Eberron Noir

Intermission the First: Dale's Appearance

Everyone else was back at the office, Duncan researching, Haven tending to the drunks at the Four Doors; Joe and me were going to go look for that guard who almost snatched us back in Channel Close. (See [[Chapter 1: Channel Cross | Chapter 1: Channel Cross]]) He wasn’t legit, and we needed to know what he was protecting. It wasn’t the people in the Cogs, that’s for sure.

“How come it’s always you who ‘knows a guy’, how come it’s never me?” Joe griped as we ambled through the slightly more hospitable neighbourhoods near the elevator. Here at least there was a lantern at every corner, if not another half way along a wall, or path.

“I get out- you know,” I said, by way of explanation, “and I’ve been places, people know me.”

He gave me a look. “People KNOW you? You? Hey, I been almost everywhere you were for years now… who are these people I don’t KNOW?” He paused a moment, noting that I was getting a little edgy. “Aww, geeze! You been hanging out with those… ” his eyes darted around quickly, looking for characters more suspicious than ourselves, “old timers again, haven’t you?” He continued.

“Hey! SOMEone’s gotta keep checking in on the…”, I adopted his term, “old timers. They get all antsy if no one is there to-uh-put ‘em back to bed.”

He paused in the street, grimaced at me and said, “that was a little… stretched, don’t you think?”

“Come on,” I pulled him along. “Anyway, you get the idea. It’s not like they have a commander to give ‘em orders, eh?” I chuckled, half-heartedly, while shooting him a sidelong glance; this routine having been played on a hundred stages before.

“No,” he said, now stone cold. Just, ‘No’; could sometimes be ‘No, there’s no commander,’ or, ‘No, we’re not starting this again.’ Sometimes, hard to tell.

“Right. Fine.” I said, adjusting my cape, reseating, and checking my weapons.

“So who’s this guy, anyways?”

“His name is Dale,” and now it was my turn to get nervous; I muttered, “he works in Cannith.”

He caught the ‘in’ part of that, and threw it back out there, “What do you mean ‘in’? This guy is IN the house?” He out, and out glared at me.

“Hey, hey, Joe! Relax a little. Dale’s good people. He’s a spook. Finds the dirty ones and brings ‘em in. He does good work, and we’ve helped each other out on a couple of occasions. He also don’t know nothin’. “

Joe gave me a flat look. then a slow nod, “All right, let’s see if he can find our guy.”

“I told him to meet us at the bar…”

“So,” he said, nursing a drink, “what do you call a House child who wanders into the Cogs?”

“Tormorrow’s pies, why?” I look around the bar, and see the new arrival. Shiny new leathers clean cape, slight tan… I could see where he was coming from. I could also see he wouldn’t like what was going to happen next. “I’ll get us some more drinks”, I said, levering myself up. He grunted in response, and I headed up to the bar, and coincidentally, towards the door- with the new arrival.

I gave the hairy eyeball to a couple of bully boys who hang around the place looking for marks, and waved them off. Next, I signed to Haven for three more drinks, and called Dale over. I swear I could feel Joe’s stare boring through the back of my neck, but I wasn’t gonna turn around without a shield of booze to deflect that medusa glare.

“Hey Dale,” I mutter, “I got you a beer. Come on, there’s someone I want you to meet.”

“Ha! Can’t! On duty, don’t you know?” He boomed back. Dale then smoothly converted the warding wave of his hand into a snatch for the stray beer, “No, wait! Not tonight! Haha!” I could tell that his boistrous attitude was a little grating to the regulars, so I gestured towards Friday’s table, and… oops, yeah he wasn’t impressed.

“Let’s go- we’ve got some things to take care of tonight.”

Friday was lounging in his studied ‘I’m very relaxed’ pose, his boot propped up on the third chair. “Hey Friday, this here is…”

”...Dale,” he interrupted, sliding the chair out towards that worthy with a bit of a kick, “Morty here speaks highly of you. Have a seat.” The two of ‘em studied each other for awhile, each getting as comfortable as possible in those hells-spawned seats, until Joe spoke up: “So. A House boy, eh?”

I winced a bit, but attempted to conceal it in a quick swig out of the mug.

“You know,” Dale mused, while off-handedly drawing on the table in some split beer, “that particular line usually gets followed with… let’s see, how does that go? ‘Ahhh. Oh, no. Please. Not that… whargarble.’” Totally flat, including the sound effects. He looks up at Joe and smiles this big, innocent smile. “But I suppose as you’re Morty’s friend, I can make an exception.”

Joe barked a laugh, “Dale, I think I’m going to like you just fine…”

Chapter 2- A bad penny, and the beginning.

