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Monday, April 25, 2011

Thieves' World - Turgurt

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 : Beysib Debacle

30th of Sperraz
In the tunnels after the escape, Modig and Olric split off to go north to the Brown Bear Inn. They know that Duncan and Engela will be friendly; a welcome change from the last few days. Olric is cursing Sanctuary, Ranke, the Beysib and the filth on his boots as he and Modig peel off in a northern tunnel. Few of the Group think Olric will return soon, if ever again. Zip continues leading the remaining members of the Group, the PFLS members, and the additional escapees to the Maze. Once out of the tunnels, everyone scatters to their respective holes or homes. For Gagino, Jack, Kalima and Malkar, it's a long walk back to the Bazaar and another night in the shop tent.
1st of Hespar
The morning comes way too early for the previous late night; yet the Bazaar is abuzz with more activity than usual. Rumors about a jail-break, heavy magical displays, and something about the lack of guards around town keep the morning a chatty one. After some additional discussion and some follow up investigation, one of the rumors proves out; there isn't a member of the City Watch or the Guard to be seen. The news of the jailbreak has hit the tongues of the folk in the Bazaar; the Group keeps a lid on their involvement. Kalima feels that the magical draw on manna is different today, but cannot place the source nor the impact of the disturbance. She assumes it has to do with the rumors of the two witches, Ischade and an unidentified Nisibisi Witch, performing a ludicrous display of magic all night long. Not ready to test it quite yet, Kalima conservatively abandons her daily retinue of rituals. Gagino and the other Bazaar vendors prepare for an interesting day, as a day with no guards might prove difficult. The local merchants ramp up personal defenses; Gagino following suit, hoping Jack will remain around all day for protection.

The Group has a task to do. Myrtis helped them, so they must carry out their end of the deal; to find and take care of Turghurt, the Beysib noble who murdered one of the Aphrodisia's girls. Kalima decides the best place to start is to get to the Temple of Sabellia and to contact her mother. Her mother can be useful with her status in the Palace, if she hasn't been frozen out with the latest debacle. Kalima makes her way east across town and notices that there is not a single member of the watch on duty anywhere in the city, and there is a severe lack of Ranken guards as well. When she reaches the Processional there is a very heavy presence of Ranken and Beysib steel and arms, the stronghold of the Palace is extended to the docks, but only along the Processional. Kalima does her best to subtly cross the Processional and manages to avoid being recognized.

Once at the temple, Kalima finds that a message from the Palace is waiting for her; it's from her mother and it has a wax seal with her family crest pressed into it.
“Dearest Kalima,
The Palace is rife with activity, and in turmoil from yesterday and last night's events. I can only assume that your band of friends were instrumental, although how, I cannot and should not know. The Palace is withdrawing behind the walls, and securing the Processional and the docks. All of the City Watch has been disbanded, and only Ranken soldiers are being retained to protect the Palace and the route along the Processional to the Docks. Beysib warriors from the docks have been filtering in all morning. The Beysib are gathering these forces in preparation to scour the city and the surrounding lands for your friends. I hope that whatever happens, your friends are difficult to find. I fear that we cannot meet personally; please give any communications to the servant, Kayla, who delivered this note, and they will reach me securely. I hope to hear back from you soon, so that I may rest knowing you are safe.”
Upon reading that, Kalima decides she can get the information she needs from her mother, and writes back a note, sealing it in a similar fashion.
You are correct, we found new friends to help us in our dire needs last night, and whatever you think happened, probably did. Our friends are safe, and we are good to have the information on what the Beysib are planning. I have a favor to ask: I need information on a male Beysib nobleman by the name of Turghurt. All I know is that he is in the Palace; we need to know when and how we may be able to meet with him. He cannot know of our inquiry of him, and my plan I cannot disclose for your safety. Suffice it to say, I need a description and some sort of idea about when he might be out of the Palace.”
Kalima hands the letter to the servant girl, and pays her a few shabooza to secure its safe delivery.

