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Friday, February 4, 2011

Thieves' World - Beysib Debacle

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 : Beggars Revenge

The Beysib Debacle

17th of Sperraz
The Group finds itself gathered for breakfast in Marta's, once again. A familiar face, Lisle, swishes by their table, and drops off a sealed letter. It is from Malkar. He's at home in the Marsh with his family for an unknown amount of time. His letter introduces a friend of his by the name of Olric, with a request for them to show him the sights.

The town is preparing for war, as best as it can. The ships on the horizon have been lurking in the distance for a day now, making everyone nervous; paranoia is settling in, city-wide. Kalima answers a call-to-arms for magical reinforcement to help the town prepare for the invading fleet. After a day of casting these ritual spells, she adds some additional protection spells to her Books.

After a long day, the Group is again at dinner at Marta’s; all of the overheard conversation is about the ships on the horizon, and what it might mean to Sanctuary’s future.

18th of Sperraz
At dawn, one of the ships dock at the Empire's Wharf, the dock Ranke built a decade or so ago. A large group of Beysib warriors disembarks on the dock, and is followed shortly by a small group of finely dressed Beysib dignitaries. Hakiem is watching from the Wideway, preserving the moments for his future retelling. The people seem human at first glance, but a longer look finds wide and staring eyes, pale green skin, and webbed fingers, although the webbing is cut to allow for individual finger movement. Their eyes are the most disconcerting, being very large and with no eyelids, but having instead a membrane that serves the same purpose. Hakiem is spotted, and the new people approach him. They call themselves the Beysib and ask to be taken to the Leader of Sanctuary. They speak Ranken far better than a lot of the locals. Hakiem talks with them as he leads them to the Palace along the Processional. Once there, a large contingent of palace guards escort the visitors to the Palace proper.

As the sun approaches midday, bell ringers and criers are sent out across the city to inform the populace of an announcement from the Prince concerning the ships in the harbor. People cram through the gates and are allowed into the main area surrounding the Palace. Modig, Jack and Olric are at the Palace to watch the announcement, while Gagino goes to his tent in the Bazaar to prevent his tent from being ransacked. His tent is safe, but there are others that weren't so lucky. Gagino tries to note the looters for future recognition, but he keeps himself content that the nearby tents are safer under his watch.

Meanwhile, the Prince and the leader of the Beysib make their appearance on the balcony of the Palace. The Prince introduces Shupansea, the Empress of the Beysib, and announces that a peace treaty between Sanctuary and the Beysib has been formed. Kadikithis publicly welcomes the Beysib into the city, and encourages all the citizens to treat the Beysib with respect and kindness. During the formalities, Modig lifts a little coin off of a few others, and finds himself a little better off than before, monetarily speaking.

On the Wide Way, the Beysib begin disembarking and roving about the city. There seem to be a far greater number of females than males. The Beysib patronize Sanctuary’s eateries and taverns, hungry for food and drink that aren’t ship's rations.

The Bazaar is soon teeming with Beysib shoppers; they use a silver coin that they trade equally as a shaboozah, and the Beysib are happy to spend and buy goods. Gagino does a brisk business, easily making in one afternoon what he would normally make in a week. Other Bazaar folk around him experience a similar boon in sales. Jack finds work on the docks and sees a lot of goods going onto the ships, but not many coming off of them. Jack and Gagino both notice that the Beysib are oddly non-communicative; they only seem to speak when dealing with a sale or work instructions, and never use any unnecessary friendly banter.

19th-25th of Sperazz
The city adapts to the Beysib over the next week. Some people find the Beysib odd, but are fine with the way that there is more money flowing throughout Sanctuary. Other people thing that the Beysib are corrupting Prince-Governor Kadakithis. The Empress is always by his side, and the Beysib seem to be getting special treatment. The city seems to be splitting into two halves.

25th of Sperazz
One night, Marta’s is busy with regulars and the addition of quite a few Beysib that have made themselves at home in Sanctuary. Gagino decides to celebrate his good business with some mandolin music, and after a few attempts to get some music out of it, he notes that the strings need to be replaced. Another patron takes his place to try his own hand at some tips for music and song.

