View Full Version : It's a party!

7th Jul 2006, 14:58
littlek dusts off the last stool in the Crippled Burrick then checks the many kegs of ale stashed behind the bar. The pitchers and mugs are chilled and sparkle nicely now free of the dust and grime from lack of use and wait patiently for their empty core to be filled with effervescent fun.

She stands in the middle and looks around....the waxed oak floor sparkles as the boogie dance of bright flames from the fireplace and from the many torches along the walls dance over it. She walks over to the door and tests the repaired hinges making sure they retained that exact same squeak that announced the arrival of guests. Peering out, the newly hung sign swings gently in the breeze.

Littlek walks back to the expansive bar, picks up deep wooden bowls of crunchy apples, large chucks of tangy cheese and thick crusted bread and places them on each table. She breathes in deeply as the aroma of BBQ crunchy deer legs wafts out of the kitchen to fill the room with mouth watering goodness. She opens more windows for the familiar bouquet to act as a particle guide for taffers to follow to the reopening of the Crippled Burrick.

“The smell of that food alone will lure those thieves back. It got me here.” A familiar voice spoke from a dark corner.

Littlek, startled, leaps back then peers into the darkenss. “Dammit Garrett. Do you always have to sneak in like that.”

“It’s my way. Place looks nice. But you forgot one thing…..” Garrett points up to the ceiling.

What did littlek forget?

7th Jul 2006, 16:26
Another voice speaks from the shadows in the doorway "You forgot to polish the chandelier! That won't do as BA is sure to show up!" Nightwalker strolls into the room, pushing back her hood and takes a deep breath. "It smells just like it did in the old days when all the gang used to hang out here. And the aroma of that food is making my mouth water. I've been.....umm...otherwise occupied for the last few hours and haven't had a decent meal since yesterday. I have a nice fat purse, though so I'll buy a round of drinks when the others show up. You know they will. I've seen them strolling by, checking out the old place more than once."

She drops down onto a chair by the fire, props her feet up and says "Bring me a drink and a plate of your best vittles, won't you, littlek? I'm exhausted. I was a little careless earlier today and spent several hours trying to shake off one VERY persistent guard. Maybe I'm getting to old for this work. I'll have to settle down and open a shop one day so I can sleep at night like everyone else. Then again...maybe not. How boring would that be, right Garrett?"

7th Jul 2006, 20:20
"Hey, ladies. Nice to see you. And Nightwalker has it right. The chandelier does need a little loving care.

"LK, where did you put the stepladder? I'll give you a hand dusting it off; I don't trust these rickety stools. They have been used as BJ's too often and the joints are loose."

Reaching over the bar, tBM taps a keg and fills a firkin with ale. "AAhhh... Das schmack gute!" Puting the half-drained firkin on the bar and grabbing a damp rag he heads for the chandelier.

7th Jul 2006, 22:20
Sly is late as usual and has been neglecting his duties. He sends Dusty back to the bar and begins a good spit and polish on the Burrick's most prominent light source. It's thirsty work and a pint of bitters is most welcome at this point. Alas he can not stay long as a bit of burglary is in order...the rent is due. "Tell me about it," says Garrett. Sly declines to elaborate further about his plans for the evening. "The Burrick is neutral territory but I don't need anybody following me this evening", he says. With that he disappears through the door and into the foggy night. He thinks to himself, "I need to stop by more often."

8th Jul 2006, 01:58
She sits on the rooftop, she tilts her head back, feeling the cool night air wash over her, a drop of cold sweat sliding down her forehead. Thinking to herself, "damn that peasant, pesky fellow." Trying to take my bag! Bastard trying to follow me, no one follows me, me thinks he won't be doing that again,."
As she pats her Black Jack.
Surveying the city, she see's a light off in the distance, a glimmer that hasn't been seen in a long time from a beloved familiar place. Eyeing it, "nooo, can it be?" saying to herself suspicious, she hops down to a lower roof, seeing more lights, getting a closer view. Hmmmm, as she mutters under the breath.

Taking out her slingshot, and grabbing a scouting orb, she aims, taking perfect shot, the orb goes through the window, landing just slightly under a table. She looks around, saying to herself
"WHAT THE......she see's littlek, NightWalker, there's TBM? What the.....she stops, looks around, my first Chandelier, they are cleaning it? Memories come flooding back, I may have to stop in. Wait......who's that over there, leaving so quickly, hmmm, what is going on...

She drops softly down to the ground, and slowly walks around to the back entrance, spying an open window.......she slips in

8th Jul 2006, 23:36
tBM rubs the last of the crystals of the chandelier, lights it and it twinkles in delight waiting for its partner.

tBM and Nightwalker join Garrett in the dark corner. littlek fills 4 mugs of cool, hoppy ale and with difficulty carries them to the table spilling some of the precious brew along the way leaving a trail.

"Serving brew has never been a talent of mine" she states as an excuse for her sloppiness.

"Well you managed to get most of it from there to here." Nightwalker comments. "Cheers!"

Fours glasses clink in a toast followed by each taffer taking long deep drinks. For some moments the tavern is quiet then four satisfied "ahhhhs" can be heard as the need for oxygen forces each of them to lower their mug.

"Now all we have to do is wait and see who shows up." tBM comments.

Garrett wears a sly smile having noticed the orb. His keen ears pick up the sounds of a window opening as he tears off the heel of the bread and a chunk of creamy cheese.

9th Jul 2006, 06:42
Huntress seeing a bit of light shining through the shutters of one of her old resting stops and hearing a clinking of glasses, thinks that maybe just maybe some of her old companions might be visiting for a spell. Taking a deep breath, she ventures in carefully (just in case it's the clink of some City Watch's sword instead) and much to her delight she see's her friends all sitting around a warm fire and toasting a warm greeting to each other. Hi gang Huntress says happily I'm so glad to see you all again and enjoying a brief reunion in The Burrick Inn. I've been out and about trying to keep up with everything and it just takes so much time...or is it, so little time so much to do? Well you know what I mean she says quickly brushing aside a few cowebs that seemed to have collected around the place and finds a chair to sit and chat awhile. I've had a bit of good luck lately in visiting some of those laa tee da's up on the hill and I'd love to buy you all a round, so drink up as it's going to be a long night I think she says with a twinkle in her eye. Where's that old phonograph (scratchy as it may sound) since some music is needed for that Chandlier Swinger to accompany her performace...Hey barkeep...how's about it? Waiting now to see...

10th Jul 2006, 23:11
Huntress pulls up a stool and joins the crew. There is an awkward silence as they wait for more taffers to join....

where is everyone? :scratch:

11th Jul 2006, 08:56
Sluggs comes in, looks around, sees a big hairy spider crawling across the floor, picks it up, then chucks it into the crowd of women... Then quickly runs back out.

11th Jul 2006, 15:14
Blackman caught the spider, yelled "Hot potato!" with a grin, laughed, and tossed it to Nightwalker.
Meanwhile, yubetcha, still behind the bushes, stood to see what the commotion was, when Sluggs dove through the window, knocking him to the ground. "Ow! Ow! Arrrggghhhh! OWWW! JEEEZ!", yubetcha yelled.
Sluggs bent over to a horizontal yubetcha, and said, "Oh, sorry. Did I hurt you?"
Yubetcha, with a pained look on his face, told him, "Move the rock".
Sluggs, paying no attention, disappeared into the night.

11th Jul 2006, 18:47
Meanwhile, Nightwalker quickly divested herself of the spider, having a totally unreasonable fear of the nasty things. She tossed a dirty look Slugg's way and muttered "Just you wait, taffer! Just you wait!" then returned to tucking away her excellent dinner while waiting for more old friends to emerge from the shadows. Since there was the distinct sound of some scuffling in the bushes outside the window, she was quite sure that someone else was on their way in.

13th Jul 2006, 11:04
Remembering something that caught my eye as i first came in and looked around, i came back in to complain about the shoddy work that went into the building of the Inn. "Nightwalker, you haven't been doing your job have you?" "Just look at those textures on that wall over there, they're unaligned, LOOK!" :eek: Sluggs gives Nightwalker the evil eye, turns and winks at the Taffers' at the bar, then goes back outside, tripping over the step on the way out...

24th Jul 2006, 14:54
Traversing rooftops after a successful "hunt," MMadcat notices an inn that he has always thought to be abandoned. On this night, however, the inn looked bright and cheerful. Sounds of laughing and screaming people came from within. MMadcat jumped down from the rooftops and landed on the street below. He examined the sign. It read: "the Crippled Burrick Inn." Tired of evading guards all night, MMadcat decided that a drink would be nice and relaxing. He started to make his way across the street to the inn. As he walked, he heard movement and instinctively reached for his sword. MMadcat quickly ran to the inn's entrance, all the while keeping his hand close to his sword.
Just as MMadcat reached for the doorknob, the inn's door opened and a hooded person stumbled out, accidentally pushing MMadcat out of the way just enough to evade the wet and filthy dishrag that was aimed at the hooded person's head.

24th Jul 2006, 23:53
She checks herself in the mirror, wiping her brow, "Oh what a night, I could use a drink." "What the hell is this place doing back open again?" "No matter."
She looks around the bathroom, seeing familiar scribbles on the wall. "For a good time, go knockout Constantine!"

A familiar smell wafts through the door, mead, vittles, "NightWalker must be cooking again, she was always a good cook." She opens the door, cape flowing behind her, she puts away her blackjack. She wonders if her secret entrance is still available, is it closed off for good.

Feeling her way along the dimly lit corridor, "Where is it?" "Ahhh" she spies a certain knot hole, just below the knot hole, she gives it a good "THUMP" with her hand........it slowly opens.

"Ooooohhh," It's still here. Dust and cobwebs fill the air immediately, age and lack of use, has found the entrance, fighting back, she waves her hands to brush aside the cobwebs, and dust. She creeps forward, taking out her flint, she lights a torch along the corridor. "Ahh better" Seeing an empty bottle on the floor, a grin crosses her face, it was a bottle of leapfrog Clayman reluctantly gave her. "He shouldn't bet with me," She remembers. ;)
Continuing onward, she rounds the corner, and there it is, the opening.

"Oh god, when was the last time I did this," thinking to herself. "Look at it, it's still beautiful, my chandelier. "Still just as I remembered.

Slinking along the beam, feeling the beam, caressing it almost in fond rememberance, she approaches the chandelier. Feeling the strong arms it has, "Someone has taken care of this." "I wonder who."

She closes her eyes, concentrating........concentrating, not making a sound, she is slowly lifted, and sits gently on the chandelier.......not making a sound. She opens her eyes, looks around the room. "It is good to see people in here again." "Ohhh, I am home again," feeling the arms, she begins to swing. A familiar creek is heard. Suddenly the room gets quiet, people look up.

BA!!!!!! "Hey everybody, mind if I join the party?" "It's been SOOO long."


25th Jul 2006, 00:25
Huntress hardly containing herself, looks up in half disbelief and exclaims in an excited voice LOOK EVERYONE...LOOK UP...SHE'S HERE!!! It's our beloved Chandelier Swinger coming to call. Then hoping by now that Karras is through with that darn ole phono, (never did learn to use it properly) is now in the back room waiting to be kranked up with our favorite jingle "Oh, give me <s>land</s> banks..lots of <s>land</s> banks under starry skies above..." or was it..well no matter as I call out Hello BA...nice to see you and your lookin good up there in your old familiar hang out ;) Glad you found your way back in since a few changes have taken place in this once busy Inn. Now that your here I'm sure word will get around and the place will be jumpin again!as Huntress picks up her bottle of Grand M. and takes a nice long drink. Meanwhile she notices (out of the corner of her eye) someone over by the fireplace, bending over and stoking up a few dying embers, wondering who could it be as they had slipped in through the back very quietly and all of a sudden had become visable....??? Her couriosity had been suddenly aroused. :scratch:

25th Jul 2006, 05:07
"Well... If it isn't Dianna the Huntress.. Long time. I hear you have been cavorting around in another city. Still lots of loot and game here, but I know a change of scenery is sometimes needed." Damn City Watch. Since Mosley got busted and Truart turned into a soil additive, the new Watch Commander has really been rousting us poor thieves.

"Pull up a stool. LK has a pitcher handy and I'm sure we have an extra tankard or three.

"Surely do wish GumDrop would drop in for a visit. Ahh... the good old days. *Memories of LAG float fleetingly before his eyes*

"I'll not forget the excitement, and I still chuckle at memories of rickNmel and the raid on Gervasius. I wonder if Izzie Lyon is still doing the news."

1st Aug 2006, 23:25
littlek puts another log on the fire, flips the crunchy deer legs - they sizzle in their crunchy way - and fills another pitcher.


2nd Aug 2006, 04:00
Sly returns from his nocturnal activities. Got one hell of a haul fellow taffers! 'Twas a thing of beauty... But I caught a wee bit of tile on the way out. I don't know how but Benny got off a good shot and now I've got a broadhead stuck in me bum.

A little help please!......Oh well, at least the fire is going strong.:D

2nd Aug 2006, 05:25
A little help please!

Fat chance! I'm still lying on the floor from when i tripped over that step, but they just keep walking over me, not even picking me up! :p

2nd Aug 2006, 07:23
Being well aware of SlyFoxx's penchant for scatological jokes, theBlackman, takes out his faithful snickersnee and, after a eyeball measurement of the affected area, proceeds to carve a hole in one of the chairs.

In a relatively short time (short that is if you don't have an arrow in your backside) has cut a groove from the leading edge to a well placed hole in the seat.

"There you go Sly. Have a seat! With a little care on your part you won't even know the arrow is there. I hope you don't sleep on your back" *Snicker* Benny of all people. I didn't think he could hit a bull in the backside with a shovel from two paces.

2nd Aug 2006, 12:39
Though expecting more, Sly is grateful for the help.

Shees tBM, I thought you'd already got that T-shirt and weren't so squeamish...but I'll take the modified seat and begin work.

Before he sits, Sly grabs a bottle of The Burrick's strongest hooch and taking more than a moment to get comfortable begins work on the contents.

Give me an hour and I'll perform the necessary extraction..........Hey littlek! Toss me one of those deer legs! Are there any peanuts?

2nd Aug 2006, 17:00
Hawklette, watching from the shadows, can't believe her eyes. I sure picked a good time to stroll by here after (WORK LOL). Think I'll just sneak in from that open window and check out what's going on. :scratch:

2nd Aug 2006, 20:22
Fat chance! I'm still lying on the floor from when i tripped over that step, but they just keep walking over me, not even picking me up! :p

Yubetcha gets up from the bushes, and decides to use the front door for a change. He walks around, and opens the door, and is surprised to see 2 people lying in the doorway on top of another. He thinks to himself, "Hmmm. Now all they need is a big round tub and some mud, and they could charge admission". He climbs over them to the sound of groans and grunts, and enters.

5th Aug 2006, 00:58
"Well... I guess it's time to pickup some pocket change. I had a word from one of the urchins that Isaac (see Like A Glove) had a message for me.

"I hope it means a good tip on someone willing to help my depleted purse." With that he drained his firkin and dropped some coins on the table. "Here, LK, I don't know who paid for this party, but this should help. Good idea, good timing, and if we make enough noise mayhap more of the old gang will stagger in."

Striding into the night toward Harlot's Way, he called back over his shoulder, "Back later guys and gals. Keep a candle in the window for me."

6th Aug 2006, 01:36
"Come back soon tBM. The door will be open."

littlek glances around as she pockets the generous tip. Every taffer in the place had one eye on her watching where she pocketed her loot. She could see each and every one of them planning on how they would lighten her load. She dropped one coin in her decoy coin purse and slipped the purse in her back pocket. Then she disappeared behind the bar making it look like she was busy filling a pitcher but she was really hiding the bulk of tBM's tip in the super secret spot in her belt where no taffin' fingers would go unnoticed. The now full pitcher brimmed with thick foam. littlek breathed in the aroma of well brewed ale. She carries it to a table and is greeted by a choras of arrrgh's.

littlek sigh's big and walks out the front door. She starts grabbing arms and legs and flinging people aside. Then grabbing Sluggs ear, she drags him inside with Sluggs complaining loudly. She sits him down at the table next to Slyfoxx who is currently being teased by being such an easy target that even Benny could get him. "Taffin' skills getting rusty Sly?" she hears BA comment while swinging overhead.

7th Aug 2006, 03:11
"Well, the heat should have died down by now. Maybe I can finally get back to the Inn?" thinks Squid as he peers out from the open sewer cover. A quick glance around confirms that there's no watch around, so he scampers across the pavement and darts into the open door on littlek's heels.

"Evenin', gents and garms. How's the trade tonight?" A big smile crosses his face, seeing the looks of surprise from his fellow taffers. "I know I haven't been around recently, but ever since Bafford's throne fountained and overflowed with him on it, I thought it was best that I stay very, very out of sight."

"Oh, and sorry about the smell. There weren't any clean cistern nearby."

7th Aug 2006, 03:57
Sly is done with bottle #1 and is hard at work on #2.

I'm NOT getting ruusty.!!!!!..just caught a piece oof tile...ONE LOUSY CLiOMP out of thousands of weltimes steps. You taffers couldn't hold my purse it's so full. I got away with the loot didn't I? Yo losy tufferts. I'll show Youu!! I'm gowin bak outa giun and get sum reel looot!

Sly pulls arrow from bum as he shoves foot in mouth. Oh yeah...It's on.

7th Aug 2006, 12:12
Sly is done with bottle #1 and is hard at work on #2.

I'm NOT getting ruusty.!!!!!..just caught a piece oof tile...ONE LOUSY CLiOMP out of thousands of weltimes steps. You taffers couldn't hold my purse it's so full. I got away with the loot didn't I? Yo losy tufferts. I'll show Youu!! I'm gowin bak outa giun and get sum reel looot!

Sly pulls arrow from bum as he shoves foot in mouth. Oh yeah...It's on.

LOL! Hi, all. Where's the barmaid? (motioning to Sly, as Sly falls over a chair that jumped out in front of him) I will have whatever he's havin'
(Sly, are you sure it was only your second?)

8th Aug 2006, 12:48
Hate walks in briskly, hood drawn, and sits down at a table to watch the commotion.

8th Aug 2006, 14:24
One single malt 12 year old Burricks Breath please.

That taffer laying on the ground will pick up the tab.

11th Aug 2006, 05:36
As Huntress looks over the crowd noticing some of the comotion going on...(apparently some folks having trouble manuvering around some of the furniture) she spots one of the old timers that made her smile to see them stopping in for a brew and calls over to Buglesoft...Hello there! It's so nice to see you again after all this time :) Where have you been and what have you been up to all these many months? Hope you've stayed out of Cragscliff and away from the City Watch! Huntress then proceeds to ask our bartendress for the evening to set everyone up for a round, looking forward to hearing some stories from some of these long lost taffers :D

12th Aug 2006, 01:44
littlek leans over the unconscious taffer and reaches inside his cape and pulls out his purse. She takes enough coins from his purse to cover Buglesoft's tab then hestitates and pours out a couple more coins to cover her tip. She is about to return the now lighter purse to the prone taffers pocket then smacks her forehead :scratch: GAD ZOOKS I am out of practice. She pockets the purse.

She walks by Squid and wrinkles her nose. "Squid sweetheart. There is a hot steamy bath all ready upstairs and we would appreciate it if you would take advantage of this opportunity. It's already paid for by that smelly dwarf passed out at the top of the stairs."

13th Aug 2006, 00:50
Old memories:

Like a Glove

“Like a glove!” (Page 1)
Author Topic: “Like a glove!”
Gum Drop
06-06-2001 02:12 PM
I was thinking that this forum is just the right size.Not too small so it suffers from lack of conversation,and you don’t have enough room to swing a blackjack.But not too big that you feel lost in a sea of strange faces and unrecognisable usernames.Just right!

06-06-2001 02:16 PM
Aaaaaaah shucks, move over d@mn it! Your stepping on my cape. :

Gum Drop
06-06-2001 02:21 PM
Originally posted by BrokenArts:
Aaaaaaah shucks, move over d@mn it! Your stepping on my cape.
*Gum Drop steps back and decides it would be best not to divulge the
fact that he has just been mucking out the Burrick pits in his

06-06-2001 02:38 PM
I hope those Burricks weren’t infected with Mad Burricks disease Gum
Drop, or BrokenArts will have to have her cape hosed down when she
tries to get back in to the United States

06-06-2001 03:41 PM
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”
Ehrrr... sorry, wrong glove.
But, you’re right. This forum has always been a perfect size. I’ve visited TTLG’s forum, and nothing wrong with it mind you, but I did feel like a wee little tadpole in a great big pond ready to be snatched up by one of those Hail to the Almighty Clan Poofie members.

06-06-2001 05:53 PM
Glad to see I’m not the only one who feels the same way, GumDrop. I’ve always felt there were a bunch here who played both forums since the other has a bit more OT, profanity and tomfooloery.

06-06-2001 06:00 PM
I agree! Those are the reasons I keep coming back
I am registered at both forums, (rnm at TTLG) but spend 99% of my
time here. Although DromEd has forced me to frequent thier very
helpful Editors Guild quite often lately

06-06-2001 06:49 PM
I think the knock on the head at clayman’s party made me feel all mushy but I sure am glad I found all of you and hope I will fit the glove.

06-06-2001 06:53 PM
Alllllrighty then, “GUMDROP!” what is this, “ish” the smell penetrating her nose, “WHAT is this on my cape?” She slips it off and hands it to him to take to the cleaners.

06-06-2001 07:00 PM
Originally posted by BrokenArts:
, “WHAT is this on my cape?”
You really don’t want to know!!

06-06-2001 08:19 PM
Im sure Garrett doenst have an AK-47, but Im sure if he did, he’d use to “kill every motherf**ker in the room” when they step on his cape...

Gum Drop
06-07-2001 07:38 AM
Originally posted by BrokenArts:
Alllllrighty then, “GUMDROP!” what is this, “ish” the smell penetrating her nose, “WHAT is this on my cape?” She slips it off and hands it to him to take to the cleaners.
“Cleaners?We don’t need no stinkin’ cleaners!”
spits on stain and rubs it in
“There,all better now.”

06-07-2001 08:07 AM
And all this time you thought capes were black to hide you, they’re black to hide stains from
finger wiping and errant burricks.

06-07-2001 08:49 AM
Maybe it’s just some of Viktoria’s sap...

06-07-2001 09:14 AM
Originally posted by Gum Drop:
spits on stain and rubs it in
Thus making it larger and spreading it to both sides of the material.

Gum Drop[
06-07-2001 09:56 AM
Originally posted by theBlackman:
Thus making it larger and spreading it to both sides of the material.
“Hmm...Wait,I got an idea!”
Takes cape over to the bar and pours alcohol over the patch “I’ve heard this stuff is good for removing stains.Here,let’s have a look.”
Holds cape up to gas lamp
*FWOOOOOOSHH!!!...Gum Drop looses his eyebrows as the garment

06-07-2001 01:44 PM
Broken’s piercing glare run’s right through Gumdrop, he tries in vain, but looks the other way, he knows he’s in for it now. “Come here you”, she points to him and motions him to head her way. Shuffling his feet back and forth, he slowly approaches her looking down.
I’m sorry Broken, still looking down, I didn’t mean to.....and before he could get the last word out, she BJ’s him up side the head, he looks at her in disbelief, and falls to the ground. “There”, wiping her hands clean of this mess, “Now let’s see here, his cape, eeehhh, got too many stains on it, I don’t even want to know, and what do we have here, hiding under his cape and belt, she carefully relieves him of his heavy coin stash. Thank you, this will buy me a fine cape.
She steps over him, and disappears into the night.

Gum Drop
06-08-2001 07:59 AM
Dreams of flame-proof capes and anti-blackjack cream

06-08-2001 08:02 AM

06-08-2001 10:47 AM
LOL Guys. If we aren’t careful this could be another “Konfessions”

06-08-2001 11:12 AM
Originally posted by theBlackman:
LOL Guys. If we aren’t careful this could be another “Konfessions”
Everyone seemed to love that so go for it. Another story in the making.

06-08-2001 11:15 AM
Hawklette my love,
You first!!

06-08-2001 11:25 AM
Walking by, Nazgaul finds Gum Drop layed out on the floor. Shaking his head he continues on past, but stops just a few feet away. Looking around to make sure nobody’s watching, he carefully moves Gum Drop into a chair near the fireplace and props him up in a rather embarrasing position. As an afterthought, Nazgaul takes one of Gum Drop’s flash bombs and rigs it to go off shortly after he starts to stir.
“Heh, he’ll definately remember not to do whatever landed him in that position again.” Nazgaul snickers and wanders off in search of more fun.

06-08-2001 11:44 AM
Nice to see you again Nazgaul
From his favorite place in a shadowy corner theBlackman watches the drama unfold. “Poor Gummi, from one predicament to another” and he chuckles silently.
“Same problem he had at the party where he tried to play fire-eater and took his eyebrows off. Fire and alcohol, a deadly combination.” Shortly after the departure of Nazgaul, Gum Drop groggily stirs.”Whooo! I need a Keeper! Or else I better learn to think things out a little better.”
Resting his aching head on the table, Gum Drop weakly calls for a scullion to bring him an ale. “Make that a big one”, he moans. Groping for his pouch, and encountering nothing where it used to hang, he bewilderedly paws through his surcoat for a coin or two. After a uncoordinated search he locates a few coins just as the scullion carelessly slams a tankard down. “Not so loud. My ears are still ringing. What happened.” I tried to clean the cloak; the cloak caught fire; how did I get in this chair, and where is my purse?
Gum Drop quaffs a big draught of ale and sighs contentedly. As he does so, he pushes the chair back from the table releasing the Flashbomb. The tavern disappears in a bloom of sun-bright light....

06-08-2001 11:51 AM
Oh God, here we go again, hehehehe.

06-08-2001 12:28 PM
rofl - are you complaining?
I loved the “Konfessions” thread, even though I didn’t post all that often.

Gum Drop
06-08-2001 12:40 PM
Originally posted by theBlackman:
LOL Guys. If we aren’t careful this could be another “Konfessions”
Now you’ve done it!
Ok,I’m game for a taff,so let’s get this started properly.I’ll start another thread for all questions and comments so as to keep the tale spinning smoothly.The rest is up to you.

06-08-2001 12:44 PM
I’m game, let’s go!! I’ll try to keep up with you all....

06-08-2001 01:36 PM
Northren walks into the room from the back kitchen eating a crunchy deer leg. Instantly he notices the wide-eyed unfocused look of confusion from a just detonated flashbomb. Scanning the room, he notices Gum Drop tilted back on his chair, eyes glazed over, mouth gaping like a guppy. A disoriented scullion carrying a precariously perched tray loaded with tankards of ale wobbled next to Gum Drop. Never letting a good moment pass, Northren relieves the scullion of one of her tankards which shifts the tray balance unfavorably towards Gum Drop’s head. CRASH Ahh, nothing like a good, crunchy deer leg and ale. Northren walks to an empty table and continues to watch the show.

Gum Drop
06-08-2001 01:44 PM
The ale splashes into Gum Drops eyes and for a split second,he almost looks like he is going to regain his composure.The heavy tankards and tray soon dash all hopes though,and once again Gummie slumps back into the chair dazed.The other frequenters of the tavern-still confused by the flashbomb,eye him with acusing glances.

06-08-2001 03:00 PM
The tavern owner, a little fat man wearing a greasy apron, emerges from the kitchen. Not unused to the occassional brawl he is mildly curious as to the cause of all the commotion. Taking down his slate from where it is conveniently hanging by the service counter, he begins to tally the spilled ale, broken tankards and begins to add up the damages, just to make sure, he includes in the accounts a wobbly chair he had been planning to discard. From past experience he knows that the participants seldom remember exactly what they broke during the melee. ‘This time I’ll make a profit for certain”, he thinks. “HMMM! It’s Gum Drop just like the last time.”

Gum Drop
06-09-2001 03:04 AM
Captain Steerpike was in good spirits,he and his first mate-Bladdergutt,had finally come ashore after a day spent supervising the off-loading of the Easy Virtue-down at the docks.The two of them knew the city well,and every time they were in port,they never missed a harty drinking session at their favorite watering hole-the Crippled Burrick Inn.
“’Tis good tae be among women an’ wine again is it not capt’n.”Said Bladdergut as they made their way through the darkening streets. “Eye,that it is Bladdergutt...that it is.And I be’s a-feelin’ we’re in fer a darn good night an’ you may lay t’ that!”Grinned Steerpike-his long,heavy moustache twitching with delight. Steerpike was no fool.He had been looking foreward to tonight for the past two months,he wanted nothing to get in the way of his enjoyment.The Easy Virtue had been packed tight with the finest silks,ornaments and furniture,all destined to end up in the houses of the city fat-cats.While the captain ,his first mate and a handfull of his crew were taking in the delights of the city,the rest of the well trained crew were posted to guard the warehouse right through the night.Steerpike had even gone to the trouble of hireing a fiew Mechbots to further bolster security.Safe in the knowledge that his stock was in good hands,he had finally let his moustache down,and by golly was he gonna have fun tonight.

Gum Drop
06-09-2001 03:26 AM
The tavern owner had just finnished tallying the damage done,when in burst a huge tower of a man,sporting the most lewd moustache imaginable.A smaller but more cunning man followed behind. “SET ‘EM UP YE LAND-LUBBER OF A LANDLORD!”Bellowed Steerpike.he stormed over to the bar and pulled the little owner close. “We’s be havin’ wot ye may call a wee tipple.”Steerpike whispered. Bladdergutt was stood beside his captain emptying a large bag of coins onto the bar!

06-09-2001 07:15 AM
By this time all the noise had succeeded in awaking some of the other Taffers sleeping upstairs. Hawklette, being a light sleeper, creeps down to see what all the commotion is about. She approaches Gum Drop but stops when she sees the pirates carelessly spilling gold on the bar. She thinks they should be more careful a thief might notice these riches. Good thing she keeps a flash bomb and her trusty blackjack in her cape.

06-09-2001 07:25 AM
Originally posted by theBlackman:
Hawklette my love,
You first!!

Thank you my dear and I will try to add to the thread this time. I would like to be included in the fun. I know I asked before but can’t find the answer. How do I put my replies in italics in some parts and regular in others. Also do you know how to insert pictures? Thanks theBlackman.

“Like a glove!” (Page 2)
06-09-2001 08:02 AM
See this thread for some info on “special” stuff in your posts.

06-09-2001 09:54 AM
Stikboy had been sitting in one of the corner booths silently watching the whole thing pan out. He recognizes the “good” captain as he walks in and knows that there is going to be a lot more trouble coming up. He also knows that if the captain is in town, the warehouse is ripe for the picking.
Stikboy notices Hawklette creeping down the stairs and sees the evil gleam in her eyes.
Stikboy quietly leaves the tavern knowing that if Hawklette accomplishes what she wants, that should leave him plenty of time to wonder through the warehouse and grab whatever he wants.

Gum Drop
06-09-2001 02:31 PM
“I be wantin’ a belly ‘o rum an’ ye be the man tae gives it me!”Growled Steerpike-leaning over the bar.
“Yes,yes.It is always an honour to serve such a great sea fairing gentleman such as yourself Captain Steerpike.And what can I get you Mr Bladdergutt?”Asked the landlord.
“Wine an’ women be what I desire,in equal quantities too boot!”Replied Bladdergutt-flecks of spittle shooting from his mouth.
“Look here Mr Bladdergutt,I run a fine establishment here and you should know that by now.This is not a house of ill repute!”Scolded the landlord.
Steerpike gave a mighty snort and fondled his moustache as Bladdergutt turned to face the crowd.
“I spies me a real maiden not 20 yards from ‘ere good landlord.You be tellin’ me she’s not fer the taffin’?”Asked Bladdergutt.
“Th...that be one of my customers,you’ll h-have to take it up w-with her.”The landlord replied.
“That I will my good man.That I will!”
Bladdergutt drew his sleave across his mouth.Wiping away the spittle,he smoothed the last strands of hair across his bald flakey scalp,plucked at the hairs protruding from his nose,sucked his ample stomach in and swaggered over to where Hawklette7 stood-with a look of pure horror on her face.

06-09-2001 06:42 PM
Hawklette was about to step towards the gold, but stopped when she saw the horid pirate heading right for her. For a moment she was taken by suprise but quickly gathered her wits and began to step back toward the shadows. Not knowing theBlackman was lingering there also sizing up the gold. At the same time she began to reach for her blackjack. Gum Drop was regaining his senses and new what was about to happen. He jumped up and knocked into the barmaid as she was serving another round of ale. The tankards flew everywhere and started another commotion. Hawklette and theBlackman took the opportunity to head for the gold. Just at the same moment Huntress was walking down the stairs exclaiming “whats all the noise down here”. Gum Drop quickly pulled out his invisibility potion and drank. No way he’s paying for this one, he thought, as he jumped in front of Hawklette and theBlackman to get the gold.

