Session 4. – Delivery Boys.
After 2 weeks in Malifaux, we were finally summoned to McKinney’s office for our next job. McKinney briefed us on our mission, which contained very few details. All that he claimed that he knew was that we were to proceed to the Downtown District, driven by Frost and accompanied by the Skaggs brothers. To an address from where we would descend into the sewers. Once within, we would be met by a woman known as “The Onion”. She would then give us 2 crates. 1 would be payment to MSEC for our services. The other we are to take and deliver to a person or persons designated by “The Onion”. A request had been made for the team to include a woman who could disguise herself. McKinney claimed to know nothing further. We didn’t buy that, but there was little that we could do about it. So, after grabbing our gear, we boarded the MSEC coach and set forth.
Having been unable to locate Stav, he was left behind. With the Skaggs riding shotgun, and having a ride of a couple hours ahead of us, I took the opportunity to pose a suggestion to the group. Recalling from the other night, that rumor regarding the Friekorps not taking any additional contracts, I suggested that there may be an opportunity to take on some side work. My plan is to approach the barkeep back at the Boar’s Pours and enlist him as a contact. Were he to hear of anyone looking for some mercs, he could mention us to them and arrange a meeting. He could also be useful as a conduit to the underbelly of Malifaux. With Roger’s “legal” troubles we need to get him some fake documents. I’d also like to find a source of magical research materials and an armorer with no Guild affiliation would be useful as well. James seemed reluctant to pursue this, which I found odd. Normally he’s up for anything that involves hurting someone. He seemed somewhat reassured when I advised him that we would only take the jobs that we wanted. I made a note to reach out to the barkeep upon our return from this job.
Eventually, we reached our destination. As we disembarked, Frost handed Madeline a note, claiming that it had been handed to him at the last moment. It simply read, “The Guild is paying us to kill the person that you are delivering the package to, bring his head and the crate back.” Well, this is certainly an interesting development. Frost then handed me a note, leering all the while thus making it painfully obvious that he’d read it. It was from Mary and read, “Maybe I’ll give you my own reward when you get back.” Bother. This could be an awkward situation. Not that Mary isn’t unattractive for a woman of her age. Situations such as this can end up turning out badly if not handled with appropriate care. At the moment, I have other things about which to worry.
We entered the sewers via a nearby grate and after a short distance, reached the meeting point. Not long thereafter, we heard the sounds of others approaching. From the darkness emerged a shapely woman with hair so blonde it was almost white. She wore a harlequin mask and a form fitting white dress. She introduced herself as “The Onion.” She beckoned, and from the shadows, 4 other similarly attired girls, danced their way to us. Along with them, 2 mannequins also danced along. They were made more noticeable by the blades that tipped their fingers. 2 of the dancers bore a large crate with them. As the came forward on pointe, one could see that they felt its weight. The 2 girls, one a redhead, the other a brunette, set the crate before us and danced back to stand alongside the Onion. She indicated that the crate was the MSEC payment. The Skaggs boys came forward and picked it up. The clanking from within sounded like machine parts and must have been heavy as the 2 of them struggled to carry the crate. James actually had to assist them in its loading.
In the meantime, the Onion introduced the redhead as “The Tomato” and the brunette as “The Zucchini.” She had a white dress and mask given to Madeline and informed her that she would be impersonating the Zucchini for the purposes of this mission. Not being shy, Madeline proceeded to strip down and change on the spot. Some of us turned our backs, some did not.
She’d gotten changed by the time James had returned. The Onion then gave us our instructions. Madeline was to impersonate the Zucchini. We were to follow a map which she gave us to a rendezvous deeper in the sewers. The Onion had a small crate brought forward and set before us. We were to deliver this crate of “dynamite” to someone wearing a black cloak and a Lion mask who would identify themselves as “The Spruce”. What is it with all these people and code names, can’t you just use an alias the same as everyone?
The Onion didn’t share much more information. Before leaving, she showed us a loose brick in the wall. Within was a quill and paper. She asked that after the delivery had been completed, we should leave a note within saying thus. She also requested the return of the harlequin mask, Madeline could keep the rest of the outfit. How magnanimous.
