- Pledge. (Elizabeth) An Akorosizan Slide, bffs with Baz (leader of the Lampblacks) and frenemy with Nyrx (a prostitute.)
- Deadlock. (Shaun) A Dagger Islander Lurk, bffs with Darmot (a bluecoat) and frenemy with Frake (a locksmith.)
- Ashes. (Kristy) An Akorosian Spider, bffs with Salia (an information broker) and frenemy with Jerren (a bluecoat archivist.)
While Pledge and Deadlock were passing the time in the snug of the public house built into the base of their secret clocktower hideout, a woman came to hire them (asking after the Clockworkers, so now they have a name). Her name was Ellsfielder, and she wanted them to steal a big two-handed goblet from Master Slen Dallicore, the Guildmaster for the Docker’s Guild. She offered them 6 Coin if they handed over the item, and 2 more if they did so with no casualties and they were not connected to the job.
Preparing the Goblet Heist
They had a month to check it out, so they took their time. Deadlock worked with his beggar friend to case the joint, and found that the ancestral home used to be the tower overlooking dockside operations. Over the generations each new head of the household built more around the central spire, so the house was something of an uninspired pile. It only had a third as much staff as expected. The problem couldn’t be money, so what’s up with that? They discovered the butler for the place, Ebenet, as old money frustrated as a servant to new money.
Pledge cozied up to him while he was dockside, hunting through the “gray market” for vintage wines to build up his master’s collection. She leaned on her noble background, and found Ebenet fascinating, so the young butler confided in her his frustrations. It was difficult to manage a household when there were so many spring traps, even though they were identified by a small red triangle. And the central showcase, the cruelty of defending it with caul piercers; thorns that could rupture the spirit’s “skin” so life energy leaked from people, making it very dangerous to go to–and he shut up.
So the inner vault would be at the top of the tower, or under it. Deadlock got some help getting city blueprints, and discovered that the top of the tower was protected as a historic site, and could not be substantively renovated. Below the tower, then. The clerk who helped Deadlock was named Petra, and she had an “admirer” stalking her that she wanted Deadlock to discourage. He agreed.
Ashes wandered back from her opium safari, and combined those plans with some of her own blueprints from when the tower got permits for building off and on. She checked into this goblet, and its title was the Goblet of Eletrachtian; studded with obsidian stones, it allowed an adept to use some demon blood for a ritual to see what the demon remote viewed for a week or so. Also, the city council tasked the Dallicore family with protecting it on behalf of the city. Salia, an information broker, helped her get this information but wanted a smuggler’s tally book in return.
They also discovered from Ebenet (who developed an infatuation with Pledge) that the defenses were managed primarily by Three Sheets, a Whisper who lived out in Tangletown. Posing as buyers for security, they got in to see Three Sheets, who fell asleep with boredom. Talking to his rep, they found that the he specialized in spirits in crystals, and was tremendously expensive even for a basic system.
Infiltrating the Dallicore Tower
Equipped with old blueprints and knowledge of some of the dangers inside, the crew picked a rainy night and broke in to the grating that let some of the runoff from the many roofs down to the street level. They had to hurry to get in before a parade passed by the location, and Pledge was badly chilled clambering up the runoff pipe in the gush of cold water. They made it up into an old expansion, and Deadlock scouted enough to help Ashes read the floor plans so they found their way to a doorway leading to the central shaft.
Deadlock picked the lock, avoiding the trap on it, and they made it in to the central exhibition hall. There were masks and artwork from all over the Empire on display, but that distinctive loot was not what brought the rogues. They headed down the stairs, and Deadlock barely leaped back before spikes popping out through the stair rise took his feet off. Careful, they proceeded to the floor, where the center of the room was dominated by a dormant fountain.
They realized there was a collapsing spiral staircase built around the fountain, and studied possible triggers, determining some of them were caul piercers. With Pledge’s help, Deadlock discovered the right trigger. As the spiral staircase dropped, it also played a dirge-like fanfare, which was sure to bring guards to the chamber–time to hurry.
They hustled down the stairs, skipping the traps now that they knew what to look for, and got to a chamber with more esoteric artwork and a locked double door. With the clock ticking, Deadlock defeated that lock as well, and they entered a room lined with lances that carried battle pennants from different branches of the Dallicore family tree. In the center of the room, a twice-too-big suit of armor with a huge sword. As they investigated the room, the armor animated, and came at them with vast sweeps of its blade, glowing from inside. They displaced a number of lances trying to search the room while guards were coming and the construct was lashing out at them, but could not find the goblet, so they beat a hasty retreat back up the stairs.
They barely made it up the stairs and into shadows before Dallicore showed up in his nightgown, with six armored plumed guards. He whispered an incantation to a crystal he clutched in his fist, presumably to power down the defenses, and sent the guards downstairs.
Rather than engaging, the crew stealthed around back up to the stairs and escaped the way they came in.
