They wait for a while, but eventually see Rosza and her gang cohorts come downstairs and depart, though Zeru notes some tells in Rosza’s manner that indicates she has little tolerance for the gang, especially the large man leading them who doesn’t realise how close to danger he is by slapping her backside and being familiar; so Geesje begins her tailing mission. After a while, Geesje sees Rosza stop and overhears the Cassezan Gunslinger request the money due her, and after a surprised standoff, the leader of this bunch of Hatchets tosses her a bagful of moneys and gives his head a rueful shake as the sassy Rosza struts off down some nearby alleyways. The gangmembers continue on their way, but Geesje keeps following Rosza, making certain not to be seen, though the dark and unlit alleyways Rosza goes through makes this easy.
Geesje notes it is heading towards the Murk, and sure enough near one of the canals that separates the Murk from the GaartenKwarteer, Rosza waits for a while, until some figures come from the canal to talk to her. Geesje recognises them as being gang-members of the Canal Rats, who engage Rosza in conversation; Geesje can hear a little, and establishes that Rosza may have been acting as an agent provocateur to stir up trouble between the Hockers and the Merry Hatchets. She is paid with what seems to be a single coin that glints oddly in what little light is available, like one side of it is shiny and one is not. At this, the Canal Rats turn and head back to the canal, whilst Rosza walks boldly towards the nearest rickety bridge over the canal and into the Murk, for all the world like it was a walk in a summers day. Geesje decides to follow into the Murk, and would have continued had the following 2 not distracted her by a thrown dart (they have more respect for the Murk, especially at night). In truth, Geesje may have elected to stop anyways, as she saw briefly what appeared to be 2 prostitutes being chased by a gang of masked and cloaked figures wielding nets and mancatchers.
Geesje relays what she had seen to Zeru and Skal, and they all wonder if the coin thrown was a mark of The Guild of Red and Gold, and Zeru in particular wonders what has gotten into his erstwhile partner and “other”. With a few things to think about, they elect to head back to The Petal House and get some sleep for the next day.
On the 2nd of the Mid of Spring, 520 AC
The morning comes, and as is typical, means different things to our heroes. The afternoon may have the funeral of Romus Tachthorne but they have things to do in the morning. Fullica has work to attend to and heads off to The Kaastig University, but her journey there is marked by Brandt falling into step with her as she heads down the busying street. He has an offer for her and her “friends”, with some likely danger but good remuneration, namely 100 Gold Crowns each in advance plus a 50/50 share of the spoils (50 to him, the rest divvied up as they see fit). All they need do is go to an address in the GaartenKwarteer near the Murk to investigate what has happened to one of his supply facilities, for he has heard nothing from it for a couple of weeks and has seen or heard nothing of the people who worked there. He leaves that with Fullica and disappears into the crowd as is his way. She carries on and spends her morning supervising her underlings and doing her work.
Zeru, Skal and Geesje have a later lie in though rising in time to get some breakfast. Geesje manages to seek out and find the possibility of employment with the best (and likeliest only) Bowyer/Fletcher in town, whilstSkal and Zeru rest up in the Petal House awaiting time to leave for the funeral. Jorik meanwhile prepares for the funeral service in the afternoon with the aid of Reverend Moebius Kolaak. The afternoon comes, and so does the service, with the heroes in attendance, along with Calliszia Myinarra, Padron Baddros and his family, some wellwishers who briefly knew Romus in his short time in the GaartenKwarteer and lastly Korvuus, who wishes to show his respects to what appears to have been a good man. Jorik performs a good service, with good quotations from scripture and also a good delivery. During this, it is noted that a man (a lawyer seemingly) sits at the back quietly watching this all happen. Also, Skal notes Korvuus wandering amongst the stones and trees of the graveyard, seeming to stop and maybe speak awhile near a clump of bushes next to a headstone.
After the funeral service and the burial, a wake is held in the church hall, and during this as the mourners mingle, Reverend Moebius has heated words with the lawyer, who it turns out is here to claim the signet ring of Romus’. The ring is handed over and the lawyer departs, though seems to trip and turn his ankle on the church path outside before he limps out into the street.
In the hall, the heroes catch up with Fullica and they indulge in some catching up asnd also speculation on exactly who House Tachthorne are and why the retrieval of Romus’ signet ring is so important to them. Fullica resolves to investigate soon in the largest library in all of Heidelgard, but after this draws them outside to discuss a work proposal.
Whilst outside, sharp eyed Geesje notes something glinting on the memorial stone of Romus, and upon investigation finds the signet ring the lawyer was supposed to walking away with; what it’s doing there and how it came to be there are mysteries for another day, as Fullica starts her explanation of the job offer. Geesje pockets the ring for now until something can be agreed upon on what to do with it. The job offer is relayed to the paty who agree to it, for it’s good money for hopefully a short days work. They agree to do it on the next days afternoon, that being best for them and their various personal endeavours. Calliszia stays at the church for now, as she has offered to perform some discrete medical aid to a few people in the parish, and Jorik will remain as well, and willing to escort her home in the evening once her work is completed.