James having been placed in charge of the crate of “dynamite” we set forth. The map was rather basic. We could follow its course well enough, but due to its lack of detail, it was impossible to determine where in the district we were going. We’d made it about a quarter of the way through our journey, when we heard squeaking from up ahead. Roger went out of body to scout and upon his return, reported that the sounds seemed to come from all around. We decided to give things a few minutes in which to settle. After 10 minutes of waiting, the squeaking died off and we continued on our way.
Another hour saw our excursion interrupted by the most blood curdling scream that any off us has heard. From the darkness ahead, we heard movement, then 3 child-sized neverborn came bounding out of the darkness! Following close behind was a human sized neverborn with wings! Luckily due to the low ceilings, we didn’t have to worry about it taking flight. That’s good because we had enough about which to worry.
Due to the narrow confines of the tunnels, our fighting was somewhat limited. In the end it didn’t matter much. I’d used my new spell to imbue my Collier with flame damage, but as my field of fire was blocked, I never got a chance to try it on for size. Roger froze 1 of the small neverborn while Madeline took it down with her bow. James had set the crate down and wadded up to the front where he proceeded to slice the last 2 tots into a mess of blood and entrails. Xun had teleported to the front where he and James then ganged up on the large one, swiftly dispatching the abomination. They took some damage from that neverborn black blood. The stuff burned like acid whenever it touched something. Luckily, I was able to use the neverborn corpses and restore everyone to health.
We then pressed onward. After completing another leg of our journey, I called a halt just before we reached a T intersection. For a moment I’d questioned my sanity, then I realized that I had seen a couple of dolls peek their heads around the corners. Xun moved forward to investigate. As he passed a fracture in the tunnel wall to his left, he turned and charged within. We then heard the sounds of him pummeling something, followed by what seemed to be the ripping of cloth? Madeline and I shoot and destroy 1 doll, while the other moved to flank Xun. James ran back to engage the 2 dolls that had attempted to sneak up behind us. Madeline ran forward and killed the 2nd doll with a roundhouse kick to the head. Xun then finished off his opponent which he described as a humanoid figure stitched together out of burlap. I began to fire at the other doll not in hand to hand with James. My shot hit, but something deflected the round? James then quickly dispatched that doll. Within the alcove, Xun found the corpse of a dead ratcatcher, he didn’t have much on him. Finding nothing else of interest, we moved on.
After another hour of walking, we came to another intersection. Standing near, was a small figure in a black cloak and a lion mask. When the figure called out, “That you Zucchini?”, we realized that it was a child! Interesting. Why does the Guild care about him? When we moved forward, we saw that 2 gunslingers were standing guard nearby. We asked the child if he was “The Spruce” and when he confirmed, James stepped forth and handed the crate to one of the bodyguards. What now? As the guard with the crate turned to leave, we only had a moment to ponder our next move. Should we try to make a play on the kid? That decision was taken out of our hands a moment later.
“This is the Guild. You’re all under arrest!” Those words rang through the tunnels. The next thing we knew, 2 Guild guards had dropped down from the sewer grate at the end of the tunnel, not 3 yards from the Spruce and his guards. We then heard more commotion from the tunnels on the left and the right. The sounds of more people running could be heard coming from behind. We seem to be surrounded. It looks as though our only way out of here is to fight our way free.
One of the Spruce’s guards was shot and killed right away. He happened to be the one holding the box, which he had fortunately set down just prior to being shot. James and Xun move up to engage. I began firing at the Guild guards along with the Spruce’s remaining guard. From the side tunnels, emerge a Guild Sgt., a witchling stalker and a Warden construct. From the other side came a guard and a WS. This looks bleak.
James and I kill 1 guard and he finished off the other, he then charged the WS. One of the Spruce’s guards killed a WS, the other WS then killed that guard before James was able to kill it, It’s a good thing that those blades of his have such a long striking distance, it put him outside of the blast those things emit when they die. With both of his guards dead, the Spruce grabbed the box of dynamite. Roger and I moved up to the intersection and just before he took off, both of us notice a glow coming from within the box!
Spruce, box in hand, took off and scrambled up the ladder at the end of the intersection. Madeline was hot on his heels. As he popped to the surface, Madeline grabbed his cloak and yanked him back down into the sewers. He landed with a thud and the box splintered apart, spilling its contents all about.
