Hamvas 14, 6,995
Offscreen Before We Start
While everyone was focused breathlessly on the drama of Geneva not dying, Kurt sloped off the back way, leaving Aril House without drawing attention to himself. Geneva breathed out plumes of frosty air, still teetering on the edge of death. Fortunately, Galen knew a doctor nearby with no known ties to criminal organizations or the Hammers or the merchants. He boosted a cart for them, and bribed a gate guard, and they headed out into the deep night towards the doctor’s house.
Meanwhile, Annika was feeling much better, and night is when she thought most clearly, so she took her leave of Ryvan and took her bodyguards (Edru and Fynn) and entered Setine. She made it to the Aril House, where she was snagged by Delf and a large group of thugs. Fynn was knifed, and Annika found herself and Edru prisoners of the vicious criminals.
They got word that the people they were pursuing, led by a Scarabean, headed out of town. Delf took some hand-picked riders and followed, pausing to hire an orc warband to help out for when they caught up to their prey.
Meanwhile, Tyr Fenris arrived at the house of an acquaintance, Doc Gnaeus Onteron. He generally stays there when visiting Setine, rather than staying in the city itself. Much to Tyr’s vexation, the tween girl Yuli followed him from the village all excited about seeing city life. He could not take her back, so instead he asked Gnaeus to look after her and Lily while he went into town to sell furs the next day.
The Doctor is In
Kail banged on the doctor’s door in the wee hours, around 2:30 a.m. Gnaeus cautiously answered the door, reluctant to treat Geneva until he saw she had been touched by dark magic. He put his arts to work, using leeches and strange poultices and remedies, as well as stitching up the gash across her face. By the time he was done, the cold had been pulled from her bones, and while she was injured and unconscious she was no longer in danger of dying.
Just as he was finishing, another visitor banged on the door. A thug asked to come in and look around, following some fugitives that fled Setine. Gnaeus was gracious, polite, and very helpful as all his guests scurried and hid. Gnaeus told the thug that he did see the group, and they headed on down the road. While the thug went to consult with his boss, a couple orcs prowled around the house. They were tall, with black horns and eyes and teeth, red scaly flesh, and recurve legs with cleft hooves.
Tyr tried to slip out the back, but saw there were more guarding the edge of the property. Yuli was in the doghouse! He had to trust she’d be okay as he squirmed under the back porch, hiding.
The thug thanked Gnaeus for his cooperation, and the group left. Gnaeus looked out the door slot and saw five riders and maybe a dozen orcs. A man and a woman were captives, riding double with two of the thugs. And then the group rode off down the road.
Mostly. Tyr saw that two orcs stayed hunkered down in the woods, watching and waiting. Just in case someone was lying.
As Gnaeus demanded a payment for his services, considering they put him at terrible risk, another guest visited. Salizar slew the two orcs hiding outside, and came in. The time to strike at Vash had come! With the riders out, and no sense of trouble yet, this was their best opportunity to manage the assassination.
Kail steadfastly refused to do so, instead insisting that they follow the riders. He suspected the captive woman was Annika! Galen added his persuasive power, and Salizar relented. They mounted up on the horses Salizar brought, and rode to a switchback where they could get ahead of the riders if they climbed down some rocks.
Choosing their ambush site, Gnaeus put a bear trap on the road, and they waited. The second orc passing the spot triggered the trap, then Kail’s raiders attacked the ten orcs and five horsemen. One horseman bolted and escaped on down the road. Annika wriggled free of her captor and ducked past an orc in the woods, while Kail cut it down with one of Geneva’s kusuri-gama and flung another at Vash’s lieutenant, Delf. Edru squirmed free and ran into the woods, wanting nothing further to do with his recent employers or his more recent captors.
A hail of rocks and thrown daggers took their toll, as did the booming pistol Gnaeus fired. Tyr’s massive wolf Lily gleefully tore at throats and flesh. As the riders wheeled their mounts and fled, Salizar walked out onto the road in their path. Gnaeus shot down Delf’s mount, and Delf crashed down at Salizar’s feet. Only two riders and two orcs made it out of the kill zone, fleeing back towards Setine.
Kail made sure he retrieved the kusuri-gama he threw at Delf, then they all scrambled up the rocks. They again used the switchback to cut off the much-faster riders. The riders outdistanced the orcs, and the exhausted attackers barely made it up the rocks in time to attack them on the way by. They managed it, and no humans would survive to tell the tale of what exactly happened.
Return to Setine
They headed to Gnaeus’s house, where Tyr and Gnaeus convinced Yuli and Lily to guard Geneva while she recovered. Then they raced to Setine, arriving in the pre-dawn and slipping through the gates using Salizar’s connections.
They rested and had a drink at a tavern while Salizar made some arrangements. Then they headed to the Rosewater, into a public house on its bank, down to the cellar, taking a boat across to a ruined quay. Salizar led them on secret paths through the ruins, into an area overgrown with twisted willows. They saw the Ellydia House, headquarters of Vash the Unconquered.
Salizar asked for a fifteen minute head start, after giving them a sense of the layout. He headed in to make an appearance and be seen, then they crept up to the wall. They managed to climb up to the parapet, and slip inside the house itself before any guards spotted them.
Vash the Unconquered is Dead. Long Live Vash.
Gnaeus scouted, and they all headed directly for the door to where Vash would be resting in the early morning after a long night of depravity. Gnaeus slipped on his expert locksmithing gloves, and got to work letting them into the room quietly. As a guard approached, something in Galen’s eyes shifted. He stepped out and slew the guard silently in a single swift strike, to the surprise of his companions.
With the door open, Galen was sent inside. He saw Vash’s green finery and mask laid out, and Vash asleep on the bed. Surprised to see Vash was a woman, that did not stay his hand. The dagger dipped once, and her sleep was eternal.
The others came in, searching the room after they locked the doors behind themselves. Gnaeus found a locked chest under the bed, complete with a poison needle. He got to work on it, popping the chest open to find a money bag, fine perfume, a silvered pistol, and an amulet.
Up in the rafters, they found a ledger book with all Vash’s creditor accounts! That was the greatest treasure of all, but not one they could easily spend.
Salizar joined them. He let them keep everything but the ledger. Then he suited up as Vash, cleared the way for them with imperious orders, and allowed their escape into the night.
Kail expertly led them back along the hidden paths. They hunched in their cloaks and passed back into the city, returning to the Aril House. Dakri was pleased to see them alive.
Gnaeus, Tyr, and Galen headed back to Gnaeus’s house to retrieve Geneva, now that all should be safe. Weary to the bone, the company relaxed for some much-needed sleep.