06-09-2001 07:36 PM
The commotion and resulting confusion caused by Gum Drops sudden movement, made Bladdergutt pause momentarily and turn toward the noisey clatter of the tankards bouncing off tables and the rough flagstone of the floor.
When he remembered the desire of his lustful gaze and turned back to continue his pursuit of the appealing lady, she had vanished. Standing in the middle of the hubbub, he called,”Cap’n! Where’d the trollop get arf ter? ‘as ye seen ‘er”? theBlackman, ducked low and circled the crowded tavern, keeping the tables between himself and the mob as he made his way toward the pile of metal on the grimy bar. The quick response of Gum Drop, and understanding the likely reason for it, was foremost in theBlackmans’ mind as he inserted himself gently under the overhanging lip of the bar between the loot and the Captains’ rank sweaty carcass.
“Nay, I’ve not seen the wench since ye left” turning to look at Bladdergutt as he spoke, “Ye never were much good at findin yer way, e’en on board. Get yer rotten carcass back here. We’ve ale to drink and things t’ do.”
“’Tis nay time to be lolly-gaggin like a lubber.” The distraction was just enough to allow theBlackman to scoop a goodly handful of coinage from the counter, and melt back into the shadows at the end of the bar. Once there, it was no problem to slip away. No one noticed the stealthy shadow slip into the kitchen. A weary scullery maid eyed him dully as he slipped in. With a wink and the drop of a coin into her hand. theBlackman held his finger to his lip and with a mild “Shssh”, faded out the side door into the night-shadowed alley.
Stikboy is headed for the wharves I suspect. Wonder why?

Gum Drop
06-11-2001 02:50 AM
The landlord was busy tallying the latest damages when Gum Drops invisibility potion konked out-just as he was reaching a hand the side exit!
“Oh no you don’t Gummie,you’ve got your bill to settle.”The landlord reminded.
“I was just stepping outside to tend to my...err...!”Stammered Gum Drop.
“Your “err” will have to be left un-attended for a miniute longer.You’ve run up quite a bill tonight.”Smiled the landlord. “But I have only had one drink.”Pleaded Gum Drop.”And that was only becouse it was splashed all over my head!”
“You got damages to pay for.”Clarified the landlord.
“But I can’t find my purse...I think it was stolen.” The landlord stooped behind the bar and pulled out a filthy apron and threw it at Gum Drop.
“You know the routine by now.”Smiled the landlord-pointing at the kitchen door.
Gum Drop sighed,shook his head,and headed for the kitchen and the large pile of grime encrusted crockery that inevitably awaited him. “Times like these I wish I was back down the Bonehoard!”
Steerpike was rapidly finishing off his fifth mug of rum.It had been a good month scince he had a lick of anything remotely alcohilic-and he was begining to feel the effects.
“Ho Bladdergutt!”He roared.”Ye be’s look’n fer them wenchsies an’ is a-missin’ all-o-this ‘ere fine spirichs.Come,abandon thee loins t’night an’ drink wit me!”
“I be wit thee in an anchors drop cap’n,jus’ as soon as I’ve plundered me a lovely lass!”
Bladdergutt was stood in the centre of the tavern-wheeling round in seach of fair game.His high pitched mating calls were begining to wake the guests upstairs!

06-11-2001 11:03 AM
Avoiding the pools of light from the windows theBlackman made his way toward the the mouth of the alley. The piles of slops that filled the hollows in the cobbled surface made the passage perilous to say the least, -a thief that smells like an armpit or an outhouse has difficulty hiding in m’ladies bedroom- When he reached the intersection at the street. He eased an eye out and surveyed the street in both directions.

The sound of the disturbance from within was filtering out into the street, with a heavily accented mutter about wenches and spirichs dominating the clamor. In the light of a streetlamp a few doors to the north, the gleam of helmets flashed briefly. “Looks like the Nightwatch. Think I’ll wait a bit. I can always take the route through Harlots Lane to the waterfront if needs be. Don’t like it, too many cutpurses and bullies for my liking, but worth the risk.” “I know that Stik is up to something. This little gift from Captain Steerpike, will help me with Lop Ear. He knows everything that happens at the harbor. If Steerpikes’ ship brought anything in he’ll know. One of these little pieces of tin is more than enough for a bribe. Lop Ear knows better than to Taff me. The missing half of his left ear could easily have a new mate in his right.”

As the Nightwatch approached the tavern, the Sergeant, paused, listening at the door. With the shuffling feet of the patrol covering any sound he might have made, theBlackman crossed the street in a crouched run into the concealing shadows of Harlots Lane.

06-11-2001 12:58 PM
From a heavily shadowed doorway just inside Harlots Lane, Nazgaul watches theBlackman rush across the street and slip into the welcome darkness. As theBlackman jogs past the doorway, Naz hooks his foot in front of Blackman’s ankle, sending him sprawling into a small pile of refuse.
“Good lord! Did you see the size of that taffing rat? Must have been the size of a small poodle... I’m suprised you tripped over it.” Nazgaul says barely restraining a laugh. “Here, let me give you a hand.”
As Nazgaul helps theBlackman up, he deftly removes the heftier of several purses hanging from theBlackman’s belt. “Thanks for the help Naz, but considering you’re the reason I fell in the first place don’t expect a reward.” Blackman grumbles.
“Sorry, but I couldn’t help it.” Nazgaul says with a grin. “Hey, at least I piled some trash there to break your fall, I could have let you just hit the concrete you know.”
“Oh yeah, I’m real thankful for that.” theBlackman says as he tries to wipe one of the more offensive stains from his cloak, glowering at Nazgaul all the while.
“So where are you off to in such a hurry?” Naz asks. theBlackman
opens his mouth to answer, but Naz quickly holds up his hand to
silence him. “On second thought, tell me on the way. I think we’d
better get moving unless we want the members of ‘The Great Wench and
Spirich Quest’ finding us.” With a glance in the direction of the
tavern, theBlackman gives a quick nod and they both head off down
the Lane

06-11-2001 03:12 PM
“As long as you insist on getting in my way with your clumsy foot, I should tell you that you need a little more practice at lifting purses”, theBlackman said, holding out his hand, “If you aren’t less ham-fisted than that, I wonder that you haven’t been nabbed by the last drunken sailor you rolled”.

“Come on.”

Traversing the alley; dodging the sailors and merchants clogging Harlots Lane; ignoring the blandisments of the not unattractive ladies of the night and slipping away from the grasp of the everpresent pimps. theBlackman and Nazgaul made thier way along the narrow twisting thoroughfare.

“During my little visit to the Crippled Burrick, Captain Steerpike and his mate Bosun Bladdergutt, came storming in. Now I know Bladdergutt from some past meetings -which I’ll not expand on, Professional secrets.- and I know that he is only that coarse after being at sea a goodly time.”

Dodging the outstretched hand of a beggar, theBlackman continued through the lane with Nazgaul at his side. “I heard that the “Slovenly Slut”, Steerpikes ship, had been commissioned for a dangerous extended voyage.”
“I couldn’t get much more information, but the rumour was that his
ship had been commisssioned by Gervasius for some purpose. We both
know that Gervasius is a corrupt money-grubber and won’t drop a tin
sliver unless he sees a profit somewhere nearby. He also has an
obsession with rare artworks”

As the two of them approached Beggars Court, which crosses Harlots Lane, theBlackman sidled over against the wall to his right and carefully picked his way to the corner of the building at the end of the lane.

“Isaac”, He whispered, “are you there?” at that, what seemed to be a pile of old rags stirred, as if in a light breeze, and a grimy greybearded face appeared and a pair of rheumy eyes blinked weakly in the dim light.
“Arghh, umm. Who be there?” a dry hacking cough followed the question. “What ye want wi’ ol Isaac?”

theBlackman spun a shiny coin into the pile of rags, “Isaac, tell the Beggar Guild Master that I may need his ‘eyes’ later tonight. Usual terms.”
The rheumy eyes focused briefly, “Aye Blackie, oi’ll tell ‘em. Thank ‘e for the coin.” and the face disappeared into the greasy pile. theBlackman beckoned Nazgaul to follow and turned right into Beggars Court and continued his monologue: “I think Stikboy has had dealings with our good Captain in the past. I noticed he slipped out just before Gum Drop did his usual clumsy routine”.

“Poor Gum Drop, how he survives as a thief I’ll never know; trips over his own feet; knocks over chairs walking through a room...?” “I have an idea that Stikboy is headed for Steerpikes ship or one of the warehouses. We turn in here.”

“This is a dead end in a dead end”. Nazgaul replied, “I’ve been down Beggars Court a thousand times and it deadends in both directions.” theBlackman, at the end of the passage, was facing an ancient, non-descript brick wall. “Hmmm. Let’s see.” and his eyes slowly scanned the wall. “AHHH! That’s the one.”

Nazgaul, stood watching with a questioning look until theBlackman pulled a brick out of the wall; then another and another. Soon there was an opening just big enough to squeeze into between the building. “In here. Quickly. Don’t want anyone to see us and if I hear that anyone other than you know about this. Well. Remember. I never get even. I always make a profit!”
Once inside, Nazgaul could see that the walls of the two buildings were barely a mans width apart. The passage disappearing into the night shadow ahead.

“Here, pass me the bricks”, theBlackman whispered, “we need to get this closed up again. One of the gifts from my friends at Beggars Guild. What they don’t know about this city isn’t worth knowing.”

06-11-2001 04:12 PM
Northren watched the events unfold in the relative safety of the darkened corner of the Creeping Burrick Inn as he finished his meal and quaffed the last of his ale. He had planned to call it a night after watching the landlord settle his account with Gum Drop, but with the arrival of Captain Steerpike, Bladdergut and their purse full of coin, he changed his plan as the prospects for the evening became very profitable instead. Not to mention that he had a longstanding account to settle with Steerpike.

Years earlier Northren had decided to leave town and seek fortune elsewhere after the Hammerites started hanging wanted posters of him around town. Never the attention seeker, he gathered up his meager possessions which included a couple of gem-encrusted gold goblets, a handful of jeweled rings, and a solid gold Hammerite holy hammer. He had heard the Easy Virtue, lovingly referred to by some as the Slovenly Slut, was leaving that day so he secured passage with Steerpike and bided his time at the nearby tavern. Unfortunately, the good old Captain alerted the city watch in hopes of collecting a small reward so Northren, after successfully eluding the guard, ended up stowing aboard a ship transporting pigs and cattle instead and made good his departure.

Bladdergut’s high pitched mating call brought Northren back to the present and his mind started racing with thoughts of revenge. Looking about he noticed that Stikboy, theBlackman and Hawklette7 had all suspiciously disappeared into the shadows.

“Hmmm, probably gone to the warehouses. But I’m not sure how far they’ll get without the combination to the lock let alone the extra guards and mech bots. And I just bet the good Captain has the combo on his sweaty, fish smellin’ carcass.”

Northren entertained the idea of skewering the drunken captain with a fire arrow and shooting a moss arrow down Bladdergut’s throat, but thought better of it since he didn’t want to share in Gum Drop’s fate.
Like a good thief, he bided his time.

06-11-2001 04:19 PM
Back at the Burrick!
Hawklette eyes the horrid Bladdergut and decides she may be able to find out where the rest of that gold, that was carelessly spilled on the bar, came from.
Ho! Bladdergut, if that be your name, are you looking for me Aye me lassie that I be. So come over here and give me a hug Hawklette smiles to herself as she puts her hand to her blackjack and saunters over to Bladdergut with a beguiling smile Thinking, I wonder what became of theBlackman and stikboy. I know they were just here and I could have sworn Nazgaul was over in the corner.

Gum Drop
06-11-2001 04:44 PM
Bladdergutt had spun himself into a stupor and was heading for the table in the corner where Steerpike had taken up residence.Slumping down in a chair that looked like it would give way under the pressure,he lifted a tankard of wine to his spittle laced lips,and drank it down.

“What be wrong wid thee women folk ‘round ‘ere t’night?”he grumbled.”It dun bode well fer me next ‘aul at sea when I can’t get me taff away while on lan’!”
“Ye talks like a sea hag wid fresh wat’r in ‘er gills,these ‘ere trollops can’t see’s a real man when they’s in the company of one.”Snorted Steerpike.”Ye’d be best ter lay them loins a full fathom,an’ drown yee thirst instead.”

As the two sat swapping old sea tales like they always did,the door opened and in stode three of the cities watch.The fattest of the three strode over to the bar and signaled the landlord,who pointed to the captain and his first mate in the corner.Glancing back at the seamen sitting at the table,the fat watchman nodded to the other two waiting guards,who quickly standing to attention-placed their hands on the butts of their swords,and walked over to stand behind Steerpike and Bladdergutt.

The fat watchman joined them at the table where words were exchanged,followed by a sobbering look from Steerpike-who rose to his feet and motioned the guards to leed the way.The whole group walked towards the kitchen.

Gum Drop was halfway through his chores when the kitchen door was flung open and the company passed through to the ally out the back.He moved from the wash basin to the doorway leading to the ally and turned his ear to listen.

Steerpike was cursing about something as one of the city watch tried to make him keep his voice down.The discussion continued for a fiew minutes,but all Gum Drop was able to catch,was something about a prisoner that was being held in a ship had gone missing.

After this,Gum Drop heard the sound of the group departing up the ally.Having decided he had scraped enough crockery clean for one night-he stole out the back door and gave chase.

06-11-2001 09:22 PM
Stikboy had made it to the docks without anyproblems at all. “That is a first!” he thinks to himself. “Usually when a thief is going somewhere purposefully, every other taffin thief in the city is there. Either I’m getting better at using the shadows, or they have other plans. I better hurry before they all do show up. They are still deciding whether or not to completely condemn that mansion from the last group raid.”

From his vantage point, he can see the “Slovenly Slut” and the
remainder of her crew. He can also see the entrance to the
warehouse. It doesn’t fail to get Stikboy’s attention that there are a couple of bots and some other mechanist security devices around.
Some even looked modified.

“Hmmmm. A couple of hours after docking and it still looks like a full crew is here? Custom security? Captain Steerpike has found quite a haul to be able to afford all of that.” Stikboy gets an idea. He quietly swims out about 100 yards or so and comes up on the unwatched side of the boat. He then manages to climb up the side of the ship.

“Stikboy?!?” someone says in a loud whisper.

Stikboy barely recognizes the voice and slowly turns his head to see

Gum Drop
06-12-2001 03:11 AM
The cool night air was welcome relief from the sweltering heat of the kitchen fire.Gum Drop had trailed Steerpike,Bladdergutt and the watchmen to the edge of the Market District,from here they turned east and began to follow the river.
It was an unplesant experience to be down wind of Bladdergutt,his vile acrid body odour was even keeping the sewer rats at bay.The rest of the group were apparently immune to the nausious stench,they talked in hushed tones about something that Steerpike seamed to deam of upmost importance.Gum Drop assumed they were still discussing the matter of the missing prisoner.
“But why would the captain of a ship keep a prisoner aboard her,even while docked in Dayport?”He thaught.”Surely it would be better to hand him/her over to the city watch.”
The group had crossed Hawkers Bridge,and it was obvious they were bound for the docks!
06-12-2001 11:18 AM
“Stay close behind me. There are a few tricky spots here as well as some deliberate traps”, theBlackman said. “Now”, he turned his back to the opening and placed his hand on the left wall, “you won’t be able to see as we get deeper into this pocket. Put your hand on the wall and your other hand on my shoulder; do what I tell you when I tell you, or we could both be in trouble.”
Nazgaul, squinting hard to try to see ahead did so and they started down the narrow space between the buildings.
In half a dozen steps or so, the only evidence of theBlackman’s presence was the fabric under Nazqauls fingertips. The stygian darkness was complete. Muffled sounds from the surrounding city, came as though from a cotten wrapped box. Within the passage the air was still and lifeless, with a musty closed attic smell. “Where does this go”, Nazgaul asked? “ I’m completely lost. I know we have rounded a corner or two, maybe more.”
“Shhh. The wall on your right is the wall seperating us from the old haunted city. The left is the back of the deserted temple of one of the Elder Gods; which I don’t remember, -Targush or Shankrisha- Been abandoned for years. The depredations of the Hammerites and Mechs have driven thier worshippers underground, and the temple has fallen into disrepair.”
“You will feel a smooth marble panel on the wall, as soon as you do squat and move as far from the wall as you can. The passage is narrow so you will still have your hand on the wall, move forward but stay down. When the marble is gone move back to the left and you can stand up. Got that?”
Nazgaul nodded his head, then chuckled.”Sorry. Forgot. You can’t see me. Yes I got it.”
06-12-2001 03:27 PM
From the shadows across the smoky room, Hawklette7 reappeared like a wraith with a bewitching smile and a twinkle in her eye as she stole over to Bladdergut who was still keening the loss of his lassies. She looked radiant in black leather; what taffer didn’t? She called to him, “Ho! Bladdergut, if that be your name, are you looking for me?”
Bladdergut turned and when he saw her, his bloodshot eyes
bulged at the sight of her creamy skin and wanton eyes. With the passionate skill of a sea slug, Bladdergut resmoothed the hair strands across his crusty scalp, and slithered closer to his seduction. “Aye me lassie that I be. So come over here and give me a hug.” Moving with the grace of a gazelle, Hawklette7 leaned towards the repulsive man with arms outstretched as if to embrace a lover.
Bladdergut squealed like a pig with lustful anticipation as he began scratching himself. Without warning and with the skill of a bird of prey, Hawklette7 produced a blackjack in her hand and brought it down on the unsuspecting Bladdergut’s head.
The tavern doors are thrown open and three of the city watch enter. Northren groggily shakes his head and realizes he had drifted to sleep. Stupid. He had violated one of his taffers’ tenets on living to a ripe old age. The city watch approach Captain Steerpike and Bladdergut, converse a few moments then they all depart through the kitchen door. Northren sees the anxious look on Steerpike’s face as the party passes his table. Having been a regular at the Creeping Burrick Inn, Northren knew the kitchen led to the alley. “I bet Gum Drop takes notice of their passage.” He also knew their destination was probably the docks and warehouses nearby.
About to leave through the front door, Northren hesitates as he spots Alessia, the tavern owner’s daughter, clearing a table nearby. Sneaking up from behind, Northren places a hand on her shoulder. She whips about, her body tense, “What!!,” Oh, you rogue! Stop sneaking up on me,” her body softens.
Northren grins, “Oh come now, lovey,
you never seemed to mind before.”

Alessia blushes, “Oh, you’re just
as bad as that pig Bladdergut. You’re all alike!.”
“Hush, my sweets I have business to attend to. Be a good lass and do
me a favor.”Northren hands her a coin. “If you see Hawklette7, tell we might have a mutual pig to roast at the docks past Hawkers Bridge.” “Oh, and one other thing, Alessia dear, you’d probably better get your father to find some more help in the kitchen. I fear your indentured servant for the night has flown the coop.”
On the rooftops, Northren quickly locates Bladdergut and the others heading towards the docks as suspected. “Hmmm, I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into,” as he ponders another one of his taffers’ tenents which have kept him living this far. ‘Always taff alone.’”
06-12-2001 08:07 PM
Just as Hawklette whacked the unsupecting Bladdergut and reached for his purse,the doors of the Inn were flung open and three of the city watch entered. She grabbed the purse and backed into the shadows. Now, she thought, I have to take my leave before anyone notices Bladdergut is not just sleeping it off. I wonder where the others dissapeared to in such a rush, she thought, as she made her way behind the guards and though the front doors. Suddenly she is startled as someone touches her shoulder. Spinning around and ready to defend herself she sees the sweet Alessia. Taking a deep breath she pulls back as Alessia whispers in her ear the message Northren gave her.
06-12-2001 09:40 PM
As they moved along, the already narrow crevice got tighter, making
it necessary to side step along with thier backs against the
formerly righthand wall. Except for a warning; “duck here; two steps
up; watch the loose rubble”; theBlackman had not spoken for sometime.Nazgaul, proud of his sense of direction was completely lost. The walls had closed in overhead and the stars, once faintly visible through the night mist above, had vanished long ago. The passage resembled a snake in convulsions, with all the torturous turns and twists it had taken and seemed to be going down. The descent, if so, so gradual that it was an impression on the senses, not the feel of a slope underfoot.
“Ok”, theBlackman came to a stop and from the darkness came a sandy grinding noise. “Here, give me your hand”, he said. “Feel this edge? The opening is the size of a normal doorway, just keep slightly off the wall you feel. Walk in about six paces and stop.” “Don’t worry. The floor is clear and if you keep contact with the wall you’ll be all right.”
Nazgaul did as he was told and stopped at the given distance. Again came the strange grinding noise, followed by the rasp and spark of flint on steel.
A torch blossomed into life, and the guttering flame disclosed a largish chamber with a number of openings leading into darkness in various directions.
“What the devil is this?” Nazgaul, looked around curiously, “Looks like a good place for a few haunts or zombies to hangout!” “Not far from the truth, Nazgaul my boy. This is the start, or end if you prefer, of a catacomb. It’s been here for more than a few hundred years; once the domain of the priests of one of those old long-forgotten Gods.”
The chamber was quite large. Heavy shadows concealed its exact size and shape from the dancing torch light; the ceiling beyond the reach of the orangish torch glow.
“You certainly know some strange parts of the city, Blackie. I don’t know where we are, but in all my time in the city checking out rumours and tales, I’ve not heard of anything like this.” “The catacombs at Bonehoard, those under the Hammer temple, and at the Mech cathederal, yeah. But about others such as this, not a hint in any of the old tales. Even legends of Keeper ruins don’t mention anything like this.” Nazgaul shook his head. “You better not be taffin me. I hate the un-dead with a passion.”
theBlackman smiled with a light laugh, “Calm down. The one-time inhabitants of these chambers are long ago dust. No haunts, spirits or zombies. The Beggars Guild has known of and used these ways to travel about under the city for more than a hundred years. In thier history, these catacombs go back to the beginning of the city, before the Walls that closed off the Haunted City and centuries before the death of the Elder Gods and the birth of whatever new ones there be.”
“I caution you not to attempt to return here, even if you can find an entrance. These make the labyrinth at Bonehoard, or Constantines mansion, childsplay in comparison. Without a guide it’s certain death. There are pitfalls and traps older than God, and surely as merciless.”
theBlackman turned and strode off. “Follow me. We’ll soon be out of here and at the waterfront just past Hawkers Bridge. From there we can take Old Ropewalk Way to the harbor.” Nazgaul followed, the torch floating ahead held low to theBlackmans left.
“If it’s so safe down here, why is he keeping his sword arm free,” Nazgaul wondered?
Nazgaul followed keeping just within the circle of light cast by the torch in theBlackman’s hand.
They passed a number of openings just discernable in the shadows.
Broken sarcophagi and scattered rubble littered the passageway. Except for the brush of thier footsteps in the dust and the sound of thier breathing the tombs were still. No scurry of mice or rats; the constant murmur of the city gone. Silence so deep that if not for thier stealthy passage Nazgaul imagined he would hear his own heartbeat.
Suddenly from the darkness ahead: a click, almost like that of a fingenail against a piece of pottery; again and once more. theBlackman stopped, raising the torch high above his head so the light fell fully on thier faces.”Pharth gar thonta bar”, he said softly, or so it sounded to Nazgaul.
The click came once more; silence returned. theBlackman brought the torch back down to his side and continued as if nothing had happened.
“What was that? What did you say”, Nazgaul asked? “That was no lanquage I’ve heard before, and in a port city like this you hear many!”
“That was one of the guardians. The language was dead before the city rose on this site.” theBlackman replied. “I doubt it survives elsewhere. Now it is the language of the Beggars.” “Had I not the tonque, we two would be the newest sleepers on these stoney couches”, he waved his hand at the empty niches in the wall alongside.
“We’ll soon be out of here, just a few minutes more,” he grinned.

Gum Drop
06-13-2001 03:05 AM
Meanwhile,in the city above...
Gum Drop had followed Steerpike and company to Threegates-the towering wall of stone seperating the docklands from the rest of the city.Guard patrols walked the ramparts and the place was lit up like a Burrick in a fire eating competition.Steerpike and Bladdergutt passed through the East gate and continued on to the warehouses that lined Shrimpers Wharf,The three city watchmen stopped at the gate and entered the guard house.
“How am I ever going to get through Threegate without being seen?”Thaught Gum Drop.
From back down the street he had just emerged from came the sound of mules hooves and cart wheels.Peering behind him,Gum Drop could observe the approach of a wooden cart laiden with fishermans nets and baskets.The driver was shrouded in a large,heavy looking brown cloak,Gum Drop could hear the whistling of an old song drifting from the depths of the strangers hood.
As the cart leveled with him,Gum Drop ducked down in a doorway.Then,when it had passed,he quickly moved out behind the cart and mantled up into the netting.The stench was not the most pleasent,but it was an improvement on Bladdergutts own polluting odour.Pulling some of the baskets around him,he crouched down and waited.
06-13-2001 03:51 AM
“Captain Brigand?!? Is that really you?”
“Aye, That it tis’. Ceptin’ it’s not Captain anymore. Here, come over here. Ifin you’re still in the business you were before, ye will have little use of bein noticed.”
Stikboy and Brigand quietly sneak to an uninhabited cabin below the main deck.
Stikboy - “So tell me know, what happened to you? Where’s your ship?
And what are you doing sailing with Steerpike?”
Brigand - “Well, Steerpike caught us out at sea unawares, and skuttled me ship. He ad heard of me, and me reputation as a seaman, and said ‘e wouldn’t kill me if I joined ‘is crew. I did, and have been sailing with ‘im ever since. I don’t have the management hassles, and he just seems to come across more stuff to pillage. I make more now than I ever did. I’m still upset about me ship, but all in all, tis for the better.
Also, I don’t have to worry about taffers like you coming to visit.
It’s not my stuff. “
Stikboy - “Well you know, it’s nice to hear you say that. It looks like I am going to need help getting into that warehouse. And any other information you may have about the place would help also.” Brigand - “Well, there is the crew unloading everything. They have orders not to leave the docks. We are shipping out again tomorrow night and Steerpike doesn’t want any of them lost. He has also hired a couple of gaurds, and they are dressed in normal clothing. And of course the new security devices. I am told that they are ultra sensitive, and it takes three switches to turn them off.
To get you in will be another problem. But maybe we don’t have to? Hmm... Why don’t you go visit the Captain’s cabin, and I will sit here and ponder things for a moment.”
With that, Stikboy creeps into the passage way heading for the Captain’s room, leaving his old friend to think.
Gum Drop
06-13-2001 05:17 AM
The fishermans cart was stopped by the guards at Threegates,Gum Drop could hear a muffled exchange of words and footsteps approaching the back of the cart.He cringed as the sharp point of a sword was thrust into the netting just inches from his left arm.
“Hey you big oaf”,shouted the driver.”D’you know how much good nets are worths nowadays?You stops yer pokin’ an’ let’s me pass!” “Alright Lop Ear,keep yer rags on”,grumbled the guard as he withdrew his sword.”I’m just followin’ orders.Nothin’ is to pass in or out of the docklands without inspection.Captain Steerpike has lost a prisoner.”
“Well you tell Stoolpick he can expect a bill for a new net!”Snapped Lop Ear.The cart begun to move once more.
Steerpike burst into the warehouse in a terrible rage.He eyed the half dozen guards who were buisy packing crates onto a large armoured carriage.
“Has thee prisn’r been recaptur’d yet?”None of the guards dared to reply.
“I see.Bladdergutt,will yee kindly inform thy men that they’ll be a-dancin’ the hemp-mans jig if me prisonor ‘as not been caught come next tide!”Steerpike shouted before storming back outside and across to the Easy Virtue.
Bladdergutt made his way to the offices and the far end of the warehouse.Inside,a couple of guards were playing cards,but smelling bladdergutt-jumped to attention.
“Your back early sir,did ye not find a suitable lass ter bed t’night?”One asked.
“The trollops ‘ere in this stinkin’ city jus’ not to me likin’.”Grumbled Bladdergutt.”I should ‘ave learn’t my lesson after me night wid Lady Bennice!”
“Will you be joinin’ us fer a game then sir?”
“Nay,you’d be wise tae set yer deadlights a-look’n fer that prisoner like the others.”Replied Bladdergutt.
“But ye said ter ‘ide ‘im in the number 2 warehouse.He’s still there now!”
“I knows wot I said,and ye will be well rewarded fer your part in this ‘ere treachery.But yer’s gotta make sure none of the other taffers decides tae go lookin’ over there!”
The two guards quickly gathered their winnings and left.Bladdergutt slumped in an empty chair and grinned to himself. “Old Bladdergutt gonna make a tidy sum off this...oh yes!”
06-13-2001 01:35 PM
theBlackman continued his path through the maze of passages pausing finally at the base of a flight of stone steps. Smoothly rounded edges on the risers and arching hollows worn deep in the tread, bespoke thousands of feet and the passage of unknown time.
theBlackman extinquished the torch. “These steps are treacherous. Use the wall as a guide and test each step to make certain your footing is secure”. The sound of his voice lost in the vast chamber; dull and without character in the absorbing silence.
“This will bring us up to abandoned basements under the garrison at Threegate. From there we can get out to the harbor through the training yard. This time of night it won’t be in use or lighted.” “Funny isn’t it? Nobody guards the guards! Patrols in the street, fire watch for the harbor, customs men at the gates; yet, except for the sergeant at the desk, no interior guards whilst the men sleep.” “One of these days.... No I think not. I’ll live a little longer if I don’t beard the lion. But the thought is amusing. All the laces on the jerkins’ and breastplates cut, some Tanner’s glue in all the scabbards, a mild diarretic in the morning Klah.”
As he spoke, a sliver of light slowly became a greyish rectangle above Nazgauls’ head framing the shadowy shape of a man, “Up here. Softly now. Down the hall left to the second door. It should be unlocked. This will get us into the butts at the archery range. From there it’s an easy hop over the palisade to Old Ropewalk Way.”
He stepped off through the ankle deep dust of the old storage area. The door complained rustily as the ancient hinges begrudgingly supported the massive oak panels. Dim light from high windows recessed in the thick walls allowed the eye to pickout discarded crates, a broken sword blade, -the hilt missing- numerous doors opened into dark rooms; here and there, the scurry of rats could be heard in the musty passage, thier claws clicking on the ancient stone.
At the end of the hallway, another series of stairs lead upward, eventually deadending at a cutstone wall.
“This wall is the target end of the archery lanes in the training yard of the Garrison. It’s part of the original defensive wall for the old city. The whole of Three Gates is honeycombed with defensive passages that are no longer used or have been forgotten.”
theBlackman pushed on a yellowish spot near his right shoulder. A narrow irregular panel the hieght of man swung outward, and Nazgaul followed him through into the yard behind the barracks. theBlackman pointed left to a shoulder high wooden pallisade, “Just over that wall is Old Ropewalk Way. We are about halfway between East Gate and the Main Gate. East gate is to the right after we go over.”
“I’m not certain where Steerpike docks at the moment. But If I can find a friend of mine at the Whales Spout tavern, I should soon know.”
Gum Drop
06-13-2001 04:22 PM
The mule drawn cart stopped shortly after passing through Threegates,Gum Drop heard the driver climb down and come round to the back.
“Ok Mr,you can come out now,this is as far as I’m taking you tonight.”Croaked the driver.”What’s the matter-a little shy are we?” Gum Drop could feel his hart pounding in his chest-his hand went to his sword.
“Do I have to climb in there and fish yer out myself?”Came the impatient voice.”You don’t have ter worry,the coast is clear!” “No point in stalling any longer,”thaught Gum Drop.He pushed the baskets from around him and climbed over the side of the cart. “There,that’s better.Now let’s have a good look at yer.”The driver walked over to Gum Drop and scrutinised his face.”Hmm...not like the usual scum braught from abroad by Stoolpick.I guess yer must have some worth,the captain has never gone to this much trouble to get escaped prisoners back.What’s yer name?”
“My name is Gum Drop,but I tell you I am not the prisoner Steerpike is looking for.I am just interested in...”
“Glum Drip..?That’s a funny name fer a taffer.You don’t look foreign to me boy.”Queried the Driver-grabbing Gum Drops chin and turning his face to the light.”What country did Stoolpick drag yer from?” “Gum Drop...my name’s GUM DROP!And like I said,I am NOT the man Steerpike is looking for!”
“Grin Duck-Gun Dike,it’s all the same ter me.My name’s Lop Ear,and you my boy owe me a mug of ale fer savin’ yer neck back there...so come on,the Whales Spout is just along the waterfront.Now you wait here a moment while I go drop my cloak off.”
The driver went over to a small,half rotten wooden shack across from where he had stalled the cart.Returning a minute later without his cloak,Gum Drop got the first propper look at his odd new companion. Lop Ear lived up to his name.Half of his left ear was missing,and a nasty scar ran from it-across his eye to the bridge of his nose.The left eye itself was a pearly white,and looked quite ghastly in the dim light.He was dressed in a multitude of scraps of cloth-patchworked together with all the skill of a fishermans net.He was small but not overly so,with wild matted gray hair and a beard that had seen better days.
“come,come Grime Dip,best not tally too long or the tavern will be shut!”
“But what about your mules?”Asked Gum Drop.
“Oh don’t yer go worrying about them.”Laughed Lop Ear.”Master Troutsnuff and Captain Crimshaw will be fine until we return!”
“My purse has been stolen,I cannot buy your ale.”Confessed Gum Drop.
“Oh well,there will be other times.Come,come!”
Gum Drop followed Lop Ear as he weaved his was between the crates and refuse that lined the waterfront towards the Whale Spout Tavern.
06-14-2001 12:29 AM
Glad to be out in the open again, Nazgaul looked out from behind the straw butts. The training yard was long and narrow about 40 feet wide and a bit over a hundred long, tucked into a shallow niche in the back of the garrison wall. Wasting little time he crossed the yard to the wooden pales forming the barrier between the yard and the lane on the other side. Staying close to the wall at the narrow end he used the sparse fringe of coarse grass along the edge of the hardpcked clay surface of the fencing area to muffle his footsteps as he sprinted to the palings, with theBlackman close on his heels.
“Wait while I look around Blackie. Be dumb taffers to come all this
way and get nabbed”
Nazgaul, levered himself up and leaned out to look up and down the street. “Looks clear. Come on”. and he quickly scaled the fence and crouched in the shadows at its base.
Landing lightly beside him, theBlackman took a searching look around. “Over there”, he pointed to a stack of coils of rope. “We can hide in those bales of rope by that shed while we plan our next move. As soon as I’m sure it’s clear I want to head west to the Whales Spout. In the meantime, I could use a little breather. Besides I want to wait ‘til that moon fades a little.” A short sprint and the two of them nestled into a space between the stack of baled rope and the ramshackle shed.
06-14-2001 12:57 AM
Stikboy was going through Steerpike’s desk and had found a scrap of paper with some numbers on it when he heard commotion up above. Shouts of “Yes Captain!”, “Aye Aye Sir!” were reaching his ears. “Oh He11!” thought stikboy. “Steerpike’s back already.”
Stikboy looks around for a place to hide, and just as the heavy footsteps hit the stairway down, he dives under the bed.
“Damn Buffoons! How can you lose someone who is chained up? I’ll be keel haulin whoever is responsible as soon as I find em.” Just then, came a knock on the captains door. “Come in, and you better have some good news.”
Brigand enters, looking around for Stikboy. He notices a black sleeve under the bed. “Captain, I was just wonderin what was in that there big box that we unloaded. I be just a little curious as to what we be doing.”
The Captain begins to shout “That be none of ...” when he notices Brigands nervous looks towards the bed. Steerpike looks in that direction, walks over and pulls Stikboy out from under the bed. “Well well, what do we ‘ave ‘ere? A scurvy thief if er I seen one.
And ye look familiar too. Come with me”
With that, Steerpike hauls Stikboy out of the ship and towards the warehouse. As they were going by, Brigand slips something inside of Stikboy’s belt. When they get to the warehouse, Steerpike throws Stikboy into Bluddergutt knocking him over and shouts “Lock ‘im up. I seem to recognize him, and I don’t want ‘im dead til I remember who he is. And don’t lose this one.”
With that, Steerpike storms back towards the ship.
Bladdergutt says “If the Captain remembers ye, ye must ave done something bad. Maybe I cin make a profit offin ye too.” “He turns to one of the guys standing around and says “Take ‘im to warehouse 2. It looks like this one ‘as escaped too. Hehehehe!”
“Well”, thinks Stikboy “at least now I am in.”
06-14-2001 12:02 PM
Mean While Back at The Inn
Thanks alessia , I owe you both one.
Hawklette turns to go and nearly runs into Benny. Oh no, she thinks. This isn’t happening. Benny hiccups and starts to stagger to the door all the while mumbling about not getting his dinner tonight. Just as Hawklette thinks she is finally clear a hand grabs her shoulder and turns her around. She jumps thinking, too much coffee this morning I’m twitchy as ----.
Ain’t I seen you...(hiccup}... somewhere a for.
Me...no...I urr ahh, well no I’mmm new here.
You sure... (hiccup).
Yep dead sure. I would never have forgotten such a big stong man as you.
Ahh, well I don no bout that...(hiccup). Where you runnin off to in such a (hiccup) hurry. Why don you keep ole Benny company and belt down a few.
Ahh, really sir.
Naw don call me sir jus Ben and what be your name little lady?
Well I...I’m uh jade.
Oh ats a nice name causin ya gots dem green eyes an all.
Yes thanks sir...I mean ahh Ben. I really do have to go.
Well where you goin ats so portent.
I ahh need to get home. My poor old mother will be worried.
Ah ats sweet. I tell ya what. Why don I walk wit ya so you be safe an al like at. It’s pretty dark and a lady like you being and all should ave a man bout to sees to ya. Where be yer place?
Well, uh, it’s down by the Hawker’s Bridge but really you don’t need
to see me home. You’ll miss dinner and some fine ale
Ats sweet of ya missy but Id be a poor man if I dinna see ya home safe.
Hum, Hawklette thinks, he might be a poor man if he does. Oh well what better way to get there then to get a personal escort from a guard of the watch.
Oh all right Sir, I mean Ben, If you feel that strongly about it.
Benny grins and starts to lead her toward Hawkers Bridge.
Hawklette’s mind is racing trying to think of a what to do with ole Ben when they get there.

