Thursday, 8 March 2018

Storms and Ill Winds

Previous Session: A Den of Vipers

As the others emerge out of the dungeon with the bedraggled young woman, Devon gets a Trump contact. It's Llewella, who's worried about them - and wonders what the hell they've done. It appears that the guards have just gone into their lock-down positions throughout Castle Amber!

Thomas and Stavros run out the main exit doors as a diversion, while Devon, Rowan & Trixabelle go deeper into the unknown nooks and crannies of the north-west tower to escape. As they walk, Trixabelle transforms into a guard she has seen before. With the full uniform and unshaven lantern jaw, it's quite the transformation.

Slinking out a postern gate, they're challenged by a sentry, and Trixabelle schmoozes her way past them until a casual question from him gets everyone's back up. From behind Rowan cuts him down; the guard was good, he notices the movement at the last moment and tucked his head behind the blade of his halberd, but Rowan's attack was at an unusual angle which circumvented the defence. Blood splatters all over Trixabelle's tunic and she takes Devon's cloak to hide it.

They quickly go to her curio shop to catch their breath and plan. Rowan and Devon turn on their harried guest, demanding to know who the hell she is. She wonders if she might have some tea and change out of her rags first, but the glare she gets from Rowan ensures that she understands any dilly-dallying will end in her spilt blood.

Dara, grand-daughter of Benedict,
and a princess of the Courts of Chaos
She introduces herself as Dara, grand-daughter of Benedict, and a princess of the Courts of Chaos. She claims that Finndo grabbed her as a hostage when beginning his campaign against Random, but their attempts to dig deeper into the particulars of that story are interrupted...

The front door is smashed in with a single blow and they hear Gerard's bellow! They run out the back door and make for the alleyway. At the back gate though there are four liveried guards with halberds waiting for them (one of them looks familiar; like the guy Rowan just murdered a half-hour ago!)

They fight them, Rowan and Devon make short work of them, with Devon's darts being a deadly surprise. Trixabelle's backdoor, narrow as it is, only invite structural damage as Gerard charges through it and they flee, using darkness and shadow to escape at a key junction.

Trixabelle morphs into Gerard and they walk out the front gates, and around the city wall to the fleet at anchor. Blustering their way through the captain of the guard (on high alert for intruders) they take a yacht and sail for the horizon.

Under Rowan's command, with Dara below under Trixabelle's watchful gaze, they make best speed for the horizon. Once they're out of sight of any pursuit they can think about where to head.

A tall mast appears behind them, it looks like a serious warship, maybe even Gerard's flagship. Trixabelle shifts them through Shadows, plowing through a purple squall to find green seas and iridescent yellow seaweed. They must find this Chaos army and turn over Dara to their protection. They lose their pursuers and Trixabelle must rest - the shapeshifting and the hell-riding have taken it out of her.

Down-below, the two have a brandy-fuelled discussion about her family, status and the real reason she was taken by Finndo as a hostage. A little more information is forthcoming - really Dara thinks that she counts as a double-hostage, both against Amber (particularly Benedict) and against Chaos.

Fiona, sorceress of the family
Up on deck, Devon gets a Trump contact; expecting Llewella again, however it's actually from Fiona and she assault his mind immediately with a compelling argument in favour of his turning the boat around. He can expect mercy in return for his cooperation in returning the prisoner to King Finndo's prison.

Devon eyes up fighting Rowan, but considers himself outmatches and aims for subtlety instead. He waits at the head for Dara's bladder to fill and when she approaches he intends to push her off. However at the vital moment, he struggles against Fiona so that he mis-times his attack and instead of pushing her off, is pushed himself into the Ocean.

Rowan saves him with lifebuoy and Devon vouches for Dara when he ends up on deck and before Rowan can cut her in two. (Tacitly, as proof of good faith) She takes over moving through shadows.

At a headland overlooking a huge river estuary is an arrayed army. Black and silver banners flutter over the host, of armoured Myrmidons (actual ant-creatures) and red grizzly bears

Dara curses. She must leave them, as this is no army of Chaos but commanded by Corwin, Prince of Amber. Their relationship is...complicated.

She steps away, disappearing into the depths with Logrus and they make landfall.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Last Fare

Previous Session: Keep your Friends Close

The Noose are joined by an ally of theirs from the war.

