Web of Velvet and Steel

A Journey to Montaigne

In the weeks following Bianca’s attempted capture, our heroes found themselves free to explore their own interests while awaiting the completion of their mighty ship. Orfeo, who had always had a place in his heart for music, decided to learn how to play the guitar. Knowing that Don Diego was a composer, he worked with him to learn. Meanwhile, Diego took up the violin. After obtaining a moderated amount of skill, Orfeo and Diego sought out a guitar player they had seen once before at the Powder Keg Bar. Upon meeting with Angelina, the three decided to form a musical group known as La Sparde.

As the final night before their voyage across the sea approached, the heroes gathered at the Powder Keg for a night of drinking and revelry. This final night in Vodacce would also mark La Sparde’s first public performance. Well into the night, Bianca, having already consumed a sizable amount of liquor, was convinced to sing a song to welcome the band to the stage. Soon after, the band began to play, and there was much rejoicing.

It was at the highest point in the nigh the dastardly Alfredo made a very unwelcome intrusion into the bar accompanied by several of his closest men, and quite frankly, ruined everyone’s evening. He demanded for Bianca to be handed over too him. Orfeo, drunk and upset, stepped down from the stage. In an attempt to get the men to leave, he nodded to Diego, and smashed a guard with his guitar. Taking the cue, Diego and Angelina struck up a song. Elise stepped in to defend her love. Alfredo took her challenge and drew his sword. Taking his opening stance, it was Elise that would strike first. Orfeo, who had agreed to be Elise’s second, stood close by. Near the fight’s end, he heard a whisper of allegiance and felt a pistol placed into his had. With a furry of strikes and parries, the battle ended in Elise’s favor, the scoundrel Alfredo on the ground. Furious at his loss, Alfredo pulled a pistol from his coat and took aim at Bianca. Orfeo reacted quickly and decisively, and shot Alfredo before he could pull the trigger. Alfredo’s wounds overtook him, and he lost consciousness. His men picked him up and took him out of the bar, and the party continued well in to the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, our heroes boarded their brand new ship known as the Foxbane. Four cannons rested upon the deck, and a prow ram had been fitted to the front. Vodaccan ship builders were a particularly superstitious lot. They had done everything they knew how to imbue the Foxbane with a certain amount of Luck to her. During the voyage, the crew and the heroes enjoyed fair weather for most of the trip. On the third night of sailing, the ship battled her first storm, and came trough it without a scratch.

Arriving in Montaigne, Thors decided to stay with the ship while the rest of our heroes rented a carriage on the docks for passage into the city. The road winded through the Montainge countryside creating a beautiful landscape.

About halfway up the road, Orfeo, ever vigilant, heard a peculiar noise up around a corner. Requesting for the carriage to stop, he dismounted his horse, and moved ahead quietly on foot. He discovered another carriage, much more expensive than their own, being ransacked by highwaymen. Running back to his horse, he informed his friends of the scene up ahead. Draken and Orfeo rode at a gallop to the robbery, while Don Diego decided to walk. Elise stayed with Bianca in the carriage to protect her in case any more men were to appear. Riding at full speed Orfeo closed in on a man pointing a pistol into the carriage. Leaping from his horse, Orfeo drew his knife mid air and landed on the man, pierced the man’s neck, killing him instantly. Standing up, Orfeo drew his sword and turned to face the other men. Draken fought with men on the other side of the carriage. One nervously demanded surrender after seeing his friends go down. On the other side of the carriage, Orfeo made quick work of the bandits, leaving only the two leaders, who surrendered promptly.

It was just about this time that Don Diego’s walk came to an end. He arrived at the battle precisely at its end. Diego and Orfeo opened the carriage to find three people inside, grateful for their help in defeating the bandits. In the carriage was Donadieu Deneuve du Surlign, the court composer at Château du Soleil, Madelene Prevoye, a young violin prodigy, and her father Alphonse Prevoye. They invited the heroes to stay in the Château du Soleil while they were in Montaigne. Graciously accepting, the heroes regrouped and rode into the city with the other carriage.

To be continued….

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Blood Bindings

As the earth continued to shake, dislodging sections of the building, and damaging the support structures, the Heroes continued to search through the crumbling Manor house, looking for any Syrneth artifacts that could uncover. Orfeo recommended that the Heroes’ should look for any way to access the lower levels, as any secure locations that Donatello had constructed within his home were almost certainly located there.