Jack, Modig, Gagino and Olric decide to call it a night and head for Gagino’s tent. On their way back to the Bazaar, Jack spots a Beysib hiding in an alleyway, which strikes him as odd. They round a corner, and Jack tells the others what he saw. Modig goes and sees what is what, and follows the Beysib on a course to the Maze. He quickly returns to recruit some help. Olric goes with Modig, while Jack complains of fatigue and sore muscles from the day of work on the docks, and hits the hay.

In the Maze, Olric and Modig pick up the trail of the Beysib from some local hoods who saw her pass. They find her outside of the Paddling Duck, hidden across from the front door, as if waiting for someone to come out. She spots Modig and Olric. In an instant, she rushes across the street, attacking in a fury. The two think they've been recognized from nearby the Bazaar. Charging, she draws two swords, one shorter than the other, and charges Olric. With three swift blows, she hits Olric squarely once, the blade delivering a poison that was coating her longer sword. Olric takes the blow, feels the toxin burning in the cut, but manages to shrug it off. Olric returns the blows, and Modig tries tumbling behind the Beysib. His tumble is clumsy, and he feels the blow of the shorter sword, also coated with poison. Modig’s resistance to the poison is not as strong as Olric’s, and he can feel the toxin slowing him down. He still swings at the Beysib, but misses while his eyes cross and the world starts to darken. The Beysib nimbly tumbles away, casts a quick spell, and prepares for another attack. Olric charges back into battle, and finds his blows aren’t landing as surely as before; the spell must have been a protective invocation. Modig steps up and, once again, swings wildly at the Beysib. She looks at the two, and attacks with renewed vigor, swinging with both long and short swords on Olric, landing a few blows. Olric returns like for like, managing a few strikes against his opponent, with one stupendous and fatal blow, killing the foreigner. She lays crumpled on the ground, blood pooling underneath her.

The two strip the Beysib of her possessions and leave the body in one of the many, many garbage heaps in the Maze. Modig falls to his knees from the effects of the poison, whispers “Sabellia”, and flattens onto the ground. Olric hefts him over his shoulder and hauls him to the temple of Sabellia in the Promise of Heaven. The Temple, as usual, takes good care of the two. Olric and Modig go back to their respective beds.

26th of Sperraz
Modig shows the loot to Gagino, and Gagino thinks it will fetch quite a price, but being of Beysib design, may be too difficult to sell. Gagino is quite certain that he is probably the only vendor in the City with Beysib weapons to sell. He quickly takes a rough estimate of the value; this is possibly the richest set of possessions he's ever seen. Worry comes to Gagino and Modig; surely this person will be missed, and the rich always get their way, who can know how this death will be paid for?

The Beysib body is found by the guards. There is much concern; the woman found was one of the advisers to the Beysib Empress. This is an outright slap in the face to the Beysib, and retribution will be required. Olric is rousted from the barracks and sent into the Maze with all of the other soldiers. Unclear on orders until they are told to start kicking in doors, and hauling any able-bodied person, male or female, to the jail near the Palace. The press gang works all day and manages to do a very good job of clearing out the Maze. Many Maze residents managed to escape, but the ones that didn’t are facing an unknown fate.

The Beysib are demanding justice; this is an unacceptable event, and there is outrage in the Court, the Palace and the barracks. The Beysib will deny any challenges of the woman being so capable in battle. The woman was a Harka Bey assassin, a secret to all the Beysib except the highest tiers of the Court. Their plans are to set up the most probable, suspicious people that they can, and mete out any disciplinary sentence that they can, most likely death. The Prince, clueless of the Beysib plan, will do anything to find the murderer. At the least, he must find someone that the Beysib will accept for doing the deed.

27th of Sperraz
After a close up review of the body, the wounds bear the telltale marks of axes, not swords or knives. This turn in the investigation demands the arrest of any men who carry axes as their weapons.