Sethla "Stone" Dalmore (a Hound) is a mercenary from the Dagger Isles who fought on the Skovlan side during the Unity War. She's an experience Deathlands Scavenger, where her experience from the Dagger Isles - lands where there are no lightning barriers, was of great use. On her throat is a tattoo from her rite-of-passage there - it is imbued with power and acts as a spiritbane charm.
Her trained hunting pet is "Ghost", a grey fox - it's from the Deathlands, and its colour is a washed-out grey, like a negative.
The woman has a pale, freckled face., with dark, empty eyes and tied-back, dark hair.
Her vice is hard drinking (usually topped up from a hip flask she keeps with her) with a side of whatever other pleasure is going at the establishment she finds.
She is a Survivor, from hard won experience she is immune to the poisonous miasma of the deathlands and is able to subsist on the strange flora and fauna there.

Near the end of the war, Veleris, who fought on their side revealed himself as a spy for the Empire. She was betrayed and almost died. The thirst for vengeance is what brough her to Duskwall, when she heard that Veleris had resurfaced as part of the Wraiths.

Melvir (a physicker) rescued Stone's body from her grave and helped her recover. It's really a miracle that she's still alive today. It's likely that Veleris thinks she's dead...

They bring Mags back to the Skovlan neighbourhood where Shiv lives in Charhollow. They meet her at the door into the mean and overcrowded tenement building, and her tired face lights up with relief and joy. She calls out for a friend who's a doctor and Mags is brought into a room to have her wound tended to.

Shiv brings them upstairs to her room and puts the kettle on for a cup of tea. Wicker the Whisper carefully examines the room for signs of how attached Shiv is to their shared Skovlan culture. There are no signs of wealth here, everything indicates that life in these tenements continues at subsistence level.
The kettle is of Skovlan design, but obviously has been made locally (whether by an Akorosi crafter who knew the design, or dictated to by someone familiar),  there's some unfinished knitting in a chair by the window (local wool, but Skovlan patterns) which will be handy for keeping out the cold and damp of the Duskwall nights. The handles on the sideboard don't match the actual furniture; it's an cheap knock-off of an Iruvian design, but the brass handles are all from a set with traditional Lockport interlacing.

Stone notices a shotgun in the corner by the fireplace - it's a well-used and maintained piece, probably something that was used in anger during the Unity War.

Crow the Slide has a bag of bread that he got from the bakery before coming over, and they share it with their tea. Stone adds in a drop of whiskey.
-Your name carries a lot of weight in the community; how do you intend to use it?
Her gaze narrows; she understands the subtext of the question
-Our people here would be starving and freezing to death if we didn't work to make their lives better.
Crow's fanaticism comes through a little
-Surviving isn't enough, we need our pride
-Pride is no use when you've no wood in the stove.

They ask her what she thinks of the Consulate's role in her work, and she admits that she had thought that they were helping, by arranging work details and visas for refugees to come across the river into the city proper. But now, after what Lomond did to Mags she isn't so sure.
Lomond came and took Mags last night, with armed warriors who brooked no resistance. She tells them that her  brother died in prison under his command.
Crow wonders what she intends to do about it, and she leans forward, reaching under the table to tap what must be a long knife strapped there - the distinctive metal sound is so familiar to them all - that's one Skovlan tradition which dies hard.
-I'm going to find that little weasel Lomond and gut him
Crows counsels her against such a rash course of action, and assured her that they'll take care of him and give her a front row seat when justice is served.

Shiv, a leader of the Skovlan Refugees
Wicker wonders what she did back in the old country and if Crow's question was subtle about what her credentials are, this is anything but. She grins as if she knows that her answer will surprise them.
-I bought and sold goats. I was the best goddamned auctioneer in the Blackvale.
Wicker is taken aback, and asks what the most unusual or famous thing she auctioned off was?
She turns to look out the window, and proffers her cup to Stone to give her a wee dram of the good stuff. Stone fills her up, and she takes a long sip.
She tells of a night when a small company of Skannon's army arrived at her sheds. They had a captured Imperial officer with them, and after they had gotten all of the intelligence out of him, there was a disagreement over what to do with him.
She auctioned off the rights to him, mostly to cut his bollocks off right there on the table he was lying on. She got the price up to 3 shillings and 2 pence. Impressive total really, but suppose soldiers don't usually have much to spend their coin on.

