Dark Moon Rising

The Fruits of thy Loin Betray Thee
22nd Session
Storyteller Opifera

With the help of a charcoal picture and the boy’s name, Vasu, Apu traces his son using his Seeker spell. Siti Bukhari argues strongly to accompany the Troubleshooter to retreive her son but they refuse promising to return very soon with him.

The trace leads to the remote Mute Sister Island where the group is forced to wade through a hoard of diseased beggars summoned by Sister Helga’s generosity. Scattering coins and running they loose the crowd and close in on the target of Apu’s magic. Scouting reveals the building is a temple dedicated to Thamar and the boy is alive and inside. The Troubleshooters soundlessly break in through a boarded up window and pick their way towards the altar to rescue Apu’s son. The boy rose, and revealing he was a Thamarite himself attacked Apu with magic. The other cultists in the temple sprang to alertness and the Troubleshooters had a fight on their hands. The worst surprise came when the temple’s leader revealed herself to be Sita herself. The father proved easily the more capable mage and Apu struck his son unconscious. That was when the others noticed the runes etched onto the boy’s hand. A quick look told Apu the Thamarites had a powerful arcanist in their midst. The rune was an enslavement mark and kept them loyal servants of the caster, whoever that might be. The fight ended with Sita captured along with her son Vasu. Grimacing, Toad followed Apu’s instructions and loped off both of their spell-marked hands.

The Troubleshooters left the Thamarite temple and its dead behind and carried Apu’s family the long walk back to Chasers. When Siti Bukhari and Vasu Bukhari awoke they seemed free from enslavement and were very grateful for the rescue. Apu casts Regeneration and begins the long process of regrowing their hands. The details of what they know and what happened would have to wait until another time.

In the weeks and months that follow Apu sets up Sita and Vasu in a comfortable home near the guildhouse and sees to their recovery and welcome into Five Fingers.

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A Pirate's Life for Me
21st Session

Storyteller signcontrast

Turns out Opifera’s mate was betrayed and dumped in the drink. Opifera, Apu, Natalia, and Sister Helga arrive just in time to see the ship’s captain dumped overboard dressed in chains for a quick sink. Rescued from drowning he begs their help in revenge. As they hide near the ships in shadows scheming Toad comes running by panting and gasping “wait for me!” to the ship. Before anyone can catch him he’s staggering exhausted up the ship’s gangplank asking about Opifera. The other Troubleshooters scrap their plans and chase after him. Shots are fired and the battle for the ship begins. In a bloody reverse coup Opifera, Apu, Natalia, Sister Helga and Toad help Opifera’s old mate reclaim his ship. They learn that Waernuk was more than prepared for Kilbride’s full scale assault on his operations and, at least by sea, Waernuk came out significantly ahead. Dozens of ships burn and sink in the harbors of Five Fingers, nearly all of them allies of Killbride on shoreleave.

At least this ship survived the night intact. The restored captain invites his old friend Opifera on a ocean tour. It doesn’t take much convincing and the satyr, skilled sword and founding member of the Bellrow Troubleshooters bids a farewell from her guild to take a turn at looting the high seas. The others sadly see her off and tell her to come by when next in port.

(see also Tidesebb Burning under Ano’s Reflections)

Storyteller Opifera

The Troubleshooters spend the next two months fulfilling more traditional mercenary and guardsmen contracts within the city while each member pursues his own side goals and attends to personal business.

One foggy night Ano and Toad dispose of the Natalia’s stalker (still in stasis thanks to Apu) selling him to a sailor named Seagull, sailor on an outbound merchant vessel. On the return trip to the guildhouse they meet an odd beggar who soundly beats Ano at dicing despite being apparently blind as a bat. Humoring them the beggar sells them a tip on a man offering some work. That night Ano sets to learn what he can of the man before the Troubleshooters make contact. The rest of the guild spend the night drinking and eating at the Swiggling Pig where Apu disposes of a necromantic powerstone down the privy.

A loud and persistent knock at the guildhouse door awakens Sister Helga shortly after sunrise and only an hour or two after they’ve gotten home. The visitor reveals herself as an old flame of Apu’s and the mother of their son. She fled Ammad shortly after Apu and has been in Five Fingers for years unbeknowst to the mage. Sita begs for help in finding their son who has disappeared. Apu is understandably shaken and stunned by the news but is tender to his former lover and readily agrees to help her.

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Dead of the Night III -
20th Session
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The ghoulish gentlemen slash and bite their way through the Troubleshooters. They prove amazingly agile, anticipating Natalia’s every gunshot with ease. Fabrizio pokes and Toad chops at them until they are nothing but a dismembered mess.

Fabrizio sets off down the long tunnel Toad says leads back to the finely adorned rooms he saw and beyond that the nasty little tavern fronting this horror. Toad follows. Fabrizio frees a slave girl there and after dodging a patrol of Waernuk’s men the three of them return to find the cavern and corpses ablaze and the rest of the Troubleshooters gone without them. Confused, they hussle out of the cave and up the slopes.

After some angry words at the top of the cliff the Troubleshooters make their way quickly off island. Toad hurries to report the disaster to the Kithgrav leader Bluetongue. On the outskirts of Kithgrave Bourg he is stopped by a woman who introduces herself as Sparrow. She tries to interest him in working a deal with him but says she must talk immediately. Toad, hesitates but decides he owes Bluetongue news of the assault before anything else. And after that he promised to try to catch up with the others on Captains. He apologizes to the oddly out of place woman and runs on.
The rest of the Troubleshooters are hurrying across the bridges to the Rivergrav on Captains Isle where Opifera’s old shipmate has promises her some action tonight. Seems tonight is a big strike against Waernuk on multiple fronts. May be a very bad night for the bastard!

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Dead of the Night II -
19th Session
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Scaling the walls down to the cove entrance the Troubleshooters fight and overcome more guards than they had anticipated. The trollkin are ambushed on approach through a side tunnel. A monstrous worm kills all but one of their member who joins (very briefly) the group.

As the Troubleshooters try to decide how to remove or destroy the hundred or so corpses stacked in crates the two surviving guards beg to flee warning ‘their coming!’. Without notice three finely dressed gentleman corpses saunter into the room tearing the lone surviving trollkin to bits before advancing on a stunned Opifera. Toad faints (no really!) but is awaken by a word from Sister Helga.

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Dead of the Night I - of Bowels and Trollkin
18th Session
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In the streets of Captain’s Isle the Troubleshooters were intercepted by an agent of Kilbride and a meeting was arraigned. Toad shook his head in annoyance. It’s always another meeting in a mutually defensible location, both sides heavily armed and paranoid of attack. Noone can ever just say what in the stinking black water they want. The popular Five Finger’s expression struck him as morbidly funny after his recent ordeal. Grabbing the wizard the group met with Kilbride’s representative, a man who for readily apparent reasons was named Slitface. Fabrizio shadowed the shadowers of the meeting and by the end of the meeting had them effectively cowed to submission. Killbride’s agent offered the Troubleshooters 3500 royals to convince the trollkin enclave to make a strike against Waernuk, and it had to be done by tomorrow night. This seemed a considerable payment for deliverying a message and Apu was highly suspicious, both by the apparent simplicity of the job and by the specific timing. Slitface proved mostly resistant to Apu’s interrogations, however our mage did manage to raise the payment to 3800 royals. Next, with the help of Apu’s magic and a tip from Ano, the Troubleshooters scouted out the caverns beneath the Bowels bar Ano had been investigating and found a large cache of corpses hidden in a cliffside cove. With this target in mind the Troubleshooters entered the trollkin enclave to discuss the job offer. Meeting privately with Stoneborn to avoid any possible easedropping trollkin spies Toad overstepped his authority and promised the help of the Troubleshooters on the strike against Waernuk. Feeling he owed the trollkin Toad revealed the source of the offer and the admitted the possiblity, aye likelihood, it was a setup. Stoneborn considered the situation carefully and agreed to take it. A plan was made to coordinate with the trollkin at a seedy bar near the clifface above the cove. The group spent the next day gathering climbing supplies, formulating a plan, and verbally abusing Toad for promising their aid on a job that could have been an easy, no risk payment.

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New Moons
17th Session
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Pauline Greyvine’s treatment has been sufficiently expensive that the Church of Morrow has need of additional funds. Prelate Daltry agreed to Sister Helga’s request to hold a fundraiser for the church and Sister Helga arranged for an evening of dance, gambling, and drink to entertain the followers of Morrow and any others with coin.

The fundraiser was a success, although the Prelate would not have been pleased by some of the things going on in the back rooms. Some Kalipurians were thrown out at gunpoint for cheating, but the incident did not disrupt the festivities overmuch. Apu made the acquaintance of a delightful lady by the name of Bellinda, and spent most of the evening in her company.

.....

The next morning, Apu returned to the new guildhall to discover Natalia, Opifera, and Sister Helga arguing about if Opifera should go to an utterly disreputable tavern known as ‘The Bowels of the Earth’ in hopes of finding Ano and Toad, who have been missing for two days. This was a completely horrible idea- even at the best of times, the Bowels is a dangerous place. During New Moons, the extreme low tides mean every sailor in town is ashore and looking for entertainment- or, having run out of coin, are looking to gain additional funds or entertainment via the most direct means on hand. It is a time when it is very unwise for attractive women or people of wealth to go near the docks alone.

Such measures were unnecessary. Apu performed a minor ritual that sufficed to determine the current location of Toad, and the Troubleshooters (formerly of Bell Row) set off to retrieve him. He turned out to be recuperating from a severe beating and near-drowning in the company of an trollkin clan the Troubleshooters had assisted some months earlier. He and Ano had been investigating the disappearance of many dead bodies in Hospice and the Chatterstones, but had not thought to get in touch with Noatam and ask what was going on. Toad does not seem to have realized that Noatam is a Necromancer, despite the cadaverous canine who accompanies him. I don’t think Toad had realized the dog is dead- maybe he thought it had an epic case of mange and scabies. Toad was healed of his injuries and left to sleep off the exhaustion. (see toad log)

After a brief rest, Apu employed the same minor ritual to locate Ano, who turned out to be mooching meals at a soup kitchen. He put off explanations of what he and Toad had been doing for later. (see The Fall in Ano’s Reflections)

As we departed the soup kitchen, an assassin tried to shoot Natalia from a rooftop, and discovered that shooting at a friend of a Wizard is only slightly less foolish than shooting at the Wizard. Natalia took the attempt on her life personally, immediately running down the alley in pursuit. Opifera and Sister Helga ran after Natalia, while Ano and Apu followed. Natalia found fresh blood on a ladder, and spotted a man with a slung rifle fleeing down the alley. She gave chase, with Sister Helga and Opifera right behind her. Not being as fleet of foot or as skilled with arms as my companions, Apu gave chase at a more deliberate pace, trying to figure out why someone would try to assassinate Natalia. Of the Bell Road Troubleshooters, she is far from the one with the most enemies.

After a moment, Apu realized that conjuring a wolf and commanding it to track by scent, while employing a Trace spell to keep track of the position of the canine, might allow him to follow the assassin while remaining out of sight. He succeeded in the conjuration and the trace, and decided to conjure two more wolves in case the assassin shot the first one.

Apu eventually caught up with Sister Helga and Opifera, who had lost sight of Natalia, and then Natalia, who had lost sight of the assassin. The wolves led the Troubleshooters the docks, where the assassin had embarked on one of the few gondolas still in operation during the new moons. When he saw us, he aimed for a moment, and then remembered what had happened the last time he shot at us, and then tried to conceal himself as much as he could. He did not hide well enough, and Natalia put her shot into a very tender bit of his anatomy.

