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Thread: Intrigues of Venedig IC

  1. #21
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Yan Shu Zen
    City Plaza

    “Someone has used the auction as a distraction to steal a Relic from the Bank of Venedig; it’s the Pharos, an orb which prophecy has said can be used to signal the return of the Old Gods!”
    Lin was there, right there, and now this, just when she had him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    "I'll catch ya later, Maddog. I've got a date with a bag o' coin; come with if you wanna get rich too."
    "Do you what you want. Cause whatever chaos you want. I don't care - just don't make it my problem."

    Yan grits her teeth, looking around her, eyes lingering on Lin and Rote long enough to burn a hole into Lin's head. He'd better believe he was in for it, one way or the other. Whatever he did, whatever the mercs did - that wasn't her concern now.

    Damn it.

    Damn damn damn.


    Yan's voice rises above the crowd, loud enough to reach the ear of every knight - loud enough to reach Lin and Rote.

    "To the Bank, double time! You," she points at a loose group of the knights, around twelve in number. "Start breaking off on our way there to look for anyone fleeing, anyone suspicious. If they even look like they have an orb, if they look shifty, even if you just don't like them - stop them. If they don't have it, then let them fuck off."

    She casts a gaze around the plaza one more time, before gritting her teeth and spitting on the ground.

    "Let's move."
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  2. #22

    The Bank of Venedig was another island away, and Yan and her troops - Who weren't Marine Knights for nothing - had to take a boat larger than a gondola to get there, which in turn meant that there had been plenty of time for the mysterious robbers to get away. And when they actually got to the Bank, where several members of the City Watch and the Bank's personal battalion of private guards had established a cordon, the reports were even more unpleasant.

    "The Bank was warded and trapped against living men," said the Captain of the Bank Guards, a short and stocky man who wore a mithril breastplate mixed with steel plate for the limbs, "but whoever wanted to rob us used Ghouls which had explosive barrels strapped ot their backs," he gestured at a gaping hole at the bank wall, as well as Shadows, another type of Undead, to disarm the locks. This means that someone with strong Underworld Magic must have been behind the theft, which in turn implies that we're looking at a Cultist who actually plans to use the Pharos..."


    Jack/Leon would follow the obese man who had tried to buy Rote as he went back to his carriage... but would notice the sound of rustling to both sides of him, followed by footsteps. As the obese man reached his carriage, the mercenary would then glimpse the glint of pistol barrels as three dwarves wearing breastplates, leather and cloth underneath, and capes with identical colors to the obese man's own plus feathered hats (also of identical colors to the obese man's violet cape). It seemed that this slaveowner had bodyguards.

    "Oh ho ho ho..." said the fat slaveowner, "I see that one of the mercenaries has reduced himself to a common footpad. Don't you know that the penalty for theft - even attempted theft - is enslavement now? And I have just the connections to make it happen, too..."

    He then licked his lips, a gross reaction from one such as him.

  3. #23

    Jack gives a firm roll of his eyes. "Captain Yan wanted me to tail you after that heated bidding war: she was worried about, ah what did she call it... 'sham enslavement?'" Jack gives a firm shrug. "Beats me, but callin' me a footpad is a bit rude, dontcha think? A might suspicious too, throwing around accusations like that. The lady doth protest too much?" he gives a hearty laugh. "I jest, of course, milord. But we wouldn't want any misunderstandings, right?" He holds out a hand. "Maybe a small donation to the Marine Knights will make me head back to headquarters right now to protect the Order's funds, right? We're all loyal servants of the crown, after all!"

    His easy smile and carefree gesture copious amounts of internal swearing as he attempts to bullshit his way out of this one.

  4. #24

    The obese man smiled and said, "If what you said is true, I'll do you one better; I have a list of suspects, many of whom have connections to the 'Commission for the Ethical Treatment of Humans' - I remembered the name right, hopefully? - of people who are buying Nobles in order to give them a 'sham enslavement'. If you'd accept such a list in lieu of a 'donation', I'm sure that you'll rise in the Marine Knights' esteem... Who knows, they might even reward you..."

