After they escaped the mourning garden in the canal catacomb, they returned to Saithernon the fence. He agreed to start pinpointing where to look for the vault in the Ghost Field to use the ghost key, and the Unrecommendables kept the key safe.
However, the Inspectors were looking for the Unrecommendables–hard. They caught Aldo. For questioning.
While he was out of play, Joben worked with Lysander on cracking the blackmail code in the materials they took from Divers, of the Garfish Four, without success. He took some time off to de-stress, and Wolfram tried to break the code with Harmony and her rooks, unsuccessfully. Wolfram spent some time out in Carrow, still finding it difficult to make friends among the insular and hostile people.
Maybe it was time to see what the Inspectors wanted.
They used Harmony and her rooks to figure out that the Inspector behind the effort to find them, Ulek, liked to place bets on the hagfish races at the end of the week. While he was in the teeming crowd waiting his turn, they slipped up on him and confronted him with jocular and snide comments. He asked them to follow him to a more out-of-the-way spot, where he told them he worked for the Honorable Telia Cray, a famous prosecutor.
Someone important to the city was being targeted by an assassin who could stay out of the Inspectors’ way. Cray sent Ulek to hire the Unrecommendables to take out the assassin; in exchange she would release Aldo and also disconnect them from any mounting evidence of their recent crimes (Heat 6). They had to be careful, however; the assassin had supernatural power over shadow, and could potentially strike at them from beyond death, so they would do well to conceal their identities.
Shrugging that off, the Unrecommendables asked who the assassin’s target was, and they were told they didn’t need to know. The assassin was lairing in the Granary Lighthouse, a six story granary built out on the seawall to facilitate loading and unloading grain. It was abandoned because cracks in the foundation allowed both sea vermin and rats to get in to the grain, and it rotted extra-fast in the structure. The city upgraded the lighthouse torch to a massive electroplasmic beacon, and basically abandoned the crumbling structure out in the bay.
The assassin was Calvin Dannos, the Inkvein. He was once part of a cabal of shadow assassins that would kill any member whose public identity became known. When Dannos was outed, he killed all the others before they could kill him. Now, the Unrecommendables were hired to take him out pre-emptively.
Preparing for the Job
They put together a work crew to go out and fix some of the exhaust baffles where runoff water flowed out of the foundation of the tower, so they could get a closer look at the place. They discovered a lot of sea snakes lairing among the rocks, with dangerous venom; the workers begged to leave halfway through the day. The Unrecommendables also saw markings of the Side Eye crew, a brutal bunch of sadists who were thought wiped out the previous year. Apparently they moved out to the tower instead.
Wolfram tried to get a line on contacts the Side Eye crew might have in the city, but when they left they were not mourned or missed. They must keep to themselves out there.
Vincen’s gang relished their new mystic tattoos, amulets, books, training, and materials. They proved happy to help prepare for the assault on the assassin. They conducted a ritual to make all the Unrecommendables on the mission invisible from within shadow; only when standing in the light could a person see the invaders.
They conducted the ritual on the quay by the seawall at midnight, and then they headed out. Joben and Wolfram led Vincen’s crew of 4, Tallow’s 4 thugs, and the assassin Jakes (who was in primitive camo and eager to kill.)
They snuck up to the base of the granary lighthouse. Inside, rubble and trash was all around, and thick with hiding snakes. The central shaft had parts of the staircases removed and replaced with rope ladders and easily knocked apart climbing bits.
Jetta used electroplasm to possess some snakes and send them up to bite the guards at the first level. The Unrecommendables passed them, and Jetta and Jakes headed up to take care of the guards at the next level.
Quick reflexes and brutal instincts outmaneuvered their sneak attack, and they were in a desperate spot before Wolfram and Joben doggedly fought their way up and dispatched the guards. Now the gang was aware of them, so they raced up the central shaft as fast as they could, trying to outpace the alarm. They left Vincen’s gang to ward the shaft closed behind them, backed up with Tallow’s thugs, and took Jakes along to the top.
They confronted Dannos in the room under the massive electroplasmic torch of the lighthouse, dizzy over the impossible weird shadows radiating from the center, like a map or the shadow of treebranches. Wolfram snapped a shot off into Dannos, who fell into shadow. Dannos tried to attack from shadow, but their warding held.
Joben spotted him with an impossible bit of luck, and fired at him–his lucky shot blew the assassin out of shadow to tumble through the shadowless night, falling to smash on the rocks below.
The shadows began behaving oddly, and the torch began burning brighter, so they withdrew past the dazed and confused Side Eye gangers, retreating outside. They sent Jakes to retrieve Dannos’ head to give to Cray as proof of his demise. Job well done!
Aldo was released back to them. Wolfram and Joben had to clear some stress. Then Joben started on the process of making the family that depended on him more self-sufficient. Wolfram returned to Carrow, finally making some inroads and friends by drinking with Child’s twin brother Fergus, who missed his sister dearly.