Eberron Noir

Chapter 2.6: To Catch a Summoner

With the Alarm still blaring into the new morning, I knew, even with the Captain’s help, the guard would soon be down on this place like a tonne of bricks.

Seeing that Joe was no longer on the roof, I figured he had flipped the rope we’d used to climb the building around to the front, and gone rappelling down the front. The previous sound of smashing glass made this a likely conclusion.

Haven and I looked back from the ledge, over to the partially shattered door frame that we’d been slowly dissolving, shrugged, and hustled over to where the rope hung, following Joe.

I grabbed the rope, and steadied myself and it, while Haven flipped over the side, and slid down the rope. Almost the instant that she was out of sight, the line went slack. No weight on the line, therefore no Haven on the rope. I dropped the bit of slack I’d pulled up and took the last few hurried steps to the raised edge on the roof, just in time to see Haven perform the most curious scrabbling down the facade.

A finger dug in momentarily there, a kick to the wall here, and finally a trailing hand slowed her descent to that of a feather, hitting the ground with barely a thud. Right in front of the front door. It could just have been that the alarm had deadened my hearing of course, but she didn’t seem to be injured, or anything but annoyed. With a determined grimace, she grabbed the rope, and swarmed back up the wall. When she’d nearly attained the broken window, a form leaned out above her, and by extension, below me.

“Another one, hah!” Chuckled the man, while he drew a knife to cut the rope.

He was too far below me for me to catch him with a swing of any weapon near to hand, so what I needed was a heavy projectile to dissuade him. I wonder what a war-hammer could do. Pulling it from my belt, I aimed for the back of his skull. My plan, alas, was for naught, as my hammer missed by only the smallest margin, and he neatly sliced through the silken rope with a single sweep of the dagger.

Haven did that peculiar skittering down the wall again, now that the rope was loosed, and I drew my bow into readiness. Seeing the hammer drop (as it were) past their head, Mr Tue, or perhaps Mr Tree, looked up just in time to see down the shaft of a drawn arrow. He ducked inside before I could take the shot.

“Damn it!” I cursed, slowly levering the bow loose, replacing the arrow in the quiver and returned the bow to my back. Haven looked up at me, cursed barely audibly (the alarm again), shrugged, and pushed through the front door.

All of this had left me on the roof, without a quick way down- other than the obvious. While, yes, I did seek adventure, I think I could find it in more productive ways than leaping off another building. There was still that small length of rope…

To Catch a Summoner Part 2

Chapter 2.4: Countdown to the Hound

to be completed

Chapter 2.3: Clues Amoungst the Wreckage

to be completed

Chapter 2.2: Pounding the Pavement

to be completed

Adventure the Second: The Hound of Khorvaire
Chapter 1: More Missing Parishoners

to be completed

Chapter 5: A Little Town, Underground

to be completed

Chapter 4: Lightning Inspection
Bureaucracy, In Action!

“So, how’re we getting in there, then?” I asked from behind the bar, while spit-shining a couple of mugs. “It’s not like they’re going to welcome any old group of Cogs thugs that want to wander in and case the place.”

I peered around at Dale and Duncan, seeing if they had any clever ideas.

Duncan shook his head and shrugged, making a noise like someone pushed the cook into the pantry. That boy does wear an awful lot of tin. Dale paused a moment, made some swooshing hand motions, and snapped a finger to his temple like a sage with an inspiration.

“We can make a night-time insertion!” There were some isolated sniggers from around the bar, the drunks always loved a bit of street theatre. Dale didn’t even seem to notice. “We’ll get a couple skycabs, and they can fly us over the sea side opening. We’ll rappel down on ropes until we can find safe landing in… what’s just inside the opening, anyway?”

“Tanning vats,” came the freeloader’s voice from by the door, “unless you want to smell like better unnamed chemicals and urine, we’ll need a better way in. And by ‘unless,’ of course, I mean more.”

We sneered at each other, while Duncan grumbled uncomfortably.

“I suspect you’ll want another drink?” I sallied, implying that he’d already been at it.

“Why, yes!” He said, cheerfully, “Queuing is thirsty work.”

I frowned, suspicious, and passed him a pint of the more bitters.

“If you don’t like Dale’s Daring… uh plan, then I hope you have something else in mind Mister Citizen Friday.”

“That’s Mister Sanitation Inspector Friday to you,” he grinned, slapping a certificate on the bar, “and that drink better not have been a bribe for me to overlook the violations in here.”

