The Water Riots
The session begins with the entire group being held in Enoch prison, awaiting interrogation for we know not what. We took the opportunity to shake off some stun damage with Second Wind right off the bat. Everyone is still scratched up a bit (and Eisig is still badly wounded).
After only a few hours wait guards appear suddenly to escort us all from our cells and we are transferred to an open wagon (still shackled) without any explanation. Presently the wagon, escorted by two lightly armed chariots, speeds down the street toward the inner city. Before long it becomes apparent we're heading right for the fortress.
Once we've arrived we are again escorted from the wagon, now by Hamish's personal bodyguard (the ruler of Enoch). Talman is immediately unshackled and treated with some deference though the guards still do not respond to our questions. Soon we're escorted into a very fancy suite where the rest of us are unshackled and we are left alone. A quick check of the door confirms that we've been locked in.
Taking a look around the place reveals separate bedchambers for each of us, clean linen and clothing are stacked in the closets as well as fresh fruit and bread that's very recently been piled generously on the common table. An open balcony overlooks the central courtyard of the fortress though the activity below doesn't seem to be anything unusual (or particularly interesting).
Within a few minutes the door opens again and guards let in a elderly man and two young assistants. We soon find that he's a healer of some sort when he sets about addressing everyone's wounds. He seems honest and answers questions freely but that doesn't really help us since he doesn't seem to know anything beyond being ordered to tend to us. Once he departs (and the guards outside again ignore our questions) we're locked in and left alone.
With that we settle in and wait, taking advantage of the free food and lying around as best we can to recover from our injuries. Eisig stuffs himself before grabbing the nearest couch and resting. Beckah is wary of the other three and actually takes her food to the corner couch to eat and feed Coppertail, keeping to herself. Once Jobina and Talman have eaten however they are very curious about the others and practically launch into an interrogation, each having their own vested interest in knowing who they've been locked in with.
Hours later the steward arrives and introduces himself. Though he informs us that we are there by order of Hamish himself he refuses to speculate on what business he has with us. We are informed that we're to be afforded these accomodations to recover from our injures and that Hamish will meet with us when the steward informs him that we are all fully recovered. From our condition he estimates it may be several days, mostly due to Eisig's wounds. The healer is to visit daily and anything further we require we need only ring the bell near the door and it will be provided to us, within reason.
The steward further assures us that we are not prisoners, we simply haven't the option of leaving as Hamish has dictated that we be available to meet with him at his pleasure. He then departs with a last reminder that the fortress guards are rather strict about the behavior of guests and that Hamish hasn't granted any order preventing us from being thrown in the dungeon for the duration. We are already well aware of the horrid reputation the dungeon enjoys.
After some discussion we all agree to wait it out and recover from our injuries without causing any fuss. Not only does the dungeon have a rather formidable reputation, even more so the fortress guards and by far Hamish himself. By the end of the week we are all fully recovered and the healers pronounce this to the steward. By all accounts we're to meet with Hamish soon.
[Beckah makes her weekly Average Resistance check to resist the progression of her illness.]
In due course the guards come for us and we're escorted to Hamish's audience chamber. There we are granted the privilege of an audience with the legendary (and quite formidable) Hamish himself. Though rather old (going on some three hundred years now) Hamish exudes an aura of threat, his fancy gold-laced armor and the huge iron sword at his hip not seeming at all out of place. As a direct descendant of Cain he bears the Mark just as Talman does but this man has grown so great in power and majesty that his Mark practically glows with menace. We find ourselves weak-kneed in his presence.
We are informed then that the man Willip, whom we encountered in the Crooked Inn, has committed some unspecified offense against the dignity of Lord Hamish's house. As such his death was pronounced well over two weeks ago. Unfortunately the fact that every low-life street gang and criminal organization in the city seems likewise bent on taking Willip in hand has caused Hamish's attempts to carry out that pronouncement to meet with failure several times over. It's become rather a source of irritation to him.
To that end we're informed that the debt we've incurred in the destruction of the Crooked Inn (which we're only just now hearing about) is to be waived by Hamish himself in exchange for our carrying out this pronouncement on his behalf. Though Hamish has agents of his own to deal with this sort of thing normally, he has decided a small group without any ties to his house would be more appropriate. He has magnanimously deigned to extend us this opportunity to acquit ourselves of our debt and earn the favor of his house. Meaning, essentially, that we haven't any choice in the matter and had better be darned grateful.
Once we've bowed and scraped and generally expressed our fawning pleasure at the great Hamish's pronouncement we're immediately dismissed from his notice and escorted from the chamber by the steward. We're a little dismayed to find the steward hasn't any information to impart to us at all concerning the job we've just been handed and we're practically shoved out the door of the fortress almost immediately. With no briefing, clues or so much as a single gold coin to cover expenses, we find ourselves back on the streets of Enoch with nothing but the fancy embroidered linens we wear.
After discussing the matter we unanimously decide to proceed with the job as failing to do so will very likely result in Hamish issuing a pronouncement of our death as well. Having learned from Talman that Marken of the Black Garrote was the last person seen in the company of Willip it's obvious where to start. Beckah however claims that the information she gathered from Willip might still be worth something to the Skin Hags. At the very least it would behoove her to report back to them if she hopes to maintain her reputation as a reliable agent. The possibility of any sort of payment instantly has Jobina on her side as she's now well overdue in paying the Black Widow guild and is practically frantic about it. Eisig and Talman are less convinced as the immediate concern for them is securing weapons. Walking about in Enoch dressed in fancy embroidered linens without so much as a dagger to defend yourself is a very bad idea. They don't have many muggings in Enoch, folks simply slit your throat from behind before they rob you.
The slim possibility that the Skin Hags might have some information on Willip's whereabouts, assuming they're still keeping track of him, persuades us. Not to mention that we're already looking to track down and kill Willip anyway so there's likewise a slim chance the Hags might have another job in mind regarding him. With that we turn our attention to our current predicament and decide we should visit our individual homes, staying together in the meantime, to secure weapons and "dress down" a bit.
As Talman's apartment is closest we head there straightaway, keeping an eye out for anyone who shows undue interest in us. We're a bit unnerved at the attention our fancy clothes are attracting. Nevertheless we manage to reach Talman's place unmolested and he is able to provide much less conspicuous clothing (which doesn't fit any of the rest of us very well) and he secures himself an older, cheaper broadsword. From there we move on to home Jobina has been staying at recently, able at last to blend in a bit.
On the way we learn the Jobina doesn't exactly have a place of her own and had been sleeping at the home of a warehouse manager she met some two weeks before the events of the Crooked Inn. As such there exists a possibility we may encounter difficulties in securing her belongings from there, considering she essentially disappeared for a week. With that we halt and change directions, over Jobina's objections, and head for Eisig's place instead. We decide being a bit better armed and supplied before tackling ex-boyfriend's to be the wiser choice.
Hiking down the streets of Enoch toward Eisig's hole in the ground we stumble into something of an uproar. Ahead of us there are shouts breaking out in the crowd followed by a short, dark-haired young man pushing his way through in a hurry. Right behind him we spy two city guard just beginning to cast around, spot him and yelling out for him to halt.
Beckah barely manages to dodge the man as he barrels past her, seemingly intent on ramming right into her and we all step aside to let pass the guards chasing after the man. Once they've passed we check ourselves over to be sure no one was injured and check our surroundings for any possible threat we might have missed. With that we shrug and continue on.
With Eisig's ramshackle hut close at hand we jog right over and I'm able to outfit Eisig with some clothes that fit and a few gold coins cached away under a loose cobblestone. While the others cover me I have Eisig scale up the nearby wall and retrieve the short sword and bow he'd squirreled away in a secret cache along the ledge there. Once I hop back down and rejoin the others we find ourselves confronted with four armed men with short swords who just stepped out of the crowd. Among them we spot the same dark-haired young man who nearly bowled Beckah over earlier.
When the young man demands we return the item he dropped at Beckah's feet we naturally confess ignorance as to what the heck he's talking about. From the tirade that follows it's apparent the man had stolen something from someone moments before the incident and had intended to bump into Beckah and plant it on her to avoid being caught with it. Unfortunately Beckah's quick dodge threw him off balance and he dropped it at her feet. Unable to stop and retrieve it without falling prey to the guards chasing him he left it and doubled back for it moments later, only to find it gone. Obviously we took it and he's quite intent on having it back, even if it means cutting us all down and taking it.
Beckah immediately begins reasoning with the man, assuring him we haven't any idea what he's talking about. She even informs him that we checked our surroundings after he rushed past us to be sure we weren't being set up by robbers (a wise precaution in Enoch) and didn't notice anything on the ground at all. When she offers to let the man go through her belongings (having no belongings anyway) she soon has him convinced we haven't the item he's looking for in our possession.
On the other hand it seems that having lost the item he worked so hard to steal has the young man rather frustrated. With the lot of us already at sword point he elects to rob us to alleviate his frustrations. He demands we turn over everything we hold or else.
Jobina opts to attempt the disarm the man confronting her, dropping 2 Plot Points on the attempt to make up for the -2 skill step penalty. She rolls badly and even though the thug rolls low as well, she fails.
Eisig is armed and ready to fight as well. Having his sword already in hand he drops his bow, dashes around Talman and lays into the thug on his flank. He cuts the man to ribbons in an instant and he falls dead to the street.
Talman finds his Initiative point has likewise come up before any of the thug's and draws his broadsword, swinging for the dark-haired man who seems to be leading the robbers. Despite being caught off guard the dark haired robber manages to dodge the first couple of fierce attacks but Talman lands a mighty blow that drops the man on the third strike.
Beckah likewise is able to act before any of the men threatening us and tosses a couple of punches at him, tossing 2 Plot Point tokens on the first strike. The thug dodges both her attacks.
The thug facing Jobina hasn't failed to notice the sudden death of the two men standing right next to him and opts to bug out. He turns and flees into the crowd. The remaining thug however seems too intent on dealing with the fight before him and fails to notice all his friends are fled or dead. He slashes at Beckah and manages to clip her on the arm.
Jobina's Vengeful asset is in full swing and she's ready to kill someone. She steps back and snatches up the sword of the thug fallen next to her, then lays in furiously on the thug who just cut Beckah. Unfortunately she's not especially skilled with swords and doesn't connect.
Eisig on the other hand has his favored weapon in hand. With a quick step he's on the remaining thug's flank and has cut him down before he even knew what hit him.
When Jobina disregards Beckah's injury to dive for the corpses in the street to check for coin or valuables, we find the dark-haired man is still alive but dying. Beckah proposes attempting to revive the man so she can get some information out of him concerning this seemingly valuable object he's been going on about. When we fail to rouse him and he dies anyway Eisig's curiousity is fully piqued and he insists on checking the area nearby where the man supposedly dropped it. We only make a cursory examination of the area, well aware that we just killed three men in full view of the whole crowd and city guards might be coming to bother us soon. Still, we find nothing and are forced to assume someone else snatched whatever it was and made off with it.
Regardless we do take the cheap swords from the dead men and dig up a few coins off them as well. With that we continue on quickly toward Jobina's apartment, altering course slightly for a pawn broker Eisig knows in order to get a few more meager coins for the swords.
Having pawned off the swords it's only another couple of blocks to Beckah's apartment. There we find the landlord and three burly looking men busily dumping all of Jobina's belongings into the street while a veritable gaggle of folk paw through the pile for loot. It seems Beckah is behind on her rent and after disappearing for a week the landlord has taken it upon himself to turn her out.
Cursing up a blue streak Beckah lights into the landlord while simultaneously trying to wave off all the folks digging through her stuff. Talman pitches in, raising his voice and threatening to cut people's heads off while Jobina and Eisig dive for the pile in an effort to retrieve anything of value before someone else runs off with it.
After a heated argument between the landlord and Beckah she finally manages to convince him to refund her small deposit at least and she turns to snatch a few items out of people's hands while she waits. In short order we've managed to run off all the looters without starting a fight but the pitiful pile of mostly worthless items left on the doorstep doesn't hold anything of value. Beckah does manage to dig a clean shirt out of the mess but in the end she just kicks the remainder into the street. Everything of any real worth has already been looted and what remains was largely damaged in the grab.
When the landlord returns and tosses Beckah's deposit into the street we're practically forced to restrain her from going after the guy. Eventually she calms down and snatches the coin up before anyone else comes along to do so. We then head for Jobina's last dive, stopping at the same pawn broker we visited previously to pick up some cheap pick-knives for the two ladies.
Arriving at the surprisingly swanky home Jobina has steered us toward we're confronted with an iron gate and a guard who naturally refuses to allow dubious looking people in off the street. Jobina doesn't recognize the fellow and suggests this is someone new her client must have hired on in her absence. Tossing her hair about one good time, she gets to work on the fellow and eventually manages (barely!) to get the large, intimidating man blushing and stumbling to run confer with his employer.
In moments we spy the client fly out the front door, seemingly having come straight from bed. Hissing at Jobina he demands to know what the heck she's doing there and where's she been. From the hurried conversation that follows, with Jobina flirting outrageously and the man looking positively harried, we gather that the wife is home at the moment and her becoming acquainted with Jobina is something the man would really rather avoid. Eventually it comes out that the man has tossed Jobina's few belongings that she left about into an old shed in the back when she didn't return for them. When he becomes aware that this is what we're here for he tosses the guard the key and makes to rush back inside, presumably to forestall the wife's curiousity as to what he's up to out here.
Jobina naturally takes advantage of the opportunity to hit the guy up for money and he does pause a bit before putting her off until the following week...when the wife is expected to be away again. She's a bit frustrated to still not have her dues for the Black Widow guild but informs the rest of that, "Bah! He's broke anyway." With that he's gone back into the house and we can already hear the wife raising her voice inside. We decide then it might be best to secure Jobina's belongings and get out of there.
Meeting the guard at the back gate we're let in and he opens the shed to us. Considering all the trouble we're a little disappointed that she doesn't seem to own anything more than a couple of sets of clothing and some cheap jewelry. She does dig up a higher quality pick-knife than what we purchased for her and produces a small bottle of perfume which she swears is "invaluable".
Having secured what gear we can and not having enough coin on hand to purchase anything else useful we decide it's time to track down Beckah's contact with the Skin Hags. We head off for the Black Skull tavern, an establishment well known for catering to some of the more disturbing elements of society. As evening is approaching the crowds in the streets have reached their swell and it's slow going for a while. Though we expect to reach the Black Skull before mid evening we're surprised to find the crowds growing thicker and rowdier as we approach rather than thinning out as we had expected. From the ruckus ahead there appears to be something going on between us and our destination.
Taking a moment to look around we soon realize there's a full-blown riot taking place up ahead and the mob is beginning to spread out into the area we occupy. Already we can see small groups up the block assaulting lone citizens and even invading nearby homes. A quick query of one of the onlookers at hand informs us that Hamish has just announced a reduction in the city water ration and all hell seems to be breaking lose over it. We quickly decide to jog back the way we came and see if we can find an alternate route to the Black Skull. Mob riots in Enouch are notoriously vicious and blood-thirtsy, not something we've any wish to get mixed up in.
Circuling around to come at the tavern from the rear we're discouraged to find the alleyway flooded with rioters as well. Atop the Black Skull we can see several Skin Hags dodging rocks and flaming debris from the rioters below while pelting the rioters in return with whatever they just threw at them. On the ground near the rear door we can see a makeshift battering ram fashioned from a large beam of wood. Seeing the Skin Hags above specifically targetting anyone who attempts to approach the battering ram indicates to us that they likely already drove off those whoever attempted to bash in the rear door with it already.
Casting about for a way to reach the tavern Talman spots a plank jutting out slightly from the roof of a neighboring building. Judging from the angle it lies at it appears long enough to reach across to the roof of the Black Skull and wide enough to make a good enough bridge as well. Deciding that's our best bet we look to see the crowd of rioters have already just bashed in the rear door of the home and are beginning to poor into the residence. We take a deep breath and plunge into the madness, making a beeline for the rear door of the house.
Though it's a short sprint to the door, through and into the building we find ourselves forced to rely on innate defense to avoid the unpredictable but poorly aimed random attacks of the crowd. We're largely successful but Talman suffers a blow to the head that drops 3 stun points on him during the dash. We decide fighting back isn't an option as we can see the fate of a couple of the rioters around us who lash out at those who strike them in the chaos. One is currently on the ground being viciously kicked by a score of rioters.
Once we're inside the house, filled with screaming rioters (and the screaming residents somewhere in the back) we look around quickly for a stair to the roof and find it thankfully close at hand. As the mob in the house is focused more on looking for people to trample and things to break we have the stair to ourselves at first. We're discouraged to find though that the mob has followed our lead and is trailing behind us up toward the trapdoor above. Once we reach it Talman throws it open and scales up and over, taking position nearby with his sword drawn while the rest of us scramble through. Once we're clear he levels a roar and a mighty swing at the first face to peek out over the lip of the trapdoor, gashing the rioter and dropping him back on the mob crowding the stairs below. With that he and Eisig kick closed the trapdoor and promptly sit on it, attempting to hold the mob at bay until the ladies can get that plank extended over to the Black Skull's roof.
Beckah and Jobina sprint for the plank to toss it over the gap to the tavern and are surprised when rocks, bricks and flaming hunks of wood begin raining down on them. The Skin Hags on the neighboring roof have mistaken them for rioters and started pelting them. As Jobina takes a brick to the head Beckah calls out to them, hoping one of them recognizes her. Thankfully two of them do and stop the others from throwing anything more. She quickly secures permission to come over, especially when she points out it will give the Hags an opportunity to seize the plank that the rioters might otherwise use to bridge the gap.
Eisig and Talman meanwhile are losing ground with the trapdoor as the rioters below have set up a steady rythym of bashing from below that has them bouncing about and rattling their teeth. The moment the ladies have the plank tossed across and climb aboard we both abandon the trapdoor and sprint over, hoping to clear the gap and pull the plank over before the rioters can catch up.
Once we're over we snatch the plank out from under a couple of screaming rioters, dumping them into the narrow alley below while the Skin Hags around us pelt the rest with debris until they're forced back a bit. We're immediately conscripted into defending the tavern and several bits of brick and debris are kicked our way. We set about dodging objects from the crowd below while grabbing and lobbing down everything we can lay hand to in order to keep the mob away from the windows and doors below.
The riots continue well until sunup when they at last falter and begin to thin out until only small packs of looters remain running up and down the streets. By then we've all suffered some serious bruising from everything we failed to dodge but everyone takes Second Wind for the day and we end up only mildly damaged. We are forced to help tend to several of the Skin Hags on the roof who are badly injured and even dispose of the three who've died in the attack.
When all is said and done the Black Skull is in shambles but the Hags and assorted patrons have managed to keep the rioters at bay and valiently repelled to the two successful attempts by small bands to gain entry. Once we finally make our way downstairs, stepping and climbing over bodies and debris, we track down Beckah's contact and find her in the company of the leader of the Skin Hags, Avna, who puts off dealing with Beckah until her gang is tended to properly. Once this is done Beckah discovers that Avna is already aware that she had been brought to the fortress and hadn't actually expected her to ever return. When Beckah finishes reporting what's she learned from Willip we find that Avna is already aware of all this as well and we are escorted to a nearby room where she introduces her guests to us. A glance at the three men there and we can tell these men are foreigners, from their long beards and haughty manner obviously Sethians. Avna introduces them as Magosh, a representative of the Sethian city of Jared, and his two bodyguards Hak and Malivosh.
These men are in Enoch seeking Willip as well, having been informed he possesses knowledge of a technology that allows water to be gather from the very air. With the drought having continued on as long as it has and with every indication that it will continue to grow worse in the forseeable future, they are very interested in this technique and have employed the Skin Hags both for protection and in helping them track down Willip. Unfortunately it seems everyone else in the city has heard the rumor as well, most of them mistakenly believing Willip is privy to the location of some mythical water cache. As such finding Willip is an endeavor with some rather heavy competition at the moment.
[Jobina purchases 2 skill points and increases her Dodge specialty skill to d10]
[Talman purchases 2 skill points and buys the Perception general skill at d2]
[Beckah purchases 2 skill points and buys the Perception general skill at d2]
[Eisig purchases 2 skill points and buys the Throwing specialty skill at d8]
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