It was midday. Ozman, Cyril and Altadore left the hospital’s east wing after wishing Mr. Io good health and a fast recovery. The team was left with enticing clues and were incrementally piecing together some fascinating lore… yet were still flummoxed as to what to do. They convened by a fruit stand looking south off Market Spire and took a moment to review what they knew:
- Over the past several weeks/months there had been a large influx of money into the cities underworld
- Gang activity (extortion, blackmail, and bribery) continues to expand throughout the city
- The Navy continues to lose vessels at sea
All the evidence was leading to Bico. Is he a distant relative of the last of the Storm Crows? Mastermind of their resurgence?
To the group, confronting Bico directly seemed too bold a move at this stage of the hunt. Indeed it was felt that they would be greatly outnumbered should they try a direct approach. The option of infiltration was mute for Bico seemed to know the group’s identities, in unnerving detail. Over the course of what seemed like hours it struck them. What if there was another way into the Leaning Lady? The spires of Tela Tal’Fyn are rumoured to be riddled with hidden passage ways and covert entrances and exits. Perhaps they could access Bico’s through stealth and subterfuge? Such a tactic would certainly be keeping with the group’s inimitable style.
But where to start? How could they find such a passage? The group devised a plan whereby they would impersonate Structural Engineers and “inspect” the buildings surrounding Bico’s Bar. With luck, they may find a hidden passage. After some exceptional acting Cyril convinced the lead Archivist of the National Archives (Tela Tal Fyn Chapter), to show the team what an official City Inspection Permit looked like, which they forged forthwith.
Armed with their phoney inspection permit and some city-worker livery, of which Cyril found rather discomfiting, the group set forth to find truth in these fabled hidden passages. The first target that required “structural integrity assessment” was a small beaten-down shack just below The Leaning Lady. After knocking on the door they were greeted by an aged human who was rather nonplussed about the possibility that his house may be in danger. Unfortunately, this building was found to be detached from the rock face and so no such passage would be found here. The ploy was not in vain, however, for the gentleman knew of an old wooden door just down the walkway from his home. Perhaps this could help the group in their “inspection”?
The team found the door easily enough. Sequestered into the rock wall along a rickety rope walkway hanging off the spire wall it was large, old, and quite effectively locked. Made of fire-hardened Oak and Maple it would not be easily (or quietly) chopped down, much to Altadore’s disappointment. Ozman inspected the lock for traps and, with a LOT of luck, found a tiny hole just above the keyhole whereby a dart or something similar could be triggered to fire upon the unwary. This clearly called for someone with lock picking skills… and a set of lock picks, neither of which was in good supply. Ozman opined that his father may know where to obtain such tools and so they headed to his parents house. As they were walking down the alley Ozman noticed a rather unexpected sight. A Warmech, standing nonchalantly against the side of a house, was obviously watching the Court household. Ozman led the group past the observer and then doubled back through another entrance to his parent’s house so as not to be seen. The group advised Ozman’s parents of the Warmech outside however they had already noticed him and were not concerned. Ozman advised that such observance may not be in the family’s best interest and they should be cautious. Ozman then discussed with his father the need for lock picks and he immediately recommended the group speak to Hamath, quartermaster of the Solan Warders. Hamath was happy to oblige the prodigal son of Mr. Court and so the group eagerly returned to the large door to try their luck. And luck they would need for the group had limited experience with picking locks. But how hard could it be? Ozman felt he may be their best bet so upon finding the door again he made his first attempt. This proved to be an abysmal failure. Indeed, such was the ineptitude of his fingers there was immediately the distinct sound of another lock, likely a dead bolt, falling into place behind the door. Curses! Ozman, undeterred, made a second attempt and this time had much greater success. Alas, the door was stolidly, mockingly, heart-crushing locked tight. The team would not be gaining access to Bico’s this way.
Suddenly there came the hurried sounds of feet running and shouts of, “Their trying to get in the door!” The dice had been rolled and lady luck was off having a piss. Quickly Ozman, Cyril, and Altadore retreated across the bridge to another spire with their pursuers close behind.
The group just had time to find some cover when four slightly armoured, and familiar, men clambered down the bridge towards them. Indeed, three of the group were the same humans that had been watching them at The Brass Flask. Taking full advantage of the element of surprise Ozman and Cyril made quick work of the first of them, downing the poor sod before he could even cry out in alarm. Altadore, making excellent use of his new bow, harried the foes still on the bridge with covering fire. With the élan of a Sylvan Warder he knocked them prone with a finely placed concussion barrage, critically wounding one of them.
The largest of the 3 remaining foes attained even ground with Ozman and Cyril and moved in to engage. Cyril had other plans and summarily disarmed the brute, tossing his sword over the precipice as if it were a piece of wood. After some initial shock at the efficiency of his disarmament he brazenly grappled with Ozman instead. Locked together they tumbled to the ground. With calm desperation Ozman cast Force Push, not entirely sure it would help disengage his attacker. It did. Very well in fact. The brawler flew 20 feet through the air and over the cliff edge. His shriek of surprise changed to howls of helpless terror, which faded as he fell, and were suddenly silenced.
Meanwhile, Altadore continued to harass the remaining two attackers on the bridge, quickly sending one to an early grave. The last, grievously wounded, surrendered. With little need for coercion the prisoner told how there were only a few remaining guards in Bico’s bar. Perhaps lady luck had returned from her ablutions, for this was a great opportunity! If the back door could not be opened perhaps the direct approach was now a viable option. Indeed it would have to suffice, for they were now left with no other options.