The land is in turmoil as a vicious civil war brings out old clan rivalries and splits the kingdom allowing those with unjust motives to prosper and gain power. Ever since king Blagergast died without an heir the two most likely candidates have been fighting each other for control of the capital city of Belserate. The holy city founded by the first king of Deryland when he led the people of Deryland over the land bridge from the darkness that consumed there homeland.
The war has been raging for the last five years with control of the capital passing back and forth between the two rivals who both claim to be king in their own right. Every spring old alliances are called into play as the gwerbrets ( justices of the provinces ) call in the lords who owe fealty to them and the clans jostle for power as old rivalries and teretorial disputes spring up between the two sides. They gather to do battle for lands and for control of the precious capital. The war doesn't look like its going to find a quick and easy end, both sides have large forces at there disposal although he last few summers has depleted both sides such that there should only be a few skirmishes this summer as both sides lick their wounds and dig in some more.
It is spring and you are in the city of Andrick under control of clans loyal to Havarn, you are all currently in a resnably cheap tavern set back from the city's walls called the "Swift Dagger". The food is bearable though by no means quialty, the rooms are reasonably priced and about as clean as you would expect. The "Swift Dagger" is probably best described as the top of the bottom of the heap of inns in Andrick. The local crowd is quite rough as the tavern i$ What I need to know is a brief description of who you are, why your in the "Swift Dagger" early in the evening and a list of what your good/bad at.
It's a slightly more advanced style of Celtic world similar to one in the Devery series of books.
Robin J. Bradley
Jack and Gerard were drinking in the Swift Dagger, playing poker while Doris served people drinks and Kenneth played the harp in the background. Jack was waiting to meet someone he worked for.
Nothing unusual seemed to be happening until two 15-16 year old boys entered the tavern. They looked distinctly out of place, as if perhaps they were rich boys out on a lark. The elder boy looked happy and confident, but the younger one seemed very nervous. Soon afterwards, two men came into the tavern and sat down at a table facing the boys. They then proceeded to watch the boys intently.
Curious to find out what was going on, Jack and Gerard asked the boys to join in their game of poker. The men watching them seemed agitated at first but soon began to relax as the game went on.
Jack and Gerard began to quite enjoy themselves. The boys obviously hadn't played much poker and didn't seem to mind losing some money. The older boy was reasonable at poker, but the anxious one was terrible. Jack and Gerard played for a while, rigging it so that they each won alternate games, and occasionally letting the boys win to keep them keen and let them think they were doing well. When asked their names, the older boy said his name was Wever, but clearly nudged the younger one warning him not to give his real name, "er...Dick..." he answered.
Trouble seemed to be brewing as more and more people entered the tavern, all of them armed.
Suspicions grew that one of the boys might be the Giverbrat's son, and that the men watching them were his bodyguards. After all, why else would this be happening. The younger boy was getting very drunk and Jack and Gerard decided that it might be a good idea to get further away from any potential targets. Jack's boss, Calin, arrived and they went to talk to him. He told them to make sure that the boys got out of the tavern alive. It seemed a rather daunting task, but as always, money was involved.
Coincidentally, Calin was also Doris' underground boss. He also instructed her to get the boys out alive.
A brawl broke out, rapidly expanding towards the boys. Jack, Doris and Kenneth grabbed the boys and tryed to drag them out of the tavern, while Gerard protected them from the crowd. As he did so, he noticed that a number of the men appeared to have tunics worn by Galus' men hidden under their cloaks.
The group made it back to one of Jack's safehouses (a low class brothel) where they waited for Calin to arrive. When he arrived, they found out as suspected that the more confident boy was indeed the Lord's son, Twain. The younger boy, Nick, was just the son of the Giverbrat's advisor.
Calin suspected that a shipbuider named Edric was involved in a plot to frame Galus, and told them to search his house for evidence.
Doris went to the Bloody Dagger to try to seduce Edric and keep him busy while Jack and Gerard broke into his house. After a little trouble persuading Calin not to kill the innocent bard, it was agreed that Kenneth should take Nick back towards his home. We arranged to meet back at the Bloody Dagger afterwards.
Jack and Gerard broke into Edric's house through an upstairs window as there were several men still downstairs. A book case was accidentally knocked over in the search and one of the men came upstairs to find out what was going on. Gerard disposed of him by throwing a knife at his head.
The search continued until they noticed some marks on the floor near the fireplace. On closer inspection, it was found that the fireplace swung out from the wall. Behind it was a locked chest.
