Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Blades in the Dark: Body Un-Disposal

Monday was Blades in the Dark, as the title to this entry implies. Let's get to it.

The scoundrels have heard rumors on the streets of Doskovol. Storms are raging in the Void Sea, capsizing ships and making it hard for leviathan hunters to retrieve their cargo. Likewise, the Skoval city of Lockport is getting pounded, and that's making refining demon blood harder, which hasn't impacted Doskovol yet, but it will (imported goods are already getting expensive). A new gang called The Grinders is hitting cargo barges in the canals, which is going to be a problem at some point. Also, rumor has it that the Path of Echoes is paying for inhabited spirit bottles - if you can find one of them to sell to (Cage in particular finds this interesting, as he's been corresponding with the Path of Echoes via anonymous letter in preparation to join).

On this particular "day", Cage finds himself chatting with Flint, a spirit trafficker and friend. Flint says that he has a job that Widdershins might be interested in - he's going to transport a bunch of spirit bottles from Charterhall (the university) to Silkshore (a brothel called the Red Lamp). Really, he just needs the crew to pick up and transport - he's got access handled.

Elsewhere in the city, Siren is having a drink at the Veil after singing her little heart out. A man approaches her - Steiner, a friend and assassin. Steiner, hiding his face from the room, tells Siren that he screwed up. He took a job, killed a guy, and was supposed to retrieve the ring from his left hand, but fucked up and took the one from the right hand. Then he weighted the body down and sunk it in a canal near Six Towers, and now he's got people on his tail - probably the people who hired him. He asks Siren to retrieve the ring so he can try and fix this.

The crew convenes at the Watchtower and chats about their prospects. In addition to this gig, they also have the line on the "retrieve eggs from the Crematorium," but that job still seems a little too intense for them. That leaves retrieving a ring from a dead guy (and doing a favor for a friend in the process) or smuggling some spirit bottles.

On its face, the latter seems better - it's more profitable, sure, and it's very much in line with what the crew does. But Cage has some misgivings; stealing spirit bottles from the university might put them in conflict with Lord Penderyn, who, in addition to being someone you probably don't want mad at you, is Cage's vice purveyor and erstwhile spiritual advisor. Likewise, helping out Steiner means they have an assassin who owes them a favor. Either job sounds good, so the crew splits up to do some research.

Copper and Siren hit the streets, looking for information on the dead dude (Phin Dalmore) and his ring. They learn that Dalmore is probably related to Lord Dalmore, the executive officer in charge of the Ministry of Preservation, which is in charge of transit between cities and disbursing food and resources. No wonder Steiner is getting some pushback.

As they're looking, they realize they're being followed. Copper, since she has her demon-wolf (almost trained, and now named "Button") with her, isn't very stealthy, so she distracts them while Siren slips around behind the pursuers. She surprises them, bluntly asking what they're doing, and one lashes out with a punch-dagger in surprise. Copper handily disarms him, and recognizes these guys as members of a rival gang called the Wraiths.

The Wraiths, despite their fearsome name, are apparently quite receptive to being intimidated, and spill the beans - there's word on the street that the ring that Dalmore wears is worth a good price to the Foundation (a kind of Masonic-like organization), so there are a few interested parties. They heard Siren and Copper asking about Dalmore and decided to follow them and see what they knew. The incident resolves without violence; no one really wants a fight.

Meanwhile, Cage and One-Eye get an audience with Lord Penderyn. Penderyn is non-committal about the spirit-bottle affair, but tells Cage to listen to his heart, apparently indicating that if he takes the gig, it's his to deal with. One-Eye, not impressed with Penderyn (or, like, anything) stops off in the alchemy department, steals some components, and bribes her way to some new designs to incorporate into her alchemical/mechanical eye.

Cage, for his part, goes to Silkshore and finds Flint at the Red Lamp (he's reliable with the ladies, apparently) and questions him a bit more. Flint says that he's getting the equivalent of 12 Coin for this, but since he's really relying on the crew to do the work, he'll just take 2.

The crew reconvenes, and decide that grabbing the ring should be quick and relatively easy; it's not as much money, sure, but if they can do it quick, they can still do the job with Flint. Besides, Steiner's in a jam. They know the location of the body, so they rig up a gondola pole with a claw at the end, and head out to the site (and get a critical on the engagement roll, so the first obstacle - get the body out of the water - is handled).

One-Eye lifts the body out with the claw and snips off the ring finger...whereupon the body comes to life and grabs her neck. Copper grabs the ring, but drops it onto the boat deck and knocks it further away trying to grab it. Siren pushes the pole away from One-Eye...but then the lamps on the nearby shore go out, and the crew sees people jumping across rooftops to the edges of the canal. They are, it seems, not alone...