An hour later, the girl shows back up with the response:
Yes, I know of Turghurt; he is, I understand, a High Lord in the Beysib court of Nobility, fifth highest rank in court, second highest obtainable by males. He is in the military wing of their court, and is one of many leaders of the search parties throughout the countryside. I have a feeling he will be out of the city searching in a matter of hours. I hope this information is useful, and anything I can do to help that is within my power, I will do.”
Jack meets up with Kalima at the temple to discuss their predicament. Jack uses his military knowledge that any rumor that gets to a military leader that would give him an advantage over his fellow lieutenants would be appreciated, as success will be well rewarded with this high profile turn of events. Kalima and Jack come up with a loose plan for Kalima's mother to execute on their behalf, and write another letter.
That is interesting news, indeed. We think that if we could leak some information to Turghurt (and only Turghurt) that we can can intercept him for our dealings. There is a Magistrate from before the Prince took power, and he may remember that we did some favors for him, if we can convince him to be the 'source' of this information, we can manipulate Turghurt's actions. The information he could leak is that our friends are probably hiding at the Brown Bear Inn, which is located a half of a day's walk north on the General's Road. You know the climate and workings of the Palace better than I, so please use your best efforts to execute this. We await your answer, and I am including a pouch of goods, that is also hiding 450 sh for any political use you may need.”
Nervous of the amount of money going to her mother, they pay Kayla several more shabooza for her diligence in her task. They wait nervously for nearly an hour for the response to come back from Kalima's mother.
Your package arrived safely, and it took nearly all of that money to grease the proper wheels to sufficiently generate a believable rumor. I believe that Turghurt is sufficiently convinced enough that he is doing what he can to secure that search route for himself. I cannot bring myself to think what is going to happen, and I am sorry to believe that my little girl has succumbed to this city's worst habits. I am sure that it was not by choice, but by happenstance. I only hope Sabellia can keep you right with yourself and that what you are doing will not darken your soul. Please contact me as soon as whatever you are doing is finished. We will meet for a nice dinner, well, as nice as Sanctuary can provide. May you have Sabellia's blessing for you and your friends.”
The plan seems to have taken root. Jack and Kalima decide that Gagino's tent is the best place to meet up with Malkar before they go out of town to prepare for Turghurt and his faction of warriors. They still need to get a message to Modig at the Brown Bear to properly update him on the happenings in Sanctuary, so they can have an extra ally against Turghurt. The Wideway is their choice to get back to the Bazaar, a little longer route, but it seems safer from the guards along the Processional.

Back in the Bazaar, Gagino watches in horror as Moruth's beggars seem to have taken over, pressing all of the merchants for payment for the security of their goods. It is a sad day in the Bazaar when protection is the sheer numbers of the dirtiest, nastiest denizens of Downwind. Fortunately for Gagino, the previous dealings with Moruth seem to have remained intact, his tent is left alone, and he is not approached for any 'security donations'. Dubious as it is, with the lack of guards, the beggars actually seem to provide a determined vigilance and crime is much lower than would normally be expected in times like these. A note from Modig is delivered by Engelina, Duncan's daughter. He says that Olric has decided he's had enough in Sanctuary, and feels he is safer in the wars up North. He will be leaving as soon as he breaks his fast today. Modig is happy to have an ally this far out of Sanctuary, and he's doing as well as expected in these circumstances.

Once Malkar shows up at Gagino's tent, the three decide that they should go as fast as possible and decide to purchase three horses for their trip North. The merchant fleeces them by overcharging the Group three times what horses should cost. They need to get out fast, so they pay reluctantly. Saddled up and ready to go, they start their journey North, with the Brown Bear Inn as their destination.

They reach the Brown Bear in a little over an hour. Duncan is glad to see them all, though he is a little worried about the trouble following them. Last time they met was under dire circumstances and repairs were needed to his inn, so he'd like not to repeat those circumstances. The Group tells him that if everything goes well, any people from Sanctuary after them will be dealt with on the road, and not within a mile of his inn.

They eat some of Duncan's fine food, and begin forming a plan. It is unknown how many soldiers will be with Turghurt, but they assume that they will be outnumbered. Looking around the inn, there seems to be quite a few folks who are leaving Sanctuary's troubles behind. Kalima talks with a group of three toughs, and pays them a hefty sum of a Coronation each when they join the Group in a fight against some Beysib that are on their way here. She hires two more similar toughs, and Jack finds one more to round out their numbers. Once the promised payment is handed out, the extended Group sets out to find a good place to ambush Turghurt and his Group of warriors that they assume are coming soon.