Gum Drop
06-14-2001 04:35 PM
The Whale Spout was not your usual city dive,the whole place was built from the hull of an old galleon resting on it’s side.All the timber had been white-washed,the removed masts had been erected across the street and lit up with hundreds of coloured lanterns. Entering,Gum Drop found the tavern full of swaggering cutthroats and large brash sea Captains.As he followed Lop Ear through the crowd,many of the leathery faces turned and nodded.The bar was a large semi circle made out of a dark wood that is shipped into the city from some far off country,behind it,a huge bronze cast of a whale had been mounted on a large,ornately carved plinth.Water spurted from it’s blow hole and cascaded down it’s sides into a shallow pool.The sides of the plinth were crammed with bottles,most of the labels could not be read,and of those that could,Gum Drop found most to have names that would make any respectable women blush!
“You actually drink here?”
“Oh yes”,replied Lop Ear.”This be heaven on earth my boy.Now you take a seat over there and I’ll get get yer something to put a bit of colour back in yer cheeks.”
Gum Drop sighed and turned to an empty table to the right of the bar and waited for his poison.
06-14-2001 07:38 PM
GumDrop sat there, waiting for his poison, he looks around the room and almost wishes it were poison for all the rotten luck he’s been having. As he looks out the windows, he gazes at the colored lanterns, he hears the swooshing of the water bubbling from the bronzed whale. He almost feels better,but still thinks to himself where is my drink? He looks around the room again, impatiently waiting.
His eyes setting on the far right corner, where the bar is almost empty, he squints his eyes.
In a darkened corner, he is trying to make sense of what he is seeing. And for some reason, he has a very familiar feeling come over him again, he can’t explain it. But here comes Lop Ear, Here ye go lad, Aaaah many thanks, GumDrop says As Lop Ear, talk’s his other ear off, Gum Drop can’t help but stare over Lop Ears shoulder at the darkened corner. Who is over there?! He isn’t even hearing Lop Ear, his voice fading in the back ground. GumDrop can just make out a petite figure in the corner, cloaked in black. This figure wasn’t like the other’s in the bar. This figure was alone.
The other’s were loud, slamming their tankards together. A splat of ale hitting him in the face. He wipes it off with his sleeve, he doesn’t care, he just stares. Just an edge of the lantern’s light hitting the table. Suddenly a small smooth looking hand reaches for *HER drink. He can just make out that it’s a woman hand! What is a woman doing in here!
The figure leans forward, and lights the candle on her table, with her flint. The black cloak, clinging to her body, shimmering as she moves. He can make out every nuance of her now, the candle light cast a almost hypnotic glow to this woman. She raises her hood ever so slightly, revealing eyes that are staring right at him. *OH MAN! It’s Broken! What is she doing her, and in a place like this! She pulls back her hood all the way, and smiles and winks at GumDrop. Hey ahhh Lop Ear, would you excuse me Lop Ear looks at him,Huh? What? Wait laddie!
GumDrop walks through the chairs, grabs one of the chairs and sits down.
Well, well, look who we have here
I should say the same to you Broken.
Aaah they know me here, me father knows the owner from way back. I come and go as I please, great place to hide out, from the night watch. I have my own private stash here, they keep it just for me, as she sips. I must thank you for my new cloak, his eyes widen, Yea it fits you just right,could it possibly get any tighter on the top? He thinks.
I do hear there is trouble brewing with the locals. Captain
Steerpike and the city watch are up to something. Just then up to on the roof, across the street, the moonlight now just coming over the horizon, Broken recognizes a familiar shadow, a fellow taffer, who loves to travel the roof tops with her sometimes.

Gum Drop
06-15-2001 03:47 AM
Gum Drop noticed that BrokenArts attention had shifted to outside.
“What’s wrong?”He asked.”City watch?”
“Oh no,something far more dangerous.”Laughed BrokenArts-pointing to the slate roof across the street.Gum drop follower her gaze and saw a lone figure pirched behind a chimney pot.
“You’ve already met that one”,she continued.”He is partly to blame for your little stint in the kitchen back at the Crippled Burrick.” “Oh that reminds me,exactly how much did that new cloak of yours actually cost?Do I get any change from my missing purse?”
BrokenArts pulled out a single copper coin and tossed it at Gum Drop.”You know it is made from the highest quality material,and just look at this stitching!”BrokenArts proudly displayed her latest purchase.Gum Drops head sank.
“I doupt I will be able to pull off even a simple pickpocket without my rumbling stomache giving me away.”Sighed Gum Drop.
“You just lighten up and finnish your drink.These scurvy dogs don’t like to see a sad face,reckon it brings them bad luck on their next voyage.”
“How come nobody bothers you in here?”Queried Gum Drop.”That cloak looks very...err...flattering on you dear,and this dive doesn’t exacly look like yeeEOW! ...!”
Gum Drop felt the sharp point of a dagger against his thigh.
“There have been those who tried.”smiled BrokenArts.
Bladdergutt was rubbing his hands together with glee,not only had he secured a very handsome price for one prisoner,but he had just aquired another who could be sold off to work in the recently reopened mines at Cragscleft.
“Who needs women an’ wine an’ all thee hardship that they
brings!Gold is wot I been a-missin’ out on,and by Neptunes navel,gold is ‘er wot I be get’n!”Grinned Bladdergutt,stomping out of the office.
He crossed over to where the armoured carrage was still being loaded up with crates.Casting his critical eye over the workers,he looked as though he was about to say something.A smile grew on his fetid lips and he turned and walked out into the night air.
“Wot do I care fer Steerpikes rott’n spoils,let the sea claim the lot an’ see if I’s lift a finger!”He laughed.”T’night is the night that ol’ Bladdergutt buys ‘imself a ship of ‘is own!”

06-15-2001 04:29 PM
Stepping out of the window,Swordmaster silently closes it,then begins whistling a classic taffing song to himself.He stops abrubtly as he sees Northren traveling along the thieves highway,alone. “Well,well,well...”he says quietly.”Whatever a known taffer is doing out here,alone,has to have some goodies along with it...”
Placing the stolen goods atop the roof-they’d be safe there till he got back;unless a thief happened by-he shadowed Northren for a time.Getting a bit careless,a piece of roofing slid broke under his foot and slid down,hitting the street and almost sure to alert Northren.Crouching down,he waited,hoping Northren wouldn’t see him...
06-16-2001 06:21 PM
In the shelter of the baled rope, Nazgaul and theBlackman waited in silence until the moon had started to move over the horizon, and the shadows deepened.
“Well”, said Nazgaul, “I think that we can do better alone. As you have explained it, there are a couple of possibilities; Gervasius and Steerpike have arranged for some object to be transported here. The warehouse used by the good captain may have some items of value, and or the ship it self might have some small items of value.”
“We know that Steerpike had nothing of any consequence on him at the Burrick unless it was a small item of jewlery, (and he may be stupid) but even he would not go on a carouse in the Burrick with it on his person,” he paused for a moment. “Looks like the best thing is to split up and each try a different location. The ship, or the warehouse.”
“Steerpike probably lives aboard, although he may have a house in Dayport. So the ship is a good place to start.”
“Think I’ll just scout around until I find something. We know we are looking and suspect others like us may be around; Just look before you jump. I don’t need to fight another thief. I’ve got enough problems with Truarts men and the street patrols. See you later!” Nazgaul slipped silently away and vanished, leaving theBlackman alone in the night.
Keeping to the center of the street. theBlackman Walked down Old Ropewalk Way toward the western harbor. With no fear of the quards or firewatch patrols, he Kept an eye on the shadows and other nooks in which a nightwalker, or bully might hide.
Unlike some of his aquaintances, theBlackman had not yet come to the direct attention of Truart and his corrupt enforcers. Like Wynne, he prefered to get in, get the goods and get out with no evidence of who or what he was. As a result unlike Garrett, no wanted posters, no broadsides on the walls, and no description of him was public. As he strolled openly toward the Whales Spout he thought about the unknown invader at Gervasius’ art exhibit and the theft of the Precursor Masks. Now that was a rampage to enjoy, the on site reports by Izzie Lyon -too bad about his death, he was a good reporter- and the other reports on the raid from WELIE radio, was a story to warm a thieves heart; no clues, no arrest; and Gervasius’s mansion nearly reduced to rubble. theBlackman chuckled, “I’d like to shake that taffers hand”, he thought.
“Raids like that comes few and far between; whoever it was must have had a real mad on with Gervasius. I haven’t heard of a bodycount that high since that last Mech raid on the Hammerite Seminary.”
By now he was approaching Main Gate, where Old Ropewalk Way ended at Baron’s Way. To cross in front of the gate and continue caused him no concern, but the rumble of voices from the area of the guardpost ahead, did not sound like the usual normal banter of a sentry and a passerby.
“Don’t need to get mixed up in that. Time to go around.” He turned right toward the waterfront on Reef Lane and continued, following the passage northwest until it met up with Pearl Court where he continued west again toward the shipyards and the Whales Spout.
06-17-2001 10:53 AM
Karn’s arms ached. Still, he silently lowered himself into the water. “How long ‘ad I been kept onboard?” he wondered to himself. He felt weak. Being a prisoner on board a ship, he had nothing to eat but ‘roach soup. “I’ll skin that bastid Steerpike, if’n I ‘as tew chase ‘im tew Perdition’s Edge!” Anger fueled his limbs as he swam towards shore-not towards the wharf, which was closest, but to a small beach.
Once ashore, Karn fought to steady himself. “After I get me
land-legs back, I need tew get some dry clothes, an’ a ‘earty meal. More importantly, I need some rum.” He climbed up some rocks and gathered his bearings.
“Been tew long since I’ve docked ‘ere. I wonder if my ‘ouse is still in one piece?” A few years back, Karn had done some favors for the govener, in return he had presented Karn with a small manor house. It was located near Threegates, so he made his way there.
Karn slid his still-dripping body into the alley beside the manor. A commotion sprung up over by the gates. Karn peered around to see what was going on. The guards were searching a mule-drawn wagon. One of the guards was thrusting his sword into the load of nets. “Hey you big oaf”, shouted the driver. Karn looked and saw it was ol’ Lop Ear himself. He hadn’t seen that old wharf rat in way too long. When he heard mention of an escaped prisoner, Karn quickly slipped back into the alley. He checked the side door, and it opened easily. “Lock was probably picked. I should’ve known better than tew leave a ‘ouse empty in this city o’ thieves. Let’s see if I ‘ave anythin’ left.”
Karn slowly walked up the stairs and into the master bedroom. He walked over to the amoire and found that it, too was now unlocked. Luckily there were still some clothes inside. Quickly stripping off his wet rags, he donned a well-cut shirt and pants. The cloak was layed out on the bed as he pulled on his sturdy boots. “Now, let’s see ‘ow good these thieves were.” Going into the armoire again, he lifted a panel out of the bottom, revealing a secret compartment. Inside was a sack of coins and a longsword wrapped in oilcloth.
“Arrr, it’s good tew feel cold steel in me ‘and again. Hopefully, Steerpike’s blood will warm ye up soon!”
Gum Drop
06-17-2001 04:19 PM
Lop Ear worked his way through the throng to where Gum Drop and BrokenArts were sat.He stood at the table and smiled down at the two taffers.
“Lop Ear’s been a-thinkin’ you two could use a little help from an old sea hand,”he said stroking his beard.”I have a way of finding things that are not made to be found.”
“Tell us exactly what you do Lop Ear,I have been meaning to ask.You risked alot to sneak me into the docklands when you could’ve just handed me over to the city watch.”
“Yeah,”interupted BrokenArts.”My father has spoken of you on several occasions in the past.You do seem to be more than a humble fisherman.”
Lop Ear sat down at the table and emptied the last of the foul smelling drink down his throat.
“I’m thirsty,who’s round is it?”
“Don’t look at me,I have one copper to my name!”Gum Drop glanced at BrokenArts cloak.
“I’ll get us more drinks,”announced BrokenArts-rising from her chair.”And when I return,you had better explain yourself!”
06-18-2001 01:08 AM
As he made his way toward the Whales Spout, theBlackman followed the winding streets and byways, sometimes heading toward the harbor othertimes back toward ThreeGate, but always tending west toward the shipyards and the beached galleon that housed the tavern.
The moon moved beyond the horizon its fading glow silvering the few clouds floating in the sky above. The clear night air was rendolent with the smell of decaying fish, moldy rope and the usual salted odor of the sea. For all of that, it was a pleasant change from the ancient reek of Old Towne and the sharp metallic oily smell of the areas near Dayport where the Mechanist had established themselves.
A last final turn down Cable Run brought him to the old seawall. The creak of the planks working in the ships moored at the piers and the squeaking rub of fenders along with the groan of the dolphins and pilings as they took the weight of the waiting ships drifted through the night; not an unpleasant sound after the hubbub of the city.
The skeleton frame of a ship on the ways at the yard of Cobb and Son was a spidery shadow against the lighter horizon. Large piles of lumber and baulks of heavy timber along the pierside, slowly turning into masts, spars, and frames at the hands of the skilled shipwrights, spiced the air with the odor of thier sawdust and shavings.
theBlackman made his way to the top of one of the taller stacks of timber. Keeping low to avoid being outlined against the skyline. The bordering road stretched away to the west along the quay. The orange and yellow glow from the scattered torchiers and flambeaus along the route cast random pools of light here and there, revealing then concealing piles of netting, rope and discarded debris.
In the light of a guttering torch a few yards ahead, a rather odd looking little man was making his way slowly down the quay.
His attire was odd to eye. A wide brimmed hat, looking like woven straw, hid his face from view. A short cape with half sleeves and a sort of skirt, tied at the waist with a wide sash, ended about his knees. From under this a pair of loose baggy trousers ended just above his ankles. His feet were bare, but he showed no discomfort at the rough cobbles beneath his feet. Walking sedately and silently along, he held a cloth wrapped parcel in his left hand; his right held a walking staff bound with brass rings at each end.
As the traveler neared a shadowed doorway three large men sauntered out and lounged against a stack of timber, thier position partially blocking the roadway.
theBlackman moved quietly to another lumber pile closer to the gathering. From the new vantage point he could clearly see and, by intent listening, hear the conversation below.
The little man turned to avoid the men and continue his on his way. “ ‘ere now, what be a man like ye on the piers, this night”, asked the largest of the men? “Ye be no sailor or wharf rat. An now that Oiy see ye in better light, not like any oiy’s be seein’ afore passin’ through here.”
He turned to smirk at his companions,”Wh’t s’y ye mates? Be we lettin’ this un go adriftin on our seas?” As he spoke a fourth man came from a shadow behind to block the stranger from any retreat.
Placing his bundle on the ground the little man bowed his head slightly. “Sorry, I mean no intrusion”, he said softly,”I seek a place of repose that was advised me. I was told it lay in this direction. I do not wish to disturb you.” With a bob of his head in a quick bow he continued, “If you will permit, I will continue in search of the Whales Spout tavern. Please to let me pass.”
theBlackman, did not like involving himself in anothers arguement or difficulty, but it was beginning to look like the little old fellow was about to pay the usual toll of innocents on the waterfront at night and, if he was to escape from the toughs with a whole skin, would need some help. The odd little man looked to be unarmed except for the stick, which didn’t look likely to be of much help against the four bullies.
“Well, now”,laughed the leader, “Oiy guess we could do th’t. But ye’ll be ‘avein to pay a toll. Oiy mean, we kin not be lettin just any lubber sail our waters, can we now mates.?” “So if ye be givin’ us yer purse, and Oiy, think thee bun’le there.
We be lettin ye go.”
The stranger moved back a little and slowly scanned the circle of men now surrounding him. Using his foot he moved the bundle he had dropped slightly to his rear.
Again he bowed slightly, “That I cannot allow. Please, I wish no harm to you nor your friends, and merely wish to continue to the Whales Spout.”
“Ha ha ha”, with a slap on his thigh the tough guffawed. “Ye don’ mean me no harm?” and his laughter grew louder. He reached back and exposed the club he had been concealing behind him and moved toward the man in the center of the circle.
theBlackman prepared to jump down to aid the apparently hapless victim. But paused at the reaction of the little man. He seemed calm and unconcerned about the threat.
With his left hand the old man removed his hat and dropped his hand to his side. Still holding the hat, he looked around the circle again. Bending his knees slightly, he shifted his feet presenting his right side to the ringleader.
The bully raised his club and moved to attack the man in the circle. The hat flicked out and sailed into the bullies eyes, as he flinched, the staff lashed out catching him on the left temple dropping him like a stone. Without pause the staff reversed and thrust back under the little mans’ arm spearlike catching the attacker behind him in the pit of the stomach. The now winded tough collapsed in a pile gasping hoarsely; the staff whistled around to catch the man on his left in the throat. The old man continued in a smooth, sliding turn; the brass ring on the end of the staff rang on the cobblestones as he faced the last bully, and grounded the staff in front of him.
With a look of paniced surprise on his face the bully looked at the three bodies littering the street and backed away to fade in the shadows. The old man replaced his hat, picked up his bundle and, without a backward glance at the carnage he had wrought, continued on his way.
“What was that?” theBlackman asked himself. “He took those guys out like they were so many children. I barely saw what happened. It was so quick. I wonder who he is and what he wants at the Whales Spout? Whatever it is I don’t want to get in his way!”

06-18-2001 07:45 AM
After parting company with Blackman, Nazgaul slowly made his way to the warehouse district of the wharf. After just a few minutes of looking around he realized that finding the correct warehouse was going to be a bit more difficult than he originally thought. “Looks like they’ve done some expansion since the last time I visited.” he mused. Running his conversation with Blackman from under the city through his head, he remembered Blackman make mention of some unusually high security for shippers. “Well, that’s a starting poi... “
Nazgaul’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of jovial humming and footsteps approaching. Scanning the boxes around him, Nazgaul quickly folded the bottom of his cloak up and fastened it around his waist. Taking two steps forward he lept up onto the lowest crate, landing in a crouch with just the balls of his feet on the edge. Waiting for a heartbeat to start tilting back, he levered himself up, away from the crate and into a tight flip. Landing cat-like onto the top of the crates stacked by the corner of the warehouse, he turned and peered around the corner. Sonova taffing haunt, he thought, Since when did the watch start carrying lanterns?! If I don’t do something fast, there’s no way he’ll miss me up here. Looking up, Nazgaul saw that the roof wasn’t that far up from where he was, but it was a bit too far to jump, and the watchman would most certainly hear a rope arrow. Spying a window ledge that looked promising, Naz took a few steps back and prayed it was well-constructed. Stepping forward, he lept across and planted one foot on the window ledge and immediatly pushed off using his momentum to throw him towards the roof. Reaching out, Nazgaul grabbed the roof’s overhang and swung himself up. Peering over the edge, he saw the watchman stroll past without breaking stride. Lying on the roof, Nazgaul let the tension slowly drain from his body. And to think I complained about all the training that old man put me through... Naz thought, shaking his head, well, it’s good to know it comes in handy now and then. Standing up, Naz let down his cloak again and studied the nearby warehouses from his new vaintage point. Most were of the ordinary sort, except for one down by the water. Peering through his spyglass, Nazgaul’s jaw dropped. Is that a MECHBOT?! he thought, Blackman wasn’t kidding about that extra tight security. These guys are really serious about keeping people out of there. Heh, I always did love a challenge. Naz thought with a grin. Putting away his spyglass, Nazgaul made his way across the rooftops to the wearhouse down by the water.

“Like a glove!” (Page 3)

posted 06-18-2001 11:54 AM

Dropping down from his vantage point theBlackman looked at the scene before him.
The once earstwhile leader of the gang was not about to trouble anyone else, the apparently useless staff had split his skull like a ripe melon dropped from a rooftop.
The winded tough was gasping for air like a fish newly hauled from the water, and the third man was turning purple as he suffocated from a crushed windpipe.
“That has to be the most dangerous single man I have ever seen,” theBlackman mused.”If he has other skills than that with the staff, God help anyone that thwarts him. And he moves as smoothly as oil on water.”
“Strange looking too. I’ve not seen a face with such a serene look. Even as he took down the bullies his face was as calm as a carven statue.”
A quick search of the three bodies, well, two bodies for the man with crushed throat finally thrashed his way to oblivion, revealed a little cash and in the belt pouch of the leader a small scrap of parchment with some spidery scribbled writing on it. “Not enough light here, best read it later.” Putting the note and the coins in his belt, theBlackman made another quick search of the toughs. From the boottop of the winded bully a pale ivory spot attracted his eye. “Hmm? What have we here?he thought rolling the boottop down to expose a slim ivory-handled dirk.” Nice. This little toy might come in handy”He flipped it a time or two, “Good balance and the bit of shagreen on the hilt means it won’t slip in a hand. Very nice.”
Satisfied that no more of value would be found, he tucked the weapon into his belt at the small of his back. Checking to make sure he could reach it with either hand, he looked for the figure of the old man.
In the short time it had taken theBlackman to search the bodies, the little man, whose pace seemed so leisurely, had moved a surprising distance down the quay and was nearly out of sight.

posted 06-19-2001 12:28 AM

Stikboy’s eyes don’t have time to adjust to the darkness before he is tossed into a crate and has the lid nailed shut on him. He lays there quietly listening for noises from the other room. After a little while, he doesn’t hear anything else. “It seems like everyone is gone. Now lets see how I can get out of here” Stikboy starts testing the strength of the nails in the lid, when all of a sudden, it starts to lift. Stikboy lays still to regain strength to try again, when, with much creaking, the lid pops off. Stikboy looks at his helper, and can only see a vague outline of a short, skinny person in a cloak.
“Well,” whispers a high pitched voice “are you going to get out of there sometime tonight?”
Stikboy stands up slowly wondering if this young boy had gone
through puberty yet, and what he had done to become one of
Steerpike’s prisoners. “Who are you? And what are you doing in
“That’s of no consequence at this time. Later when we are out of here we can have story hour. Come over here. Now that there are two of us, we might be able to get out of here.” The mysterious young boy leads Stikboy over to a corner where a few big crates are stacked up. Behind one of the crates, Stikboy can see the lighted outline of a door.
With much pulling and pushing, the two are finally able to move the large crate enough to get to the door. The youngster reaches out. Click! “D@mn! Locked. Now what? <mailto:D@mn! Locked. Now what?>”
“Leave that up to me.” Stikboy brings out his lockpicks and goes to work on the door. After a couple of minutes of playing around with the lock, Stikboy finally gives up. “Hmmm. These are new picks. Steerpike sure has put a lot of renovation into this place.” Stikboy can see the boy slouch in disappoinment when he remembers his friend putting somthing in his belt. He grabs it and feels the shape of a key. He slids the key slowly into the lock and turns it. Click! “It’s unlocked” Stikboy quietly turns the knob and slowly opens the door.

posted 06-19-2001 01:05 PM

Northren grappled up another overhang and crouched behind a chimney pot to catch his breath and to rest his aching muscles. The rooftop passage from the Creeping Burrick to the wharf had been exhausting and almost deadly. Opening his near-empty sterling flask, he sipped the dark, amber liquid. Ahhh, nothing like a good 30 year Laphroaig to ease the burdens of the mind and body. As the warmth infused his body with a sense of well-being, Northren recounted his steps from the Creeping Burrick...
Following Steerpike and his entourage had been easy going at first. Using the advantage of rooftops he was able to catch up with Steerpike by cutting across buildings where Steerpike had to go around. Even Hawker’s Bridge posed no problem as it was relatively dark and only had one posted guard to impede his passage. It was at Threegates Wall that Lady Luck seemed to have abandoned him. “Halt! Identify yourselves and your business.” The sentry guard cried out when he spotted an armed contingent approaching the gate. Stopping before the gate, one of the watch patrolmen, identified himself and Captain Steerpike of the Easy Virture. The young sergeant of the sentry guard signaled the opening of the East gate and motioned for Steerpike and Bladdergut to pass while the three city watchmen entered the guard house. “We won’t let that scallywag of a dog get by us, Captain, sir!” Irritable and fatigued, Captain Steerpike glowered at the sentry as he passed by, “He better not. For if I finden out tha’ me prisoner slipped through yer grasp, I’ll beseech the Port Master and the Guvner himsef, to hang ye head from me mast!!” The sergeant visibly shaken, called for even more torches and doubling of the wall patrol. Northren observing the encounter knew he had a challenge to get to the other side. With a silent crouching run, Northren followed the wall to the left for a short ways until he was comfortably in the dark. Looking up he spotted iron grills evenly spaced out along the rampart to allow for water drainage. Searching through his quiver, he found a vine arrow and deftly fired it at the closest grill. thwip The arrow found it target and released a sinewy rope-like vine to the ground. Hearing and seeing nobody around, Northren shimmied up the vine until he came to the grate and listened. Nothing. So he reached up, got a hold of the wall and pulled himself onto the rampart while extricating his arrow from the grill. Good, now I just need to go down the other side where it’s safe. Northren peered over the other side. Footsteps Northren spun around and saw and heard two guards approaching. “That Steerpike sure taught that new sergeant of ours a lesson! You should have seen his face, I thought he was going to relieve himself! Ha, Ha!” “Yeah, that was....hey, what’s that movement over there!” Northren knowing that guards were patrolling from both ends realized he was in a pickle if he didn’t act quickly. Reaching into his quiver, he pulled out his one chance to escape alive and remain undetected. Notching the gas arrow to his bow he pulled back and let it fly. The arrow flew true and hit the first guard in the chest exploding in a cloud of green vapors. Both guards fell to the ground before they could raise the alarm. Northren quickly replaced his bow and crept over to the unconscious duo. He extinguished the torches and searched the bodies. 15 copper pieces, a silver ring, and a rolled scroll. Pocketing the items, Northren dragged the two bodies to where he had climbed the wall. Well, boys, I guess this is where we part. I hope you have better luck in your next life. Northren pushed both guards over the wall into the darkness. THUD THUD Moving along the wall on the side where the two came from, Northren finally found a safe place to climb down using his vine arrow once again on the iron grill. Hammers, this little excursion has cost me a vine and a gas arrow so far. That Steerpike is going to pay big time now if I can just find him! Northren glanced back at the lost vine arrow swaying in the breeze as he continues his rooftop passage searching for signs of Steerpike. Nothing. Not wanting to take chances wandering aimlessly around the docklands, Northren remembered an odd galleon-shaped tavern that he had visited years before while waiting for passage on the Easy Virtue. Yes, tavern denizens are a great source of information, and if I recall, this tavern had the oddest mix of patrons, from the well-to-do to the unsavory so I shouldn’t have a problem finding information on Steerpike. As Northren adjusted his direction toward the Inn, he recalled the drunken ramblings of one of the inn’s patrons, a fisherman, regarding a she serpent that could outfight, outdrink, outgamble, and outwit any sailor on the docks. Obviously, the sailor must have meant sea serpent and was regaling himself with another of his tall tales. Almost to his destination, Northren heard something strike the cobblestones below and a faint intake of breath. By the Keeper! Now I’m being followed, but by who? Hawklette? Close to the tavern, Northren decided to let whoever it was follow him to the tavern whereupon he could either lose himself or introduce himself... Downing the last of the Laphroaig, Northren felt better. I should have just stayed in Islay. He peered across the way and true to his sense of direction, lay (literally) the mighty galleon now named the Whale Spouts Inn. Cautiously, he lowered himself to the street and proceeded to enter the surprisingly well kept and well lit establishment. The inn was crowded, but had a homey and friendly feel. He sat at a table with his back against the wall facing the front door to watch for signs of his stalker. While he was waiting for a barmaid, a drunken sailor stumbled into his table. “Hey yer not from around here are ye hic better watch out for the She Serpent ‘for she rips you from bow to stern hic oh...batten down the hatches, Im gonna blow!” Northren kicked the drunk away from his table just as the sailor spewed forth the night’s special of octopus stew across the room.

