[Blades] Aftermath (All 1.1)

edited June 2014 in Blades
Frog, Ring, Vauri and Volette,

The four of you are in the back room of The Nail & Bottle, a tavern in Six Towers. Volette, why did you choose this for the guild's meeting? What kind of deal do you have with Larn, the tavern owner, that makes you trust him? Oh, Volette, I'm not clear on what you were recently arrested for. Did you do it?

By the one door out of this back room (which leads back into the tavern) is Bricks. He's sitting quietly working at whatever in his fingernails is bothering him with a very sharp knife, humming a tune. It's a hymn, isn't it, Vauri? When were you last in church? Do you attend services? Does Bricks?

Frog, what were you in prison for? How long? Why did they lock you up in the Imperial Prison in the Governor's Ward instead of here in Six Towers?

Una is seated at the one large square table that dominates the back room, right beside you, Ring. How do you normally treat her? She's got a small glass of some cider, sipping on it while listening to everyone's chatter. Did you know her before you were imprisoned over a year ago?

Skinner is here, sitting at the table at a position facing the door. She nodded to each of you as you entered. She's got some notes in a ledger that she's been poring over while you settled in. She apologized that the Guild coffers can't afford food and drink for this meeting.

Skinner calls you together, "Come now, all of you. Let us have a seat and discuss matters." Bricks stays by the door. I assume you each have seats. There are plenty, enough for you to spread out if you wish. Bragon isn't here, neither is Cinnamon Socks, but with Brick's presence, that's not a surprise.

"Vauri, Volette, how are the pair of you?" Skinner asks politely. She didn't ask after you, Frog. Why is that?


  • edited June 2014

    I'm entirely comfortable with Una, of course. We go way back. Eight or nine years ago she was using me regular to get her other associates into tight places past some devious security. But with some time and effort (and the right relics, mind), one can open a door that avoids the mark's physical plant altogether -- letting her peeps in or out. She keeps a lot of people in mind for putting operations together and I was one of them. But it's been years and we've grown friendly. It was she that I found first when I got out and looking to get back on my feet.
  • Frog

    So, Skinner's not giving me the nod? Not being all How are you, Frog? How was your twelve years in the Governor's Box? Well, fuck her. I killed that guard so she could get out, served my time, kept my mouth shut. So what, she's walking with a limp and a cane these days? She's free... she's been free. I, on the other hand, have been "living" in hexed shackles, feeding on shit stew, and fucking... no one... for twelve years.

    I ignore everyone else in the bar, sit down across from Skinner. My mouth twists into the sort of grin a brain-damaged child might draw on a picture of a Shade. "Skinner..."
  • Milos,

    When you open the door to the backroom, you get one of Bricks' knives near your throat. He eyes you, then looks back to Skinner. She nods, confirming you're "invited". He waves you in with his off hand, "What kept you, runt?"

    Why are you late, Milos? What held you up?
  • edited June 2014

    "Godshit, that's sharp! Easy, big boy. хуй Bluejays are flocking, and it's a long slag from Dunslough." Ain't that the godsdamn truth, and Slog's game was relocated because of the swarm, so now I have to go nose-down, ears-up to find the next place. Nearly a raid, but... not quite. Slog's got ears like corn. Hears about heat before it hits. I'd shown up, but the usual storefront was lousy with beetles. Now, that wasn't an issue as far as getting arrested, but it meant I'm out of the game until next time. I'm more than a little itchy. I made my way here through a combination of alleys and sympathetic gondoliers. There may have been a few rooftops involved.

    I push passed Bricks, grab a chair on the same side of the table with Frog, a few seats over, and fall into it. Scan the table, sigh quietly at the absence of drink and food, and wait for Skinner to continue.
  • [Vauri]

    The tune's an old one, the falcon and the door, the sort of familiar pattern where you can half-hear a choir. I tuck a lock of hair behind my ear, thinking. I somehow suspect Bricks is being less than reverent. A pretty frown crosses my face and I almost say something... then I realize he's messing with me. I kick his ankle, say "Oops," and bat my eyes. I give him a smirk and a coy wink... but nothing too saucy. He's going to have to work for it. Services... it's not easy. I haven't attended since I got out. There's a sort of common services in the clink, but it leaves something to be desired. And Bricks and I don't see eye to eye in that department... he'll goes to his services and I mine.