Malkar and Jack concur on a solid site for an ambush, and Malkar continues South to watch for the approach of the Group of Beysib soldiers. Kalima, Jack and Modig set up the ambush, complete with Modig setting some of the left-over Death Squad explosive traps along the road. After a long wait, a signal from Malkar informs them that their prey is on the road, and approaching. Everyone is in place; the mercenaries are ready to set off the traps with crossbows and throwing daggers. The formation of Beysib are marching along the road, not very aware of their surroundings. The fighters reach the first line of traps; the Group waits a little longer for the front of the Beysib fighters to get to the last placed trap. The Group initiates their ambush with Fersun throwing a dagger at one trap, and two other mercenaries firing crossbows at two more. The dagger hits, but the crossbow bolts miss. One trap explodes, which injures the two Beysib soldiers in the lead. Their surprise attack used up; Modig is quick to react, rushing in and attacking a wounded Beysib, dispatching him. Two of the mercenaries also engage the wounded enemies in the front, injuring them. Turghurt breaks from the formation and draws a crossbow, looking around for his attackers. Kalima joins the fray behind a few more crossbow shots from her allies, which causes two more exploding traps to go off, injuring more Beysib. The Beysib warriors attack back with swords against foes near them, while the back of the formation pull out what look like blowguns, armed with darts. Jack sprints towards Turghurt in a fury of speed, and takes a poisoned crossbow bolt from Turghurt; Jack feels the poison sap some of his strength. This enrages Jack, and he deals a fury of sword blows upon Turghurt, who miraculously remains battle worthy. Turghurt returns the attack, a little less efficiently, but still wounding Jack with yet more poison from his blade. Jack's fury state keeps him from succumbing to the poison. Turghurt steps out of Jack's reach and allows three of his men to fire more poisoned darts at Jack, and who then step up to protect Turghurt, who takes advantage of the situation, turns tail and runs.

On the other side of the battlefield, Kalima and Modig work together to cut the Beysib soldiers down. In the meantime, their mercenaries take damage and fall, succumbing to their wounds. Kalima and Modig manage to avoid the effects of the poisoned darts, but take some cuts from the Beysib soldiers' swords. They see a few Beysib fleeing while they finish off their immediate combatants. They also hear Jack yelling that Turghurt is getting away. Jack is surround by three armed Beysib, still giving more blows than he receives. After a dozen or so blows are traded, Jack stands as the sole survivor, and immediately starts after Turghurt. He catches up with him easily, engaging him in single combat. Turghurt gets a blow on him, and takes three in return, falling unconscious from Jack's unrelenting strikes. At the end of the battle, Turghurt isn't dead, and neither are any of his troops. Two of the hired mercenaries are dead, but the other three are healed by Jack's army medic tricks and Kalima's magic. Together, they bind up the wounded Beysib, and then discuss what to do with them.

After some discussion, any surviving Beysib are put to death, and Turghurt's hand and uniform go with the Group as proof to Myrtis. They wrangle the bodies off the road and hide them in the greenery nearby. Returning to the Brown Bear, they sell the horses to Duncan for a third of what they paid for them, and start the long walk back to Sanctuary.

Approaching Sanctuary, the Group notices a few plumes of smoke curling into the sky. Apparently, someone has been busy, and it looks like it might be more Nisibisi Death Squads. When they enter the town from the North, they notice that the City Watch is still not on post. There also seems to be quite a few PFLS members stalking around the Street of Red Lanterns. The Group wastes little time, reaching the Aphrodisia House and showing Myrtis their proof of Turghurt's death. She would have preferred his head, but she has no reason to doubt them.

The Group asks about the past few days in Sanctuary, since there seem to be many fires and they were wondering what happened to the Watch on the north end of town. She tells them that the Watch has been disbanded, and the guards now consist entirely of Ranken and Beysib soldiers. They are only protecting the Palace, the Processional and the Wharf, and the Street of Temples, in high numbers. Crossing the Processional is somewhat troublesome, but not impossible. The PFLS have taken over the policing of the Street of Red Lanterns, and she has learned that more independent factions are taking over various parts of the city, too. Jubal's organization was broken up, but is reforming loosely in the Maze, the beggars are controlling the Bazaar, and the Stepsons are policing the Westside. She's heard rumors that Kama is back in town with some 3rd Commandos and are watching over the Eastside. The Promise of Heaven is heavily populated with gladiators. It seems that the Nisibisi Death Squads are back, and there are increasing reports of undead and other random street gangs.

She considers their business concluded, and invites them back anytime as guests, and hints that maybe they'll even get a discount or perhaps something special.