In the Palace barracks, Zalbar requests Olric and a few of his other fellow soldiers to come to his office. They are all notified that they are to remain in the immediate area around the Barracks and not to leave without talking to Zalbar himself. Olric notes that all the fellows in the room with him all wield axes, same as himself. Zalbar hands out duties to keep them busy and near the Barracks, and then dismisses them from his office.

Meanwhile, a reward is being offered for anyone who saw anything that can lead to a positive ID for the murderers. Town criers walk the city announcing a prize of 5 gold coins for any information that pans out. For anyone who cares to notice, there are more than a few people trying to sell their 'information' to the Guards. Unfortunately, there seem to be a few actual witnesses to the end of the battle, and to the discarding of the corpse: a few young men from the Maze, from the same group who were pressing the Dead Dog for protection. These men describe the last part of the fighting, and say that they know one of the men, but not the other. They provide accurate enough details about how the wounds would have been caused, and the men are escorted to Zalbar's office. After hearing their story, and questioning them in great length, Zalbar is convinced that these men truly did see the murder, even if it was the only the last few seconds of it. The men name Modig, and describe Olric, although vaguely. Zalbar needs to clear his men, and sends for all of the men under house arrest. Olric and the rest enter the office, are asked a few more questions, and then are asked to leave. Olric sees the men in Zalbar's office, but does not know who they are. After the soldiers leave, the Maze rats identify Olric as the other man.

Olric barely gets back to his cot and is immediately summoned back to Zalbar's office. Olric swallows hard, and steps in with his escort back to the Hell Hound captain's office. A mage is present, and Olric feels the touch of magic; a truth spell is cast on him, but he repels the charm. Olric is questioned about the murder, and he denies everything. Zalbar doesn't trust the magic, and his instincts lead him to believe that Olric is lying. Why, though, is another question that won't be answered immediately. Olric is formally arrested and taken to the jail. He goes peacefully, not sure what to do about his dire circumstances.

Meanwhile, Modig, Gagino and Kalima have decided that the loot they have is not going to be easy to sell, and may be used as proof against Modig and Olric. They need to be rid of this stuff, and fast. They decide to take it all to the White Foal River to dump it, but they have to wait until after it is dark to do it. They sit tight in Gagino's tent, wary of any approaching guards. Night finally falls, and Kalima prepares them with a spell of protection. She and Modig head out with their bags of contraband. They approach the Common Gate leading out of the Bazaar, when they realize that security has been heightened, and that there might be trouble with their bags that they are carrying. Kalima summons a giant owl to take the bags west to the river, where they will deal with the contents. The owl takes off, smoothly taking to the air, but not escaping the attention of one of the guards at the gate. He sees it and points it out to the others around him, making everyone on watch wary. Kalima and Modig approach the gate a few minutes later, and a guard stops them, waves a wand at them, and starts asking questions. Modig feels compelled to tell the truth and the whole truth, while Kalima shakes off the spell. The two are questioned heavily, with Kalima answering most of the questions. Modig manages to tell the truth, but not give himself up. At the river, Kalima and Modig approach their avian pack bearer, and start discussing the fate of these ill-fated goods. During their conversation, they hear a sound coming from the copse of trees nearby, and spot a guard watching them. He sees them turn and look at him. He then turns around and starts running away, yelling loudly for the other guards to capture them. Modig flings a couple of daggers at the retreating man, hitting him, but not significantly enough to slow him. Kalima thinks fast, orders the owl to take the bags South, fly over the ocean for two hours, to drop them into the water, and then return to her. The owl takes off, and disappears into the southern night sky.

Modig and Kalima hear the sounds of many guards approaching. They quickly discern that they are greatly outnumbered and surrounded, but not yet sighted. They decide the river is their best escape, and jump into the cold spring waters, swimming for the west bank. They hear the twang of several crossbows firing, and feel the sting of a few bolts hit them. Thanks to Kalima's protection spell, the damage is largely nullified. Once on the opposite bank of the White Foal, they make a run for the countryside.

