As you are all eating lunch together one fine Malleus 2nd (2nd week of the month 2nd day – Tuesday), talking about current happenings and wondering when your next adventure will be, a small boy runs up and hands Gayle a note and runs off.
Bodger looks over at Gayle, “Are you going to read and share the note with the rest of us?”
Gayle studies the boy for a few more seconds, then looks over at Bodger. “Sorry, I was trying to see if I could gather anything about our messenger.” Gayle glances around to see if anyone noticed the hand off. She lays it on the table and reads.
The boy seems to be one of many street boys that runs around trying to earn a quick coin here or there, often delivering messages for people for a kettle (a copper coin). They are used due to their inability to read.
Pascal laughs. “Yeah, for all the luck we’ve had, that boy will probably end up trying to kill us or burn our stuff. Can’t be too careful, eh Gayle?”
The note says:
Big Sister is watching. Supplies are low. Meet at the house of Rowan on the fifth rising.
The handwriting is very familiar.
Pascal realizes that the house of Rowan must be referring to one of the small chapels in the Cathedral of Marrow here in town. Rowan is one of the ascendents, the patron of the poor and downtrodden. (Asc. Rowan (f) ascended 289 BR
Patron of the Door and downtrodden
Lived during height of the Occupation. Renounced all material wealth and spent her life alleviating the suffering of the enslaved Immorese. Achieved enlightenment through self-sacrifice.)
With Khador cracking down on smuggling and the recent smuggling ring shut down in Laedry (see the Rhydden Gazette entry), you realize that the “supplies are low is referring” to the resistance feeling the pinch of not having the arms needed to supply the resistance as it has.
Neither Pascal nor Thrash has any clue on who might have sent you this note or what the rest might mean.
Wulfe feels sure it is Commander Hegel’s handwriting and the H looks like his H signed on other documents he’s seen. He also feels sure that “Big Sister” refers to Khador and the fifth rising is sunrise five days from now.
After discussing the note quietly amongst yourselves you feel sure Hegel has summoned you to a meeting five day from now in the chapel of Rowan at sunrise.
The group can go around town and find supplies, restock, make ammo or whatever for that time. Bodger has been working to repair and make some items and Gayle’s new armor should be ready before Hegel wants to meet. It will just need the runeplates inserted into the various places to fully power it.
As you go about town for the next few days you get the distinct feeling you are being watched and followed at various times. Is there anything you wish to do until your meeting?
As the meeting approaches you continue about your normal routines, dressing in women’s clothing and hanging around in bars. Ok, just hanging out in bars and other places you frequent. You hear rumors of some resistance cells in Northern Llaele being swept up by the Khadorans, of Khadoran spies being thrown out of Rhydden or killed, and a rumor that the Kayazy are searching for a group of mercenaries that broke up a poker game and cost them a lot of money.
Gayle slips out of the lodgings making sure she is unnoticed and wends her way to her appointed place to watch and wait. It is still dark out and many of the nights torches have mostly burned out. She settles in to wait for dawn and beg.
As Gayle waits she dozes off a little bit. She’s startled to full consciousness as she hears the city watch approaching. They don’t seem to have noticed her yet but are going to pass very close to where she is positioned.
Gayle quickly and quietly scurries further back into the alley and hides behind some crates. She does her best to remain inconspicuous.
The guards walk by talking and joking amongst themselves. They stop briefly to check some of the doors along the way to make sure they are locked. Apparently some of the people pay for extra protection here.
A little later a cart rumbles by with a picture of a cow on it and Gayle hears the distinct clink of bottles rattling inside it. It pulls to a stop about ten feet from Gayle and a man in a white uniform hops off, grabs some bottles and sets them on the front steps of various houses. He hops back on his cart and drives down the street only to repeat the process.
Gayle barely notices one of the shadows peel away from a corner. A small boy appears, grabs a bottle off the stair and disappears around the corner. There are other people about apparently, who else is hiding in the shadows that might be missed? Gayle starts to hear the nearby houses coming to life as lights appear in windows. She smells smoke from fires being stoked and fresh food being baked. A door opens down the street and a matronly woman bends down to retrieve the bottles left by the man from earlier. Gayle catches the lady saying something about always being short a bottle.
As the sun continues to rise the streets start to come to life. Guttersnipes and street boys start to appear out of nowhere scurrying around. Street vendors start to haul in their carts and set up shop as the vendors on the street open their front windows. Smells of fresh baked goods start to waft through the air and people start to shout to each other greetings and vend their wares.
As you sit and beg one of the pie vendors approaches you, “Good mornin’ mum.”
Gayle looks at him desperately, “Oh please sir. Can you spare something t’ eat?”