In the midst of the story, Crow takes out a fine bottle of whiskey he's been saving for a special occasion - guess they're in for a long night of it. It comes out naturally, but they realise that she's Ulf Ironborn's sister - they're not sure if that's trouble or opportunity, as the up and coming violent criminal is definitely wreaking some havoc in Coalridge.

They go back to the original topic, and ask why Lomond thought she knew where Skannon is? She downs the rest of her drink and replies, calm as you like
-Cause I know.
Crow pushes to find out where he is, but she scowls and asks them why she should trust them with that information. They're a little insulted - didn't they just establish good credentials by saving Mags? But she's keeping her hand close to her chest and Crow just asks her to pass along a message from him since he worked with Skannon before.

In the morning, Mags is up and around again, and Wicker tries to gain some insight into their relationship by asking Shiv how they met. Shiv and Mags engage in a bit of good-natured (and obviously well-worn banter) where Shiv insists that Mags is the romantic and should tell the story (because Shiv always gets it wrong!).
Well, in comes this goat-herd with the mangiest buck she ever laid eyes on. Asking a ridiculous price; not fit for stew, a rough blanket, or even making glue out of his hooves. The only thing worth a damn was the fine set of horns (funny you should mention that!) - but she says that he'll sire the finest herd of goats anyone on the whole island has ever seen.
So, what the hell, she was cute (damn right!) so she paid half a crown for him; and that was that.


Stone the Hound is keen to target the Wraiths, but despite her desire to keep away from a Spirit Well she accepts a quid pro quo from the Noose - they'll help her fulfil her path to vengeance once they've prevented the Gondoliers from closing the Spirit Well on behalf of the Reconciler.

The Spirit Well is located in an underground canal near the Strangford estate in Charhollow. They have the maps and keys to get to it without attracting any attention, and Wicker the Whisper heads down there to attune to the ghost field and find out what kind of activity is going on there that might have attracted the attention of the Gondoliers.

He spreads out his lightning hook, stretching out the wire so that it forms a tripwire around the Spirit Well, and dons his spirit mask - it's made of leather and wood, in a flexible fashion with two sides - the outside is used when looking into the living world, the inside is meant for just the spirit world. It's a weird design by Akorosi standards, but all Skovlanders would recognise it instantly.

It's obviously not a very busy conduit into the spirit world outside the lightning barriers, but after a couple of hours something starts to come through. Wicker is aware of it before it comes through and rather than entrap it, he allows it to clamber unsteadily through the well before he makes his presence known. That process is like a birthing - the viscous spirit stuff sloughs off the body in an odd fashion. It looks human, but with a suit and mask which obscures its features. Perhaps recognising that Wicker is not posing an immediate threat, it raises the mask to the top of her head. It's a Akorosi woman, and when they introduce themselves, she gives her name as Moriya. (Flint can vouch for her, they're known to each other, at least due to professional courtesy).

First off, Wicker wonders what she was doing out there. She gestures to the heavy bandoleer across her body. She explains that she has brought back the ghosts of some lost sailors, along with a slew of demon eggs. She knows the family of one of the sailors and is sure that they'll put her in contact with the others if they came from the same ship. There are always buyers for demon spawn, usually to power rituals or potions.

He presses her on what kind of unusual activity she's seen her lately, and she's nervous, as if she fears that someone might target her because of what she could say. She describes how the Circle of Flame brings targets of their extortion here and pushes them into the Spirit Well; unprepared and untrained as they must be, when they are brought back they are prepared to do anything for the Circle to ensure that they are never exposed in that way again. She's see a household servant and a Bluecoat getting that treatment, but isn't sure of any other details.

The Noose aren't quite sure what they think of this - as horrible as it sounds, harm coming to noble houses or other aspects of the Imperial fist doesn't bother them too much.

Stone relates to Wicker how they close Spirit Wells in the Dagger Isles, though she can barely remember all the details from her childhood. It takes a major ritual effort from multiple whispers over a short period of time (no more than a couple of hours) - so that will surely make it easier for them to hamper the Gondoliers' effort to close it.

Crow the Slide takes out their gondola to gather intelligence on their target organisation. He rows up to a kiosk in Silkshore and saunters inside to grab a cup of coffee and a biscuit. He brought Nyryx with him (she's a friend and a frequent customer of the gondoliers here so she helps establish his cover).