“Ha ha,” I returned, a little shaken, “three things. Who forged your papers? You own part of the bar, and the drink will be added to your tab, which is…”

“Never tell me the price, good woman, I simply can’t afford it.” Dale and Duncan were passing the license between them, doing the silly tests you see amateurs do – holding it up to the light and such. Morty, meanwhile, had saddled up to a stool, waved at me, and pulled a bottle of his reserve stock from behind the bar.

“So,” Friday said, stretching the word out to get my attention back, “let’s take them out of order. Yeah, part my bar; I think the conflict of interest section of the law book went missing some years back. A man needs every leg up he can get.”

“Hey!” toned the crippled ‘forge I had hired to work the bar when I wasn’t there. “No man am I, and more leg than you I need.” The fellow had been doing poorly on the street, and was a rarity in the Cogs, a ‘forged with a disability. Well, more than one, really. The same mage fire that took off his leg also scrambled his brains a little, and made his voice ring like chimes.

I’d hired him, figuring he was at least an armored fellow who knew the way around an edged weapon, and, as a destitute, he wouldn’t want much paying. Turns out I was half right, excellent with a club, he was also a competent bar man. The last thing many a drunk heard in this bar was a squeaky wheel, and a almost celestial voice saying ‘Close the night drawing, time for bed!’ Sometimes just a few notes from a lullaby would be enough to quiet a rowdy bar.

Friday, pinned by the cripple’s glare, was stammering an apology. “Ah! Oh! Singer! Sorry, uh, what…” he gestured frantically, “would be an appropriate article for… well, this?”

Singer, I guess his name was, chuckled like what a babbling brook is supposed to sound like, but doesn’t, and grinned that broken-jaw grin of his. “No fault I find.” The voice suddenly changed to what sounded like an upper Brelish accent, and he said “Though ‘He’ is, by default, an appropriate pronoun for objects, and thus ‘fellow’ (also denoting some measure of brotherhood) would be correct. ‘Man’, however, is more precise, and exclusive. Denoting a particular order of living creature, it would not include myself.”

I tossed him a coin, as a tip, or perhaps in payment for the education. Singer bashed his skull with his fist that caught the coin a couple times, and a metallic jangle rang down into his chest cavity. Whether it was the coin, or some loose mechanism, I had no idea. Singer went back to organizing the merchandise.

“Fellow. Right. Uh, thanks, Singer,” Muttered Friday, a little stunned. Singer just waved over his shoulder as he wheeled down to the other end. “First, it’s not forged, it’s legitimate. I passed the exam this morning.” He pointed to the certificate, which got a fresh round of inspection from Dale and Duncan.

“Hence the queuing.” Morty, muttered, taking a pull from the bottle.

“Hence the queuing!” Friday continued, “and third…” he paused, re-routing the lightning rails in his head, “right! Can’t afford it! Talk to me when the case it done.”

“And yes, I have a plan. I think that the plant we visited yesterday needs a thorough going over by a professional team, to hunt out some violations.” He looked around, with a sneaky smile, checking to make sure we got it. Which we did.

Honestly, call yourself a doctor and suddenly everyone else is a candidate for self-adhering boots or something.

Chapter 4 Part 2

Chapter 3 'Uncle Irv' at the Meat Packing Plant
To Find a Lost Sheep

The Cast- Dale, Mordecai, and Joe Friday

“It’s not so much that he just asks the questions…” Said Morty, while we casually followed Dale through the streets of the Cogs.

“It’s how he asks them, I know.” I returned, and grabbed an orange from a green-grocer’s stall, and flipping a copper up high to him. “It’s a strange sort of tracking when you don’t look for footprints.”

“I guess we all leave traces we can be followed by,” he said thoughtfully.

I tossed the apple up in the air, and snapped out a couple of knives; catching the fruit on the point of one dagger, I neatly bisected the orange with the other. Then, I passed Morty a half- point first.

“Thanks,” he said, with a roll of the eyes, ‘Bit showy, huh? Remember, ‘traces’?” He pointed at Dale, “Besides, you coulda got at least two oranges for that coin. Lords know there’s no other use for a minim.”

I just grinned at him, and tucked a segment of orange into my jaws, “Gotta keep your hand in!” I swallowed, and began making passes with my hands. “Which is why…”

“Aw! Come on!” Cut in Morty, “You know I don’t like hearing about how you ‘relieved’ someone of some material encumbrance, or snagged their snook, or whatever.” He gave me a pained look, and said “Let’s not get too far behind.”

I mock sneered at his departing back and tossed the second orange to some waif.

“Happy Midwinter or something.”

“Get sunk!” The lovable urchin called back, and took a bite – skin and all.

Maybe they’d choke on it.

Chapter 3 Part 2

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…”


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