The session was cut a little short due to my need to step back and consider the genuine can of worms that was opened this session. Regardless, everyone had a great time and I’m hoping that this upcoming weekend turns out to be equally exciting.
A gentle reminder
The session started four days after the party encountered the war ghost at the Crescent moon, with the party arriving at Maxwell’s townhome. Most were treading investigative water in Maxwell’s den, when Gregor heard it. Despite it being the beginning of the Handcart Festival, there was a sound of feet moving in unison; unmistakably, certainly a group of soldiers in step with eachother. Gregor looked out into the crowd and saw not one, but two groups of soldiers, each coming from a separate end of the street. Gregor did what any sensible scaliwag would do given circumstances- he got the fuck out, closing the door gently behind him and hiding not too far away so he could see what was about to unfold.
Sarin, Gordo, and Orin were left with their tea when Orin peered out into the street from the den windows.
Across the well-tended lawn and through the low, wrought-iron fence, there was a congregation of martial force typically reserved for bandits and ancestor cults. Between the two groups stood their respective leaders, enveloped in a shouting match. Sarin and Gordo had similar, sensible reactions and attempted to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Sarin hauled ass to the back door of the modest estate while Gordo went with his gut feeling and ran down into the basement. Orin, himself, did the unthinkable and walked out to meet the guards.
Sarin was met with a hard-packed earthen wall, where only hours ago there was air. Scrambling madly like a wounded animal, she took the least likely exit she could think of, for fear of being watched by whoever magick’ed up the wall. One soot-filled chimney ascent later, she bounded away and hid herself amongst the steeples and rooftops of the Sentinel Hill district.
After his unfortunate slamming into the basement of the Crescent Moon, Maxwell decided he needed to step up his game. Taking advice from one of his spy contacts who moonlighted as a police-force freelancer, Maxwell had what was effectively a grown-up playground built in his cellar. Half-filled wine barrels acted as both hurdles and refreshment, quickly built monkey bars attached to support beams, and the like were strewn about randomly. Maxwell had just planted his face into the hard, cold rock pavers of his basement when Gordo hurdled down the stairs, and informed him that there were guards outside and it looked like it would be a grim situation. Maxwell, too, decided to face the situation head on. He wiped the sweat from his brow, dusted himself off, and headed to the front door.
A clash of two troops
The two troops, seemingly, represented two factions. One seemed to be led by a clean cut, almost polished young man who beamed slightly from within- his fingertips drew a light glow, and his teeth shone like sunlit crystal. He was adorned in the finery of a merchant, wearing vestiments of his station within the guild. The other was lead by a rough-around-the-edges, seemingly violent dragon blood with unkempt black hair and skin tinged the color of perhaps wood ash, or clay. His eyes were deep and piercing, like the innards of a volcano. He, too, was dressed in finery but certainly did not look the part of a merchant. The scene began with the two arguing as to whom should be in custody of our heroes, presumably for a variety of transgressions.
Orin stepped boldly into the street, much to the delight of the dragon-blooded man leading one troop. “One of the worms rears his head!”, he exclaimed. Orin, being strangely calm about the whole mess, made meaningless conversation with the two parties, in an attempt to buy time for Maxwell and Sarin to escape.
Upon being asked just what they were being charged on, the Dragon Blooded proprietor had one of his aides advance and proclaim the charges laid against the party as a whole. It turned out in conversation that the dragon-blood owned the Crescent Moon, and that much of his information was gathered from Jermont, the until now mostly harmless rival of Maxwell.
- One count of disturbing the dead during ceremonies.
- One count of disrupting river traffic.
- The suspected murder of Jarvis Nellens.
- Several counts of aiding and abetting a known trade disruption.
- Multiple counts of breaking and entering
- Grand Theft of a class III interactive material.
- The death of Corvus Pelham, licensed guard.
- The destruction of the Crescent Moon.
- The death of Zabbis Abadammah, guild functionary.
- The death of three cooks.
Maxwell stepped into the street, his intent being to diffuse the situation. Recognizing the stature of the glowing, polished man he immediately broke into guild cant, asking what was going on. The polished man noted that he would be fine for now, and that the party should come with him. Playing to the wishes of the polished man, Maxwell appeared distraught—and attempted to manipulate the owner of the Crescent Moon into leaving them with the polished man. The dragon-blood restrained himself from brutalizing Maxwell, but ultimately conceded that he would leave guild affairs to the guild- provided he was made aware and involved in every step. Maxwell and Orin both saw themselves being taken to a holding facility for criminals who broke the rules of Nexus but were, for one reason or another, required to be in town (Or alive) for a time longer.
Sarin, seeing the crowd of armed guards amble back towards the Nexus district, came out of hiding and followed them to the holding building—Gregor trailed behind, uncertain of what was to come next, and who could potentially be watching them. It was tall and made of stone, windows barred and entrances sturdily set- the only difference between its exterior and that of the famed Cinnabar harlot spires was a decided lack of paint or signage.