Over a lunch break, he discovers that Griggs is the name of the Gondoliers' chief whisper, and he has three assistants. He was last seen at the kiosk in between Charterhall and Crow's Foot, but in any case he'll be at the weekly meeting tomorrow night. (The Noose didn't even know the Gondoliers had a regular meeting!)


After the Gondoliers meeting, Crow rows his gondola up to the hall where most of them have already departed. At this stage, it's mostly the senior gondoliers who still remain behind. They're going to fool Griggs into getting aboard their gondola instead of his usual ride (Goldie, who's currently busy with Nyryx).

Griggs is standing at the back door speaking to a few people, and Crow has mistimed his approach - two other gondoliers who he doesn't recognise jump into his boat. He protests that he's waiting for Griggs, but they point back at him and say that he can get the next boat
-you know the rank rules, first customer, first boat
But the Slide sticks to his guns and tells them it's a prearranged fare with Griggs.
They jump back out, cursing him light-heartedly and wait for the next gondola to pull up. But as they sit into their gondola Crow hears them wonder if the boat is Ball's - the one that went missing a while back...

Griggs, chief whisper of the Gondoliers
Griggs gets in, and he's much younger than expected. After Crow pushes off, the gondolier notices that it's not Goldie and wonders why. Crow tells him that Goldie was delayed and will be waiting for them, but he's not so adept a gondolier as to keep a complicated conversation going whilst rowing through the canals, and this raises Griggs' suspicions. Asked why he doesn't recognise Crow, the Slide tells him that he only joined a couple of weeks ago, and has been learning the ropes with Goldie.

Wicker the Whisper notices that Crow's under pressure and if his cover is blown now, the whole operation will fall apart. Wicker compels a ghost to rise out of the canal in an attempt to distract Griggs (or better yet, to consume him right there and then!)
A long-dead and troublesome ghost 'Vond' rises up out of the waters - it's unusual that a ghost would be active on canals this well-travelled by the Gondoliers, but Vond was a gondolier himself in life, and has long been a thorn in Griggs' side. A ghostly oar breaks the waters first and Crow is taken aback with the skeletal hand grabs onto the side of his boat. Since the boat hasn't been an official gondola for a while, the warding has lapsed and doesn't have its usual protections.

Vond is obviously coming for Griggs and the whisper jumps to his feet very quickly. He draws his lightning hook out from his coat and brings it to bear on the advancing ghost. His hook is a bone whip, and as it unfurls to show the fine wire connecting the bony vertebrae - it cuts through the ghosts hand and Crow nearly drops his oar in fright as it comes within inches of his head.
The next swipe of the hook cuts the ghost in two, from shoulder to hip and the electroplasm dissipates over the sides of the boat as the controlling spirit is destroyed. Griggs is standing in the middle of the gondola triumphantly.

In a high tower overlooking them at the end of the canal, Stone the Hound is set up. Her long rifle's sight has Griggs in its crosshairs. She has a custom electroplasmic round in the chamber - best destroy the whisper's ghost as well. Crow knows where to look and see the glint of the sight behind Griggs' shoulder and drops to the deck. Whether it's his sudden movement, or some other instinct that causes Griggs to shift his stance, the round misses and hits the water behind the gondola soundlessly.

By the time Stone has fished out another electroplasmic round to reload, the gondola has rounded a corner and is out of sight. On the upside, Griggs has dropped his interrogational tone of Crow and has turned his back to side down and he's scribbling away in a notebook.

Stone picks up her rifle and runs as quick as she can. The original sniper's perch she'd identified is still open and with a bit of rooftop running she can make it in time to take the shot. Crow rows slowly down the long canal heading into Six Towers. Stone stumbles descending the last rooftop, twisting her ankle, but she lays down on the kerb of the roof and steadies her breathing. She has an view of his chest, coat opened from when the lightning hook was drawn and she calmly squeezes the trigger.
The round goes straight through his forehead, killing him instantly. The electroplasmic charge stays inside, and his ghost is drawn up into his skull and implodes in a spiritually devastating attack. We'll never see his ghost again.


