Morning coffee at Balantine's is disturbed by a delivery. An anonymous telegram
instructing us to collect one "Eustace 'Sai' Merriweather" from the Swarkstone
prison and deliver him to Ashwell. Given our mission it seems strange that someone
wants us to accompany a horse shagger out of the city.
The guards made us wait for 40 minutes before dragging a dishevelled scrote towards us. In a moment of inspiration I stop time and say to the gang "Don't show any surprise". I had guessed that this was not in fact a dishevelled scrote rather a disreputable scrote. It's Scry. We lead him in chains out of the gaol to a carriage and on the way back to Balantine's we decided to release him.
He's been 'researching' the gang culture in the city jail. We had heard that some of the thugs that arrive in the city had ended up in custody but Scry informs us that almost all of them have. Someone is building an army in the only place no one would look for one. A number of them have been leaving recently and the rumour is that they are going to crew a ship that's going on a long, church sponsored, voyage. Scry had managed to acquire what he believes is one of the 'invitations' to join the crew, a small metal tube with a note inside "Marlin Spike Ask for Witchwood 4" with 4 dots on the back.
We headed for the Hidalgo so Scry could catch up with his informants who have been liberally scattered through the church congregations. The girls are happy to see their boss and Sally changes a curtain in celebration. Scry created a copy of the 'Witchwood' note for each of us to aid the upcoming deception.
Deciding to follow up the 'thugs on a boat' lead we headed back to Gauner (in
better disguises this time). The Marlin Spike turns out be some sort of small
office. On presentation of our stolen credentials we are lead through to the
back of the building where a few folks are lounging around the side of a canal.
"So when do you guys want to go"
"Now sounds good"
"Now? OK if you insist"
We're shown a small skiff and transported almost half way across the city to an underground canal in Gabori.
We are dropped off on a small ledge in the middle of the tunnel. A few hundred
yards of water in each direction and a padlocked grating behind us. After a
detailed examination of the lock Scry announced "It's locked". "Try
the metal tube the message came in in the small hole above the key hole"
I suggested. Having unlocked the padlock Scry bravely allows Roggen to lead
us into the darkness. Some 30 feet up the tunnel another grate with the same
After levelling out the tunnel heads back down to another underground waterway with another narrow ledge. This water is flowing and a short distance upstream, on the other side is another ledge, an other skiff and an opening. We wade this river and some 20 feet up the new corridor is a door with, again, the same lock.
Scry almost managed to silently open the door, which is rather unnecessary
as the person watching the door open also hears the bell above the door ring.
The stranger reached for the sword he is currently not wearing. He seemed surprised
that we were there and even more surprised when we explained that we had been
sent to be part of the crew which he believed was complete. As he wandered round
during this argument I waited until he was between me and a solid wall before
bouncing him off the wall and into unconsciousness with a lucky blast of air.
He was bound, gagged and searched in short order. A second metal tube 'key' was located.
We crept up the stairs out of this first room to a second door. As some sort of silence had fallen around us Scry was able to open this door and disable it's bell without alerting the occupants of the next room. From the doorway there appeared to be a large open room at the end of a short corridor with exits left and right just before the corridor became room. Sneaking to the right hand exit as the strange silence followed us we mounted another short stairway to find ourselves in a circular corridor with small windows overlooking the central room. Scry sneaked a peek into the room below and retreated shaking his head. Misunderstanding the gesture I moved forward to have a look before being restrained by Scry's hand and an exaggerated shaking of his head.
Unable to circle the room without being spotted through a large gap in the intervening wall we retreated in silence and checked out the other matching exit, stair and corridor.
Back outside the last door, with the silence that had followed us gone, Scry
"At least twelve big blokes that look nasty, big packing crates and a large central pillar over a fire pit with manacles".
We turn in surprise as the door opens.
Scry seems to disappear from sight.
"Yup, he was right" says the grizzled face that appears around the door.
In response to a shout from behind he shouts back "At least two of them". As luck would have it he's failed to notice either Scry or myself.
"What does he want done with them?"
At that moment the door he was holding onto suddenly and inexplicably transformed into a rather large wooden panther which proceeded to attack him. Using that distraction to his advantage Scry cold cocked him, Balantine stole his cudgel and we ran leaving his prone frame in the corridor.
Locking the outside door behind us we turn downstream and make a tactical retreat.
Luckily the mysterious silence returns to cover our splashing and a strange fog bank hanging over the river hides us from sight.
Emerging from the fog we turned to face our pursuers.
A dwarf with a singed beard, an albino with a bow, a noseless human, a skinny unarmed guy with long hair and, in the distance, a large humanoid.
Before anyone could attack, from in front of us the water boiled, rose and out of the depths five what can only be described as 'water dogs' hurled themselves at our adversaries. The thugs seemed as surprised as we were as the spirits came to our support.
The two dwarves instinctively faced off. As the albino hung back with his bow,
Scry and Balantine turned to no-nose leaving me to face the unarmed guy who
was likely to be a practitioner of magic. Frenzied battle commenced.
As we laid about them with sword and axe, pistol and bone, the albino threw a rock at us which we gave no mind to, as it missed all of us, until it exploded throwing Scry off his feet. Busy as I was with my foe I was unable to follow all the action as we crushed these curs. Roggen dispatched the other dwarf, another albino thrown grenade killed no-nose (and badly injured Scry) and my victim, who turned out to be a rather ineffectual acrobat of sorts, was on the point of death when the albino called for retreat and the two survivors melted back into the mist.
Another crushing victory.
We returned triumphant to the Hidalgo.
In our absence a number of Scry's informants had left messages.
From the 'New Church of the Aesthetic' "Nothing, they're in mourning for Blackcoat Barbarin. New boss is Blackcoat Adams"
From 'All Souls' "The whole place smells of shit. They're weird but not dangerous"
From '8 Faces' "We need to talk urgently"
After a good night sleep we headed for the city hall mess to catch up with Gwen for breakfast.