As they were escaping back through the window, more footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs. Gerard handed Jack the chest through the window, then climbing through it himself. Two men followed the disappearing Gerard through the window, while another couple ran out of the house shouting. Gerard ran in the opposite direction to Jack to try to lead the men away from him. However, after hiding the trunk, Jack ran back to to give him a hand as he was quite outnumbered.
In the ensueing skirmish, Jack's arm was slashed with a sword, and all Edric's men were killed. Gerard was unhurt. Jack led Gerard back to the hidden trunk. He had difficulty picking the lock, so which Gerard broke it open with his sword. Inside were various papers which they took back to the safehouse. The papers incriminated someone called Lord Sydarc. We also discovered that they were also trying to frame Galis and Calin for Twain's murder.
While Jack and Gerard were still at the safehouse, Doris & Kenneth returned unexpectedly from the bloody dagger. Doris had had some difficulty seducing Elric and had to pay off another woman who he seemed more interested in. She also failed to persuade him to leave his knife behind and he later tryed to use it on her for entertainment but she escaped. Kenneth held the door open for her and then ran after her as she raced away from the inn. They were chased by Edric and some of his men but eventually managed to escape and return to the safehouse.
Doris had heard of Lord Syndarc. She knew that he was the Giverbrat's cousin and often came to stay in the Palace. He was also known to be a supporter of Havern. It was quickly deduced that Lord Sydarc was trying to win his cousin more over to Havern's side by incriminating Galus's troops in the kidnapping/attempted assassination of Twain. The death of Twain would also put Syndarc next in line to become the Giverbrat.
Among Edric's papers were also some details of his smuggling operations. Jack decided to also give these papers to Calin as they might prove useful to him in winning tje trade war. Jack asked Blane to get Calin. However, Blane wanted to take the papers himself, offering us a bag of gold as payment. He said that Calin would not be available for another half hour or so. This was clearly suspicious,so Jack refused to hand over the papers.
A few minutes later, screaming could be heard from the upper floors of the safehouse. Everyone managed to escape down an extremely sewer, taking the contents of the bag of gold with them. As they left, they could hear Edric's voice from above them. This obviously incriminated Blane still further.
The group headed towards another safe house, which even Blane did not know about. Jack knocked on the door and an old man called down from an upstairs, "Who is it. What do you want at this time of night?". Jack gave the password, explaining that it was an emergency. The man hurried down to open the door, drawing back a little when the stench of their clothes reached him. "You'd better clean up before you come in!".
He took everyone to the backyard, got some towels and showed Gerard where to get a barrel of water to wash in. Doris asked for some clean clothes. The man brought her some reasonable looking ones. Then he went and got Jack a flowery nightgown. Kenneth put back on his brightly coloured bard's clothes which he had changed out of earlier, and after seeing Jack in a flowery nightgown, Gerard decided to wait until someone went and got him some proper clothes!
Calin was soon contacted by the old man, and was most concerned to hear that not only was he being framed, but that his right-hand man, Blane was likely to be a traitor. He instructed us to infiltrate the palace to obtain more substantial evidence that Lord Sydarc was involved in the plot.
It was arranged that Jack and Gerard would try to sneak into the Palace grounds on a cart of some sort. Doris would distract the guards before slipping through herself, and Kenneth would go through on the pretence of being called to play for Nick.
After Calin had left, Jack changed temporarily back into his sewer drenched clothes and went back to his house to get fresh clothes. He brought back some for Gerard, and went to buy a dress for Doris from a barmaid since no shops were open at this time of night. He went to a relatively high class inn since he wanted to get Doris something nice. After telling a barmaid a lengthy yarn about his wife's dress being ruined on a journey, he persuaded her to sell him one of hers. It cost about double the normal retail price but this was to be expected, given the circumstances. Doris was very pleased with the dress.
Jack and Gerard went to the market and found a butcher who was willing to take them to the Palace. In return, one of them would have to help unloading the meat, while the other hid under the dead carcasses. Gerard generously pointed out that Jack had hurt his arm, so it would be best if he did the unloading and Jack hid under the carcasses. However, Jack didn't like this idea, not least because he would end up covered in blood from the meat. Instead, he went off to find an alternative cart to travel on.
