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The Unusual Suspects

A Five Finger Discount

Captain’s Log- X.X 608AR

The excitement of mercenary life never seems to ebb away. After our recent trials involving Vladimir, I thought the Wild Cats could use a job a bit more routine: escorting a fellow merc alchemist and her alchemical delivery to the Five Fingers. Five Fingers, last time I wallowed in that sty I ended up fighting off giant crabs in my undercloths after that rogue absconded with my pants. Ah but I was a different man then, different name and different problems. Regardless I’d keep a sharp eyye out for the Cats in 5ingers. So our wayward alchemist Serellia turned out to be a punkish Nyssian (both in nature and appearance) on her own for some reason. At least the pale skins show less open rancor for mortal magicks. Twas a rather uneventful trip south truth be told and our new associate wasn’t much for sharing, good to be on Ord soil again though.

Arrived in 5ingers and promptly handed over the sloshing package before retiring to a tavern I remember as not being entirely shit filled. After a few ales, fists started flying but faithful Fritz protected the booze as the Wildcats enjoyed a little downtime. That is until a bombshell (quite literally!) of a woman chased Mag back to our table and quite rudely requested her and our pleasures to meet with “the Captain”. Captain Finneas O’Shea that is. Apparently the infamous O’Shea and our Mag go back aways and she does work on the side for his “organization” from time to time. An intriguing development but the Captain was quite fascinating. One who depends on his own strength, yet looks out for his own and values loyalty while forsaking fealty. Quite “Admiral” I must say. Anyways, O’Shea had a job for Mag’s more… subtle skills involving Mercury Lines rutter navigational tools and their acquisition. After some free booze we took our leave, and Mag spent the next few evenings practicing her crafts in pursuit of the Cap’n’s rutters.

Meanwhile, myself and the Cats took on a new contract from Jim over at the Shield Breakers- rescuing a Morrowan priest’s family from some Thaumarite cultists. The client, Gregor Hildeland, told us they’d been abducted while he was on service and if he didn’t bring a 10,000g bounty by week’s end, it would be their end. Of course we assured him this wouldn’t be the case, not with the Wild Cats on the job. We set out to examine the decrepit Morrowan church the ransom was to be dropped off at and discovered a strange obsidian “mirror” of sorts. Investigation with Vasiliy’s sources uncovered that this Mirror could only be penetrated by Thaumarite faithful and was looking to be where our captives were being held. Now, how were we going to get in? Serellia, who had agreed to come along as a trial member of the company, and I agreed that to find a Thaumarite who’d help us, we needed to find an enemy of those who captured the family in the first place. Questioning Gregor, it seemed that the major Nicodemus was one of his prominent antagonists, and thus we decided to begin examining him and potentially his opponents. Vasiliy once again came through with a social event the major would be at that very evening. Taking Serellia along as backup (cleverly disguised as a woman) they infiltrated and brokered a meeting for the following evening with the major to discuss Vasiliy’s “dark leanings”. All the while Mag infiltrated and acquired a “spare” rutter, Fritz worked on his smithing, and I studied and fretted. The next evening Fritz and Mag went off to make a switch, while the meeting with the major occurred. He knew the real purpose and agreed to release the woman and daughter if Gregor left and never returned. While reluctant at first, after explaining that the major was a major Power (capital P) and that Gregor could help his Cause more by explaining this to his order, he agreed to be led away and allow us to procure his family. 1000 coins in the pocket and perhaps now those baseless childnapping bastards will get their eventual comeuppance. Either way the Wild Cats get paid and get out of town. Maybe our next contract can be at a spa retreat. A man can dream.
-Ved’ma

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Deserter's Due
Bleeding Hearts and Bleeding Bodies

Jhordhold,
Heinrich and Nina

Greetings Parents,

I hope this letter finds you well. We have just completed another contract and we have some free time in Korsk while Boris looks for more work. I am beginning to accompany him more often when he negotiates contracts. He is a noble man worthy of my service but he has of late been pursuing contracts that put our charter at odds with his morality. During discussions I am probing the employer to ensure that we don’t take a job Boris will regret later, as I feel this prior job has.

The Khadorans tasked us with tracking down a deserter to their Empress. He was to be killed in an ignoble manner so all traces of his deed vanished. The journey through the interior of Khador went without incident. We stopped at an inn on the border of occupied Llael. I asked the owner of the establishment, a veteran of the Umbrey unification, about out fugitive. I suppose my stature and bluntness put him off but thankfully little sister Margaret came to my aid and secured information.

The deserter and his band cadre of followers had left to the south on a road with an active group of highwaymen. Boris determined that the best course of action would be to question them to see if they had more information. The bandits were stations on top of a hill in the shadow of a ruined temple to one of the human gods. Mags reconnoitered the bandit camp. Boris discussed our plan of attack. Mags and Vasiliy would approach from the west through a woods while Boris and I approached from the south entrance to attempt to reason with the bandits.