posted 06-20-2001 01:44 AM

With a final look around to make sure he had not missed any other valuables, theBlackman hurried after the strange little man. Using the shadows and timing his movement as best he could to the rhythm of the plash of the water on the piles, and the groan of the ships as they worked in the swell, he slowly drew closer. Staying about 15 or 20 feet behind he followed silently, he thought. The man he was following passed into the heavy shadow thrown by a net of cargo hanging from the loading boom of a small lighter at the wharf -and didn’t come out the other side. “What’s this? There’s no place to go. I know he didn’t board the ship, and there’s no other place he could have gone.” thought theBlackman eyeing the shadow cast by the suspended mass of goods. “I’d have seen him for certain.”
Slowly approaching the patch of darkness, theBlackman strained his eyes trying to discover any place the little man could have gone. I’ll be damned, he just vanished like smoke. May be I imagined the whole thing,” and he felt the small of his back.” No the dagger’s still there so at least that much was real. Wonder where he got to?”
With a shake of his head, he looked around once more, started on toward the pool of bright light from the strings hanging from the transplanted masts of the galleon, now tavern. He’d taken only a step or two when a gentle voice nearly in his ear, asked “Why do you go in shadow and follow this one?” theBlackman, startled, sprang forward turning in mid air to land a mans length away in a defensive crouch facing the shadow, the little dagger gleaming in his hand. He saw nothing. A gentle touch on his wrist; the dagger dropped to his feet; his hand lost all feeling. Still nothing.
“Are all the people here thieves and killers?” the soft voice came from nowhere and every where. “You saw the brigands that attacked me. This one felt you above me on the wood; smelled you as you followed me, and regretably must say you walk as a shod horse on stone.”
“What do you want with this poor old man?”

posted 06-20-2001 06:57 AM

He breathed with relief as Northren continued on,then watched as lowered himself and slipped into the Whale Spouts Inn. “Well,this little excursion’s had some close calls already...” He followed Northren,and climbed down himself,cursing as his foot slipped again.
“Methinks me needs more practice before me try me luck on the roof again.”
Following Northren’s exact path,he peered inside the Inn through a window,searching for him.Spying him at the table,watching the front door,he looked for windows near him.Seeing none,he walked behind the Inn.Grinning at seeing what he wanted for a change,he tried the handle on the back door.
“They left it open just for me.”he said,grinning.Pushing it open,he stepped inside to the well-lit kitchen.Seeing only cooks,he pushed the door leading to the common room open and sat at the closest empty table,searching for Northren again.”There you are.My lead to a surely grand treasure.”Standing,he walked over to where Northren was sitting,his black clothes sticking out in the light.He brushed his cloak back and sat,ignoring the drunken sailor who had apparently lost his dinner.Leaning back,he watched the door silently,wondering what Northren was waiting for.

posted 06-20-2001 07:44 PM

Broken slowly makes her way up to the bar, noticing the new arrival seated in the opposite corner. As she brushes past the patrons of the bar, feeling the eyes upon her now, she quickens her pace. Slipping her hand just inside her cloak, she clutches the dagger strapped to her thigh.
Suddenly, one of the regulars, named Captain Moore, his motto, that he loves to brag about to everyone,Give me moore of everything! Grab’s her by the arm almost ripping her cloak Hardie, Hick har, har, Come here lassie and give Capt n’ Moore some more of what he wants, Aaaah, ha, ha, ha With her well placed hand, gripping her dragger, she stomps on the Captains foot. OH! she be a fiesty one. I like.. But, before he could get his last breath out, Broken grabs the dagger, riping it out of it’s sheath, and placing it just under his chin, using it to twirl the hair of his greasy beard as she looks at him. You reeeeallly don’t want to mess with my CLOAK! He looks at her, his hands go up, still holding the dagger in front of her, he sits back down. Hhhmmph, women She finally orders some drinks. She leans over the bar, standing on her tippy toes, whispering to Old Lake, the owner of the bar. He poors 3 glasses of Laphroaig,giving her a tray, he winks at her, she smiles back. She picks up the tray and walks back to GumDrop and LopEar.
I wondered about you up there Broken, GumDrop says. You know me, I can handle anything that comes my way, she says to him Now, LopEar, Broken looks at him, handing each GumDrop and LopEar a glass. Oooh big spender tonight, they hold up their glasses, and smell the delicious aroma. They all sip. Now, LopEar, she looks at them both sternly. Your not, shall we say the average sea going fisherman, aren’t we? Yes, I do have a so called side job, that keeps me just a busy. See, being a fisherman, gets me in and out of ports without too many questions asked. He pauses, looking around the room. But, what is your business here? Asks Broken. I’ve been ordered, by the Federate Reserves to locate Steerpike, and confiscate a certain object, that is in his possesion, which he stole.
The who? asks Broken. Hired by the king, Sssshhh, says LopEar.
Looking around again.
I’ve never heard of that faction, says GumDrop. Not too many people have. But, we need more information, and more help in retrieving this Object.
Just then the stranger that walked in before, suddenly gets up from his table.
He turns around, and Broken recognizes him right away. Everyone looks up, it’s Northern! says Broken. And here is my other informit now, say LopEar. She looks in disbelief at Northern. Man I knew you’ve be gone awhile, but, you too! What is going on. And why are you letting us in on this?
I knew there was trouble, but....
We need you Broken, your small, we’ve heard you pretty good at getting in and out of tight places, and spaces. You, shall we say have a way with men. You be just the ticket we need with ol Steerpike.......suddenly a sly grin crosses her face.

posted 06-20-2001 11:12 PM

Karn left the manor house, not bothering to lock the door behind him. He felt his stomach rumble as he walked down the street. Coming to an intersection, he pauses, looks around, and decides on his path. “I ‘ope I don’t get lost. These streets jus’ ain’t familiar anymore. Wit’ Steerpike’s men more ‘an likely out lookin’ for me, I can’t afford tew be caught flatfooted.” His mind wandered back a few years to the last time he docked here. He had just completed a successful voyage. The Silver Skull was riding low in the water when they docked, laden with plunder. After divvying up the loot, his crew decended upon the wharf with a vengeance. “Hmmm, what was th’ ame o’ that tavern?” Karn vaguely remembered the good food, the rum flowing like water, and a wench on each arm. It had been built in the hull of an old galleon that had been pulled ashore. So lost in concentration, he nearly tripped over three bodies lying in the street.
“Har! Th’ town hasn’t changed that much since me last visit. Still a den o’ scoundrels!” He quickly ducked down a side street, not wanting to be connected to the sceene. Taking a few twists and turns, he finally ends up at his destination. The Whale’s Spout had not changed a bit since his last visit. Some of the tables and chairs were new, but it was the same mix of patrons that he remembered. Karn found his way to an empty table, sat down and grabbed one of the serving girls she passed. “Ahoy lass, sit yourself down on me lap. After you warm me up a bit, I need you tew bring me a bottle o’ rum. After that, bring me a plate o’ something hot. Don’t skimp on me serving, either. I’m ‘ungry enough tew eat a Spaniard, mustache an’ all!” He pushed her away, but not before giving her a pinch on her rump. She turned and gave Karn a wink before walking off. She returned shortly with the rum and a mug. Karn flipped her a coin and took a long pull from the bottle before filling the mug. He settled back into his chair as he looked around the room. Some of the sailors he recognized. After a few more drinks, he noticed Lop Ear across the room. He was sitting with a man and a small woman. Karn stands and crosses the room, eager to reaquiant himself with his old shipmate. Another man had joined them by the time Karn got to the table. Their conversation was in hushed tones, but the sly grin on the woman’s face was hard to miss. They were deinitely up to something. Karn gave Lop Ear a friendly slap on the back. “Did I hear you mention Steerpike? I ‘ave a score tew settle wit’ that bastid.” As Lop Ear turned, a large smile appeared on his face, highlighting his scar. “Karn! It does me ‘eart good tew see a salty seadog like yerself! Sit down, we may have a use for you too...”

posted 06-20-2001 11:25 PM

Tingling fingertips signaled the slow return of feeling to theBlackmans hand. “Yes. I saw you and the bullies. Yes. Nearly everyone skulking around these wharves and piers at night is either a thief, a cutpurse or a crimp,” shaking his hand as the numbness faded. “How did you do that? For that matter where are you? I know you are here, but for the life of me I still can’t see you.” The dry soft voice again seemed to emminate from everywhere and nowhere, “How is no matter; a small thing taught to children in my village before they are of five years. And I am here.” A rap of the staff on the wooden deck drew theBlackmans’ eye to the right just in the shadow of the suspended load.
The mans shape was still. If it had not been for the sound to key direction, and if theBlackman had not known a person was there, he would have been unseen. His utter stillness and the dark color of his clothing made him of the shadow not in it. “As we both know I am no threat to you, may we move a little into the torch light by the gangway?” theBlackman asked. “I shall leave the dagger where it is, and with your permission retrieve it later before I leave.”
After a pause, and hearing no objection from the concealing shadow, he moved a few yards down the wharf and took a stance near the landward end of the gangway to the lighter; hands well away from any place a weapon might have been concealed. Like smoke across a rooftop the strange little man glided out of the shadow and stopped a little more than arms length away. “It’s true”, said theBlackman, “I was following you. But after the way you handled those dockside toughs, I was curious. I have seen quarter-staff, swordplay, and other combat styles many times in my life. You use no technique or style I have ever seen. You also are from a race of people that I have not seen before.” “You move so silently and with such economy of movement I was impressed and curious. There are tales, -on the waterfront and in this city you hear many- of a group of people called Keepers who supposedly have similar skills. I’ve never encountered one, few do, and I discounted the tales as exaggerations. But seeing you and what you did has convinced me that there may be some truth in the old legends.”
The Whales Spout was slowly filling up. The fisherfolk finished setting the nets and boats to right coming in for a dram before heading off to a warm bunk; Captains of merchant or trading vessels, meeting to complain or brag about thier last voyage, exchange information about newly found shipping hazards; hangers on and the usual crowd of gamblers, interested in the gossip or the possible gain in lightening the purses of the seamen,and of course, the scattering of scallywags.
The air was slowly turning bluish from the clouds of pipe smoke and the byproducts of the kitchen and the flickering torches that lit the interior. The light breezes of the warm summer night coming in the open ports and the entryway -actually a large gash caused by the storm that threw her up against Threegate- did little to relieve the fug of smoke, cooking oils, and odor of sweat that began to build up in the tavern.
Some of the patrons, took thier drinks out to the trestles set up in front of the Whales Spout under the torches adorning the masts. In a corner, to the right of the entrance and away from the main crowd, a dice game was in progress. The victory cries of the winners, the groans and cursing of the losers filtering into the general din.
The tavern itself occupied the hold of the old galleon with one time gundeck converted into small rooms. The owner rented these out to the travelers passing through, and ,of course, to those shipowners or Captains who needed privacy away from thier wives. A skylight had been cut into the orlop deck overhead allowing light in during the day. Now a faint glow from the lighted masts filtering through. On the main floor of the Whales Spout, some secluded booths had been constructed on either side of the keel near the bows. Isolated from each other and the general hurly burly with curtains made of doubled heavy leather reinforced with chains sewed between the layers in a random pattern to thwart the thrust of sword or dagger. These booths were used frequently for liasons between the sexes or for secure private arrangements of a more sinister purpose. In one of these with his burly bodyguards outside, Gervasius waited impatiently, drumming his well-groomed fingernails on the table top.

posted 06-21-2001 02:58 PM

Watching the hapless drunk hit the floor after losing his dinner, Northren noticed a dark clothed stranger across the room looking at him. The stranger then got up and walked to the table next to Northren’s. I don’t recognize him. He must be the one who was following me. Sitting down, the stranger brushed his cloak back revealing white stains on his breeches. Pigeon poop. That’s the one alright. But what does he want with me? Just then a minor commotion erupted near the bar. Northren glanced over and noticed a scene that would have been very comical except the weapons and the threats were real. It appeared that one of the Whales Spout’s patrons, a Captain by his dress, was being put in his place by a petite black cloaked lady holding a dagger to his chin. Northren couldn’t see the woman’s face as her back was to his but something was vaguely familiar about her. Hmmm, I wonder, could this be the mysterious women who could “outfight” everyone and that I should watch out for? If she is, then she’d have the information I needed on Steerpike’s activities and the skills to help bring him down. The brief encounter between the two ended when the Captain sat back down with his hands up. With a confident stride the woman proceeded to the bar and leaned over to speak with the bar keep. Not a man’s eye blinked. “What ye be having, sir, ” a bear of a bar maid said as she obstructed Northren’s view. “Huh,” Northren blinked, “oh, I’ll have the house ale, and who is that woman at the bar?” “Ah, that be the owner’s dear friend’s daughter. She’s a fine lass she is.” With yellow teeth and more chin hairs than a grizzly, she grinned, “but don’t think ye can have your man’s way with her, she’ll slice you like a side o’ meat.” The bar maid held out her hand, “5 coppers.” Rummaging through his pocket for 10 copper pieces, he realized that he still had the scroll from the guard. Probably his duty schedule. “Here you go sweetie. Keep the change.” “Ah, thanke, but I still notta gonna put in a kind word with her for ya!” She lumbered away to the stranger’s table blocking Northren from his sight. Now I can approach the lady and her two friends. Northren got up from his table and walked to the corner where the intriguing woman now sat with two men. As he approached, he almost stumbled. It’s BrokenArts, Gum Drop and...and LOP EAR! BrokenArts and Gum Drop looked at Northren incredulously. Lop Ear on the other hand grinned from one ear to...to something. “My other informit,” he said knowing. Northren felt as if someone had hit him in the stomach. Damn, why now? Why do they always feel like I’m at their beck and call? BrokenArts threw a few questions at Northren, but it was Lop Ear that answered, “We need you Broken, your small, we’ve heard you pretty good at getting in and out of tight places, and spaces. You, shall we say have a way with men. You be just the ticket we need with ol Steerpike.” Northren felt the noose tightened as he watched the sly grin cross BrokenArts face. She and Gum Drop have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. If I had known that Lop Ear and the Federate Reserves were interested in Steerpike I would have stayed away, far away. But now it’s too late. I must play my part, the part Lop Ear obviously wants me to perform. “Yes, BrokenArts, and you too, Gum Drop, the Federate Reserve needs both of you.” Then they’ll discard you like dead carp. “I’m sure Lieutenant Lop Ear can fill you in on the details.” “Lieutenant?,” questioned Gum Drop. But before Lop Ear could answer a rather large and lethal-looking man named Karn thankfully interrupted the group. Northren recalled the days when he was proud to be a member of the secret and elite Federate Reserve which was a special force known only to the Crown itself. For ten grueling years he trained and honed his skills to fight for his King and the Reserve. He was considered to be one of the best and many thought he would climb high in their ranks. That was until he found out the true purpose of the Reserve; he inwardly shuddered at the memories which surfaced. He rejected their ways and escaped, but soon found out that he could never escape. Once a Federate Reserve, always a Federate Reserve. They would never kill one of their own, but they made his life **** . They were always there behind him, in front of him, using him to further their own gains. When he had escaped from the City Watch and Steerpike’s grasp four year’s earlier, Lop Ear himself had found him on the Isle of Islay. That time Lop Ear requested, no commanded, that he infiltrate the tight security around the distillery and obtain the Laphroaig secret recipe. It was only after he performed that they would retreat into darkness for months or even years before they would return, but they always returned.

posted 06-22-2001 07:47 AM

“I’m sure Lieutenant Lop Ear can fill you in on the details.”
Northren interjected.
Gumdrop looked from Lop Ear to Northren and back with a rather confused look and asked, “Lieutenant?” But before Lop Ear could answer a rather large and lethal-looking man named Karn thankfully interrupted the group. Karn gave Lop Ear a friendly slap on the back. “Did I hear you mention Steerpike? I ‘ave a score tew settle wit’ that bastid.” As Lop Ear turned, a large smile appeared on his face, highlighting his scar. “Karn! It does me ‘eart good tew see a salty seadog like yerself! Sit down, we may have a use for you too.” Karn pulled up a chair and sat, setting his food and ale down as Lop Ear continued, “T’will not be easy, an’ each of yew will ‘ave to be at yer very best tew succeed t’night...”
“And why don’t you tell them Why!” a sharp, yet familliar voice cut in from behind Lop Ear. Startled, Lop Ear looked behind him as all eyes at the table turned to a man sitting two tables away next to the fireplace. He was dressed in mottled charcoal-colored clothing, a cloak with the hood up and a hint of the pommel of a sword of some sort just sticking out of the cloak at his right shoulder. Half-turned away from them, he had his feet up on the table, a mug of ale rested in one hand and a home-rolled cigarrette in the other. To all outward appearances, he seemed to be watching the fire, completely oblivious to anything going on around him. Sticking the cigarrette between his teeth, he stood up and dragged his chair over to where the others were sitting. Karn was out of his chair in a heartbeat with his sword half out of it’s sheath when GumDrop placed his hand on Karn’s forearm, stopping him. “Bad idea.” Gum Drop advised.
“’Ere, now - who th’ell are yew?!? Wot business is this of yers? Why don’t yew scamper off b’fore I ‘ang yew from a yardarm?” Lop Ear spat out.
Sitting down in his chair, Nazgaul motioned at the others with his cigarrette “These are my... let’s call them ‘business associates’ for now... that makes it my business. And you,” he said jabbing a finger at Lop Ear, “had better start doling out some specifics before you get them killed with all this enigmatic crap you’re feeding them.”
Stunned, Lop Ear’s mouth worked but no sound came out. “How long have you been sitting there? And how did you get in without any of us noticing, for that matter?” Broken asked, trying to break the tension.
“I slipped in while everyone was watching your little ‘dance’ with that Captain.” Nazgaul said absently, still looking at Lop Ear. “Nice move with the dagger, by the way.” Karn had sat down again, but he was clearly unhappy about being burrick-rolled like this. Northren was watching Nazgaul with the hint of a smile on his face. After some short introductions, Gum Drop piped in “What did you mean when you said he’s going to get us killed?”
“Blackman and I have been down here for a while while you were still sorting things out at the tavern. Sorry about the flashbomb, by the way. I’m not entirely sure where he is right now but I’ve been down checking out security at the warehouse... or should I say warehouses.” Nazgaul said with a look at Lop Ear. He pulled out a hastily-sketched charcoal drawing of what was obviously the outer layouts of two warehouses. “There are two warehouses, and they’ve both got security like you wouldn’t believe. One has standard shipping guards you’d expect from valued cargo storage, but with the addition of a mechbot out front here,” Nazgaul explained pointing to the front of a warehouse labeled #1. “But the other has normal guards as well as guards in street clothing. You can tell they’re guards because they keep walking the same paths over and over. I can’t say for sure what exactly the security’s like inside either building, but from what I could see through the skylights, it’s doesn’t look good. I could hear a few of those large mechbeasts stopming around and there’s a few mechanical faces in the upper offices I could see here,” he said pointing at the warehouse labeled #2. “Normally that wouldn’t bother me but there’s three or four cables coming out of the ones I saw, and I’ve never seen that before. That bothers me.” At this point, Nazgaul stopped talking and looked up at Lop Ear. “You can chime in any time here.” “Oh stop it already!” BrokenArts exclaimed, half standing and leaning on the table. “What’s the matter with you, Naz? What are you so upset with Lop Ear for? You just met the man!” When Broken raised her voice, the undertone of the entire tavern shifted slightly. Conversations continued, but the laughter now sounded forced. Eyes shifted subtly towards our table. Hands moved closer to holdout weapons. Lowering her voice, Broken murmured “Now if you don’t make nice and explain yourself, those wearhouses are going to be the least of your worries.”
Nazgaul held her gaze for a moment and said “I don’t trust Feds... I did once, and I’ve had reason not to since. I lost some very close friends because of ‘overgeneralized facts’ and ‘purposely witheld information’ about a job from a Fed before.” Nodding to Lop Ear, “Nothing personal.”
Broken gave a small nod and sat back down. We all have our demons, I guess.She thought to herself. As Broken relaxed, the tavern’s undertones slowly shifted back to normal. Either offended, shocked or both at Nazgaul’s rudeness and naked anger, Lop Ear numbly nodded back.
Sighing, Nazgaul asked “Now what exactly are we up against here and why is this place locked down six ways from the Old Quarter?”

posted 06-23-2001 10:27 PM

The little man made no response. theBlackman continued,”I don’t imagine you are a Keeper, nor that you have even heard of them or thier history. Legend says they are able to stand in the middle of a crowd and be unseen, that they can easily disable several opponents at once, move silently over any surface and pass through any gate or wall.”
“Your use of some of these skills intrigued me. As your destination was also mine,” theBlackman said, “I thought to observe you as you made your way there.”
Listening, with his head tipped a little to one side, the stranger waited for theBlackman to finish.
“You are of this place, this City”, he asked? When theBlackman nodded, he continued softly, “This one was told that safe lodging for travelers could be had at the Whales Spout, and that, with a proper offering, information could sometimes be obtained.” “Well?” theBlackman hesitated, “Lodging, yes. The Spout is one of the few places this side of Three Gates that offers safe lodging, and... decent food,” he added as an after thought. “As to information. Depends on what information you want. Shipping schedules -arrivals, departures,ships overdue- are posted on the main floor next the service counter. That’s free to any able to read. Information on other things can be had at a cost.”
“You also seek the... Spout, you called it?-May this one share your path?” the little man inclined his head in a small, brief bow.
“Uh. Yes. Certainly.” theBlackman said, “May I retrieve my little toy?” and he gestured to the dagger lying at thier feet. When no response was forth-coming, he walked over and picked up the dagger, slowly and openly returned it to the belt at the small of his back. Again assuring himself that it was easily reached by both hands.
“The Whales Spout is just past the Ways you see beyond the light ahead. May I ask your name? Your business is none of mine; I am called theBlackman by my enemies, and Black by my friends.” “Since you are neither, you may call me as you choose.” The man smiled, “This one is known, in your tongue as.....”, he paused, “the closest would be Passing Breeze or, perhaps Wind. Yes. Wind will do. You could not pronounce this one’s true name; and would understand the translation even less.” “You speak our language, very well”, said theBlackman. “This one thanks you for the courtesy of so saying, but fears that you are over generous. It has been many years since Wind was a student of your tongue. Regretably, the memory of an old man is failing.”
“That I should be so clumsy when I am an old man is to be devoutly wished,” exclaimed theBlackman. “If your defensive skills and, yes, your skill with a language not your own is that of a failing old man, I would indeed wish such when I reach a comparable age.” With that theBlackman turned with a beckoning gesture and strode off toward the Whales Spout, with the stranger slightly behind at his left.

posted 06-24-2001 06:05 PM

Leaning back against the chair,he sighed as Northren stood and joined what appeared to be friends.While deciding whether or not to leave and wait for them-they’d probably leave together,unless he missed his guess-a man sitting a few tables away casually caused a bit of disruption to the little...group. “Nazgaul,eh?Well,i’m just learning people left and right.”Grinning,he stood and started for the door,appearing to brush a few of the other patrons while he lifted a the purses hanging at their hips.
Tucking them away,he left the Inn and made a quick turn around the corner.A beggar hobbled over to him,and before the man could blink he had a dagger sprouting from his throat.”I’m not giving coins,old man.”He pulled his dagger out of the man’s throat and cleaned it off,then stepped over him and climbed onto a ledge of the Inn.Pulling himself up,he hopped across to the next roof over and sat.Counting the coins he had stolen,he didn’t hear the guard who had witnessed his little murder until he had smashed his head in with the hilt of his sword.Slumping over,he rolled down the roof and fell onto the ground as the guard watched.”He won’t be taffing around any more...”the guard said.”Hey,help me load this one up into the wagon!”he called over to the other guards who were waiting.Dragging his unconsious body up,they threw him into the wagon,covered by a cage,along with a few other criminals.The guards climbed onto the seats and the wagon rolled away,in front of the Inn and on towards the warehouses.

posted 06-24-2001 10:08 PM

As the door slowly creaks open, a little bit of light from the other room starts to seep in. After his eyes adjust to the light, Stikboy peeks into the room and sees that it is empty for the moment. Looking back, He notices that the room they are in looks like a store room. Boxes and crates are stacked to the ceiling. Turning back, He notices the lighted room looks like an office. There is a desk in one corner, and a box of papers sitting next to it. A single desk light is the only light source, and no visible signs of security can be found.
“Come silently” Stikboy tells his partner. When they get into the light, Stikboy takes a closer look at this young man. He sees a baby face, short brown hair, and rags for clothes. The young man walks towards the box of papers, and Stikboy notices something ... graceful about the way he was walking. Stikboy goes to the desk, and finds it locked. The papers that are lying in the box seem to be shipping manifests, but they are not normal.
“I wonder what all of this is?”
Stikboy faintly hears the familiar clanking sound of a Mechbot outside of the main door. He looks around and his compatriot says “Over here. There is another door.” Stikboy turns and watches his new companion striding towards the door. “You’re a woman!!”
“Yes, but keep it quiet. If I get captured again, it is far easier for me if I can pass as a boy. Now come on!” Stikboy creeps to the door and hears voices on the other side. “Why can’t we go to the brothel. We’ve been at sea as long as the captain.”
“Yes, but ‘is orders are to stay ‘ere. And the Captain is one man you don’t want to be crossin’” “Yeah, but I still say we need R&R more an ‘e does” The voices start to fade, and Stikboy douses the desk lamp and cracks the door for a better look. What he sees astounds him. It looks like just another store room, with crates and boxes everywhere. But there is a mechbot on the other side of the room, and three watchers on ceiling, scanning every inch of the floor. Four pirates are walking around, doing what looks like patrols.”Those must be the undercaver guards.” And various other pirates moving crates in.
Stikboy closes the door and says “We need to take our chances with the main room. We will never get through there without some major help.”

Gum Drop
posted 06-25-2001 04:07 PM

Gum Drop sat back in his chair and let his mind drift.He felt the first pangs of a nasty lump on the back of his head where BrokenArts had left her calling card.
“What will this women get me into next?”He thaught.”An evening spent in her company has gotten me at least two bonks on the head,a face full of grog,a severed purse string and a wasted afternoon at Madame Toupeé’s Manicure Parlour-thanks to a pile of dirty dishes!” Gum drop scratched at his thigh.
“And to top it all off,I’ve still got this infernal rash from Lady Bennice’s Jewel encrusted garter!”He fumed. A sudden silence fell over the establishment as all eyes turned to Gummie.
“Err...d-did I say that last comment out loud?”

posted 06-25-2001 04:55 PM

Captain John Wink anxiously paced his small office at the main gate guard tower at ThreesGate Wall. Glancing at the clock on his mech style desk, he noted that it was half past nine. Crabbs is late. He should have been here one half hour ago. Wink took a deep breath to calm his overwrought nerves and reminded himself for the thousandth time that after tonight he would be wealthy and a hero. Tonight was the night that he, Captain John Wink, would join the ranks of Naval Officer Peter Smith who was credited with defeating the invading Krondorian ships, Clayman who single-handedly slayed the red dragon which plagued the City, Mage Munin whose mastery of weather saved the city from severe storms, and the most respected and beloved of all, Commander Grey Mouser who protected his king from a poisoned arrow with his own body. Yes, tonight Captain John Wink would join their ranks as he will be the one to avert a war with Mergot by freeing the young Princess of Mergot and capturing her abductors. If only Crabbs would deliver the message from his benefactor, Lop Ear. Weeks earlier Lop Ear revealed his true identity as a Lieutenant in The Reserves to Wink and confided to him about a plot against the Country of Mergot by unknown forces in Dayport. It seemed the young princess of Mergot was sailing to Dayport when a storm blew in and her ship was lost at sea. Although wreckage of her ship was spotted, no bodies were ever found and the Mergot ambassador was starting to accuse Dayport of foul play. Through their considerable resources, Lop Ear discovered that the princess was being held for ransom by none other than Captain Steerpike a noble sea veteran. Captain Wink outraged at these allegations that Dayport’s very own Captain Steerpike was behind this vile plan offered his undying support to thwart Steerpike and return the princess to safety once he realized a sizeable reward was in the offing. Lop Ear made Wink swear to secrecy and assured him that he would receive all the glory once he delivered the princess to Wink’s grasp along with the co-conspirators of Steerpike. Wink’s job was easy, all he had to do was be at the right gate at the right time and allow Lop Ear to pass unmolested. It never dawned on Wink that The Reserve could order the city patrol to seize the Easy Virtue when she called to port, which of course they didn’t. But then, Wink was a Captain not by his abilities or mental capacity but because his father, a minor lord, bribed the palace commander with the family’s small fortune to secure his befuddled son a captain’s position. The position turned out to be Captain of ThreesGate, the most demeaning post available for one of captain’s rank. For thirty three years, Wink endured the stares and the jeers from his peers and subordinates alike. But tonight, tonight would change all that, for tonight he would be the victor, the people’s champion, and rich. All he was waiting for was a final message from Lop Ear that told him where and when he would be needed.
knock knock Captain Wink was startled out of his reverie. He’s here, finally. “Come in.”
Sergeant Kahlor walked in. “Bad news, sir. We discovered two guards foully murdered and their bodies dumped by the East Gate.” Wink visibly paled. “Who?” “Patrolman Belden and the other sir well we’re not quite positive as his head popped cleanly off and was chewed on by a pack of dogs, but we believe it’s Crabb, sir. We’ve alerted the gates, should we sound the alarm?” Wink slumped in his chair. “Are you okay, sir?” Wink steadied himself on the corner of his desk. “Yes, I’m fine. Did you find anything on Crabb’s body?” “No, sir, we didn’t. Looks as if both of them were cleaned out by them filthy taffers. We figure it was a group of four or five to be able to overtake Crabbs and Belden.” Wink looked stricken as his future turned bleak once more. “Sir, the alarm?” “Yes, sound the alarm.”