The others decide to head home, and since they all live in the same direction, accompany each other as safety in numbers. Zeru also decides that they might need a few odds and ends en route and has heard of one of the best (if that can ever truly be the word) pawnbrokers lies on their path, a place called Bleeks Goods and Pawnbrokerage. They stop by the old seeming and dingy shop, narrow fronted yet inside quite deep. Goods and items of almost limitless kind and interest line the shelves and walls, and they see several customers speaking to the various clerks, whilst the debonair figure of Hieronius Bleek stands behind the main counter, drinking some spiced coffee. He has a number of things to sell, though a decent disguise kit is sold to Zeru (including various costumes and outfits). Geesje buys some good woodworking and fletching tools, and Skals eyes are drawn to a large 2 handed sword on display behind the counter. It’s his if he can find 250 Gold Crowns, and with this in mind, he and the others leave, though it is the kind of establishment they could spend a lot longer in there. Before they leave, Fullica is looking through the small library of books for sale, and as she does so it appears Bleek knows of her, as he murmurs that they have a mutual acquaintance; also that he has a more select library viewable to those of discernment and wealth. Fullica thinks on this but says little in return.
The evening is spent in different ways, with Skal keeping order in the Petal House and preventing some violence to Essy Kreutzlin, one of the working girls. The miscreant is a sailor so terrified by Skals intervention that he wets himself before being bodily thrown into the canal. His crewmates apologise to Essy and some even give her some coin by way of an apology before they leave. Calliszia is escorted home by Jorik and a couple of the Parish Militia, and a pleasant evening is had by all at the House. Korvuus takes Skal aside at one point and says that a little bird tells him that Skal and the party have a job planned, and discretely gives Skal a scroll-case with several scrolls inside, suggesting he gives these to Jorik, they may help and they are (probably) not heretical.
Fullica spends the evening in one of the Kaastig Universities libraries looking up information on House Tachthorne, and it makes for unsettling reading, being as they are one of the most powerful Houses within The Marcher Principalities; indeed, they have married into some of the Houses and families of Toralden and have a number of members within the Society, especially the Hand of the Society. It also turns out that Romus was the second son of Prince Kaszikin Tachthorne, the elderly yet formidable patriarch of the House. Romus seems to have been somewhat prodigal and a very different person to what his family are or wanted him to be. They have much influence in the east, but not so much in Heidelgard, thankfully. She goes home after this to spend the remains of the evening in study and reflection.
On the 3rd of the Mid of Spring, 520 AC
That morning sees Fullica perform her duties at the University, Skal rest from his work the night before with Geesje and Zeru resting up and preparing their weapons and tools for the afternoon. Jorik meanwhile, has an important appointment to attend, being as he must press his case for the local Society and the Cardinals Office to allow the Conclave for the Non Afiliated Churchfolk to proceed. He heads off with his best clothes on and arrives at the Cathedral, a towering edifice and an imposing example of Society might. He is almost late after being stopped and queried by almost every Hand soldier and templar, and only by the good hearted intervention of one of the Hand Paladins is he able to make the meeting on time. Within, he meets with one Kyralli Huikstenn, and pleads his case after some welcomed coffee and some debate and discourse of a theosophical bent; sadly, he makes little headway for now and feeling that he has made a right mess of things, elects to depart quickly, leaving a somewhat bemused Society Reverend-Sister returning to her work.
The party assemble in the afternoon at a popular meeting place under a church-tower in the SchaapsKwarteer, and then make their way to the site of the house and cellar they are to investigate. This part of the GaartenKwarteer they arrive at is a largely deservted one, with ruined buildings in the streets and the canals being especially foul smelling and stygian. Supposed rumours of plague and a general accursed nature prevents idle travellers and passers by, and so they arrive at the address indicated with no witnesses and no trouble. They locate the cellar in the kichen floor, well disguised from above and also reasonably close to the main canal nearby. Fullica manages some excellent work to open the lock, with some good engineering advice from Skal, and opening the trapdoor brings the smell of the canal from below, for it seems the small room below has some subsidence and the westerly part of the room is under a foot or so of foul canal water. They also note that a shattered wooden ladder once allowed passage downwards, but judging by the bloody smears on the splintered remains, something bad may have happened to it and its former users.
They make their way into the gloom with lights ready, and begin their investigations. Broken and usable weapons are in evidence, none with blood on them, and the 2 doors from this room (one on the western wall, one on the south eastern corner) show signs of being violently assaulted by something that may have had claws, teeth, slime and tentacles involved. There is also evidence that the westerly door may lead to some kind of alchemical lab, judging by the smells from it.
They press on into the cellar, fearing the worst, and see signs of a violent bloody struggle with barricades made from furniture smashed aside, more weapons broken and unbroken, and even find the arm of what once was a large man, still clutching a fine looking sword. The sword is taken, and they carry on. They find stores and supplies that still may have value, and also 2 more labs at the easternmost part of the area, though one is locked from inside by a secure door and the other a seeming narcotics lab. They manage to open the locked door and the faint whiff of poisons and other things comes from within, as they find the 3 bodies of a woman and 2 men in the far corner, slumped around a lantern long extinguished. As they quietly check the area, they hear a long sibilant hiss in the darkness back from the way they came, accompanied by some kind of slimy movement. They quickly close and lock the door, leaving (for now) the sounds outside, but trapping them in this poisoners laboratory. Judging by the lack of blood on the weapons seen (except from a small trace on the fine sword they found) and the signs of great strength displayed in the tracks and details, whatever comes is formidable, and by the lack of bodies about, likely hungry…