Session 3. – A “quiet” night in Malifaux.
So, after Xun had derailed our research efforts, we all found ourselves at the Boar’s Pours tavern on the suggestion of James. The place was deep in the slums, most of the surrounding buildings seemed to be abandoned shells or rat infested tenements.
The place was certainly lively. We were able to get a table in the corner and were waited upon by a buxom lass named Leyla. Before she took any orders, she asked James if he vouched for us. To think that a bar full of Scottish louts actually could consider themselves to be above our company! At any rate, James said that we were good people and Leyla took our orders and went off to get our meals. Unsurprisingly no one ordered the haggis! Even James thought better of it.
We received our meals in due course. The fare was decent although unexceptional. On one of her trips by the table, Leyla informed us that the evening’s entertainments would begin shortly. She gave us a run down on the happenings. At the bar there would be the drinking contest. At the front of the house was the singing competition. A couple tables had been reserved for cards and arm wrestling. Over against the side wall was the darts contest. Lastly, in the back hall there would be some dice games. Wagers would be accepted on all the games and participation was encouraged but not required. This could be a good opportunity to get a picture of local events?
Madeline and I wandered over to the bar area. Perhaps after a few rounds, the patrons will be a bit freer with their words. Roger joined one pf the poker games. James sat down at the arm wrestling table. I noticed Leyla sidling up to him, perhaps to offer some… encouragement? Xun wandered off towards the back where the dice games were being held and Stav chose to participate in the dart competition. Although our evening got a bit complicated, we did learn some items of interest:
• VonShill and the Friekorps have recently begun refusing to take any new contracts.
• The bouncer from the Honeypot is laid up in the hospital. It seems that he was injured during a Guild raid.
• One of Roger’s fellow players had been playing with a one armed man the other day. He said that he’d been ambushed by “Rezzer’s” just down the street. One of them had torn his arm off and as he ran, it began to crawl after him!
• The Boar’s Pours had used to be a miners bar. The mine that employed most of them had had an accident, killing most of the miners. With its customer’s dead, the place closed and later reopened as a Scot’s tavern.
• There was a hell of a firefight on the wall of the Eastern QZ last night. The Guild was unloading with everything that they had. They were sure shooting at something in there.
• The Steam Fitters Union is more powerful than the Guild suspects. They’ve been holding back Soulstones from shipments for months.
• Neverborn have been sighted searching the QZ as of late. It is said that their numbers are growing.
• The Guild recently lost a large shipment of Soulstones. There are rumors that the Earthside Council has been making some veiled and not so veiled threats to the Governor-General.
• Madeline heard someone speak of a mercenary called Terra that’s said to be one of the best in Malifaux. He went on to add that he’d seen her grave, so he didn’t know about whom everyone was speaking?
• Kenny Boyd had gotten lost in the Bayou and was subsequently eaten by feral pigs.
• One of Stav’s fellow competitors told another that he’d asked the “Bayou Hag” about 2 different women that he was considering marrying. She warned him against marrying either of them and she was right. They both stole his money and betrayed him!
• There’ve been lots of flies in the area as of late, especially down by the abandoned butcher shop.
• A veiled woman has been asking around about a mysterious box? She says that her boss lost it playing craps.
• Some guy down in the Bayou is making a lot of money off of harvesting swamp gas. He’s said to be looking for guards.
• A serial killer in Red Chapel named Seamus killed an entire Guild patrol down by the river. He normally only kills whores.
• The real money Breachside is in the frontier towns. There are lots of Soulstones coming in from the mines.
• Old man MacTavish is a renowned, but expensive Bayou guide. Rumor has it that he leaves half of his clients out there to rot though.
• There was a Guild train that exploded in the terminal a week or 2 back. It was loaded with cannon and powder. The Guild is saying that it was an Arcanist plot.
The evening events began to wind down around this time. No one did especially well in their respective events, although James did win 2 out of his 3 matches. I guess he’d done well enough to impress the barmaid for I observed the 2 of them head toward the back rooms, arm in arm. With the evening coming to a close, patrons began saying their farewells and settling up their tabs. This is where the evening became complicated. A patron opened the front door to depart and let out one of the shrillest screams that I’d ever heard.
I had wandered to the back hall to lurk near the dice gamers. I heard the scream and soon after, gunshots. I ran to the side hallway and saw the cause of the commotion. In the street outside was 4 zombies, 2 zombie dogs and someone with a shotgun! The shotgunner opened fire while the zombies began to lumber inside. Most of the other patrons fled via the side door, the rest huddled against the back wall.