  5. #25

    Jack grins even more broadly. "Milord, I think that would do right finely." Jack throws out his hand for both the list and a handshake, grinning all the while. "I doubt they'd give two shits 'bout my 'esteem,' but who knows, I can prolly dangle it over Capn's head for a few coin, eh?" He gives a hearty laugh at that. "But I do gotta ask, where didja get that, uh, list. Seems might suspicious, eh? Not that I heard anything. I seem to be gettin' might deaf in my ears."

  6. #26

    "I keep my eyes and ears open," the obese man said as he handed over the list and a handshake which lingered one second too long. "Make sure to be careful with the ones who also have connections with the Church, though; they enjoy more protection than most plus the Church might be planning something..."

    He then continued, "You know, you're a bright, strong, as well as handome fellow; if you're interested in a more lasting line of work - One with a decent amount of coin, ladies, and lads involved - Just call on 'Ludwig's Human Property Company' and we'll get you several 'missions' fit for a man of your talents."

    Yes, this person was a prominent slaver...

  7. #27

    "Shit, s'long as you pay me I'll 'round up any sorry Sporus you want. Fer now I'll hafta pass, though." He scratches the back of his head. "Capn' Yan be a slave driver, but s'worth staying in the service fer now." He accepts the list with a nod. "I ain't suicidal 'nuff to tussle with the Churchies. I'll leave that to tha knights with actual noble rank."

    Internally writhing with disgust at the hand, he backs out of the alleyway, never taking his eyes off of the fatass and his retinue until line of sight is broken.

    "Shit, I gotta get to Yan right now so we can get our stories straight..." he mutters to himself.

  8. #28

    Thankfully, there was a gondola available from where he can head to the Bank of Venedig...

  9. #29
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Lin Hyou Sei
    The Black Cathedral

    "Alright. I see. Indeed, this is precisely the context I have been looking for."

    Lin steeples his fingers together as he leans back in his seat. Goosebumps run down his neck, but his expression is serene. He takes a moment, and then several more, to digest the information that has been told to him.

    Strange, he thinks. The Conspiracy is such a vast thing, yet it was conveyed in simple words over the course of no more than a minute. Will the part he plays in its continuation earn even a footnote?

    "Rote," Lin asks his companion. "You knew of this from the start?"

  10. #30
    The Black Cathedral

    She was not surprised that the Inquisitor could perceive her in the Black Cathedral. To call it ornate would have been a grave injustice to the Gothic structure. Many moons were spent extracting fearful awe from the human imagination into the church. From the outside, spires jabbed skyward like the fingers of an open hand. There were many fools who were dragged inside of it and never seen again. Sable stone encased a steely atmosphere of danger. The subaltern guards looked even more dour than usual. They were a sensitive bunch after being so thoroughly humiliated. Someone had robbed them blind.

    Katrin fiddled with her cloak. Parts of her popped out from desolate darkness. The sight must have been unusual: a set of limbs without a full body, as if an invisible door hid the rest. It didn’t matter how light Malamocco’s acknowledgement was because it already blew her cover to the Tian.

    The tale he told next was the last thing she suspected. Who thought it wise to rob the soldiers of Existence? A long-running Conspiracy, apparently, to revive the dormant Old Gods. The Inquisitor’s network was immense, categorizing the activities of a secret society, two Magi of real talent, and their nefarious plot. She etched a note in the back of her mind to never enter dealings against the Church. It was akin to an ant realizing the scale between her and a giant. They were too large and she too small for any results favorable toward her. A trickle of cold sweat ran down the woman’s back.

    “A question, Father. Am I included in this group? The original contract was to safely deliver His Highness here. By the law of the Guild, I have completed the assignment. Our partnership should be over. But given the nature of this information, I suppose I can’t easily return to my shop.”

    The entire paragraph was rhetorical. Her entrance was a trap. Mental bars much stronger than the walls there kept her from fleeing. She was allowed to hear the Inquisitor because he wanted her to. He wanted her to know about the Conspiracy–one of the few ants trusted by the giants with it. Her new schedule crossed out a relaxing night. Sleep was hard when the threat became existential. She wouldn’t be able to tell anyone, not even her own blood. Unless she wanted to stay inside the Black Cathedral, easy to view but not live within, the choice became obvious.

    She bent down on one knee. “My services are, of course, open again. This blade of Baumanns can snip off whatever ails you.”

