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Game Session 3A - Stolen Spy

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Dray:
GAME SESSION 3A - Stolen Spy

Players:
Johan - Temmit

Non-Player Characters:
Renee Olsteel
Leslie Marks

Note: This is a continuation of the 12.27.2132 - Awakening to a Nightmare thread.

12.27.2132

CHAPTER 1 - A GUILTY CONTACT

Temmit and Renee walked briskly though the snow storm from the Marks tavern to the Theater District. Neither talked as they headed to the new shopping emporium where Renee’s contact with the Warden Council of the Old Order ran a doll store.

Upon reaching the place at half past 8 dawnhand, neither were surprised to find the store still closed. Renee tapped on the plate-glass window of the door in a set pattern and an older woman with a medium frame and gray hair answered the door and let them in. (OOC: Picture Martha Stewart).

(OOC: The following conversation is not verbatim from the Game Session, but it does portray the general interaction).

“I am missing one of my people from the guild,” Renee said bluntly.

“Oh? Why do you come to me then?” Martha (Stenwert) asked coyly. Temmit already sensing (using both his powers and his sense motive skills) that the woman knew more than she was letting on.

“Because your my one and only contact with the Warden Council, because you know of the goings on in that guild and perhaps may be able to enlighten me on how a girl in my group could have vanished.” Renee replied in frustration. Renee was already at the edge of her boiling point for she had been frustrated with her contact’s condescending attitude and half-answers for months. The Warden Council, in many ways just an adult version of Whisper, was not very willing to communicate with the leader of Whisper, thinking it kept the group better insulated that way.

“Well, they didn’t report anything and I have no idea why you lost someone,” Martha said. Temmit immediately signaled Renee that she was lying outright.

Renee went into a rage and unsheathed her sword as she marched across the room and slammed Martha into a curio and some shelves. Dolls and collectibles flew from where Martha hit and crashed to the floor as Renee held her sword to the woman’s throat.

“I am not mating around, I want the girl found and you know something!” Renee shouted in her face.

Martha, never before having seen this level of anger from the young red-head, went into hysterics and plead to Renee not to be hurt. All the while, Martha also continued to deny her involvement. Renee shoved her and walked away, giving Temmit a pleading look on what to do next, as she was at wit’s end.

Temmit had been looking around the shop while Renee roughed-up her Warden Council contact. Near the door, three shelves mounted vertically above one another each had a pair of porcelain dolls. At least the top two did, the bottom shelf had one doll and an empty doll stand next to it. The missing doll was an important clue that immediately clicked into his mind. For he had already seen that doll...when he had visited Leslie in her room just days prior. (12.24.2132 - A Hopenight at the Tavern). She had been in this store and had bought the doll for her sister’s birthday, the very same doll that stood in the now empty doll stand

Temmit pathed Telempathic Projection at Martha. She didn’t make her save and immediately fled to Temmit’s arms for comfort, seeing him as a friend and ally against the angry Renee.

Temmit played on the woman’s emotions, hoping she had not only a connection to the entire disappearance, but would actually identify the very girl they were looking for.

“That empty doll stand over there Martha, on the shelf near the door,” he said pointing.

“Yes,” Martha said, looking up at it with a tear-streaked face.

“The girl who bought that doll...” Temmit started.

“Cute little blond girl, yes?”

“That was our friend who was abducted.”

The shock of it all hit Martha like a ton of bricks.

She cried for many moments while Renee and Temmit looked on. Renee almost came at her again but Temmit stayed her with a motion of his hand, he sensed the woman would about to confess her knowledge.

And confess she did, with tears and apologies she admitted to her part in what was a kidnapping of Leslie Marks.

“The Warden Council has had inner turmoil these past many months. With the increased frequency of Karh’Thul attacks and the interference of the government, the gifted within the Order have been frustrated. They can’t use their abilities to defend themselves against the demons because of the Outer-Rim Defense soldiers presence, and they have been wounded and killed,” Martha spoke as one who belonged to anti-government resistance group. Temmit sensed where this was going...Martha had turned into a double-agent.

“One of the Warden Council’s number, Damien Starke, a gifted Wizard, faked his own death so he could flee from Shadow Keep (Warden Council headquarters). He came to Our-Commons which was really the only place he could hide, hide in case they discovered his ruse. After a few weeks, he contacted me, and at first, I was going to turn him in I assure you!” Martha pleaded, but both Temmit and Renee were not convinced.

