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 Staring At The Bitter End

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Phlegm

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Number of posts : 753
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Staring At The Bitter End   Tue 29 Aug - 14:32:54

Starting at the Bitter End

So we came together in new surroundings to the cry of seagulls. The Smiths had re-formed unexpectedly, so we were initially feeling miserable, but Alan and John turned out to be more tuneful then you might expect. John is a brawny blacksmith Alan a leaner looking type, and they were joined by Marsala and Oberon, plus of course my own good self, Hagan O’ Haggerty, at least that’s what my extortionately priced papers say and who am I, a poor honest Skovlander in a hostile land to say any different?

Well to be sure this Doscval is a fine sprawling city with a lot of wonders for a poor country boy such as my own good self and we as a group have decided that this is the very place to be sure that could use some handy transport consultants such as ourselves. We have the beautiful transport barge ‘The Bitter End’ for the purpose of transporting discreetly without fuss, unreasonable questions or official interference, for an embarrassingly modest remuneration (coin only please), whatever we wish for those clients who feel put upon by bureaucratic red tape, unreasonably vexatious tax demands or unjust legislation imposed by an arrogant ruling elite.*

*For those of you who are still unclear we are smugglers

Now the city understandably has a number of crews who feel that their particular neighbourhood is their turf, and we had to spend our combined savings to buy favour with ‘The lost’ and ‘Red sash’ gangs. The Lost seem to have a kind streak, spending their time saving fallen women and such. The more powerful by far are the red sashes who have a man on every corner in our neighbourhood identified by a distinctive item of apparel which escapes me for the moment.

The city is policed by the Bluecoats, nothing more than a gang with a degree of official support, the opportunities for enrichment centre on meeting the needs of the market, after all to be sure there are plenty of needs in a city such as this; mind expanding drugs that seem to be in pitifully short supply; Arms legitimately sought by citizens looking for security and the right to defend themselves; Cheap labour needed to promote a strong economy for all; misunderstood individuals and groups seeking to escape persecution by criminal elements or tyrannical officialdom. We plan to do our bit providing a service in all these areas, practically at cost.

And so Budget Smuggler Enterprises was born, Budget Smugglers for short. Our initial move once we have spent all our carefully conserved cash buying the tolerance of our local gang neighbours is to split up; Oberon and Alan go one way, John, Marsala and I decide to go for a drink, and Shaggy and Scooby go looking for a kitchen. Oberon and Alan looking for trouble in one of the many shadier areas of the neighbourhood spot a suspicious transaction going on and pursue a shifty character who seemed to be involved in something illicit.

They have an informal chat with menaces with the chap when they catch him. Turns out to be something to do with the lost, then Bluecoats intervene and Alan’s quick thinking results in the Bluecoat thinking he’s stumbled over a private debt collection operation and he enjoys assisting in the punishment beating administered by Al and Obi.*

*We are not the smugglers you are looking for

We meanwhile are getting them in at the Hawk’s Claws and I spot some sailors recently arrived from my own fair Isle and strike up conversation with them. They have been at sea for months and are in unhappy mood. Docking this morning, they have been discharged without pay by their Captain, one Captain Arran after the cargo they were transporting was allegedly signed for in damaged condition. They don’t know what it was other than it was some sort of creature that was kept crated and fed through a small hatch unseen by anybody. Supposedly the beast was discovered to be injured hence the non-payment.

We were just moving on when a commotion broke out: The trio of Skovlan sailors are engaged in a fracas with someone and a crowd quickly gathers. I can’t get close but Marsala does get through, enough to distract one of our acquaintances with a question long enough for his red sashed opponent to slash his throat out. Oops. John has got into an argument with a drunk and ends up cuffing him. Literally. He never goes anywhere without those cuffs.

The crowd meanwhile, always one for the underdog, duly lynch the remaining two sailors, egged on by a couple of boys in blue who turn up and uphold the finest traditions of law enforcement. We remember urgent business elsewhere and make our excuses. Our interest piqued, we decide to investigate a little further into our late comrades’ story. Captain Arran it seems owes someone an explanation / coin, perhaps there is employment for us somewhere in here.

We have a contact at the docks, one Elynn, perhaps she has an angle on this story? We seek her out at the Hawkers Bubble, one of her favourite haunts, although I should stress she is in pre ghost condition. She confirmed the story and cynically suggested that the good Captain has shockingly defrauded his crew and the story was not in fact true. To be sure it’s an evil world we live in and you can strike me dead if it’s not so. We may spend some time doing a little digging into the good captain. We figure we should be able to track him down with a suitably baited ruse.

But meanwhile Oberon has looked up one of his old sailing companions, Casta, who by a twist of fate is also to be found in the Bubble, and we spend some time in the back room with her. She it turns out is looking for a crew to assist some nobles leaving the city without attracting any attention.

The three are brothers; recently their father died in mysterious circumstances and their elder brother has inherited the family title. The Vond family are trusting souls and the brothers Danfield, Slane and Clermont all assume their brother Pritchard is responsible and likely to be bumping them off shortly. Of course, it may be that they are the murderer/ murderers and are just looking to escape justice, but the customer is always right and I’m thinking that we’re not employed to solve crimes so the truth here is none of our affair, other than the truth of the two coin per escaped brother we will receive if we get them clear of the city limits to join a train to safety.

Apparently these young toffs are tearaways who won’t be missed for a week so there’s our time limit, they also sound like proper tossers if Casta’s to be believed: silver spoons lodged so deep full jaw removal would be required to remove them. Quite surprised that they realise they are in danger if that’s the case. So we just need to knock up a quick plan to get them clear of the city; we’ll need to decide how – seems to me we have trickery or concealment options:

Avoid all official checkpoints or pass through checkpoint with the brothers hidden somehow – do they still need paperwork for onward journey though?
Or Bluff through a checkpoint with a cover story and paperwork, possibly disguises, steal or forge papers?
Difficult to plan for may need elements of bribery in either approach above.
We are slightly embarrassed financially at the moment so that could be a problem too unless we can claim expenses….

26.8.17
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