Zeitgeist

The Trouble with Siblings
Sabotage and Assassination attempt on board the Coaltongue
From the Journal of Inspector Delft
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Hmmphf, as if they aren’t cocky enough, now the news rags are going to give them swelled heads! Ah well, at least they aren’t mentioned by name. Perhaps best that I remind them to stay OUT of the limelight.

Of course, the newspaper did get it right; they are heroes! Not much else you can call them after they save a King and stop the attempted sabotage of Risur’s newest flagship.

The evening started rather quietly after the “fun” with the quarter of Dockers at the beginning of the festivities. Speaking of Dockers, it seems that Elinora had a brief conversation with Thaddeus Grimsley the self-styled leader of Flint’s Dockers. Seems he’s a bit upset at the treatment the Dockers have been receiving from the authorities lately and he wanted Elinora to put in a good word with the Governor or King Aodhan. From some of the missives I’ve seen it seems that she was at least somewhat successful, probably, in no small part due to the group’s efforts in saving the King.

As the dignitaries gathered the Constables got a chance to rub elbows with them and partake of the refreshments (perhaps a bit too much partaking in some cases!!!!). Personages of note that the Constables met where Captain Rutger Smith, Geoff Masarde, and, at my behest, Prinicpal Minister Harkover Lee. The “old man”, Minister Lee that is, seemed to be taken with the Constables, if a bit taken aback by some of their idiosyncracies.

Sapheira also met Duchess Ethelyn and her servant, Handmaiden Sokana Rell, at this point. Little did Sapheira realize what was going to happen later that evening, though, as sharp as she is, I have no doubt that she may have had an inkling that something was amiss during this first conversation. The Duchess asked for a private spot to rest before the activities and Sapheira was able to find a suitable spot for her.

The King, fashionable late as usual, chose this moment to arrive. Children threw flowers and sang the Risur national anthem as the King christened the ship with a very expensive bottle of champagne. One would think that the ship didn’t really care about the vintage of the drink being smashed across its hull, but…I digress…

The Coaltongue sailed out of the harbor with its eight ship escort. Plumes of black smoke billowing from the smokestacks of the Coaltongue contrasted with the bright white sails of its escort, echoing the merging of Risur’s past and future in one breath-taking scene.

As the waning rays of the days light disappeared the main deck of the ship was turned into an outdoor banquet hall. Dignitaries partook of appetizers and more libations as they waited for the dinner to be served. As the commencement of the feast drew closer I realized that the King’s sister was missing and hurriedly dispatched the squad of Constables to find her. In my mind it would not do for the Duchess to be avoiding the festivities as it might have sent the wrong message to many parties. Of course, little did I realize what kind of message the Duchess was really planning on sending.

The Constables quickly found things amiss in the observation room where the Duchess was supposedly “resting”. The guards assigned to the room were both missing and the door was locked. The more magically inclined of the Constables sensed magic in the air, but knocking on the door only got a curt reply of, “One moment!”, from the Duchess’ handmaiden. At that point the Constables decided that the door needed opening immediately and proceeded to batter it into submission. Alhana was first into the room and raced towards an open window, arriving in time to see the Duchess astride a gigantic octopus or squid alongside one of the archfey. The monstrous creature quickly dove underwater with the Duchess in tow, disappearing from view before Alhana could do anything.

At this point the squad found themselves locked in combat with the handmaiden, Sokana, and a heretofore hidden halfling assassin. Sokana quickly wove strands of air magic together to immobilize Bacchuss and Darkkon before teleporting herself out of the room and down the stairs. Elinora and Sapheira tried to blast the fleeing Sokana with their magic but were unable to slow her momentum. Of course, the band on the main deck chose this moment to begin playing which effectively wiped out any chance for those of us there to hear any sounds of fighting.

Alhana engaged in battle with the halfling, realizing that Bacchuss and Darkkon, immobilized as they were, would be prime targets for the assassin. She was able to distract him enough for her two fellow squad members to come free of the magic and be healed by Sapheira’s magic. The halfling fell fairly quickly but not before he had severely wounded Darkkon.