    I sit with my small cup of dark wine by my sister, of course. Politely back to Skinner, "I'm well, thank you." It's a coded phrase. She's really asking about Volette's last gig.

  • [Volette]

    Of course I didn't. Everyone's innocent, don't you know that?

    I was in the lockup for busting the sneer off the face of the chief constable's son Karel. I was actually arrested for possession and having too much coin on me for a proper wretch, since Karel didn't want to admit getting his sack handed to him by a girl, almost literally. I've heard rumors he still has it out for me.

    I chose the place because of Larn. He's very clean, so unlike Brick's favorite meeting places Larn's back room doesn't smell like ass. Mostly. Plus my baby sister likes his wine, which is reason enough.

    And I trust him... I don't know, I just do. He took care of me once after I partied a little too hard. Put me up and let me sleep it off. Was even a gentleman about it. I was less than a lady in paying it off, but he didn't seem to mind. No Mrs. Larn, you know. Raises those kids and runs the tavern with his eldest, who doesn't like me at all.

    He's not the sort I go for really. Older. Plain. Calm. But hey, he's nice enough. Gentle. And clean. So, I occasionally show up.

    I'm buzzed since I dropped about an hour ago. Just a little Spark. And baby, I'm feeling just sparky enough.

    I've got my own wine, and I'm leaning back, on arm on the edge of Vau's chair. I smile at Skinner. "Just peaches!"

    Yes, I "discussed" with Beetle his unfortunate tendency to talk too much, you withered old bint.
  • Milos:

    "Language, runt!" Bricks growls, but then you're past him, moving to sit by Frog, across from Ring and Una. What's the fragrance Una is wearing, and what does it remind you of?
  • All:

    Skinner nods to your answers, Vauri and Volette. "Good, I am glad to hear it." She gives you a nod of greeting, Milos, then looks at all of you gathered here. Here eyes catch things about each of you, from your body language towards her, towards each other, how you sit, where you sit.

    The Guild leader clears her throat and states firmly, "It is good that you have all returned to the Guild when it is most needed. I know some of you have been away longer than others, and that will not be forgotten. But if the Guild is to survive after Scurlock's end, then we will need to play it cagey. As you know, there are three strong players making a play to run the ward. I have no desire to make us the fourth."

    Bricks shifts at this pronouncement, glancing over at both of you, Vauri and Volette, making a quiet harumph of displeasure. The Guild is built for smuggling. Why is it that Bricks thinks the Guild should move on the ward?

    Skinner continues, "We have a small amount of Coin we can use to fund a few endeavors, and I believe it wise that we move now while the other Guilds are busy sizing each other up. There are three Claims that I think ripe for the picking, none of which would embroil us in the unpleasantness to come between the other three."

    She pulls a loose page from the ledger, and slides it to the middle of the table. It's a printed poster of old Skogg. "Skogg's dice game in Ratcatcher Alley on The Bank has been bringigng in steady Coin. He's unaligned, and paying no one. Who wishes to change this?"

    Spogg’s Dice Game
    Steel 1 Shadow 0
    Contact: Spogg Owner: Spogg
    Six Towers, Racatcher Alley

    Several letters are pushed to the center of the table. They are marked with the wine-dark lamp sigil of the Red Lamp. "Also in our own backyard, as it were, is a pleasure house that generates even more Coin. Mylera's Red Sashes take the mark for the business, but they are overextended in their war with the Lampblacks. Also, I think Madame Tesslyn is displeased with the level of care that her house has received over the last few months. Is that not true, Una?"

    "It is as you say, Skinner." Una says with a nod. Possibly the shortest sentence she's uttered tonight.

    "Who wishes to work on this Claim?" Skinner asks.

    Red Lamp Pleasure House
    Steel 2 Shadow 2
    Contact: Madame Tesslyn Owner: Mylera Klev,
    Six Towers, Manor House

    Skinner continues, "Last, but certainly not least, is this very place. The Nail and Bottle used to pay Scurlock, but now... Larn pays no one." She looks to you, Volette. "I think you should handle this one, darling. As you see fit."

