Dark Moon Rising

Whole lotta shaking going on

Mr Jackery,

We regret to inform you that our recent expedition on your behalf was unsuccessful. While we were able to pick up the trail of the thieves, they detected and ambushed our operatives. Our squad prevailed in the engagement, but their leader was aware of who he had stolen from and preferred death to capture. He used magic to collapse a considerable amount of the tunnel system, burying himself and his men, and making continuing the expedition impossible.

Regretfully, The Dark Moon Guild


Apu awoke from a fitful sleep. The stench of unwashed trollkin in a confined space was overpowering, and the sauce they had been marinating Fabrizio in was pungent. The combination had put Apu on the verge of uncontrollable retching.

He did not understand why Fabrizio declined to wash himself- the madman seemed to consider coming so close to being dinner and surviving to be something of an accomplishment, and regarded the sauce he had been soaked in as a bizarre trophy. Nevermind that the trollkin seemed to consider human flesh as one of those obligatory holiday dishes everyone said was a delicacy, but there was always plenty left after the meal was over. Some of the younger trollkin seemed relieved to have found an excuse to let Fabrizio go.

Muttering to himself, Apu cast a minor incantation to remove the odors from his immediate vicinity. The spell would only bring a moment’s relief, but he would treasure it. To his disappointment, Opifera had been uninterested in sharing bedrolls- if she is typical, the legendary appetites of the Satyrs are greatly exaggerated- and Sister Helga had seemed in a prostletyzing mood last night. While feigning interest in a religion will occasionally result in truly devout members of some religions giving you cause to shout praises to the heavens, it is an approach best avoided with someone who knows where you live. Sooner or later, they expect you to actually show up at the church, sing the hymns, and tithe 10% of the coin you earn to the church. In Five Fingers, 10% of a successful Magi’s income is enough to support at least one skilled mistress, possibly more. Apu grumbled a bit, and then moved towards the latrine in hopes that relieving his bladder would help his thoughts move on to other matters. Whatver the trollkin down here ate saved Apu the trouble of asking where it was.

Apu checked the Trace as he relieved the pressure from his bladder. Still active. The Maintenance incantation had kept the spell going while he had slept, and their position had changed. The mercenaries were still moving deeper into the tunnels. Perhaps we should consider simply remaining here and ambushing them as they return… then the odor of the latrine, freshly invigorated by his urine, reached up and hit Apu with an almost physical force.

No, we must persue them. Staying here would be slow death by asphyxiation.

Fabrizio was forthcoming about why he had joined the mercenaries. It was a job like any other- an expedition to a dangerous place, they wanted an additional sword or two, and had hired him and some others as reinforcements. They had encountered the Trollkin and killed two, but when they realized they had wandered into a warren and the entire clan was coming they abandoned the wounded Fabrizio and fled.

The core of the group was a mage by the name of Aspis, and two assassins Fabrizio said used poisons and kalipurian blades. The mage was allegedly a necromancer- Fabrizio was unable to describe the method of his magic, but said he had a cloud of mist- some kind of spirit, Fabrizio thought- doing his bidding. The other six were merely hired swords, reinforcements brought on to replace a Minotaur and a Satyr who were missing.

The Trollkin chieftan had promised a guide to lead the party to ‘the Dying Lands’, which seemed to be the destination of the mercenaries, and told of an ancient legend of how an entity called Rig-Salbath had been killed and bound deep under the islands by the incubus Maerlyn. The story had some inconsistencies- the Chieftan said Rig-salbath was dead, yet continued to grow- a trait not generally common in dead things.

Thanks the guide, the DMG made good time, only occasionally getting side-tracked and sometimes even seeing traces of their quarry in the dust- dust that had lain undisturbed for millenia, if what the guide said was accurate. Supposedly, these tunnels were a mixture of natural tunnels bored out by the rockworms, and ancient labratories dug by Maerlyn’s slaves.

After some hours, the guide came to a tunnel and merely pointed before turning around and going back the way he came. The party continued down the tunnel he indicated, and eventually came to an underground river- only a few feet deep, but very swift, and about 15 feet across. Opifera thought she could jump it, Sister Helga wanted someone to fly across, carrying the others one at a time. Apu hoped Fabrizio would wade and wash some of the sauce off.