They dump his weighed down body (the weights and chains were hidden under the tarpaulin forward in the gondola; after having filched all his whisper ritualist equipment (they can be sold on for some profit via Flint.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

A Den of Vipers

Previous Session: A Conspiracy of Ravens

Finndo's summons reaches them all. The court is gathered for several purposes, most officially for Gerard to be confirmed as Admiral. The assembled Amberites engage in a mixture of cautious sounding out and petty infighting.

Some rumours involve Julian's status - he's been missing since the war; and whether Random's suicide was in fact that.
The conspirators exchange some few words about their activities since they last met; that Bleys will hardly play second fiddle to anyone, and so his bid for power could be genuine; and that with Osric's famous shape-shifting ability, he could be anyone they meet.

Devon passes along his Trump card to Llewella as they discussed. This is an event she is let out for. So it's probably much less suspicious than a repeat visit. Devon's mentor, Lady Beatrice, was dubious about the wisdom of this course of action, but thought the risk could be worth the payoff.

Thomas speaks to the diminutive Fiona. He expresses some surprise that she backed Finndo over her closest siblings. But she holds that stability is a good cause, and deals with his probing with a straight bat.

Rowan carouses with Gerard, who's out on the balcony nursing a bottle of wine. He's sanguine about his promotion (or the recognition of the job he's already doing). Gerard would be happy if things go back to normal, but doesn't think it likely; Bleys owes him a full purse on a horse race, so he imagines he would be happy if his brother returned.


Gerard, trusty and strong,
but not the brightest
They're called back into the hall for King Finndo's official announcement regarding Gerard. While the applause is till going, an unknown man steps up to Finndo's side and whispers in his ear. The King's countenance darkens and when he nods, the man (dressed in the livery of a household guard) leaves via the north-west corridor.

When attention moves elsewhere, Stavros follows the guard who spoke to King Finndo. Eventually reaching a dust filled room where there is no other exit. Sheet-covered furniture shows that the room was a drawing room when it was in regular use but there's no sign of where the guard went.

But very quickly he takes on a more serious tone, announcing that forces of Chaos are marching on Amber and that he is mustering an army to intercept to defend the realm.

He is mobilizing other assets but requires volunteers to scout out the route of the Chaos forces. Eye turn to the group, who are known to include people who performed this role for Random during the war against Finndo. They are happy to volunteer, and when he asks for them to make their oaths of fealty they comply (although it's obvious that some are less enthusiastic than others).


After court, Devon packs a picnic; they're going to explore the north-west tower, where rumour has it that Osric bases his operations out of. They walk through the abandoned corridors and rooms, initially as if they are on a jaunt, but later as they go deeper, more cautiously. They find a great hall on the first floor of the main tower, and it's obviously in use. Ash from a recent fire lies in the fireplace, and there are signs of food stains on the high table.

Under a rug behind the table is a heavy trapdoor, and relying on Rowan's strength they open it up. A stench of stale air and dead things wafts up. They leave Rowan behind, both to lift up the door when they need to get out, but to defend their line of retreat if trouble breaks out.

They light up some torches and descend into the dungeon.

After a long and winding corridor (with a few dead ends) they reach a wide section with nine cells adjoining, four on each side with barred doors and one larger one at the end with a full iron-reinforced wooden door.

In the last cell on the right is a huddled figure wrapped in a blanket. The remains of a terrible meal are in a bucket. Stavros steps up to the door and reaches out, calling softly, and as soon as he touches the blanket, an arm (more like a centipede's body) unfurls and slams into the bar with surprising force. He disrupts it and then the human form reveals itself. A sickly young woman, reminding them of a starving mouse, stands before them. When pushed, she identifies herself as an uppity two-bit princess who Finndo captured and they free her after a moment's discussion.

Next Session: Storms and Ill Winds

Friday, 24 November 2017

The Jaws of a Trap

Previous Session: The Hotspur

Troubled by the ominous portents of their mission aboard the Hotspur and what it could mean for the city of Duskwall, the Orphans go out to some of their contacts and friends to learn more about the Guardians of the Gates, the true impact of the ritual they performed and why Captain Dunvil might have been chosen.

Quess the Spider visits Lord Scurlock, who is a particular friend of GhostBlade, but whom she has a good relationship with because of her intercession on behalf of his 'nephew' Oskar in Ironhook Prison.

GhostBlade the Whisper summons Setarra, a demon whom she hasn't met in years. The last time they spoke, it was in cooperating against a nasty vampire they both wanted rid of.

