’t have a care in the world.

Stalland obviously did though; the sod was damn near drenched in blood, but luckily it didn’t seem to be his own. With me out of there – after we had all split up on the way back - I was filled in on what had happened; Thegrin had been taken, with the help of Hett’Gavaar and was now on side, Alsune was somewhere safe and just needed some breathing space before she was ready to make her move; preferably without spilling the blood of Solange. One thing we could all do to help though was a show of confidence before her move, so a quick clean up later and we were walking into the barge like we owned the place.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2010, 08:05:46 PM »
And of course, after a night of victory, we returned to the bar to celebrate. Magg was once again there, not long after we walked in, he hobbled over with another parcel, but this was one he had no problem opening up, after certain preparations were made of course. First he made sure Red’s eyes were firmly closed, then seemed to make a dress makers dummy appear from nowhere and put a red dress on it. Of course when Red opened her eyes she was thrilled, and wanted to put it on straight away, but Nik made his usual badly timed appearance with news of great importance; well, he seemed to think so anyway.

He had heard on the grapevine that all the Lethain Umbruc had been called back to the hall and was making sure we knew about it. And of course, doing his damndest to get an invite down there with us. We knew the score though, and weren’t going anywhere near the hall until we knew that Hengist needed to be taken for a walk; a code we had already worked out with Alsune that would inform us of when we were needed again. With Nik out the way, we had a chance to sit and order some food, and Red leapt at the chance to rush upstairs and try the dress on with Kora’s help. I have to admit, she did look stunning, but none of us had long to admire it as another person joined our conversation not long after, by the name of Tovin who let us know that Stalland’s pet needed some exercise. Not wanting to miss anything, we still weren’t happy just walking in off the street unprepared.

I sent Red out on a scout of Nensia’s once she dressed more appropriately to check if the coast was clear to grab any extra weapons and armour we might need, while we chatted about what we might expect, and Kora appeared to have made amends with Stalland, if the huge hug and kiss was anything to go by. I know she wasn’t really that mad at him, but I would like to think that my little chat helped some. It didn’t take Red long to return with the all clear, so we wandered on over, hoping for a quick stop off and re-equip. Our way to our rooms was barred however by the mistress of the house who had guests on the floor below ours that may be put off spending their hard earned if we tramped past to walk back minutes later loaded down with steel. Luckily for us there was a spare working girl who was happy to retrieve our effects and throw the larger items out the window for us to rescue from the back yard. And this gave me time for a quiet chat with Nensia, about our future at the bawdy house and the Umbruc. She seemed eased by what I had to say, but did insist that we remove Me’Het from her building, as she was making the customers uncomfortable.

This made a certain kind of sense, even if I didn’t want to be anywhere near the beast. She had been brought here for Alsune who was hours away from seizing control of the Umbruc and may still have had need of her. Although, to make my life a bit easier, I delegated the responsibility of looking after her to Drona; those two seemed to have an unnatural rapport. Just how unnatural was about to become very obvious to us all though as we approached the entrance to the hall and were stopped by the Guardian, Nef, who was bound to the building to stop any other Daemon blooded from entering. The only way we were getting in was if the beast once more rode in the skin of Drona. A silver lining to this was that Me’Het knew where Drona would need to go, and what he would need to do, to free Nef of his binding to the hall. Although this may mean the end of the hall being guarded so well, we would be owed a hell of a favour from Nef if we did manage to release him.

I never saw what happened the last time she borrowed Drona’s body, but it was more than a little disturbing to watch it this time. Better than the alternative though, as Me’Het made it perfectly clear that she would be willing and able to just kill Nef if he tried to stop her entering. She reached to Drona and put her hand on his shoulder, drawing him close, almost like she was pulling him into a kiss, but before anything like that happened, the earth swallowed her. At least it took her body; the change to Drona was subtle, but it was clear – if you knew where to look – that he was no longer in charge. Nef was no longer bound to stop us, so we made our way inside, and followed the steps down to noise of a rather large crowd in the main hall.