Madeline took the first shotgun blast. Whatever the hell ammo this guy was using sure packed a punch. In addition to the round, it also started some of her clothing on fire! Madeline had to get out of the line of fire quick. I’d drawn my carbine and began to fire. I hit the shotgunner and was able to kill a couple zombies. The bartender pulled a shotgun from behind the bar and also began firing. Stav and Roger had been targeting the shotgunner. By this point, James had burst forth from one of the back rooms. He was still pulling his shirt back on so I hope he’d had time to finish up with Leyla.
James got out into the main room and began slicing and dicing zombies. I used this opportunity to test my newly found ability and was able to burst heal several of my comrades. Unfortunately I also restored the health of one of the zombies. So, this can heal foe as well as friends? I’ll have to watch that in the future. The shotgunner paused in his firing and preformed some action. I looked as if he was attempting to re-animate some of the fallen zombies. Whatever he’d been attempting didn’t seem to work. Some of the corpses twitched momentarily and were then once again still.
Stav and Roger’s sustained attacks succeeded in taking down the shotgunner. We’d cleared the rest of the bar of zombies and had begun a search of the remains. The bodies seemed to have been coal miners. They were all covered with coal dust? Madeline had wandered off to repair her clothing while James went back for another round with Leyla! Meanwhile, Stav had taken the shotgunner’s weapon off of him. He then approached the bartender and negotiated some free drinks in exchange for removing the corpses from the bar. As hordes of flies had begun to gather, the bartender expressed his desire that they get a move on. Unfortunately his strength proved unequal to the task and Xun had to step in and assist him. For some of his booze of course.
We began to speculate on the origin of this attack. Madeline and James eventually returned and after everyone shared the information that we’d gathered the clues seemed to point to the abandoned butcher shop down the street. We decided to go and investigate.
It didn’t take us long to reach the shop. The windows were boarded up, but the front door had been unsealed. Stav and James went to investigate while the rest of us held back. Any chance of surprise was lost when Stav decided to shove James through the door. Luckily, it seems that no one was home.
We entered the building and began to explore. The old cold storage room contained 3 bodies. All of them appeared to be coal miners, much as the first. The upstairs had been laid out as some living quarters. We found a ratty mattress a desk with some papers and a box containing 20-30 teeth? Xun collected the papers. They looked like a receipt, dated within the past month from the Pronto Coal Mine. The receipt was for 7 lumps of coal? Coal huh? Well, judging from the 4 zombie miners that we dispatched at the tavern and the 3 that we found downstairs it’s rather obvious that we aren’t dealing with coal. We made ready to depart. On a hunch I examined the box of teeth. It had a faint necromantic aura about it! I’ve heard tales of enchantments being held in vessels such as this. I took the box for examination. We then hurried to leave as James and Stav had begun preparations to start the place on fire. Despite our insistence that doing so wouldn’t be wise. We hurried away as they lit the place up. Luckily the fire didn’t seem to catch as it probably would’ve burned several blocks.
After we returned to the MSEC compound, Roger and I began attempting to decipher the nature of the box of teeth. Despite all of our trial and (mostly) errors, we were unable to determine a way to activate the Grimoire. It was late in the evening so we decided to put this on hold and get some rest. We’d been burning the midnight oil for too many days anyway, some rest would be a good idea.
The next morning, we re-convened and discussed a plan. That mine seemed to be a promising lead and if this did turn out to be some type of Resurrectionist lair, that could mean some items of value that may be left lying about after we kill everything within. As we needed information, I made my way to the office to have a chat with Mary.
Mary was at her desk. She greeted me warmly, then asked about the tinted glasses that I’d begun wearing. I explained that I’d recently become sensitive to daylight. Mary then asked if that was because of the heart that I’d eaten? ……. Damn. I was hoping (perhaps futilely) that reports of the incident wouldn’t make its way around as it apparently had. Furthermore, I’m a bit disturbed that she doesn’t seem all that perturbed by the episode? Nonetheless, when I questioned Mary about the mine, she indicated that it had been abandoned after the accident. She was able to pull out a map and point out its location. The mine lay about 5 miles outside of town, about 2 hours walk from the South Gate.