As the discussion of how best to bypass this minor impediment dragged on, Apu used a spell to reshape the stone of the riverbed, raising steps suitable for walking upon, and crossed ahead of the others- a mistake, in retrospect, and one he would not have normally made, if deprivation had not addled his wits and made him foolishly aggressive in hopes of returning to the surface- and Jenna- that much sooner.

The remainder of the expedition became aware of Apu’s position on the far side of the river when the shot rang out, loud in the confined space. Apu stood for a moment, and crumpled to the ground, blood flowing from his chest. He knew he was in trouble because of the detached sensation – everything seemed far away, as if his spirit was about to lose it’s connection to the body, and thoughts flashed through his mind like lightning.


Was that a gunshot?


This must be shock. Interesting sensation. I don’t think I like it.


But I’m a mage! Everyone knows shooting at a mage is the ultimate expression of foolishness! I tell them often enough that everyone in Five Fingers should know by now!


What about the trauma plate?


Oh, he didn’t shoot me in a place the trauma plate covers. How inconsiderate of him.


Is that Sister Helga standing over me?


Is the last thing I see in this turn of the great wheel going to be the view up Sister Helga’s robe?


I should probably tell her about the sniper. If she knew about him, she’d probably be ducking more.


Speaking isn’t supposed to take this much effort.



Apu’s arm flailed up and grabbed on to the belt of Sister Helga’s robe, pulling her to the ground. The initial shock had subsided somewhat, so Apu shaped the stone around them to form a low wall, providing cover from the sniper. The others ran across the stepping stones, and Vaun and Fabrizio went down tunnels, searching for the sniper, while Opifera remained to protect the healers. Sister Helga opened Apu’s coat, discovering the bullet had blown through the mail vest underneath, and cast healing magics to revive Apu.

to be continued

Interlude - Fall in Five Fingers

The Month of Kartesh

The end of summer brings two full weeks of heavy storms hammering down on Five Fingers. The crashing thunder is a near constant backdrop and a handful of buildings are destroyed in lightning strikes. When the rain pounds down in sheets it is difficult to walk or even see very far and all but the most stalwart gobbers are driven out of the rigs. The storms drive up church attendance as Thamarites seek appeasement and Morrowites salvation. Even a ridiculed street preacher of Helios attracts a small huddle with his ranting screams of judgment and the sun god’s wrath. But as the last rains move inland the Fingers still stand. Bruised and battered, but gleaming wet in the returning sun. The island cisterns are full and spirits are up. There is fresh water to go around and the city never smelled so good.

Governer’s Rest comes and goes less eventfully than last year. The following day ground is broken on the controversial huge new lighthouse on one of the Porpoise Isles. Critics of the project mockingly call it Doyle’s Folly and complain of the new construction taxes being levied. The Governor promises the arcane lighthouse will mark a new era in legitimizing Five Fingers trade by cutting down on smuggling as well as marking the port as a modern city.

In other news the Watch on Captain’s Island has posted a bounty of 1 royal a head for dregs in hopes of rooting out the last of the vicious monsters.

Players: check your OP mail. I’ve sent you each at least one rumor or bit of news your character learned that isn’t common to everyone.

Stubborn Urgolians
29th Session
Storyteller Carboncopy

Brief summary awaiting longer entry…

Natalia is captured again. The bounty hunter team that had been tracking her gives the DMG her location and captor’s identity. It is Aman Nitzer, the sadistic Urgolian kommisar who previously took her. The bounty hunters want to help retrieve her but Toad doesn’t trust them and gives them a false meet up time.

Fabrizio takes Alice to recon the Urgolians’ hideout and finds Natalia and a few steamjacks as well as several large crates awaiting shipment out. Just after dusk the DMG strikes and finds the meddlesome bounty hunters doing similar. With magic and steel they eliminate the Nitzer and are attacked by his near invulnerable industrial steamjack. The Kommisar’s two companions are not present at the hideout. Apu shuts the jack off with a spell that extinguishes it’s furnace. In an unusual act of savagery the DMG takes off the head of Kommisar Amman Nitzer, just to be on the safe side.

