Burning Swords and Sorcery
The four of you were recently approached by a cloaked agent who told you details showing he knew about your criminal activities, and told you that his patron would expose you unless you steal the Hand of King Arnoni, on display at the Aegis Chapel, and drop it off in a hollow statue in the Gardens of Bellomi, a public park.
Deadface, your latest project is Captain Santoro of the city guard. The former captain was willing to play ball- if you had the right connections and the money to grease the wheels, you could get your work done without his interference. He had his limits, you couldn’t rough up a guard or a nobleman and expect to get away with it, but for the most part he was reasonable, if greedy. Unfortunately he got a promoted to a cushy government job, and the new guy is a real pain. He’s a local kid who worked in the guard his whole life, and doesn’t seem to understand how business works. Finding a way to get some leverage on him would help the Virtuous Company out, and I know you enjoy a challenge…
Hemrow, you recently met privately with Lady Nisi, your patron at court and secretly the head of the Invisible Army, a secret society devoted to tearing down noble class. The two of you have been discussing recruiting Fade to the society for some time, and a problem has come up for which a smuggler may be useful. A scholar named Errico has been furthering the propaganda aims of the Invisible Army by writing pamphlets which have been distributed among the literate and giving public lectures in which he has tried to persuade the public that the nobility are predatory and their authority is unjustified. Up until now he has been protected for repercussion by his noble patron, Sir Malatesta, but he was recently murdered and Lady Nisi believes that your enemies will either pull strings to have him arrested or assassinate him. Tonight is a major harvest festival, and she believes they will strike now in order to take advantage of the distraction and reduced security. She has arranged for Errico’s passage on a vessel, but needs you and Fade to escort him safely from his estate to the docks. She warns you that there will likely be agents watching the Malatesta home who may interfere if they realize you are trying to foil their plans. She can have a message passed to Errico secretly if you have one for him, but any other preparation needs to be done before nightfall. She gives you the letter you are to present to the captain of the “Sonosuuna Barca”.
Well that was unexpected. I thought I knew all the movers and shakers in this town but that was a very slick presentation. I should gather a little intel before doing anything rash.
I know a guy in the temple district who the virtuous company has had dealings with in the past who keeps his ear to the ground, but before visiting him I should refill the petty cash. I’ve been keeping a low profile recently since there’s a new sheriff in town but cash in hand is always the easier/less messy way to get people to talk. I’ll pay a visit to one of my regulars with the intention of squeezing some funds out of him.
If that goes smoothly I’ll plan on meeting my contact and seeing what information he has for me, or at least some names of who I should bribe or threaten to learn about this artifact and who might be interested in it.
I’ll put my new project with the new captain on hold for a day or two while I sort things out.
Getting Errico to the Sonosuuna is going to have to be handled carefully. If I can get him away from his estate and associated scrutiny it may be easier to get him to the docks from a different starting location. I have devised a plan to get him to my home and from there will entrust Fade with getting him to the docks. I will have Ladi Nisi pass him the following message:
Help is on its way. This evening ensure you are alone in your home and wear your darkest clothing. Early in the evening a carriage will arrive at your estates. Admit the man wearing the hooded green cloak. More will be explained at that time. Make no other preparations. The invisible army is coming.
I will explain to Lady Nisi that I need a carriage and a driver, someone with the ability to be discrete if possible. It must be ready to pick me up from my home early this evening.
Lady Nisi will pass that message along to Errico. She can also arrange for a driver and carriage, but wants you to be careful not to endanger them or get the caught in illegal activity as it could be traced back to her.
Round 2: Post!
Fade is going to stake out Errico’s home as covertly as possible. I’m placing a special emphasis on learning the immediate environment and sniffing out any other watchful eyes. I want to know where the approaches are, where the best ambush sites are, potential escape routes, and where Fade would strike if he were to be given an assassination mission. I want to know who else is watching Errico, their numbers and equipment, and what blind spots they might have. My next move will depend on what information I uncover during my scouting mission.
You easily blend in with the crowd, and can observe at your leisure.
You observe silently for a while, and notice an street urchin in the crowd who seems a little out of place in this part of the city. As you watch him, you notice he doesn’t seem particularly focused on begging, and is mostly watching the estate and the people in the street. About mid-day, a pair of men come out of the building and speak to him for a moment. They return to the building, and as the doors close you see that they have a chairs set up at a table near the entrance and appear to be in the middle of a game of cards.
You also notice a man hanging around the window of the third story of the building across the street. He also appears to be keeping an eye on the entrance to the estate.
The obvious approaches are from either direction down the street and through the front door. If the city guard arrests Errico it will probably be by that path. There are also side entrances for servants to come in through, that they might use if they send an assassin. To get access you’d either need to come from the street, or have complicity from one of the two neighboring estates to use their home as a staging area. You would guess that the two thugs have vision of the room where Errico is currently and are stationed so that they can make sure he doesn’t leave but also deal with anyone trying to enter through the front door. The positioning of the urchin and the crossbowman suggests they are most watchful of the front entrance and are less concerned about someone coming in or out any other way. Probably because they know Errico couldn’t get out without passing by the thugs, and they don’t expect trouble from anyone else except by the front door. You didn’t see anyone watching the entrance to the building the crossbowman is in, so if you could pass through the building without being stopped by whoever owns it, he wouldn’t see you coming until you entered the room he is in.
Deadface, you quickly mentally review the tradesmen paying the Virtuous Company protection money and realize Dodato the Carpenter is behind. You visit him at his shop near the shipyards and let him know it’s time to pay up. He quietly informs you that he isn’t paying you protection money any more. The new captain sent some men to let the locals know that he is going to be driving the low-life out of the docks and that they don’t have to pay protection money to the gangs anymore. He speaks calmly but avoids making eye contact with you.
If there’s enough time, I’d like to provide Hemrow the information I gained so he knows what’s going on. I think it’s too late to change the plan, so we’ll have to settle for an unpleasant surprise when the thugs stage their ambush. I want to slip into the house where the crossbowman is setting up shop undetected so that I can eliminate him. I’d like to initiate hostilities by point blank shooting him in the back, then closing into melee range to finish him off with my knife. Then I’ll set up shop there myself with my bow and wait. The crossbow man has a fantastic shooting position set up, and it’d be a shame to waste it!
I want to be able to provide Hemrow with covering fire when Errico makes his escape, and being in the house will also provide me with some good cover and a handy escape route of my own should things go sour. Being the paranoid sort that I am, I will of course be blocking off the entrance into the room as soon as I’ve dealt with the crossbowman and fashioning an escape route out of sheets and furniture so I can exit directly into the streets should I have need.
I inform the Lady that I will require the carriage to pick me up at my estate. I am going to dress in all black clothing but wear on the outside my hooded green cloak so that he will recognize me from the letter I have sent.
As I wait for my transportation I am going to prepare for the operation by constructing a poison and applying it to the edges of my sword.