The City of Lives

Shadows and Subterfuge: The Rich Rural Op

Trevelanius’s team, meeting outside Aderino Manor, decided to head back to Trevelanius’s headquarters. After having trouble finding a cab and deciding not to brave the treacherous Verge Street they’d have to cross to get back to Trevelanius’s before dawn, they contacted Gaius with their Farscribe and told him the situation. He told them that he would march on House Aderino’s territory come morning, and that the team should go directly to speak to Arbron Solfidly. A spot on the High Council is coming up in a few months, and both Tessiria and Gaius are looking to take the seat, so both need the support of Solfidly, the richest and most influential Rural in the City.

The team tracked down a cab and made their way to the Crux, where a Realmshifter hired by Gaius sent them to Solfidley’s hometown of Bavingdon. In the small Rural community, the team found their way to Solfidly’s lodge. Erillia, Mo, and Piah went in to negotiate, while Rasine went to search the man’s house and Syler guarded the door.

Solfidley turned out to be a large, plainspoken gentleman with a penchant for whiskey in the morning and lots of hunting [and spoke, according to the players, as a cross between George W. Bush and Foghorn Leghorn, or George “Cockhorn”]. They discussed their political needs, and Mo interrogated Solfidley about whether he truly cared for the Rural cause, and accused him of doing so little it was worthless (for example, Solfidley had raised the fine for a noble killing a Rural from 20 solu to 500). Solfidley took it remarkably well, and tried to assure Mo that he was doing all he could – while Erillia and Pi did their best to silence their friend before he got them all in trouble. The Councilor set out exactly what they could do to gain his support:

  • gain the support of the people of Bavingdon
  • get rid of Rolius, a rival Councilor
  • stop the Crashers from raiding Bavingdon
  • go hunting with him (but they would have to do one or more of the others first)

As they were finishing up, Federigo Falcone, a vassal of Tessiria, showed up, and Syler stalled him long enough for the team to finish their conversation. As they considered what to do next, Rasine left her investigations (and the signet ring she had stolen) and tried to listen in on Federigo and Solfidley’s conversation – very nearly being caught, with only pure desperation [and a bevy of fate points]] hiding her behind a curtain just in time.

The team decided to return to the City and assassinate Rolius. However, because of House Trevelanius’s Rules, they needed to establish that Rolius was a criminal and deserved to die before murdering him. Back in the City, they split up into several investigations:

  • Mo and Syler found out about a sausage factory owned by Rolius, rumored to grind up Kipmen into their meats. They failed to infiltrate the factory, but spoke to the workers, who vehemently denied the rumors.
  • Pi investigated where Rolius was going to be when, assuming she would be able to pluck evidence of some crime from his head just before killing him, and found he was going to be at an art gallery opening that evening.
  • Erillia caught a rumor that Rolius had killed his brother several years ago in order to take over his House (the brother had been killed with some kind of poison, blight- or blood-shifting, and his killer had never been identified). She went to the library and found Lightcatcher heliotypes of Rolius’s brother, as part of a fiendish plan to make Rolius admit his guilt.
  • Rasine infiltrated Rolius’s office at the Curia and found financial records regarding the month of his brother’s murder, and the location of the Rolius family crypt.

They all came together at the Rolius crypt, where they discovered Rolius had been killed with a particular poison that is undetectable in red wine. Erillia observed what the brother’s corpse now looked like, then went and bought some of said poison while dressed in the House Aderino servant’s outfit she had obtained the previous night. Their plan all put together, the team congregated at the art gallery opening, where they pulled Rolius into a back room, and Erillia used her Dreamsharing to disguise herself as the man’s dead brother, accusing him of murder – and psychologically tormenting him as she transformed into the visage of the brother’s rotting corpse. Panicked, Rolius ran out into the crowd, crashing into a waiter – who Erillia also gave the brother’s face. Rolius smashed a wine bottle and attempted to kill the waiter with it, but Pi grabbed hold of his mind and forced Rolius to slit his own throat.

Their first task finished, the team decided they should move directly on to the next, as they were certain they were working against a deadline to gain Solfidley’s support before Tessiria did. Another trip to the Crux, and they were quickly Realmshifted to the Wilderwoods, where they could meet the Crashers.