posted 06-25-2001 11:52 PM

theBlackman and his companion made thier way down the docks toward the Whales Spout. “I wonder what brings Wind to this backwater of the world. If he is just a traveler we don’t have much to offer in the way of sights or excitement -other than the occassional street thug-“ he chuckled to himself remembering the incident he had witnessed.”If he is a merchant, which I doubt, he is either traveling with Letters of Credit or his merchandise is small and easily concealed. He seems too reserved -and too deadly- to be a merchant.”
“Will you be in our City long? I ask only because I would very much like to learn some small part of your defensive skills, if such teaching would be available to such as I.” “I realize that in your eyes I must be as clumsy as that horse you mentioned earlier, but I am willing to learn, -if you are willing to teach- and even a small improvement in my own poor efforts would benefit me. In turn, perhaps I could be of some service to you in exchange.” he glanced at Wind as he spoke. Wind continued his silent pace along the dockside, “This one has come far and perhaps has further to travel. The Whales Spout may provide both lodging and the answer to your question and, to that which Wind seeks.”
“Your request and offer will be considered and -perhaps- as you say; so shall it be. The future is a blank page in the journal of life upon which the fates write as they will. Our paths may continue together beyond the Whales Spout. It will be revealed as it will be.”
“Strange little man.”theBlackman thought “I’ve never encountered such calm indifference. Even during the skirmish with the toughs. Calm, controlled and uninvolved emotionally. He’s like a handful of smoke on the wind. It’s there, but beyond your grasp” The lights of the service area outside the Whales Spout were starting to dispel the night as each step brought them closer to the patrons at the trestles outside the tavern. Just beyond the fully lighted circle cast by the torches and lanterns a crumpled pile of rag caught theBlackman’s eye. Turning a little to his right he brought the pile into closer view. He sprang forward to drop to one knee at the pile of rags. “Damn! Who would have done this.”
“I’m sorry, Wind. You’ll have to continue to the Spout by yourself. This was an acquaintance of mine. I don’t know who did this or why, but I need to see him to his friends. And mayhap help them discover the reason for his death and who may have killed him.” Wind stood silently. His eyes roving over the surrounding ground and the buildings to either side of the nook where the body lay. “You say you know the dead man and his friends, and that you would aid them. A beggar; and you would do this?” Again he gave a slight bow. “With respect, perhaps this one can offer some assistance. The one who did this left his mark.” Wind pointed to the drying pool in which the body lay.”See the track of a shod foot. The right foot. There is a small vee shaped tear at the rear of the heel and a repaired tear from the big toe across the ball of the foot to nearly the little toe. See the track just there to your right. The pattern of the sewing is clearly impressed on the plank there.” theBlackman looked where the gnarled finger pointed, and saw nothing. He turned a questioning gaze toward Wind. Wind stood like a statue the finger pointing; a wave of determined assurance seemed to flow from the digit. theBlackman got down on hands and knees, nose nearly touching the planks of the dock. “By the Gods there is a print there. I can barely see it but it is there; and as he described.” As he straightened from his examination, Wind continued in his soft dry voice,”The person who did this then climbed to the ledge there at the tavern and continued up. There is a small trace of blood where his fingers gripped the wood. Do you not see it?” “Wind. I regret to say that I see it not. But I doubt not that you do. The boot or slipper print is as you say, and even this close I had trouble seeing it. In addition to your other skills you see far better than I do.”
“If there are many more like you in your country I am even more impressed than I was when you took out the gang and surprised me. Few can catch me unawares, and none as neatly as you did.” “Only a handful in this City have the skill to climb that ledge and beyond. That narrows the search for the murderer quite a bit. I thank you for your aid and your ability to see what I cannot. Please accept my respect and admiration.” theBlackman bowed deeply; holding the bow a long second.
Turning again to the body he squatted on his heels saying over his shoulder, “I wish you well Wind. Perhaps, as you say the fates will bring us together again. The entry to the Whales Spout is just over there. The man you wish to see for lodging is called “Short Measure”, a teasing reference to his drinks. They aren’t of course! The title is rather a coarse celebration of his honesty. His true name is Dovida Erda, mention of my name might save you a few coppers in lodging fees.” theBlackman folded the body in his arms and faded into the narrow slit between the buildings. As he melted into the shadows, a soft -but piercingly shrill- warbling whistle sang in the night.
Wind stood a moment looking after theBlackman then made his way through the small groups of patrons to the entrance of the Whales Spout and vanished into the tavern.

posted 06-26-2001 07:59 PM

The jagged opening, forced through the hull of the old converted galleon, had been left as graphic evidence of the violence that had been visited upon her aged hull. The splintered 10 inches of double planked strakes had been trimmed only enough to remove the sharp spikes of Oak that would have endangered those entering. From the hull exterior to the inside of the cargo hold, now tavern, a short arched tunnel ending in leather curtains, tied back to allow the entrance of the mild summer breeze, that opened onto the main floor. Wind paused at the curtained entrance and looked around the tavern floor, noting the upper level and the three hatchways through which her cargo had once been lowered.
The deck beams overhead had been reinforced to make up for the removal of the stantions that once supported the gun deck. This opened the ships interior from stem to stern making the entire hold one long narrow space. Except for the small private booths at the bow and the bar with its spouting brass whale directly opposite the entrance, the interior held only trestle tables and chairs. Bulkheads at each end concealed what appeared to be storerooms and the kitchen. Hard against the wall of ThreeGate, the galleon was lying with her bow to the west. The cable tier and locker seemed to be in use for liqour stores, and the flow of drabs and servers with steaming platters of stew and loaves of bread from the area of the stern identified the kitchen.
The water cascading down the sides of the Whale on the plinth helped cool the large room but did little if anything to reduce the blue haze and mingled odors that filled the air. Wind entered and made his way to the bar. His passage through the crowded space unimpeded; the packed bodies parting before him like waves recoiling from the bow of a heavily laden ship. Reaching the service counter, he stood waiting patiently for the barkeep’s attention. At a break in the frantic rush of filling tankards and making change, the harried man at the taps noticed him. “Yeah! Waddayawant.” came out as nearly one word. “This one seeks the man known as Short Measure, and lodging.” Wind said.
The barkeep pointed to the other end of the bar near the kitchen. “Tha’s him. With the blue vest,” and went back to flinging flagons and tankards of liquid on the trays that were lining the countertop. A slight nod, and Wind moved away. Wind reached the end of the bar where the man in the blue vest was standing surveying his kingdom. Tall about six and half feet, heavy built near 250 pounds; the beginnings of a pot belly did not conceal the muscular torso under the loose clothing.
Dovida was in his 50’s with a thick thatch of hair, greyish but showing hints of the red it once was, clean shaven, with clear hazel eyes that seemed to miss nothing.
He turned and looked down as Wind palmed something hard onto the counter.
When Wind was certain that Dovida was looking at his hand and that no one else was near, he raised his outstretched hand just enough to reveal the object on the bar briefly. Dovida’s eyes flicked down and backup, as they did, Wind dropped his hand to the bar. When he raised it whatever had been on the counter was no longer there.
“I’ve been expecting you,” said Dovida tersely, “your room is prepared and when you wish I shall be ready to provide what little I have that may aid you.”
A snap of his fingers and wave, brought a drab to the counter. “Take this gentleman to The Corsair de Oro room. And tell Andre to mount a guard on the stair. I don’t want him disturbed.” Wind bowed to Dovida,picked up his stick and cloth wrapped parcel and followed the drab to the staircase on the Starboard quarter that lead to the Gundeck above.

posted 06-28-2001 08:24 PM

Everyone stops talking, and looks at GumDrop.
Eyebrows raised, What that be yer spitting out there aye? asks Karn. Aaah never mind..GumDrop sinks a bit in his chair. Broken scoots her chair a bit closer to GumDrop, and asks. Well now Gummy...what seems to be the problem here.... He looks at her, Ooh please not again! He thinks to himself, not realizing he is rubbing the chaifed area. Broken grabs GumDrops drink, sweat running down his glass, she tries to place it.... Woman!!! What the h3ll are you doing!! You going to throw a perfectly good drink on me!!?? GumDrop looks at her totally bewildered. Broken, grabs him before he stands up and pushes him back down in his seat. “Man do you want to get us thrown out! Here let me will you? She again takes his sweaty cold glass and places it on the chaifed area. Spinning the glass around and around, The coldness, and the moisture soaking through his trousers, to the troubled area. He looks at her and everyone around the table looks too. Man are you two having fun over there? asks Northern with a devilish look in his eyes, almost wishing that he were in GumDrops place. Broken flashes this snide grin at Northern, shaking her head back and forth. Just trying to help him so pooooor GumDrop can concentrate on more important matters at hand here! And not his Boo-boo...we need to get down to business here! GumDrop glares at her, grabs the glass and proceeds to do it himself. Well, she is right you know, he looks around saying it as a matter of fact. Till I can deal with it later, he says to everyone. Feeling embarrased he looks away and tends to his wound, saying quietly under his breath, “All right this does feel better, thanks Broken”. Would I do anything less for you GumDrop, winking at him.
As everyone was chuckling at them, Broken starts to notice Karn, she recognized something in him, but how could that be? And she wasn’t even sure what that something was anyway. She looks away, all the voices, are drowned out by her thoughts. Running her fingers around her glass, she looks at Karn again. “What is it about him” she thinks to herself Her eyes dart back and forth, she looks down, looks up quickly at Karn, hoping no one would notice, but Karn did. She looks the other way, talking continues. Karn looks at her again, she looks hard, trying to get an idea, and suddenly he turns his head, her eyes fly wide open. It’s an S shaped scar. OH my god, it can’t be, is it? She looks at him again. It is isn’t it. He looks thinner, much thinner, and that beard, man that beard. No wonder I didn’t recognize him. Long ago, she met Karn on the Easy Virtue. When he was just a young ship mate, it was his first run out to sea. The excitement in his eyes, she could see it in him. When things were supposedly on the up and up. Just transporting goods, whatever the merchants want. Crates and barrels, filled, but, no one really knew with what. And they weren’t allowed to ask. Just do their job. And if things did get out of hand, they had Captain Steerpike to answer to. She herself, was just startin out in the world, she remembers walking along the shore line, climbing the rocks, being careful not to loose footing on the wet slippery rocks. She decided to sit a spell, the moon danced upon the water. Listening to the waves pound against the rocks and the shoreline. She must of sat there for an eternity, just the sound of the waves echoing in her ears. Suddenly she was overcome, everything went dark for her, something was covering her, constricting her, she could hardly move. The smell was musty, she fought and fought, it was no use. Next thing she remembered is waking up in a small cabin of a room, first thing she noticed was the smell of the sea, and the rocking of the boat. “What!” Where am I? Suddenly the cabin door opens, in walks a tall muscular built of a brut. She adjusts her eyes to the light streaming in the door. He stood there looking at her, she backs away further into what is left of a darkened corner. The figure bends down and hands her some soup and a rye crust. Here eat this before the Captain see’s me bring this to you. “Who are you” Broken asks. Call me Karn, the light hitting his face finally, they smile at each other.
Hearing voices, he quickly ducks out the door. For months, it seemed like months to her, she lost track of time. But in that short time, she remembered they discovered one another, he would sneak in late when the captain was asleep. They spent all their time, what ever they could steal to be with each other. Their passion glowing just like the candle they made love by. It was the only real peace they felt being on that god forsaken ship. Captain, from what she learned from Karn, wanted to use her as a trade, sell her, they had to reach their destination so the trade could take place. Karn learned of this a few days before they were to reach port. But, what port? No one knew, except for the few men under Steerpike. This whole voyage is a cover, I can’t take this anymore Karn said. I can not let Steerpike use you! What does Steerpike want with girls? I don’t know. What are we going to do? I don’t know? Let me think on this Karn replied. Her last night on the ship she couldn’t sleep, she knew her time was coming soon. Steerpike opens the door, she backs far away, but can’t hide, he starts to grab her, she starts to yell, and he covers her mouth. Oooh you’ll do nicely for me trade my dear, NO! She screams a muffled scream, he jams a rag in her mouth and rips her shirt open, just then Karn busts through the door, and clunks Steerpike on the head. He goes down, grabbing for his head. Karn reaches for her, “Run to the rowboat, it is ready, go! Go now!” She quickly get up and runs. She climbs in, grabs the rope, but, before she does, she sees 2 of Steerpikes men, grab Karn, one puts a knife to Karns throat. She see blood running down his neck, tears well in her eyes. And vengance runs through her veins. She makes it back to shore, her father thinking she was dead. After that Brokens life changed forever.
Hey Broken, where are you right now, asks GumDrop. Oh just out to sea somewhere. She gets up from her chair, Would you excuse me for a moment, she gets up and walks out the front door, Karn follows. She leans against one of the tables, feeling that ol’ pang again, she feels a hand on her shoulder. A shiver runs down her spine, she slowly turns around, there is Karn staring at her with a wide grin. Broken is it really you? I was just going to ask you the same thing. They look at one another, and hug, “How long has it been? Almost 15 years. We have a lot to talk about Karn. I know we do. Where do we begin? I don’t know. First thing is first. We need to deal with inside, and what is going on. Broken feel’s vulnerable, she shakes it off, her tough exterior returning. There are more pressing matters before us, she says to him. What shall we say to them all. I don’t care, we are old acquaintances, which tis true. think what they like, if they want us, deals have to be made. We need details, and we need them now.They both walk back in and set down, all eyes on them. So you two know each other? Yes, we go way back. Oh really says Northern. Is this going to be a problem? No it won’t, says Broken in her toughest voice yet. Karn looks at her, wondering. But, what about these so called Feds? I am not working or dealing with the Fed’s, says Karn. Shhhh, they say. Karn we need to talk Broken say’s. We’ll see now won’t we, Karn replied, stubborn isn’t he, says Gumdrop, “Yes” he hasn’t changed there. And he pinches her on the rump just as she is about to sit back down again. She grabs his hand, ah, ah, ah, now. It’s been a long time me boy. She squints at him, She shakes it off, and says, Why do I have a feeling we have all been set up, and we were meant to meet here, OK we all have figured that out. Northern? Time to tell us what is really going on here. You and Naz, and LopEar, tell us what we are after, tell us the real story.....there is a score to be settled.

posted 06-29-2001 08:06 AM

Stikboy gets an idea and goes back to the desk. He searches books on the desk and finds nothing unusual. He searches the floor around the desk and finds nothing. He then searches under the cushion on the seat and finds a key. It unlocks the desk drawer, and he opens it. He fumbles through some papers, and finds sheet 2 of the manifest that he found before. Hmmm. Interesting. He turns to his companion. “It seems that item number 4 is broken down further. 10 brun, 13 blon and 7 redh. Do you suppose that’s hair color? Are these guys smuggling people? HEEYYY!! It looks like item number 1 is described as 3 crates full of counterfeit gold coins! WOW! The Federales should be told about this!”
He sees a gold coin in the drawer, and picks it up. “Yup, this one is fake”.
Friend: “How can you tell?”
Stik: “Believe me, I’ve lifted enough real ones to know a fake when I see one. On this one, the words are slightly crooked, but the average person wouldn’t see it.”
Stik puts the coin and sheet 2 in his pocket, thinking he could use them for some kind of leverage, and at the same time, wondering if it is a smart thing to do.
Stik: “We have to find a way out of here”, as he locks the desk and puts the key back under the cushion.

posted 06-29-2001 12:23 PM

Back at the Whales Spout...
“Well Broken, “ Lop Ear said in a hushed but delighted voice, “If you can tame the beast named Karn, then I do believe my choice in your abilities was well founded. Karn, you are a welcome addition to this here rat infested company. I daresay before the night is over, we’ll need a good swordsman.” Lop Ear then turned to Nazgaul and Gum Drop, “Ah, yes, I’ve heard of both of you. Seems you two have been keeping the watch very busy of late. But, Glum Drip, if you don’t quit rubbing yourself, I’ll smash that glass over ye head!” Reaching out, Lop ear snatched the map Nazgaul held in his hand. “Ahh, quite good. Your reconnaissance ability is admirable.” Finally, he turned to Nrothren, “My good friend, we’ve missed you back at the complex. Perhaps, you’ll reconsider and rejoin our forces after tonight, hmmm?” With a sly grin and a gleam in his eye he added, “be good for ye health.”
Abruptly Lop Ear turned around to face the others. “You want explanations? Then, I’ll explain. But first let’s retreat to a more private area before we are further disrupted.” Lop Ear led the way to a vacant booth in the back. “Talent first”, as he pulled back the heavy leather curtain and motioned BrokenArts into the small room with a table and six chairs. An oil lamp cast a pall glow about the confining space. Lop Ear pulled closed the curtain which muffled the din from the main room considerably. “Much better,” as he sat down with his back to the curtain. “Alright, be forewarned that I have a proposition for all of ye that’ll pay you handsomely, but it’s very risky and dangerous, so if any of you want out, leave now.” Lop Ear looked at BrokenArts, Gum Drop, Northren, Karn, and Nazgaul; no one moved. Lop Ear continued, “I am a Lieutenant of the Reserve. The Reserve is a secret organization charged with protecting and serving the Crown. We answer only to the Crown,” his eyes narrowed, “and all, and I do mean all, our actions are sanctioned by the Crown. We have learned through our informant and associate,” nodding towards Northren, “that Princess Ysidra of Mergot is being held for ransom by Steerpike at the warehouse.” At this Lop Ear waved the map and laid it on the table. “It’s your job to go in and free her. If you are captured or killed the Crown will disavow any knowledge of your activities or of any involvement of the Reserves.” Northren watched the others as he absent-mindedly rubbed the smooth scroll of paper in his pocket. Something was nagging at the back of his mind, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Gum Drop still rubbing his thigh with his hand, winced with the pain. Wtih a bemused expression, “If the Crown is aware of the ransom plot, why not just have the city watch storm the warehouses?” Lop Ear replied, “Ah, but we don’t wish to alert our enemies that we are aware of their plot, thus the city watch is not privy to this matter. We must use stealth.” Gum Drop didn’t seem satisfied by the answer, “If the watch isn’t aware of our mission, how can you guarantee our safety once we rescue the girl?” Lop Ear smiled, “I have the personal assurance of Captain Wink. He alone is aware of our movements and will meet us once we have the girl to vouch for your safety and your non-involvement with Steerpike. I have in fact left a message this evening at the East Gate notifying him where and when to meet us tonight.” Lop Ear added, “And to assure my safety from the thieving lot of you, I will only reveal such details after Ysidra’s liberation.”
Northen continued rubbing the very smooth paper. The nagging thought hit home. The paper in his pocket was expensive vellum, not some cheap coarse parchment containing a guard’s duty schedule as he assumed. Probably some prayer book to the Builder. But I better check it out when I get a chance.
Karn grumbled, “What about our reward?” Lop Ear stared at the lamp light and said, “Be assured a handsome reward of gold will be bestowed upon those who come out of this alive.” Karn grumbled again, “Since I plan on seeing the sunrise over the fair ocean, let’s get my share settled now. I want the Easy Virture. She be a beauty of a vessel.” Lop Ear looked at Karn. “I think with my influence I can petition the Port Master to grant your request.” Karn smiled and stood up, “Come mateys we have a princess to rescue!” Just then a siren could be heard in the background. Everyone froze and listened. “Damn, ThreesGate Wall alarm is sounding,” Lop Ear said as he got up. “Stay here while I go find out what the ruckus is about. We don’t want any more surprises tonight.” Northren quickly brought out the scroll and unrolled it. His eyes widened as he scanned the page. When he finished he looked up and said, “After tonight I’m going to retire and plant me a garden.” He dropped the open scroll on the table. BrokenArts seized it and whispered the contents to the others. “Dear Captain Wink, tonight will be a night to remember. You will be a celebrated champion by singlehandedly rescuing the Princess and capturing her abductors. The Crown will recognize your heroic feat and reward you greatly, not to mention the sizeable payment the Reserves will transfer to your account tomorrow morning. Remember all you have to do is meet me at the East Gate at 4 tolls past midnight to secure your future and your name in the annals of history. They will sing your praises for eons along with the legendary Commander Grey Mouser who nearly died saving his King. Like Grey Mouser you will live the rest of your life in luxury and perhaps even as the Princesses’ champion as the Commander is the Queen’s. Just remember, all the Reserve wants is the seed pod Viktoria released with her dying breath at Soulforge. You get the rest-the Princess and her abductors, a few of the most infamous taffers in town. And should anyone of them say he is a Reserve, believe him not. It would be best for all if the thieves are strung from the gallows at sunrise to announce to the city your victory! Remember East Gate at 4 tolls past midnight. Burn this letter. Your servant, L.”
The siren had stopped, but nobody noticed.

posted 06-29-2001 03:19 PM

Feeling another of the prisoners pushing him,apparently trying to wake him up,he put a hand to the back of his head,feeling the lump groggily.”Oh,man,what happened?”he asked.”You got clubbed in the back of the head by a guard.”the prisoner who woke him up replied.Quickly searching for his blackjack,lockpicks,and other taffing necessities,he brought the lockpicks and blackjack out.The prisoner looked at him wide-eyed.”You’re a thief!You can get us out than!Surely you can pick the lock on the cage!”the prisoner said eagerly.
“Keep your voice down,unless you want the guards to hear you.”he said to the man sharply.The man cringed back at the rebuke.Slowly sitting up,he glanced around him at the other’s talking quietly amongst themselves.”Pass the word to the other prisoners.Quietly now!Nobody gets out of the wagon after i pick it,not until i take care of the guards.Tell them,quickly!”he shoved the man away and watched until he began telling others,casting quick glances at him.Turning,he crawled over to the lock on the door,making sure none of the guards were watching them.Quickly inserting the lockpicks,he fiddles around for a few minutes until he heard the satisfying ‘click’ of the door unlocking.Glancing around again,he saw they were passing the warehouses.Grabbing a man by the arm,he asked”What do they do with captured criminals?”
“They dump them off the docks...alive.”the man said,tears beginning to roll down the man’s face.”Please,get us out of here!” Grumbling to himself,he replaced the lockpicks and drew his blackjack.Slowly opening the door,he rolled out and motioned the rest to quickly follow.Once everybody was out,he jogged up beside the driver and guards.”Hello,boys!Why don’t you stop this wagon and come get me!”he shouted at them.Dashing off behind the wagon,he waited as the guards quickly jumped off the wagon and followed him.They stopped short when they realized they weren’t up against only a thief,but a dozen street toughs. After they were done,they dragged the guards unconsious bodies into the wagon,slammed the door shut and locked it.”Well,friends,you’d best get out of here before more guards come and see their friends in the back here.”he said.The others,quickly nodding their agreement,quickly dispersed into the night,slipping into the alleys and leaving him alone.”Well,now,the warehouses.I think i’ll pick up a few things for myself while i’m here.”he walked away towards the nearest building and quickly picked the lock open.Opening the door,he read on the wall “Warehouse 2”.Stepping inside,he saw two shapes disappear through another door.Stepping in,he moved to the shadows and stopped,looking at his surroundings.He could see an open crate,along with an office with a light.Stepping over towards it,the light quickly goes out.”Hmmm...”he thinks to himself.”I think i’ll just wait out here for now.”Stepping back into the shadows,he crouched down and got comfortable,watching the office door and listening.

Gum Drop
posted 06-30-2001 06:26 AM

Steerpike had decided to get some fresh air,the gentle breeze coming in from the sea felt good on his weather worn face as he walked the deck of the Easy Virtue.She was the finest of ships,his long faught for prize.Reaching the figure head,Steerpike leaned out to caress her carved hair-the smooth,dark wood gleaming in the moonlight. “Yer feel trouble brewin’ too my lady?”He asked-gazing up at her proud face.”Long ‘ave I felt the need tae be rid o’ all this political intrigue.The days when you an’ I were together on the high seas seam like a distant,half remembered dream.But I sware to thee my maiden of the sea,as soon as this ‘ere buisness be over,it will be so once more.”
Steerpike gave her a quick pat on her arm and looked out to sea.The current of his thaughts pulled him back to his younger days aboard the Easy Virtue-days when the blood ran freely and the smell of death was never more than a bunkbed away.Steerpike had first seen the Easy Virtue when she had furled her sails and docked in Port Brimwash.Then,he was nothing more than an orphan retch living off his wits on the streets,but on seeing the beauty and grace of this fine ship,his dark heart raced with desire and a vow was made.His first years at sea as a cabin boy were full of beatings and ill treatment,but Steerpike was fueled with a burning desire.He remembered those who had punnished him so badly-he remembered and he plotted.
The night of the bloodlust came late in the summer of his fourth year aboard the Virtue.The wind that had pushed them steadily South all day had died down,and the air had become hot and humid.All but two of the crew were asleep when Steerpike rose from his bunk and set to work.Those that had beaten and tortured him the most were the first to feel the cold steal of a dagger,Steerpike slit their throats as they lay there asleep.He pinned them down and drew the blade slowly and deliberately across their gullet-gazing into their eyes as the horror spread over their hapless faces.He move qickly from bunk to bunk extracting his vengence with grim satisfaction.Those that had shown him mercy or compassion he spared,their reward for their kindness would be a chance to serve under the greatest and most blood thirsty pirate of all. Above deck,the Watchman and Helmsman had no idea of the plight of their shipmates below.Steerpike had waited for the Watchman to turn his back,before leaping out and slicing the breath from his lips.The Helmsman was not so easy.Spotting Steerpike crossing the deck,he had drawn his own knife and decended upon the trecherous Cabin Boy.The long struggle that followed cost Steerpike two of the fingers on his left hand,but when he had finally driven his dagger deep into the Helmsmans heart,he rose to find those sailors whose lives he had spared,stood on the deck in shocked silence.They found it hard to believe that a mere boy of 17 could have the strength and downright ruthlessness to carry out such a deed.None had challenged his leadership.
In the years that followed,Steerpike had gained an experienced and loyal crew.A crew that had faught hard for their riches.But gold was not to the Captains taste,all Steerpike wanted was his lady-the Easy Virtue.
“Permission tae speak Capt’n.”
Steerpikes thaughts were wrenched back to the present.One of his crew stood behind him.
“What be ye yellin’ at seaman?”
“Bladdergutt wishes tae see thee Capt’n,’e says it be urgent.”
“Very well,take me to him.”
The crewman scurried off in the direction of the warehouses.Steerpike flashed a quick glance up at the figurehead. “Soon my lady...soon!”
Steerpike turned and followed.

posted 06-30-2001 10:12 AM

theBlackman continued down the narrow passageways between the mishapen buildings along his route toward ThreeGate. The thin shrill whistle coming from his lips every few yards. “Why would anybody kill Bilnd Tom”? he thought Looking down at the body in his arms. “Tom has been a fixture around here for years. Must have been some newcomer, and if it was for loot, it was a stupid senseless thing. Tom never had more than a few coppers; even on a good day” He whistled again. In the semi darkness ahead of him a stir of movement caught his eye. He stopped in the middle of the lane. There was also some movement above on the flat roofs to either side. From the shadow a whiskey dry voice called softly, “Who are you that use the Whistle of Danger? You are no beggar, and I see you have the body of one of US in your arms. Why should we not kill You ?”
“I am a friend. Someone has killed Blind Tom. I wish to take him to the Beggarmaster. I am known to many of you, as well as your leader.”

“I have made the trip many times before. I know the routine;” said theBlackman,”if you and your friends will take Tom’s body, I will surrender my weapons, and you may lead me to the Court.” Two rag clad figures emerged from the shadow and relieved theBlackman of his burden. Another came forward. “I will take your sword and that dagger at your hip.” Permitting the weapons to be removed, theBlackman did not mention his new ivory handled dagger in the small of his back, nor the toxic bracelet on his left wrist. He trusted the temporary truce but a little insurance never hurt.

A not too clean blindfold was tied over his eyes. A gruff voice said, “Put your hand here, and keep it there.” A horny, gnarled hand guided his right to a ragged shoulder. “Now don’t let go. Don’t try to see where we go. Don’t make any noise.”
The shoulder under his hand started to move away and theBlackman followed.
Some twenty minutes later, after many twists and turns, the voice spoke again. “Steps here. Slippery so go slowly. Someone will help you. You will be alright if you do as you are told.” The steps wound down for not a little distance. Once or twice. theBlackman stumbled, but there was always a hand or two to steady him. No one spoke.
When the stairs ended, the party continued. Underfoot theBlackman could feel gravel and sand, and the air had gotten moister and was beginning to smell a little like rotten food. “Step up here”, Gravel voice said. “about 12 inches. That’s it. Now crouch down a little. No a little more. OK. I’ll tell you when you can stand. Let’s go.”
Another fifteen or twenty minutes and theBlackman could feel a flow of much fresher air on his cheek and the sound of the footsteps of the little group indicated that they had entered a larger chamber.

Gum Drop
posted 07-01-2001 02:35 PM

Dark omnious clouds were forming out at sea-the first drops of rain sizzled on the multitude of lamps that adorned the masts opposite the Whale’s Spout.

posted 07-02-2001 11:44 AM

All of a sudden, Swordmaster notices a dark figure standing next to him. He stands, and a hand disappears into his coat. The dark figure stops his hand. Swordmaster sees a sewn picture on the figure’s shirt pocket:
Yubetcha: “Shhhhhh. Don’t be concerned. I followed you in here. I just wanted to thank you for getting us out of that cage. I was picked up by the guards when I tried to stop a drunken guard from beating up a woman. Anyway, thanks. My mission almos...” They are startled by the sound of a bot and Swordmaster turns to look for it. When he turns back, the figure is gone into the darkness.

posted 07-02-2001 12:09 PM

The removal of the blindfold caused theBlackman to blink rapidly as his eyes refocused. The light was not bright, but after the enforced darkness caused by the blindfold, seemed so. theBlackman and his quides stood at the end of a large chamber. The ceiling was high, and ornately decorated with carven images of strange creatures in its domes and a freize along the upper edge. Tall stone pillars with similar carvings supported the capitals upon which it rested.
The floor was varigated marble, dusty and uncared for. Chips and scars marring the once magnificent slabs. Now a neglected remnant of its past, the hall, for such it was, showed the appearance of great age, and in its day with proper lighting would have been awe inspiring.
At the far end sitting on a stone bench atop a raised dias was the figure of an old man. Swathed in cloth of brocade and velvet, dingy with age, the man was lean and wiry. Greybearded. A heavy mane of black hair streaked with grey tied back in a thick ponytail, was exposed by the cowl thrown back on his shoulders. The seated figure was listening to something being said by the beggar who had been the leader of those escorting theBlackman. The body of Blind Tom lay at the foot of the steps to where the old man sat.
Raising an arm the figured beckoned for the little group at the end of the hall to come forward.

posted 07-03-2001 01:09 AM

Stikboy looks at his partner and asks “Well, what do I call you?”

“Ysidra will do.”

“Well Ysidra, would you like to follow me through that door, or stay here and take your chances? I don’t know what will happen, and with all of this security, there is a good chance we will be recaptured.
But, I am not going to stand around waiting for something to happen.”

“I will follow, because I also do not like standing around waiting, and it looks like you are the kind that can slip through the cracks in the security... Well most cracks. You ARE here with me.”

“Thanks a bunch for reminding me. Now, quietly, let’s go.” Stikboy waits for the sound of the bot outside to start fading. As it does, he creaks open the door to the main room. Startled, he notices movement all over the place. There are two bots that he can see. One watcher over the bay door entrance, and one more in the middle of the room. Pirates are busy all over the place, moving crates here and there. He doesn’t see any crates big enough to hold people, and he wonders where all of the women may be. Timing his movements so that the watcher in the middle of the room is pointed in the other direction, he grabs Ysidra’s hand and quickly pulls her along the dark wall towards the back of the warehouse, passing the door to the other storage area, and one that looked llike it might lead to a control room. When they got to another branch of the warehouse, they got behind some crates.

Stikboy leans over and whispers in Ysidra’s ear“I am going to try and find the women. And I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a bunch of wigs. I also want to find out why Steerpike has all of this security. Now, I can unlock that door over there, and you can slip out the back way. Or, you are more than welcome to help me. I see that you move gracefully and silently, and being smaller in build than I am, you could be of some use. I will gladly offer to split anything worth value with you for helping me out. But the choice is yours.”

Ysidra quietly chuckles at the thought of splitting the loot, and whispers back “You are very kind to help me out of that place, and for offering to split your ill gotten gains, but I will decline the money. I will, however be glad to help you find out if there are women here, and where they may be hidden. Where I am from, we help all people that may need it.”