‘She was a bombshell, Duncan, you know?’ Joe said, as we returned from Channel Cross.

‘What?’ I returned, as we turned a corner, heading back to the office.

‘It was like this…’

She walked in, six foot and a copper, rounded with curves a man would have to be a specialist to handle; a traps expert that is. Her chassis was a reconditioned airship bomb from the war, and though an approximation of a feminine form had been hammered in to it, she was all business. Wasn’t often that a warforged really forged in war came around; they tended to be even less human than the other ‘forged walking round these streets. They didn’t try to change their ways, to make a life for themselves beyond their battle-bred purpose, they were forged in war, and tempered in battle, and set in steel.

Her eyes, red like burning coals, assessed my office like a pro, searching for what, I’d never know, but I was dismissed with the same speed as the rest of the furnishings. She slammed my door closed with a casual flick of her fingers, stomped in, and there was no other word for it lounged, in the faintly rickety chair reserved for guests.

A rich contralto voice purred from this amazing vision, and commanded my attention, “Investigative! You are ordered to accept our request for your assistance!”

I hadn’t heard a plea for help like that since the war, but, even now, it sounded more like a challenge. Still, just like the war, best to play along. I was also concerned with the fate of my only other chair.

“How can I turn down a lady who wears her heart… ah, impeller on her sleeve,” she quickly glanced down her arm, checking for the position of that critical part, like a heart, that should be on the inside. “Figure of speech,” I muttered, “What’cha need… sister?” It may be best to keep this platonic.

“So,” I said, “what then?”

Joe shrugged.

“She gave me a vague outline of what we were supposed to be looking for. I suspect those rubbings were part of it,” He glanced around, and reached under his cape murmuring, “and now let’s see what that ‘Guard’ ”, the air quotes fell naturally, but irritatingly, into his speech, “was carrying.”

“Aw, nuts!” I said, “Did your light fingers get into that guard’s purse? What did I tell you about that?” Now it was MY turn to look around nervously. One of the bums that frequents the cogs looked over in interest at the implication of money, but I flashed him the hilt of my weapon, to let him know that I was packing, and, more importantly, that I was watching him. The bum withered visibly, and returned to the alcove he was currently haunting. It was warm in the Cogs at least, and, even if he was hungry, he shouldn’t give into temptation like that.

“Hey, I was just returning the favour, fellow was busy picking into my purse.” He pulled something small and shiny on a thong from the fold of his cape, and studied it for a second, holding it up to one of the rare lanterns. “Besides, he wasn’t no guard. What guard shows up that fast to quell a couple shouting drunks …”

“Well,” I interjected.

”... in the cogs?” He said, closing the issue to his satisfaction.

“Wait; he was going after you? What did he take?” I returned.

“Huh?” He grunted, “I guess I should take a look. Meantime, what you make of this?” He said, as he tossed a small, stylized bronze gear on a chain to me, then proceeded to pick through his own pockets.

I chuckled at the idea of him picking his own pockets, and had a look at the little ornament. The teeth were far too rounded to be of any actual use in a real machine, and all the tarnish but in the deepest crevasses was polished free of the thing. I delved into my own knowledge of religion and symbols, and drew a blank. Maybe it was like an old royalist’s ring, getting you access into some sort of special club. Thirteen teeth on it… something about that struck me as odd.

“Gute nacht,” he said in old Karnathi, I think, “look what we have here.” He passed me a copper penny, one obviously fake.

First petty larceny, and now… “Forgery?” I boomed, “now I KNOW I’ve talked to you about this before! We had a Discussion about…”

“Nah, nah,” he waved me off, “you got it wrong. This is what is different about my purse, it was added in by our guy. Now give me my gear back, I want to have another look.”

I glared at him, and traded for the penny. It was the wrong size, bent out of shape, unrecognizable stamping, clipped, and discoloured in a way that bespoke impure metal. Everything, in fact, was wrong about it, but it was still somehow a penny. I Looked again, and saw that it was magical, that it was cursed, something clicked.

“This is a Bad Penny.” I announced.

“I know, right?” He said, while peering gimlet-eyed at the gear medallion, holding it up to one of the rare lights in the Cogs.

“No, it’s a… watch me closely,” I grimaced and drew back my arm to throw the thing, holding it pinched in my fingers until I had his attention. He caught the motion at looked at me startled. I whipped the thing, carefully having it strike the ground a certain measured distance from me. It only bounced once, the metallic ring summoning a horde of the unfortunates to scramble at it’s location.

He growled, “what you do that for?”

I held up a finger, requesting him to wait, put my hand in my purse, and withdrew the Penny. “It’s a bad penny, it always comes back, and, if I’m thinking clearly, I bet it’s being tracked somehow.” He muttered at this revelation, but I continued, “it’s a cursed thing,” he gasped at this, and started to look nervous, “but can be passed to another if accepted willingly.”