Monger the Cutter whips the Cult's adepts into shape, giving Strangford and the rest the task of researching the particulars of the Guardians of the Gates and the ritual.

Art by Joon Ahn

Quess enters Lord Scurlock's manor house in Six Towers, the rickety old building should probably have been torn down ages ago, but even so it's a curious mix of derelict and luxury. Shown into a drawing room, Scurlock's dreadful countenance is clear in the firelight, his cadaverous face is both deathly pale and pulsing with life (he's

Hearing about their recent escapades on The Hotspur, Scurlock is thoughful and shares some suspicions openly enough. He divulges that the ship's plasma coils protect the ghosts of the crew (and any spirits inside the ship) from the effects of the city's own lightning barriers. A terrible secret only those directly involved know about is that at the centre of each leviathan hunter is a demon heart, and through some occult ritual is tied up with the captain's ghost.

He wonders if the Guardians of the Gate concocted the scheme to allow something to enter the city from beyond, another demon perhaps...
Or is it just a scrying by a demon or god?
Scurlock is unsure, but deeply troubled as to what havoc some new demonic player could wreak in the city


GhostBlade awaits Setarra in their sanctuary on the riverside (which they took from the Hand of Sorrow). She emerges from the waters, all sleek black and smooth. Quess is sure her form is the same as the deep sea gods her people worship back in Tycheros.

Setarra's spines flare as she descends the staircase into the sanctuary proper, the heavy smell of incense and the dull light from the braziers doesn't bother her as she regards her old friend. She doesn't really have any thoughts on what else could be entering the city, but instantly leaps on the prospect of the Hotspur. If she could meet with the captain to devour him she would give them aid in reaching the heart of the ship - having a demon's heart would give them immense power to use in the service of the Wicked Mother.


Monger is briefed by Strangford, and the leader of their adepts is worried. The ritual they recently enacted to bring Her Glory Incarnate was successful, but examining the symbol they created to act as a focus, and comparing it to the one they received from the Guardians of the Gates, they found an overlap. Now he thinks that one key aspect to their ritual was the symbol they carved into Captain Dunvil.

Perhaps there is a connection between their ritual and the Dunvil symbol which allowed the door into the city to be opened from the outside. Perhaps the entity which the Guardians were 'summoning' was the Wicked Mother herself!

The truly worrying aspect is that he suspects that the Guardians may be in concert with She Who Slays in the Darkness who may have only recently discovered the Orphans' involvement in the ruse to usurp their Offertory. This all may be a trap to bring the Wicked Mother where they can destroy her physical form.


Back in their lair, the Orphans discuss the various pieces of knowledge they've gathered.
They discuss the nature of the leviathan hunters - some of their scrolls show forbidden sketches of how the demon hearts are stored and the connection between the vessels' whisper and captain who are able to contain and use the demon's power to hunt Leviathans and keep them safe on the starlit oceans. The exact repercussions of the death of a captain on the bound demon is unknown - but it can't be good...

They debate through the night - should they go with Setarra's suggestion, or use the Wicked Mother's appearance as a chance to wipe out the cults of She Who Slays in the Darkness and the Guardians of the Gates. They are loathe to underestimate this existential threat to their god...

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Keep your Friends Close

Previous Session: The Noose

The Noose target the Skovlan Consulate - they want to find out what plans and schemes the Consul and her staff are up to. They're going to infiltrate the house with a disguise and deceive the guards to giving them the run of the place so they can fact find.

Tick-Tock the Leech prowls the neighbourhood, checking out the perimeter security and the ways in and out. He notices that the two guards out front pulls four hour shifts. They linger in between the door and the front gate. They are casual enough with visitors (so long as the weapons aren't too obvious) and just have a brief chat before showing them inside. About halfway through their shift they get cups of tea delivered to them from inside.
Out back there's a cobbled yard with a strong gate that opens onto an alleyway. A guard shows up there every so often, but usually just when the gate is in use, or when they're expecting a delivery.
There is a skylight in the rooftop, which could be used in an emergency - it'd be easy enough to use to get into either house next door (a solicitors on one side and a private residence on the other).