The Crashers ambushed the team easily, but agreed that they could be friendly… especially if they were “friendly.” Pi, already flirtatious, didn’t resist as Skarch, the rough-and-tumble wolf/bear/man leader pulled her in for a kiss – but Rasine, already traumatized by being caught off guard and exposed to the world, swore to get her revenge on the man who was kissing her ex-girlfriend.

As they all drank and caroused, the team somewhere between guests and prisoners, a mysterious, sexy, cat-derived Kipwoman showed up out of nowhere, announcing herself as Del. Del declared herself an employee of House Aderino, intent on making a deal with the Crashers. Rasine, intent on getting back at Pi for the attention she was paying to Skarch, approached Del and pretended to be a flirtatious Crasher. She began to lead Del away, but Pi couldn’t watch Rasine with another woman, nor could she allow this woman to sabotage their work with the Crashers… so she pounced on Del. An angry, violent, and yet terribly sexy cat-fight began between the two feline women, as the Crashers looked on and applauded. Rasine, continuing the feud with her ex-lover, rushed up to Skarch and planted a great big kiss on him… and then began to freak out as he threw her down on the table and she realized she was in over her head. With all the romantic tension in the air, Syler let loose his true feelings and kissed Erillia.

Erillia had no time to deal with that, and took advantage of the confusion to make the Crashers hear skeletal hoofbeats, as if their enemies the Dead Tribes were nearby. As the camp erupted into chaos, Syler shook off Erillia’s rebuff and ran to Rasine’s rescue, grabbing Skarch and pulling him into the bushes. The cat-fight became deadlier, and Pi dove into Del’s head to find her motives and mission:

  • Sent by Tessiria, Del was to get the Crashers to attack the City.
  • She had two things to offer: her body (a negotiating tool, more or less), and, more importantly, control over the Julian Plains after the Niontians take the City.

Syler and Rasine fought Skarch with axe and garotte, making up for their less impressive martial skills with the advantage of numbers and surprise. Rasine began choking Skarch from behind, but he threw her over his shoulder and slammed her against the ground, using her own garrotte against her, bruising her windpipe and cracking a rib. Syler managed to get him off her, and planted his axe in the Crasher’s chest, killing him.

Meanwhile, Pi, in full control over Del’s mind, sent her against Skarch’s second-in-command, the horse-man Varrio, having Del announce that she was attacking in the name of House Aderino and not caring who died in the end. Erillia created an illusionary horde of Dead Tribes raiders riding through the camp, drawing the Crashers away and hiding Pi as she stabbed a Crasher in the back to help sell the illusion. Unfortunately, just as Erillia pulled the last Crashers away with a final illusion – a Dead Tribes rider galloping through the camp – she pushed her mind too far, and her own hallucinations turned against her, the rider wheeling round to run her down…

Aspects

  • Erillia Invoked: The Truth is Merely What You Can Make Others Believe, How Can I Control the World If I Can’t Control My Own Head; Compelled: None
  • Mo Invoked: Rural Revolutionary x2, The Nobles Shall Pay; Compelled: The Nobles Shall Pay
  • Piah Invoked: It’s Not Easy Being Good, Rasine’s in My Pi; Compelled: So Very Gay!, Rasine’s in My Pi
  • Rasine Invoked: Shadow Stalker, Don’t Look at Me!, Overprepared in Fear of Failure, Piah’s Former Lover; Compelled: Don’t Look at Me!, Piah’s Former Lover x2
  • Syler Invoked: Always the Underdog x2, Defusing the Situation, Syler to the Situation x2 Compelled: My One and Only: Erillia

Have Not Yet Been Compelled or Invoked:

  • Erillia: Low Among the High… For Now, I Will Not Be a Pawn, You Are Useful. I Like You.
  • Gatcha: I Have Followed the Wind, In on the Take, Latchkey Kid, Raised By the Road
  • Mo: Redistributor of Life, Liberator…or Terrorist?, In the Right Hands, Anything is a Weapon, Can’t Win the Revolution on My Own, Propaganda Can Be Useful
  • Piah: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, So Many Secrets, Sweet as Pi
  • Rasine: Ugly Duckling “Forced” into the Shadows, Gaius Values My Opinion
  • Syler: Crime Lord Buying People’s Love and Respect, I Just Want to be Loved

[Erillia: you need to finish up your aspects. It’s hard to find stuff to compel]

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