Gum Drop
posted 07-04-2001 12:22 PM

Gum Drop listened as BrokenArts read out the message written on the scroll under her breath,he was feeling a little out of his depth.Taffing some fat noblemans house or playing Blackjack (thief style) with the city watch was one thing,but this was something far more life threatening.
“I need a little time to think this thing through,”he announced to the others.”I’m going to get some fresh air.”Gum Drop rose from the table and turned to the door.The others were about to stop him,but Lop Ear motioned them to stay.”Tis better to let him make his own mind up,and that goes for the rest of you.Anyone who has any doupts on being part of this should speak up now.I need to be one hundred percent sure that all involved know the risks and are prepared to take them.”
Outside,the drizzle blowing in from the sea had cooled the air.Gum Drop crossed the wharf and mounted the low stone wall that denied the sand the freedom of the dockland streets.Sitting very still-his face turned to the wind,Gum Drop tried to clear his thaughts.The surf whispered in his ears,the drizzle danced off his hot face,but it was no good.He had to decide.

posted 07-05-2001 01:12 PM

Swordmaster quickly looks around for the elusive man,in the rafters,behind crates,even glancing outside.He had just disappeared into oblivion.
“Where did he go???”he said quietly to himself,puzzled.Hearing muffles voices from the office,than a door open,he quickly moves into the shadows,a faint gleam of gold appearing from beneath his black clothing.The gleam caught his eye,and he remembered what was past and gone...
Swordmaster quickly entered the alley of a distant city,and was greeted by the sight of a group of street thugs and local scum.Stopping short,he watched them casually. “Well,good sir,”the leader of them said,”what do you have for us?”Snapping his fingers,the rest of the men slowly began moving towards him.Swordmaster raised his hand,deciding to give them a chance to leave.
“I suggest you leave now,if you wish to survive the day.”he said dangerously.
A few of the men laughed at him,a few others glanced around nervously.None turned away.Sighing,he tossed his cloak of with a shrug,revealing the gleaming hilt of a sword over his shoulder and the burnished gold armor covering him. NOW they hesitated,suddenly unsure of themselves.Drawing his sword from his back with the rasping of the blade in the scabbard,he held it before him,feet spread in a battle stance. Leaping forward,his sword slashed horizontally,gutting the first of the men.A braver of the men,holding a dagger,made an attempt to stab him while he did this,but stopped as his hand was sheared off by the blade,than watched as it split the next man’s skull in two.Stumbling backwards,the man,clutching at his y stump of a hand,turned and ran,quickly followed by the rest of the men. The leader,quivering in fear,asked in a frightened voice”Who are you?”
“I am Moridin,but you can call me Death.”Swordmaster answered him.
Rephrasing his question,the man asked”WHAT are you?”
“I am the Captain of the Paladins of Lim-Dul.” Swordmaster quickly came back to himself,shaking his head.Those days were over,the Paladins disbanded and him reduced to thievery.He still wore the armor and sword as a reminder of who he was,but rarely had need for them.He settled back again,deciding to wait for a while and see if the mysterious man came back again.

posted 07-05-2001 01:14 PM

“I need a little time to think this thing through,” Gum Drop announced to the others. “I’m going to get some fresh air.” Gum Drop rose from the table and turned to the door. The others were about to stop him,but Lop Ear motioned them to stay. “Tis better to let him make his own mind up,and that goes for the rest of you.Anyone who has any doupts on being part of this should speak up now. I need to be one hundred percent sure that all involved know the risks and are prepared to take them.”
Everyone looked around the table at each other as if trying to read the others’ intentions to help them make up their own minds. Nazgaul was the first to speak “What risks do we have to be prepared to take? Who does that ‘L.’ refer to? Where are we...” Lop Ear held up a hand to stop Nazgaul “As I said, yew should take yer cue from yer friend and think things through. This could be very dangerous and I don’t want yew to be having second thoughts later. I’ll not say more ‘til yew’ve all given it some thought. We’ll meet back here in about ten minutes.”
Sliding the curtain aside, Nazgaul stood and deftly swiped a shot of something from a passing barmaid’s tray. Knocking the shot back, he placed the glass on the table and looked at Lop Ear. “I still don’t trust Feds, but this sounds like it could be fun.” He said with a wry grin, “I’ll go with you.” Sliding the curtain back into place he slowly made his way to the door.
Pausing outside the door to the Whale Spout, Nazgaul pulled out another home-rolled cigarette and looked towards the sea. The rain slowly trickled off the hull breach in the side of the Spout with a slow gurgling noise and collected in a nearby barrel. Inwardly, Nazgaul wondered why he was getting himself into something like this again. He wasn’t entirely sure about this. There were a lot of things being left unsaid. That letter, for one. Well, he said he’d explain things a little further when we got back, and he looks to be the honest type. Nazgaul thought to himself. That’s what you thought the last time, and she died. Hissed an insistant and long forgotten voice from the back of his mind. You left her. You left her and she died. Do you really want that to happen with your other friends?
Shut UP!! Nazgaul almost screamed out loud. I did everything I could... It wasn’t my fault. Unbidden, images flashed through his mind, haunting him. He could still hear her screaming. “It wasn’t my fault.” He whispered to himself.
“What - the flashbomb or the tankard of ale that got dumped on my head?” Said a voice to Nazgaul’s right. Startled, Naz turned to see Gum Drop sitting on a stone wall with a sardonic smile on his face. Lost in thought, he had walked all the way to the beach. Thankful for the rain, Nazgaul blinked a few times and replied, “Nothing. Just talking to myself, I guess.”
Gum Drop’s expression changed to one of mild curiosity, “Are you going to light that thing, or just hold on to it?” He said pointing to the cigarette that still sat unilt in Nazgaul’s hand. “So are you going?” Gum Drop inquired with a bit of trepidation in his voice. Casually lighting a match with an expierienced flick of his thumb, Nazgaul lit his cigarette. Flicking the match away, he nodded. “It sounds dangerous, but I think this could be a lot of fun.” he said and then grinned, “Besides, it beats just sitting at home doing nothing, right?”
Gum Drop turned back to face the sea and said “I guess you’re right, Naz.” Looking at him hard for a moment, Nazgaul said “So what are you going to do, Gummie? Everyone who’s going is supposed to meet back at the table in a few minutes, but they won’t start without me. What have you decided?”

posted 07-05-2001 08:47 PM

Dovid, from his position near the bar, looked out over the crowded service area of his tavern. From where he stood he could see the entire expanse of his empire.
Over the years he had built the Whales Spout up slowly from the abandoned hulk he had purchased from the Merchant who had owned the once proud ship. Accomodation had been reached with the city council and harbor master allowing him to purchase the vacant land upon which the sea had tossed the wreck. The reputation for good food, honest drink, and honest dealing, had taken long to acquire. The thirty patient years he had invested had borne fruit. The reputation of the inn reached ports all around the known world.
The rules were simple. All were welcome. No disturbances beyond an occassional thrown fist or curse were allowed. Dovid’s peacekeepers were polite, gentle and firm. All were experts in combat with and without arms, and any who broke the rules were escorted outside, and given one warning. A second offense resulted in the permanent banishment of the offender.
As he looked out on the growing crowd -the light summer rain bringing in more with each moment- he saw the gathering at the secluded corner table as they moved to a more secure place. “Hmmmm. Broken, Lop Ear, and -is that Northren?-. Wonder what they’re up to. Don’t recognize the rest, no I think that’s Karn also. Strange mix there. Well... If they don’t start anything here it’s not my business,” he mused.
“I’ll have to have One Thumb keep an eye on them.” He looked across the floor to the table with the dice game. A small jerk of his chin caught the eye of one of the peacekeepers watching the game. When Dovid was sure that One Thumb was paying attention he tilted his head in the direction of Lop Ears party and ran his left hand through his hair and scratched his eyebrow. One Thumb nodded and drifted casually through the throng to a corner near the booth that Lop Ear and company were filling. So the smoking mountain has arrived. I hope he’s not too late. My information is a little old and I’ve not heard any more. Perhaps it’s enough. He certainly doesn’t look like what I expected.” Dovid thought back to the message he had received a month or so ago. A strangely clad seaman had come in one afternoon and asked to see him. The seaman had reached into his purse and handed Dovid a small, heavy, pitch covered waterproof parcel and had walked out without another word.
When the pitch soaked linen had been removed, a fish bladder tied with silk and wrapped in another layer of linen was exposed. Inside this was a letter, 50 gold coins and what appeared to be another missive.
“You will await the arrival of a person who will identify himself with a small medallion with this image carved upon it. You will provide lodging and sustenance for however long it be required, and deliver to this person the enclosed message.” “It has been brought to our attention that you can be entrusted to do this. I swear to you that the enterprise encompassed by this request is not against any law of your land or of your establishment.”
“The person displaying the emblem drawn at the bottom of the page, and the medallion is a personal emissary from myself.” “You shall receive an ample reward for your assistance, regardless of the success or failure of the mission of my agent.” A highly detailed drawing of a Volcano was scribed below this passage. With the words “Mountain of Neverending Smoke” beneath it. The signature read: “His Royal Highness, Runnalle the Third, Ruler of Thandor, Protector of Simbta, Conqueror of the savages of Xintz. Given by his hand this 3rd day of the month of the Cobra, the year of the Serpent.”

Gum Drop
posted 07-06-2001 07:57 AM

Gum Drop cast a glance back at the Whales Spout,then looked up at Nazgaul who stood next to him toying with his lit cigarette. “I guess I’ll be joining you.Like you said-it should be fun.”Gum Drop smiled and hopped to his feet.”Besides,who’s gonna carry all the flash bombs!”
Gum Drop started to walk back inside,but Nazgaul caught his arm.”About what you heard me say just then...” “No need to explain,”replied Gum Drop.”Believe me,we all have our secrets!”

posted 07-06-2001 06:59 PM

Yubetcha climbs into a crate when he hears a huge bot approach. As it passes, he climbs out again, and looks around. There are many pirates walking back and forth, carrying crates. He decides that being caught in a restricted area would be difficult to explain. The exits are completely guarded now. There is a large stack of crates lined up against a wall on the other side of the room. Up near the roof above the crates is a window. Between Yubetcha and these crates is a watcher, hanging down from a rafter, scanning the area. Yubetcha notices that the bot is moving toward the watcher. He runs, crouches down, and crawls under the bot, crawling as the bot moves, the huge feet coming down just inches from his head. Mumbling to no one in partcular: “GAH! That awful, deafening sound! Hurry up, bot!” As they move under the watcher, he listens for the alarm, but there is none. The stack of crates are just a few feet ahead. They step into a shadow. Yubetcha looks for pirates, and seeing none that can see him, he stands behind the bot. As the bot passes a small crate, Yubetcha jumps onto the crate, and then onto the bot’s back. He quickly jumps up onto some crates, while the bot walks in circles, searching for him. He hears “I have not...determined.” Yubetcha climbs higher and higher in the darkness, and reaches the window. He feels the window frame, and finds a pair of wires. “Hmmm. I guess opening the window is out”. He decides against cutting through these wires, because interrupting the circuit could cause an alarm to sound. Getting out his glass cutters, he follows the window frame. There are three window panes, and each is separated by a long and narrow piece of wood. With a few small punches after the glass cutter does its job, the panes fall to the ledge below. They break, and some pieces fall to the alley. He cuts through the separating pieces of wood in the now paneless frame, with a small, extremely sharp dagger, just enough to break them with his fist, and climbs out onto the ledge. He can see men in a window below him in an adjacent building, looking out the window. He walks along the ledge, until he is sure he won’t make any noise that they can hear, and jumps over to the roof. He drops down the cold, dark chimney. Looking around the dark room, he can barely make the outline of a door. He walks over to it, and cracks it open. He sees two men looking out a window.
No.1: “I dunno either. I thought I heard something that sounded like glass, but I don’t see anything. Huh.” No.2: “Well, anyway, back to the “fillies”...we agreed on this price for each one you bring. You can’t raise it now. If you want more, you’ll have to go somewhere else.”
No.1: “Well, okay, I have them nearby, in a secluded area that you don’t need to know about yet. The total count is in a desk drawer over there in the warehouse.”
No.2: “Well, when you bring ‘em to me, you’ll get paid. But my men must count ‘em first. And bring the paper too, so we can compare.” The two men walk through another door. Yubetcha waits and then enters the room. Not sure if the men went outside, or just into another room, Yubetcha climbs through a window to the dark alley. He walks to the Easy Virtue, and then walks up to a man on the deck. Crewman: “Hey, Yu! HA! I always wanted to say dat! Ya ready ta dew bizness?”
“Yeah. Tell your boss I’m here. And tell ‘im I aint got all night! Just because he sold ‘em to me in the past, that doesn’t mean I won’t go somewhere else. I’m a busy man.” The man disappears through a door.

posted 07-07-2001 11:23 AM

“We’ll meet back here in about ten minutes” said Lop Ear. As the members of the group all stood and began to leave the private booth, Karn pulls Broken off to a corner table. “Let’s talk.” He motions for the barmaid to bring them some drinks. “So, how ‘bout you? Are you in?”, he asks.
“Yes, but I have my doubts, seems like there is a lot more going on than we know about”, Broken says, “Karn, it’s been so long...” Karn puts his finger to her lips.
“I know”, he says, “but we’ll have time to catch up later. Seems like we have more pressing business before us.” Broken reaches up and takes hold of his hand, lowering it to the table, but not letting go. The barmaid stops and delivers the drinks, giving the couple a coy smile as she leaves. “By the looks of things, that bastid Steerpike is messed up in all o’ this. I don’t much care ‘bout savin’ any princess, what I want is revenge for what he’s done to me, and what he did to us...”
“I feel the same way, Karn” Broken said, squeezing Karn’s hand tighter. “You know Lop Ear better than I do, can we trust him?” “HAR! I’d trust Lop Ear to watch my back in a fight, but when it came to gambling, he was as ruthless a cutthroat as any. I wouldn’t put anything past him. It’s about time to go back, let’s go.” As the two of them stand, they find themselves caught up in a hug. “Whatever happens tonight, my sweet, we’re in this together, and I’ll be d@mned if I let you get away without me again.” With that the two of them kiss.
“We better go back in, Karn.”
“OK, let’s get this ball rolling.” Karn and Broken are the first two
to rejoing Lop Ear in the private room. Karn sits down, leans back
in his chair and props his feet up on the small table. “You know
what matey, I’ve never known you to be an alliance scum. So Lop, you
slimy wharf rat, what cards are you hiding up your sleeve this time?”

posted 07-09-2001 05:08 AM

While Yubetcha was standing alone, he thought “Okay, Ellie, here we go”. He listened to the creaking of the ship, and felt its movement...up and down, up and down. He listened to the lapping of the water below, and took in the smell of the fish. It seemed to be everywhere, and was making him hungry. After a wait that must have been forever, another crewman came back. “The cap’n aint ‘ere. ‘es gone tew th’ ware’ouse. What be yer bizness, ta tell th’ cap’n when ‘e returns?”
“It’s personal. I’ll just catch up with him later”. Yubetcha exited the ship, and let himself down into the water. While treading water, he shot a rope arrow into the side of the ship. THMP. The arrow found its mark. Yubetcha climbed up onto the deck in a dark area, hidden by the shadow of the cabin. He said to himself “I tried to tell ‘em a long time ago, but they wouldn’t believe me. Even if it is a little difficult, one really can shoot arrows while in the water” . He made his way along the side of the ship, and peered around the end of the cabin. There were a few men on the deck. Yubetcha surmised that they must be guarding the ship, while the others are in the warehouse. “Hm! No match for me”. He drew a water arrow, dousing the nearest torch. A couple of “guards” looked around, but otherwise didn’t seem suspicious. Yubetcha located the captain’s quarters, and cracked open the door. “Good, no one home. Guess I’ll just have a look. Ellie, I hope I’ll have some good news for you later”. He turned the desk lantern’s knob, lowering the light, and proceeded to search the desk for starters. Whenever he heard footsteps nearby, he ducked into a dark corner. After they passed, he got back to work.
This topic is 4 pages long: 1 2 3 4

“Like a glove!” (Page 4)
Author Topic: “Like a glove!”
posted 07-09-2001 07:35 PM
Meanwhile, Yubetcha was still searching the cabin. He finished searching the desk, except for the middle drawer, which is locked. It always is. He tried his lockpicks, to no avail. He searched many books in the bookcase, taking each one out and thumbing through the pages. Nothing. He looked around the room. “Where is it?”, scratching his head. He was still in front of the bookcase, when he heard footsteps approaching. He slid into a corner shadow just as a pirate opened the door and walked in. He walked around the room looking as if he was bored, looking at nothing in particular, when he thought he saw something in a nearby dark corner. “Must be guarding the ship”, Yubetcha thought. The pirate took a closer look, and saw Yubetcha. He was about to raise his voice to call others, when the room filled with a flash of light, stinging his eyes. He felt something hit his head, and fell to the floor, losing consciousness. Yubetcha found the loot in his pocket, small as it was. He didn’t want to kill him, but he didn’t want him to wake up, and tell everyone Yubetcha was here hiding in a corner either. He decided that for now, the pirate would be under the desk, so he wouldn’t be easily found. He then looked again at the desk. He looked on the floor, and under the desk drawer, hoping to find something out of place, but was disappointed. As he stood up, he heard footsteps approaching. He ran to the same dark corner, hoping that the lack of light would be enough. The door opened, and a pirate walked in. “Gah, what if they find the body under the desk?!” He reached inside his cloak and put a hand on his dagger, ready to thrust. He knew that a yell would bring others, but he was going down fighting. He knew though that he would probably be no match for crew members in a sword fight. He remembered the port hole, but dismissed it as being too small. He put a flash bomb in his free hand. The pirate went to the desk, and placed a book on it. He then went to the door and left the room. Yubetcha sat at the desk. Leafing through the newly placed book, he found a list. It contained what appeared to be cargo...plunders from other ships, no doubt. He saw a small barometer on the desk in the shape of a ship’s wheel. He lifted it, and found nothing there either. He shook it, half expecting to hear a sound...hoping. But no. He sat down at the desk, mulling the situation over. “Lesseee, if I wanted to hide something, those are some of the places I might think of. What would the captain think of?” He pulled out the drawer, and looked in the back. Nothing. He started to lose hope. Gotta be here somewhere! But where?!?! Where would the captain hide it? Somewhere that is not obvious? So where is that? He looked under the chair. Nothing there. He looked on the floor one last time. A glint near a table leg caught his eye. Lifting up the desk, he pulled out a key from under the leg. AHA! He hoped it would fit as he put the key into the desk drawer. It clicked! Opening it while listening for footsteps, he found a sheet of paper. It gave the information that he hoped for. Well, a piece of it, anyway. He paused as he heard footsteps walk past the cabin. They faded. Glancing around the room one last time, he didn’t see anywhere that he hadn’t already looked. He put the piece of paper in a pocket. Locking the drawer and replacing the key, he grabbed the body and crept to the door. Ahhh, silence. He shot a noise arrow across the deck. Everyone in the vicinity followed the noise to the edge of the deck, looking into the water. Yubetcha silently walked back to the side of the ship carrying the body, and to the shadow that protected him earlier, thinking “Those arrows aren’t cheap. Ellie’s paying for that one”. Just then he heard footsteps approach. A crew member went into the captain’s quarters, looked around, and left, just as Yubetcha climbed down the rope arrow he had left, still carrying the body. Pulling out the arrow, he slipped into the water, carefully keeping the head of his baggage above water. He went up onto the pier and placed the body in a dark area between buildings, and decided to see if Ellie was there at the Whale Spout yet. “He should be there by now”.
posted 07-09-2001 10:39 PM
A prod in the back started theBlackman moving. With his three escorts, one behind one at either side, he strode down the center of the long hall toward the man on the dias.
There was no need to look around. He had been there before. The hall was bordered by two rows of columns on each side. Flambeaus on some of the pillars, augmented by three or four openwork braziers threw a fitful light in the hall, much of which stayed in shadow. theBlackman knew that against the walls at either side, behind the rows of pillars supporting the roof, small fires burned; in pots, braziers, or even on the marble of the floor. These were used for warmth and cooking by the families of beggars that made this thier home.
Approaching the steps to the dias, theBlackman made certain that the cowl to his cloak was thrown back and his features clearly exposed. “I am glad to see you well,” he said to the figure on the bench. “I regret our meeting is not a happy one. It has been a long time.” “Being the bearer of sad tidings is never easy. Tom was a friend, and I too am saddened by his murder.”
The old man nodded in response. “Yes Black it has been long. I too sorrow at the death of one of mine. Tell it.”
theBlackman told of the discovery of the body of Blind Tom and of his alert to the beggars. He also described the bloody print, and knelt to draw it on the marble floor with a piece of charcoal from the nearest brazier.
He also told the Beggarmaster of his meeting with Wind, and of the confrontation with the wharfrats, and thier quick removal by the stick of the stranger.
As he finished the Beggarmaster called out, “Jonah! Wet Whistle!” At the sharp ringing call two ragged men appeared from the shadows behind the rows of columns. “Look ye both upon this print. Tell all to be on the look out for it. All our guild is to look at sand, mud, puddle edge or any surface that might hold a print, for traces of such a print. If one is found that is anything near it the finder is to sound the alert and follow as far as they can before the print is lost. Tell Matthew the Lame and Tod the Leper, who work bootmakers row, to ask every cobbler they know for any knowledge of such repairs.” He paused a moment in thought, “It rains tonight. Wet prints on dry floors will also show. You,” he waved his hand at the men who had brought theBlackman and Blind Tom’s body in, “take Tom and bury him. Walleye,” addressing the leader, “tell The Embezzler to give Toms old wife 10 coppers a day from the treasury. Tom kept up his dues for thirty year. His wife shall not be turned out.” Turning to theBlackman he continued, “You say that only an assassin or thief, would have the skill to take the route to the rooftops that was used? This narrows our search a bit.”
“I know of no reason for the death of Blind Tom in this manner. Nothing has happened in the vicinity of the Spout, or the nearby docks in many weeks that Tom might have heard or saw that would require an assassin. It is a pointless death,” the Beggarmaster shook his head sadly.
“You asked Isaac to tell me you might need the use of my ‘Eyes’, he continued. “What you wish shall be yours. There will be no fee this time, because of your service to us. My beggars see and hear much. No one notices them. Invisible in plain sight. Would be a nice skill for you would it not?” he chuckled.
Serious once more he said, “Once again you have proven your friendship. Come, we will go to my quarters and talk,” he said rising from the bench. He turned and held aside a curtain that concealed a door in the wall at the rear of the dais, dropping it as theBlackman passed through to the rooms beyond.
posted 07-12-2001 06:27 AM
Yubetcha, still troubled that the pirate will be found eventually, possibly by a crew member, saw another ship at the far end of the harbor. He walked onto the deck, and finding it almost deserted except for one person at the far end looking into the water, surmised that everyone else was at the Whale Spout. He went back to the body, and carried it onto the deck. He placed it into the cargo hold, behind some barrels in a corner. He then went to the only person on deck, trying to think of an excuse for being there.
“Excuse me, I’m looking for a ship called the Bonaventure. Have you heard of it?”
“No, sorry”.
“By the way, I’m just curious. Where is this ship headed when it leaves here?”
“A country very far from here called Estados Unidos. It’s on the other side of the ocean. Ever hear of it?”
“Yes, and I hear it’s a nice place. Well, fair winds to you”. As Yubetcha leaves, he thinks “Perfect!” and chuckles. “I would like to be a fly on the wall when he wakes up. Now to check on Ellie”.

posted 07-12-2001 10:40 AM

In his room at the Whales Spout, Wind asked the departing drab to bring up some food and, if it was available,some non-alcoholic drink.

Untieing his parcel he examined the items concealed within. The sounds from the crowded taproom below filtered in like the murmur of bees.He would have liked a bath to remove the stink accumulated by the long trip, but knew this was a forlorn thought. He had come many miles by ship, cart and foot and, though not tired, would have enjoyed relaxing in a hot soak.

He began to sort out the contents of the package on the bed. While he did so he reviewed the objective of his journey.
Wind was the master of a small village in the hinterlands of a mountain range in the east. The country was called Melora, and still in the throes of civil war between opposing warlords.
This battle had been ongoing in fits and starts for nearly three hundred years, and the main employment for the young men was fodder for the swords and spears of the battle fields. The acquirement and enhancement of skill in the use of sword, bow and spear, was a necessary factor in survival.
Rogue bands of mercenary warriors from losing sides, or in a state of unemployment, roamed the countryside in bands raiding villages, small towns and even the holds of minor warlords.
The village from which Wind came was founded by the remnants of one such band. The leader and a small group of men and thier women had been on the losing side of a decisive battle some three hundred years ago.
Hunted like animals they had retreated into the mountains. Pursued and killed when caught, the tiny group remaining had finally lost thier pursuers and found a valley deep in the mountains, far from the normal traveled routes and passes and had settled down.
Thier leader, a superior strategist and warrior, insisted that all skills in arms and other combat techniques be maintained and refined. Over the years the people of Sinanju, for so it was named, developed new and extraordinary skills -both with and without weapons.
At the passing of the original leader, it was decided that the village would be governed by a Master. This would be the most skilled among them. The current Master could be challenged at anytime by any other member of the village. Defeat at combat would decide the winner. The defeated Master would become a respected trainer of the young. The villagers made no exceptions for sex. Over the years women had become the Master more than once. Wind was the current Master of Sinanju.
The necessity of some contact with the world outside the village for items that it could not produce, eventually caused some of these skills to be noticed. A squabble in some town while getting supplies, the attempt by rovers to raid the pack trains returning to the village; these and other incidents brought unwanted attention to the martial skill of these unknown travelers.
One day, one of the men on such a trip was approached by a merchant in a town through which the packers were passing. A skirmish with a band of brigands just outside the town had caused much excitement to the populus of the little community. Unarmed and outnumbered, the drovers had killed all the reivers and were themselves uninjured. The merchant wanted to hire one of the drovers as a bodyquard for a special trip he planned. He had heard of this strange band of traders before, and the attendant rumours about thier skills had stuck in his mind. The affirmation he had just received had caused him to make the request. The price he offered for the small service was quite large. The drover apologetically refused, but made mention of the incident to the village master upon return to Sinanju.
After some weeks of reflection, the Master called his council together and detailed a plan whereby the village would contract for short-term assignments. Through intermediaries Sinanju would offer protection and
other services to the wealthy merchants -and any other with sufficient funds. The funds received for such service would be used to benefit the village. Although craft and croft supplied most of its needs, money or other currency was always useful.
They would provide any service. Guard, assassinate, steal, spy; if the price was right. There was to be no mention of Sinanju or its location and only the Master would provide the service. Over the years knowledge of the availibilty of the skills of the “Master” had grown; Sinanju now had access to heads of state as well as to wealthy commoners.
Wind’s current assignment was the recovery of a book. This book was a sacred tome that had vanished some eighty years previously from an unguarded temple of a minor sect of the country of Hadrach. Knowledge of its loss was common throughout the country, and of the substantial reward offered for its recovery or for information.
A scrap of parchment, found in the effects of a rich merchant who had recently died in the capitol city of Hadrach, mentioned the book and a possible location. The secretary who discovered it sold it to the head priest of the sect. The date of the missive was only about ten years ago. Through the chain of intermediaries a request came to the village for assistance in the recovery of the book. The promised payment of five mule loads of refined gold was more than sufficient. So, Wind stood in this smelly cramped room awaiting, Dovida, and a possibly inedible dinner.
posted 07-13-2001 06:30 AM
Yubetcha was walking toward the Whale Spout, when he saw something between two buildings. A closer examination revealed a guard, lying on the ground, tied up in a shadow.
“Why are you tied up? What happened?”
“Get me out of this predicament!”
“Tsk tsk. Such a demanding fellow, aren’t you? And in such a predicament, too. Now, what happened? And mind you, if you yell for help, you’ll have such a headache in the morning”.
“I already have a headache. I was walking someone home to Hawker’s bridge...I met her at a tavern...and all of a sudden the lights went out. I dunno what happened. Now untie me!”
Yubetcha loosened the ropes just enough for the guard to spend a few minutes untying himself. Yubetcha left in the opposite direction he had intended to go, just in case the guard was watching, and then doubled back.
Seeing the Whale Spout in the distance, there were two figures standing outside grabbing each other. They seemed to be dancing. Or perhaps they were lovers, he wondered.
posted 07-17-2001 06:11 AM
“Believe me, Nazgaul, we all have out secrets!” Gum Drop said soberly to Nazgaul while standing just outside the door to the Whale Spout. Looking down to where Nazgaul had grabbed Gum Drop’s arm, he added with a grin “Now are we going inside, or were you going to dance with me?”
Lightly pushing Gum Drop in through the door of the tavern, Nazgaul felt himself grinning. If nothing else, Gum Drop could always make him laugh. “Are you coming, or don’t you know enough to come in out of the rain?” Gum Drop called from inside. Shaking his head, Nazgaul stepped inside and started walking across the taven to their booth. Naz looked over at Gum Drop, gave him a toothy grin, and said “Keep it up and we won’t be the only ones that know about your chafing garter belt.” Gum Drop gave Naz a hurt look “Oh now that’s just playing dirty!”
Reaching their booth, Gum Drop reached for the closed curtain when they both heard Lop Ear on the other side of the curtain. “...aptain Moore or Dovida! Perhaps you could be friends with them all!” There was a short silence and then Lop Ear laughed, “Yes, Northren, we are at a stalemate, but you will help me recover the pod or your friends may not live very long!” Gum Drop quickly looked at Nazgaul who stood stunned at Lop Ear’s words.
Realizing Nazgaul would probably not react well to this revelation, he quickly went to move Naz away from the booth. With a rustle of his cloak, Gum Drop grabbed Naz’s arm and tried to drag him away. Still stunned, Nazgaul allowed Gum Drop drag him a few feet before coming back to his senses. Grabbing Gum Drops arm just above the elbow, Naz pushed the elbow against its joint and spun Gum Drop rather forcefully into an empty chair. Pointing at him, Nazgaul said “Stay there.” Turning back towards the booth, he saw Lop Ear holding the curtain and starting to stand up.
From his chair, Gum Drop saw Nazgaul take one step and make a motion with his hand. He looked back at Lop Ear and noticed a small blade of some sort had appeared next to his head. “That wasn’t a mistake, now sit back down!!” Nazgaul said, grabbing Lop Ear’s wrist and levering him back into the booth. “I’m finding it extremely difficult to find reasons not to just kill you and be done with it, Lop Ear. But know that this will be settled tonight, the scales will be balanced... one way or another.” Before he could say anything else, Broken and Karn walked up. “Ere, now - what’s going on?” Karn inquired. Glaring at Lop Ear with naked fury, Nazgaul said “Lop Ear was just informing Northren that if he didn’t help him, the rest of us wouldn’t live very long.”
Broken opened her mouth to say something, but a familliar voice cut her off “Hi, all.” Yubetcha said, a few steps away from the booth “I’m glad to see that you got out of that mansion...”
posted 07-17-2001 07:19 AM
“...Boy, we really tore that place up, didn’t we? Haha. I didn’t expect to see you guys here. I was supposed to meet someone else. Bar maid, a mug of beer. Broken, it’s too bad that you couldn’t have been there. We really had a good...” Just then, his eyes find Lop Ear with a dagger uncomfortably close to his head.
“Well, well, you’re here, just as we planned. I wasn’t sure that you would show up. You don’t look very eupeptic. And I see that you’re getting others angry as well”.
The others turn and give Lop Ear, and then Yubetcha, a puzzling look. Yubetcha explained. “Yeah, Ellie and I know each other...unfortunately.”
Lop Ear, scowling: “I told you to never call me that. I hate that! I don’t know why you think it’s so funny!!”
Yubetcha: “I like it precisely because you don’t. Ya see, friends, I call him Ellie for his initials. Get it? L. E. and he doesn’t like it. Hahaha. He and I met a few months ago. He is holding a good friend of mine hostage, forcing me to find a piece of paper for him. He said that if I didn’t find it, I would never see my friend again. He told me that Steerpike probably had it hidden somewhere, and so I followed him from port to port all of this time, searching for him, and then waiting for the perfect opportunity. I hired another friend to fake an assassination attempt, and I ‘saved’ Steer just in time. I became so well acquainted with ol’ Steerbutt that he trusted me enough to do some business. I’ve been buying some of the cargo that the pirates have been plundering...and also some illegal hallucinogenic mailing stamps...the kind you put on envelopes and packages... with money provided by ol’ Sloppy Ear here. There are other buyers for the stamps according to Steerdummy, and they are very popular, it seems. Anyway, Lopass figured that I could get close enough to find what I was looking for. Well, let me tell ya...Steerugly trusts very few people THAT much, and I’m not one of them. Anyway, I think I found the paper.” Handing it to Lop Ear, Yubetcha asked “Is this it?”
“Yeah, this is it...part of it. Where is the rest of it? This gives the temporary location of the abducted women, but not the final one.”
“That’s all he had in the cabin!” Now are you going to release my friend?”
“No, not until you get me the rest of the information”.
“Why is that so important to you?”

