Friday, February 21, 2020

Monster Blood Tattoo: The Peltryman's Behest 4

Chapter IV: Moldwood Park

Primmling: first monsters to tread the earth, breathe the air and drink the water, coming even before everymen and - as legend would have it - playing a role in the forming of all animals that walk, crawl, fly, swim of slither." - Factotum 

Brandenbrass and the Grume
Lestwich,1601 HIR- 1 Calor 1602 HIR

The sleuth Accural, becoming concerned at the rashness of the party with which he was now involved, sent word to an old companion of more proven reliability.  This was a Sedian male sagaar, Alhambra Corazon.  This worthy immediately responded and soon joined the party at Lord Danube's town house on Cannon Street.

The party was in preparation of their journey to track the transport of Albany Reeves' remains; their first destination being the ruins of Winstermill.  This was interrupted, however, by the arrival of High Constable Maile who informed them that Ashmonger Scollfyld had been found murdered in the interrogations room in which the party had left him.  As they were the last to be with the scoundrel, they were the chief suspects.

In deference to Lord Danube's rank, they would not be taken into custody but rather placed on house arrest.  They would be appearing before the city magistrates first upon the morrow.

A host of constables were placed on watch at the various exits from the house.

Lord Danube's ever-efficient major domo, Mr. Mordhowe soon showed them the hidden underground passage that would take them unseen to dense ancient woods of nearby Moldwood Park. Accural and Alhambra quickly departed, hoping to see what clues might be obtained from an examination of the late ashmonger's body. 

The remainder of the party would await the coming of the dawn in which to slip out and journey to the ship that would take them out of the city.  In hopes of a distraction, they approached Lord Danube's quixotic twin brother, Ural, who having disappointed his family by taking up a life on the stage, proved most enthusiastic to masquerade as his brother.  He was all the easier to convince since the party told him it was to participate in an avant garde form of immersive street theatre.

As per usual practice, the late Scollfyld's body was being kept at the Surgeon's Academy for further examination.  With a well-placed gratutity to the night porter, the pair were given access to the body.  They soon discovered that the corpse had been made to look as if killed by multipe fulgar attacks but in reality appeared to have been killed by a single wit attack that burst his brain from within.  They also noted the subtle imprint of the delicate handcuffs used by the state's secret police agents, the Silent Shadows.

Meanwhile the rest of the party departed a few hours before dawn, hoping to get to their ship unnoticed.  When they left the tunnel, a small rabbit seemed to show interest to them and began leading them deeper into the woods.

Much to their shock, in the depths of the ancient wood, which lay in the midst of this city of men, they met the Lapinduce, the Duke of Rabbits, who became interested in them, sensing that some bore the blood of the Duke of Owls, obtained at the Battle of the Vab, in their tattoos. Upon explaining that they had not killed the Duke of Owls, the aloof Lapinduce seemed little interested in the party's quest but did explain the nature of the primmlings, the Monster Lords, some of whom were bitterly opposed to everymen, others who aided, and finally those, such as the Lapinduce, who were utterly uninterested in the affairs of man.  The Rabbit Duke did inform them that Winstermill had not fallen to natural monsters but rather man-made abominations.  

Following this strange interview, the party reunited with Accural and Alhambra, telling neither of their encounter with the Lapinduce.  They boarded the Kestrel, the small but swift packet boat upon which the astute Mordhowe had arranged passage to High Vesting from where they intended to proceed overland to the ruin of Winstermill.

They had been but a short time out from Brandenbrass when they spotted a large tentacled sea creature that seemed bent on hostile intent.

The two fulgars, Sister Angella and Prince Avignon brought lighting down upon the creature killing it and several other hiding just below the surface.

The belief in there safety was premature.  Out of the mist came a small armed ram that began firing at the Kestrel.

Whether the ship was a pirate, privateer, or some other enemy was unknown for it bore no flag and was of a common design.  It began to overtake them.

Fransalir, using his habilistic skills, attempted to improve the workings of the gastrines.  However, he was struck down and nearly killed by a lucky cannon shot from their pursuer.

As the enemy ship grew nearer, it suffered a direct strike on one of its forward guns by the fulgars who's cooperation enhanced their electrical attacks.

Lorent was also able to take advantage of the close range, tossing first a potive that would place of cloud of smoke before their enemy and second a fusilade of bothersalts and acids that discouraged the enemy gun crews and began affecting their cannon barrels.

Finally, at the sagaar's insistent urgings, Lorent tossed Alhambra onto the deck of enemy ram.

Unfortunately, the ram made a sudden turn and Alhambra was tossed into the vinegar waters.  Fortunately, he was near enough to scramble back on board without significant damage from the acrid sea.

Crawling in through one of the gun ports, the sagaar used his razor-sharp sagaari daggers to cut down an enemy crew man while a swift back kick stove in the chest of another.  

Repeated hits from the deadly scripts and fulgar strikes turned the attacking ram into a wreck and it began to sink, most of its crew dead with the survivors fleeing on a lifeboat into the mist.  Only the ship's captain remained.  Descending from the conning tower, he threw himself upon Alhambra, striking him down with blade through the lungs.

The Kestrel hurried to reach the ram, the party desperate to save their unconscious companion.  The enemy captain, realizing that capture and worse was near, turned his pistol on himself.  Alhambra was taken with great care back to the Kestrel as the ram sank below the wine, it's motive in attacking still a mystery.  

Unhindered, the Kestrel turned its course to High Vesting.

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