The old warehouse is illuminated by shafts of morning light filtering in through cracks in the walls. Outside the ruckus from up the street subsides. You overhear, outside, a few noblewomen talking. Two Workers were sucked down into the Otyugh’s lair.
Aiyanna glances at Learis, making sure she heard it too.
“If we’re going in the fishery, now the time. Before people return and see us.”
Aiyanna casts one last glance down the street, toward the sudden silence, then back at her sister, “Yes”
There’s still quite a crowd about two hundred feet north, and a lively discussion in groups.
Learis senses her sister’s gaze, but forcibly ignores it by staring at the fishery and trying to remember if there were openings on the other side.
“We can squeeze through the opening the kids went through,” Aiyanna offers, “Though it should probably be the sneakiest of us though,” she looks around, noticing Lexon’s sizeable frame, Lil’s bulk, and Learis’ armor, “Oh, that’s me, isn’t it?”
“So do I try to sneak in, or do we take up Lexon’s offer to smash a new entrance for us?”
Aiyanna tries to keep the nervousness from her voice
The floor of the warehouse has a grid pattern of pallets, each stacked with wood. And along the edges are huge slabs of hardwood, spaced to dry with spacing wedges. A few wooden staircases go up to a second floor, like the loft of a barn, and the rafters are criss-crossed by planks. To the east are several workbenches set with heavy tools. Racks of saws wrapped in oilcloths hand above them.
“Grab some tools,” Aiyanna suggests, “maybe we can walk around to the boat, away from prying eyes.”
“Good call with the tools,” Learis replies, “We can see if there is an opening on that side we can use.” she nods to herself, “Lets move before too many people return.”
“OK” Aiyanna nods.
You easily find an assortment of crowbars and hammers.
Aiyanna, oblivious to what would be helpful, grabs an awl and a planer.
Lil grabs her glaive-guisarme, “Just point me at shit to break.”
Aiyanna gestures, “use the wood from the pallets, craft a makeshift bridge. We can use it for our escape too. Then skirt around towards the boat. Maybe pry something open from that side?”
“Or, use the same sliding platform the kids used?”
“I planned to use the platform. we just need to make a wider opening to use it.”
The sliding platform is hidden, but once found easy and obvious how to use it. It is well-maintained. But to get out the window slot that it uses, you need to be S or smaller.
“Shhh! I hear someone on the roof”
“Shhhhhhh!” Aiyanna echoes, “What did you hear, Lil?”
“Someone’s walking around up there”
None of you hear or see anything as you scan the rafters.
Aiyanna resists the urge to conjure her magic, “Are you sure?”
“Yeah I heard something. Weird” Lil comments, scowling at the rafters, “Anyone see a way up to the roof? I want to check it out”
“Did you hear something else, Lil?” Aiyanna asks, “We’re going to need to move. If we’re going to go into the fishery, we need to do it now.”
“I swear I saw something as well as heard it” the dwarf replies
Learis looks at her sister. “Is she delusional?” Learis takes a moment to listen.
Learis hears nor sees anything amiss. Only the sounds of the street outside, a crowd arguing, a few guards shouting. Faintly you hear a sudden outcry, again from the north, like a collective gasp of horror.
“Ok, lets go.” Lexon pries the frame of the window; there is an almighty crack and the entire window opens. Sunlight floods into the room. Your eyes adjust easily and you see the rickety walkway and the forbidding wall of the Fishery.
Aiyanna winces at the noise, “Did anyone notice, Lil?”
Lil can’t see past the wall of people, but she does see a woman hurrying her two children from the scene. And a teen boy lurches from a sea of peasants’ back to retch.
Learis cringes from the noise and watches the Fishery intently for any movement.
“Everyone notices me” she says with a self-satisfied smile, fluffing her hair a bit. “Oh you mean out there.” She peeks back outside.
It is impossible to see into the Fishery from this angle, but you faintly hear the noise of low-level activity in there, just like you would from regular work being done.
Lexon buts in being quiet but urgent. “Guys we really need to act fast, I’m getting worried about out there.”
“Nah they’re distracted by something that is making people barf. Talk about an effective diversion.”
Learis pushes the walkway across, and checks to see if anyone is looking then start across.
