Monday, June 17, 2019

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 22

Fislet dropped the Men off within an alcove on the Western side of the peninsula and continued on her way. This area is entirely made up of a quarry, for the most part inactive. It's pock-marked with caves and alcoves wherein hides the less fortunate of society. Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, Boldulf, Kiro, and Sergei use this to their advantage and attempt to blend in.

They make their way to the South, where the quarry meets the open plains and Sergei, the horse-sized wolf, is encouraged to run off and hide in the area nearby. Boldulf, speaking in the wolf tongue, reassures Sergei that they will come retrieve him whenever they leave the city. Sergei huffs, then turns and lopes away. They also find a place nearby to hide their weapons and armor since they're about to walk into the city, and holding such would surely get them arrested or worse.

The Men then walk back through the quarry and use it as a way to subtly enter the city of Baden's Bluff. The city climbs the steep hill that makes up the peninsula upon which it sits. A fog often hangs above the city as the warmer southern air meets the cool northern wind above a city surrounded on 3 sides by water. Even now, in the middle of the night, the city buzzes and bustles. Rumors abound throughout the land that Baden's Bluff is the "City of Resistance", where Shadow Forces have met their match and an uneasy truce exists between the two sides. The Men can feel these rumors to be true in the stares of those they pass and in the reserved manner in which the orcish troops compose themselves.

Famished from a long journey, the Men find a kabob and sausage street vendor still selling his wares - taking advantage of the drunks spilling out from the nearby taverns. Their enjoyment of their long awaited meal is briefly interrupted by the scream of someone falling to their death! The Men look to the vendor to determine how they should react only to see him shake his head and "harumpf" quietly. They turn toward the source of the scream and notice some chuckling orcs standing near an open door at the top of a nearby tower.

Ygvard looks back at the vendor, "So, that's normal?"

The vendor looks up from his cart, "Eh, only if they catch an elf. Damn shame, but no one's stickin' their neck out for an elf." He then returns to his business.

The Men shrug to one another and begin making their way through the city, wondering how they're going to find a single person in such a crowded metropolis - let alone an experienced assassin who can literally walk into shadows. They glance at each person they pass, searching for Lyra's face, and take in their surroundings so they might learn this city and its layout. They decide that they won't be able to find anyone this late at night though, and find a nearby inn that has rooms available.

The next day, they wake and decide to make their way through the city. Starting from the Worm Docks, a seaside area of docks that are rotting away and the downtrodden people that man them, they make their way next through the Stone Docks, a more fortified and better kept seaside area. From there, they enter the Steeps, aptly named for lining the main city road as it progresses steeply up the hill. The Steeps is made up of shack upon shack upon shack. Any room that someone could fit a shack within which they could live has been claimed.

Halfway up the road that progresses through the steeps, a young, scruffy fellow arches his back to push himself away from the shack upon which he was leaning when he sees the Men coming through. The Men spot him and roll their eyes as the young man stops and stands right in their way, awaiting their approach.

"Oy, you're new 'ere, best be payin' the toll to pass fru", he says confidently. A few other young men appear from nearby corners and alleys and casually lean against the shacks nearby.

Deirik steps forward, "Listen, I think it's in your best interests to just let us pass. We don't want a fight."

"Course you don't wan' a fight, you know good and well that it'll end poorly for you", he responds while looking around at his comrades and smiling.

Deirik shakes his head, "No, no it won't. Really, we don't want the attention a fight will bring, especially not the attention of someone getting killed. Just step aside and we'll move along."

The young man squints his eyes and starts aggressively moving toward Deirik, "Who do you fink you are that..."

As soon as he gets close enough, Eirik mutters under his breath "alright" as he rears back and punches the ruffian across the face! A couple teeth and a splatter of blood fly through the air as the young man is knocked out cold!

Deirik races forward to search the young man and finds a small dagger, he quickly grabs it! The other gang members from nearby all start racing towards the Men with daggers, clubs, or broken bottles in their grasp! Ygvard hangs back, he can't do much without his spear since any magic would bring Izrador's minions crashing down upon them. Boldulf darts forward, landing one crushing blow after another to these young men who expected a group of pushovers. Eirik picks up a club from one of the downed gang members and starts delivering debilitating strikes of his own. Deirik puts the dagger he found to expert use, surely ending the lives of a few of these men as well. It takes less than a minute before the gang members scatter with several of them unconscious and bleeding or dead on the street!

Deirik and Eirik both drop their weapons and hasten back up the streets away from the scene so they might avoid attention. They know the eyes of The Steeps are upon them, but none dare approach after what just happened.

They soon leave The Steeps and enter the Guildall section of the city, where the guilds of all kinds have their headquarters and there are shops aplenty. Men and women shouting out the deals they offer on their wares, crowds of people shopping and milling about chatting, and the aromas of hard work mixed with those of baked goods make it an interesting area to be in. The Men take their time making their way through this area, enjoying lunch and some of those baked goods while looking around at all the people - hoping to find that "needle in a haystack", Deirik's lover, Lyra.

After spending most of the afternoon in Guildall, the Men make their way to what's known as Hearthhome, the area closest to the Southern city wall which contains some of the nicer houses and higher class inhabitants. Knowing that Lyra is a highly skilled assassin, Deirik is betting she lives in this area and starts wandering through the streets and alleys to try to find her.