Gregor made himself known to Sarin after Maxwell and Orin were locked away; together they began to case the building as a potential way to get their comrades out.
After a swift processessing, Maxwell and Orin were sent to a holding cell where they spent what felt like only a few moments before a duo of guild assayers took them to an interrogation room. Maxwell knew the score, and admitted nothing. But as time wore on, Orin cracked- especially at mention of the death of the young guard who was possessed by the war ghost. After some amount of confession, Orin snapped back- citing the supernatural foe and his staunch desire to protect the Nighthammer district against any intruders- corporeal or otherwise. The assayers, moved by his statements, stuck to more traditional questioning and didn’t dig too deeply. Maxwell cited civilities that allowed him to be turned over to his superior for both guidance and potential bail and thus was led out of the compound. Only Orin remained in the cool stone building, contained.
Finding no real easy way into the compound, Gregor comes to the conclusion that in order to make things right, he needs to contact his Sifu, Simon. Sarin comes to the idea that the spirits can find Simon, and therefore sets to finding Muglam.
After rounding up several rats and performing the necessary rituals, Muglam appears and after an extensive search, turns up nothing. Frustrated that Muglam could not find someone who has walked on the roads in Nexus or came across its many canals, Sarin thinks perhaps a ghost may be able to aid them—so after giving Muglam minor payment for his failure, Gregor and Sarin head to a cemetary to hunt down a ghost willing to trade services for sacrifice.
At the cemetary, Sarin was on the trail of a ghost’s recent passing-through when Gregor noticed for the briefest of instants a word in the trees and ceremonial statues. “Home”, it said- it was as though the moonlight itself delivered the word. Gregor immediately recognized the subtle yet unmistakable signs of his Sifu. Sarin, however, was unmoved. She saw the spirits of misfortune that had made themselves known around Gregor, swirling about lazily and bloated like stale smoke in a back-alley Gateway parlor. Despite her attempts to dissuade Gregor, he pressed onward- to the flat he called home.
Opening the door to his apartment in the standard “shift, twist, and pull the door off of its hinges” method Gregor is so accustomed to, Sarin caught her first glimpse of his meager and simple abode. It was there, in the cool shadow of night and simplicity that Gregor caught the next hint.
Gregor lived across the street from a fantastic little store called Malone’s dry goods and general supplies. They’ve been in business for 73 years, starting with Ezekiel Malone. Ezekiel was a crotchety, ill-mannered man who despite his lack of social grace knew how to bargain, how to barter, and how to break competition. Needless to say, he rose to some small station in the Guild, and as his dying wish he had a fantastic alchemical marvel constructed- a large, orange-glowing sign that proudly proclaimed “Malone’s”- so that even in the dead of night, if you needed a barrel of flour, by the dragons you could get it.
The problem with this fantastic signage, of course, was that it was AMAZINGLY ANNOYING to the surrounding neighborhood. Which made rent cheap, and since neighbors didn’t sit outside too much, it made coming and going unnoticed relatively easy. The other problem with Malone’s sign is that occasionally the alchemical reagent powering the sign had to be refilled- especially on the M, which was larger than the other letters and understandably so. About once every three years the M needed resupplying- and when it got close to the end of that time, the letters started to erratically fade in and out. It turned out that on this very night, as a matter of timed perfection, Gregor caught the M in this very sign flicker and sputter out- indicating it needed a refilling. Alone’s, it said as a beacon in the dark. Gregor knew then what needed to happen.
Gregor told Sarin excuses to get her out of his apartment, and into Malone’s. Hopefully just enough time to converse with Simon.
A whisper in the drapery made Simon present. Gregor pleaded his case to his master, and in turn his master told him his price- the very switchklaive Gregor had received when he began training with the cult he joined as a young adult. This was not some simple request, such as spying, blackmailing, or torture. This was serious. Did Gregor give away his weapon, ignoring the past and braving the future? Or did he use what he had with him now to get Orin out of trouble?
Gregor, heavy with intent, left the switchklaive to Simon. Simon was disappointed as he acknowledged the bargain would be met, and was gone just as Sarin entered the dim flat.
Maxwell, as it turned out, had it easy- for now at least. He spoke briefly with his supervisor and the shining man, and was left to go free provided he showed back up in time to explain himself to the council overseeing the case. That didn’t leave Maxwell any less settled about Jermont, or the fact that he was sold up the river by his otherwise-mildly irritating rival.
Orin slept briefly in his holding cell, his back firm against the cool stone- only to be awakened by the cell door opening, and for no readily apparent reason, he was led outward. A few scrawls here from the man who let him out, a few knowing nods from guards there, and seemingly as easily as he was placed into the fire he was pulled out.
Orin, no doubt, had questions—all of which were fairly easily answered by the man asking “Shouldn’t you be at work?”, and walked off- but not before bumping into Orin, and placing a signet ring into a satchel of his. The ring, steel and deeply engraved, was representative of his employer- but who exactly was that? It was something Orin pondered as he went to pick up his assignment.
And so the night ended. Our heroes are currently free, but for how long?