Now you all hear quick footsteps on the rooftop and Lexon (from the window) sees a slight figure in dark brown, and with hand crossbow, make an almighty leap above you from one rooftop to another. The walkway slides out easily and thumps into pre-set grooves on the other side.
Learis freezes with her hand on her sword as Aiyanna curses under her breath.
“Told you!” Lil chides, “No one ever listens to the dwarf.”
“Guys I saw at least one person and he’s armed!” Lexon hisses
Aiyanna grabs her hair close to the scalp and grimaces, “Learis, go! if he warns Lamm, this is done for!”
Learis crosses quickly to catch him
“Lexon, you go to the roof, see if you can find where he landed!” Aiyanna continues, “Lil and I will follow Learis. And Lexon” Aiyanna smirks, “I’m sure that if you here some scuffles from the fishery, we won’t mind some property damage if you find it necessary to bust through the ceiling.”
Lil crosses and goes in through the window.
Aiyanna nudges Learis
“We will break in through that opening.” Learis point ahead. “Lexon go” She points to the ladder.
Lexon has already broken ranks and headed up to the loft in a few bounds, and with the agility of a trained warrior gets to the top of the ladder.
Learis crosses and begins to work at the opening as soon as she is off the walkway.
Lexon hits the trap door with a heavy thud, his bruised shoulder indicating it’s barred from the other side!
Aiyanna notices Lexon hit the trap door, “Bust it!” she cries.
Lexon plows into the trap door and there is a crack as it busts open.
Seeing Lexon head towards the roof. Learis will start to pry the window open; a whip-crack noise accompanies a spray of splinters and layers of paint chips that shower the side of the building as the frame loosens violently
AIyanna remains on the warehouse side until Learis and Lil enter the fishery window
Meanwhile, on the roof, Lexon sees a very startled looking child figure, dressed in oily black rags and a leather turban. It is armed with a hand crossbow. Without missing a beat he fires! The bolt plants itself next to Lexon and the figure makes a sprinter’s start from crouching to panther-like dash across to the north!
Learis recites the words to a spell in her mind, preparing to cast shield as she climbs through
With the deadly precision of a hunter, Learis swings out and in one fluid motion flips up onto the roof of the fishery!
“Guys I’m pursuing!” Lexon runs full speed.
“Dammit” Aiyanna crosses the gangplank after Learis leaps to the roof, “What’s inside, Lil? Can you squeeze through?” She casts her eyes to the roof, “Or should we all go up?”
With ungraceful tromps, Lexon beats it over the rooftop of the warehouse, headed north. The black-clad urchin reloads swiftly and is making a full bore leap for the Fishery roof. Lexon follows after and hurls himself across the span between the buildings. His legs windmill wildly trying to maintain his momentum, and he hits the fishery roof with a surprising grace
The second waif has made the center of the fishery roof and is crouched there, manipulating something with one hand, and with hand crossbow at ready in the other. His attention split between the roof, and his pursuers.
The two children are dressed more like proper infiltrators, all in blacks and browns— head and faces covered, and handling their weapons like professionals.
Lil moves to help the fight on the roof, she jumps and grabs the eave of the fishery roof, but can’t get enough purchase on the soggy shingles. She dangles there, her legs swaying with the effort.
Learis mutters the words to a spell, as a line of runes appears on her blade, in an instant, the runes almost seem to unscrew. As the runes stretch, so does the blade, and she swings her arm in a wide whipping arc, snapping her wrist at the last moment, the blade snaking out like a silvery lash and wraps around the waif’s arm! With a smirk of satisfaction and a sudden yank, he is flipped over entirely and onto his back. As the bale returns to its normal shape, Learis stalks towards him.
Below, Aiyanna watches Lil struggle to hoist herself up, and looks inside the window and sees a factory floor. There are about a dozen sad little orphans working the various vats and churns and cutting tables for making fish slurry. She tests the window, but it won’t budge.
Learis is now standing next to the prone waif. As she approaches he levels his hand crossbow, “Put it down,” she warns, “I don’t want to, but I will kill you if you make me.”
“You too kid,” Lexon growls, “drop it or we will take you down.”
Aiyanna listens intently to the battle above, hoping that her sister and new allies are ok.
