Iron Kingdoms: A New Start

The Heist

I’ve spent little more than a week caught up in Riordan’s wake and I’ve been been attacked by agents of Cryx twice, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about with Philipe the Khadorians and the gangs of the city. I’m going to have words with the High Captain… just as soon as I stop dying on Lug’s workbench, but I’ll get back to that.

Come to think, I’ve spend less than that in Five Fingers but I find I’m already using nautical allusions. I’m no sailor, but I’m no diplomat either, I wouldn’t even call myself a soldier despite having the sign of the Silver Shields tattooed over my heart. Whatever’s been veneered over the top since, under that shield is a heart that simply enjoys taking things which don’t belong to it.

So, last week. “Steal a ”/wikis/necromantic-goblet" class=“wiki-page-link”> goblet". Not the sort of ask I expected running a gun shop, but a simple job of thieving, just like the good old days. Don’t sound a great hardship, do it? Least ways, not unless you got a prickly conscience. Now, look at the bigger picture. The goblet’s magical, owned by an High Captain (and you don’t get much more dangerous than that around here), never leaves his side and the client wants you to pinch it at his birthday party.

Now it looks like a big, scary problem, don’t it? It ain’t. Scary, yes, but big? The prize is out in the open and surrounded with people. All you need is a simple snatch, the trick is holding your nerve and not getting caught.

First, you need to get close. Stealing something without being in the same building is a pretty good trick, but not one I’ve seen pulled off. Philipe wangled an invite, I replaced a waiter and Lug lurker outside by a porthole. None of us had access to the VIP room, but Captain Hurley couldn’t hide away his own party.

Then, bide your time. It’s a party, grabbing the goblet is going to be easiest once everyone is too drunk to stop you taking it. Philipe enjoys the party, Lug, poor guy, clings to the side of the ship with whatever weather that brings, and I suffer the guests. Now, I’ve been on both sides in this situation and I can tell you that being a horrible toff is a lot more fun then keeping them happy.

When the captains emerged, I busied myself getting them drunk. I refilled their glasses and a certain bone wrapped goblet several times, having some fun with Riordan not recognising me — if you’re going to commit daylight robbery then you can trust that a party of drunks ain’t going to remember the face of one of the waiters, but I like to play it safe and pull out the old greasepaint — and adding a little extra something to the jug before refilling Hurley’s cup.

If you’re going to gamble, then either do it with a clear head or be so stinking rich and drunk that you don’t care. Hurley, after a couple of cups of my special brew, was the latter. He wasn’t going to be paying too much attention to his valuables after putting that down his throat and the other players at the table he headed for were delighted.

The best way to avoid being seen moving an item from one place to another is to persuade everyone to be looking elsewhere. Now, I couldn’t arrange for a naked girl to show up, but I had the next best thing — a loud Llaylese nobleman and some duplicate medals. Philipe slipped his gongs off and I planted the copies on a hapless waiter (what? I’m in this for myself, not the common man, he can get himself an honest job or a properly dishonest one instead of fawning over the gentry).

The grande accuse did the job, more or less, but mostly less. Eyes went to where we wanted, but Hurley was hustled away by his bodyguard. No matter, there’s always plan B. It’s blatant, and clearly nefarious but tends to do the job. One deck up, on the way to the VIP room as Hurley gets beside a crowd of people I lock eyes on my target and gently roll a smoke bomb at it.

The bodyguard assumed an assassination attempt — he’s wrong, I’m not being paid anywhere near enough for that … for that matter, I’m not being paid anywhere near enough to steal the goblet — and tried to protect Hurley. I darted forwards, grabbed the goblet (the High Captain was too drunk and drugged to hold on to it), tucked it under my cloth (it’s a good idea to pick a disguise that provides handy places to keep things out of the way of peepers) and rushed to the porthole for some “air”.

Meanwhile, Philipe shouted “Fire” and proceeded to organise a chaotic evacuation of the ship. This kept attention off me as I turned back to the room and prepared to take my leave.

That is where things went wrong. On another day I’d quite like to turn around and find myself face to face with a smiling courtesan, but not so much when I’m trying to escape, and less so when the vision comes with the burning feeling of an unexpected gut wound.

If I hadn’t be cornered, I’d have just run for it, but I didn’t see much choice but to fight my way out, so I pulled my weapon and tried to stab the bitch. I only managed a graze before she promptly scarpered, leaving her dagger behind in my gut instead of finishing the job off.

Counting myself lucky, I pulled it free before I even thought that it might do more hurt on the way out then on the way in. It didn’t, so luck still holding. Nasty black thing it is, and with a green tinge. Not so lucky, and the pain is worse than any simple stab wound I’ve had in the past.

I stumbled off the ship and went to find Lug, who’d handed the goblet off to the client’s man, and he helped me back to the shop where he took a look at the wound. Then he went off to look for someone better at the doctoring, also a gobber. There was much poking and prodding, and you can imagine I’m pretty worried by this point. His conclusion? I’m dead and just don’t know it yet, and it’s bloody Cryx work. He’s given me something to slow the poison, and recommended someone who might be able to help, but he doesn’t sound hopeful. Worse, it’s in Cod Row, so I’ll probably get murdered just getting there.

What really gets my goat is that I don’t know what the stabbing’s in aid of. That dead pirate from the Luck wanting revenge for me dousing him with a lantern? Cryx just having eyes for Hurley’s cup? Do they just not want me dealing with Riodran’s lot?

One thing’s for sure, I’m not going to go quietly. If tomorrow don’t bring me a cure then I’m going to beat some answers out of someone, and I’ll start with Captain Riodran if I have to.



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