Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bloodlines ep05 : Blades in the Dark


Episode Five

Blades in the Dark

Inside a massive manor. The Leech, Puck Maxwell "Professor", has found the group a job under the Lady Roslyn Kellis's home.  She is red haired, reckless, and luxurious.   She has been a family acquaintance of Darius Cromwell - a connection he rarely speaks of.  The group considers the many possible things to score in this heist: from the expensive array of spirits and wines in the basement, the weapons cache of jeweled daggers, the rumors of something called the Spirit Engine whose plans are somewhere in her home, and supposedly a history book which may have information on the Emperor himself.

Robert "The Piper" confirms through Melvr the physicer the existence of the engine. Reginald Eothorn Guiest Drakeboon III "the Thespian" confirms the existence of the prized wines. Darius Cromwell "Ghost" confirms through Roslyn herself that the book actually does exist in her chambers.

Roslyn is the only one in red in the party, accentuating her golden eyes. Everyone else in in white and gray. The six have been taking turns entertaining the guests. They alternate turns distracting the guests so others can explore the manor and try to snag what they can. "Gideon Seymour" Jack Makepeace is called to entertain the group.

The group soon realize that Scurlock is among the guests, looking straight at Gideon. As the performance continues, Darius Cromwell slips away but bumps into the lady Roslyn while he was wandering the halls. She admits she was curious if the group was the same Iruvian she remembered. She asks if they are here for the book, and Darius admits he is. She asks him to walk with her. Roslyn admits the book is in the place but she cannot protect them from the Emperor's guardians who watch over the tome. She asks Darius to entertain the group next, once Gideon is done.

Scurlock asks for a closer demonstration of Gideon's entertainment. The others feel uneasy watching him approach. They feel a compel to stare at him and quickly break eye contact and look away.  Scurlock inspects the spirit eel while he telepathically asks Gideon what brings a Whisper to this place when it is only filled with Screams. Gideon claims they are just entertainers. Scurlock asks if they are not Thespians. Or Theater Actors. Or Nameless.  Implying he knows all of their alias.  Aloud, however, Scurlock tells the audience he is impressed.

While Darius handles the crowd with a "local favorite" and uses his Ghostveil to become invisible after he throws a hood over himself. The group applauds, but to their surprise, the audience does not. The audience starts whispering to each other, wondering what happened. Darius realizes the audience can all still see him! The guests might all be spirits.

The Thespian remembers his meeting with Baszo Baz and how the Red Sashes had good things to say about them. They drink wines and they discuss Rosyln Kellis' sortie and how the fine wines in that place exceed anything they can offer. He snaps out of the flashback and sees the audience booing Darius, asking for him to do something more interesting. Gideon now wishes he had a tomato to throw at Darius. Darius decides to start slipping off his clothes to distract the audience. Reginald remembers the talk again and Baszo informed him that Mylera Klev's daughter, Trisha, the leader of the Red Sashes will be present. Baszo gives them the task to murder her... quietly... as a Mission to prove their loyalties.  Reginald sees the woman in a dove mask and recognizes her to be Trisha. She is currently seated near Scurlock. Reginald finds the best moment to try and slip away from the group. He bumps into a woman in a large padded coat. The sounds of glass bottles clinking are heard. The man apologizes and Reginald stares at her grayish skin, bald head, and a ring with a serrated hook.  Reginald realizes the woman is a Blood dealer and she introduces herself as Jul.  She mentions she can see the mark of the Dimmer Sisters on him, suggesting they had a fight. He admits they have been in tangles with them. Separating from her, Reginald tries to move towards his target.

After a few poses while almost naked, Darius then calls for Puck to handle the next entertainment. Puck throws a potion on stage to cause smoke to erupt to preempt his entry. The audience breaks into a louder applause. He begins mixing reagents on stage to entertain the guests.

Robert remembers his meeting with Melvr, who related the story of the Spirit Engine and how the Kellis family had long sought to use it to leave Duskwall. It was an attempt to go beyond even the Salted City but everything changed when the Scurlock family gained control. The engine was abandoned and some believe it remains unused in the basement levels of the manor. Scurlock holds the territories and they have no reason to use the engine. Melvr admits his father finished building it and that two men can carry it in their arms. The engine is functional and in a test, a vessel was able to evade a lighthouse's notice. His father paid for it with his life as he was silenced to keep others from learning of it. Robert admits the sailors spoke of such a thing in rumors. The entrance to the basement should be behind a "painting that keeps watch." Melvr offers he is willing to pay his life savings for the engine.