  11. #31
    Li and Kaitie

    Rote shook his head and said, “Not all of it. I eavesdropped on a conversation with my father and a person who was probably that Lich, then father, when he was killed, told me not to let Prince Otto die and not to be sent to Venedig. I also heard rumors about the ‘bargain’ which led to my siring.” He gave a short sigh and continued, “Father told that Lich that if letting… what eventually happened, happen to me was the price of my birth, then he would not have had me in the first place.”

    He then turned to Inquisitor Malamocco, and spoke, “You’ve heard about the theft of the Pharos, correct? That means that the Cult is about to act. If the Old Gods do descend on us, we’re going to need something which can kill them.”

    The Inquisitor nodded and said, “The Xul Ambassador has a God-Killing Axe; his Matriarchs sent him one at the end of the Nobles’ Rebellion. He is prepared to give the Axe to us if we can demonstrate our strength and intelligence… And that would be now, as the next target after the Pharos is probably the Ambassador and his Axe.”

    He then looked at where Katrin was, and finally answered her with, “I am offering a second, much more lucrative contract, yes. I also offer you the chance to back out as long as you keep what was said here a secret, but we both know that if the Old Gods destroy civilization so that they can have worshippers, your line of business will suffer, so… Let’s just say your new contract will pay a fortune…”

  12. #32
    The Black Cathedral

    Oblivion or fortune? She licked her lips. Her rise was labored, in all respects a deliberate motion of her curved knee, buying her the time to create a response. The content of her acceptance was already decided. There remained the picky subject of tone. By the looks of it, terms were being dictated to her: haggling was thrown out of the table, and acerbity wasn’t warranted. She was taught never to spit on a customer. They may be deceptive but the money on the table was real. So acquiescence cavorted on her tongue with an approximation of self-respect.

    Katrin said, “We are one, then, Father.” It was the speech of commerce, of drudgery hired and never levied. A quaint fiction for the hour. Doubts were drowned under the weight of that conviction. The Church had picked her, and she would reciprocate the trust in kind.

    She reached into her pockets and produced an oval-shaped razor. The tang of the sharp utensil faced Rote. “Here, take it,” she said. “I know that I am a stranger to you. There are many reasons to distrust me. But Hochwohlgeboren…” An impulse caused her to push the blade into her pinky.

    The iron broke through rugged skin. Blood, bibelot in quantity, wet the metal.

    “…My covenant with you is sealed with the highest oath. You will not come to harm. I will strike down my closest kin and kith if they attack to ensure it.”

  13. #33
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    If the man is at all shocked by the appearance of the silent assassin behind him, he does not show it. He had expected something along these lines, after all. The Inquisitor would not summon him to the depths of the Black Cathedral without countermeasures. He had expected, in a worst-case scenario, to have to fight his way out. And fail, naturally. Far more worrying are his friend's words. In truth, Lin still has doubts. He holds no loyalty towards the church, and he finds this sudden revelation a bit too much to bear.

    Rote believes it, though. That is all the justification he needs to help.

    "Katrin Baumann, was it? Your razor's reputation is spotless." He lazily places the tip of his finger on the flat of the razor. "Rote Kaufmann already has a barber. He doesn't need a second."

    Green eyes meet pink eyes, but Lin's hard gaze only lasts a moment before softening, and he shrugs, removing his finger before the flowing red reaches it.

    "...I would say as such, but you've already bled for that oath. It is beyond a simple merchant to break it."

    He has to deal with her, the Church, and eventually Yan as well. Compared to his allies, the Old Gods are nearly an afterthought. How troublesome.

    "So, Inquisitor." Lin turns his eyes back to the gruff man, and summarizes the situation. "We are, as it were, on the same boat. Your next request is presumably not a sham enslavement, but a protection job for the Ambassador and his axe. On top of the ever-present task of safeguarding Rote from the Cult of the Keeper. Then there will surely be a counterattack against Weissman and Gotha."

    He steeples his fingers and, despite being in the same room as one of the most fearsome women in the Razor's Guild, calmly continues.

    "I'm not opposed to offering my services once more. But first there is a matter to resolve: What do you plan to do with Rote, now that he is here?"