Crow the Slide meets with Adelaide Phraoig, their friend in the Consulate, who can give them some pointers for what files they should be looking for. They meet up in Slane's fishmonger, and sit down to a supper of smoked fish. He's struck by her sense of nostalgia at the smell and feel of the place, she relates how the smokey flavour reminds her of her home back in Blackvale.
Crow's so enraptured by this new side of the usually reserved Adelaide that he misses a member of the Wraiths at the counter behind them - he's picking up a packet of smoked kippers, but notices Crow and smiles to himself - they have a way of getting to the Noose now...
She tells him of his old mentor, Skannon, the most famous of Skovlan commanders during the war. Brynna Skyrkallan, the Consul, is seeking him out - and Shiv, one of the local leaders of the refugee community is said to have knowledge of his whereabouts.

Skannon was taken prisoner by the Imperial army late on in the war, right before the assassination of Queen Alayne  and collapse of Skovlan resistance. Many believe that he died as a prisoner of war, or still rots in some Imperial prison, but Crow knows that he is free - in fact freeing Skannon was the Noose's first job together.
Adelaide doesn't know what Skyrkallan wants with the heroic commander. She fears that this is a prelude to handing him over to the Empire, but doesn't really know the Consul's mind on this issue.
She give Crow a good idea of who they could disguise themselves as to infiltrate the Consulate - one of the Unseen, the captain of a Leviathan Hunter only known as the Chariot is seen frequently there meeting with the Consul, sometimes without an appointment. She reckons that the Consul has other business in a few days time, so they could use that opportunity to sneak in. Anyone who doesn't know the Chariot well would mistaken Crow for him.

Crow is dressed in a worn naval uniform, with a cane, tricorn, jeweled ring and pocket watch to round out the ensemble. He strikes people as an experienced, if dapper, captain. Wicker the Whisper is with him, his regular clothes with a few additions paint the picture of a down-to-earth if flustered assistant. Tick-Tock circles the neighbourhood, scouting for unforeseen trouble, watching for an opportunity or just to arrive in the nick of time to pull their asses out of the fire.

Crow and Wicker are speaking to the guards, blagging their way in seems to be easy enough - they're casual at best; maybe good in a fight, but not great at the vetting part of their job. One indicates that they should just sign in with the clerk who's inside.
A professional-looking woman comes out with a couple of mugs of hot tea for them - it's definitely earlier than they expected - it would seem that she's got a lot on her plate, with the Consul's busy schedule and thought they wouldn't mind their tea a bit early today. She does glance at Crow, and he reckons that she knows something's not right, but can't quite put her finger on it.

As they step inside, one of the two guards, an older guy, follows them inside. Apparently he likes his tea with a bit of honey so he's heading up to the kitchen to sweeten it to his taste. He's heading in the same direction, and as they hesitate at the bottom of the stairs he points in towards the front room, where Jor, a clerk is sitting behind a desk. The young man, is rifling through correspondence, obviously very busy, but gives them his (divided) attention. He can't find any details of their appointment, but knows the Consul is always ready to meet with the Chariot, and assures them that he'll let her know that they've arrived. (They're pretty sure that he'll forget and remember in about half an hour).

Out back, Tick-Tock spots a wagon approach the back gates of the consulate. He slithers underneath it as it slows to a stop. Grabbing the underside of it just as the gates are opened and it trundles inside. It halts just inside the gate, and Tick-Tock realises something just in time. It's one of the new prison wagons, as the cage inside is unlocked, the metal latches he's holding onto are released...but he's already secured them in place and instead of dropping to the hard cobbles, he just bides his time.

Tick-Tock recently did some work for Ironhook to redesign the security of their prisoner transports, so he recognised the mechanism as soon as he rolled underneath. He watches as a lone prisoner is hauled out of the wagon by two guards. The woman's bare feet aren't bloody or particularly dirty, so it would seem that she's been deprived of her shoes only recently.


Up one flight of stairs, Crow and Wicker allow the guard to go ahead into the kitchen as they stop on the landing; the adjoining records and waiting rooms are where their attention is for now. Wicker begins to reach out to attune to any ghost who might be lurking in the archives; but then they hear some noises from inside the room.
Crow remembers how he knows the woman who brought tea to the guards outside now. That's Emeline, sister to their friend who runs the bakery which conceals their lair. She's an assistant to the Consul, and from conversations he's overheard she's conscientious and a little conflicted about the consulate's mission - she knows it will improve the life of her compatriots, but at what cost to their freedom and identity. 
Emeline Tyrconnel, assistant to the Consul
She steps out, holding a dossier of files. Crow and Wicker cover their awkward placement just outside the door by acting up their self-importance and befuddlement respectively. This eases Emeline's suspicion and she directs them to the waiting room across the hall. She also mentions that while the Chariot didn't have an appointment for today, she'll make sure the Consul is free to see them very shortly.

