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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thieves' World - Beggar's Revenge

If you are just picking this up, I suggest reading the previous posts first!
Prelude : Characters : Act I : Act II : Act III : Act IV : Prince and Steel : Festival : Kadakithis & HellHounds : Sikkintairs & Portals : The Swans : Stepsons vs. Jubal : Roxane

Beggar's Revenge

12th of Sperraz, Ilsday
After a few unnaturally quiet days, Gagino opens up his shop in the Bazaar and takes stock of the potential prospects for the day. There has been a noticeable, steady increase of Moruth’s beggars around the Bazaar, and business has been steadily dropping off. After a few minutes of self-deliberation, he decides to take the day off from business, and heads off for a drink or two at Marta’s with his friends.

At Marta’s, Gagino joins Modig and Jack, who are already wolfing down their breakfasts. Malkar has been missing since the attack on Roxane, and his absence is the top discussion. Lisle saunters in and subtly delivers a message to Modig. The note is from Gastov and inquires about Malkar’s recent activities; there is also an offer of some work. Modig and the group discuss the note and the prospect of a job. When breakfast is finished, the Group finds themselves on their way to the Happy Beaver to talk with Gastov.

At the Beaver, the Group and Gastov talk about the offer for work in the Maze. Gastov has a friend who owns a place in the Maze called The Dead Dog Tavern. His name is Jackson, and he’s having problems with some beggars and local riffraff causing problems that normally Jubal’s protection would have taken care of. Since Jubal’s protection is gone, the Group is going to go and see what they can do to help.

With Modig leading the way, the Group navigates the Maze to the Dead Dog. They drink the only good mead in the Maze with Jackson, who proves to be a surly man who’s definitely come to age in the Maze. Jackson has known Gastov for a few years during their business together and is glad to have an offer of protection from him. Over the drinks, Jackson talks of the toughs coming in and causing problems. The Dead Dog is a local place that attracts the weaker elements of the Maze, and Jubal’s protection was useful in this regard. Another new occurance is that there has been a significant increase of beggars in the area. The Group asks if there is a place they can stay, but Jackson doesn’t rent rooms; however, there is a building down the street that some beggars are squatting in. Maybe they can kill two birds with one stone by clearing out the beggars.

They go scout the building; their efforts reveal one door and a very small opening that might be a window, but it is more of a “murder hole”. The Group decides to press the attack since they have the element of surprise. They spread out, Gagino at the murder hole, Jack at the front door, and Modig coming down through the roof. Jack rushes in and springs a trap on the door, getting shot with poisoned darts. His strong constitution proves stronger than the poison. The room has six people inside. For appearing as beggars, they seem to be well armed. Jack rushes in and starts swinging at them, meanwhile Gagino starts playing a raucous tune on his mandolin, summoning a creature to aid them. Modig climbs along the roof, pulls a few loose boards away and drops into the building from the roof above. One of the beggars moves to block up the murder hole, and the rest focus on Jack. Gagino’s summoned monster is a hellhound, and it attacks the man trying to block the murder hole. Modig finally makes it through the roof and drops in to aid in the battle. It ends fairly quickly, but two of the beggars end up getting away. The Group searches the space, and finds a stash of weapons: poor crossbows and cheap swords. Hidden in a corner, there’s a strongbox with the beggar’s cache, a dozen or so shabooza – all in padpols.

The Group sets up defensive preparations for the building. Gagino goes to purchase a mallet and some nails, and is severely overcharged due to his upscale manner of dress. Gagino is steamed about the expensive tools, and takes it out on the repair he’s making. The building is livable, still not nice, but livable. They finish their repair tasks and go try the Dead Dog Tavern for a meal.

Trying to relax in the Maze after eating a surprisingly poor dinner at the Dead Dog, the Group hears some noise outside and they prepare for an attack. Someone tries the door, setting off the trap that Modig had reset. The door remains closed, and the Group hears ‘Ok, light it up’. Men outside the building with torches are attempting to set the ramshackle building on fire. Not as easy as it could be, as the building’s exterior of adobe is still decently intact. More men with crossbows have set up positions around the building on rooftops. Some flames catch and Gagino battles the minor flames fairly successfully. Jack sprints outside to attack anyone he can get to, which are only the torchbearers trying to start the building on fire. Modig attacks the crossbowmen, surrounding them on the rooftops, killing a few, and the rest run away. The attackers now fended off, the Group focuses their efforts on quashing the last fire. This attack and new damage to the building sparks a discussion on what to do with the building now, whether to fix it or move their Maze base somewhere else. They’ll decide tomorrow; right now they need some sleep, even if the building smells of charred wood.

13th of Sperraz
The Group decides to repair the building and stay where they are, but this time will have Gagino find better materials for better prices. Malkar shows up at Marta’s, and Kalima finds him there; both of them are not sure where the rest of the Group is. Malkar suggests that Gastov at the Happy Beaver might know something. Gastov fills them in on the job in the Maze, and the two of them go into the Maze to look for the others.