  • edited June 2014

    "Spogg's a rabbity little fuck. He's like as not to just relocate out of our reach. But the Red Lamp is going nowhere. Tesslyn's an upstanding businesswoman -- she'd be an asset for our organization. We just have to convince her that we provide better service than does Klev."
  • Skinner looks over at you, Ring, "I am sure someone can convince Spogg to stay put, if they've a mind to it. As for Madame Tesslyn, why don't you pick a team to work on her?"
  • edited June 2014

    With raised eyebrows, I regard Skinner for a moment and begin to gaze around the room, considering our options. We're not going to literally muscle our way in, so planning, insight, streetwise and stalking are what we need. I end up making eye-contact with Vauri and Volette, Frog and Milos. "Sure, let's do this thing. Tesslyn's probably hoping that someone will offer her a better deal."
  • [Frog]

    I keep my voice low, there's a little snarl in it, but that's nothing new. "I'm in." Might as well see what the city looks like these days.
  • [Vauri]

    I purse my lips, glance my sister. "Vol, you see to Larn? I'll see to Mme. Tesslyn?" I turn out a hand to Ring, an accepting gesture.

    Then I sip my wine. "Ring, perhaps Bricks could help convince Spogg not to rabbit?" I'm not trying to get the man beaten, honest. But if Spogg hasn't changed, he's more likely to listen to a big burly chap.
  • edited June 2014

    I shrug and nod amiably. "Perhaps. But his business -- just a pair of dice, is inherently easier to move away than a brothel."
  • edited June 2014
    Bricks offers, "I can make sure he can't move so fast anymore... if needs be."

    Skinner nods, accepting it. "Take Una. Talk first. Una, make him an offer of protection, offer some recruitment of new customers."
  • After a minute or so, Skinner looks to you, Ring, "Take your team and get to work. The sooner we have them paying dues, the sooner we can secure this Guild's future."

    OOC: anything more in this scene? Want to talk about strategies here?
  • [Ring]

    I try to gather the others in a corner so that the rest of the assembly can carry on with their work if needed. "Anyone know what our primary obstacles are going to be? Is this a thing where we have to convince Tesslyn or a thing where we mostly have to interfere with the Red Sashes?"
  • [Vauri]

    I'd like if the two operations would dovetail together; But Spogg is not the sort for Tesslyn's clientele. La, no matter. Future times.

    I take my cup, tap-trailing my fingers along Vol's shoulder, a last bit of contact, collect myself by Ring. "The first thing is to convince Mme. Tesslyn. If she is sufficiently impressed, we will not need to interfere with the Sashes." I tap my fingers in a pattern, that hymm's chorus almost. "Perhaps there are others also dissatisfied with the Sashes... We need to discover how they are failing Mme. Tesslyn in particular."
  • edited June 2014

    I nod to Skinner, expression gone a little sour. Fuck, what a way to kill a buzz.

    Vau speaks and I nod again trying not to be bothered. I smile at her. "Okay princess. Have fun. Don't do anything I wouldn't"

    I down the wine. My hand drifts back to touch hers when she moves away.

    I look at Skinner again.

    "Our usual rate, yes?" I say lightly. He should be able to make that. Probably won't like it since he got Scurlock off his back, but hey. He'll have to pay someone. Might as well be with us so I can look after him.
  • OOC All:

    To pull back a bit of the "veil", so to speak. The Claim of the Red Lamp Pleasure House is owned by the Red Sashes, and their Resistance against sneaking (Shadow) as well as violence (Steel) is 2. You lay out a plan for recruiting them away from Mylera, then we'll determine what kind of roll it will be (of the three kinds). You roll Guild dice (Steel or Shadow) to see how the initial "assault" goes. Then I'll throw you all into that scene.

    So plan here. I'll set up a new scene and you can roll for it. Then I drop you into the fiction created as a result of the roll and we go for it. Sound cool?
  • Volette:

    "The usual plus ten percent." Skinner answers. "I'm sure you can manage selling him on it."
  • edited June 2014

    I'd been leaning the chair on the back legs. I surge forward and the front legs hit the floor with a thump as I stand and lean over the table towards her.

    "Why the extra squeeze?" I say tightly, almost a growl, eyes glittering. She's just doing this to fuck with me, isn't she?
  • Volette:

    Skinner answers in a clipped tone, "Because using this as a meeting place means he gets more protection, and more business. Scurlock ignored this place." She pauses, then gives you a very small, tight smile, and adds, "And because I know you can get it from him, Volette."
  • Milos

    Una's wearing the Orchid Absolute 753, created to commemorate the birth of the Duchess Lionnesse of Sunfall, that was on her vanity last evening. From the window, I heard her describe the movements of the fragrance. The scent carried over on the heavy air so near the center of the city. The buildings held every bit of heat, the sweat of thousands of bodies pressed together, and I can smell her scent mixed with the orchid.