The crates are full of semi-assembled warjacks. Nearly a dozen total. A map marks two other warehouses with presumably similar contents. This is obviously the threat the Urgolian secret service officer warned the guild about a few days ago. There is minimal debate before the group decides this information needs to be turned over to the crown’s agent Catwalker rather than the city watch or any of the High Captains. Selling this information to the wrong person would likely be considered treason.

Aftermath: By morning of the day following the guild’s report to Catwalker a heavy procession of Five Finger marines has occupied and emptied the warehouses of the illegal Urgolian crates.

An envelope sealed with King Baird’s royal stamp arrives by rigrunner that afternoon. The note states that a finder’s fee of three thousand Royals in gold brick has been deposited in the guild’s name at the Vault deLion in the Emerald District. The note ends thanking them for thier service and is signed C.

Drowned Children of the Hag
28th Session
Storyteller Carboncopy

The Dark Moon Guild accepts an invitation to an upscale dinner party where they are hired by the master and mistress of the estate to find their missing young twins. Strangely nearly everyone involved has no memory of the childrens’ existence. Apu gathers a couple pictures of the twins and Ceiran locates a concealed door in the childrens’ room that opens into a series of tunnels leading throughout the house and down to a small cove beneath the house. Sister Helga questions a fearful religious house guard found patrolling the tunnels and confirms that the house residents have been seeing strange spirits or meddling fey around the estate although he can’t offer many details.

Apu casts his spell and connects with one of the children at the moment of their death by drowning. Alarmed and saddened, the others decide they will track this body to attempt to save the other child. They stop at the Grand Stevedores Union, the center for mechanika work in the city and Ceiran’s guildhall. Ceiran convinces a fellow mechanik to pilot them to the south side of Hospice Island aboard his salvage boat.

Hours later, on board the small steamer, the Dark Moon Guild follows Apu’s trace to a horrific sight hidden just below the water’s surface. Several dozen decomposing corpses wave in the currents tethered to the bay’s muddy floor with chains and rocks. All are children. Fabrizio, with the strongest stomach, searches for any identifiers is shocked to find first one, then several of the bodies still alive but suspended with enchantments and everyone works quickly to get them to the surface. One of the living is the second missing twin. The slimy comatose bodies are quickly retrieved and hauled to the Church of the Mercy of Morrow on the nearby shore of Hospice. The head sisters Evelina and Resa greet Sister Helga and the gruesome sight with an impressive composure. After brief explanations the guild members collapse into an exhausted fitful sleep as the church’s four sisters tend to the enchanted sleeping children.

In the morning the DMG returns to the horrible site and follows a trail to a collapsing, ancient manor jutting over the southern coast of Hospice. Driven by anger and a grim determination to stop the creature responsible the DMG picks its way through the rooms of the decaying house until they find and confront the sea hag deep in the flooded basement. After a brief struggle Ano ends the beast’s horrible reign with a bullet through her head. There is no joy even in her death. With heavy steps and heavier hearts the guild abandons the manor.

The sisters of the Church of the Mercy of Morrow agree to revive the sleeping children and locate and return them to their parents. For the first time perhaps, the guildmembers are unconcerned about payment. It is not past noon but the call of strong drink calls with its promise of forgetting, at least until morning.

Winter in Summer
27th Session
storyteller carboncopy

Summer in Five Fingers brings sea breeze stinking of fish and salt and heavy with dust and smog. Business was slow for the Dark Moon Guild, so Vaun had been spending much of his time in the smithy at the end of the block. On his way home, smoking an early evening cigar he met with three visitors outside the guild house. Their leader spoke in an accent unfamiliar to Vaun and introduced herself as Abigail Thompson. The large Urgolian to her left was Joachim, and Vaun didn’t catch the last name if it was given at all. Abigail asked about the whereabouts of Natalia, and Vaun was pleased that he didn’t have to lie when he said he hadn’t seen her recently. For the past few days he’d been hard at work on a shield for a lieutenant on Dicer’s. He said he’d passed the message along if he saw her, and they added that messages could be sent to an inn on Tambertan Lane. Apparently, there was a price on her head, and they meant to cash in. Then, strangely, Joachim gave Vaun a hearty Urgolian shake and passed a letter with it, saying he knew that Vaun would help restore justice in the Urgolian way.