“But he spoke of the disparity in the Warden Council’s charter. The soldiers mere fodder to the very government that would have them judged and executed anyway had they known the truth.”

“He seduced me into thinking that he would form a new Resistance, one that wouldn’t be under the thumb of the government,” she said in tears. Temmit sensed that she knew how much trouble she was now in, the Warden Council would not be kind to one who was aiding and abetting an criminal refugee from their ranks.

“Instead he used what information I could give him and he made contacts with the black market family, the Cordello. He hired mercenaries and thugs and has formed a new thieves guild called the Lowtown Shadow,” Martha said, hitting her fist on one of the doll tables in anger.

“Information you have him? You betraying bitch!” Renee said and made a lunge at her. Temmit held her back, knowing Martha hadn’t finished in her confession.

“What else did you tell him Martha?” he asked her politely, trying to maintain the facade of friendship that his power had given her. “What does this have to do with Leslie?”

“Before he had revealed to me his creation of the Thieves Guild, when he was still spouting promises of a new Order, a new Resistance, he told me that the only way that he would remain safe is if he had some leverage against the Warden Council. His plan was to kidnap one of the Whisper children and hold her until they signed a pact to give him his freedom, and their promise that they would not prosecute him.” Martha said, her face becoming flush with embarrassment, for she truly had been the fool.

“And you believed him?!” Renee shouted. “Stupid bitch,” she said in a sigh.

“Yeah well,” Martha started to defend herself, and then thought better of it and continued in her confessional tone. “He was very convincing and charming. He said that he wouldn’t hurt the Whisper member, just needed her as a means to an end.”

“What other names did you give him beside’s Leslie’s? Or did you actually bring the man to our members?” Temmit asked, a little more harshly than he intended, for he needed to continue the ruse that they were friends. It was the only reason the confession had come forth.

“I have been reading all of Renee’s correspondence between Whisper and the Warden Council, but I only had a few names,” she said with her face down to the floor.

“You read my correspondence?! What gives you the right?!” Renee demanded.

Martha’s head shot up at her, “The Warden Council does! They ordered me to peruse all correspondence for importance, so as not to bother them with trivial matters.”

Renee unsheathed her sword again, but Temmit gave her a stare to back down. She complied.

“In Renee’s letters I saw mention of the girl Leslie, who I hadn’t ever met before she had come to the store just days ago...poor little child,” Martha sighed.

Temmit overcame the urge to bitch slap the woman for Renee, and he ignored the foray of murderous comments that were coming from Smokey.

“She, and two others, River and a girl named Kristen. He was going to spy on the three and pick one to kidnap and bring to a cell he received from Sephlin Cordello” she finished.

“I have heard enough.” Renee stated and then moved over and grabbed Martha painfully by her arm. “We are tying you up in the back room.”

“Are you sure we are done here?” Temmit asked.

“No please...I didn’t meant to help him...I won’t do it again...please don’t tie me up?!” Martha’s begging fell on two pairs of deaf ears.

“I know enough from this idiot to know what we need to do next,” Renee said and she and Temmit took the woman to the back windowless room and began to tie her up.

“We are going to go to the Cordello District, speak to Sephlin and get the location of the cell, we will then raid it and save Leslie.

Martha’s eyes opened wide at this announcement, and just before Renee put a gag on her she pleaded one last time. “Please don’t tie me up? What if the two of you are killed in the cell? I will starve to death!” Martha said.

“Then you better tell us anything we need to know before I put this gag on, shouldn’t you Martha dear?” Renee asked, her voice dripping with venom.

She had nothing. She repeated the name of the Lowtown Shadow guild, told the pair about the types of non-Cordello has-been mercenaries Damien Starke had hired, but had little else.

The gag Renee placed on Martha was so tight the woman’s face immediately started turning blue around it.

Temmit and Renee returned to the front of the shop, verified the CLOSED sign was still hanging and placed a piece of parchment in the front picture window stating that ’Sorry that I am closed today due to illness. All missed appointments and orders will be fulfilled at a later time with a heavy discount’[/b]. They then cleaned up the room of all it’s damaged goods on the floor, lest a passerby see the signs of violence through the large shopping window.

“Come, we need to go to the Bank of Safe Haven first, then to the Whisper supply house before we make our journey to the Cordello District,” Renee said to Temmit.

“Lead on,” Temmit replied.

(GAME SESSION 3A to be Continued in next post - BANK OF SAFE-HAVEN)

Johan:
Renee took the key to the establishment. Should the pair not return, Martha will likely starve....