“Because the king’s daughter is one of them. And she also happens to be a friend of mine. Don’t you think you can find the location?”.
“Look, El Stupido, I told you...Steerass doesn’t trust me that much!”
“Haha. Getting a little stressed, are you? Look, if you bring me the location, I can have your friend here immediately after.”
“Ah, really? So my friend is nearby then.”
“Now, I didn’t say that.”
“Yeah, mmm hhmmm. Well, we’ll see what happens, won’t we?” Yubetcha grabbed the mug of beer from the bar maid, and drank. There was an uncomfortable silence.
Nazgaul explained to Yubetcha what was overheard. Yubetcha replied, “Well, perhaps quite a few things will be settled one way or another before the dawn.”
posted 07-24-2001 06:29 AM
“By the way, Naz, you should probably put the dagger down a little lower, so it can’t be seen. Knowing Lop Ear, he may have bodyguards of some kind, or some friends, and they could be in here watching us right now. Especially a man in his position. And every time someone exits or enters the booth, the curtain opens, allowing people to see what goes on in here. Gang, I may be gone for awhile. Perhaps you could wait to go on your little excursion until I get back, so I can join you...if you need an extra hand, that is. If that’s not possible, then perhaps you could leave word where you will be so that if I get back, I can join you there. I realize though that that might not be possible either. At any rate, if I’m not here when you get back, then don’t wait up”, he said with a grin.
Yubetcha exited through the back door to think. The tavern was too noisy. He wondered how he could find his friend. He decided to use Lop Ear’s guards. He went around to the front door and reentered the Whale Spout. He walked around the large room, looking for anyone who might be with Lop Ear. He thought that it might not be easy. The room was filled with people. Most were drinkers and drunks having a good time. Many of the people in the room had red eyes and slurred words. A few heads were on the tables, with eyes closed. The smoke was like a light fog. “Ha! You almost need a lighthouse in here”. He saw two men sitting at the bar, who were eying his friends from a distance, with a scowl. “Hmmm, quite a different sight from the partiers”. One had a hand at his side. Yubetcha couldn’t see what he was holding. He appeared to be ready for anything. Two men who appeared drunk nearby started to yell at each other, and throw punches. They rolled around on the floor, and Yubetcha deftly stepped around them. One man pushed the other outside. Yubetcha walked up to the bar, next to the two scowling men.
“Barkeep, a glass of Rommet”. Turning to the men, Yubetcha said “Boy, did you hear all of the commotion? I just came from outside, and some guys were running all over, looking for someone who had escaped. They didn’t say where the person escaped from. I heard one mention to the other that the head man would kill them, if he ever found out”.
Yubetcha noticed that the men became concerned, just as he had hoped. One of the men asked “Did these men have any kind of uniform? How were they dressed?”
Yubetcha quaffed the Rommet, knowing that he couldn’t answer. “Well, as a matter of fact, they...”. Just then, Yubetcha looked toward the front door, and yelled “Okay, I’m coming”. Turning back to the men, he said “Ya know, my wife is just outside waiting for me, and she’s the kind of woman who doesn’t like to wait for anything. I need to leave. Maybe I’ll see you around”. Yubetcha walked out the front door, past the scuffling men, went to the dark alley around the corner, and waited.
Gum Drop
posted 07-24-2001 10:17 AM
Gum was still sitting in the chair where Naz had manoeuvred him,the bar room was becoming increasingly hot and smokey,and Gum easily lost interest in Lop Ear.Scanning the crowd for some other amusement,he quickly pinpointed a likely target.
Entering through the side door was a large,leathery skinned sailor like all the others that filled the place.This one however,carried what looked like an accordian under one arm.He jumped up onto the bar and began playing an old sailors tune-much to the delight of the drunken rabble.They cheered and raised their mugs,some clapped their hands,while others joined in the singing.
Gum found this all rather ammusing,he hopped to his feet and went to join in.A hand clasped his shoulder from behind,but it was too late...Gum drop had entered the fray.
The deck hands formed a circle as Gum began to dance,they clapped and cheered him on.Somebody thrust a huge mug of foul-smelling grog in his hand,gummie drank it down but immediately regretted it.The room began to spin and grow blurred,the music and singing faded into a warm reverb.Gum Drop felt himself falling.
The next thing Gum knew,he was being hoisted high in the air by the sea dogs,they tossed him up and down before carrying him outside-singing and dancing as they went.The night air focused his head somewhat,and he could see the lanterns hanging from the mast above him.Planting a firm foot on a shoulder,Gum Drop stood up and made a grab for a rope that dangled down.Holding tight,he swung across the dancing sailors and out over the sand below the harbour wall.A huge roar went up from the crowd below-then an even bigger one erupted when the rope snapped tight and Gum plunged down onto the sand.
The dancing went on.Gum Drop lay in the sand grinning...
posted 07-24-2001 03:34 PM
theBlackman, followed by the Beggarmaster, entered the small suite of rooms. A sitting room immediately behind the curtained door through which they had entered, gave access to a room at either side.

Having been the guest of the Beggarmaster on other occasions, theBlackman knew that one led to a bedchamber that doubled as the office of the master, and the other to a comfortable living room where quests and other visitors were entertained. The rooms were well appointed, although the furniture was mainly salvaged discards from the township.
The Beggarmaster led the way into the living room and gestured to a couch near the fireplace, from which a small fire gave welcome warmth and subdued flickering light,”Sit”, he said,”Now tell me what you didn’t say in the court area.”
theBlackman, explained the rumours regarding the return of Steerpike, the possible connection with Gervasius, and the incidents leading up to his and Wind’s discovery of the body. He recounted the scene in the bar, the attendant disappearance of a number of the more skilled thieves of the town, and offered his interpretation of the reasons for thier action.
“What I would like, if you will, is any information your beggars may have picked up regarding Steerpike, Bladdergutt and the ship. Any other information about them and Gervasius that you feel might aid me in uncovering what is going on would also be of use.”
“As you know Steerpike has a very unsavory reputation in many quarters. He will deal in slaves, sell to the flesh merchants, and if the opportunity offers, resort to piracy. I have a feeling that Gervasious is actually his sponser in many of his illegal activities” theBlackman said.
“I know that Bladdergutt is bribable and also willing to undertake any treachory or service if paid enough. I had occassion to use him to smuggle some exotic merchandise out of the city for me some years back. I also know that he tried to set the watch on me during one business endeavor. He changed his mind only after I convinced him that he would also be arrested.”
“Since then I have kept him under discrete survielance, for my own protection. I knew of the pending voyage, and that it would be of some length but not the purpose.”
theBlackman continued, “His return with money to spend tells me this was no ordinary trading voyage. The rumours about Gervasius convince me that this is a more serious, and hopefully for me, lucrative situation.”
“I shall be more than happy to share the proceeds with you and yours.”
The Beggarmaster listened attentively, and at the last few words shook his head. “No. For your recovery of Blind Tom and the information about the footprint, my “Eyes” will be at your disposal at no charge. We will of course accept any donation you may wish to make later if the information is of value.”
He paused and thought for a few minutes, theBlackman sat silently gazing into the fire while he waited for the Master to continue. As old friends silence was not a discomfort to either.
“I will have my messengers query all the guild, and will send for you, or to you if better, when we have anything for you.” He grinned slyly, “But I do have some information I can give you now,” and he burst into laughter.
theBlackman with a puzzled look on his face, listened as the Beggarmaster explained. “ The man you know as Wind is known to me through communique from other Beggar Guilds around the world. Oh, yes! We are quite organized and, if the truth be known, could be a real power, -as we have at times- but the guild life is not as miserable as is thought. On a good day the medium income, even in this foul city, exceeds the salary of many public officials. A copper here a copper there,” he spread his hands with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Wind is the Master of all martial arts, and from his people, whomever they be, come all the common -and a few uncommon- individual martial skills. They have been developing and refining techniques for centuries,” the Beggarmaster grinned again. “It is said that the Master can walk through walls, kill with a shout or a caress, and become invisible. I had heard that such a one was on a search. That he would be here is very interesting.”
“That you merely had your hand slapped is your good fortune, else I would be mourning two good friends this night,” and he laughed again. “You might well try to walk on water as to sneak up on such as he. The news that he is here will be included in my monthly messages to the other guilds. Now, I will have my people add him to the list to be watched. I doubt it will be of much good, but the “Eyes” will see what they may see.”
“Thank you,” said theBlackman. “If you will have one of your people return me to the vicinity of the Whales Spout, I will continue to see if I can find Lop Ear.”
“Be wary of Lop Ear,” said the Beggarmaster, “There is no concrete proof, but there is a stink about him that reeks of buried carrion. He has too frequently been associated with disasterous happenings, and particulary with things that effect the royal house. The Kings business has too often been a side issue of some of Lop Ear’s business. Take care, my friend.” Motioning for theBlackman to remain seated he went out.
On his return he ushered theBlackman back to the hall. With a small moue of apology he clasped forearms with theBlackman. His eyes bandaged once more theBlackman was lead away.
posted 07-25-2001 04:56 AM
While Yubetcha waited in the alley, one of the men inside turned to talk to the other, and then walked through the crowded room, and out into the street. Yubetcha followed in the shadows. The man went into a building down the street. Yubetcha saw the man talk to a guard posted inside the opened front door, and guessed that there were more posted inside and in back. Yubetcha went to the side of the building, and used a rope arrow to get to the roof just as the man came back out and went back to the Whale Spout.
Yubetcha walked the perimeter of the roof, and surveyed the enemy below...there were two guards outside the back door, and he guessed there were probably more inside. He dropped to the second floor balcony at the side of the building, and listened at the door. Silence. The curtained windows showed the room to be lit. He used lockpicks, and opened the door a crack. No one was there, but the door squealed loudly, like a stuck pig. He opened the door just enough to squeeze through, went in and doused the torch. Ahhh, the comforting darkness! Just then the door opened, and a guard walked in, sword drawn. He turned to walk back out, and Yubetcha feared that the guard might get help to search the room. He followed him into the hall, and blackjacked him. He started to pick up the body, when he heard a nearby door close, and then footsteps on the hall carpet, around the corner, getting closer. Before he had time to react, a guard came around the corner. Seeing Yubetcha, he drew his sword and ran toward him. Yubetcha only had time to try to deflect the sword with his readied blackjack, and at the same time reach into his pouch. The sword came down with such force that it was only slightly deflected. It continued its path and cut Yubetcha’s right arm. Yubetcha then threw a flashbomb with his left, and used his blackjack. He carried both men into the room, and put them into a corner. He tried to look at his painful right arm, but the room was too dark, with only a small amount of light coming from the hallway. Searching the bodies, he found keys, and some coins. One of the keys was oddly shaped, looking like a ‘+’ at the end of a small round shaft. He walked into the hall to look at his arm, listening for footsteps all the while. He saw that the cut went through his cloak, and his shirt sleeve. “Dam! I’ll have to see if Gummy can get another cloak. He seemed to do so well with Broken’s. I wonder if he can get a shirt too. Or maybe I can find one here that will fit”, he said, chuckling. Throwing the side of his dark cloak over his shoulder and looking through the cut in his sleeve, he saw that the gash in his arm was long, and bleeding. He knew that for his sake, he had better not get any blood on the carpet, although the carpet looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned in years. He cut off the shirt tail with his dagger, and wrapped it around the wound to soak up the blood. Just then, he heard footsteps coming down the hall from around the corner.
posted 08-02-2001 11:46 AM
Wind heard footsteps on the stairs, and shortly a knock on the door announced a vistor.
He smelled the odor of fishstew and fresh bread through the ill-fitting door. When he opened it Dovida was standing outside with a tray.
“Here is your dinner, Sir”, he said. “I’ll put it here on the table.” With a look around the landing Dovida entered the room. Handing Wind a sealed package he said, “There is no-one near, and the rooms to either side are empty. This message was left for you some time ago. I have heard no other news from Runnalle.” Wind nodded, and thanked Dovida for the food, saying, “I seek a man named Gervasius. If you have knowledge of him or of where Wind can obtain same, it would be useful.”
“Why, he’s in the Spout right now,” Dovida said with a small start of surprise. “He’s in a private booth on the mainfloor!”

“I think this one has been fortunate, Wind said. “The Gods have been kind. This is news of great importance. Where can Gervasius be found?”
Dovida led Wind to the railing and pointed to the bow where the private booths were.
Wind looked out over the crowded taproom noting the location of the booth and the general floor plan.
They returned to the room and Wind thanked Dovida. “This one shall, perhaps need some additional assistance later. Thank you for your aid. Wind shall eat and rest a bit. Perhaps we can speak again later.”
Dovida nodded and left, closing the door. Wind stood thoughtfully for a moment then broke the seals on the small package Dovida had given him.
posted 08-03-2001 05:08 AM
Scorpion had arrived in town a few days earlier and was looking for an old friend from years back who had taken him under his wing when a young poor lad. He had been traveling for long years in many diffrent cities. scorpion was most easily know by a sngular tatoo he had on his left breast and his friends only know of this. the friend he most wanted to find now was blackman.....know as blackie to his few friends during his 10 year leave of the city much had changed but not much he didnt know about as he made friends easily and kept them through loyalty and fair dealings...a trait he learned from his old friend and master blackman and now he had gotten wind of a murder of a begger and knew he would find blaackie somewhere near to the guil;d. for years he had kept an ear close to the city as the beggers guild was a world wide network of information.
scorpion had honed his other skills as well, he was quite the skilled fighter and had spent 7 of the last 10 years studing with a weapons and martial arts master. such skills were usefull if the only work around happened to be as a guard( a particularly good temperary job to case a place for the plucking).... blackie had known and been friends with his father....who was killed by pirates some years earlier......hummmm maybe I can lend an old friend a hand he looked down at the begger and dropped a special gold piece into his cup winked and said a soft secret word to him. the begger looked at him and nodded, without a word made a hand signal which looked like nothing more than a scratch and layed back down....scorpion leaned back into the shadows and waited looked down and eyed the gold and scarlet scorpion tatooed on his breast and waited to hear some news of where to find his friend....besides he owed him 20 gold pieces a loan for his graduation from his thief apprenticeship.....smiling a little mischieviosly he thought **** maybe i will find out some more info on the bastard who killed my father....a debt owed must be paid he thought,and the smile turn rather uglier....and he was one person you would rather not make an enemy of

posted 08-07-2001 05:55 AM
Yubetcha listened as the footsteps grew louder. He ducked into the nearest room, and shut the door. Looking around the room, he saw an unlit fireplace. The only light was coming from two torches, one at each end of the room. Thinking that the guard may come in at any moment, Yubetcha quickly doused one, and slid into a dark corner, waiting for the door to open. The guard walked into the room, looked and then left, closing the door behind him. Yubetcha looked around the room, and picked up a book on the night table. The title read, “Best Zorklike Tales, Third Person”. The first chapter was entitled, “Enchanter”. Another one was simply, “Konfessions”. Yubetcha flipped through the pages, and found a sheet of paper.
Tyson, I haven’t told my errand boy (no need to), but if you don’t hear from me by tomorrow at dawn, our guest in the cellar must not leave alive. She knows too much. You know what to do. It must look like an accident. Do more than just bite her ear off! Haha. L.E.
Yubetcha crept out into the hall, listening for footsteps. “Errand boy, eh? We’ll see!”, he thought to himself. More determined now than ever, he peered around the corner, and saw two doors, and steps at the end of the hallway. He quietly crept down the carpeted staircase. Hearing voices approach, he ducked under it at the bottom.
“I don’t know why we patrol the whole house, but can’t go into the food cellar under the kitchen. What’s so special about that area? Do they have booze down there?”
“All I know is that it’s off limits. That’s all I care to know. I think you’ll find that in this job, the less you know, the better. Besides, on one of my patrols, I saw them take the ladder out, so we couldn’t get down there anyway.”
By the way, I wonder what Jory and Tom are doing. I haven’t seen them on patrol for a while now”.
“Huh!! Probably in a corner getting drunk somewhere!”
“Yeah, that figures! While we work, they run off to drink and don’t give us any.”
After they climbed the staircase, Yubetcha walked down the hall, listening for trouble, and thankful that it was so easy to think the worst. “If they only knew. Those are probably the two guards that I helped get to sleep”, he thought. He found the kitchen, and a small door in the floor. The odd lock reminded him of the oddly shaped key. He inserted the key, and gave it a turn. It clicked. Opening the door, he noticed that there were holes indicating that a ladder had been removed. “This must be the place”. Poking his head through the opening, he saw the food cellar, with a torch, shelves of food and sacks of flour. His friend was sitting on a small crate, looking up at him.
“Yu! What are YOU doing here?!”
“Shh! I came to get you out. Be quiet, Cher”.
Yubetcha slammed a rope arrow into the ceiling, and climbed down into the cellar. His painful arm prevented him from getting a good hold, and he almost fell. The arm was throbbing now.
“Yu, when I get sad, you’re a clown, and when I get scared, you’re always around. Hey! you’re hurt! What happened?”
Kneeling, Yubetcha said, “It’s nothing. Later. First we have to get you out of here. Hurry! Get on my shoulders and climb up before the guards come”.
She said, “I heard these guys talking about getting horses back, and some guy was going to help them. Is that you?”
“Haha. No. What horses are you talking about?” he said.
As she climbed onto his shoulders, she replied, “I dunno. Some horses that are being stolen or something. These guys said they were going to get the fillies back.”
Yubetcha stood. “Wha...? Wait! Fillies? They actually said that?”
“Yeah, why?”
“I’ve heard that term before recently”. He realized then that it was a code word. “Okay, climb up.”
As she climbed up to the kitchen she said, “Okay, come on. Hurry, the guards will be here any minute!”
Yubetcha tried to climb the rope, but his painful arm prevented him from getting a good grip on it. “I can’t make it this way. You’ll have to go on without me. Here. Take this. Don’t drop it”. He tossed a flash bomb up to her, and she caught it with ease. “And take ol’ Nytall here, just in case”. He tossed up his blackjack. “Take down that rope arrow, and close this door, so that when the guards come, they won’t know that you’re gone. Climb through the kitchen window there, and wait at my apartment for me. You know where the key is. Hurry, before the guards come.”

Gum Drop
posted 08-10-2001 03:31 PM
Rising to his feet,Gum Drop patted the sand off his strides and looked along the shoreline.To the north he could see the pier extending out into the choppy waters of the bay,small camp fires burned in the shadows of it’s rotting timbers,a faint smell of smoked fish caught his nose.He decided to leave the drunken swabs who had poured from the Whales Spout and began to pick his way through the dried seaweed towards the shanties beneath the pier. Drawing closer,Gum Drop caught sight of an emaciated figure leap from the bowels of a half rotten hull and dart off towards the makeshift dwellings.
“Beggers!”Snorted Gum Drop-tapping the hilt of his sword in disgust. They watched him come from the safety of their filthy hovels,cadaverous faces peering out of doorways.Gum drop fealt their cunning rat-like eyes scrutinising him,looking for any sign of weakness.The stench of fish grew stronger as he passed beneath the pier and quickened his pace.Ahead he could see a group of the vile creatures coming towards him.Gum Drops eyes flashed from side to side,looking for a means of evasion.But the moss caked timbers formed a tunnel that prevented escape.He would have to face the advancing vermin.

theBlackman posted 08-16-2001 10:19 AM

The light rain fell softly on his face. After the stale musty damp of the passages he had just traveled, it felt cooly refreshing. Standing in the shadow just west of the Whale Spout, theBlackman watched the flow of humanity drifting in and out of the tavern. Most of the trestles under the lights were empty, the rain, light though it was, having driven the patrons inside; except for a few hardier souls who had some slight shelter here and there. The ejection of Gum Drop amused him. “Poor Gummi, he gets thumped and bumped all the time. Wonder what caused it this time,” he chuckled?
Raising his cowl, he walked toward the doorway. At Blind Tom’s old stand, the ragged figure of a beggar could be seen, as well as another, nearer to the entrance to the Spout. Unlike most beggars, this one was intently examining the ground and feet of the passersby instead of looking at faces for sign of a possible soft touch. The excited clamor of the dice players drew his eye as he parted the curtains and entered the tavern.
Gervasius got up from his seat at the table and paced agitatedly back and forth in the narrow confines of the booth for a minute or two muttering.
Walking to the curtained entrance of the booth, he poked his head out to look around. His eyes flicked over the dicers and slowly scanned the main floor. With a scowl he dropped the curtain and returned to his seat, drumming his fingers nervously on the table.
A large gulp from his firkin caused him to wince as the acrid fumes of the cheap wine burned the back of his nostrils. “Damn,” he stormed! Slamming the container down with a thud. “Mynal”, he called!”

“Yes m’lud” a head popped into view.
“Find Dovida and get me a bottle of decent wine”, he snarled. “Tell Tomas to keep a closer watch while you’re gone!” A flick of his hand dismissed the bodyguard.
The head disappeared. Gervasius picked up the firkin again, scowled into it and put it down untasted, and continued the nervous drumming.
In the corner of his eye, the sudden movement of the curtain from the booth behind the dice game caught theBlackman’s attention. He raised his gaze and caught a quick glimpse of the head that snapped into view.
“Gervasius. Hmmm?”
theBlackman moved through the crowd to a position at the table where the gamblers were. Placing himself where he had a clear view of the booth but would appear to be concentrating on the game.
When Gervasius’s man Mynal started working his way away from the booth toward the bar, theBlackman eased around the fringe of the huddled gamblers and onlookers toward the booth.
The other bodyguard had moved closer to the booth entrance, but he was turned to look out over the taproom, his eyes unconsciously following the passage of his companion. The area behind him toward the bow, was out of his range of vision. Toward this blind spot theBlackman slowly made his way.
The heavy curtains hanging from the beams overhead protected the occupants of the booth but also caused deep pockets of shadow where the booths met the sides of the old galleon. The curves of the hull made the construction of a raised platform for the booth floor necessary. The curtains stopping a foot or two above the platform. The waist high sides of the booths were loosely fitted planks much like a board fence. The close fitting watertight carpentry of a shipwright unnecessary allowing glimmers of light to filter through the cracks where a wellplaced ear or eye could be placed. theBlackman slipped into a deep shadow near the hull at the back of the booth and lay on his back with his feet toward the keel, his ear pressed to a convenient gap where the booth met the hull.The muffled sound of Gervasius’s drumming fingers filtered through to his attentive ear.

Northren posted 08-20-2001 01:40 PM

Northren looked at Lop Ear across the table in the private booth. Lop Ear’s eyes looked unfocused, beads of perspiration dotted his forhead. His secret was out and the others were unsure of him and his motives. Nazgaul and Gum Drop had already left in disgust. Lop Ear’s mission to recover Viktoria’s seedpod was in danger of failing. Northren rose to his feet and all eyes followed him. He focused only on Lop Ear.
“I must speak with you, now, and alone.” He walked past the others and through the curtain. His mission objective changed. He no longer cared about the captives, the gold, the seedpod, or the others, the ones he would have called his friends only a few moments ago. They no longer existed. They were dead to him. He had no friends. He was a lurker looking in through the window at puppets moving without sound in the light and warmth called life. He felt the chill of death next to his skin, his heart, his mind. And death had a name-Lop Ear. Bound by the sacred oath, Northren’s and Lop Ear’s souls were as intertwined as life and death. And if he had to die while destroying Lop Ear, so be it.
Lop Ear regained his composure and followed Northren to the back of the tavern. Unknown eyes watched them as the departed into the back alley. “You fool. Look what you’ve done now. The elders will not be pleased with this turn of events. You must go back in there and convince the others to assist us in recovering the seedpod!” Northren retreated into the shadows of the alley as he retreated into his mind calling forth an ancient practice that was known by only a few and practiced by even far fewer. It’s ancient name was lost to the ages, but in the common tongue, it was known as the Unforgiven mode. The Unforgiven mode opened the veils between the physical and the spiritual, allowing one to pass unseen, unheard, and undetected. However, if one slipped up and exposed himself to another’s presence while still in the mode then the veils would close shut and he would be trapped in the plane between life and death wandering for eternity. To Northren that possibility was preferable an existence than remaining a Reserve bound by oath to Lop Ear. In his mind he drew ancient glowing symbols as he felt a rift between the physical and the non-physical. He no longer could see his body, nor his feet. He drew his sword out. He could only see his sword arm, nothing else. He was between. He must maintain the mental balance, he must not lose control... yet.
Lop Ear becoming anxious called out to Northren as he lost him in the alley shadows. “You wanted to talk, well talk. Stop hiding, it won’t do you any good. Damn, it! Don’t make me come find you!” Lop Ear becoming angry, withdrew his sword and held it forward. “Northren, I command you by the oath! Come forward!” Lop Ear advanced to where he saw Northren last and peered through the shadows. He could not see him, but he was right there a second ago. Lop Ear started to worry, a sense of fear started creeping in.
“Northren, by the oath! Come forward!”
Northren observed Lop Ear as if he were underwater, but with sound. He moved to Lop Ear’s right side. He lifted his sword and swung it down with all the strength in his being. Let me find peace! The sword sliced off Lop Ear’s right hand holding out the sword. A searing pain flooded Northren’s right hand causing him to drop his sword the pain then flooded his mind. He heard screaming; he couldn’t tell if it was his or Lop Ear’s.
Blood pumped forth from the stump of Lop Ear’s right arm as he
wrapped the end of his cloak to stanch the flow. “Northren. How
could you? You are my son, I was your Father. Now you have destroyed
us both, and you are gone forever.” The loss of blood was already
starting to have an effect on Lop Ear as he proceeded to go in shock.
The pain subsided. Northren looked at his arm expecting his hand to be missing; it was whole. He flexed his fingers expecting pain, but there was none. He was still inbetween. He traced a final rune in his mind and was back in the physical plane. The accursed oath was lifted; he was still alive and free. He looked at Lop Ear a few feet in front of him and felt pity as he watched him rock on the back of his feet holding his injured arm to his chest crying.
The back door of the inn opened. “What’s going on back here!” Northren looked for his sword. It wasn’t on the ground, it was lost behind the veils. He grabbed Lop Ear’s sword pried off the ghastly hand and scurried over the wall before he was seen. He breathed the cool ocean breeze as he made his way across the rooftops smiling. He was alive!

14th Aug 2006, 14:31
Hi Huntress! No real stories here. Just getting tired of real life screwing up my world, so decided to stop by for a few and saw the party :D

Thanks littlek, and here's a little extra to go in to the tip bucket :thumbsup:

tBM: what in the world are you (trails off, notices the moderator label), ummmm nevermind :p

Cludda the Deathless
14th Aug 2006, 19:53
Cludda, known by some as the Deathless and by others as the One Eye, stood hesitantly in the shadows by the Crippled Burrick's door. The food smelled right proper and the sound of friendly taffers sounded even better, yet still she lingered just out of sight. She pulled at one long brown braid that laid across her right shoulder. Her black cap, knitted from silky alpaca while she waited for the guards to change posts, kept the chilly air at bay. The yarn for it was her first steal, a sudden life shift after she had sent her ex-husband to Pavelock. She smiled at the memory. A collection of steel knitting needles were strapped next to her blackjack. A sword, as long as she was tall, was strapped to her back. The weight of it was comforting.

She peeked around the door, her brown eyes taking in the festive scene. She had an honest face and an overabundance of cuteness. It made her new line of employment much easier. No one ever suspected...

"Do I wait for an invitation?" she pondered silently. "Or just march in with a grin?" She reached for a seven inch long size 3 double point. It would do nicely in case things heated up...

14th Aug 2006, 21:57
Buglesoft, sorry about that. I thought it was a link to the archives. When I "posted", the site replied, refused. No new posts.

The computer took that opportunity to DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH! I've not been back until today.

I'll happily delete the LAG if you all want. But it do bring back memories. :)

15th Aug 2006, 13:01
No worries tBM. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Just curious as to why there are three copies of it :scratch: (btw, happy b-day)

And because I don't mean to leave anybody out, Hi yubetcha, Squid, BA (nice chandelier, now would you mind giving me back my wallet?), Hawklette, Huntress, littlek, Sluggs (nice to meetcha), Cludda (make yourself at home, but watch your purse) SlyFoxx and IhateyourExistence

Smile, it keeps people wondering what you are up to.

15th Aug 2006, 19:56
Strange. Should not have done that. I just killed two of them. I'm not sure why it tripled.

I think my computer has a mind of its own. The beast has been acting up for weeks. Won't boot. But with a multiple attack it finally do. Guess I'll just have to leave it on permanently until I get time to do a complete reformat and install.

I hate that!! :mad2: :mad2:

Cludda the Deathless
15th Aug 2006, 23:16
"Thanks Buglesoft for the welcome and the advice!" Cludda said merrily as she enters the Crippled Burrick and finds a seat close to Garrett. She flashes him a demure smile... "Come here often?" ;)

15th Aug 2006, 23:40
*stifles laugh*
"Littlek, would you mind pouring an ale or two? I assure you I won't end up on the floor like that taffin' alchy yonder..."

16th Aug 2006, 00:28
tbm: Maybe you and I should get together...I've been sharing your computer problems for a few weeks now myself. After serious hours and trying to figure out why my 98 wouldn't work, Rich finally was able to get it working again, however, now I'm having what is described as some stuttering in some of my games performances. This has been going on for awhile as well and somehow maybe connected to the problem 98 had been causing? My Sacred game is installed in 98 although I was playing through XP shortcut to it and was playing just fine...then I installed Underworld (an expansion to it) and I started having problems playing it. Then my Dungeon Siege 2, installed in XP ran fine all through 2 modes of difficulty and then about 3/4 of the way in Elite it too now is stuttering??? So I decided to finally install Warcraft III, which I've had for months wanting something to do...it runs awful. Can't believe it as it should be running smooth as silk. It's OK until I get into a battle then it becomes essentially unplayable. Rich is now aware of this as well and he's been trying to contact some of the people he knows to ask their opinions primarily those involved with DS, as they have a lot of knowledge about the game. He got an important work call today or he would have come back over so perhaps he'll show up tomorrow..says some of it may be due to the BIOS, as one of the things that needs resolving, as to why it's incorrectly reporting my CPU type and speed...etc.

Sorry for this being OT...but wanted to let Blackie know he was not alone. I've really become very discouraged of late with this computer...so many things going wrong and have put much money into it trying to get it to perform to it's capabilities again. Just at a complete loss as to why this has gone so crappie :(

Well anyway...nice to see you Cludda...and by the way, been looking for a new pair of needles myself and yours might be just the right size...as Huntress starts to case the possiblities of lifting them off her, she wonders if Garrett can distract her enough in the meantime....heh, heh

16th Aug 2006, 03:30
"A hot bath? Paid for? Oh, gods, I could use one of those! Thanks, sweetie, I'll go take it right now." Squid runs up the stairs and into the bathing room.

"Now, if I could only get one of those wonderful lady taffers to join me..." Squid thinks. "Naahhh.... they'd only slip a mickey in my drink and take my loot!"


16th Aug 2006, 15:43
"Do you mind? We've been lying in front of the doorway for a while now..."
MMadcat waited for a reply, but only received snoring in return. He decided to take the opportunity and grab some of the hooded taffer's loot. MMadcat then tried to get the taffer off of himself, but the taffer was too heavy.
"Hey! Can you bring me a beer or something out here?" Yelled MMadcat as he tried to open the door with his foot. His screams were in vain, however; drowned out by the sounds of laughing and screaming coming from within.
Stepped on, cold, tired, and desperately in need of a drink, MMadcat let out a groan.

16th Aug 2006, 18:39
Hate, noticing some muffled sounds coming from outside gets up and wanders outside to investigate... "Hmm..." Finally she notices a tangle of two people on the ground. Moving the body on top she finds MMadcat looking pitiful. "Well. How long have you been out here? You look absolutely miserable!"

Cludda the Deathless
16th Aug 2006, 22:29
Garrett glances over at Cludda, his mechanical eye whirring. “Not as often as I’d like,” he says dryly. He notices the sharp needle as she slips it back onto her belt. “Knitting Thief, huh? I might have some tips for you…we’d have to speak in private though. Don’t want to give all my tricks away.” He smiles.

Cludda, gives him a ‘whatever do you mean?’ look and calls for a shot of tequila. She notices Huntress sneaking a little closer and leaves her hand resting on the tips of her collection of needles.

“Only bitters in this place!” littlek laughs and sets a mug of the Crippled Burrick’s second-best beer in front of the Knitting Thief. Cludda laughs and takes a sip. Not her favorite, but it’ll certainly do…

16th Aug 2006, 23:14
BA watching from above as all the Tomfoolery abounds, see's a nice darkened corner, and hop's down, she slinks into the corner and continues to watch.
Eyeing the crowd, she sips her wine. Something is in the air, she feels uneasy. She suddenly feels a cool breeze making her cape flow like the wind.

BA, is that you? She hear's a familiar whisper in her ear, she turns around, it's her old friend Garrett. She squints her eyes, what are you doing here? Is that anyway to greet an old......friend BA? he says. "You owe me Garrett, you took off, haven't seen nor heard from you in a few years. You owe me." BA says to Garrett. "BA......BA........I know I do, I know I owe you, after all we went through, on our last venture. Please, let me explain." I have a proposition for you." "Are you kidding me!!! BA says, her voice raises enough to alert the others, everyone is quiet as they stare into the corner. "Look, hear me out...........please," he grabs her arm, not letting her go, "LET..........GO.......OF...........ME." She yanks her arm away. One more time, "Hear me out." "This proposition will pay you back, and then some, I promise, remember the Grudegeon relic, that was swiped from your father, years ago. She sips her wine, eyes him, then sits down. "I'm listening.........

Cludda the Deathless
16th Aug 2006, 23:45
Cludda turns back to Garrett to find that he's disappeared. She scans the room, her hopes for the evening fading... She doesn't really know any of the other taffers in the room, so she sips her beer and waits...