The Heroes soon found a staircase that lead to the lower levels of the Mansion, but also heard the muffled sounds of several men below. Orfeo drew his rapier and decided to scout ahead stealthily. Peering around the corner, he saw a man kneeling before a large metal door at the other end of a vast room. Filling the room were groups of rough looking sailors. As quiet as he was trying to be, The Invisible Machines of Murphy made an appearance, and his foot dislodged a rock, which bounced and roll noisily into the room. The Sailors noticed his presence and immediately attacked.

The man by the door spun around, drawing a pistol as he turned and, with an explosive cracking, fired a shot, which slammed with brutal precision into Orfeo. He immediately dropped his spent pistol, draw another, and fired again, the shot’s impact threw Orfeo into the wall. Hearing the commotion below Elise and Thors immediately charged down the steps, rushing to Orfeo’s aid. A group of sailors quickly leapt upon Orfeo, attempting to wrestle him to the ground and remove him from the action. Their efforts were in vain, as the combined efforts of Orfeo and Elise soon had them unconscious on the ground. Thors screamed his battle cry and leap, swinging his axe in a mighty down arc, cleaving through sailors as he landed in the middle of the Melee.
The Castillian, Don Diego ran down the stairs, vaulting over the remaining men atop Orfeo and ran straight at the man by the door, his rapier stabbing deeply into the man’s arm. Dräken finally managed to force his way down the steps, and as he rushed past the melee on the steps his fist lashed out, taking the last of the sailors atop Orfeo out of the fight.

Seeing the damage that the man at the door was inflicting on his friends, Thors seized the two remaining sailors that had survived his assault, and with a cry that shook the room, hurled the sailors at their captain, knocking them all unconscious. The three remaining sailors quickly dropped their weapons and surrendered.

The battle completed, and the building continuing to crumble around them, the Heroes turned their attention to the Iron door. Thors’ attempts to break open the door met with continued failure, and his attempt to destroy the lock with one of the Captain’s pistols resulted in a ricochet, that struck Orfeo, the blood loss finally sending him crashing down into unconsciousness.

While Elise attended to the medical needs of Orfeo, helping prevent him from bleeding to death, and doing her best, successfully, to return him to consciousness, Don Diego picked up the set of lockpicks that the Captain had been working with, and turned his attention to the door. After a short time he announced that he had managed to pick the lock, and the Heroes entered the vault, discovering a trove of artifacts they were certain Caligari would desire. Dräken unwittingly put on a glove made of Chitin, which bound to his hand. They gathered the artifacts together, secured the unconscious sailors, and managed to make their way out of the trembling building.

The Heroes made it back to the cliff they had climbed up to enter the Manor. Their longboat, secured to the climbing lines, bobbed on the inky water far below them. Orfeo quickly slid down the rope first and maneuvered the boat close to the cliff face. With little time left, the party
discussed how best to transport the artifacts and prisoners to the boat below, but soon overcame those challenges, and set out for their ship, floating in the distance. When the Heroes had crossed half the distance to their ship they heard a terrible rending of rocks behind them, and turned to see the manor and surrounding rocks crumble into the sea, falling into the depths below.

Returning to on the ship, all thing that were found in the castle were given to Bianca. The journey back to Caligari would take two days. On the first day Elise decided to take the 3 men from the castle up on the deck and negotiate with them. Below, Orfeo and Thors were both eager to question the leader. Elise agreed to let the men go free if they would tell her what they knew. Just then, the leader woke up. Thors picked him up and threw him in a chair. The leader insulting the honor of both Orfeo and Thors, spitting in their faces. Thors was outraged. Orfeo tried to calm him, but was not successful. Thors picked up the man and threw him against the wall, causing his neck to break. Orfeo left the brig and went up on deck as Dräken came down to inspect the commotion. Upon inspecting the deceased captain, Dräken announced that he would be watching over the prisoners from then on.

Seeing Elise and the three men up on deck, he went to tell Elise of what happened below. Just then a ship was seen gaining on them flying Villanova flags. The ship fired one cannonball on the party’s ship. The captain, named Zambo managed to pull away from the Villanova ship.

During the next day of sailing, Thors and Orfeo competed to fight against the Zambo for a small sum of money. Thors was victorious in both battles. Once back in Caligari’s domain, Elise let the 3 captured men from the castle take the rowboat for the information they provided. When the ship docked, Dräken wished to release the Villanova men they had captured 4 days before. Orfeo was against this, but was persuaded to agree.