The crowd worked their way forward with some regard as to rank within the Umbruc, with the Secus and the Terto nearer the front. Stalland, red and I made our way forwards regardless of rank, even though Red was nervous about being so far from an exit. Drona had vanished down a side corridor not long after we had arrived; no doubt being driven there by the beast, and we had sent Gaius along with him knowing that there was bound to be some kind of trouble that he would need to rescue Drona from. Expecting the worst, I told everyone that if the worst was to happen to shout the name Hengist and the rest of us would do our best to come running.

Thegrin took to the stage not long after we made ourselves comfortable, slipping an inch of steel free from my scabbard just in case. He started with grand announcements, as if he was about to declare himself Vinco, and I’m sure a lot of people thought he was just building up to it, then he dropped the news on everyone; Alsune was alive and taking her previous position. Applause wasn’t exactly forthcoming, instead several fights broke out in the hall as people’s motivations were made clear and Thegrin’s men moved on anyone who was behaving suspiciously. Alsune calmed them down though after she got the applause she deserved. She left the stage not long after that, and it was then that we saw the beast striding towards us.

Various Umbruc tried to stop her, but I knew how that would end, so did my best to get her waved past to us. The first thing I asked was how she got in, and was more than a little relieved to learn it was because Drona had been successful, and not because she had ripped the head from Nef’s shoulders. I motioned to where Alsune had left the stage and she jumped onto it and through the back, out of my site, and – Gods willing – hopefully out of my life. That just left the question of where the hell Drona and Gaius were.

The three of us made our way to the corridor that they had gone down and stared for a second into the blackness of it. There was still a torch on a wall sconce next to the entrance, so I grabbed it and started down, shouting the name Hengist as I went as Red and Stalland followed along, making sure we weren’t getting followed. As we moved further down, the noise of the crowd above dimmed and we heard the sound of a struggle from ahead. I charged ahead at that point, hoping like hell that Gaius hadn’t finally gotten himself killed watching out for Drona’s back. I was only just in sodding time as well.

I don’t know how, but the bugger had managed to get himself almost eaten by a big fuck-off fish. I ran into the room, and slashed at its giant milky eye, hoping it would be enough to shock the creature into disgorging Gaius, but still it held on. With the light of the torch though, Gaius took another swing down at it with less chance of hurting himself and that blow was enough for him to be vomited forth. He was in a damned bad way though, so we made a move up top and out.

Nef was nowhere to be seen, but I had other things on my mind; we practically ran to the Barge and sat Gaius down, shouting for clean water and room for ourselves as Magg looked on, stunned that we were back so soon.
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Re: Lucius Corvinus Draco
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2010, 07:25:47 PM »
There is a lesson to be learned by everyone who makes a living that involves even a hint of violence; you’re going to get hurt – no one is that good – and when you do, you’re going to have to give the would a damned good clean. It’s a fool who overlooks this simple task, but even the best of us occasionally miss that odd speck of mud, flake of rust or drop of giant fish monster saliva. Not me of course; I’ve never been half eaten by a giant fish monster. No, for that luckless individual you need to look to my countryman; the brave but foolish Gaius. When we woke up after a fruitful night of bar side conversation and some small amount of celebratory drinking, Gaius was looking a lot more black and blue than he should have done. In fact, it was mainly the black that was worrying us, the blue had all but vanished, unless the pus leaking from the blackened wounds that were now covering his body was blue, but I for one didn’t fancy a close look to check. From where I was sat it was a thick yellow, and I wasn’t going to investigate further.

With two healers in the house, I was fairly certain that Gaius would get his wounds taken care off, so with Red and Drona on their way for a breakfast of pancakes and to meet Piala, Stalland and I made our way to the Umbruc, hoping for some answers and maybe even a bit of spending money to see us through. Alsune looked tired when we were allowed in by Me’Het, a face I had hoped to never look upon again. But for all that she seemed driven; she wanted Solange in front of her tied to a chair and answering a series of not unreasonable questions while she slowly and painfully bled to death; and if there was a hand guiding Solange, then the body it was attached to would be on the next chair looking enviously at the treatment Solange was receiving, wishing Alsune was that nice to them.