Bum-bum-baaaaaahhhhh

Thanks, Dray, for conducting a fun adventure, and also posting this briefe.

Dray:
CHAPTER 2 - BANK OF SAFE-HAVEN

Temmit and Renee abandoned Martha, now a prisoner in her own shop, and headed towards the Civic district. The morning storm masked the pair of students playing hookie as they journeyed, keeping their faces deep within the hoods of their winter cloaks.

As they entered the district, after passing the massive gates of the Second Wall, Temmit was impressed by the part of the city which was the heart of all business, law, and justice in Safe-Haven. Although he had visited the district during a couple of school field trips over the past two years, the novelty of the place hadn’t been yet lost on him.

As was typical of the architecture in every district, the buildings here all had a unique theme, and in the Civic District that theme was concerned with business, human progress and the advancement of civilization. Where the Church of Kaine was built by an overbearing religion, it's gothic Spire and towers symbolizing the control-by-fear tactics of power-hungry priests, the tall buildings of the civic district were built by the people, and for the people. The structures were clean and suitably designed for their individual tasks, yet the buildings parlayed esthetically off of one another in a mingled sense of community. The great structures of the Guild Hall and the Safe-Haven Bureau had high pitched roofs many stories above the ground, their canopies needlessly extended over the streets and even some smaller buildings, providing the sense of protection to it's younger siblings, the small mom and pop stores. The cobblestone streets were swept and shoveled happily by these smaller business owners who lived comfortably under the protective shadow of these larger government entities. Street signs, along with informative ones, were posted at every corner, pointing pedestrians to their destinations. Even the guards, which were at more frequent stations here in the district that housed a good deal of coin, were happier. Not only did they not interfere with Renee or Temmit as they journeyed to the Bank of Safe Haven, Temmit overheard them talking very politely to each other and too questioning citizens who sought information. It was if the government had rallied all the dignified and courteous soldiers and gathered them here.

The Bank of Safe Haven was no less impressive. The five story structure, although fortified to the teeth because it housed the Safe-Haven Mint, looked like nothing more than an Easthaven manor. As they reached the outer reaches of the land the Bank occupied, Temmit couldn’t help but wish it were summer. For the simple, yet elegant cast-iron fence which stood a few feet taller than the natural fence of hundreds of arborvitaes, was guardian to quite a beautiful landscape he had seen in the summer season. As he and his favorite red-head passed the entry gate and the two guards who didn’t give them a second look, his mind’s eye could picture the stone circle flower beds that dotted the rich green lawn during the warmer weather. Now, the entire surface was merely a fresh blanket of fallen snow. Temmit’s eyes followed fresh tracks, that broke it’s polished surface, to a patrolling guard and his dog as the pair vanished behind the front corner of the building.

The wide cobblestone walkway to the bank’s guarded entrance was shoveled by two bank employees who kept ahead of the storm with their large push brooms. Beyond the massive iron doors was a public chamber that the entire student body of the Scribe House could fly kites in. Renee headed purposefully to a teller at a far wall.

The facade of her game was quite simple really. Apparently, she had set up a joint account with an ally of hers, a person guised as old man who could no longer make the journey. Setting up security deposit with him, she was now free to come here, state her alias (to protect her true identity), and make transactions in his name. No one therefore question why a girl of her age could attain such large sums of money.

And the sum of money was surprising. Turns later, when Renee and Temmit stood at the open security box, after being guided past many chambers and iron vault doors, he was shocked to see how much the lass indeed had. 6 half-mint platinum bars, each marked with the numbers 500[/i] represented her savings. After withdrawing 4 of them, they quietly left the bank, relieved to be away from so many guards.

“Supply room next, then to Cordello’s,” she announced, and back to the Theater District they went.

Dray:
CHAPTER 3 - WHISPER STASH

The morning was passing all too quickly for Temmit, and they hadn’t even started looking for their kidnapped friend yet. He and Renee made the return trip to the Theater District through the storm that they now cursed. Cover was one thing, but the storm now looked bent on slowing them down if not stopping them altogether. Regardless of its effort though, they finally reached the guarded stairwell into LowTown. Due to her connection with Captain Athol, Renee and Temmit were allowed past without questioning.

As soon as they reached the dry passageways of the Storage District of LowTown they broke into a run, taking as little time as they could to reach Renee’s secret room. Happily, took off their heavy cold-weather gear and deposited it unceremoniously on Renee’s granite floor before heading right back out into the hallway.