Wicker's desperate incompetence is clear to her, and she finds this kind of thing infuriating - that masks Crow's quick-witted blocking of the lock so that as soon as she climbs the stairs to the Consul's office, they can creep inside the records room. Crow stays outside to keep watch, and Wicker searches for the records that'll bring them up to speed on the whereabouts of Skannon. The filing system is really well organised, and files appear to be cross-referenced and duplicated - it'll make the right dossier easy to find, but unfortunately, Emeline will be aware that something's missing very quickly.

Outside, Tick-Tock rolls out from under the wagon, following the two guards and their prisoner approach the back of the house. He's spotted by the driver though, and Tick-Tock just points at the bomb he left underneath it and tells the driver that he should check it out. That does stop the driver from yelling out to get the guards' attention, but unfortunately Tick-Tock's timer is off and the bomb explodes at that instant!

He hears the whine of the timer a moment before it triggers and turns and runs towards the house - he's catapulted forward by the blast, but regains his feet easily. The two guards aren't so lucky though; one smashes his nose against a step, and the other is blinded by the blast when she turns around.

Inside the records room, Wicker is getting the right dossier out of a cabinet by the window which overlooks the yard; he spots Tick-Tock running and steps aside just as the blast wave hits the window and showers the room with shard of glass.

Outside the records room, Crow is speaking to the guard supping his cup of tea. Crow made a casual throw away comment as he passed to go downstairs, and instead of nodding and replying (like usually happens) the guard took this as an invitation to get into an in-depth discussion on the dog racing (which Crow likes, but obviously not as much as this guy!)

The guard drops his cup and runs to the kitchen - there's a window there that'll give him a good view of what's going on out back. Wicker slips out of the room and he and Crow walk back out the front door - the obvious chaos is a good excuse to leave without any questions. They exchange a quick update; Wicker took another dossier which may prove profitable or generally useful to the Noose. Crow pats his coat - he cut out a fine painting which was hanging in the waiting room!

Tick-Tock grabs the prisoner and leads her to the back gate. The guard who opened it for the wagon is leaning against it, still groggy and yet to recover from the blast. The wagon is in bits; only the iron superstructure appears to have survived, and the cage was catapulted into next door's yard.

Tick-Tock shoots out the lock of the gate at a run, and that appears to have been the only thing holding the gate upright. It collapses and they leap over it. The guard comes to his senses and takes aim with a brace of pistols as they escape down the laneway. His first shot hits the prisoner's leg and the second shatters Tick-Tock's elbow. Nevertheless they disappear into a side street and back to the lair.


The prisoner, now recovering from her wound, is named Mags, and she is married to Shiv, a community organiser amongst the refugees - it appears that Lomond was bringing her in to apply pressure in order to find out the whereabouts of Skannon.

Wicker goes out with Flint to celebrate their victory, picking out a new set of cufflinks to go with his outfit. However he's a little over exuberant in describing the operation and someone in a changing room overhears - while the Noose were under a lot of heat due to the explosion and death of the drive, now the Bluecoats have their eye on the crew.

Tick-Tock picks up a few trinkets with Eckerd (a blood dealer), who finds a marvellous mechanical leech which might be useful in future. Otherwise he concentrates on healing his elbow with the help of some fantastic ointments supplied by Stazia (his apothecary friend).

At their lair, they learn more from the dossier - it would appear that Lomond, chief adviser to the Consul and veteran of the war could be the main enemy of Skannon at the consulate. While the Consul herself views Skannon as a lynchpin in attempting to align the refugees with her cause, Lomond liaises with the Governor General and is aware of the plaudits that would come with the capture of such an infamous enemy leader.

Crow starts researching Lomond, if he's the quisling inside the consulate then they must tackle him first. He was the commander of a garrison captured early in the war, and at the time was a fierce rival of Skannon's. In his view it was only chance which led to Skannon gaining fame in the defence of their country and not him. It's rumoured that Lomond goes missing every so often, but no one knows what he gets up to.

Next Session: The Last Fare