    Reminds me of my ex-wife. The woman I was accused of killing before taking to the rails. The stuff Romi wore was a hell of a lot gaudier than this stuff. I shift in my seat, trying to get comfortable. Thankful for the length of my jacket.

    "Spogg's almost as paranoid as Slog. You sure he'll translate?"
  • edited June 2014

    Oh... so it's not entirely to fuck with me. I feel so much better.

    I thump back down in the chair, giving Skinner a hard dark glare.

    Then I shrug, voice flat, affecting an 'I don't give an f" sort of tone.

    "As you say."

    I get up again to leave the room. I figure I'll talk to Larn once everyone has gone.

  • [Vauri]

    I watch Vol getting up. She seems a little more out of sorts than usual. "Have fun yourself, devil child. Don't get caught." Familiar words, and a comfortable grin. I toast her exit.
  • Milos,

    Una tilts her head to the side, looking at you, then gives a wan smile, "Spogg is as a Slog Dog, say? I'm suren he'll listen to good words." She pushes her chin forward, asking, "Will you speak them?"
  • [Ring]

    "Right, folks, what am I missing?

    As Vauri says, we start by convincing Tesslyn that we can provide more dedicated services than the 'Sashes are doing in their haste and distraction. We frame that as carrot, but there's also an implied stick. Should we go in with anything more specific? Who's doing the talking? If we do need a strong-arm tactic, I can start marketing a cure for the unfortunate affliction that Red Lamp clients have been experiencing.

    Even if that goes well, I don't really expect Mylera Klev to roll over. Sure they're busy with the Lampblacks but we need to expect something. How to put off any unpleasantness? I think we should surveil their base and keep our ear to the wind, specifically keeping track of how they might respond. We need to use our strengths before things get bloody."
  • Frog and Vauri, do you have any objections or alterations to Ring's proposed plan?

    If not, Ring, please roll a Risky Move with the Guild's 3 Shadow.
  • [Frog]

    Frog grunts positively. Ring seems to know what to do.
  • edited June 2014

    I nod to Ring, primly. "I have a few ideas for alchemical sticks also, should we tread that path." There is a hint of mirth in my words.

    I drain the last two sips from my cup and upend it onto the table with finality.

    "But who shall be the face to Mme. Tesslyn?" I shrug, spreading my hands out as if supplicating. "All the Greek fire and ghost dust in the nine isles will not convince a mule."

  • OOC: It isn't required for the team to have a character with Guile to make a Shadow roll in the Turf War move for a Claim. The Guild is making the Move.

    However, the Guild Move will most likely end up in a result of fiction where you might need someone who is effective at social interaction, especially since this is a Shadow Move.

    If you wish to change the team make-up to account for this, please say so. We can whip up a new NPC in the Guild to cover for that, if you wish.

    Once you've settled this, please make a Risky Move with the Guild's Shadow of 3 dice.
  • [Ring]

    "We can all go, I suppose. Dominate the conversation as needed."

  • (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 2, 4, 4. Total: 10)
  • Alright, we look at the highest die rolled, which is a "4". In a Risky Move, the "4" result is as follows:

    4/5: Success with a cost (harm, stress, time, etc.)

    I will set up a new scene for Ring, Vauri and Frog with these results.

    Milos, are you handling Spogg (will be a new scene) or joining the other PCs in the Move on the Brothel Claim (meaning you'd join Ring, Vauri and Frog)?

    Volette, let's continue the scene with you and Larn in the next post in this thread.
  • Milos

    "Da, I can handle him, sure."

    As if I'd say no. Get in close with him.
  • Milos,

    Can you give me a rundown of your plan to handle Spogg?
  • Ring, Vauri and Frog,

    Please go here.
  • Volette,

    After a couple hours of talking and some drinking, everyone has headed on, leaving you in the Nail and Bottle. The place isn't empty, but it's certainly quiet. Where do you take a seat, and what's your favorite part of this humble tavern?