But finding a single person in an entire city is extremely difficult, especially when they're not expecting you. The Men spend the entire evening looking through the area, asking people if they've seen someone who looks like her (without mentioning her name, of course), and making sure they are seen in hopes she spots them.

Eventually, after a long day of wandering the city, the Men find themselves in a tavern to get some food and some ale to numb their sore feet. Over the course of their time at the tavern, they describe Lyra to the barkeep who doesn't recognize her - but does tell the Men of a nearby brothel, the madame of which, Madame Renee, is "people who knows people".

Shortly after they leave the tavern, Kiro decides his time may be best spent amongst the hobgoblin contingent of Baden's Bluff's guard forces. If the men are looking into the seedy underbelly of the city, having a hobgoblin along would make people more tight lipped. Eirik and Kiro have a quick discussion, with Kiro assuring Eirik that he's still loyal to him, before Kiro heads off to be amongst his own.

"Reluctantly" the Men then make their way to the Brothel of Madame Renee. The interior of the building is relatively lavish and comfortable, and the Men are greeted by a few beautiful women. They're offered drinks while in the lobby/waiting area, which they accept.

It only takes a couple minutes before a gorgeous middle-aged woman makes her way out from the back and heads towards the Men, "Greetings, gentlemen. I am Madame Renee and this is my establishment. I see you already have refreshments, good! If I may be so bold as to assume you're not just here to drink?"

Ygvard and Eirik both nod emphatically. Boldulf squints his eyes a bit and then looks down into his drink. Deirik meets the madame's gaze and holds it a moment before she goes back to business, "So! Please don't be shy, if what I have in front of you does not meet your desires, tell me what does! We have an extensive... menu."

Ygvard takes particular interest in the tall Dornish woman named "Delia", and the two of them make their way upstairs. Eirik shyly and quietly expresses interest in spending some time with a Sarcosan woman, which shocks Deirik! The two of them are always criticizing and blaming Sarcosans for all that's wrong with the world! Deirik decides to mind his own business though.

Madame Renee calls forward two lovely Sarcosan women, their exotic look and perfume intoxicates Eirik. He barely has time to learn the names they give, "Rose" and "Lily", before he's dragged upstairs by the two.

With Boldulf paying no heed to her, Madame Renee focuses on Deirik, "You... don't seem to have an eye for my girls, perhaps you came here to speak with me? Come along, young man." Deirik can't help but follow her back to her suite, the madame's beauty, charisma, and feminine power is undeniable.

Once she closes the door to her suite behind him, Deirik shakes his head to try to get his brain to work and clears his throat, "I... uh... you're right, I'mmmm... looking for someone. A woman, she's Dornish, but a little short for a Dorn, she's got blonde hair but often dyes it black, sheeee..." Deirik's brain continues to fumble as this incredible seductress of a woman continues making her way through the room preparing for another type of discussion, "she's known by the name 'Lyra' though there may be others. D-Do you know her?"

The madame catches Deirik's eyes and responds in a smoother, more sultry voice than before, "It might help me if I knew what business she's in or what business you have with her." Madame Renee comes to stand right in front of Deirik, gently twirling his beard.

Deirik knows he's in trouble. His willpower may be strong, but this woman seems stronger. He catches his breath, looks up at the ceiling, and rapidly fires out his words, "She's my mentor and lover, I came to the city to find her. I was told you know a lot of people and might be able to help. Could you please?"

Madame Renee pouts, Deirik fights all his primal urges and does all he can not to look her in the eyes - he fears if he does once more, he'll succumb to her.

She then puts her hands down away from Deirik's face and steps away, "I may know who you are referencing. If the one I'm thinking of does know you, I'll have her reach out to you. If you don't hear from anyone, then I don't know the girl. Shame... we could've had some fun." Madame Renee shrugs playfully and escorts Deirik back out to the lobby where Boldulf is still sitting with his drink. When he spots Deirik coming from the back, Boldulf grins and gives a gravelly chuckle.

After some time passes, both Ygvard and Eirik return from their time upstairs. After some knowing grins and smirks amongst each other, the Men head out from the brothel and start making their way towards the nearest inn to find rooms for the night. They arrange for two rooms amongst them and bed down for the night.

The others quickly pass out, oblivious to the world, with how long a day they've had. However, Deirik's mind is racing, so it takes him some time to fall asleep. Before he does so, though, a figure materializes from the shadows in his room and darts forward to place a dagger up against his neck. It happened so quickly, his eyes don't have time to focus on who it is, all he hears is a feminine voice angrily ask, "DID YOU SLEEP WITH HER?!"

Deirik, once again fumbling, "Who? What?" He's unused to being caught by surprise, usually he's the one doing the surprising.

His eyes finally focus and he recognizes Lyra, and sighs - careful not to press too hard against the dagger. "No, of course not. I went to her looking for you. Obviously, a good idea as you've now found me."

Lyra looks at Deirik suspiciously, "Yes, but I know her powers of persuasion. You're telling me you refused her for me?"

Deirik, keeping his cool, replies, "Of course. I love you."

Lyra eases the dagger back away from Deirik's skin, leaving a small slice in the skin, "Good. I'll return in the morning to retrieve you then." She gets up and heads straight for the shadows from which she came and disappears.

Deirik rubs his neck at the spot she sliced with her dagger, knowing that she's skilled enough to have done that on purpose. It takes a few moments before his mind finally catches up to him. At that point, his eyes widen, his jaw drops, and his brain has a thought that overtakes all others, "WAIT, WAS SHE PREGNANT?!"

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