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The crisp morning starts with a low rumbling from outside. Further down Bell Row the avenue is crowded with celebrants for the day’s parade. It’s Governor’s Rest and the city gathers to cheer and cajole the governor as he is marched ‘captive’ through the streets. Most of the city takes the day off, including much of the Five Finger’s watch. A portly pipe smoking man hanging out near their Guildhouse catches the attention of the Troubleshooters and after a few brief words is invited inside to discuss a potential job.
The man identifies himself as Graham, an agent for an employer on Crane Island. He is unaware of the exact details of the job other than to say that it involves the procurement of an object and is time sensitive. Apu corrects him saying we call that type of job a ‘recovery’. The man nods smiling. The group agrees to hear out the offer in more detail and receives instructions and directions to meet their potential employer at Blaggard’s Manse, a mercenary bar on Crane Island at dusk.
On the boat ride over the group gets a rundown of Crane Island and what to expect from the dock guards by Baharudin, their Jinn gondola pilot. He follows them up the lift once they dock and persistently reminds them to tip the guards a blackpenny. They do and find it shuts up the interrogating guard. A few minutes walk brings them to the doors of their location.
Blaggard’s Manse is a large, well appointed bar with a floor to ceiling windows overlooking the oceanside. To the right a wide stairwell climbs up to another level and on the left a long mahogany bar stretches covering most of the wall. The place is crowded with veterans and successful mercenaries tonight exchanging stories and maybe looking for a solid contract. As Haugin and Opifera compete for the barkeep’s attention a squat, ugly man waves them over to a big, round table in the darkest corner of the room. The Troubleshooters collect their drinks and join him almost immediately regretting it. The stranger’s skin is spotted with blackened crusty scabs, several cracked and oozing blood. Haugin and Opifera shuffle their chairs nervously away from the grotesque man, Grig seems not to notice, and Apu stares intently nodding to himself. Satisfied Apu mutters ‘not contagious’ and opens the conversation. The man introduces himself as Toad and explains he was told by Graham to meet up with the group for tonight’s job. He mentioned he’s seen a lot of traffic up and down the stairs tonight. Another round later the group leisurely makes it’s way upstairs to a private room and their job offer.
Frankau Lelac cuts to the chase quickly. He needs the Troubleshooters to aquire a necklace for the widow of a man executed over a dozen years ago. The necklace lies on the man’s body which is stuffed in a gibbet suspended above Five Finger’s city square on Captain’s Isle. He offers the group 30 royals a person but Opifera spurred by mumbled prodding from Toad talks him up to 35 (total 175 royals). Lelac insists the necklace is not enchanted and his client’s desire for it is purely sentimental. He describes the locket as a silver crescent shaped medallion. When asked he reveals his client is Madam Klivson. Haugin asks if she is the Madam Klivson who was married to the High Captain Klivson executed by the city for arson and the pieces fit together. “Why I suppose she is” Lelac remarks. The BRT takes the contract and agree to deliver the medallion to Lelac at the Octopus Den in the Emerald District by dawn. Haugin vows to Frankau that he, Fabrizio, will get the job done! The group leaves the room with a suggestive wise crack about uses of their employer’s boyish bodyguard.
A handful of city watch guard the city square tonight mostly standing and talking to one another but occassionally patroling the perimeter to stamp off the damp night air. A heavy fog sits over the square, unusual in its thickness this far into the island. After a cursory scouting a handful of plans are discarded. Opifera suggests creating a diversion with passionate kissing beneath the rows of hanging gibbets but thinks twice about it upon considering her selection of partners. Apu transforms Grig into elemental air and the gobber slips effortlessly up joining the fog. Several minutes pass before Grig returns to meet Apu, Haugin, Opifera and Toad huddled in the garden adjacent to the city square. He reports he has found the necklace but has also found another group of thieves looking to make the score. Perched on the roof just above them a gobber is watching and around the corner wait his three friends. Grig returns to the air to retrieve the necklace and the other four start around the corner to intercept the others Apu rhythmically counting softly to himself.
Grig finds the other gobber is already started across the catwalk toward High Captain Klivson’s gibbet. Racing across the chains and trying not to be heard or seen the enemy gobber slips and one of his three knives comes free of its sheath. The light clang on the stones is enough to alert the guards below. Nearing the Klivson’s gibbet Grig’s body transforms suddenly gaining substance and mass. Shooting out a quick hand he snatches the rusted iron cage saving him from a nasty fall and scrambling, he pulls himself up. Within seconds he pulls the necklace from the broken bones and rotted debris and darts back to the catwalk. The guards below are shouting threateningly at the other gobber who ignores them intent only on tackling Grig. With a brace and a great leap Grig clears the distance between the catwalk and the nearest building behind which the others are engaged in a violent showdown. He scampers away with the prize.