As Puck finishes his presentation, Robert's eyes scan the room and he sees the painting at the far side of the room. A massive portrait of an angry looking man.  Scurlock stands and asks Puck if he can do another trick. "What say I wished for a metal..." and be picks up a knife, "... to melt?" and when Puck admits it can be done, he asks if it can be done to wood instead? Puck admits he can. Kellis stands and asks Scurlock to let some other exhibition be done. Scurlock insists he wants to see it and heads to join Puck at the stage. Puck realizes Scurlock is now asking Gideon to produce a stake for the demonstration. Robert takes this opportunity to slip away for the door. Darius uses this also as a chance to slip away, remembering the plans he had gathered earlier to guide him to the book's location. Scurlock asks Puck to apply his alchemical mix to the handkerchief that he now places above his breast, admitting he will pay good coin for this if it works. Puck wonders if he should intentionally make it fail.

The painting shows a massive chair with strange heads upon it; a man, a woman, a wolf, and a strange beast thing.  The chair is empty, however. Robert realizes the eyes of the "heads" do seem to follow him around. He remembers how the Kellis family used to traffic in spirits prior to the rules that were set up. The family supposedly hired practitioners of Spectrology to craft paintings that were haunted by spirits whose families were still under their command. The four "guardians" likely were still serving while trapped in the frame. Robert did his research and he knows of a woman is the manor.

Down on his knees, Darius peers through a keyhole at a room where the book might be kept. Inside, a woman sleeps inside. Sliding into the room, he walks up to the woman and notices she is breathing shallowly. Her head is lolled to the side and bite marks are upon her throat. She has curved blades tucked into her belt. Disarming her, Darius inspects the room for signs of the attacker but only sees an open window. Turning back, he sees her awake now - though still too weak to communicate properly. Her body is frozen in something akin to rigor mortis. Darius tries to comfort her as he collects her belongings - sensing she probably won't live long. He finds a garotte hidden in her boot.

Reginald meets with Trisha and using his charms suggests they retire to a more private place. Away from the crowd, they head down the corridor and make for a balcony Reginald mentally mapped out earlier. There, they step into the cold air and smile as they look at each other. Trisha asks why he brought her here and he claims she brought her here to get to know her more. They talk a bit and Reginald feels something is wrong but can't quite place it.

Puck claims to stake his reputation on this challenge. Gideon plunges the stake, as Scurlock instructs, into the handkerchief against the old man's heart. The wooden stake melts against the cloth. A successful miracle.  Cliff Lawford notices he can smell something in the air.  He pulls away from the audience and the cheering and follows the scent. It leads him to a door that is partly closed. The scent of a type of oil used to sharpen weapons by those from the Dagger Isles. The oil keeps a weapon sharp for weeks. Slipping the door open, Cliff finds the source to be woman who seems to be frozen near someone else. Cliff's eyes widen in shock as he sees Mercy, a killer from the Dagger Isles.  He remembers her to be dead! He sees the bite marks on her throat and suspecting a vampire had attacked her, he turns to track the smell of the oil - realizing Mercy's weapons are no longer with her. Darius continues towards the concealed room where the book would be hidden. With his Darkside Mask on, Darius leads the way down the winding passageways. He hears someone following behind him, but he ignores it for now.

Robert approaches the painting and signals the woman he recognized from before. She approaches him and warns him they do not approach the painting.  Believing him to be an inspector sent by the Duskwall Council, she admits the painting only had two faces when she was brought here.

Trisha asks Reginald if this is the part he kills her, or is this the part where she kills him. When he feels her cold hand against his, he only now realizes she has not been exhaling mist here on the balcony the whole time.  She has not been breathing. He reveals a rose from his pocket and invites her to talk more of love. Their conversation shifts to Mylera and how the Red Sashes hope to find wealth and honor in Duskwall. She hopes to find a way to escape this place of Leviathans and Greed. Reginald offers to whisk her away. Trisha implies she can do that better for him. "Wouldn't you want to be free of this... life?"

The stake dissolves as the Whisper strikes Scurlock. The audience cheers. But when the next entertainer is called for, Puck realizes he is completely alone.  Kellis comes up to him and asks what is going on. Puck claims they have very small bladders. She is unhappy given she paid coin for six, but only four have entertained them so far. Puck claims the next show will be done by the monkey.