“Yes mum. ’Ere you go” he hands you a fresh meat pie. “Don’t be spectin’ ’and outs everyday round ’ere. Not everyuns as nice as ol Tom.”
Gayle nods, and frantically devours the pie, as if it was the only thing she had eaten in days.
The street continues to get a more crowded as people start to move about their daily business. A couple people toss you coppers as they pass by. You notice a young man standing across the street, a little out of the way of traffic. He seems to be watching or looking for something.
Gayle keeps an eye on the young man, knowing that Pascal will be departing soon. Perhaps he will react then. But she continues to survey the street, knowing that watchful eyes are all over the city for a number of reasons.
Gayles sees the young man wave and looks to where he is waving to see a pretty young lady walking towards him. He jumps into motion almost taking out a vendor, apologizes and greets the young lass with a bear hug. They continue to walk down the street.
Gayle has noticed a couple of bad pickpockets working the street and some thugish looking fellows hanging out in an alley not doing a good job at being inconspicuous.
Gayle notices Pascal coming down the street, at the same moment she notices a flash of light from one of the higher windows. The flash is like a reflection off a mirror used to signal someone, but Gayle can’t tell who is being signaled.
As Pascal walks down the street being conspicuous, buying a pie from a vendor and talking to those who pass by. He continues down the street and Gayle notices one of the pie vendors is meandering behind him selling his wares. She also notices a damsel who entered from a side street a little after Pascal, eyeing him. As he continues down the street and around the corner Gayle notices a man in a dirty blue jacket watch him and cut down an ally that parallels the street Pascal turned onto. The pie seller and the damsel all seem to be headed the same direction as Pascal.
Gayle cautiously eyes the buildings and makes note of the window from which the flash appeared to come. With Lok’s help, they should be able to find something of interest there later. But for now, she has an appointment to keep. She fumbles with her coins, carefully tucking them away, treating her alms as if they are the most important thing in the world to her. She scurries to a nearby bread vendor, bargaining hard for yesterday’s nearly stale loaves. Then she shovels chunks frantically into her mouth, making her way towards Lok’s alchemy lab.
Gayle notes another beggar two doors down from the lab, and so takes up position on the opposite side of the lab, but with a clear view of the street in the direction that Pascal should approach, if he kept to their pre-arranged plan. She cautiously searches the high windows for more mirror signals, and also looks for specifically for the pie vendor, the damsel and the man in the dirty blue jacket.
Gayle takes up her position and after a little bit she sees the damsel enter the street and go into one of the shops. After a few minutes Pascal walks into the street heading towards Lok’s workshop. The damsel exits the shop with some parcels, looks at Pascal, smiles and winks and heads off. Gayle notices a man step into the street from a side street eating a pie. He looks the damsel up and down, like a wolf looking at a sheep and smirks, then walks down the street keeping his eye on Pascal.
Gayle keeps half an eye on the damsel, but focuses most of her attention on the man eating a pie. If the woman continues out of her view, Gayle will make note of the direction she went, but consider her secondary for now. When Pascal enters Lok’s lab, she wants to note what the man with the pie does. She considers her options: Approach the man with the pie and beg for his leftovers? What if the woman lingers in a nearby store? Approach Pascal as he leaves the lab, and beg for alms and try to communicate with him about his potential tails? All these options run through her head as she watches the damsel and pie-eating man from her position…
Thrash has been so obsessed with honing his weaponsmith skill, he didn’t realize just how many days had passed since the last time he say his comrades. He leaves the workshop of a friendly blacksmith that has been letting him work there and heads over to the Painted Weasel to see if there is any tidbits of news he can pick up and well, get a drink or twenty.
As Thrash sits drinking and making some new friends he hears a couple rumors of the undead waking Lyren, The woods to the west having more wild creatures in them. Trolls roaming around the outside of Riversmet and Khador causing unrest to the north with troop movements. Nothing too exciting.
Pascal enters into the alchemy shop and the man eating the pie walks past the door and steps into the next alley, standing where he can watch the door to the shop. The lass with the parcels walks down the street and disappears into the crowd.
Gayle clumsily knocks over her cup of alms and bends over to pick it up. Carefully concealing her hands beneath her ragged tunic, she casts Telekinesis to push open the door to Lok’s lab, hoping to both focus the attention of the man in the alley on the doorway, and get Pascal to investigate. She then moves as swiftly as she can without drawing attention to herself to cross the street to the building on the other side of the alley in which the man stands, so that she is approaching the man from his rear (or at least the opposite direction from where his attention is focused on the door). She puts on her most pitiful face, approaches and begs “’scuse me, sir. Are you finished with that pie? Anything to spare for a hungry refugee?”
The thug jumps as his hand reaches for a blade at his side. He looks at you, drops his hand and hurriedly replies, “Uh, yeah,” and tosses you the crust. He turns back to watch for Pascal.
Gayle gobbles greedily at the pie crust, trying not to think too hard who had just been eating it. “Oh thank you, sir,” as she puts her hand on his arm. “Anything else you can spare? I…” she pauses as if uncertain, “I’m desperate. Please. I’ll do anything.” She moves into his personal space, trying to make it difficult for him to draw his blade without moving her aside. She listens for footsteps from the lab or Pascal’s voice…
Thrash gets bored and decides to head out of the bar and go visit Lok. In a recent outing for one of his patrons, he found an unusual plant and was wondering if Lok would be able to tell him if it would be of any value in the alchemy circles.
As Gayle steps into the hoodlums personal space he looks a little confused, and steps back into the wall. As he realizes that he can’t back up more he makes to hold Gayle back and push her out of the way. Gayle begins to wonder what’s happening with Pascal and why he’s not showing up.
Gayle allows herself to be shoved out of the way and falls to the ground with a cry, making sure that the runes from the spell she is about to cast will be blocked by her body from the man’s view…
The man glances at her as she falls, but pays her little mind, after all what’s another homeless refugee. He keeps his attention on the door where Pascal disappeared.
The thug is thrown back against the wall and slumps to the ground with a groan. Struggling to stay conscious he looks at Gayle with surprise and confusion in his eyes.
About the same time Thrash is coming up the street and notices a thug and homeless woman having a slight scuffle in the alley next to where Lok’s lab is and sees the thug get thrown back into the wall and slump to the ground.
Gayle looks around quickly to see if her assault drew any attention from the street. Thrash’s giant form stands out, and she lets out sigh of relief. She moves as if to pick the man up and casts Telekinesis, lifting him off the ground and moving him towards the door of the lab, hoping to get him inside and off the street. She tries her best to make it look like she is moving the man (however odd that might seem given her size), not floating him with magic.
Nobody seems to pay Gayle or the man any mind as Gayle lifts the man up and carries him. He doesn’t struggle as he’s barely conscious. As Gayle steps into the street the thugs chest blossoms into a red flower of blood and he goes limp. Gayle is shocked. It looks like a gun shot wound erupted on his chest but there was no gun report.
Gayle dives for the door dropping the body. She scans the buildings in the direction the shot would have come from but can’t tell where or who might have fired. With no report it makes it even harder to tell. No one on the street seems to notice what happened, although a couple are looking curiously at a beggar woman huddling down in a doorway looking around.
Her cover obviously blown, Gayle decides to reverse tack. She lets out a scream – “Help! Help! He’s been shot!” and dives for the man and holds her hands over the wound. She looks pleadingly at the couple looking at her, and anyone else nearby. While she looks around as if frantic for help, she tries to see if anyone seems to be moving away from the scene in an unusual manner, especially now that she’s causing a scene – or if she sees the damsel with the packages…
Some people run over to see what the noise is, others quickly clear off the street, no one looks out of place and there is no sign of the woman with the packages. One man pushes his way to the front and bends down. He reaches for the thugs neck, placing two fingers on it and bends his ear to the man’s mouth. He looks up at Gayle with with a look of sadness, “Sorry, ma’m your friends dead.”
Thrash makes it to the lab as all this is happening along with 3 city guard who start to move people back. “What happened here?” one asks sounding authoritative. The man who pushed his way stands up and addresses the watch. “I heard a scream from over here and this beggar lady yelling for help that someone had been shot. Being a healer, I thought I might be able to lend a hand but the man there was dead when I got to him. The shot must have killed him instantly as it hit him in the heart. Crazy thing is, I never heard a shot and the one that did him in was not a close range shot.”
Gayle chokes back some tears. “I don’t even know his name. He was so kind – gave me some food he had, and we were about to walk over to buy some more. It’s so hard to find such generosity in the city these days. If only I could offer my condolences to his family… do you think he might have something on him that could help us find out who he is?”
One of the watch bends down and rifles through his pockets. As he does so the thugs shirt opens revealing his upper chest and a small tattoo. “Only a few kettles here a knife and a sap.”
Gayle studies the tattoo, in the hopes of describing it later. Perhaps it is a clue to whoever has been following them. “Such a shame,” she shakes her head, and looks at the guard. “Anything else you need from me? I feel like I should go. This is so disturbing…”
The guards move for Gayle. “Ma’am you will be ok, right? So sorry you had to witness such a thing.” He hands you the 10 kettles the thug had on him. “Find a little something to eat.” He turns back to cleaning up the mess, while the other guards start to move the crowd away. Gayle notices that Thrash has walked up.