Meanwhile the others round the corner weapons bare to find two humans and a maul weilding trollkin circling to ambush them in the garden. A lot of whispered blustering and sizing each other up preceeds the bloodspilling. The woman announces herself as Sescha Isallende, leader of the Pistoleres Sangre. She is armed with a thin blade and a pistol. A trollkin flexes and snorts, eager to be unleashed while the man in back makes use of the time to cast a spell transforming himself into a large snarling wolf. Close enough to spit on each other both sides see combat is unavoidable and the smiling pistolero offers to buy any survivors a drink. Toad tells her he’ll take her up on that and makes a lunging stab igniting the powderkeg.
Springing forward Opifera closes with the trollkin breaking his charge. The ugly brute snarls and sweeps his huge maul in an arc landing a crushing blow to Opifera’s chest cracking ribs. Staggered, but still standing Opifera meets the troll’s shocked eyes with her own sneer and carves her heavy cutlass across his chest ripping through bone and hide. She hops back at the last moment narrowly avoiding the spray of blood. It’s almost impossible to get the stench of troll guts out of your fur. Wild eyed and disbelieving the trollkin’s hammer slips from his grasp as he falls to the ground.
Bleeding from a punctured gut the pistolero squeezes a shot off at Toad who tumbles backward rolling away from her aim. Despite being directly in the line of fire the same bullet somehow misses Haugin, who oblivous to the danger pulls back his harpoon for a throw. He pitches the barbed spear and it sinks deep into the wolf as it leaps to rend Toad. With a strong pull he jerks the beast off balance and gains its baleful glare. It struggles, twisting in vain, trying to pull Haugin’s grip loose but only succeeds in tightening the wrapped cord around his arm. Haugin jerks again. The wolf yelps in piteous animal pain but its eyes glint with human intelligence as it weighs it’s options. Toad slips warily past the snapping wolf towards the wounded pistolero. She jabs Toad puncturing his leathers with her offhand blade before stepping back behind her allies. While Haugin and the wolf struggle Apu is busily muttering strange magics guarded by the wounded Opifera. Toad and the pistolero face off trading parries and demands. With a mighty tug Haugin rips the barbed harpoon out of the huge wolf’s chest and the beast collapses in a heap of blood and hair. When the wolf falls the pistolero admits she underestimated the group. Conceeding to Toad’s demands she drops her sword and, very reluctantly, her pistol in exchange for her freedom. When Toad yells at her retreating shadow where he can get that drink she shouts back the Steam Girl Parlor. He makes a mental note never to go near the place. He’s never had any luck with women, especially ones that try to kill him.
When the bloody trollkin rises to answer Apu’s command the other three are already running out of the alley and down the street. Under Apu’s direction the brute lifts and carries the wolf and together they turn towards the watchmen rounding the far corner. Apu confronts them head on feigning fury at being ambushed in the alley. Apu identifies himself as a member of the Order of the Golden Crucible and quickly and smoothly moves the conversation from the guards interogating him to him belittling the guards. In the space of a few minutes he has them apologizing and trying to politely hurry him along.
Meanwhile Grig catches up with the rest of the group and delivers the necklace. Worried that they may be jumped by yet another group Haugin, Grig, and Toad settle in at a bar just outside of the Emerald District called the Ruby Glass. Apu is missing again, but Haugin informs Toad this is not unusual. Opifera goes to the meeting at the Octopus Den alone and emptyhanded. After a brief conversation with the doorman she is directed down a long hallway full of curtained archways to a room in the back. Giggles and moans float on the heady opium laden air and outlines of bodies and pillows can be seen through the shear curtains. She hears heavy footfalls as she pushes open the unlocked door to the back room. Opifera steps inside and finds Frankau Lelac dangling from the ceiling. Hanging dead, his eyes bulged, tongue wagging and fine linen pants shitstained. The corpse still sways slightly from side to side despite a lack of any air in the stifling room. Opifera backs out immediately and walks briskly to the front door, her mind now oblivious to the temptations of only seconds before. The doorman eyes her curiously as she starts past him and asks if there was any problems. She points back in and offers ‘he’s dead’ before hurrying back into the street waving off further questions. She hasn’t walked far when a smirking gobber falls into step next to her.
Back at the Ruby Glass the three others are waiting and drinking when Opifera leads the rough looking gobber named Felelle in and sits him down. The gobber explains that he is willing to pay for the necklace, 30 royal each and the promise of another job paying 50 a piece. He persistently waves off questions but is eventually dickered up to 35 royal a piece. Felelle then leaves to collect the coin and returns at dawn for the necklace and details of the new job. Taking the medallion, the gobber twists it open and pulls out a small piece of chalk from inside. It was this everyone was after.