Once they left Vaun look at the message which told of how Joachim knew of Natalia’s service in the Urgolian army, how she’d disobeyed “The Butcher’s” orders and helped a few children live. Now one of those children, Joachim, was all grown and he wanted to help her. And it had one more bit of news…Natalia was the last living member of her family. Her uncle who became her caretaker when her parents died was executed recently for Natalia’s disobedience. When everyone arrived, Vaun delivered a brief on his little meeting, then handed Natalia the letter soberly. Natalia broke into tears as everyone looked down. Vaun did his very best to console Natalia, thinking partially of his own family, and the harsh life that good people seemed to lead in Urgolia. Apu and Toad instantly went to thinking about what to do about these three bounty hunters.

Not long later Kieren and Sister Helga noticed that someone was hanging out outside the guild house. Kieren and Sister Helga went out to meet him. Dressed in a form-fitting red suit of Urgolian intelligence officers, complete with the tall cap. Unfortunately, just as they opened the door, everyone heard a crash upstairs. Alice ran up to see what might have happened to Natalia. They determined that she’d jumped through a window and ran down the rickety staircase in the back. Everyone left let the officer enter, resisting the urge to discuss Natalia for the time being, and acting as if everything was fine until he left. The officer revealed that he’d been watching the guild for some time and that he’d determined that these bounty hunters were working for Aman Nitzer, “The Carrion Bird,” “The Vulture,” a particularly cold and deadly Urgolian warcaster kommisar. He generally works with Eskil Mantalivas, “The Clockworker,” and his spellsword assistant, Petra Hinter, known lovingly as “The Frost Bitch.” He suggested they find Natalia as soon as possible and get her to safety. Before leaving, he threw them one more piece of information. Hurley’s men were watching the guild house for a time, if they didn’t know.

And suddenly summer wasn’t so slow and casual anymore… Natalia was gone without a trace. And while Apu could certainly find her, he wasn’t sure now was the best time. She could use a little space to herself, and they might even lead the bounty hunters to her. No, it was better to let her hide in the ways she knew so well, as she had done when she first came to Five Fingers.

Tying Up Loose Ends
26th Session
Storyteller signcontrast

Toad calls a slabber and the unfortunate corpse is hauled to the island morgue. When the Five Finger’s Watch comes by a couple hours later to get a report Apu and Sister Helga send them away satisfied it was a random mugging left on the Dark Moon Guild doorstep. There is a brief consideration of having Kieran clean up and edit the copy of Hurley’s warjack plans that Sister Helga and Toad made and have hidden in the floorboards. The idea is floated that they could be sold to a couple of the factions to get the heat off and make a lot of money. The idea is shelved until at last after talking with Catwalker that night.

Sister Helga begins the healing and regeneration of the street urchin’s leg swearing him to service and constant prayers to her god Morrow. Toad asks Ano to look into who this Sparrow is and who she works for but urges him to be very, very careful. The rest of the day passes quickly with the guild members all busy. When night arrives Sister Helga and Toad leave to pay a visit to Catwalker at the Quenched Whistle. They aim to put some pressure on him to get word out that he, not anyone else, and specifically not the former BellRow Troubleshooters, has Hurley’s damned warjack plans. En route they are followed by a pair of thugs. When Toad and Helga surprise and confront them the two turn into five, all of them well armed. Their leader, a short, potbellied man hands Sister Helga a sack of fifty royals and offers his apology for the over-enthusiasm of his colleagues the previous day on the bridge. The tall skinny one in the group begins casting a spell but at a bark from Toad and a wave from his leader he cuts it short.