28th of Sperraz
Wet, dirty and miserable, the two spend the rest of their night circumnavigating farms and ranches, circling around north of Sanctuary, and ending up northeast of the city. From there, it is fairly easy to slip into the Temple of Sebellia, and try get some rest. Rest does not come, however, and the day is already pressing them. While they get cleaned up when Kalima decides that she needs to send word to her mother, Sequina, for some aid. While they wait for a response from her, they start discussing possible plans. Sequina arrives and updates them on what is happening in the Palace. She tells them that a man has been arrested, and describes Olric. She also states that Modig has been named by the same witnesses who identified Olric. The Palace hasn't spared any coin looking for them, and is going to continue to pay out for information. Her guess as to what will happen next is that all of Modig's friends and acquaintances will start getting harassed until he is caught.

Modig makes the decision to turn himself in, for he doesn't want his friends to pay for what he's done, and it was self defense after all, since she attacked them. To help their case, they get signed testimonies from the acolytes of Sebellia about the poison in the wounds of Modig and Olric. With Sequina escorting them, Kalima and Modig walk to the Palace. They are met at the gate, and are escorted to Zalbar. He takes Modig's statement, then takes him to share a cell with Olric. Zalbar tells them that their trial will be later on that same day. The guys think that the proceedings seem to be moving along too quickly.

After Modig's incarceration, criers again descend upon the town to announce the trial of the murderers, and offer an open invitation to the public to the event that will take place on the Palace grounds. Rumors are fast and furious; Jack and Gagino worry for their friends. Kalima seeks out Gagino after Modig's arrest, to make sure he knows she is okay. During the nervous wait for the trial, Malkar shows up, back from a visit to his family in the swamp. He's got bad news, but with what everyone tells him about the happenings of the past few days, he decides to hold off on sharing his misery, at least until this is over with.

The time for the trial approaches agonizingly slowly, but does arrive; the Group finds themselves packed in the Palace grounds with at least half of the rest of Sanctuary's citizens. Ranken guards are everywhere trying to keep the crowd contained and relatively calm. The blare of trumpets announce the Prince-Governor's presence from his balcony where he is flanked by the Beysib Empress, and all of their advisers. He announces, “The trial for the murder of the Beysib girl will now commence. Bring out the accused!”.

At the jailhouse, Modig and Olric are surrounded by guards, then escorted through the grounds and led to the auction block. The escort of guards rings the block, while one man in formal robes and three cleaned-up gutter scum also walk up on the block.

The robed man points at Olric and starts speaking; “Olric, you are accused of murdering a Beysib woman. She was found dead in the Maze with wounds that were determined to be from the blades of axes. Your axes have been compared to the wounds, and have been determined to have caused them.” He moves his hand to point at Modig; “Modig, you are accused as an accomplice to this heinous crime, in the fact that you were nearby serving as a lookout, and are a known friend of the murderer.”

He pauses, and lowers his hands. “I bring you the testimonies of three witnesses; Morgan, Kenton and Dario”, he says.

The tallest man steps forward, who is obviously a Maze rat dressed up in clothes not his own.

“My name is Morgan, and on that night, this is what we saw. We stepped out of the Paddling Duck, to see a struggle across the street, a common sight in the Maze. It was a man pulling a woman into an alley. His hand is over her mouth, and around her body. As they go into the alley, another man steps in front of the alley as if to stand watch. We duck into the shadows to see what is going to happen next. We see the man start beating the woman, and after a few swings, he un-slings an axe, and cuts her down in cold blood. He then drops her to the ground, and the two take off into the night. We went over to investigate, maybe see if they left anything valuable behind, and when we saw it was a Beysib woman, we just left.”

Dario and Kenton similarly step forward and proceed to tell the same story about that night's happenings. The din of the crowd grows in volume, with many opinions of what should be done to the men on the block.

The robed magistrate calls out, “The defendants will now have a chance to speak their story.”

Olric tells his story, that he was attacked, and that the person was a very skilled warrior, and that the blades were poisoned. The crowd's reaction is stronger, louder and just as confused as before.