    Larn's there, pours you another glass. "How many izzit now, darlin? Mebbe you ought take it easy after this un?"
  • Put the word out that I want to meet at the Knuckle Bone, with their curtained booths. Public place, with an air of privacy. You don't approach Spogg direct. He'll scarper. Go invisible. Describe the raid on Slog's game. The total lockdown of the block. We can grease the right palms to lighten the heat, but we need operating costs. Can't throw every chit in the ring until we know it's a mutually compatible partnership.
  • edited June 2014

    Sounds like you're making a Shadow roll more than a Steel. Why don't you roll the Guild's Shadow rating (that's 3 dice) as a Controlled Maneuver? Once we see how that happens, I'll set up a new scene for you.
  • edited June 2014
    (Rolled: 3d6. Rolls: 6, 6, 2. Total: 14)
  • Milos,

    Please go here.
  • edited June 2014

    I am pretty tipsy. It has only loosened the tight place in my chest a little bit, unfortunately.

    I scowl slightly at my glass. Normally I appreciate that he cares but, right now it just makes me more uncomfortable.

    "Maybe" I say dismissively. I look up at his face. "Got to talk to you a bit, sweets. Will ya sit?"

    I am in a shadowy booth made of dark hardwood, both the table and the benches which go tall behind the sitter. Its position by the fire makes the orangey light flicker in interesting patterns through the carvings on the booth. These booths are my favorite part, really. He recovered them from somewhere, and refinished them himself. They're really old, intricately carved, and really private.
  • Volette,

    Larn takes a glance at the stragglers, then nods and walks over to have a seat across from you. He's wearing loose-fitting pants and simple leather shoes, a billowy shirt under his old and cracked leather apron. He sits gingerly, like he might get up any moment, but his eyes give you attention. "What izzit, darlin? Need somethin?"
  • edited June 2014

    I take another sip of the wine, blinking my dark eyes at him.

    "It's more what you and the girls need, yeah? Your protection stopped weeks ago. Eyes wants to pick it up, so you aren't vulnerable."
  • Volette,

    There's a pause. A moment of consideration. Larn takes a breath, exhales quietly through his nose. "Skinner's doin?"
  • [Volette]

    I grimace and nod. "You need it though. At least this way, I can keep an eye on you lot. You know if it weren't Eyes it would be someone.
  • edited June 2014

    Larn nods. "Aye." He frowns a little, "Didn't think your lot had the steel for such a doin. I guess times change, specially with you round." He reaches over to pat your hand, like he's saying it's alright.

    "Same as Scurlock? Date an all?"
  • edited June 2014

    My heart unclenches a little bit. A very little. Damn Skinner.

    I actually have no idea how much he was paying previously. With my poker face on as best I can manage, I give him the rate. "...Keep in mind, this is a meeting place, so that's more business for you and more protection." I say cooly.
  • Volette,

    The space between his brows crease, but otherwise, his face seems pleasant enough. A tad neutral. He gets a far-off look as he pulls his hand back slowly, then sits up straighter. Clears his throat, doesn't meet your eyes. "With Scurlock gone, there's word that a tussle's bout to go. Say we'll end up like Charterhall. Blood inna streets, Bluecoats all around. If that happens... then what's for my business? An my protection?"
  • [Volette]

    My jaw muscles tighten. "The more folks like you, the stronger we are, the more stable the district will be. The main contenders will want allies, and we'll hold out as long as possible. Neither side will want to risk giving their opponents another ally."

    I reach across the table, putting an hand lightly on his wrist. My heart is tightening up again. Damn I need to drop again.

    "I'll watch out for you. Trust me."
  • Volette,

    Larn doesn't pull away from your touch, so there's that, at least. He finally meets your eyes, nods. "Guess turnabout's fair play? Juss try an keep the Nail an Bottle outta trouble. No work here, ay? Juss talk."

    Your Guild will get 1 Coin a week from the Nail and Bottle.
  • [Volette]

    I let out a breath and nod. Inwardly, I'm relieved. I down the rest of the glass.

    I move out of the booth, now standing next to it, then lean over and nuzzle his cheek a moment, then kiss it.

    "Got to go, but... I might need somewhere to stay a night this week. You have any ideas?" My smile is coy.
  • Volette,

    Larn's brows crease a little when you kiss him. "Darlin... you aren't obligated." He clears his throat, and despite his protestations, adds, "But I'm suren I'll find ya a place to sleep."
  • [Volette]

    I wink at him.

    "You're right." I whisper.

    And I'm out.
  • --END SCENE--
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