The meeting with Catwalker provides nothing to ease the DMG’s concerns. He reminds them of the substantial payment for the job and tells them the heat they are feeling is part of the deal. He assures them that Hurley, as well as anyone else relevant knows his people have the papers and Catwalker expects a deal to likely be made within a week. He suggests the pressure the guild is feeling is coming from those, possibly High Captain Hurley included, who suspect the guild still has access to the stolen plans. In any case he says, if they survive the next week or two to spend their money won’t it have been worth it? Toad and Sister Helga exchange defeated glances and thank the man for his time. Toad suggests Catwalker make that deal soon in case some other party does have access to the plans and does just what Hurley and the others are hoping for. Catwalker’s eyes seem to glint and Toad thinks the man caught the veiled threat.

For the next couple weeks the DMG keeps mostly to the guildhouse begging off any jobs excepting from important clients. The heat does seem to blow over. At least for most of the guild…

Unwanted Attention - The BellRow Troubleshooters Rebrand
25th Session
Storyteller signcontrast

The next couple weeks Kieran settles into the guildhouse taking Opifera’s old room. Bangs and clanks echo from her room at odd hours of the day and night. With a little pestering Apu convinces her to work on his ambitious plumbing plans.

The girl Alice is mostly quiet and sticks close to Natalia’s side. Her eyes constantly wary and suspicious. The only time she really seems to let her guard down around the others is meal time. Her appetite nearly matches Toad’s. Natalia takes a break from jobs and focuses on training Alice in the use and care her new firearms.

Ano calls a meeting and suggests a plan for rebranding and repositioning the guild within the city. He points out he doesn’t like the many of the jobs the guild has been getting. Knowing it is impossible not to have ties to one of the High Captains Ano suggests trying to go more public and establish ties to the city watch, and limited ties to other power brokers, including possibly the other High Captains. The idea is to make the guild public enough and interconnected enough that the trouble, hassles and consequences of wiping us out would be more than it’s worth to those we anger. Apu is wary of associating with the watch, as he believes the watch is owned by the High Captains, and suggests building relations with the Order of the Golden Crucible and the Church of Morrow. As the guild hasn’t been located on BellRow for a few months it makes sense to change the name now as well. Several ideas are proposed and finally the Dark Moon Guild is settled upon. Ano makes a note to commission a new sign. Ano adjourns the meeting and says he will spread the word of the name change and advertise the guild to some key people he has been introduced to lately.

The morning of Octesh 14th brings a message by courier asking for a discrete meeting the next afternoon with Shannon Kavanaugh at a distillery bar called Skrimtacks’ Aged Uiske on the north shore of Captain’s Isle. After a little investigation proves to their satisfaction the message is legitimate and the group agrees to the meeting.
Meanwhile Toad gets a message of his own. Someone named the Sparrow once again wants to meet with him. Privately, and this time at a bar not far from the guildhouse in the very rough Dag’s Ward. This is the second time Toad has been approached privately by her and he tucks the note away for now after getting Ano’s discrete help in deciphering the harder to read words. Maybe this is worth a listen, if just to find out who this Sparrow is and who she works for.
Skrimtack’s Distillery Captains is large with the second story balcony offering a nice view of the races in the channel. It is Captain’s Rest today (Five Fingers p30-31), at tradition stretching way back to before the iron rule of Merlyn when Five Fingers was a small smuggling town. The streets are crowded with revelers and the channels are thrown into chaos as ships race one another under the command of first mates with half the crew drunk. Successful merchants, captains, and privateers sponsor entertainment, free food and drink and the High Captains use the opportunity to buy a little goodwill among the locals.
The alchemist and spy Shannon Kavanaugh has an excellent table and over a round of drinks alerts the group that she has heard they are the prime suspects in the theft of some very valuable property of Hurlys. Turns out half the city is looking for some papers the Troubleshooters (now Dark Moon Guild) are believed to have taken and believed to still have in possession. Including Hurley’s crowd which is a shock. The papers were turned over to Catwalker who was supposed to trade them back to Hurley to clear Linea’s debt. That obviously hadn’t happened. The sooner the papers are found and bartered the sooner the heat will be off the Guild. Angry High Captains are dangerous enough. Angry High Captains who think you are holding something they want are pure deadly. The party thanks Shannon and sets back to the guildhouse concerned it may be broken into and searched.