The Whisper Storage room wasn’t too far away. Renee quickly counted an undisclosed number of granite blocks in the wall and then pushed one in, releasing the catch mechanism of the secret door and revealing the room beyond.

They scurried into the room that was duplicate in size and shape to the secret room they just left behind. Within this room however, was shelves stocked with goods on all three walls. Potions, scroll cases, weapons, armor, devices to disarm traps, ammunition, explosives, and all manner of equipment and paraphernalia that would help Renee start a small war if she so chose.

She quickly abandoned her pack from school and picked up another that appeared packed and ready in the corner.

“A backpack I have prepared for occasions such as these,” she explained to Temmit.

She then quickly showed Temmit a square glass container that was filled with acid. “These are too melt door locks. Expensive to make, but obviously very handy. We’ll take all nine of them, as we won’t know how many doors might need breaking down,” she said as she put four in Temmit’s pack and five into hers.

As they packed things they thought they might need, Renee gave Temmit a quick synopsis of the black market in LowTown.

“Sephlin Cordello, has always enjoyed in the exchange of stories, the power of debate and the gift of new information. Especially of the type that noble people wouldn’t dare speak aloud. The darker, the better. He was a storyteller of, and for, all that was at least perverse, and at most, morally corrupt.”

“Working the docks of the riverfront about twenty years ago, the man was known as the Black Bard[/i]. Tavern after tavern wanted him to perform on their stage, for the man drew incredible crowds with his slick tongue as it spun lavish tales. Tales that shocked the senses of it’s listeners and drew them in for more, even as their skin crawled with the immorality of the stories.”

“It was during this time that he used his charm to gain a most a loyal throng of followers. Men and women who simply began to loyally follow the man as their leader and do his bidding. Amongst them were common rogues and thugs who belonged to a few thieves guilds operating in LowTown. Guilds that had no loyalty to each other and competed to barely make a meager living through dishonest trade inflicted on those above.”

“It was then that Sephlin saw his opportunity. He used his slick tongue and sharp wit and was able to unite the guilds, along with his own followers, to form a united cult with hundreds of followers. But he was smart, because for years he played in the shadows and bid his time while gaining contacts and influence amongst the people who walked above. He did not want to wake the sleeping giant that was the Church of Kaine, until he knew he could beat it. He discontinued his bard heritage and took up the role of Wizard as his sole profession. A profession he excelled in, and advanced farther in then any Wizard I have yet to meet in Safe-Haven. It is my suspicion that Sephlin was the owner of many a wizard spellbook, and spent years of long days and night in study.”

“Anyway...to make a long story short. When the guild became the full fledged black market that it is today, the government tried to shut it down. But by then though, Sephlin had gained in such power and influence in the city that the ability of the government to do something had been robbed of them. He was too powerful and influential a citizen even though 90% of the population above was ignorant of his or even the black markets existence. Wealthy citizens began to get kidnapped or disappear altogether, that along with Sephlin‘s claim that he could use sorcery to blow-up the entire city forced the Church‘s hand, and Fresenius reluctantly had to sign a peace treaty with him. Now, Sephlin is allowed his black market, as long as it doesn‘t infringe upon the daily lives of those above in an excess manner.”

“An entire section of LowTown is under his command, he and his four sons and many wives form the Cordello Family, and they are the Rulers of LowTown.”

(GAME SESSION 3A to be Continued in next post - SEPHLIN CORDELLO)

Dray:
CHAPTER 4 - SEPHLIN CORDELLO

The last item Renee and Temmit procured from the Whisper Storage Room shelves was a theater mask for each of them. As Temmit placed one on, he was happy to find that his peripheral vision wasn’t impaired, the masks seemed crafted very well.

He then stepped out of the room and waited in the hall after she announced she was going to change into better armor. Only a few turns later, she emerged from the room and was fiddling with her mask, trying to get the leather band tied tight behind her head without catching her red mane. While she was donning her mask, he inspected her new outfit, at first wondering if he himself was ill-equipped.

The girl was far from her school uniform or the long military dress she wore in the public ceremonies as a representative of the Protectors House. Although from head to toe she was dressed for serious confrontation, she also had an alluring look that even Temmit’s platonic intellect couldn’t ignore.

She had donned a masterwork breastplate that did more than cover her heart, it made his beat a little more rapidly. Along her shoulders, forearms, thighs and calves were matching steel plates that followed her curves tightly. The leather armor under this suit of half-plate was cleverly embroidered with black thread to accentuate the comely woman’s curves. It also left her mid-riff and lower legs bare, not a trait dared by the typical school uniform. Who-ever had made this armor for her, made it specifically to her dimensions, and Temmit knew it had[/i] to be a man.