The rest of the Group is waiting in the Maze, near the beggar building looking out for more beggars and the toughs that should be around. Gagino takes his leave to open his shop in the Bazaar, and to run down some supplies. Jack goes with Gagino to take a bath, to return in a few hours. Malkar and Kalima manage to find their way to the Dead Dog, and has little problem finding their friends. Malkar and Modig seek and find the gang that they were hired to deal with and they watch what they suspect is the gang’s headquarters all morning. The gang leaves in the early afternoon, and Modig follows them around. Modig watches as the gang visits a few places, and when they start approaching the Dead Dog tavern, Modig slips away to inform the Group of the gang’s approach. As the gang nears the tavern, the Group prepares for confrontation.

The gang is made up of five tough-looking older men; they could easily be ex-Hawkmasks. The Group tells them that the Dead Dog is under their protection now. The gang recognizes the characters from their reputation around the area, and decides to leave without further incident.

“That was too easy”, says Modig. The group agrees and decides to remain in the area just in case there is any further trouble. The Group sets up watch over the Dead Dog and starts cleaning up the scorched building. Kalima fashions a crude hammock out of a length of rope. She’s slept better, but it is better than the floor. The others decide the hammock is a good idea, and decide to get some more rope or actual hammocks the next day.

14th of Sperraz
Early in the morning, Jack is outside the building when two young urchins approach him selling baked goods, and services. Jack recognizes Gabe and Jilly; they also recognize Jack from a few months ago. Jilly sells them the baked goods and Gabe works for them in the building cleaning up the fire damage and soot, after rushing off to find some decent cleaning supplies. The Group continues to stay outside of the Dead Dog and notices the beggars are all watching them. Gabe gets paid for his day of work, and goes home. The Group tries their luck with dinner at the Dead Dog again. The results are the same: they need to find a more pleasant source of food in the Maze. When they return, Kalima’s makeshift hammock has been cut to bits; the few items in the building are broken or tossed around. And to top it off, there is a fresh leaving of human waste in the center of the room. The Group believes that the beggars are responsible for this vandalism, as there are suspiciously very few beggars around.

15th of Sperraz
Gabe and Jilly meet the group at the door for more breakfast goodies and work. The Group buys more baked goods for breakfast and sends Gabe out for supplies: Hammocks, canvas and other items for their headquarters in the Maze. They tell him to go to Gagino in the Bazaar, and he’ll set everything up. The Group makes sure that there is always one of them in the building to keep the beggars from vandalizing it again. During the watch on the Dead Dog, one of the gang members visits the tavern; it looks like a peaceful enough visit, as nothing happens. On his return, Gabe tells the group about an attack on Gagino’s tent. Yesterday, the first thing in the morning, Gagino’s tent was attacked by a group of beggars: the tent sides were cut, and a few items were stolen. The tent is okay, as fellow Bazaar residents helped with repairs. The Group discusses the event with surprise, and is becoming very wary of the beggars around them.

Gabe informs the Group that the beggars are organizing a different kind of attack against Gagino in the Bazaar. The beggars are uncomfortably close to the tent and are keeping customers away from shopping with Gagino. Halfway throughout the day, the beggars increase their actions by spreading to the neighboring tents. Gagino’s neighboring merchants threaten the beggars with guards, but as soon as they are moved away, others slink in to take their places. Gagino starts playing his mandolin nonchalantly, and summons a couple of wolves to attack the beggars. The two wolves attack four of the beggars, killing one and chasing the other 3 off. Gagino releases the wolves as soon as the beggars run away. A guard comes rushing to the scene and starts asking everyone what happened. Since the dead beggar is directly in front of Gagino’s tent, the Guard starts with Gagino. Gagino slips the man a couple of shabooza, and relates that the beggars were a problem, and that something happened that took care of them. The Guard does some additional questioning, but leaves fairly quickly.

In the Maze, the rest of the Group keeps watch over their building and the tavern. They discuss a plan to fake leaving in the morning, to see if the gang of toughs leaves the Dead Dog alone or not. Additionally, the beggars have become a little more brazen: they begin throwing odd bits of whatever they can find at the Group members whenever they are within range. The beggars scamper and scurry off quickly after a throw, and it isn’t worth the Group’s time to chase after them, annoying as the pithy attacks are.

16th of Sperraz
The Group continues with their plan to make it look like they are leaving. After the show of them leaving is orchestrated, Malkar and Modig sneak back to see if the Gang stays away from The Dead Dog Tavern. They set up watch near their building, but watch from separate hidden locations.

Meanwhile, at Gagino’s tent in the Bazaar, the beggars continue to keep business away with their presence and pushy nature towards potential customers. Kalima stalks down a beggar and tries to get to the reason to why the beggars are focusing their efforts them. The beggar replies with “You attacked us first!” and scrambles away without any more words.

At dusk, a beggar approaches with a note, informing the Group of a chance to meet with Moruth, the Beggar King of Downwind. Kalima sends an owl to Malkar and Modig, informing them of the meet-up. Malkar and Modig tie a return note to the owl with “wait for us” and start out for the Bazaar, vacating their post. When they get there Kalima is finishing up some spellcasting, in preparation for the confrontation with Moruth as it could easily get dangerous. One spell is Zone of Truth, so that they can make sure that Moruth is honest with them; other spells are for the protection of the Group.