While crossing the King’s Channel Bridge the group is ambushed by a crossbow wielding assassin and a group of common street thugs with sticks. Natalia, still on edge from her recent abduction, is not caught unawares and a short bark warns the group in time for Sister Helga to duck down narrowly avoiding the assassin’s bolt. The assassin is riding in a carriage and Natalia shoots the driver out of his seat and under the wheels sending the carriage to a halt as the horses balk at the crowds. Two street urchins move in snatching any loose satchels they see. Toad, reluctant to use force against the thugs resorts to fisticuffs and takes a good stick to the skull for his kindness. Sister Helga turns and with a few gestures drops the thugs to the wooden ground of the bridge, while Apu calls upon the Light of Morrow to blind the attackers. Calm as death Natalia has no problems using extreme force. She puts a bullet through one of the grounded thugs and turns to take aim at the fleeing pickpockets. Fearing arrest Toad sets alight a smoke stick and orders the group to fall back into the crowd. He is utterly ignored. Natalia’s shot is exceedingly difficult through the scrambling and screaming crowd. A watchman approaches warily trying to summon the nerve to intervene. Natalia shoots right past his head, through the thick crowd and the bullet utterly destroys the right leg of the starving urchin who took her satchel. To his credit the other boy bravely stops to help his friend and Natalia and Sister Helga approach them. With the help of Apu’s phantom wolves Toad examines the carriage to find the would be assassin long gone but in his haste he left his crossbow. Unfortunately for the assassin, the wolves catch his scent and begin tracking at Apu’s command. Sister Helga heals the carriage driver who swears he knows nothing and Apu clears things easily with the watchman, blaming the incident on Thamarites.

Natalia and Sister Helga lead the injured boy back to the Dark Moon Guildhouse to see about his significant wounds and Apu, Toad and Kieran follow the wolves through the city to the Cacogen Tavern in Dag’s Ward. Strangely, it’s the same tavern Toad is supposed to meet the Sparrow at in several hours. Can’t be a coincidence. The would be assassin tries to deny everything, but Apu is able to persuade him that the consequences of confessing will be less unpleasant than being devoured by wolves. He was hired to cause a distraction while the pickpockets stole any papers the group was carrying. He is supposed to pick up his payment tonight at the Corsair’s Coin, a well known gambling house in the Emerald District. Hurley’s territory if that means anything. Not getting anything more the three leave.

That afternoon Toad berates the group for stunning lack of coordination and organization on the bridge. His rantings go mostly ignored and he storms out wandering the streets for a couple hours in no direction in particular. On one corner he meets the gaze of Chaser’s Isle Watch Captain Sheryl Ladway. To Toad’s suprise she nods at him and smiles. Ano must be doing a damn good job of building us up he thinks. After a couple of hours Toad finds himself at the door of the Cacogen Tavern in Dag’s Ward. “Looks like I’m gonna make that meeting afterall” he mutters to himself.
Sparrow is waiting for him. Toad takes a seat wanting to get right to business and still feeling funny about taking this meeting behind the guild’s back. His first clue something is wrong is her seductive tone. Noone talks that way to the warty skinned freak unless their trying to manipulate him. Sparrow is evasive about her request, instead promising him all the things he can never have. She talks of having a different life, a normal life, romance, fitting in… A new face and body. She says she can make this happen. Wants to help him. If he were being completely honest with himself he’d have to admit to a moment’s hesitation. But he didn’t have to be honest. Rather be a liar than a fool. Promises like that come with pretty thick strings and if the stories his mamma used to tell are true, the pot o’ gold is always copper. Toad eyes the woman and pushes her to come out with what she wants.
If he had to put a finger on the moment things changed he couldn’t. But as Sparrow weaved her words he felt her darkness close in on him. She worked for something or someone very powerful that was obvious. Her employer wanted the papers stolen from Hurley and was willing to let him name the price. On the identity of her employer she wouldn’t be moved. They would remain anonymous. Toad didn’t like that at all. During a break to use the latrine he hired the most competent person he could grab. He offered 40 crown to the man if he could lift some personal possession from the woman he sat with and deliver it to the Dark Moon Guildhouse sometime that night. Returning to the table he told Sparrow he needed to consider the offer and discuss it with the others. She scowled, obviously preferring he act alone but nodded. She instructs him to deliver his decision and his price at the barristers’ office of Dorne & Fergurn and tells him no reasonable price will be refused. He has three days.