Ellsfielder was grimly disappointed at their failure, but Pledge persuaded her to pay them 2 Coin for all the information they acquired on traps and the potential location of the goblet. They pointed out they didn’t have their whisper and were not prepared to tackle supernatural threats. Ellsfielder paid them on the condition that they would undertake another mission for her (and her mysterious employer) but this time they would succeed. After all, the Clockerworkers were savvy (as their rep attested), and they all came back without leaving any clues as to their identity, so it wasn’t a complete failure.
Ashes’ supplier, Sarong Scaler, was swept up by the bluecoats for questioning. Rather than risk any sort of blowback, Ashes bribed the bluecoats with 1 Coin to get her supplier back on the street, no harm done.
Ashes also seduced a smuggler, cozying up to him for a round of enjoyment so she could incapacitate him and steal his ledger book, squaring her account with Salia.
The crew shed some stress in their various vices. Pledge chose to take their shaky doctor, Feelgood, to the theater. While they were touring backstage, he wandered off and fell down a trapdoor, breaking his arm and witnessing a clandestine deal between Kaneldor (a Hive negotiator) and some actor. Pledge had to intervene to save his life, and the crew took a hit on their reputation from bowing to a little Hive abuse to protect Feelgood. (Pledge overdid her vice and risked a cohort.)
Pledge also worked with her new friend Booker to prepare some buyers for her genealogy book. Deadlock took over, involving his noble friend Kellis, and got a tea party set up where they could manage some potential buyers. Pledge spent a Coin for 1 more down time action to seal the deal, and they got paid 6 Coin for the musty old records.
Deadlock also crept into the house where Petra’s admirer was sleeping with his wife, and woke him with some choice words murmured in his ear (and a razor near his anatomy). He agreed his days of admiring Petra were over.
Preparing the Kryvanntic Heist
Ellsfielder came back to the Clocktower to recruit them for the mission they promised. This one shouldn’t need a whisper. They were to get to Dr. Kryvanntic, a Severosi scholar engaged in unsavory research with radiant materials in humans and animals. He fled his home country, but found powerful patrons among Doskvol’s aristocracy, so he could continue his work here unchecked.
He recently came into possession of two stout handsomely bound volumes, Naladicha’s Cartography. The books were supposed to contain esoteric maps of the Ghost Field; the details are not important. His house was over in Brightstone, far from their usual field of operations, but at least they didn’t have any enemies there.
Deadlock and his beggar friend Telda scouted the place, finding a 20 foot wall with broken glass on top surrounding the triangular shaped site, and all nearby trees cut down. The place was plenty secluded.
Booker once again assisted Pledge in asking around more rarefied circles about the good Doctor, collecting a few horror stories about his experiments but more usefully finding out that he would see patients who suffered from maladies of the mismatch of spirit and flesh, like radiant dosing or hollowing.
A Mysterious Malady
They found a wicker wheeled bath chair in their endless piles of junk in the tower, and disguised Ashes as Pledge’s ill aunt. Deadlock dressed the part of a servant, and pushed the chair, while Pledge covered them with the umbrella as best she could.
As they approached the house, two saggy fist-sized mushrooms screamed, alerting the house to their arrival. In the narrow alleyway leading to the door, twenty foot walls on both sides, they were alarmed to see a 70 lbs. panther like creature on the roof of the house, prowling down to pounce, its eyes glowing with weird light.
Dr. Kryvanntic poked his head out the window at the last minute and blew on a whistle he kept around his neck, silencing the screaming mushrooms. The great cat backed off, and Pledge convinced the doctor to look at her aunt. The doctor let them in, and they entered the stink of a place more laboratory than living space. Engaging in some slap-stick shenanigans, Pledge and Deadlock bumbled at the doctor so while she distracted him Deadlock could retrieve the whistle from around his neck without him noticing. He went to “get a glass of water” for the ailing aunt, disappearing up the stairs.
Time ran short as the doctor prepared a series of truly horrifying syringes for injections to test Ashes’ condition, and upstairs Deadlock blew a low steady whistle as he desperately tossed the place. He saw a reading room with two shiny black-bound volumes, quickly checked that’s what he was after, and he slid them into pocket harnesses he had prepared ahead of time for his outfit. He also saw a window out to a nice bench under a willow tree that twitched its whips with mad violence, and its base was decorated with bones. Better not to try and leave that way.
Deadlock returned downstairs just as the doctor prepared to inject Ashes, who screamed and had a seizure, falling off the table. Before they could restrain her, and after Deadlock replaced the whistle on the doctor’s person, Ashes sprang to her feet. She ran off, to the consternation of her minders, and while the doctor blew the whistle so they wouldn’t be ambushed, they sprinted away from the house, risking a dash through traffic that startled some goats. They hopped on to a gondola and vanished into the city traffic before the doctor realized he had been robbed.
Ellsfielder was quite happy with the outcome, and paid the agreed 8 Coin, bolstering the crew’s fledgeling rep. On a less happy note, the Brightstone bluecoats swept up Telda, a beggar spotted around the now angry doctor’s residence. Through ways and means the crew spent a Coin to retrieve Telda before any harm was done.
Pledge cleared off the crew’s minimal Heat, then did some training, as did the others after taking care of stress as needed.