After I had told her what we knew about the Horror that was stalking the Haak, killing Koryphians almost at will (leaving out a more private piece of news for the present) she said that the answers we all needed could be to do with the Horror and stopping it should be high on our priorities. For that we needed red and Drona so with a slip for a decent enough purse of coins we made our way to the treasury and ran straight into Drona with a shiny new bow. I guess he had been flogging off a bunch of stuff to make the money to get it, so I passed him a share of the coins and took him to see the boss, telling Stalland to take a shot at tracking down Red and to meet me in the pancake house later. I have to say, Drone looked a little less pleased than I did to see his old friend push the door open before his raised hand managed even a single knock, so with a smile on my face I made my way to the armoury to pick up a little something for Gaius.

If anything the lad seemed to be doing even worse, even if he claimed that the suppurating wounds wouldn’t slow him down in a fight. I passed him a replacement for the sword that Thegrin’s boys hadn’t seen fit to return to me, and let him know of the plan. He was chomping at the bit to be in the thick of the action again after spending the morning almost bed-ridden, but I still wasn’t too sure and had other things to do before night fell and we would need to make our way once more to the tower of familiars. If the item that proved so useful in binding the Horror was in fact there, we had to try again to retrieve it, if not, then Drona could hopefully learn something from the runes that had been keeping it prisoner. There was no way I was going to get to it by trawling under the city again though; this time the plan was to take advantage of more standard transport and try and get in and out as quickly as possible.

There was one other errand that needed running before that though, one stone I could at least attempt to turn over that might have the rat Solange beneath it; Domini Adoni Purglio. For all that we had taken from him while at his villa, he could still be useful and had no idea how much we had taken him for. Plus, he wanted a small valuable item that was burning a hole in my pocket at a time when coin was thin on the ground. That was the easy bit and he gave me what he had offered without any hassle – making me wonder if he had taken me for a little ride – and then told me the bad news; Solange was popular round these parts. So much so that he didn’t doubt that someone may be hiding her but he would not offer any help at all. The most he could do was promise that if he did speak to her or one of her friends he wouldn’t mention that I had been asking questions after her. He and his people did all their dealings with our cartel through Solange and they would all just keep their business with her no matter which cartel she was with. This was something that I would hope that Alsune was aware of, but would pass on regardless – better safe than sorry and all that.

That disappointment out of the way I made my way to the pancake house to find Stalland alone, having had no luck in tracking down the elusive Red. He had some idea of where she would be by sundown, so I left him to it, hoping he could get her back as soon as possible to speak to Alsune so we could get together and set out to the tower. I just headed home to speak to our landlady about a change in our arrangements. Alsune had seen no reason to continue our security services at the bawdy house, it having been months since the trouble that had led us to stay there. We had had a good stay there though so I offered her the chance to keep us on for a small rent and occasional work keeping the peace if she was agreeable. She seemed keen on the idea and would get to the negotiating later, but more importantly, she had to settle the books with the Umbruc having turned down every collector from either Secus who had tried knocking at her door. She still had the money and seemed happy to know that there would once again be some form of stability in her arrangements and retrieved a small but weighty cash box to be taken to Alsune.

There was no way I was going to attempt to take it through the city and to the Umbruc hall alone so I hunted Gaius down, figuring I could do him a favour and give him a reason to leave the house. He wasn’t in his room however, so I stashed the lock box and went looking for him. Suffice to say where and how I found him was a hell of a surprise; laid out flat on his back in the rear garden, his face presumably bloodied from the claret stained brick next to his unconscious head, wielded by the cook who was sat astride him, spoons and knives protruding from the blackened wounds, smiling as she worked. Guinine is a crazy woman, but a good healer, having sorted my wounds on more than one occasion. She seemed happy to work, and not didn’t seem too worried about his survival chances so I left her to it and returned to my room, hoping that the dusk wound bring my crew. And no further surprises.
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