Black Sheep

II: Workshop of Abominations
"They're human.. but a bit 'extra', if you know what I mean." -- Nyx

Yesterday night passed with guards roaming the streets of Northminster, looking vengefully for those who killed four of their ranks. The group was confined in their safehouse, away from outside eyes, but their movements limited in daylight.

Kaspar‘s search for leads gave him a clue. However, the group’s lack of specific expertise drove him to contact for aid. While Vince is the brain of the group, and a capable one, he’s all about metals and machines. The contact, the Fiann said, has more knowledge regarding alchemy.

“Why do we need an alche.. oh, yes, we do need an alchemist,” Cielo grins, showing a rare interest in something that seems to be out of his reach.

Kaspar seems to read his thoughts. “She ain’t turning anything into gold.”

Adding to Cielo’s demise was Daisy, “Maybe she’ll turn you into a frog.”

It was while they were chatting that a knock came by the door. A feminine figure clad in leather and gas mask, one of her legs limp and aided with a cane, greeted Cielo who opened the door. Beatrix reminded the Windborn boy not to open doors to just about anyone, but Kaspar confirmed that she’s the contact they’ve been waiting for. She goes by the name Nyx.

As she seated herself, Kaspar slid her one part of the journal. She browsed through the pages, but didn’t find anything of utmost importance. Showing an article on the table, Beatrix said they’ve found Joseph’s patron: Sven Isbjorn, a Norsican noble. The same man was also known to have spent a fortune on looking for a particular formulae. Though her face was hidden behind the mask, it’s undoubted that she shows interest.

“Well that got my attention. You’ve got plan?”

Beatrix found out that one of the workshops that Sven is funding is located in a rather secluded area of Northminster. A bit too secluded, for a common clean business. Kaspar plans on investigating the site and retrieve any kind of proof that can lead be used to their leverage against the nobleman. And as always, nighttime’s best to do these kind of acts. Meanwhile, Vince preps equipment for the others.

Apparently though, Cielo’s lust for money has yet to recede. “So, I heard alchemists can turn things into gold..”

Vince shook his head at the Windborn’s gullibility. “If I tell you that you can squeeze gold out of rocks, you’d do it.”

The workshop was a large building sturdily made of bricks. Its door was made of tough reinforced steel which look like it can withstand a lot of punishment. But even such a door was no match for Daisy’s expertise. In only a few moments, the handle turns and the metal slab opens. Kaspar and Beatrix took their position outside, guarding if anyone’s coming in, while the rest of the group enters.

At first glance the workshop seemed like a common production place, until they saw tables with tubes and glass beakers. More like an alchemist’s lab than a workshop. Daisy heard people, around five of them, on the adjacent room and asked about what to do. Cielo, perhaps as expected, suggested to ‘take them out’. Daisy directed the rest to follow her know-hows on sneaking, and they caught the men in surprise.

It took barely half a minute, a gunshot, and a cinder bomb to reduce them to just one man left. Unfortunately for them though, he managed to take the moment to escape and call for help. Soon afterwards, heavy footsteps were heard echoing in the workshop.

The owners of those footsteps were men clad in leather, their faces hidden by gas masks connected to a container on their backs through a metal tube, wheezing the sound of gas. Among them was an alchemist, who seemed to control the bunch. Fight ensued, and the masked men proved to be resilient almost beyond human capabilities. At the end of it, Cielo and Vince were badly wounded.

Taking everything they can take, the group returns to the safehouse, with Kaspar and Beatrix concerned about the troubles they’ve stumbled themselves into.

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I: The Exchange
"I knew this job was trouble, but didn't think it'd be this big." -- Kaspar

Vince joined the rest of the group at the safehouse at ten in the morning. His side jobs have been keeping bellies filled for the last two weeks, and they also bought him those fancy Mechanikal Armor and Scattergun. Beatrix reminded the rest that though he didn’t take part on yesterday’s job, he deserves at least a part of the five grands they’re about to get.