17th Aug 2006, 14:34
littlek fills more pitchers and cannot believe what she just heard being whispered in the shadows....the Grudegeon relic has been foound?!?! She finds it difficult to contain her excitement. Now to beating Garrett and BA to it will prove difficult. Maybe an alliance would be more advantageous. littlek begins to hatch a plan as she moves through the now bustling tavern. She is now serving her special high alcohol ale to losen a few taffers tongues. Maybe some info will get her an invite from BA and Garrett to acquire the Grudegeon relic. Just the thought of having that relic in her belt made her smile.

Here's another pitcher you taffin taffers..it's on the house! Ahhhh and I see Maddermadcat finally made it in. Welcome and have a drink on me.

"Ouch! What the..." littlek yelps as the point of Cludda's knitting needle presses into her back. She smiles when she sees its Huntress on the other end of the needle.

Cludda the Deathless
17th Aug 2006, 15:43
Cludda's eyes narrow in sudden fury as she spies Huntress with her needle. The sound of steel being drawn from boiled leather rose above the raucous. The tip of Cludda's sword rested lightly on the Huntress's wrist. "You can take my money...You can take my man...But you just touched my knitting needles. Now we have a problem." A flick of her wrist and the sword's tip caused the needle to drop into Cludda's hand. She tucked it back away and stepped back, warily looking at the others in the room.

17th Aug 2006, 16:45
Hate silently creeps up behind Cludda and swiftly holds a dagger at her throat fiercely whispering, "Calm yourself, it's the nature of thieves to lust and steal each others' things so I suggest you get used to it. And there will be no uprising here whatsoever because of your lack to watch your things more closely." Lowering the dagger, Hate walks back warily to another darkened corner and sits to watch going-ons further more while sipping her ale that littlek so graciously claimed on the house.

Cludda the Deathless
17th Aug 2006, 17:50
"Hmmm. My apologies, then," Cludda states through clenched teeth. She returns her sword to its sheath and sits back down. She pulls a half-knit sock from the pouch on her belt and sets to turning the heel.

18th Aug 2006, 14:05
The tension in the air had been lifted, and groans of disappointment were heard around the room.
MMadcat was just about to take a sip of his ale when the taffer sitting beside him started yelling right in his ear:
"I lurve yah! I meen, yer a-ok wit me, man!" The patron then collapsed on the floor.
MMadcat sniffed the glass, then took a small sip of the drink. "Hey! You over there!"
Littlek noticed MMadcat and turned to him. "It's Littlek..."
"I'm MMadcat... Littlek, this stuff's a bit too strong for my taste. Got anything else?"

18th Aug 2006, 14:19
Hearing MMadcat's dislike for strong ale, Hate snickers and murmers "Ametuer..."

18th Aug 2006, 15:47
(Amateur? Heh, we'll see 'bout that...)

18th Aug 2006, 22:48
littlek learns over and peers into MMadcat's eyes for a long moment....Nope! 'and you'll have another my friend.' topping off his glass with a sly grin. 'You'll be needing a full mug seeing that you've been challenged.'

littlek heads for the basement to bring up a keg of the most potent stout she had. This beer was aged in old bourbon barrels for full 3 months bringing the alcohol to an impressive 9%. She appropriatly named it the Crippled Bourbon Stout. It was a brew as dark as Garretts cape and as dense as Benny's single thought. A few mugs of this will have these taffers dancing on the tables. She can barely contain her smile. These taffers are going to be too drunk to hunt for the relic let alone realize that its location is known. BA's father hid it well. Heck by the time they sober up, I'll have a full day head start.

Many years of taffin about made stepping lightly a habit and so her presence in the dim basement was unknown to the thieves whispering quietly behind the stack of kegs labeled Crippled Bourbon Stout.

18th Aug 2006, 23:47
MMadcat pushed his glass over to the much too friendly taffer beside him. Curious about littlek's actions, he snuck after her to the basement.
As he saw her walking back in his direction, he noticed the walls in the corridor were very close together,and the ceiling was rather high. He pressed his feet against one wall, and his back against the other, then started slowly climbing up, trying not to lose his grip as littlek walked beneath him.

24th Aug 2006, 09:25
It seems I, Huntress, had been a little more tippsy than originally thought...being the adept Tafferette that I am...got a tad careless in the lifting of those needles and had to back away for the time being....hic :nut: Ahhhh well...I also knew there would be better pickin's elsewhere soon enough. Then noticing several of these Taffers were going elsewhere from this room, I wondered what that was all about...especially when they seemed to be sneaking about ILO being in a more outright appearance of leaving...hmmmm...smells like somethings up perhaps a new caper is about to unfold? Have to keep a watch on those folks, maybe a clue might suddenly be found and lead me on to try and figure what they might be up to....we'll see, we'll see as Huntress continues thinking about the possibilities. This just might prove to be very interesting indeed, taking another sip or two in the meantime.

25th Aug 2006, 17:39
Buglesoft, always on the lookout for opportunity, carefully steps over unconscious, and barely conscious taffers and takes over one of the tables. Opening up his pack and spreading some things out, he calls out:

Relics! Get your Relics here!

I've got swords. I've got fake eyes. I've got sceptors. Whatever your pleasure, I'm sure I have one around here somewhere.

Step right up, you there. Can I interest you in a lovely diamond and jewel encrusted necklace? What's that? Made in China? Well yes, came straight from the Emperess's night stand it did. :rasp:

I also have some maps of various and sundry mansions, museums, graveyards, sewer systems, stars homes and cathous... oops, forget that last one (slipping a piece of paper back in to his cloak). :whistle:

25th Aug 2006, 17:45
(China? Since when do people rule over china?) ;)

25th Aug 2006, 18:05
Hey, in my world just about anything is possible, except maybe me with a healthy back :mad2: Even turning back the clock to pre-communism China.

25th Aug 2006, 18:53
Well, we are in the City. As far as we know, China doesn't even exist in this world.
(I wasn't referring to the communist regime)

25th Aug 2006, 19:34
Interested, Hate walks up to Buglesoft and quietly asks, "Which graveyard maps do you obtain?"

Cludda the Deathless
25th Aug 2006, 19:53
Cludda finishes up the toe of her sock and saunters over to Buglesoft's table. "Got any good cable needles in there? Hey! Is that a map of my place??!!!!! What the....!"

She snatches at the map, but Hate is already pulling it from the stack...

25th Aug 2006, 20:20
Seeing Cludda reach desperately for the map, Hate grabs her wrist before she can get it within her grasp. "Need something?", Hate says with a sly smile.

Cludda the Deathless
25th Aug 2006, 21:00
Cludda bites her lip, then smiles amiably. "How much for the map?" she asks Buglesoft, never looking away from Hate.

25th Aug 2006, 22:12
O.T. a moment...mmcat...ease up on your remarks..you are distracting away from the story that is trying to unfold. Buglesoft can take it in any direction he wants as long as it stays within the general concept of the overall story from his point of view...this IS just a story afterall drunk as we all might be getting by now :o ;)

Abruptly Huntress finds herself slowly trying to focus her eyes at being aroused from her little catnap by a very loud voice calling out something having to do with relics. Oh, just another salesman she thinks to herself and was about to dismiss the whole thing...when she just noticed in time that this person was quickly trying to put a paper (perhaps a scroll of some sort) into his pocket as if he were trying to hide it. OK, maybe this might be worth looking into, and casually gets up and moves over to where...(OH, it's Buglesoft, now that she can see more clearly) this becomes even more interesting and figures I'll definately have to find out what that piece of paper might contain. Say Buglesoft how is it that you've gone into the shop business, I thought you were in the business of heisting a few things here and there...having a bit of bad luck (she asks coyly while moving ever so carefully nearer to him)?

Why errr no Huntress, what makes you say that? he replies...keeping his eyes on his wares he has spead out in front of him, suspious that maybe one of these thieves might try to pickup something, unaware that Huntress is more interested in his pocket. He continues on with this conversation and asks her May I interest you in one of my relics or perhaps a jewel or two? Huntress needing to distract him a little more so she can extend her reach a bit to lift this paper out from him, tells him As a matter of fact, I would like to take a closer look at that very nice Ruby over there and as he reaches forward to get it for her, she reaches over to the exposed pocket and quickly grabs the paper without his noticing. Ahhh, that's more like it...not losing my touch afterall she smiles to herself.

Buglesoft then having gotten the item to show her, she suddenly backs away and tells him with some distain, Buglesoft, what are you trying to do? That's nothing but a piece of glass, how dare you try and fool me into thinking that was a real stone? as Huntress continues to back away.But, but....Buglesoft tries to quickly apologize...I got this bag of stuff from this old graveyard behind a temple of some sort, it had these strange looking markings on it. It was only later when I got them interpreted that I found out they said "Made in China". I'm sorry Huntress...I would like to make it up to you...I found this old scroll as he starts to reach for it he suddenly notices it's not there. He wonders how it could have disappeared, thinking he had put it in a safe place but with so many people around bumping into each other he didn't know for sure who or how it been removed. He started putting everything back in his sack quickly as he was now going to have to find it again and who might have taken it..he was :mad2: Hate and Cludda had just gotten over to Buglesofts table right after Huntess had left and didn't realize Buglesoft no longer wanted to stay around to conduct anymore deals and seeing him picking up his stuff wondered what happened and what was this talk about they heard him calling out to her?

By this time however, Huntress not hearing all of the attempted apology...was making her way back to her corner table for a little taste and put a tip out on the table, since she didn't want to raise any attention to herself preparing to leave. She could hardly contain her excitment at wanting to get a look at whatever she now had in her possession.

Littlek having a keen interest in what was going on over by Buglesoft and hearing his loud callout about Relics and things perked up her ears a bit she wondered could he also have gotten some kind of knowledge about this Relic she had overheard BA and Garrett talking about in the celler? But then she happened to catch a glimpse of Huntress's fingers clasping something that had a dull shine from his pocket. Even though she had heard a general discription of this Relic's location..she thought if that paper were actually a map it would really help her find the way much faster...she set a plan in motion to try and obtain this possible valuable piece of information.

26th Aug 2006, 00:46
Letting go of Cludda's wrist, Hate quickly slips the map into a concealed pocket just inside her cloak while the unaware Cludda stares off in annoyance that Buglesoft had just walked away.
Hate warily and quickly walks to a darkened corner to look at the map, meanwhile keeping an eye on Cludda and her hand resting on the butt of her dagger. "Hmm... Let's see what we have here...", unrolling the map of Cludda's apartment thinking, This would be the best way to satisfy my dislike for the Knitting Thief...

26th Aug 2006, 20:34
littlek stands behind the bar, working the thick towel around the rim of the mug she just washed. She watched all the ale induced pickpocking and eavesdropping that was standard fare in the Crippled Burrick. She smiles as she sees Huntress' easy theft even though she swayed a little. But what she heard earlier being whispered between BA and Garrett behind the kegs of the Crippled Bourbon Stout in the basement gave her much to think about. Still that map that Huntress lifted.....facinating.

Buglesoft sets down his bag of goodies on the bar bringing littlek back from her deep thoughts. "I just can't peddle any of this junk here." He sighs in frustration.

littlek smiled "You know this is a tough crowd. If you did have anything of value these taffers would just steal it from you. You'll have better luck selling this glass at the 'Gaseous Maximus Pub' anyhow. Here, have one on the house." littlek sets a mug brimming with the powerful stout before him and watches as Buglesoft takes a long drink. She eyes his pack. That fake red ruby intrigues her.

27th Aug 2006, 02:07
"We can't talk here" Garrett says. "Where do you suggest we go, I just got here", BA says. As they both look around the room, BA replies, "These taffers are restless tonight, something is in the air, isn't it Garrett, BA looks point blank right at him. "Yes....you are right, you could always pick that up, couldn't you."
"You damn well know it."

"Follow me," BA and Garrett, slip into the shadows, going up to BA's hiding spot by the Chandelier. "You never let me come up here before BA, why is that." "Garrett, like you, somethings remain a secret, but this is my fathers relic we are talking about here."

As BA lights the torch, they both sit down in the corridor, "Can anyone come in here BA?" Garrett asking her. "No, they need to find the switch." "Get to the point Garrett, cut to the chase."

Garrett begins to explain. "Your fathers relic was stolen by an unknown group in these regions, they call themselves the Ma'it. Until recently they were never heard of. Sources tell me, they were trying to protect the relic, for years, they succeeded. That is why it was stolen. Why would they steal it, to protect it, why not just sell it, that is what they want, isn't it? BA asks. Good question. The Ma'it believe in truth, justice, and the law. "Sounds like they take the law into their own hands, BA replies.

Sources go on to say, the relic was stolen to protect it, and keep it out of the wrong hands, the relic is not complete. What do you mean, BA says. My father, and my fathers father, had the relic for years, it was authenticated, museums had it. BA it is indeed authentic, it's just not complete.......on the inside. BA eyes Garrett. "What do you mean? eventually the relic was taken apart, it's in two pieces, both kept safely apart, until recently. One piece was stolen. As the other piece was being inspected, a false bottom was punctured on the one half, a small crevice inside was discovered, a small jewel will fit inside. There is a distinct shape of this jewel.

The Ma'it sent their best and brightess out on the hunt, they found a half a map, leading them to a scroll, it depicted this relic, with the jewel, all three pieces together. An apocalypse ensues. It shows the world going black. Some figure of fire and light standing over everything......that's all we know.

Pass me that bottle BA says. Garrett......what are we going to do. I came here tonight, we need all the taffers here, time is of the essence. No time to waste.

BA and Garrett get up, and go down, and talk to the others.

"Did I hear someone mention a map........People, we've got trouble......

27th Aug 2006, 20:36
*Gummie walks on set and is quickly accosted by security*

"How'd you get in here?!"

"Err... I just wandered down into the 'Burrick's' basement looking for the spare Grand Marnier keg. Seems some Taffer's spiked the one I had behind the Crayman trophy up behind the bar." Replied a rather bemused Gum'.

"You do realise we're trying to keep this story rolling don't you?" Frowned the guard.

"Story?" Gum' looked around. "OMG... It's started again! Another instalment?"

"Uh-uh. So kindly remove yourself and go get a bath... You smell like a Burrick stable!"

"Hey, any bit-parts I can play?"

"Sure, we're always looking for extras. I tell you what, take this." The security guard hands Gum' a battered copy of the script. "Go read this, then report to make-up and costume. We're fast approaching the end of act 1 and you need to be ready and in costume by the begining of act 2!"

"Okey-dokey," replied Gumdrop, and skipped off towards wardrobe.

27th Aug 2006, 22:43
:lol: Gums...

Huntress now having the opportunity to take herself somewhere more quiet and needing better light to see what this piece of paper had on it, she finds a small broom closet with a brightly lit lamp sitting on top a small stool inside. Now seeing that this was actually a parchment with a drawing of somesort on it...she could see that it was a drawing of a strange looking idol in one part and an outline of some strange looking trees that appeared to depict a forest of some sort with a pathway...but then much to her dismay...part of it was missing...it was torn! Oh nooooo, she moaned quietly to herself...what am I to do now, she wonders? What could this have been...it must be something about somekind of treasure...but what, she continues to wonder. I've just got to find out she thinks determinately to herself. Leaving the closet...she sees and then hears BA and Garrett coming into the room and exclaiming to everyone People we need some help. Garrett has made an awful discovery and we have to get together to put things right again.

About this time Huntress notices a couple of Taffer's have entered the room coming down the stairs...why it's Gumdrop and Squid of all people. She smiles having not seen either of them for a long time either. Cut short from her reminising by the story that BA and Garrett have started to tell about this Grudegeon relic and some faction she'd never heard of...the Ma'it's, and the world coming to an end??? This was terrible and the most frightning thing she'd ever heard. She decides this piece of parchment must have something to do with it and so she steps forward to offer it and herself in whatever way it might help. Here, she says to all who have gathered around, I uh happened to find this scroll recently avoiding a surprised look from Buglesoft and frowning a bit at her I would like to turn it over as an offering to this hunt. I think it may help us a little but we need to find the rest of it as it's incomplete she says sadly.

Garrett and BA both turn to look at her, telling her thanks and taking this piece of parchment from her. Yes, this might come in handy, BA says and looking at the rest of the crowd...who else is ready to join in? Any small bit of information anyone has or is able to assist will be most appreciated....what do you say?

28th Aug 2006, 00:58
Hate looks up from her examinantion of Cludda's apartment map and walks over to the gathered crowd of fellow thieves. "I'd be willing to help in any way, though I'll admit I don't know much about the relic..."

28th Aug 2006, 03:27
Huntress aware that Hate seems to be a little hesitant and attempts to coax her on a bit...yes, yes I don't know much about this myself but you seem to know something the way you said you didn't know much about "the relic"...leads me to think you must know or heard something somewhere that could be important to this adventure we are about to undertake. Huntress again visably upset by the story she just heard from BA and Garrett just had to find out what it was that Hate was holding back. Please tell us Huntress asked anxiously but afraid of what she might hear next.

28th Aug 2006, 10:50
Looking more uneasy then ever, Hate thinks long hard about what to say. Maybe I shouldn't say anything... Maybe I should leave...

28th Aug 2006, 14:19
Buglesoft smiles at littlek and says I'm not really worried about what all those taffers think they got from me. After all, if they didn't notice this was real junk, they deserve to part with their earnings. Besides, while they are looking at some of the merchandise, they are paying less attention to their own belongings! :lmao: In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Huntress were to show back up looking for the rest of that map :rasp:

Thinking for a minute, he orders a round for the house on him, or rather on the lot of taffers who donated during the sales frenzy:D

Buglesoft then quietly retires to a dark corner to watch the intrigues continue.

Passing Cludda on the way, he whispers: DOn't worry about that map, I might have forgotten to include those "architectural changes" you had put in.

Hi Gumdrop. I know you are trying for a new look, but you may want to go back to wardrobe. Those feather boas simply aren't you. :p

Cludda the Deathless
28th Aug 2006, 23:06
"You're a good man, my dear...A good man." Cludda gives Buglesoft a grin and accepts the free ale. :D "Whenever you need anything, let me know!" Cludda kicks back her beer, then makes her way passed the other taffers to the door. She pauses and gives Garrett one last look, then exits the Crippled Burrick and disappears into the alley outside.

29th Aug 2006, 02:01
Huntress becomes even more suspious now of Hate's change of appearance and name as well...could it be she is some kind of Mage that is capable of magic's? Is she somehow connected with this secret Society? So many questions unanswered...wondering how we're going to find all the missing pieces to this puzzle? I'll wait around for a bit, she thinks to herself, and see if anyone might loosen up to gain a lead as to the whereabouts of this mysterious Artifact and it's contents. First however, the rest of this map needs to be found...and since Buglesoft had a piece of it that had apparently been contained within the bag of stuff he found, perhaps I'd better start with him to see if he'll go with me to that graveyard and see if anything else might be found there?

Huntress feeling guilty of having lifted that piece of the map from Buglesoft's pocket, she gently says to him as she draws closer...Well Buglesoft...I'm sorry about the little incident that occured earlier between you and me, but we're sortof even now and I really need you help. It's imperative that we work together and track down the rest of this map. You heard what BA and Garrett said about all of this trouble and the dire consequences it could have if we don't get to the bottom of this, agreed?she asks him pleadingly.

She continues on...did you also happen to notice the change that Hate manifested while sitting over in her corner? This was surely something scarry to my mind and I think we need to be careful of her...perhaps she's in involved with that secret Society or some other faction trying to divert us from our Mission. She hopes Buglesoft will look past the earlier invasion of his losing a bit of his items to her and understand the serious nature of the tasks ahead and will agree to assist her.

Buglesoft having had a couple of those good Burrick Stouts had mellowed out enough to think that perhaps he'll overlook Huntress's slight of hand since afterall he's known her for a long time and knows that she must have been somewhat desperate for some quick cash to pick an old friends pocket. Alright he tells her but just be careful not to do it again. You know if you need a little help I'll always be happy to tell you of a lucrative opportunity that might be of interest to you, he gives her a wink. However deciding to get back to the task at hand he says to her Huntress I think we need to stay here a bit longer as you know this is going to be a large undertaking and we need to team up with not only BA and Garrett, but some of these other folks that have dropped in tonight might be willing to follow up and help out too, understanding the importance of this situation as well. They need to speak up before we go any further alright? I agree with you that it seems very strange the way "Hate" has been behaving and who knows what or who she really is...his voice trailing off

Oh thank you Buglesoft she replies I knew I could count on you...and so they wait together ordering another couple of brews. Meanwhile Littlek taking this all in...thinks this is turning into quite an evening after all...wondering what will happen next? Intrigued even further now with the revelation of a partial map that Huntress had gotten her hands on..and this rather odd shaped piece of red glass that Buglesoft still had in his sack, she wondered if this might be another piece of this odd puzzle? Then a stranger comes in and up to the bar next to Huntress and Buglesoft and orders a drink from Littlek. Well good evening Sir...I'll be happy to serve your our finest brew and might I ask your name as I haven't seen you in these parts before?

The man taking the drink from her, says a little hesitatingly, I'm known as Scarface the Hacker. He looks around to see if anyone makes any moves towards him, but no they all seem preoccupied in their own deep thoughts, so he turns back to Littlek saying I've been away for a long time and this town's a lot different from what I remember...taking a deep drink from his bottle and enjoying the strong taste it offered. It had been a long time since he'd had a drink.

Littlek, thinking this was a rather handsome man even with his scar, thought she'd like to get to know him a little better and enters into a little more conversation with him... Oh she says you've been here before, strange I thought I knew most of the locals that are from these parts. He replies Oh I was a very young man when I had to leave here...taking another drink, he continued on in a pleasantly smooth voice it feels good to be back...this was always a good place and I've missed it. Littlek becoming even more interested in who he was and why he "had" to leave thought she might pursue this a bit further..so she leaned over a bit closer to him and asked in a very quiet voice...would you like to join me for a drink a little later and talk a bit more? Sure, that would be nice he tells her not having any ladies to speak with for a long time either. He gives her a big smile saying thanks for the invite....I'll stick around and wait for you to finish up.

So the evening passes on....

29th Aug 2006, 10:55
Realizing huntress was onto her, Hate stutters, "Errr... I really don't know anything about the grud..... the relic and its various locations." Realizing she just screwed up, 'Hate' eyes everyone in the room and reaches into her cloak for a flashbomb, while everyone is blinded, Hate runs out of the pub and hides herself in the darkness, contemplating what to do... Maybe I'll go back to the Ma'it leader and tell him those blasted taffers are on to him and what he plans to do...

29th Aug 2006, 13:59
Huntress, we go way back, but I have to be honest. I have been looking for the rest of that map for more years than I want to remember. Every time I think I might have a lead, I run in to a brick wall :mad2: And me without any of those new-fangled climbing gloves.

There is one rumor that I haven't really been able to follow up on though . . . I seem to remember something about BA and her past. Maybe a relative, but I have never managed to dig up anything. Garrett might know something. I saw Cludda talking with him a little earlier, maybe she can find out something.

And Hate has been acting a little, OK, a lot, strange. Might be worth applying some pressure on her. If you know any way we might be able to persuade her to spill her guts. Figuratively of course, you know how much I hate unwarranted violence. And don't bring up that incident a couple of years ago, that taffer deserved what he got! Though I did feel sorry for Squeeky and the burricks for a while after that. :lol:

29th Aug 2006, 20:25
All of a sudden everyone lets out a yell...HEY...WHAT THE...WHO...? rang out a chorus of startled voices. Scarface being the nearest to where Hate (now known as Headache) had been standing...said to all It was Hate that tossed that Flashbomb, anyof you know her? A couple of voices called out Just a short while (said one)...been acting suspious (said another)...not sure who or what she is (a third voice is heard). Scarface asks Littlek what's this about a "Relic" and something she started to say...a grud? You think we should go out and try to find her, is it important? Just about then, Cludda who had been nearby outside, suddently found herself being ran into by a fast moving Hate. Having had a roust with her earlier...pushed her back making her fall down. Glaring at her, said angerly Just what do you think your doing? I saw that flash of light inside and I demand to know what you think your up to? Hate trying to get back up quickly only finding herself being pushed back down again...yells out LET ME GO...LET ME GO! Hearing the loud voices just outside the door, everyone comes running out. Ahh there you are Hate...were'd you think you were going said Huntress to a frightened Hate not sure what to call her now? Scarface and Garrett both get ahold of her and bring her back inside. Everyone following back in gather around her, blackjacks out in case she tries to run again.

We need to question her, someone says need to find out what she's up to and why she tried to run away? Scarface, having no idea what this was all about but getting the feeling that this was something he wanted to get involved in. Afterall, he didn't like anyone throwing flashbombs at him. I think I know how to make her to talk he says I've had some experience rubbing the scar on his face slowly. BA looking over at him quickly tells him Thanks, but I think you need to know what's been going on here a bit before you got here. You seem to be a friendly guy and we can use a lot of helpers. Come over here with me as she motions for him to follow her, then proceeds to tell him what she had found out earlier from Garrett.

Meanwhile, Garrett and a couple of others had taken Hate over to one of the chairs and tied her to it. After several minutes had passed and BA had finished telling Scarface about her Father's Relic and what Garrett had told her...he announced to the crowd Say...I might have a little story to tell you folks. Everyone turns to look at him, anxious to hear him out. He starts out to reveal a little about himself saying When I was much younger, I was a little on the wild side and pulled some dirty tricks on a few of the villagers and some of those smelly Burricks as well as someone's pet, I think they called it Squeeky or something like that. One day I went a little to far when I threw some of those Burricks into one of those City Watch's house, think his name was Benny. Well to make a long story short, I ended up being sent away...place called Cragscliff. they all nodded their heads recognizing the name and the place. Go on. they encouraged him Ran into a guy inside, one of the inmates said his name was...what was it...yea now I remember, theBlackman. Said he was getting out soon and when I did to come back here and look up a few of his friends. Said in his travels that he'd heard of this Relic your all interested in and had found a piece of a map of some sort, although he didn't have any idea what it meant..he had kept it. Perhaps this might be a missing piece your looking for?

Everyone was excited at hearing this but unfortuately no one had seen theBlackman for some time and wondered if he might show up so they could ask him about it. He usually came back here to visit with his friends sooner or later. Well, I guess we'd better be on the lookout for him then, BA said afterwards. They all agreed and telling Scarface they would be happy to have him join in this escapde.

So they settled back to await and knowing Hate wouldn't be going anywhere weren't concerned with her for the moment. Cludda, however was getting a bit nervous herself over these recent events and wasn't sure if she'd speak up now or not...she'd had a run-in with these Ma'it's awhile back while they were in a secret meeting, and overheard a little bit about some infiltrater they had assigned to spy on some Taffer's they knew had gathered in this particular Inn...hmmm she wondered to herself...that Hate could be the one afterall? She was getting a strong sense that it was....

29th Aug 2006, 21:52
Sitting with a stone look on her face, Hate glares at everyone with... well.. hate. These hammerin' taffers won't get a thing out of me! Whispering fiercely and begrudingly under her breath, "The stupid fools have no clue.." ...Now how I am I gonna get out of this mess?! Maybe I should tell them? I DON'T KNOW! Ahh, maybe I could lead them on... Holding back a devious smile, Hate sits, waiting and looking on with a stubborn face.

Cludda the Deathless
29th Aug 2006, 23:53
Cludda exhales slowly as indecision takes her. She could see Hate's (Headache's) obvious...well...hate and knew that a direct accusation would only result in Hate denying the whole thing. And Cludda still knew very little about the others present, except for Garrett. She had heard enough stories about him to satisfy even her curiousity in almost every department...But that doesn't matter now, she tells herself with a wry grin.

Swallowing hard, Cludda realizes that as soon as she gives up the information she has about the Mi'at and their infiltrator she will no longer be of any use to any of these taffers. She finds herself sitting down next to Scarface the Hacker and tries to look as uninvolved as possible...

30th Aug 2006, 00:08
Having a knack for reading even the most indiscernable faces, Hate stares long and hard at Cludda. She knows something... SHE KNOWS SOMETHING!! Cludda, feeling Hate's eyes almost burning into her head, she stares back with disgust... Quickly realizing that something was burning her forehead! Hate's eyes by this time were glowing green, and some kind of unseen energy was at work burning Cludda's forehead. Falling on the floor in pain, Cludda cries out with anger.

30th Aug 2006, 01:30
He gives her (ME littlek) a big smile saying thanks for the invite....I'll stick around and wait for you to finish up..


Cludda the Deathless
30th Aug 2006, 15:35
“You wench(EDIT: super nice person who is causing me an exceptional amount of pain and suffering)!” Cludda hisses through clenched teeth, the green fire burning her forehead until blood begins to boil out. “Aahh! She’s one of them! The Mi’at! Make her stop!”

While Scarface and Garrett try to stop Hate from continuing her onslaught, littlek grabs a towel and holds it to Cludda’s forehead, partly in hope of keeping the burns from getting worse and partly in hopes of keeping blood from staining the newly polished floor. Hate pulls back her attack and her eyes return to their normal color. She looks up at Garrett and Scarface with contempt. “Do you think you can stop this?” she spats venomously. “The apocalypse will come…”

Garrett chuckles. “I’ve heard that before…”

30th Aug 2006, 22:05
"Ah ah ah, now now Cludda, no name calling. But I was just unleashing some of my anger... And you have no proof at all that Im one of the Ma'it, do you? I could be anyone. False accusations never do you much good."
Then laughing at Garrett's know-it-all attitude, Hate replies, "I know you've been around. And I also realize you think you've heard it all; From Benny's ailments (-evil grin-) and screw-ups to the most serious matters. But you'll never get anything out of me. Ha! You'll probably even die before you try!" :rasp:
"But maybe we can make a deal. My release first, in exchange for the information you thieves so desperately seek. Otherwise you aren't getting anything."

Maybe these taffers are smarter than I thought... But we'll soon see about that. Besides it wouldn't take much to destroy these ropes...

Huntress, BA, Garrett, and Scarface look at Hate with cautious and eyes and decide to talk about her offer in private.

30th Aug 2006, 22:50
MMadcat sat back in his chair with a mug of beer. "It's times like this when I wish I had a bag of popcorn..." he thought.
So far, he chose not to really take part in everything that was going on. Instead, he just sat back with a cold beer and enjoyed the show, too lazy to care about the impending doom.
After a while, he noticed that nobody... Well, noticed him. "Hehe, I think I'm just as good as Garrett... Maybe even better," he spoke in his mind right before leaning back and causing the chair to fall off-balance. Suddenly, everybody turned around to face the noise.
"Aw, crap!" MMadcat shouted.

Cludda the Deathless
30th Aug 2006, 23:03
MMadcat sat back in his chair with a mug of beer. "It's times like this when I wish I had a bag of popcorn..."

OT: I didn't know they had popcorn in the Thief Universe! Is it like popcorn popcorn or kettlecorn popcorn? Or maybe carmelcorn popcorn? Hmmmm....Hungry now..... ;)

30th Aug 2006, 23:06
OT: I didn't know they had popcorn in the Thief Universe! Is it like popcorn popcorn or kettlecorn popcorn? Or maybe carmelcorn popcorn? Hmmmm....Hungry now..... ;)
OT: They take a fire arrow to the kernels instead :D But hey me too. Get me some popcorn while Im tied up, you darn taffers!!! :lol:

30th Aug 2006, 23:23
Or genetically engineered Mechanist popcorn that chants Mechanist slogans until you snap your fingers. Then it pops.

1st Sep 2006, 23:47
Littlek adds more popcorn to the kettle...


2nd Sep 2006, 16:27
New! =O

3rd Sep 2006, 13:23
Yup...got it from Karras. OK I stole it from Karras. "Praise be to the builders!"

OK where were we...OH yeah. We need a plan taffers. Let's get this relic back to its rightful owner! Meh.....errr.....BA! Yup it's BA's relic. :whistle:

6th Sep 2006, 00:00
"Littlek, my dear, why would you want it so badly?" -smirks- "...Doesn't seem to matter what hands they're in. There's always a bad outcome..... Unless you know how to control your own temptations and stupidity, good luck." :whistle:
Im getting quite weary of being tied up - And I bet he'll have my head for this... But wait... Im forgetting I have a choice of helping or not - Im just giving the Ma'it the benefit of the doubt... Hate's face turns to that of deep thought while everyone else stands around awaiting for just the slightest move or noise....

31st Oct 2006, 22:42
I know I dropped out of sight again for awhile...darn games that just get me going and going and going (just like that little ole funny bunny :p) but I'll get back after awhile to try and help a bit more...but where's theBlackman???

Since he's a traveling Troubadour these days it wouldn't surprise me if he dilly dallied on his way back here singing his way for some coinage ILO using his real forte :lmao: