Blades in the Dark
During the last few weeks that have passed, the group has established their turf and has gained a new connection, a woman called the Madame Tesslyn from the Red Lamp. She asks for the owner of a shop to be... dealt with. The form of death is not important, just that he is dealt with. She uses a concealed map on the surface of the hardoak table to show them the location of the merchant to be dealt with. Tesslyn reveals information on the merchant, which includes the facts he is named Timoth Klev, who is the brother of Mylera Klev. He is supposedly living alone. When Cliff Lawford asks for why the man should be killed, Tesslyn shares that there are plans to develop the land he is holding. His death would open its availability. Supposedly Timoth's prized possession is the scale of a Leviathan. "Anything you find inside of value, is yours. I only want the land."
An hour earlier, however, Reginald Eothorn Guiest Drakeboon III received a message meant for the group. The wax seal denotes the Red Sashes. Tearing it open, Reginald finds a letter addressed to him. The group, now being called the Performers, are asked to meet with them given their interest in finding where their favor lies. The idea of the assassination and the meeting happening on the same night opens interesting opportunities for the group. The location of the meeting turns out to be quite close to the tinkerer's building. The group decides to try taking a stab at both at the same time.
Taking point on the Red Sashes meeting is Reginald, the Slide. While in the assassination plot, Robert the Piper, the group's Hound, takes point.
At the Red Sashes meeting, Reginald arrives with Cliff and Gideon at the Tavern. The place is lively and full of people. For the assassination attempt, Darius is at the rooftop while Robert walks directly at the entrance. The group aims to slit the man's throat to get through the job quickly.
The meeting flows interestingly, with the three of them walking in. They introduce themselves as the Circus. Mylera wonders why Gideon looks familiar, asking if he was once a judge. Reginald distracts her from the conversation and starts asking questions regarding today's meeting. Mylera asks if the group wants to earn a large sum of money. She explains that another group is about to receive a large sum of money for the Lamp Blacks. All they need to do is ensure the money never reaches its destination. She does imply the Red Sashes does not care what happens to the money Polix currently carries with him. She stands up to leave, but another companion points at Cliff and tells her to wait. Reginald tries to diffuse again the situation, claiming the man is just another person from Dagger Isles, since all of them are bald. The man asks if Cliff is the man Marlene, the pugilist, had once witnessed punch a guy thorough the chest. Mylera raises the offer and claims the group can have additional turf if they succeed in this. They receive four mugs of drinks from someone in the crowd. Cliff moves to the stairway, while Reginald and Gideon approach the man who sent them the drinks: Polix. Polix, a businessman counting stacks of coin at the desk, seems very occupied with the accounting he's doing and when the two approach, true enough, two heavy set met rise up to intercept the two. Polix is surrounded by body guards all dressed as normal revelers.
The assassination, on the other hand, takes an unexpected twist. While hanging above, Darius and Puck realize there are arcane defenses on the windows outside. This limits their access into the structure while Robert distracts the old man. Robert knocks at the door and convinces the old man that he has certain goods from his seafaring travels that the man might find interesting. Robert claims to have been in touch with Leviathan hunters, and this does grab the old man's attention. The old man allows Robert in as they discuss about the legends of a Lidless Eye. A ghost seemingly is present helping the man prepare the tea. He fails to see Pick and Darius trying to signal him that they cannot get inside through the windows. That's when Puck finds a pistol trained at him and a second group seemingly present to steal from the old man as well. When her pistol misfires, nearly hitting Puck's foot, she withdraws in panic into the shadows. Darius embraces the Ghost Veil, passing through the wall to land on the rafters. Robert pulls out his flute, talking to the old guy about an old rhyme he heard of, but the display of the flute warns the others that there's magic, if not a ghost in the place.
Reginald tries to directly talk to Polix, encountering some friction from the guards. Gideon is pulled away by a guy who challenges him to a game of darts. The initial throw goes bad, with Gideon's dart stabbing into some other guy. When Reginald tries talking to Polix, acting like they know each other, Polix starts replying in a single word each time. "What? Who? Confused. Who. No. Quiet." When Reginald claims they met at Iruvia, at the Governor's mansion, at some ball, Polix starts to reply more positively, as if remembering something.... more personal. Next thing Reginald knows, a champagne flute is handed to him and filled with wine. Polix smiles, and his hand reaches across the table to touch Reginald's. "Yes."
