Hearts and Pistons

Small Packages

January 24th dawned with the subtle sound of feline scratching on the stateroom door of Faylee. Likewise, above her, the sound of ice scraping the decks woke the rest of the party. Away from the cities, the winter was still as bitter as one might expect for late January. It was difficult for some of the city dwellers to rose themselves in such conditions. Shortly after dawn on that winter morning the Nora Perdy docked in the main harbor of Marwan.

Marwan, the so called Arsenal of the Hegemony, is a heavily industrialized city. The freezing air was obscured by the haze and smog as the factories roared to life Monday morning. Many proud military families called Marwan home, and young inventors and engineers found ready employment in the weapon plants and design bureaus. It maybe wasn’t the best place for fugitives to come running. A fact that wasn’t lost lost on some aboard the airship.

While Captain Frye was negotiating a shipping contract the party would be able to explore the city. But first the captain called Logan and Lord von Iosia to his cabin to discuss strategy. With such a powerful organization pursuing the group, organization was essential. Captain Frye left it to the party how that organization might be achieved but impressed upon them its importance.

In an ad hoc election the party chose Lord von Iosia to act as leader for the group. With the decision of leadership made for the time being, the party disembarked into the city of Marwan to procure supplies for a long journey on the run. A stop at a general store, then a tailor, then some members went off to more exotic retail outlets while the rest retired to a tavern. It was important to be ready for anything that may come.

Bart the ever practical and pragmatic suggested that party take steps to obscure their identities. It was decided to purchase false papers from a scoundrel in the harbor. Logan went ahead to scout the area and had a very surprising meeting while he waited on the roof of a nearby warehouse. Business with Tyrone was brief and to the point and the party would return the next evening to pick up with “new” documents.

It was then that Faylee mentioned a desire to meet with an old family friend that had retired to Marwan. Atticus Forshen was a retired military man, friend of Faylee’s late father, and father to Faylee’s childhood friend, Arven. Atticus had been one of the few people that had stood up for Medwin after his murder, even spending a good portion of his own fortune in a vain attempt to find the truth. Faylee needed his calm reassurance now more than ever.

Time had taken its toll on Atticus and the dry winter air was not helping his enfeebled state. Atticus was obviously disturbed as well. Faylee’s arrival had been unannounced but not unexpected. Years ago right before Medwin’s death, he had sent a package to Atticus to be delivered to Faylee under specific circumstances. Faylee would arrive in dire need of help, possibly in danger, and under those circumstances Atticus was to give Faylee said package. However the package had been stolen from Atticus’s estate only a few days prior. Embarrassed and ashamed that in his state he could not perform the task his friend had set before him, Atticus could only point the young Faylee towards who he thought had her parcel.

The thief was unknown but it was likely that who ever it was worked for Lorelei Grosvenor a catfolk and leader of a local thieves’ guild specializing in burglary and pickpocketing. Lorelei was known for her indulgence in the life’s finer things and her attempts to create an aura of nobility. She was also known to take libations at a local tavern, the Pelican’s Brief Rest. It was there that the party started its pursuit of the missing material.

True to form Lorelei was in the tavern enjoying the evening. It was decided that it would be best for like minds to meet and the party sent forth Logan to open negotiations. However, Logan was out of his element and found the conversation dominated by Lorelei’s desires. Before he knew it, Logan found himself in a backroom, disrobed in the embrace of an oversexed catfolk woman and her human boy-toy. Eventually Logan was able to get his request out, and Lorelei agreed to meet his “employer”.

Early in the morning Logan and Faylee met with mysterious catfolk woman and described their own desires. Lorelei seemed uninterested in the package itself, but quickly picked up on an opportunity to use the party’s needs for her own benefit. Lorelei agreed to return the stolen package if the party agreed to assist Lorelei’s annoying do-gooder daughter, thereby lessening her insistence of assistance from her mother. Without being granted much option the party agreed.

Later that day the group arrived at the Ranger’s Guildhouse in Marwan. Like many ranger’s guilds, especially those not corrupted into political issues, the guild in Marwan was constantly underpowered and undermanned. Lorelei’s daughter, Hanna, outlined a very simple request. The guild had evidence of illicit slave trade ongoing in the shadows of Marwan. Without any additional support the rangers had been unable to make any arrests as each time the traders would slip away. However, Hanna had a plan.

Hanna would send the party into the slaver’s den like a pack of hunting dogs. Meanwhile the rangers would wait outside and scoop up any prey that tried to flee. The party eagerly agreed as it was a noble cause that seemed within their capabilities. In the late afternoon the rangers led the party to a sewer entrance.

Beneath the streets the once again the party discovered a scene even more disgusting than the filth riddled pipes below Rana. The rangers were correct in the presences of slave traders. With weapons brandished and guns blazing the party charged and dispatched the rogues. What the rangers had not disclosed was the despicable nature of their slave selection. Once the halls were clear the party discovered that the slavers were maintaining a trade in captured children.