After he's done speaking, an evidence chest is brought out. The Magistrate pulls out a bloody dress, and shows it to the crowd, “This was the dress she was wearing. It's a fine dress; she was obviously lost and out of her element.” He reaches back into the chest and pulls out a pair of swords that are flimsy and one is broken. The Magistrate continues, “These are the 'swords' the defendant speaks of, tin replicas of Beysib ceremonial swords; obviously these do not have the ability to cause any wounds whatsoever.” The Group collectively look at the evidence with horror; this is obviously a set-up to make someone, them, pay for the death of a Beysib. The crowd starts to turn on the defendants, with only a very few shouting out that they are innocent.

Up in the balcony, there is commotion; Kalima's mother is showing the Acolytes' testimonies to the Prince. He reviews the new evidence and feels the need to deliberate. The Beysib in the balcony leave quickly. The accused are escorted back their cell while the public is told to leave the palace grounds being somewhat forcefully ejected.

Outside on the streets, the locals start rising up against the oppression of the guards, badmouthing the Beysib and their obvious control over the Palace. People are shouting for freedom, the ousting of the Beysib from the city, and the shouting of the name of the Resistance: Popular Front for the Liberation of Sanctuary (PFLS). The crowd is dispersed forcefully by guards. Many who protest are arrested, with the overflow put in an extra warehouse. An hour before dark, more guards walk the streets, and announce a curfew for the night. Kalima runs out of the Temple, and goes to Gagino's tent to make sure everyone is okay.

At Gagino’s, Malkar shows up, deciding it was a really bad day for him to return from his visit to family in the swamp. The Group relates the current issues, and Malkar is considering going back home again, but will definitely stay the night.

During the night, a loud noise is heard from just outside of the Bazaar, to the West. A few minutes later, one of the guard posts raises an alarm, and the sounds of fighting are also heard. The Group gets out of bed, arm themselves, and run outside. They get to Caravan Square, and see a group of guards swinging at a hoard of rotting, walking corpses. Men long dead are somehow up and attacking everything in their path. Kalima rushes in to help, swinging a strong blow, causing herself to almost become ill due to the stench of the decomposing flesh around her. Gagino starts strumming his mandolin, and summons up a Hell Hound. Jack decides he wants his long spears, and runs back to the tent for them. Malkar shoots a steady barrage of arrows into the crowd of undead, arrows sinking in a sickly manner into the decaying flesh. The Hell Hound attacks, breathing fire on the undead, and the group of walking death decides to focus their attention on the fire-breathing dog. Kalima staggers away from the death mass, recovering from the awful stench. The Hell Hound attacks again, just before the mass of dead snuffs it out. Guards are continually attacking the undead mass, trying to slow its progress through the town. Kalima and Malkar continue their attacks, and the undead mass falters, and finally disperses, allowing the remaining bodies to be cut down efficiently and quickly. The horror is over.

Jack makes it back in time to stab a few walking corpses to bits, and finds his swords more efficiently suited to the task. The Group returns to the tent, and tries to sleep, worried thoughts of Modig and Olric making it a rough night.

29th of Sperraz
In the morning, more town criers circulate to announce the finalization of the trial at noon. The Group stays put in the Bazaar, not going to Marta's for breakfast, but eating the fare from the Bazaar vendors.

Jack becomes a bit stir crazy, and is wanting to get some answers. He decides to visit some of his guard friends to see if he can get into the Jailhouse to talk to Olric or Modig. He starts with some of his Sacred Bander buddies, who don't have any official ties and aren't very useful. Jack then tries his luck with Zalbar. His guard friends get him in to see Zalbar for a few shaboozah, and when he sees Zalbar, he puts a gold coronation on his desk. Zalbar ignores the coin but doesn't speak until Jack puts it back in his pocket. Zalbar allows Jack a visit with his friends in the Jail, but has him escorted the entire visit.