Back at the shop, Robert finally asks directly if there is a ghost in the place. The old man admits there is one given an agreement with someone from the Temple of the Forgotten Gods. They talk about a skull that has been retrieved by the Cult of Ecstasy and Robert feigns being startled by the floating cups. The old man casually states the ghost is of no danger, rather the true danger are in the wards that keep the place safe. Anyone who has a weapon who steps on a ward will find himself attacked by the very house. Darius draws out the spiritbane charm and tries throw it at the ghost, thinking it might help do something to it. The old man wonders if there's someone outside, and when he peers to check, Puck is forced to duck out of the way. This has him land exactly where the other group is hiding. They both insist the other admits who sent whom, but neither get answers out. When Puck sways the man to turn around because there is a gun behind his own head, the man falls for the trick and raises his hands in surrender without even checking. They claim to be sent by Lyssa, the former head of the Crow's Feet area. Puck twists the story to claim they were told to expect another group to help out. The ghost seems frozen in place back inside, and both Reginald and Darius move to complete the mission. As Reginald is about to clamp his hands around the old man's neck, a flash of green light erupts from above. Darius slides back into the shadows as the old man declares that there's an intruder! When he calls on his ghost for a weapon, however, the ghost hands him nothing since it remains frozen in place.
The green flash erupts and a woman falls on the ground where Puck and the man are. The man seems frantic at the thought there are wards in the place. Puck realizes the group is a whole gang of wannabes with no real skill. The man tries to help the woman up, but upon touching her is zapped as well by the green energy. Both remain stunned on the ground. Puck realizes the group might have been intended to be the scapegoats to their actions.
Back at the meeting, Cliff gets pulled to the dart challenge and finds himself amused as he challenges the guy. Thankfully, Cliff has the Finesse to handle the match better than Gideon could. Polix starts talking to Reginald, and the fact he always speaks with just one word complicates the challenge. At one point, Polix asks, "Animal?" and Reginald decides to answer, "Fish" which actually makes the man respond very excitedly. When Gideon tries to walk back to the two, the soldier walks up to intercept his approach once more. Gideon explains he's with Reginald and the bodyguard finally relents and lets him approach. Reginald throws the name Ichabod as his name, which makes Polix wonder even more. The man, however, holds Reginald's hand and starts rubbing it while mumbling, "Fish. Worm." He pulls out a size-able gemstone encrusted to a green base. "Bauble? Tonight?" Reginald agrees. Polix has his people lead them out to the boat. The coins are gathered into chests. A clap and Polix heads out with the others. Cliff finds the man he is playing darts with recalled, and Cliff heads out to follow the two from a distance. They head for the port. Two boats are prepped, with one holding the chests, and the other, Polix sits with both Reginald and Gideon. Cliff discreetly motions to the two that he's handling the other boat. Knowing Cliff will need some help, Gideon taps into his Whisper powers to call a Fog to spread around the area. Cliff pulls out their own boat and closes in on the other boat. Gideon allows the fog to become even thicker. The two boats separate, but thankfully Cliff shadows the one with the coins easily thanks to the cover the fog provides. Cliff decides to jump to the other ship and fling the others into the water. He barely breaks a sweat as he knocks out two of the guys on the boat and slip them into the water.
The old man asks for a weapon, and Robert moves as if to hand him a gun. But as he does so, Darius moves close to let the old man see him - acting as a perfect distraction for Robert to close in from behind to snap the old man's neck. When the dead body in his arms, Robert motions to open the door for Puck and sees the others stunned by the green light. Robert shares with them overhearing the old man's last words, "Did my sister send y-" They search the place for any valuables they can grab and while Puck looks through his letters, Darius drops the rifle upon seeing how many wards are scattered about. Robert finds a safe with no lock but an engraving with letters and numbers. Puck finds a number of sheets with letters and numbers written in varying inks, across multiple pages. The combinations on the papers seem to suggest the old man had been either changing the passwords, or testing various combinations himself. Puck begins to study the safe, taking extra time to make sense of how it works.