We took an aircar to the south side of the city and exited via the South Gate. A hike of 2 hours brought us to the site of the Pronto Coal Mine. The open mine shaft stood gaping in the side of a hill. Nearby were the ruins of a single story building, a mine office by the look of it. Outside each, stood 2 guards wearing Guild livery. This isn’t good. Raiding a Resurrectionist hold is one thing, but taking on the Guild is another matter. Furthermore, what are they doing there? Roger offer to do some reconnaissance. He sat down, cast a spell and went into some type of trance. He snapped out of it a minute or 2 later. He then informed us that the guards were zombies and while they may have been Guild at one point, they were no longer.
We struck, and struck hard. We dropped 2 of the guard zombies with our long arms before they even knew what had hit them. The 2 remaining guards drew pistols and returned fire. The commotion was heard within the mine and more zombies appeared. One was an undead woman who was able to use some type of beguiling charm. The other was a larger fellow who was bent due to his broken spine. I heard someone call it a crooked man. This one seems more formidable.
Xun speed over and engaged the guard at the ruined office. James charged the crooked man and began slicing it apart with his blades. Roger then froze it solid with an icy blast which served to dispatch the monstrosity. Stav had been lured closer to the undead temptress after she flashed him a little bit of leg. He snapped out of it before he got too close to her chilly embrace. This had given Madeline and I time to focus our fire upon her and the undead bimbo was destroyed. It didn’t take much longer to dispatch the remaining zombies. Them being defeated, we began our push into the mine.
The rest of our time at the mine was highly anti-climactic. The mine exhibited signs of collapse, however, the damage had been repaired and bodies were stacked within like cordwood. They all had numbers on the bottoms of their feet. We found #54 – 150. So, eliminating the handful here and there that we’d killed, there are probably 30-40 still out there someplace. Well, not our problem.
We found nothing else within. No other opponents and certainly nothing of value. What a waste of time. Nothing else to be done but cleanse the area and head back. We dumped the guard zombies back inside. Then after gathering up some loose coal to deposit at the foot of the piles of corpses, we fired the mine to ensure that these poor chaps wouldn’t be getting up again. With everything nicely burning, we returned to Malifaux.
There was a bit of trouble at the gate. Roger, being a wanted man, couldn’t exactly show his ID papers to the guards. He was attempting to convince the guard to let him slide this once as he’d “forgotten” them back at his quarters. That was when the guard recognized him. He was about to sound an alarm, but Roger, Xun, Madeline, and myself all began talking at him telling the hapless sod that Roger Jones was his brother, this was Alphonse Jones and he is mistaken for his ne’er-do-well brother Roger all the time. The only hiccup was when James blurted out “You have a brother?” Way to think on your feet James.
That actually wasn’t the only hiccup. We’d gotten the guard convinced of Roger’s mistaken identity and had been granted passage, when Xun for whatever reason, attempted to lift the guards wallet and was quite literally, caught with his hand in the man’s pants. He was about to arrest him on the spot, but we convinced him to let Xun off with a “fine” of 5 script. Xun had nothing. After Roger and I both chipped in to pay the guard, we finally were allowed back inside the city. I thought that that was one of the first rules thieves were taught, don’t steal from the law?
Upon our return to the MSEC compound, Roger and I began futzing with that damn box of teeth. I would’ve said inspecting, except we’d long moved past that and were now simply attempting random things to try and provoke a response. We were interrupted by Stav coming around to see if either of us knew how to grind bones into powder. Neither of us did, and when I asked for what reason he would want such a thing, he mentioned that he’d been threatened and this was the price. I didn’t push it any further. He went off to find other assistance, I believe that Xun was eventually able to help him.
So Roger and I turned our attention back to the box. Our next interruption was Madeline, seeking her brother I suppose. Her arrival was at least fortuitous. Upon seeing the box of teeth, she exclaimed that they looked similar to the bones used by a fortune teller whom she’d once known. Before either of us could react, she’d snatched up the box and said, “if you cast them like so…” as she was tossing the contents of the entire box upon the table. Whatever pattern she’d thrown the teeth had done the trick though. I made sure to quickly memorize it. The teeth then re-assembled themselves into what I assume was their position when they still resided in the mouth of their original owner and then, the teeth, with no jaw or lips began to speak. They began chanting words of necromantic enchantment. I then realized that they were incantations. It seems that I now possess a Grimoire. Useful, although I must see about recording the spells into a proper book. I dislike the notion of having to listen to a set of teeth recounting spells to me.
Through the Breach, Into the Unknown
Journal of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian - Session 3: A "quiet" night in Malifaux.
Chronicle of the adventures of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian in Malifaux
Session 3. – A “quiet” night in Malifaux.