Most of the squad had taken wounds in the initial few moments of the fight, but they all gave chase as Sokana headed down to the engine room. There they realized the full significance of the Duchess’ plan. The furnace was stoked full of firegems and was generating enough heat that the boiler would soon explode causing a chain reaction that would destroy the ship and every person aboard.

Sokana was attempting to hurry the entire process along by dumping more firegems into the furnace. The Constables realized that they quickly needed to stop the Handmaiden first and then deal with the furnace. They set about their task with grim determination, however..umm…lets just say that some of the squad could definitely use a bit more combat training! Nevertheless, Sokana finally fell, pincushioned with several of Alhana’s arrows.

The squad looked about the engine room and realized they had very little time before everything blew to kingdom come. Turning the steam relief valves and removing some of the burning firegems was only delaying the inevitable. Finally, Darkkon came up with a plan to blow a small hole in the side of the ship, which would allow water to rush into the room. If done properly there would be enough water to quench the fire in the furnace, but not enough to sink the ship.

Using Elinora’s knowledge of engines the squad hastily found some casks of firedust and placed them next to the hull at a precise spot, praying that they were not about to blast the entire hull apart. Alhana used her knowledge of explosives to construct a timed fuse and the squad fled to what they hoped was safety before the fuse was lit.

Luckily, for all of us, the Constables had figured everything out perfectly and the explosion was just enough to let water into the engine room and flood the furnace. Believe me, I nearly fainted during our debriefing, knowing how close I had come to death.

With the threat nullified the festivities continued, somewhat more subdued, of course. The King made his major announcement and certainly was major! Danor and Risur would sign a peace agreement in a year’s time and, to seal the deal, King Aodhan would be marrying a Danoran.

Delft out.

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Confrontation at the Docks
The new squad in action
From the Journal of Inspector Delft

It is not often that the RHC sees such an influx of talented individuals in such a short amount of time. Perhaps the spirits of old have foreseen something and have made sure that Risur is prepared for whatever may happen. Whatever brought them to us, I am thankful. Especially after I have personally witnessed their endeavors over the past few weeks as they prepared for King Aodhan’s arrival and the launch party for the RNS Coaltongue.

Some observations;

The tiefling female, Neoyoshi Kaligawa, is somewhat soft-spoken and seems to prefer going unnoticed. Not unusual for a tiefling in Risur as many of her race comprise the armed forces of our rival nation, Danor. Nevertheless, their is a quiet air of confidence in all her actions and it is very obvious from her fluid grace that she would be a fearsome opponent when swords clash. A fondness for coffee has our chefs constantly rushing out to purchase more. Also, strangely enough, Neoyoshi always seems to have a herd of cats following her. Not that most of us mind as our headquarters have never been freer of rodents!

The human fighter, Darkkon, is somewhat of a man of mystery. He has not spoken much or given any of the staff much insight into his personality, but his work ethic is beyond reproach and his skills with his dual swords are more than evident. His sparring partners report that none of them have been able to best him in single, or often two-on-one, combat.

The half-elf druid, Elinora, is a child of Flint’s streets. Her web of contacts and allies amongst the working-class and, especially, Dockers is almost more far-ranging than that of the RHC. Unassuming in dress and appearance she can meld in anywhere and the information she can garner will be a boon on any mission she partakes in. Her grasp of the powers of nature makes her a dual-sided threat, at ease in the back alleys of Flint and the jungles of Risur.

The elven ranger, Alhana Wayfinder, is well-known to many. Her exploits in the last war as a member of the 3rd Royal Pathfinder Company are retold in many places. Of particular interest was her successful solo mission to capture the Danor General, Arimethrius. Posing as a high-class “escort” she made her way into an enemy encampment, gained entry to the General’s quarters and then, somehow, made her way with her captive through hundreds of enemy soldiers. Such skills made her recruitment into the RHC a top priority.