Outside, the companions of the stunned people have emerged, wondering what happened to their friends. Darius warns the two that someone is coming. Robert hunts for the gunpowder stores of the rifle, and makes a bet with Puck that he can open it using the gunpowder. As he works on applying it, Puck presses the combination and opens the vault. Mist emerges from inside, distracting them from the guy who steps into the store. Darius sees the new arrival and sees he has a knife out. He seems to be looking for the owner, but finds instead Puck and Robert illuminated by whatever was inside the vault. Darius leaps down and pushes the man with the knife into the closest ward! The man drops in soundless pain as the ward forces him to start stabbing himself in the face. The body continues to do so despite being already dead.
In the vault is a pale white egg, surrounded by a green glow and pulsing fog. A leviathan egg! Robert rummages for a bag to use but not wanting to waste time, Darius grabs the egg and a barrage of images assaults his mind.
Underwater. Veins. Pumping heat. Yellowish eye. Bubbles. Water.
The three grab whatever else of value they think they should, and exit the place. Robert prepares to ignite the gunpowder, which he spread out to burn the place down. Puck pulls the other bodies into the shop, using cloth to do so without touching them. Robert spots one final possible thing of value, and grabs the pet monkey in a cage nearby. The fire grows as they leave.
Cliff fights the one last man on the boat, and the guy turns out to be quite skilled. Far more skilled than expected. The two slowly pull back from each other as they realize they are both from Dagger Isles. Cliff grabs the chest, and the other guy motions to him that he doesn't mind if he steals the coin. At least he doesn't if the other guy was also from Dagger Isles. Cliff leaps into the fog to try to jump back into the other boat, but sadly hits nothing by water! Struggling to stay aloft, Cliff pedals powerfully. But despite his search for a way to stay above the water level, the weight is far too heavy. Cliff tries to swim water to save himself.
And suddenly, the handle of an umbrella is plunged into the water to help pull him up. Grabbing it, he finds himself pulled up to see the Madame Tesslyn, who reminds him that wasn't smart to try and swim with all the weight. She demands half the Coin for saving his life and hopes they got rid of Polix without harming him, or the whole ambassador of Doskvol will hunt the group down. She offers Cliff tea and biscuits, but he chooses not to accept any.
At the other ship, Polix leans back as he expects the two to "Worm and Fish," although neither know what he meant by those words. Gideon shows the fine lightning hook and mutters, "Worm." Polix pulls out a tiny charm bracelet and chooses one of the figurines on it. He detaches it and tells him to catch it. From a charm bracelet a long thick eel made of ectoplasm takes to the air. Gideon tries to catch it using the lightning hook and a spirit bottle to trap it. This seems to place Polix in an amused mood.
Reginald takes that opportunity to knock Polix in the head with the hilt of his dagger. Polix drops unconscious, slumping against the side of the boat. The two muse that Polix is well spent and satisfied. One of the guards tells them Polix is not the type of man who meets anyone, and suggests that there are eyes focused on Crow's Foot lately. He warns them that the place is not the best of Doskvol and recommends they head to Razor Hill or Echo Gardens instead. Reginald just shares that he feels business is booming here. The two guards drop Reginald and Gideon off the closest port and bids them a good night.
Madame Tesslyn congratulates the group later on when they regroup at the Red Lamp to discuss the expendable group did nicely in acting as scapegoats, and how they were able to steal away a generous amount of Coin. She admits the Doskvol Council will not be happy with what happened, The Lamp Black might have had a whiff of the events. Tesslyn however walks to the door, opens it to reveal the Inspector Roland Wot, who seems to have a very interesting story to tell. She tells them he is very interested in their activities as well. Tesslyn asks if there really was a Leviathan Scale in the shop. They say there wasn't any. But the group, with Rigby, the bartender, ponders on the fact they now have what might actually be a Leviathan egg.