Doris successfully distracted the guards to let Kenneth slip through before entering the palace herself under the pretence of being Lord Syndarc's mistress. Gerard and then Jack also managed to enter the gates OK. Gerard helped to unload the meat while the butcher stood back idly smirking a little. After asking directions, Doris made her way to Lord Syndarc's quarters (still under the same pretence).
Gerard finished unloading the meat, recovered his sword from underneath all the meat, and then entered the palace, cleaning his bloody hands on the back of a tapestry. Claiming to be one of Lord Syndarc's men, he obtained directions to Lord Sydarc's quarters and arrived just in time to see Doris disappearing into them. Hiding just around the corner whilst deciding what to do, he was noticed by a servant. He again claimed to be looking for Lord Sydarc and was told they were just around the corner. Obviously, it would have looked suspicious if he had then not gone there, so he went up to the two men guarding the door to the appartment. Therefore, claiming that he had a message from Edric, he asked to see Lord Syndarc.
Gerard was quickly ushered in to see Syndarc in his study who demanded to know why Edric had not come himself. Gerard explained that Edric was rather tied up at the moment since his house had been broken into and some papers stolen. He also told Syndarc that Twain had not yet been found because Edric's spy (Blane) had been discovered. He then convinced Syndarc that there was a danger that the people who had broken into Edric's house might try to infiltrate the palace. He could recognise the perpetrators and had therefore been instructed by Edric to make sure that none of them got into Lord Sydarc's appartments.
Syndarc agreed to this and told Gerard to send a message to Edric telling him that he was not at all pleased with the situation. Gerard relieved one of the guards at the door to the appartment. He wrote an illegible note to Edric and asked the guard to give it someone to deliver to Edric.
Just around the corner, the guard bumped into Jack who was on his way to Lord Syndarc's quarters carrying cleaning equipment. He gave the note to Jack to pass on to Edric. Jack was slightly bemused when he realised the note was illegible and decided to just stuff it in a pocket.
Coming up to Syndarc's quarters, he was suprised to see a familiar face at the door - Gerard. However, the other guard was a little reluctant to let Jack in to clean the appartment because of Doris who was waiting in the bedroom. Gerard managed to convince him to let Jack quickly clean everything except the bedroom. Then to belay any suspicions the guard might have about him being friendly with Jack, he shoved Jack roughly through the doors, slamming the door a bit behind him.
Unfortunately, this aroused Lord Syndarc who demanded to know what was going on. He told Jack to clean the bedroom, where Doris was. Jack explained that there was a lady in there, at which point Syndarc grew very irate and called the two guards in. Gerard explained that the other guard had told him that the lady he had wanted had come to entertain him. However, Syndarc was no more happier than before since he had not asked for any lady. With things rapidly escellating, Doris came out of the room and told him that she had been sent by his cousin to entertain him as he seemed a bit tense lately. Miraculously he calmed down, and seemed quite keen on the idea.
Jack continued the cleaning, finding some papers behind some books. Meanwhile, having finished playing for the guilt-ridden Rick and found out from him where Sydarc's rooms were, Kenneth also turned up at the door, saying he had been asked to play. However, Gerard and the other guard explained that Lord Syndarc was already otherwise entertained. Kenneth went back out of the castle, soon followed by Jack. Then Syndarc came out of his room, ordering the guards to accompany to his cousin's quarters. He didn't take long for him to find out that Doris had not been sent by the Geverbrat. He quickly came out yelling, "Guards, there's an intruder in my quarters". Gerard took the opportunity to run out of the castle in the confusion shouting "There's an intruder in Lord Syndarc's quarters". He reached the first set of gate's and alarming the guards who had just let Doris through.
Gerard ran after Doris, and was unfortunately followed by some guards from the second gate. However, Doris managed to get to the market place, where Kenneth pushed over a fruit stall into the way of her persuers, and Jack got some of his men to start a brawl. Gerard also managed to get away in the confusion. The group soon met up again, and the papers were handed over to Calin.
Jack was made the new second in command to Calin, taking over from Blane. Gerard convinced Jack to but him a new suit of armour since his old one was ruined in the sewer and continued his work as a mercenary. Doris used her money to open the first "respectable" brothel, and as for Kenneth. Well, thanks to Nick's good word, she became the bard at the palace. Also, she hoped to make Nick become so dependent on her, that when she eventually revealed herself as a girl, and she would virtually force him to marry her. Calin returned Twain to his father and told him of the plot. Syndarc was executed as a traitor, and Calin was given exclusive rights to trade in the area as a reward.
C F Wall