Lastly, the half elven warlock, Bacchuss. I must admit that this one makes me shudder at times, and it’s just not from the scent of sharp cheese that wafts from him. When he looks at you it’s always with a piercing, discerning gaze that makes you feel as if he were weighing and measuring your soul. You feel as if your deepest secrets were being laid bare and being considered for some unknown purpose. His skills are without question, yet…yet…he is not someone I would like to be alone with in a dark alley late at night.

As I stated earlier their efforts the past few weeks have been exemplary. They spent untold hours planning security for the celebration. They worked hand-in-hand with the Flint Police and even dealt admirably with the royal bureaucrats that buzz around endlessly whenever the King is involved.

They day of the event was a beautiful, spring day and the square by the bridge leading to the docks filled up quickly as many of Flint’s citizens hope to be chosen as one of the 700 who would greet the King and the other guests. The constables had each chosen a position around the square that would give them a good view of the crowd and allow them to quickly get to any trouble if it started.

There were four groups in particular that the constables feared might cause trouble during the event; the Dockers, the Primalists, followers of Gale, and veterans of the last two wars. Each group had a bone to pick with either the King or the city of Flint itself.

The constables quickly figured out what members of each group might look, and act, like. Focusing their efforts the five members of the squad were able to pick out around twenty people who looked like they might cause trouble. Of interest, Neoyoshi had an encounter with what I believe were members of the Sewer Rats. He handled the situation very well and, perhaps, made some useful contacts for the future.

While Bacchuss handled the main part of the interrogation, Elinora, who was cleverly disguised as a Docker, helped to whittle down the list of suspects to a group of Dockers who had been loudly voicing their displeasure in taverns in the days leading up to the celebration.

Bacchuss adroitly made use of the information from Elinora and was able to wrangle a confession from one of the Dockers. The piercing gaze and menacing tone of Bacchuss made the spindly, little Docker wet his pants as he quickly gave up himself and his comrades!

At the same time, Alhana had a discussion with a veteran of the last Yerasol war. The veteran was somewhat upset at having his loyalty to Risur questioned, but was quickly mollified by the silken tones of the Ranger. She even garnered a promise from him to report any suspicious activities that he saw, or heard of.

Unfortunately, the squad learned that they had only found three of the four malcontents. Quickly splitting up and re-scanning the crowd that was now beginning to form up and cross over the bridge the squad was able to quickly find the fourth Docker. Unfortunately, he was to far away from the majority of the squad, but Darkkon, who had just come back from a fruitless search of a side alley, spotted the miscreant and with an almost unnatural agility tackled him to the ground and subdued him.

With their first action under their belts, the squad turned to the rest of the evening’s activities, hoping that it would be less exciting…

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Prologue
A meeting at RHC Headquarters

Spring in the year 501, RHC Headquarters…

You are quickly ushered into the exquisitely ornate office of Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby and, after waiting a minute or two as the Inspectress shuffles some papers around, are told to be at ease.

“As you are all aware, I’m sure, this city is about to be the center of a great celebration. King Aodhan is coming to christen Risur’s first steam warship, the R.N.S Coaltongue.”

The Inspectress gestures to a corner of her office where a magnificent painting is resting on an easel.

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The Inspectress gazes at each one of you in turn, seemingly taking your measure before continuing, “It has been decided that your squad, as new as it may be, will be in charge of security for this celebration.”

“Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft will be in command of your squad. Please follow his commands….”, the Inspectress pauses and eyes a striking female elf up and down, “…especially you, Wayfinder. Your exploits in the war are as legendary as your penchant for getting into mischief.”

The Inspectress picks up a sheaf of papers and begins going through them as she speaks one last time, “You have two weeks before the celebration. I expect nothing but the best from you during this mission. The eyes of the King, and the nation, are upon you. There is a folder for each of you by the door. Dismissed.”

You find two documents inside the folder;

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