After dismissing the wolves, Apu drew upon his powerstones to grant Natalia and Opifera the ability to walk upon air. They walked to the gondola, bound the assassin, and instructed the gondolier (who was quite terrified) to return the boat to the dock, which he did. A brief search of the assassin revealed a very nice rifle, some Urgoloan coin, and a wanted poster with a reasonable likeness of Natalia. He seems to have been some kind of bounty hunter.

The assassin is currently in Suspended Animation, stored in the basement.

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In the House of Madness - Part Three
16th Session

[...]

Unfortunately for the entity possessing [name], the next member of the party he attempted to magically influence was Apu. While the attempt was successful, it did not result in any progress towards getting the door open, as what Apu desired was on this side of the door. After some creative spellcasting and a bit of banter, Apu, Natalia, Olifera, and Helga retired to a side chamber and spent some time enjoying each other’s company*. After the effect wore off, everyone involved was somewhat confused and more than a little embarassed.

In the end, the result was completely contrary to the goals of the entity, as Fabrizio and Vaun decided to leave the door alone. They did not want to face whatever was on the other side without the rest of the party backing them up, and were unwilling to interrupt what was going on in the side room.

[...]

[okay, I’ve covered the touchy part, someone else please fill in the rest]

  • Fortunately for all involved, long-term complications have not arisen.
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In the House of Madness, Part Two
15th Session

This space intentionally left blank

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In the House of Madness, Part One
14th Session

It was a chilly, sunny day when Father Daltry brought the Bell Row Troubleshooters into the cathedral study. “We’d like to employ your services as a mercenary company.” Intrigued, the company straightened in their chair. What was the occasion? They weren’t expecting real business to come of this meeting.

“We don’t have the kind of budget that some people have in this city but we’d like to pay you a fair price to escort Sister Greyvine to _ Sanitarium. There is a doctor there rumored to be able to cure people of various diseases of the mind and body. If anyone can help Greyvine, this man can. His name is Dr. Falkenheim, and he specializes in the mind and rare diseases.”

[to be continued]

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Blood Money
13th Session
Sister Helga rushes to Apu’s side and after a brief examination and an annoyed glance at Toad and Ano tells the others that Apu is not dead. Invoking Morrow the Sister channels her sorcerous power into Apu healing the worst of his wounds. He gasps, erupts into a coughing fit and turns his head to hack a clog of bloody mucus onto the floor. “We’re definitely getting a new place now” Toad mutters. Apu waves off questions and sleeps for most of the day. At lunch he eats voraciously before falling back to sleep. He explains that it was the strain of his silencing charm that tore his body to that degree and he doesn’t plan on doing anything like that again. He is pleased to hear the job was a success.

Late afternoon an old, hobbling gobber named Dusky drops into the guild and delivers a plain white envelope with a note inside inviting the guild to dinner at sunset at the Baize Hand of Fate, a large upscale gambling hall just across the bridge on Chasers Ilse. It is signed by K. Jackery.
No one but Opifera seems eager to meet their employer but they haven’t received payment yet so Opifera cleans up and Ano offers to accompany her. He didn’t participate in the current job but feels he needs to represent the guild and meet with Jackery again. Opifera cleans up and the two set off.
On their way across town an old woman accosts Opifera accusing her of murdering her “little Tanner” who apparently was only 17. The old woman responds to Opifera’s confused protests with sobs and goes so far as to pummel her in the chest and call her a beast before the crone’s friend pulls her off with a terrified glance at the satyr. The woman leaves sobbing.
Arriving at the Blaise Hand of Fate the doorman, an ogrun dressed in a frilled white shirt and embroidered vest nods and lets them inside. Inside gambling pits, tables and betting wheels fill a large room in front of them generating plenty of noise from an active crowd. Everyone here is dressed up, armed, and seems to be enjoying themselves. A hostess stands to the right nervously eyeing the gobber and satyr. Spotted, she confirms their identity and leads them through a well appointed dinning room and into a private meeting room. Inside is a large table set and well stocked for eight. Kervain Jackery sits at its head with Dorian Bull standing behind him. To the left three large diamond shaped, smoked windows look out over the gambling hall mostly blunting the boisterous sounds.
Jackery is welcoming and the food, oysters, sweet meats and breads, is excellent. The Drus crimeboss makes some small talk about flowers before turning the conversation to buisness. He hears Opifera’s explaination of events and questions her on her ambush in the streets. She dismisses it as an old rival not telling him it was one of the Driftwolves, the Killbride gang supposed to be working with them on that mission. Jackery congratulates her on a job well done and pulls two three leather bags from under the table. At this point a sandy haired man in the casino room beyond the windows attempts to interupt the meeting. He jerkily approaches the window but two shots jerk him off his feet and drop him before he gets his gun fully drawn. The shots come from the gambling hall on both sides of the windows, out of range of sight. Jackery wipes his brow, almost unperturbed. Ano asks if he knew the man and Jackery replies “Just part of the business.”
The crimeboss pushes the bags to Opifera and Ano and tells them “Welcome to the family”. Ano gulps startled, but covers it immediately by grabbing another handful of clams. “The house cleaning last night served the purpose of declaring you on Killbride’s side. If there was any doubt lingering our public meeting here tonight destroyed it. I believe you’ll find the High Captain takes care of his own. If there is anything I can do to assist your guild just let me know. You can contact me through the rigrunner named Dusky.”
Ano and Opifera take the bags, jingling with coin and head towards the door. On his way out the gobber adds “Ahh, Mr. Jackery, we prefer jobs that are a little less… violent. More troubleshooting if you see what I mean.” “Truly appreciating a blood bath like todays requires a keenly developed eye for beauty Ano. Your guild has a talent for such work but I’ll keep your preference in mind.” Opifera and Apu make their way back to the guildhouse carrying the job’s payment of one thousand gold royals watching their backs for trouble. The old woman who bothered Opifera is nowhere to be seen.

The next day Ano and Opifera visit several weapon and pawn shops across Dicers and Chasers selling the spoils collected from the Dicer’s Laggers. On the island of Dicers the streets and alleys are just as busy as usual but pushing through them seems a bit easier. Frequently locals make an effort to move out of the pair’s path as they walk by. A few whisper or chuckle, but many stare, at least until eye contact is made and then they quickly avert their gaze and look busy. Not everyone seems to recognizes the satyr and gobber carrying their load of guns and blades but word of the previous morning’s masacre in Crucible Alley has definitely gotten around. Across the channel on Chasers the pair are treated normally.
The long afternoon nets a fair price for the weapons and keeping their ears open Opifera and Ano hear a few rumors about town…
  • the Five Fingers Watch on Captain’s Isle has put out a bounty on dregs. One royal per head. The attacks there have gotten worse and there is some fear they will spread.
  • Governor Doyle has opened up the city’s coffers to hire out the Sons of Thuria mercenary company to put down the gang war on Hospice between Waernuk and Killbride. The Sons are hardened vets stationed on Crane Island and number over 200. There is speculation on if they will act against both sides or favor one.

    Sister Helga is called to Hospice to tend those caught in the crossfire of the Hospice gang wars. She hears a few rumors as well…
  • The Church of the Mercy of Morrow on Hospice has been suffering harrassment from a Thamarite preacher outside their doors. He shouts blasphemies at the church and urges the refugees sheltered there to defile the church as well as the Sisters warding them.
  • corpses of old, emaciated dwarves have been turning up around Hospice. The Ebon Flame is suspected although where they are getting their dwarves is unknown as there are only a very rare few on the island.

    Later that night a nightmare wakens Apu and he crosses the island to the Cathedral of Morrow. The nightguard Jaff allows him in without arousing the Prelate. After a thorough diagnostic check up Apu confirms his fear… Pauline Greyvine’s condition is ever so slowly, but undeniably, progressing.
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