Jack, Olric and Modig discuss the trial, the murder and Jack wants to know the truth. Olric and Modig convince Jack that they did do it, but in self-defense, and that the testimonies against them are wrong. The girl was not helpless, and she was the aggressor.

Jack leaves the jail glad to find out that they didn't kill the woman in cold blood. However, he is now disgusted that this fabricated story has been brought up against his friends.

Meanwhile in the Bazaar, a man named Zip introduces himself to Gagino, Kalima and Malkar, and offers to help their friends in jail. They are very suspicious and therefore hesitant to accept his help, and want details, but Zip won't tell them any until they are committed to helping their friends. Jack returns and they all talk it out; they are short on time, but this will have to wait until after the trial.

The Group makes its way to the trial, hoping for the best. There is more guard presence than yesterday, including additional Beysib wearing armor and carrying weapons. The formality of yesterday's proceedings are the same, except the Prince-Governor is not present in the viewing box. Only the Prince's advisers and the Beysib are present. The finalization of the trial is brought underway with little to no fanfare.

As yesterday, Olric and Modig are brought out to the block, and the proceedings are cut short with the announcement: “The evidence has been reviewed, and the accusations will remain. The testimonies of the Sebellia Acolytes don't change the fact that a murder still occurred, and the defendants' claim of self-defense is not a creditable defense against an unarmed woman. The defendants obviously got the wounds and poison in another manner, and attempted to use that to get away with their crime. The sentencing will be as follows: For the murder of a Beysib woman, Olric will be executed, by decapitation with an axe. For Modig, the accomplice who stood watch, his punishment will be for a hot iron to put out his eyes. These punishments will be carried out at dawn, tomorrow.”

With that, the prisoners are escorted back to their cells, and all of the Sanctuary citizens are forced to leave the palace grounds immediately. Any upstart or challenge is met forcefully, and dealt with quickly; there are no arrests, but a lot of broken bones and egos among the populace.

After the city settles down a little bit, the Group meet with Zip. The Group decides that it is essential to free their innocent friends, and quickly. Zip thinks he can get into the Jailhouse from the long-forgotten tunnels under the city, one of which should have a passageway that leads to the cellar of the Jailhouse. The problem is that there are magical wards set up, and which will need to be removed in order to get into that tunnel section. He tells them that Myrtis of the Aphrodisia House on the Street of Red Lanterns controls the wards, and that they just need to convince her of the necessity.

Going to the Aphrodisia House, Gagino tips the house girl to carry a message of urgency to her mistress, and gives the girl a golden coronation for Myrtis, payment for her to just listen to them. They are brought into an empty sitting room, at least it is empty at this time of day. Myrtis agrees to see them fairly quickly. They explain the situation with their friends, and their innocence. The conversation turns to the fact that they need to get to the jailhouse, and that they understand that they cannot get there with the magical wards in place. Myrtis is concerned that they know this information and demands to be told who supplied them this information. The Group doesn't want to rat out Zip, but eventually tells Myrtis, at her insistence. She cools down after hearing of Zip's involvement, and says that they can work out a deal.

Myrtis tells a story about one of her girls, Bekin. She was simple-minded, and one of only a few girls who would service Beysib customers. Last night, she was found dead in her room, with telltale snake bite marks and signs of poison in her body. Her last customer was Turghurt, a Beysib client who has been in a few times before. He was long gone by the time they found Bekin dead, and Myrtis is pretty sure he won't come back, and is probably hiding in the Palace. Retribution will be the only way to keep her as the top house on the Street; politically, strength must be displayed. Myrtis requires Turghurt's death for the killing of Bekin. After some discussion, the characters agree to perform this task for Myrtis in exchange for her to drop the magical wards in the tunnels.

A few hours later, the Group meets Zip and some of his followers at the Aphrodisia House. Myrtis made it a requirement that they use her entrance into the tunnels. They light some torches, and they enter the underground through a barred door from the cellar of the Aphrodisia House. Dark, damp and foul smelling, the Group stays for a minute to adjust to the dark. Zip says, “This way”, and they begin their journey into the underground, sharing the space with rats and the wastes of Sanctuary on a long-unused route. Travel is quiet for the next several minutes, and a few twists and turns later, Zip slows down. “We are nearing where the wards should be, and I think this is as far as I've ever gotten. That's a good sign that the wards are down.”