They went to present the Syneth Artifacts to Caligari. However, the chest that contain the Artifacts was now nearly empty, containing only a small Fox figurine, the calling card of the famous thief known as the Night Fox. Embarrassed, the party vowed to track down the thief and retrieve the artifacts for Caligari. For their assistance, Caligari gave them letters, making them all Privateers in his name.

After a few days back in town, for various reasons, all of the party ended up at a local bar known as The Powder Keg. Thors and the Captain from the ship were drinking together. Elise and Bianca were together as well. Dräken struck up a conversation with the Bartender while Orfeo sat in a corner and watched the rest of the bar. Upset with the music that was playing, Diego demanded for something more upbeat. With the entrance of a Castillian guitar player, the bar broke into dance. While Elise and a very drunk Bianca were dancing, Diego attempted to cut in, beginning a Dance of Of the 7th Sea Stars between Diego, Elise, and Bianca. Thors and Zambo took two women upstairs to the first room they could find. Becoming bored sitting back and watching, Orfeo decided to find the most attractive woman he didn’t know, talked to her, pretended to listen, and took her upstairs. After accidentally stumbling upon the room Thors and Zambo were in, he took his girl to another empty room. After the dance of ended, Diego settled for a less attractive woman than Bianca, and went upstairs to another empty room. Elise took Bianca to another empty room for the night, leaving Dräken alone at the bar. With the bar closing, the bartender, gave Dräken a sandwich out of pity.

In the morning, each of the party made their way back down to the bar. Orfeo, who woke early, left out the window of the room he was in to explore the city. Dräken had left the bar the night before and woke up, lost, in a ditch. Thors, Elise, Bianca, and Diego went back to Caligari’s castle.

A few hours after the group made it back to the castle, a scream was heard from Bianca’s room. Elise, Thors, and Diego burst in to see a female figure in a cloak trying to pull Bianca into a bloody hole in space. Diego reacted quickly, shooting the figure with one of the pistols he had acquired in the castle. The figure simply opened a small hole in space, catching the bullet. Elise grabbed onto Bianca attempting to wrestle her away from the figure. Diego shot his final pistol, this time hitting the figure, causing her to drop Bianca. Realizing she was beaten, the figure slipped back into the portal.

Back in the city, Orfeo managed to find Dräken and they began to explore the city, completely unaware of the altercation that had taken place back in the castle….

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Session 2
Seduction and Vendetta

Bianca lead the Heroes out into the streets, informing them their next contact was located in a ruined warehouse along the main canal. As Bianca moved to lead the Heroes towards their goal, Dräken stopped her and recommended a better route that would be more effective in avoiding Villanova patrols. As the Heroes began to follow Dräken through the twisted alleys of Villanova Island, Orfeo hung back to make certain they were not followed and noticed a dark figure hidden in the shadows on the roof of The Courtesan’s Key. The figure’s eyes seemed to glow with blue flames, and then suddenly it moved and disappeared into the shadow’s of the city. Orefo did notice however that various other figures shadowed the Heroes from the rooftops, as they progressed through the city.

Arriving at the warehouse, Bianca gave a staccato knock, the door was opened and she lead the
Heroes into the building. Inside they encountered a figured heavily cloaked and robed in black, it’s hands sheathed in heavy leather gloves. Two swordsmen, wearing masks, flanked the hooded figure. In a rapid flood of Montaigne dialect, Bianca explained the Heroes situation, the figure reacting in anger and annoyance. Elise overheard the figure demand extra money for the unexpected situation and for the requirement of transporting so many individuals in one trip. Bianca hesitated but, having no choice, paid the extra amount demanded. The figure gestured to the Swordsmen and they left the room to prevent anyone from entering until the ritual inside was completed.

The hooded figure removed it’s gloves, and shook it’s arms free from the long concealing sleeves, revealing small feminine hands and arms, bloodstained with the indelible hallmarks of Porté sorcery. The figure removed a dagger from its belt and cut deep gashes into it’s own arms, then, the blood dripping off it’s hands it ripped open a portal to elsewhere in the air. The figure’s gravelly voice snarled out warnings about the dangers of the transit, directing the Heroes to form a chain by linking hands, and dragged the heroes through the portal.

