Iron Kingdoms: A New Start

Life after death

This was supposed to be the most honest job I’ve done for… well, this was supposed to be the most honest job I’ve done. The dangerous bit — go to Llael, find d’Alston, get out of Llael — is over, now all that is left is keeping our heads down and staying out of trouble. It was supposed to be safe! (Alright, so its in Five Fingers, say “safe–ish” then.)

Last time I wrote, I was busy dying while waiting for an alchemist to open up. Lug and Philipe spent some time deciding how much we could afford to spend on keeping me alive — charming, right? — while I tried to ignore the dizziness I was feeling, that was quite easy given the pain throbbing await in my side that I could focus on instead.

Eventually they decided that traipsing out to Cod Row and Crucible Alley in the middle of the night was a good idea. Given the choice between that and letting them witter on about the cost of being in business, I picked the outing.

Astonishingly — ha! — the Onyx Pestle was shut, so we holed up in what is probably one of the most expensive bakeries on the island and ate and drank until the shop opened. For a pair so concerned with money the rest of the time, they seem blind to the cost of good food.

In due course the shop opened and we made our way past the Ogrun guard — not a fellow I’d like to get on the wrong side of, least ways, not unless I was behind him and already had a blade or two drawn.

A price was negotiated for a cure, I wasn’t all that keen about the the emphasis placed on a discount if it didn’t work, and a stop gap measure prepared to keep me alive until it could be prepared. Philipe gagged at the sight of it, but I’ve drunk mugs of tea that were worse. The venom comes from some nasty Cryxian creature, and a fresh sample was needed to make a proper cure… but the shop has contacts. 

If that weren’t suspicious enough, then I caught a glimpse of Asenath Scarrow in the back room. Not only does she own the shop, but she gave a good impression of being close to the courtesans — one of whom, you will remember, was responsible for sticking me with that blade in the first place — at the galleon the other night.

The blade is supposedly of “Black Ogrun” design, whatever they might be. The guard said that the “are like Ogrun, but the similarity ends there, and they aren’t nice” which isn’t all that helpful.

Rumour has it that Cargis Renlos is the man to see if you want Black Ogrun weapons. I suspect we shall be paying him a visit before long…

With two days to wait before the cure is made — if there is a cure, at that point I’m more than a little concerned about Scarrow’s presence — and being half way there already, I suggest we pay Jethbelle a visit and see what we can worm out of her.

In short, that turns out to be:
• The item stolen from the Lady Luck was a skeletal hand that is a pair to the one made into the goblet
• I look like death
• The hand was acquired from a Cygnarian gentleman by Jethbelle
• Rhirdan didn’t mention any plan to take the goblet until after the hand had been stolen from the safe on the ship

Either he is playing his cards close to the chest, or he’s is only concerned about having one of the pair in his care.
Before leaving, I took the opportunity to suggest that she drop by the Quenched Whistle that evening — mentioning that it might be her last chance to have a drink with me, after all — before we left for the shop.

It had been a long, long day so I took the opportunity to get some shuteye before going down the road to the pub where I found a great deal of sympathy and a pleasant — or at least as pleasant as is possible to find when you feel like you have a bad case of the flu — evening with Jethbelle.

At some point during the evening she invited me to take her to the opera… and with that poison wrecking havoc with my ability to hold my drink combined with where she had placed my hand at the time, I agreed. Now if only the antidote wasn’t going to drain most of my cash away…

The next day I slept in until sometime after noon before wandering downstairs to find a wanted poster with my face on it. Well, a face like mine. It made me doubly glad that I’d disguised myself for that little adventure. I didn’t recognise the handwriting on the back “thought you should know”, so I’m more than a little worried that someone has connected me to the crime.

I spent the day taking it easy, by which I mean I painstakingly assembling a small pistol. The shop is urgent need of stock, especially if I’m going to woo (did I really use that word?) Jethbelle in the manner to which she has implied she is accustomed. 

A day later, after a ridiculous amount of gold had exchanged hands, a cure in the form of what appeared to be a glass of water (I’m still having my doubts about this fellow) and a salve was applied. So far it seems to be working, I’m feeling much better, so I only have to hope that it is a proper remedy and not a quack potion that covers up the effects for a short time.

That night we received visitors. I grabbed my sword and raced downstairs when I was woken by Lug’ shouting, only to find that we’d been joined by that Dag’s warden who had visited us last week… the one Jethbelle shot in the face. He’d been lightly singed by Lug’s magic and I quickly finished him off. 

As that clearly wasn’t enough excitement for one night, we heard activity in the workshop and found some more undead horrors searching the place. They showed an unfortunate interest in a certain goblet, which we don’t have any more. Just how many people have managed to connect us to that wretched thing?! We definitely are not being paid enough for this job.

There were three of the monsters in the cellar and they looked damn horrible. I’d have quaked in my boots if I was wearing them; it’s typically really, lavish all that attention on a woman and only end up getting naked in front of the dead.

Anyway, three of the creatures. One was heavily armoured so I dodged behind them and cut the others down while Philipe fired ineffectually at the suit of plate and Lug cast some spells.

Then I picked up a cask of gunpowder and poured a generous helping down the armour of the last of the dead before stepping back and letting Philipe spark it with a shot off the flagstone.

Setting terrifying skeletal monsters on fire seems to be habit forming. 

That wasn’t enough to put it down, unfortunately, and I didn’t quite manage to dodge out of the way of its blade (a big, nasty, two-handed thing). I’m not quite sure what happened next, although I suspect Lug, but there was a flash and the creature was knocked backwards across the room and into a wall. I plunged my blade through a chink in its armour and it stopped moving… although it smoked for a while after.

Why did I think that an honest job in a shop would be safe?

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