- Pledge. (Elizabeth) An Akorosizan Slide.
- Deadlock. (Shaun) A Dagger Islander Lurk.
- Echo. (Iris) An Akorosian Whisper.
- Needles. (Matthew) An Iruvian Cutter.
- Zero. (Simon) An Iruvian Hound.
Ashes was out, but Echo, Needles, and Zero came back. Zero was musing about getting in to the goat trading industry, possibly stealing Sparticus, a handsome stud goat who was well protected and valuable.
Needles countered with a proposal to start aggression against the cult of the Dreaming God; her family had been burning tentacles for religious reasons, hoping to sour the dreams of cultists, and the crew could steal gems and pressed gold and other valuables from the cult.
Ultimately they decided they wanted to get some more turf. They evaluated two options.
Feathers and Lies is a group of runners and information brokers, young people generally, often connected to Strathmill’s orphan work mill. They could look into taking over management of that network.
Instead they targeted Shaver’s Row, the outdoor bazaar of booths and tents wrapped around the flank of the hagfish arena. Its transient low-paperwork environment made it ideal for fencing goods at a healthy profit, and the Clockworkers wanted to control it.
Scoping Out Shaver’s Row
They discovered that Captain Dimsworth was the bluecoat assigned to Shaver’s Row. He had a watch tower at the end of the Row, but also spent quite a bit of time in the Redbud, a tea house with a brothel as an open secret. The attractive building rising above the tents and shoddy booths was crowned with a radiant redbud growing on a glass dome on the roof, so it was very fancy. However, his investigations of the place got Zero banned.
On the Crow’s side, Marsden was the leader of the Crowfeathers, a big and violent gang that kept the crime in Shaver’s Row organized. Marsden had a rep for being volatile and unpredictable; he might laugh off bad news, or kill the messenger. His people were paranoid and alert. They also wore black and gray serapes and puttees on the legs, usually fighting with long paired knives tucked out of sight until it was killing time.
There were rumors that Marsden might be blackmailing Lyssa, the leader of the Crows, and that’s how he kept his spot in spite of being erratic and arrogant. Pledge checked with Baz to see if there was any secret dirt. Turns out Roric, the previous leader of the Crows, was safe from murder because his mother was a witch who swore to take revenge on the murderer.
But Lyssa may have worked something out to capture Roric’s spirit in a spirit jar of some kind, so his mother could have him with her all the time, and Lyssa could get away with murder. Still, the mother witch died a few months later, and then Marsden rose to power; Baz suspects Marsden has Roric’s spirit and is blackmailing Lyssa, threatening to have the dead leader identify her as his killer, putting her in a very difficult position.
Deadlock worked with Petra, the city clerk with access to restricted building permits. She knew that the plans to the tunnels under Shaver’s Row were risky to share, so she asked Deadlock to kill someone for her. He agreed he would, and she showed him the plans from before the new plumbing went in 30 years ago. The old ineffecient drains for emptying the hagfish arena and dealing with heavy rains were under the Redbud and parts of Shaver’s Row, providing the secret bases the Crowfeathers needed.
They decided to sneak into the secured Crowfeathers underground beneath the Redbud to steal Roric’s spirit jar. As they started up the tunnel, dozens of bluecoats assembled outside, shouting that the place was surrounded; they even brought an electroplasmic light and shined it up the big drain, almost catching the crew before they ducked around the corner.
In ducking around the corner, they came face to face with two Crowfeather guards. While some of the crew swooned and faked surprise and babbling explanations, that was a cover as the others jumped and slew one guard. The other tried to get away, but didn’t get far before hurled weapons and needles from a trick cane killed him. The crew finished lowering the gate into Crowfeather territory, and hid the bodies while Pledge dressed up like a Crowfeather in case further deception was needed.
Echo had difficulty locking on to the signal of a spirit jar, with the death all around and the black emptiness of hagfish nearby. They continued to explore, hearing sounds of battle upstairs, noting that the Crowfeathers had an “all hands on deck” situation upstairs.
They found two more doorguards, a clear sign they were close to something important. They faked the “guard and prisoner” act and got close enough to murder both guards, then they opened the door and found themselves face to face with a hull guarding the hallway.
The crew convinced the hull that it had forgotten the password, and they had said the password and it was right but the hull forgot, and that there was a new password anyway so the old one didn’t matter; the brow-beaten and confused hull let them through.
They found an underground lounge. It had a heavily protected double door, a well protected door with the Crowfeather sigil on it, and a relatively unprotected locked door. They used Deadlock’s expertise to break into the Crowfeather’s vault room.
All the Loot
They found piles of treasure, and chose to take a selection.
- A skull with crystal lenses over the eye holes that held Roric’s furious spirit. 1 load.
- 2 big ledger books with coded entries. 1 load each.
- Small ingots of Skovlander silver with the Skov mint printed on them; 6 bricks, 1 load/Coin each.
- A lockbox. 3 loads.
- The Mantle of Feathers, a rare treasure made of Deathseeker Crow feathers and parts (2 loads)
Loaded down some, but not too much, they crossed the lounge to the poorly protected door. The north-facing arches under this area all had a star, to help navigate; Deadlock discovered that much in his work with Petra. And to the south there were sluiceways in parallel, with too many entries to be guarded or sealed, so if they could go south they’d get out.
As they retreated, they heard exasperated Crowfeathers yelling the password “brisket” to the hull, who furiously insisted it had been changed, and was bawling them out and angry all around.
On the way out they passed a vampire in a Crowfeather outfit just laying on the ground out beyond the secured tunnels, so they yelled that the way was open if he wanted to go in, and kept running, hoping he wasn’t interested in them. (Turns out he wasn’t.)
They made a clean getaway.
They found out a whisper named Eightydeath stormed the Redbud and slew a number of Crowfeathers over some personal issue, that’s why the bluecoats were trying to isolate the establishment.
In digging around the clocktower lair, they found an old lockbox area for valuables and tools, and converted it seamlessly to serve them as a vault.
Petra was swept up by the bluecoats for questioning, as there were irregularities in the records of who accessed the tunnel schematics. Deadlock worked through his bluecoat friend Darmot to pay off the right people and get her released before there was any real pressure.
They set up backchannel diplomacy to arrange a meeting with Lyssa, in the hagfish arena. There they gave her the Mantle of Feathers and Roric’s skull, and in exchange she gave them stewardship over Shaver’s Row on behalf of the Crows. (More or less.) They parted ways amicably.
For the rest of the downtime they dealt with stress issues, cleared off the substantial heat from the operation, and started breaking the code on the ledger books. They also started striking up a relationship with Madame Phylo, the madame of Redbud, to get her as an NPC contact. Meanwhile Zero was caught padding around underground, and that’s his second strike; the Redbud staff will want to kill him next time he’s caught on their property (though the change in circumstances may change that result.)