Among the captured children there was an adult female, Emma B. Mallard. Emma is a former classmate of Harrison who now works as an investigative reporter. Her work in tracking the slavers landed her a victim in her own right. She was held and abused while the slavers debated what to do with her. That is when the party arrived.

The liberation of the slaves more than satisfied Hanna, and she was more than willing to offer a positive report to her mother. That night Lorelei proved to be a woman of her word, and turned over the stolen package to Faylee. The group returned to the Nora Perdy just after midnight. After opening the package the party turned in for the night, save the Android who spent his time analyzing the package and its contents.

Departure was scheduled for late morning, and before the airship took to the skies again there was a rush of activity. Harrison secured passage for Emma to join the crew aboard the Nora Perdy. Faylee visited the city bank to retrieve something her father had left her and that she had discovered in the recovered package. Then once again, the airship shoved off and turned to the west.


What’s in the Box

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Trial of the Century
alea iacta est

Session 1: Act I, Scene I
Jan 22 – 24, 550

The evening of January 22nd , 550 was much quieter than the preceding nights in the city of Rana. Gone were the voices of protests. Gone were the cries of the imprisoned. All that was left were the soft breezes of a building storm, and the silent anguish of the condemned. The conflict of ideas, the fear of the privileged, and the desperation of the downtrodden had reached a new height. Set in motion were a chain of events that could only possibly lead one place: war. War would tear the cities apart. Civilization would cease to be. It was a terrible thought. It was the thought everyone in Rana had to digest. But as the city slept, a different idea was experiencing its genesis deep below the streets. A small group of former prisoners were making their way to freedom. In their lives lay the opportunity of a different future.

This night they were led through the sewers by a young man, Logan Varian. At this time they were nothing but strangers to each other, thrust together in desperation. Calling Varian a leader at this point would have had little trappings of the truth, but he was the leader it terms of physical location. The rest of them were also there. The smuggler captain turned fugitive Bartholomew Ebonbeak; Faylle Alodia, the petulant daughter of nobility; H.J.E. Vandenberg, the academic of future renown. Also there were the famous friends to be: the last scion of a broken house Lord von Iosia, and Reginald McGuinness the free-willed Android. That night their were no airs to be put on, just the business at hand.

The sewers of Rana were a dangerous places. The soaking of magical energies the passageways received daily had turned minor natural nuisances in large magical ones. What might be seen as dirty disease carrying rodents became large blood-thirsty disease carrying monsters. The tinker mages that maintained the elaborate system fought an ongoing battle with these unnatural creatures. Neither side would ever claim victory, but that didn’t stop the tinkers from mining the tubes with traps for the creatures. Unfortunately these traps did not differentiate between man or beast.

In the sewers the party met one of their allies for the first time, Varian’s adopting older sister, Harper Frields. Harper’s presence in the tunnels was precipitated by the same mysterious woman that had freed the six party members. Her purpose was two-fold. First she was to assist in the escape by securing passage on an airship leaving Rana, and direct Varian to that ship. Second her presence itself communicated silently to Logan that the Wings of Justice were aware of and supported his plight.

After midnight the party emerged from the sewers into the basement of the Golden Goblet, a tavern in the Lower District of Rana. The Goblet was busy for this time of night but it could hardly be called lively. The ramification of the past days’ events were still on the minds of the populace. The party entered unnoticed except by the astute pursuer of the Nora Perdy, Gram Taggart. Taggart quickly alerted his superior (both in rank and size) Marnie Watson, bosun of the ship. The crew, under Watson, had been dispatched at this late moment to the Goblet to escort their new crew-mates back to the ship in time for the morning departure. Watson was suspicious but she, like the rest of the crew, trusted the captain’s judgment without reservation. The group slipped out of the tavern and into the cool night.

The Nora Perdy was once a might military vessel, and while that purpose had fallen from her current portfolio, she was still a proud and noble airship. She was built for speed, and even tied to the quay she seemed ready to leap into the air at a moments notice. The crew and her captain Aubrey Frye kept her with almost military-like discipline. Now, without ceremony, the crew returned to their captain with the party in tow.

Captain Frye was brief in his welcome and after signing in to the ship’s log, the party was given a few hours of rest. Just before the dawn the Nora Perdy shook off her lines and crept out of Rana’s North Harbor. Slowly the mighty city of Rana shrunk behind the stern of the ship. As the city disappeared into the distance, only one person on board took any notice. Mistress Alodia, watched in silent nostalgia as her home faded away. She may of stood there, her eyes fixed on the past, for emotion’s sake, or in a sense of foreboding; but the die had been cast and the future was changing.


Just a Mistake | Fight of Flight | Talon Notes | Memory Log 3551

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Prelude

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Prelude 1

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