’Clever armor really,’ pathed Smokey, who unlike Temmit had remained business-like in his thoughts. ’Most men, especially untrained thugs, fighting her may be distracted just a click by her appearance. A click that a trained fighter like her could take advantage of. And see the exposed skin?’

Temmit saw the exposed skin. He couldn’t take his eyes off her navel actually.

’She knows exactly where she wants them to aim their strikes. Clever girl this one.

Renee spoke after finally tying the mask behind her head, interrupting their internal conversation.

"In the underworld, everyone is allowed to wear masks to conceal their identity from each other. It is quite understandable considering the physical limits of our civilization above. For if the government wants someone, they only have so much land in which they need to look."

They departed.

As they walked, Renee showed Temmit a signet ring, it was a simple symbol, having a snake on it’s face that was shaped like an S[/i]. “A year ago I performed a favor for Sephlin in the school district. The performance of a favor to the man is considered a privilege and an honor to most in the under world. For me though, it was considered more a future opportunity to receive his reciprocation when I needed it most. Thank the gods we have it Temmit, for without it, we would never have been able to even attempt a rescue of our little girl.”

Although the corridors Renee lead Temmit through were many, he thought himself successful in tracking his left and right turns. If he were ever pressed to come this way again, he thought he could navigate the dungeon. The storage district of LowTown was larger than Temmit had imagined. When the pair had finally reached the outskirts of the Cordello District he dared say he was relieved.

The first guard to the Cordello District looked to be a formidable man. Incredible tall and lean, the man's only armor was his incredible muscled mass. He wore silk trousers and vest with nothing on his feet but a pair of leather moccasins. On his back were two scimitars, held by leather sheaths.

He didn’t look twice at either Renee’s presented signet ring or even her provocative attire, instead merely waving her on past. Temmit took note of the reaction.

Again they passed many left and right turns and in almost every other corridor encountered a man or a pair of men dressed like the first. Each of them waived the pair of trespassers on bye, not really taking much heed to them. Finally, they entered a hall that was interrupted by a pair iron bars, the first a portcullis, the second, a little further beyond, a gate. In between these bars was a man behind the right-hand wall, sticking his upper body out of a large opening in it. The bottom of this opening was a shelf which he leaned upon, beside him was a large ledger and Temmit immediately recognized this entire stations purpose. It was a weapon and equipment check.

The two men at this gate were armored with chain shirts and both had a pair of shortswords. As the masked Renee and Temmit approached they held up their hands for them to stop in their forward progress.

“Weapons and equipment check you two,” one of the unmasked pair of guards stated. The guard in front of Renee had a smile on his face, and Temmit knew why. Renee had warned him earlier what was to happen here.

The two stripped of their backpacks and weapons, Renee even taking off her half-plate, exposing even more skin. The pair of guards invaded the personal space of the two Whisper members and started a very thorough pat-down of their bodies. The guard on Renee taking a lot more time with his subject than Temmit’s did. There wasn’t a part of the outer body that the guards didn’t touch, and despite the clothing he wore, it still felt very awkward and creepy.

What Renee felt like as the other guard fondled her chest and lightly massaged her crotch Temmit could only imagine. The guards knew the line between business and rape however, and Renee’s inspector didn’t dance near that line too long.

The guards raised the portcullis and Renee and Temmit brought their goods for the old man at the counter to store away. Each one of their items they had to log in the book, for any item not accounted for would surely become the property of the Cordello family.

The station satisfied that the masked pair no longer was a threat to those beyond, the gate was opened and their were allowed into the interior of the domain.

Temmit had thought the next turn in the underground would be the last before reaching the heart of the district, he mistaken. Yet even more simple underground corridors, with guards posted in each one, had to be navigated before they finally reached what appeared to be the main entrance to the Cordello District itself. And what an entrance it was. Two arched, cast iron doors of twenty feet in height stood before them in the large antechamber. It was a mockery of the Church of Kaine doors in the Temple District. For on these doors were the same sculpted castings within the metal depicting the warfare of Karh’Thul and Warriors, only on this door...the demons were winning.

Renee presented her signet ring to the large man who looked in many ways like the very one they encountered first in their journey here. With a quick series of touches on the sculptures he released an arcane trigger that unlocked the massive doors. He then gently pushed on one and it glided inward on a silent pivot.

The unarmed Renee and Temmit walked inside.

(More forthcoming in this chapter)

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