- Katharin Arran. Whisper. Akoros. Collects occult texts and materials. Academic background, somewhat celebrated scholar. Best friend is Scurlock, a vampire.
- Percy Addleton. Hound. Akoros. Supports the Thistlewilde orphanage in Seven Shallows run by Sister Terrence. Academic, archeologist. Has friends in the Ministry of Provisions, and has irritated the Church of the Weeping Lady. His best friend is Casta, a bounty hunter. His pet is an Akoran Hunting Bat named prophet, a beast with a 5 foot wingspan; you wear a hawking gauntlet, and it hangs upside down, slung out to the side to be sent off hunting. Its echolocation sounds like spinning a revolver’s barrel. Percy brings a 1 point enterprise, Chambrin Alley. It’s a fencing operation for antiquities, managed by Lionel, an ex-archeologist mentor. Percy has known Arran for about 5 years, and is pulled into the criminal enterprise both for his expertise and because his beloved orphanage is weeks from closing its doors forever; he needs cash.
Sword in the Stone
They needed some quick coin. Checking around, Katharin heard that there was an upcoming masquerade ball at Lord Wakewood’s estate. There were several enemies of the family that would pay top coin for something no one had yet managed to steal; the sword in the stone.
It stood in the family gardens in a place of pride. The enchantment on the stone was designed to recognize Wakewood blood; only a blood relation could draw forth the sword. Lord Wakewood used it to identify his bastard children, as had his father and grandfather before him. The sword was deeply connected to the Wakewood blood, and could be used as the focus for a curse to affect the whole family, or divination magic to spy on them, or many other nefarious uses.
The crew considered whether to hit the estate in the dead of night at some random time, or to go during the masquerade ball and nick it from under the noses of security. Both methods had their advantages and disadvantages; the crew decided to move on it during the masquerade.
Percy contacted Valeris, his spy friend, looking for possible masquerade costumes. They couldn’t get in if the outfits didn’t cost at least 1 coin each, after all. They borrowed matching outfits, black and white elegance alternating. Valeris only asked for help with a minor matter after the mission. Percy willingly agreed.
Percy also quietly contacted the under-butler and bribed him, getting the guest list and indication of which members who were attending were blood relations of Wakewood (and candidates for drawing the sword.)
Katharin conducted a ritual with a borrowed invitation to the masquerade ball, creating a “ghost” of some invitations using electroplasm. The ritual was mostly successful, but the copies might fizzle before the event if there were delays.
They approached the estate on the rain-slicked street, and saw a crowd. Lord Wakewood was on a podium speechifying before the party began. Meanwhile, Spirit Wardens were moving through the crowd, their brass masks bright and their somber dress dark. They carried staves topped with crystals, that arced to electroplasm, which they investigated. The crew hesitated before joining the crowd; this could be a problem.
At this point my wife reported that my daughter was having breathing problems. We dropped everything and took her to urgent care. Turns out it was the croup (?!?) but unlike anything we’d heard before. They gave her treatment, and it seems she’ll be fine.