The box was filled with stones. As they tumbled about, Roger gasped, “Soulstones!” 1 of the stones was glowing? The Spruce snatched that one up. Madeline got to her knees and began stuffing soulstones down her bodice. James had moved into melee with the construct. It then proceeded to launch its fist at him then retracting it on a chain so as to fire again. The Sgt. had begun to fire at me. Luckily for me, Roger had run up behind me and took a round that probably had my name on it. He then recognized Roger and began screaming at him to surrender. Xun had beaten down the other guard, thus clearing the left hand tunnel for our escape. As the 2nd wave had come into view down the tunnel from which we had come, it was time to leave. We called for a retreat.
We took off at a dead run down the tunnel. Xun being fleet of foot, easily outpaced us all. The Sgt. having seen the soulstones spill from the box, had jumped into the sludge and began feeling about for any loose stones. The Warden, guards and stalkers all came after us. Luckily, we had enough of a head start and were able to stay ahead of our pursuers. Most of them got bottled up behind the warden which also aided our flight.
Spruce pointed us down the left branch of the tunnel. At the end was another ladder to the surface. Xun was the first one to reach it. He had difficulty at first in opening the grate. That was until he saw us running at him with a mob of Guild heavies behind us. That served as ample motivation and with a burst of strength, he heaved the grate open and climbed out. We were spread out enough that we were able to climb out in a reasonably orderly fashion. The Spruce was the last to get out. As he reached the surface, he dropped the glowing soulstone back into the sewer, kicked the grate close and took of after us at a dead run. Moments later, the area was rocked by a massive explosion!
So, we had escaped our pursuers, but we were far from being out of danger. We had surfaced in the heart of the Downtown District! So, not only were we in the heart of Guild territory, because of the raid and subsequent explosion, the area was infested with Guild patrols! This led to a harrying couple of hours as we skulked through alleys and rooftops along with having to outrun a couple patrols here and there, before finally reaching the safety of the slums.
Having reached safety, we took a moment to rest. Madeline removed her mask and the Spruce did the same. We were a bit surprised to find that Spruce was a girl of no more than 12 years! She thanked us for our help and then asked Madeline for the stones that she had stuffed down her cleavage. They haggled for a moment and the Spruce acquiesced to allowing her to keep one of the stones. I then spoke up and asked how we could reach her later as I saw ways that our 2 groups could assist one another. Still believing that Madeline was the Zucchini, Spruce mentioned that she already knew how to get in touch. Thinking fast, I pointed out that we had just escaped from a large and well organized raid. Obviously, something or someone had been compromised and it would be wise to establish a new means of contact. Spruce agreed and told us that we could arrange a meeting via any official representative of the M&SU. We then parted company.
After several more hours, we returned to the MSEC compound and reported to McKinney. Madeline informed him that after reaching the meet, the confusion caused by the Guild raid had resulted in the contents of the box being lost and the target escaping. McKinney seemed disappointed, but tried not to act too upset. If he was hoping to throw us off the scent, he failed. Especially when he reiterated that this was nothing more about which we needed to concern ourselves.
We returned to our quarters to rest. Madeline set to work on finding some way to set her new soulstone into a pendant or necklace. The rest of us have other things to do. We need to put some effort into getting a disguise for Roger, not to mention some false documents. We will also need to make a trip to speak with the barkeep at the Boar’s Pours to put the word out about us being open for work. We need a real paying job. After a few days, I’ll see about reaching out to the Spruce regarding my “Crow” problem. If anyone could assist me in uncovering the mystery behind all this, I’d assume it would be the Arcanists. Finally, I need to figure out how to deal with Mary. I need to remain in her good graces, however, I’m unsure as to where her loyalties truly lie. Thus I can’t afford to risk letting her get too close. Also, I’m rather disturbed that she seems as ok as she is with the fact that I’d consumed a human heart! Most women would be turned off by that. That she wasn’t, is somewhat unsettling.
Through the Breach, Into the Unknown
Journal of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian - Session 4: Delivery Boys
Chronicle of the adventures of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian in Malifaux
Session 4. – Delivery Boys.