Entering Downwind, they are greeted with a barrage of items being thrown at them: rocks, pottery shards, dirt clods, sticks of wood and whatever else that can be found handy. The Group doesn’t retaliate, but lower their heads for protection and continue on. Eventually, one item that is thrown at them is a piece of white cloth tied to a stick. Kalima picks it up and holds it above their heads. The assault dies off and they see a man step out from an alley. He tells them to follow him to Mama Beecho’s place. The building they arrive at is “nice” by Maze standards, and “amazing” by Downwind standards. They enter into a single room tavern, with a curtain down the middle. The tables are low to the ground, as they are meant for cushions or pillows, of which there are none visible. Their guide motions at the curtain and hastily leaves the building.

Entering the side of the room hidden with the curtain, the Group sees a lone man sitting at another low table; it seems all the cushions have been appropriated for this table. Jack recognizes the Beggar King, Moruth. Moruth smiles a jagged smile, and waves at the table, inviting them to sit down. There are cups for drink, rags soaked with Opah, and little else. As soon as they sit, a young man comes in and starts pouring what must pass for wine in Downwind into all of the cups. Moruth encourages the Group to drink, and inhale the Opah provided. The group drinks shallowly, but doesn’t partake in the Opah.

Moruth quickly gets down to business, and makes three offers for a truce. The first offer is that the Group leaves town – permanently. Second, Moruth wants any member of the Group to come to the aid of any beggar in trouble, be it from the hand of a guard or a citizen. The third and final offer is a single payment of 1,000 shabooza. The Group tells Moruth that they need time to answer him, and he gives them until sunset tomorrow. With the offers that have been made, and Moruth’s hospitality assumedly slighted, the Group is hasty to leave. At least leaving Downwind is easier than it was entering and who would have thought the stenches of the far Westside would be a welcome odor?

After some drinks at Marta’s, the Group comes up with two counteroffers, and they write them in a letter to Moruth. First offer is a one-time payment of 500 sh and assistance to any beggar in legitimate trouble on the street in the Westside or the Bazaar. The second offer is one of an alliance of the Group and the beggars for defense against any Hawkmask oppression, and the beggars will also get the Maze building back. Happy with their progress with the beggars, the Group goes to their respective homes for the night.

17th of Sperraz
In the Bazaar, a beggar shows up at Gagino’s test and Gagino hands her a sealed note for Moruth, along with a few padpols. Around midday, Moruth sends an answer and declines both of their offers. Not wanting to leave town or pay the 1000 shabooza, the Group decides to start helping the beggars around town. They start in the bazaar, which keeps Jack busy everywhere he goes. Now that they are on watch for it, beggars seem to be getting pushed around or roughed up on every corner. The Group can hardly walk more than a few blocks without intervening on a beggar’s behalf.

A scribe approaches Gagino offering his services. The two men seem to hit it off and they start discussing jobs and future plans.

Meanwhile, Malkar shows up at the Happy Beaver to talk to Gastov about Jackson and the Dead Dog Tavern. Gastov sees him enter, and jumps off of his usual bar stool in a wild rush. Gastov attacks him screaming “You sonuva froggin’ whore! Jackson is dead, and the Dead Dog is burned to the ground!” Gastov pounds wildly on Malkar and Malkar is spitting out apologies between hits. He quickly escapes Gastov and retreats from the Happy Beaver, wondering where he’s going to stay now. He wanders down to the WideWay and sees the crowds gathered, all looking at the sea; on the horizon, there are dozens of sails that can be made out, maybe more. That many ships can’t be good for Sanctuary. Word is spreading through town quickly as the others join Malkar on the WideWay. Kalima says her goodbyes to the Group and heads for her temple to inform them of the ships; but the Temple has already heard the news. The city is starting to set up defenses, as it appears to be an attack. The Temple suggests to Kalima that she go to the Promise of Heaven where other mages are gathering.

At the docks, Modig has a lengthy discussion with Hakeem about the ships. Hakeem doesn’t have much information, he’s never seen these sails or ship configurations before. Modig decides he needs to get some rest; tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a big day. He makes it back to his apartment for the first time in a week and finds it ransacked, including one of the Group stashes of money hidden under a floorboard.

Jack wanders around the WideWay and ends up at the docks, stopping to talk to any Stepson he encounters in the area. Everyone is preparing for the worst, an invasion of some sort. The Palace is setting up magical wards and defenses and bringing all soldiers and guards in to guard the Palace. Seems the Rankens are going to let the common folk of Sanctuary fend for themselves.

At the end of the day, The Group still needs to remedy the beggar situation, and after a day of helping the beggars, they find that it is a full time job and not worth it. They decide to make the payment to Moruth, only to find out that after their counteroffer, the payout has been increased to 1250 shabooza. The Group digs into their shared treasury to pay off the beggars. Maybe now they will get some peace, although with the ships on the Horizon, maybe the beggars were the least of their problems.