He returns to the Dark Moon Guild and sips the guild uiske alone in the dark. Uncertain how much time has passed he’s roused from his thoughts by a thud outside. When Toad opens the door he finds the nameless thief he hired to steal from the Sparrow wrapped in a bundle with his throat torn out. Three men wave half apologetically as they back away claiming they are just making the delivery and had nothing to do with it. Toad’s throat falls to his stomach and he hauls the poor wretch inside. Sister Helga comes down the stairs first and seeing the body goes and wakes the others. Once everyone stumbles downstairs bleary eyed and Apu finishes with his hysterics about the dead body Toad tells them his story.

What the Cat Dragged In
24th Session
Storyteller Opifera

In the midst of what passes for the guild’s financial management meeting the door swings open and Natalia staggers into the front room. Used to her bedraggled, dirty appearance she doesn’t draw much immediate attention until a small voice peeps up behind her. Taking notice of the young girl following Natalia the rest of the guild recognizes the horrible shape Natalia is in. Badly beaten, bruised all over with chunks of hair torn out she is barely standing. She tries to brush off questions but the others are insistent and her story comes out.

Finally unable to continue her cat and mouse dodge of her past Natalia was picked up by Urgolian commissars almost two weeks past when eating at the Nibbler on Dicers. The past two weeks have been hell for her as she was tortured, frozen, burned, shocked, and healed to go through it all again. The girl with her, around 11 or 12, freed her this morning and the two stumbled back to the guildhall (see stealing bread). Natalia is exhausted and badly hurt and wants nothing more than some rest. Toad and Ano are adamant that a message needs to be sent to these Urgolians. Apu offers the suggestion of permanently altering Natalia’s appearance. After a bit of rest the group sets off for Bone Walk on Hospice to the butcher shop Natalia was held captive at. Ano’s scouting reveals the commissars have cleared out leaving nothing but a wanted poster of Natalia which she adds to her considerable collection to wallpaper her room. Seems she hasn’t lost her dark sense of humor.

Midnight that night Sister Helga stands at the Riverside docks on Captain’s for a meeting requested with Lionor Cathor by note. Toad stands as bodyguard and with Ano, Natalia and Apu hidden as backup and itching to try out their new firearms. The useless wretch never shows but a group of Hurley’s toughs show and half-heartedly threaten Sister Helga warning her Lionor still owes Hurley a lot of scratch. The leader of the thugs is proud to point out he is the brother of someone called the Ox, apparently an important man in Hurley’s syndicate. Sister Helga explains she has no idea know where Lionor is but will pass on the message should she see him. She then extends a warm invitation to the thugs to attend the next Morrowan service and they thank her sheepishly and leave. Natalia retires to the Guildhall with her new protege, Alice, and after throwing the cat a fish the rest of the group hits the Swiggling Pig for pork skins and swill.

The morning starts out quiet. Sister Helga returns from a visit with the arcane mechanik captured in the raid on Hurley’s steamjack factory. The mechanik, Christoper, is being held in protective custody by the church of Morrow’s Inquisition in Five Fingers under the care of Sir Manfred. Vaun takes up the only merc job of the day and so the rest of the guild agrees to help Christopher retrieve his apprentice whom he believe is still stuck on Crane island and likely hunted by Hurley’s men. A trip to the Blaggard’s Manse on Crane leads to a meeting with the apprentice, a skilled arcane mechanik named Kieran MacGrath. She wants off the island, revenge on Hurley, and a place to lie low for awhile. The guildmembers argue the point a bit but it was decided the minute they realize she was in trouble. Ano finally puts to words what everyone is thinking… everyone in the guild has scores to settle and most have a past they want to leave behind. If she can keep a lid on her desire for revenge, play it cool and safe, she’s welcome but she’ll need a new name. Back at the guildhall Apu makes a joke about the quarters getting crowded, and the possibility of sharing rooms if the BRT continues to expand it’s roster. Toad completely misses the innduendo and shrugs, “You should’ve served in the army”.