Cliff reaches the bookshelf, unawares that Darius is there ahead of him. Cliff tries moving the bookshelf and tries taking the books off one by one to try to find whatever triggers the mechanism open. Mercy gazes at the bookshelf in her weakness, and noticing it, Cliff asks her to help identify the right book. Cliff leans closer and Mercy asks him to carry her out of here and in return, she will tell him which book would open the hidden door. He lifts her up and using climbing gear, he attached her to it and descends her out the window.  Mercy fulfills her bargain and gives him the instructions needed to open the hidden door. In the confined space, Cliff walks carefully, tracing the faint traces of the oil.

Darius reaches a gated area leading to another door. The gate is marked with a ghostly lock. He tries to pick it, unawares of the monkey doing the circus routine to entertain the gathered crowd. Puck then reveals the tiny automaton he built that resembles the monkey to add to the show. The audience cheers and applauds. Puck hates the fact they all abandoned him with the crowd. He wonders when he will head to join Robert to carry the engine out. To buy them more time, he continues entertaining everyone with a few more antics.

At the table, Scurlock watches Gideon as he walks past him to get to the Blood dealer. Jul is showing some blood jars at the gathered group. Gideon asks to buy the lot and Jul admits the others are still choosing their wares. Gideon insists he wants to purchase everything else, but then confuses her by claiming he's not particularly decided on what to buy. He pays her and pockets the jar. Jul asks Gideon about the dancing man on the stage. Gideon makes conversation, asking for an extra jar while Jul shares how she thought the Professor is still alive given her last update was he was murdered. Gideon indulges in his vice, sniffing the blood. Scurlock, however, asks Gideon for some time and he walks off, expecting him to follow. Jul warns Gideon that Scurlock is not the type he would want to consort with. At another room, Scurlock calls the Blood dealer a roach, scavengers peddling garbage. Scurlock tells him Gideon should consider getting fresher blood, and when Gideon teases him about how Scurlock would know, Scurlock explains vampires now no longer drink blood.

Trisha and Reginald at the balcony discuss how none of them are vampires, save for one guest. She admits they are something else entirely.  Darius slides the gate open and Cliff, behind him, hears the gate. Cliff closes the distance but diverts to a different room where light emerges from the frame. Robert tells the maid to close her eyes and guides her to speak to her ancestors to grant them access.  Scurlock admits vampires now drink the future a life may have.  Trisha explains the rest of them are restless. Reginald asks what the difference is and Trisha admits they have long given up their bodies for the freedom of their spirit. As the door opens a the circular room, Cliff sees the guests all lying on the ground. All the guests who are outside. A guard with his eyes sewn shut asks for whoever arrived to identify themselves. Cliff closes the door.  The painting slides open, recognizing the maid - Robert's plan works. The audience claps and Puck bows.

Scurlock bites Gideon to demonstrate.  The map leads Darius down the library but he stops when he sees someone already inside. Someone he is not in good terms with: Setarra. Darius stares in shock at the demon whose eyes do not match. He asks why Darius is here given the event is clearly a trap. A lure. But whose trap shall spring first, hers or his. Darius notices Setarra has the book in the demon's hands and wonders what the stench in the air is. Setarra points to the daggers Darius has taken from Mercy and admits they stink of Whale Piss. Darius realizes he's not willing to make a deal with the demon.   At the open painting entrance, Robert switches places with Puck.  Puck goes inside while Robert moves to distract everyone else.  The maid, however, is now weeping as she talks to the painting as she relives a chance to speak with her loved ones. At the end of a spiral staircase, Puck heads down to a gate and picks the Spirit Lock open.  In the chamber further inside, he finds the Spirit Engine in the room.

Kellis is starting to suspect something is up. Robert plays his pipes to distract them but he can sense time is running out.  Cliff reaches the library and finds Darius talking to the demon, Setarra. He realizes the smell is coming from Darius.  Setarra asks if this is a trap, and Darius looks back to see Cliff come into view. Cliff claims he was here to get his knives back from "him." Darius asks for the book. Setarra admits he would not claim ownership of it, given it is the property of the Emperor. He does not quite understand why Cliff would be here in the library though, given Darius obviously came for the tome. Cliff confesses he just came here for the blades, given they remind him of home. Cliff then decides to ask the demon what has happened to his arm and shows the markings that move on their own. Setarra bargains; offering to tell what he knows of the markings in exchange for them swearing that once they know what it is, they will never harm him or those of his choosing. Cliff agrees. Darius is given the book and is warned the Scurlocks will hunt him down.  Cliff is told of the Nephilim and he is pulled into Setarra's world.  "You have been marked by the Nephilim."