Another short stretch of tunnel goes by, and Zip stops. “This is where the tunnel to the Jailhouse should be. Start searching around.”

Searching proves that one of the nearby collapsed areas proves to be an even more obscure tunnel. It takes a little while to clear out the rubble to clear the passageway, then they continue on to a dead-end. A quick search again finds a secret door in the wall. They open it, and enter into a small chamber and dead-end, with yet another secret door. They open the second one, and it leads to the cellar of the jailhouse. The opening is blocked by crates and barrels of supplies. The door is obviously unused and probably unknown to anyone who stocks this place. Another round of clearing items is performed so that they can get into the empty space of the cellar. They look around a bit and find an area stocked with implements used for torturing people, and then stairs leading up. At the top of the stairs, there is another door, presumably leading to the main jailhouse. In this storage area, they see stacks of confiscated personal possessions and see Olric's equipment amongst the various items stored here.

They steel themselves for the action ahead. Through that door awaits a difficult night, with the reward of freeing their companions. No one is fond of the idea of slaughtering who knows how many guards, people they may know personally, but what must be done, will be done. Perhaps their own lives will be sacrificed, as well.

Zip pulls on a mask, and hands out one to everyone else. He opens the door and sneaks in. A large common cell is the first next to the door opening, and a few of the prisoners notice Zip, and start to make some commotion. Zip lifts his mask and asks them if they know who he is, and tells them if they want to get out alive, to act like nothing is happening. He continues on, and finds a few guards in a common area, relaxing somewhat. He prepares a sling bullet, and lets one fly, shouting at the same time, “Charge!”

His followers storm out of the storage area, and rush forward. Jack, Kalima, Gagino and Malkar follow closely, readying their weapons for attack. They rush in, and split up and down the two main side hallways and rush the guards there, desperate for keys to open the cells. A few guards go down quickly, and a few of Zip's PFLS members drop. The Warden steps out of his office, sees what's happening and quickly steps back in. A few seconds later, a loud bell starts ringing; the alarm has been sounded. Of the two Guard Captains who are fighting off the intruders, one takes a strong blow from Kalima, and collapses. The other sees his friend go down, and retreats back into his office trying to close the door. Kalima steps in the way, preventing the door from closing, but the Guard Captain is stronger and obviously more inspired. The door closes and a bolt is heard slamming into place from the inside.

Meanwhile, Malkar is firing arrows, Jack is swinging ferociously, and Zip and the PFLS members are aiding the best that they can. The Warden rushes from his office to the door leading out, attacking a PLFS member trying to prevent any escape through that door. In his rush, the Warden drops his sword, but still manages to punch the man blocking his route. The PLFS member returns the attack, while the Warden scrabbles for his sword. The Warden regains a solid grip on his sword, cutting down the man in his way. He steps over the body and out of the room to get reinforcements, bolting the door from the other side. Zip makes his way over to the door, and bolts the inside, too. Meanwhile, a few sets of keys are lifted off of a few dead guards, and doors start opening; the freeing of prisoners begins; the chaos is just getting started. Gagino finally gets to the cell that his friends are in; Modig and Olric are freed. He continues opening more cell doors, letting more prisoners out. The keys are passed on to the freed prisoners, allowing them to continue to free others, and the rescue team attempts to slip out the way they came, hoping the chaos will mask their escape. They are partially successful, although it seems they have a dozen or more prisoners to take with them through the tunnels. They carefully re-stack the crates to mask their entrance point, and retrace their way back through the underground tunnels. Modig and Olric take a northern tunnel, heading for the farms outside of town. The rest follow Zip to the Maze underground, where they find themselves able to sneak back into the city. They prepare for possible consequences, and Zip starts talking the ex-prisoners into the PFLS as new recruits.