His look of horror transformed to craftiness, and he turned to see a local street informant that he had not been on good terms with, due to some previous transgressions. “Hi Grigg, I got a present for you,” he said as he wandered over to him. I could see an animated explanation, and the same throwing demonstration I made. I could almost see the petty illegalities going through Grigg’s head as he accepted the cursed coin.

“Two birds with one coin,” he chuckled, “let’s get back to the office. We need to see a man I heard about; a fellow who knows how to find people. Mordecai will get us in touch”

Chapter 1: Channel Cross
There's Time for Introductions Later

Outside, on the plateaus, it was raining hard. Nestled in the corners of the Cogs as we were, we wouldn’t hear about that for hours yet. Not that it mattered down here, nor would the rain have made the akward scene in Channel Cross even more pathetic that it already was. Burdened as I was with the Church’s massive missionary standard, and trying to shuffle out an unused piece of paper from the sheaf, I stuck to the outside of the Close and tried not to be noticed. Normally difficult, the ruckus in the middle of the street kept people’s eyes away from me, and our champion Spotter.

“What do you mean I never pay my tab?” Slurred the Well-Armed Drunk.

“I mean you need to come back to the bar and pay your bill, or never come back at all!” The Bar Owner had obviously Bravely Followed the Well-Armed Drunk out in the street to try to get some Recompense for her Provided Fare. I wondered if the Sharn Inquisitive would ever hear about this Shameful Disturbance. Their headlines never stopped Cracking Me Up.

“How am I gonna pay my tab if I ain’t got no work?” Returned the Drunk, elated at finding a hole in her logic. While the Bartender stared dumbfounded for a second, the Spotter subtly marked out another design for me to take a rubbing of, then moved along. How do you move in plated armor and still be inconspicuous?

A head popped into view through a nearby window, and an, old, querulous face started to demand “Hey, what do you think you’re…”

“Good Day Madame!” I enunced, throwing the weight of my personality behind my words, and holding the standard in front of me like a shield, “have you Heard the Word of… whew.” The older woman’s head shot back through the window; even a hint of evangelism makes people flee. Meanwhile, the Bartender was still looking flummoxed, I’d have to hurry.

“Come on, make up a line,” I hissed, trying to mentally encourage the Bartender, while hastily making a rubbing of the marks above the next door in the loop.

I moved on to the next archway and started doing the rubbing, and heard the words that caused all City men to freeze in their tracks, ” ‘ere, ‘ere, what’s all this then?” Damnit, the spotter is supposed to catch this kind of thing. I turned to watch the Drama, and judge if it was time to leave.

Suddenly the new player in the game gave wings to the stunned Bartender, “This guy,” she declaimed triumphantly, pointing at the Drunk, “this guy has not payed his bar tab!”

The Guard, initially ready for some valiant charge into the fray, sneered slightly, and leaned on his polearm. “All right, you folks are going to have to move along; no sense disturbing these people in their homes.”

The Drunk staggered at an angle, neatly drawing the Guard’s attention away from me, I scratched at the engravings with the charcoal, quickly completing the design, and moving on to the next arch; only one more to go. I could see that the Bartender was going to start making a fuss, and I figured I could do the last rubbing quickly, so I flashed her the high sign.

“You’re right officer, come on man, let’s go back to the bar to sort this out.” The pair staggered drunkenly towards the entrance to the Close, and muttered and mumbled at each other until they were out of earshot.

I, having completed the last rubbing, walked up to the Guard, and said “Well, that was a bit of excitement, eh?”

The Guard, just noticing me, and my missionary’s standard, looked even more disapproving than he had of the drunk, and made the ‘move-along’ motion. “Nothing to see, I’m pretty sure you don’t live around here, so keep marching.”

“But I’m trying to spread the word of the faithful! One must…” I would’ve continued, but the butt of the pole-arm took me right in the gut, knocking the wind right out of me.

“I said,” the Guard sneered in a way that promised additional ‘entertainment’, “move along.”

Finally, the spotter came to my rescue, “Right you are,” he said gliding up from behind the Guard, startled that there was another apparent authority figure present, “Come on you,” he jeered as he grabbed my elbow, “Leg it.”

Playing up my lack of breath, I leaned close and whispered, “Did you get a good look?”

The spotter rolled his eyes theatrically for the benefit of the Guard, and said loudly “Yes, yes, I’m sure; we can talk about it at the station.” He hauled, none too gently on my arm, and guided me out.

At the cost of a belly blow, this information would hopefully be useful. And some bastard was sure going to buy me a beer.

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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