Getting the Dirt - the Clean Job
23rd Session
Storyteller Opifera

Following up on a lead from a blind gambling beggar Ano takes Sister Helga, Toad, and Apu to the Quenched Whistle to meet with someone named Catwalker. He isn’t hard to locate and after a bit of verbal sparing Ano gets the job offer from him. Catwalker is an agent of the crown and reveals that a cousin of King Baird’s by the name of Lionor Cathor has a fondness for the gritty city and a couple of dangerous addictions. Lionor is deep in debt with High Captain Hurley and the crown would like some leverage on Hurley to clear this entanglement. The group is not eager to get on another high captain’s bad side but Catwalker has the backing of the Orithian treasury and makes them an incredible offer of 12,000 golden royals. For that kind of money the Troubleshooters can’t refuse.

Following a lead supplied by Catwalker the Troubleshooters accost and, with the help of Apu’s friend-making magic, question an alchemist named Shannon working both Hurley and High Captain Killbride. She has nothing useful on Hurley but reveals Lionor is hooked on <brut>, an illegal stimulant she cooks up and sells. She also tells them that Lionor is in very deep with Hurley and likely supports his smuggling operations. The group decides this Linea is a hopeless case but the promised fee drives them onward.

The group decides to contact the Lionor and track him down at a high price casino. Sister Helga delicately convinces him she has help for him and pulls him to a private meeting where the others join up. Lionor is loathe to discuss his business with Hurley but desperate for help. He admits his shipping interests have been all but commandeered by Hurley who has been smuggling something highly secretive into the city. Lionor has been largely cut out of the loop and cannot say even where the shipments his ships pick up originate from. He has managed to find where they go however. Hurley has set up a secretive, and heavily guarded factory on eastern edge of Crane Island and that is where the shipments end up. He is convinced the High Captain is working up something big there. The Troubleshooters decide this is something to check out.

If the Troubleshooters have a specialty it is in infiltration. Renting the services of their old friend, the discrete Baharudin they approach the island cliffside by gondola shortly after midnight. A mistform Ano scouts the factory and identifies their target. The factory manufactures cutting edge military grade steamjacks. These weapons are both illegal to own in the city and could lead to a major upset in the balance of power in the city should they see action on the streets. Even the governor’s royal marine contingent stationed on Belicose would be hard pressed to deal with the likes of these. Wandering guards move about, heavily armored in advanced suits Ano has never seen before. In a storage room in the factory’s basement a man is bound to a chair, unconscious or dead. The others soak in the details and detail a plan to retrieve the steamjack plans in the upper office and the bound man. Aided by Apu’s enchantments Ano succeeds in lifting the plans and dropping out the window and down the factory and cliff to the water below. Toad and Sister Helga slip into the basement and drag the bound but living man down the cliff. They take a couple nice rifles for their trouble as well. The Troubleshooters make off without alerting the guards to their presence. For once a clean job. For a small fee more Baharudin poles them to Chaser’s Island, a lot nearer to home. On the ride back Ano pulls out a shiny new prototype pistol he lifted from the office. It’s one of the new three-shot revolvers he had heard the Syramese were using in the northern war with the Kingdom of Yam.

Back at the guildhall panic starts to settle in as the Troubleshooters realize that Hurley surely has the means to track them down through the stolen plans, guns, or rescued captive. The group scrambles into action and by dawn manages to get the plans from their hands to Catwalker and the captive, still unconscious, to an Inquisition safehouse Sister Helga trusts. Before the plans leave their hands Sister Helga and Toad scratch down copies of all the material they can and stash it away. May be useful at some point. Shortly after dawn Ano offloads the guns at bargain prices to a gunshop far from Chasers. The Troubleshooters breathe a collective sigh of relief. Catwalker delivers the promised payment and the Troubleshooters celebrate naively believing they’ve pulled off their first clean job.


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