  14. #34
    Li and Katrin

    Rote did so gratefully and said to Katrin, “Your oath is accepted, and in return, I promise you that ‘Growthseed’ will never have hold of my body, or use it, for their ends.”

    Inquisitor Malamocco answered Lin’s question with, “Why, give him Sanctuary and the protection of the Church, while at the same time gathering evidence to show that he and several other nobles were blameless of anything except being deceived and in some cases, controlled.”

    He then looked at the Tian man, “This means that we are the best chance for your friend to gain amnesty and freedom. But you know full well that is an obvious offer, right, though nevertheless true?”

  15. #35
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    "Indeed, I expected as much. The Church has been nothing but helpful on this matter, and I have full confidence their efforts will soon bear fruit. Surely your sanctuary and protection will be first-rate."

    There is a pregnant pause in the air as they wait for what will come next, and it arrives in a single breath.


    Lin steeples his fingers together and a playful smile flits across his eyes.

    "The most sought-after treasure is that which has been lost. Sinners most concern themselves with innocence, yet the truly innocent do not concern themselves with it. The suspicious man is the one who withdraws from the spotlight, while he who has nothing to hide is most-likely to be overlooked. This is a facet of human nature both of us are familiar with, Inquisitor. To that end, surely you realize what it will look like if my friend accepts the Church's offer here and now."

    He gestures, and the winds blow, bringing a breeze through the musty basement.

    "It will be obvious within a week that the enslavement was a sham. Hwan's reputation will be ruined and he will be brought in for questioning and imprisonment and likely execution. If it were just that I would not hesitate, but it gets worse. The Emperor's puppeteers need their Godseed. They will spare no expense to get him back in their sights, even if they do not need him this instant. There will be wanted posters up across the city, promising a bounty fitting a conqueror for the head of Rote Kaufmann. Every single mercenary, brigand, and ne'er-do-well in the city will know he is a fugitive, and he will not be able to step a foot outside without fear of being hunted and brought in. Soon they will suspect, and it will be the Inquisition being inquired upon, for your enemies already recognized you before the rebellion even began. Your sanctuary, Inquisitor, would become a tightening noose around his neck, and this Cathedral would find itself under siege within a few months at most."

    "Leave him with me. Paradoxically, the safest place for Rote to be right now is in chains. Our enemies will chase a fugitive to the ends of the earth, yet pay far less attention to a slave who cannot run. So long as he is the centerpiece to the Heavenly Breeze Collection, he is a part of Venedig."

    It is a ridiculous proposal, and Lin Hyou Sei knows it. Yet his smooth words betray not a hint of doubt that his way is correct. He stares the Inquisitor in the eye.

    "Rote only need appear once or twice a week, to satisfy curiosity. The rest of that time will be spent in safety. As a slave he can go anywhere in Venedig so long as it is by my side. He will be able to act in secret right under the enemy's noses. A far better fate than suffocating in benevolent confinement, no?"

    The dead man does not blink.

    "Ms. Baumann could even be present as well, for protection and coordination of activities. It would not be strange for a wealthy merchant to hire a maid, after all."

    Lin finally glances to the left.

    "What do you think, Rote? It is a humiliating proposal, I know, but..."

  16. #36
    Lin and Katrin

    Rote blinks and says, “I get an excuse to romp around naked or in a loincloth or in magically transparent clothing of my own free will? Sure, I’m in!”

    Inquisitor Malamocco rolls his eyes and mutters, “Young adults...”

  17. #37
    The Black Cathedral

    Katrin emitted a serene smile at Lin’s boast. “There’s a saying from your people that I like: kill with a borrowed sword. We have our own strengths. Who knows, you may falter somewhere.”

    She patched her pinky with cloth. The cut was superficial and the iron clean. As the bleeding stopped, she listened intently to the green-haired man’s plan. One might imagine a large sweat mark on her forehead when Rote responded. “Did I pledge myself to a pervert?” she asked aloud.

    Her arms then crossed to form a large X. “No matter his own wild nature,” she said, “I won’t allow you to push your sick fantasies on my clientele if we go with your risky plan, Lin Hyou Sei. Two half-naked boys playing master and slave? Now that is just… g-gross!”

    She never read similar encounters before in her collection of pamphlets being the maiden that she is.

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