Beatrix said that the agent wanted to meet one-on-one for the submission of the journals. Though suspicious, Kaspar agreed to submit the journals personally. Putting on his greatcoat, he left the safehouse while asking the rest what they’d want to buy.

Cielo was particularly happy about the prospect of money. He’s been counting his crown (notice the singular) with the face of a homeless for a while now. Daisy said that she wants to buy ‘Freedom’, though apparently only Beatrix understood what she meant. Vince didn’t get to say anything, though Cielo probably guessed right that he’ll spend them on gadgets.

At that moment, Beatrix noticed one of the journals was left in the safehouse. Concerned with the old Fiann and his seemingly decaying intellect, the team decided to spread out to find Kaspar and give the journal for the exchange.

In a while, they found Kaspar skulking in an alley with his hooded greatcoat, doing the exchange with the agent. The agent browsed through the pages of the journal and asked a question, “Did you read this?”

The old Fiann looked hesitant for a moment before answering, “Yes.”

Hearing the answer, the agent quickly took out a Holdout Pistol and fired a single shot. Kaspar fell to his knees and weakly slumped onto the floor. The agent stored the journal in his coat and made a run. Daisy quickly tended to Kaspar’s wounds. The rest, seeing this happening in front of them, quickly chased after him.

The chase ended with the agent cornered just outside of Northminster. He threatened to call for guards, but neither of the trio wanted to back off. Vince retorted, “We’ll just have to be louder than your voice.”

A brief but brutal fight ensued the moment he shouted for guards. Vince’s Mechanikal Scattergun, double-boosted with his Focus, punched a lot of pain on the man. Cielo finished the job by the hilt of his Cutlass, and the agent was incapacitated.

However, guards have heard of the commotion and came over. Daisy, just arriving to the scene, recommended making a run for it. Cielo refused, saying, “We can’t. They’ve seen our faces.” Indeed, anonymity is important for a group such as them. They decided to fight off the four Halberd-wielding guards, each of their powerful strikes sent one to his end. As the fight ended, Daisy sent the others in confusion as she revealed that the man shot wasn’t Kaspar.

As they escaped the lights of Wallaceburgh and scuttled back into the smog and noise that is Northminster, they returned to the safehouse. Kaspar joined them shortly, unharmed. It was actually his double that bit the dust. The group consolidated and talked about what to do next. Cielo suggested that the journals must be worth something to someone, and it’d be in their interest to take it ‘hostage’.

A simple job has turned haywire, and now the group has guards vengefully looking for them. Rival groups who’d want competition out of the game will also one way or another add to their problems. In these difficult times, it seems more trials await the group’s future.

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Prelude: A New Job
"Thousands, thousands of crowns~" -- Cielo

The group has been out of work for a week or two. Crown’s running thin, and only work — any kind of it — can fill the purses. Fortunately, today Beatrix came with good news: she’s got one for the group, and a big one at that. Five grands for one job is nearly four times a common task.

Client wanted the group to acquire a journal belonging to Joseph, a well-renowned senior explorer. He resides in the Scholars’ Housings, and is currently out of town.

It was decided that Kaspar will join the act while Beatrix looks for more news about Joseph. After spying on the complex’s security and lack of it, consisting of Cielo’s ‘stealing’ books from an old man’s bookstore and Daisy’s act as a student-in-distress, they ensued their break-in the bleak morning after.

Entering the Scholar’s Housings through a hidden backdoor, the trio found a basement storage in Joseph’s residence. There they encountered hideous creatures of unknown nature, spewing acidic bile and capable of replicating themselves. A brief fight resulted in the creatures’ death, but not without injuries to the group. Also in the basement, they acquired the journals in a locked chest, which lock was not good enough against Daisy’s lock picking expertise.

At the end of the day — or the beginning of one — they returned to the safehouse, journals in their hands. Next thing to wait for is the sound of coins.

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