Boris attempted to parlay with the highwaymen but that was met with a warning shot and foul language. In response Boris decimated one of their guards with a sorcerous blast. The other charged at me. More of the scum poured from the temple and swarmed me. Boris was able to thin their ranks as the approached. Mags and Vasiliy distracted even more of them with pistol and knives. Faced with so many foes my concern was staying alive for every hit I landed it seemed like they landed five. Boris’ words of encouragement invigorated me and I fought through the pain and eventually slew all but one of the bandits before me. While Boris was relying on me to keep the masses at bay he moved into position to lend magical protection to the rest of our band. Mags was a blur of movement, parrying with her sword, swiping, stabbing, and finally chasing the wounded while throwing knife after knife into the fleeing bandits. The last bandit engaged with me wisely surrendered.

While Boris and Vasiliy interrogated the prisoner I helped Mags look for buried trinkets. She had found something by the ruined altar but I wasn’t able to get a look at it. The prisoner revealed that they had seen a party of heavily armed travelers. They had taken a fork towards Ferringrad, a small community surrounding an iron pit mine. The bandits did not attempt to harass the Iron Fangs. Boris offered to spare the man’s life if he renounced his chosen path and live a good meaningful life. He agreed and after being stripped of his weapons of war was sent on his way north. After a brief respite at the bandit’s camp we pressed on to Ferringrad.

As we approached the town we found signs of a recent conflict. Half the settlement seemed to be destroyed. As we entered the town we were met by a group of haggard looking men. They wanted nothing to do with us. Boris tried to reason with them but after it seemed only violence awaited us we withdrew from the town. We made camp a good distance away from Ferringrad to discuss our options. Vasiliy and little sister would infiltrate the town under cover of darkness. We had camped too far away to be of any help to them so we would follow them to the edge of the town and be close enough to support them if the need arose.

We never made it to town. Out of the darkness I was slammed back into Boris and into a tree. A voice called out demanding we leave. This was the man we were sent to execute. Boris refused to back down and fighting broke out. As the dwarfs from Hammerfall can attest the Pikes used by the Iron Fangs are deadly. They explode when they strike. I don’t remember much of what happened next. I know that Mags and Vasiliy had gone unnoticed. While Boris and I were engaging the gun mage and his cohort they flanked the unwary Iron Fangs and wreaked havoc. I wasn’t as lucky and taken down by a series of explosions. Boris kept the remaining foes from killing me with sorcerous bolts of power. My three allies made short work of the remaining Iron fangs before our target surrendered. Vasiliy kept watch while Mags and Boris pactched me up.

Boris and I took the captive back to our camp while Vasiliy and little sister would keep watch to ensure we had no more surprises. Boris was told our prisoner’s story. He had deserted because his town had been raided by his own government. The people of Ferringrad were starving so they held on to their shipments of iron. The Khador High Command was not happy and sent a force to reclaim their iron. The town’s folk had hoped to use the iron as a bargaining piece for more food. This seemed to backfire as the army burned half the village as a warning and took the iron from them. Our foe had left the front lines with men he trusted to try and protect what remained of Ferringrad. Things like this make me thankful the Great Clans respect our citizens.

Boris and his noble heart began to search for a way to spare the gun mage. I reminded him our contract required proof of his death, a tattoo magically placed on the gun mage’s arm. Boris wanted to take the arm but leave the man. I told him how dangerous this was; if High Command found out we had let him live our Charter would be revoked, we would never find more work, and their army would surely come after us. Boris wasn’t swayed and clung to the value of life and the nobility of our captive. I too hoped for a peaceful solution but unfortunately there was no way to do so safely under the terms of our contract. The one minor grace we would be able to accomplish for our prisoner was our promise that we would sell his rare magelock to buy food and provision for Ferringrad for the coming winter.

I recalled little sister and Vasiliy and explained this situation to them. Vasiliy surprised us all by invoking his position as a lord of Umbrey and executing our prisoner. None of us are native Khadorans so we never thought anything of his name. For a man who talks little, he knows how to make his words count. After we recovered from the shock we asked him if he could use his name to ensure that the supplies purchased from the magelock would reach the town. He gave us his word. There was little to do after except head to Korsk to earn our reward.

Boris was sullen for most of the trip back. I think this situation reminded him of the past he rarely speaks of. Though I was in a lot of pain, I managed not to slow the group down on the return trip. Vasiliy as usual didn’t say much. I’m considering making throwing daggers for Mags between jobs as she seems to obsess over retrieving them after use.

Your faithful son,
Fritz

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Dastardly Deserters
The Adventure Begins With Dark Deeds

The Khadoran Military High Command Has reached out to the ShieldBreaker Mercenary CO to hire a discreet group to hunt down a group of deserters. These men and women are Iron Fangs and as such their cowardice brings shame to the empire. In the interest of secrecy the Empress would prefer outsiders to hunt them down as not to draw attention to their dissent.

Vladimir Gosovic and his officers were last seen heading Northeast across occupied Lael towards the Protectorate…

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