She is trying to stay out of sight while observing the inner workings of the fishery. Hoping to see Lamm, or one of his lackeys.
The waif in the center of the roof, prone and next to Learis, bangs on a trap door entrance there. Learis can see that there is a puzzle lock made out of sliding wood blocks.
And he fires his hand crossbow at Learis! The bolt lodges directly in her face, and loosens two teeth as it wedges in the jawbone!
The kid nearest to Lexon attempts to scurry away, "I warned you kid,” Lexon shrugs as he punch-strikes the kid with the head of his earthbreaker. The kid sways for a moment on unsteady feet before tumbling face-down onto the roof, “Should have stayed down kid.” Lexon says.
The waif in the center of the rooftop lolls his head with the force of Learis’s blow, but the damage is done! Laeris is seeing red from the seriousness of the shot.
The combat is clearly over as he begins to plead for his life. Laeris notices something now— the “child” is really a gnome. His pointy little ear sticking out from a disheveled turban.
A huge wave of relief floods through her at the realization. She pulls out a potions of cure light wounds and drinks it.
“Shall we question them?” Lexon asks flipping his over seeing that they are a gnome as well.
Aiyanna tries to stifle her panic as the silence after the combat stretches on…
Lil is grunting as she keeps trying to climb up but failing.
“Lexon, can you help pull her up please”
Obligingly, Lexon hoists the dwarf onto the roof and returns to the clobbered gnome; he disarms them and takes the weapons.
One is still conscious and looks quite concerned and is nursing a severe wound to his torso.
He allows himself to be disarmed and is completely cooperative.
Learis points her sword at the dazed one at her feet. “Lil, search him for weapons please. Then we will tie them up.”
Aiyanna makes her way to the edge of the roof and stage whispers over the eaves, “Guys?”
“Are you ok? Guys?!?”
Lil searches for weapons, setting aside valuables and trinkets. She sucks her teeth in glee as she pulls their weapons free, and digs out a small pile of coins, a small gemstone, some tools, a disguise kit, “Oooh, a pretty garnet!” She exclaims, holding the gemstone up to the light, before returning her attention to the rest of their gear, “A key! This is probably to something important!”
“We’re okay. It’s clear now Aiyanna.” Learis calls over the side of the roof, as she examines the key.
Aiyanna tries to hoist herself onto the roof. Her she mutters a quiet invocation and her fingers start glowing with energy as she brushes the debris from her clothes, leaving the faintest hints of glowing runes where her hands pass. Satisfied at her appearance, she joins the rest of the group. She quickly surveys the scene and kneels next to the one bleeding out, and tries to staunch the wounds. Her relief that they are gnomes instead of children is evident on her face.
Aiyanna squats on her haunches next to Hookshanks, “This is unfortunate for you,” She shakes her head sadly, "You’ve put us in a terrible position. Now we have to decide what to do with you.
“We can’t have you warning your boss,” she continues, “and we can’t just slit your throats,” she pauses and looks at Learis, “Well, we can, but I don’t want to. It’s messy.”
Learis glares down at him as she rubs her jaw, then shrugs. " we could just leave them tied up and toss them into the water. Let whatever that creature was have them.
“That would be a lot less messy…..for us anyway.”
“See, you pissed her off. Now she’s mad, and that’s not going to end well for you. You shot her. In the face.” She sighs, “I don’t want to toss you in the river, but you shot her in the face. If she had died, we’d be having a much different discussion.”
“Well I have an idea,” Lexon interjects.
Learis glares at her sister, before walking away a few steps.
“So you put me in an interesting place,” Aiyanna continues, “I don’t want to see you killed necessarily, but I don’t really mind if you died.” She steeples her fingers and presses them to her lips, “So what do you say we do about it?”
In an exasperated voice Learis turns to Lexon. “No, you cant eath these ones either!”
“Rude I’m barely orc.” He frowns.
Learis turns back to the gnome. “What is this key for? And where is Lamm hiding?”
“There’s a cabinet in the offices, upstairs.,” Hookshanks hisses through gritted teeth, “Lamm stays downstairs mostly, and never leaves the building.”
“And whats in the cabinet?”
“Coinage,” the gnome snarls, “measured after the cutpurses hand it over to Yargin”
“And Yargin?” Learis prods, “which office is his?”