A shadowy gang of Crows operating out of the hardened basement of a former watch tower converted into a tavern called the Crenelation worked for Virgil, a Crow Underboss, to regulate a criminal issue.
The Lampblacks stole a box, but didn’t realize the importance of what was in it. They took it from a warehouse they thought belonged to the Stevedores, but actually it belonged to a powerful third party. The Crows need this potential disaster to become a non-issue, by stealing the box of Skovlan scrip and replacing it with a box that looks the same, but has something else in it, returning the original box to its owner before it is noticed as missing and questions arise.
The deed had to be done in thirty hours, Virgil explained as he fed the hagfish at the stagnant racing pool. If they screwed this up, someone might get eaten. Did you know that the bone remains after a hagfish feast can’t be properly talked to by a Whisper? Fun fact.
Scouting and Prep
Wicked, the half-demon lurk, slipped in to case the joint. It was a Lampblack safehouse, a solid stone station with oil reservoirs. Lampblacks used to refill the tanks in their rickshaws, then go out and service the city’s gaslights. Now that they’re out of a job with the electroplasmic lighting, the tanks are mostly empty, and the solid stone building (built to contain an explosion should the oil catch fire) was used for secure storage. Wicked discovered the shutters and catwalks along the top of the building, for ventilation and air flow control. A useful way in!
Fox the hound camped out nearby and kept an eye on traffic. He discovered there was a big rugby match on the sloping stone where a decomissioned ship yard used to launch leviathan hunting ships, and all the Lampblacks were planning to attend. If the Crow gang waited until they left, only a handful of people would be guarding the outpost they wanted to rob. However, they’d only have an hour to get the job done and get the box back to Virgil. Also, there was a back door overgrown with thick black bramble thorns; a potentially useful fact. During his surveillance, Fox made friends with Gary, a street vendor selling meat on a stick. Gary thought it was cute that Fox had developed a crush on a girl he was watching from afar.
Carrow figured they’d need a good crate to swap out for the one they were planning to steal. He asked around (and people knew he was looking for a certain kind of crate.) He found a good candidate, and filled it with some junk dolled up to look valuable. Their prop was ready for the swap.
Noose got himself all ready to infiltrate as one of the Lampblacks. He had worked with them before, so he had the right background and outfit; he hoped he would not run into anyone he knew as he maneuvered his way towards the locked room with minimal staff.
Together, the scoundrels planned an infiltration plan. Keep it quiet, with Noose on the ground and the rest up on the catwalks, sowing distractions and swapping the box with minimal fuss.
Of course it was not to be that easy. Timmons, Baz’s bastard son, wrecked Baz’s favorite wagon. By way of punishment, Timmons was forced to stand guard at this outpost, and Baz put an old man to watch him, enforcing the rest of the punishment–miss the game, AND no drinking!
Sullen, Timmons brought along his best friends, and told them they couldn’t drink either. They grumbled and brought along leather buckets of stale water to drink.
Wicked, Carrow, and Fox slunk in through the airflow shutters and dragged climbing gear and the decoy box up on the catwalk as the enthusiastic Lampblacks got ready to go to the big game. Meanwhile, Noose slid through the crowd, but he noticed Marlene! She had a crush on him back when he was with the Lampblacks. They greeted each other warmly, and he promised to get her out a week after the heist if she would help him. She was eager to hurt the Lampblacks, and agreed–but there was an element of distrust behind her eyes, a suspicion she was just being used.
After some pre-game fun of tugging one thug’s pants off and wrapping him in chicken wire then throwing bottles at him, the mob of Lampblacks headed to the game to finish getting drunk so they could have a proper riot after the match was over. Time to get to work.
Weirding the Lampblacks
As the pecking order reestablished itself among the Lampblacks, Carrow and Fox l0wered Wicked so he could put a demon-blood derived drug into their leather bucket of water. It was designed to make them unstable and excited, prime for misunderstandings. The scoundrels hauled him back up, and with some satisfaction they watched the Lampblacks drink the drug.
Meanwhile Noose sent Marlene to get some ale, and Wicked lowered from the catwalk, screwing up the descent and burning his hands on the rope. He drug the guard drinks too, with some advice from Noose’s estimation of the two big guards looking after the safe room’s physical limits. Unfortunately, Wicked missed the right dosage, and licked some of the drug out of the foam before it sank into the drink. This inflamed his senses, so he found himself unable to stop licking everything (including Marlene, who did NOT care for that experience.)
Wicked buttered Marlene up with flattery, making Noose look positively normal as he complimented Marlene and thanked her for her help. His silver tongue undid the damage from Wicked’s increasingly forked tongue, and Marlene was still happy to help.
The decoy box was also lowered down.Marlene took the drinks to the guards, who drank deep and got a little wacky.
The guards challenged each other to a foot race and ran to the front of the building and back; meanwhile Noose and Marlene dragged the heavy box into the store room and shut the door.
Timmons and his group were having an increasingly energetic discussion encoded in references to events, inside jokes, and shared experiences. No one could be sure what would happen when they built up to take action.
Where is the Box?
The store room was a mess, and it got messier as Noose tossed the room with increasing desperation. Marlene was frustrated by the tone he took with her.
The door guards were getting suspicious, and emotion was running high with Timmons’ group. Fox used a whistle to communicate to his dog Primus, who started a ruckus in front of the building, barking and attacking a big goat (who hurt Primus, and went berserk.)
This provocation finished unseating the restraint of Timmons’ group, who stripped naked to the boots and took cudgels and torches, hitting each other and the walls and whatever else, taking to the streets. Bluecoats converged on the location, trying to pummel the berserk Lampblacks into submission.
Still, the two guards at the store room door were a problem. They were thinking about looking in when Wicked decided to help things along. He used his ability to step through walls to enter the store room, which finished freaking out Marlene. She raced out of the storeroom, banging the door open, running between the guards sobbing.
They looked into the room, but the scoundrels hid too well to be spotted. Shrugging, the somewhat drugged guards dismissed the weird incident.
Together, Wicked and Noose found the box and replaced the old one where it had been. Up above, Carrow hurled a bottle of whiskey at the trash fire the Lampblacks had huddled around, causing a bit of a fireball explosion that might have caught some of the building on fire. The guards looked up, but did not see the well-hidden scoundrels.
Then Carrow teamed up with Fox to throw a Molatov cocktail down at the door guards, and a hammer at their light source bucket, to set all that on fire. The fire was carefully aimed to burn the guards, but not kill them; in the confusion, Wicked and Noose hefted the box out. As the bluecoats got curious about what was going on in the now-smoldering building, but before they could investigate, the scoundrels ran off with their prize box.
Later, they got it to Vincent, just in time. He was so pleased and impressed he invited them to a dinner where they ate boiled hagfish. Vincent was SO PLEASED they were faster than the hagfish had been. They enjoyed their victory feast together.