Generations of Scurlocks filled the pages of the diary. Darius realizes the handwriting changes do suggest different eras of writing in the tome. He bags it and hurries back to rejoin the others. Reginald asks if Trisha can leave and she admits they go where they want. And death is no longer something they can suffer. Perfectly timed, Reginald had Baszo Bas steps into the balcony to see the Slide striking the woman in the chest with a blade. Baszo Bas steps away, seeing the kill committed.  Trisha looks up, shocked, wondering what just happened and Reginald smiles telling her he just wanted to test her.  The two laugh. Gideon sees the wound and notices there is no blood dripping from the bite. He asks if he will transform into a vampire too and Scurlock explains that too is a falsehood. They drink the future and the years that have yet to come. Gideon is now to die a year sooner. Hence all that serve them die young and beautiful. He tells Gideon now is the best time to leave given Madame Kellis now senses things are awry. But her gods are distracted now.

The book begins to scream as Darius carries the tome to the surface. The leather cover has cracked open as a mouth and is screaming for being brought out of the dark dungeon. Darius rushes down the passageway, hoping to find a way out of the manor before Kellis notices it.  Robert hears the faint screaming and tries to distract the guests once more by doing the "Special Number" he has prepared. He sings a song, matching the pitch of the distant scream to distract them. At the inner chamber, Puck sees the Engine and other things, including more tomes and other artifacts.  He quickly studies the room for any thing else of value and if there's any other way to bring the engine out.

Cliff is told he is touched by the Leviathans and is to help them find death so they can be reborn as the children of the fallen they are.  He isn't certain if that story makes sense and asks about Mercy's condition. Setarra takes Mercy's blade, and while meditating on it, Cliff sees the events that transpired in the blade's surface.  Mercy had slipped into the manor but encountered Scurlock. Scurlock drank 74 of Mercy's future years.  She has lost all her remaining years. The rope snaps that moment, fulfilling Scurlock's condemnation.  Reginald is warned that the castle is under assault and Trisha asks her to leave before its guardians wake up. Scurlock bids Gideon goodbye. Gideon informs him that Tesslyn has been looking for him. Gideon makes his way out, knowing it would be best to get away now.

The book continues to scream, calling for help. Darius pulls out a vial of Silence and pours it on the book to silence it. Darius remembers the deal she made with Madame Kellis. Kellis actually wanted to have the book "stolen" for purposes she has yet to explain. Darius trusts her to fulfill this deal and circles back to her. Kellis sees him and she taunts him for being as reckless as him. She promises to return for it in one month's time and claim she "retrieved it" from the thieves. No one is to know of the deal, not even his friends.  Darius smiles and exits.

Puck studies the chamber, despite the sounds of commotion above. Robert realizes the other audience are starting to notice that even Kellis is missing. Robert asks everyone to dance and he plays his pipes to encourage them to dance. Even his monkey joins the dance. But the spirits are simply staring at him, unwilling to be distracted. Robert maintains his composure, trusting Puck to fulfill the plan. But when the ghosts reach for him, Robert grabs the rope of the chandelier and twists his pipe to reveal the hidden channel which he blow to fire a dart and sever the opposite end of the rope. The rope strains, but wasn't completely cut. The spirits grab hold of Robert, clawing at him and tearing at his clothes and skin! But as he swings up, his pipes fly from his hands, dropping to the ground. He swings with his monkey across the room to land at the opposite end of the room.  Down below, Puck hears the whistle from Robert, signaling it is time. Puck and Robert grab the engine despite the howls of the spirits as they close in towards them. The two move, quickly exiting the chamber to find their way out. They get to the passageway and shut the door behind them. They hear the spirits clawing on the door, the spirit wards keeping it strong. They slide down to leave through the exit they prepared before hand.

The heist is done.

Their reputation grows. A gang of ten joins their number, impressed by their activity. Robert and Puck surrender the Spirit Engine and in return it allows them to expand on their turf. Their actions gain them Heat, however, as the law enforcement begin to notice their activities.  And lastly, Gideon works on more assets using the spirit jars they have gathered and the possibility of their own Spirit Engine.

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