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Friday, 27 October 2017

The Hotspur

Previous Session: Daggers in the Streets

The Orphans have 'acquired' a steam launch using Grace's contacts on the docks. They're going to pull up alongside the Leviathan Hunter 'Hotspur' as it approaches Duskwall and subdue Captain Milos Dunvil to inscribe the eldritch sign the Guardian of the Gates have provided them with.

Quess the Spider knows one of the crew aboard - the Bosun's mate Avon went overboard last year and Quess took care of his family for a while; however, miraculously Avon came ashore alive and well and he definitely feels like he owes Quess. She knows from talking to him that the Hotspur and Captain have been a little unlucky the last few voyages, not finding many Leviathans to hunt and harvest from.

The launch is big enough to bring their Thugs, just in case they need to switch from an infiltration to full-on assault - the dozen well-armed ruffians should be enough to intimidate and/or overwhelm the thirty-strong crew.

Fancy Frank the Hound talked to Steiner (his assassin friend) about the best ways to approach and board a Leviathan Hunter, so he's got a few ideas already. The launch pulls up aft of the lumbering ship, and ties up alongside. The cabin windows aren't big enough to use as entry-points so Fancy Frank and Quess climb aboard, using muffled grappling hooks, their water proof coats and hats will allow them to pass for sailors, at least at a casual inspection.

Art by ömer tunç
Fancy Frank spots a handful of sailors above deck, look-outs for the most part. Including a whisper standing in the bowsprit - reaching out into the sea for signs of any nearby demon-spawn. The Hound is inclined to take them out now, but Quess shakes her head - she's not willing to kill innocent sailors for no good reason.
An eerie forked lightning hits the sea a couple of miles away, lighting up the entire area, and giving Fancy Frank his first good view of the sea - it's ink blackness barely concealing the burning lights of not-stars below.

They sneak below decks and to the Captain's cabin without much trouble. Lurking in a narrow corridor joining the wardroom to the cabin, they can hear noise inside. They knock and are ready to burst in as soon as they hear "enter". But instead the captain's voice assures them
-Jenk? I'll be right out in a minute for the deck inspection.

An old thin man enters the corridor from the other end, distractedly approaching the cabin door where there are coiled and ready to explode. He glances up in surprise as Quess grabs him by the elbow and steers him back towards the wardroom. The Standstill starts to affect Jenk and she stops him from yelling out help in his final moments of control - however she notices a strange reaction, he must be allergic!

She bundles him into a corner, seeing two more sailors in the wardroom, she quickly closes that door. But now Quess starts to feel strange - whatever effect the Standstill had on Jenk is rebounding on her as well and for the first time since she was a child she feels her body slowing down due to the drug. She strains with the effort, but extrudes the corrupt drug out of her system, leaving it coating her pores.

**

Fancy Frank bursts through the door into the cabin and sees the Captain standing there glancing at a fancy pocket watch in the middle of buttoning up his jacket. The rain gear doesn't fool him for a moment and he reaches for a pistol on his bunk. Fancy Frank steps in and kicks him in the nuts.

He ties Dunvil up on the bed, and draws a wicked looking butcher's knife to make the incisions on the captain's chest. He can see some serious signs of damage there - a set of raking scars on the shoulder, way too far apart to be from a hand-held weapon - a star-shaped puncture wound on the lower rib-cage, like from a giant bolt. Fancy Frank is impressed, but starts to study the diagram of the symbol one last time before starting the cutting.

Quess shows up, looking the worse for wear. She sees Fancy Frank take out the vial of black liquid and pour it into the fresh wounds on Dunvil's chest. She's reminded of the Tycherosi Black Rain, a powerful oily substance that's used in occult rituals by the priest of her people. They say it's the bloody tears of creatures who fly above the ink-dark Void Sea. It gives prophetic powers and Quess understands what's going to happen as she sees the liquid spread quickly through the incisions.

It will allow something outside to subvert the defences of the city, and scrye through the lightning barriers, using Milos Dunvil as a focal point.

 There's a knock on the door - those two sailors got suspicious and are wondering if the captain is alright. Fancy Frank's attempt to sound like Dunvil falls flat, and there's a stand-off in the doorway. Fancy Frank shoots one sailor (who was brandishing a boarding pike) and Quess standstills the other.

Quess isn't happy with the death, but the cold stare Fancy Frank gives her brooks no dispute that their lives were in danger. He shepherd her (still a bit groggy) through the corridors and up an unlocked hatch and they escape over the side. The launch pulls into the mist before the alarm is raised aboard the Hotspur. Fancy Frank is happy with the haul - a very upmarket pocket watch for himself and the captain's log will surely fetch a good price with their friends aboard the Spitfire!

*

Ashore, it would appear that Strangford's adepts have kept things going on an even keel for the most part. However, one of their number, Dahlia (their expert researcher - previously a librarian with the Circle of Flame) poked her nose into the Guardian of the Gates, and now they are demanding some kind of reparation. Unwilling to go very far, they confine her to quarters and assign her to clean-up in the sacrificial chambers for the next month.

Fancy Frank, as well as exploring the secret crawl-space in the bath-house Casta frequents, tracks down Captain Dunvil's location once he comes ashore from the Hotspur. They'll be able to keep a close eye on him once things kick into action.

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