The transit through the walkway was unnerving, the Heroes experiencing the sibilant whispers, and mist fingered caresses of the denizens of the walkway. The Heroes all heeded the figure’s warnings however and kept their eyes tightly shut, and their hands clasped in a chain. When warmth and noise returned to their senses the Heroes discovered they were in a different warehouse, surrounded by guardsmen dressed in Caligari livery. The figure collected the final installment of its payment, retrieved a bloodstained needle, and retreated back through the portal, the gateway closing behind.

Bianca then lead the Heroes out the doors and into a grand gondola, which then began to move along the canal towards the golden gates of Castello di Caligari. The city here was awash with Carnivale celebrations as well, and the Heroes did their best to enjoy the celebrations around them. Dräken sampled the food on offer and gazed at the beautiful courtesans lining the bridges and streets. Thors acquired and drank multiple bottles of Falici wine, trusting to his constitution to keep his head clear. Orfeo kept vigil, his eyes tracking for any hidden threats using the crowds as cover. Elise bought a bottle of champaign and shared it with Bianca, who sipped some politely. Elise then attempted to put her arm around Bianca’s shoulders, but Bianca seemed very uncomfortable about this and moved Elise’s hands to the back of her neck instead.

As the gondola passed through the Castle’s gates the Heroes noticed a figure standing on the castle’s docks. He was a tall and roguishly handsome man, dressed in rich clothing, with a pair of heavily worn and bloodstained dueling gloves hanging from his belt. As the boat approached he began calling insults at Bianca, calling her a whore, and casting the Heroes in the roles her clients. Bianca informed the Heroes that the man was her cousin Alfredo, who she had been betrothed to when she was a young girl, but Prince Caligari had broken the engagement and Alfredo had never gotten over the insult to his honor. In the years since he had gone out of his way to insult Bianca, and that he would collect what was his the instant Prince Caligari tired of her.

Dräken had little tolerance for bullies, and stepped up to defend Bianca from her cousin’s abuses. With utter contempt, Alfredo spit into Dräken’s face, causing Dräken to challenge Alfredo to a duel. This seemed to delight Alfredo, who managed to soundly defeat Dräken, slashing his chin open to the bone. The duel completed Alfredo and his men left the Heroes, insulting them even at the last. Apologizing for her cousin’s behavior, Bianca lead the Heroes into the castle to meet Prince Caligari.

Within an elegantly appointed throne room the heroes finally came face to face with their host, an elderly man who appeared to be in his late eighties, but who moved and spoke with the vigor of a man half his age. Bianca was sent from the room to change, as she was still wearing the Courtesan’s clothing she had donned to meet the heros. Once she had departed Prince Caligari attended to his guests, had medical attention given to Dräken, and ascertained they had all they needed. He then informed the Heroes of his reasons for gathering them all together.

Recent seismic activity in the Vestini Islands had reveled, what his agents believed, was the lost mansion of Count Donatello Vestini, a noted occultist who had disappeared 200 years ago. Count Vestini was a well known collector of Syrneth artifacts, and his home was said to contain a vault full of the precious items. Caligari knew Vestini would never give his consent to Caligari raiding the mansion, and as Caligari was engaged in delicate trade negotiations with Vestini he couldn’t just ignore the implied prohibition. His agents had made him aware of events in the past of each of the Heroes, and he had decided that by utilizing their differing backgrounds and nationalities it might be enough to hide his own involvement in the prospective looting.

He proposed that the Heroes mount an expedition to the mansion, utilizing a ship Caligari had acquired from the Explorer’s Society, and funded and supplied by Caligari. The Heroes were to loot the mansion collecting all Syrneth artifacts and valuables that they could lay their hands upon. Caligari would take possession of any and all Artifacts the Heros could acquire, but they would be free to keep any other valuables they managed to collect from the mansion, and in addition Caligari would pay each of the Heroes who consented to go 1,000 Guilders for their services. The only condition he would not bend upon was that a member of his family must accompany the Heroes to make certain they abided by the terms of the agreement. To that end he had sent for his Grandson Alfredo to serve as Captain and overseer of their expedition. Elise asked if Bianca would be accompanying them, but Caligari informed them that he had another use for her at the present time. As Caligari expected the Heroes to set off as soon as possible Elise asked if she might have a moment to speak with Bianca before the Heroes left. Caligari agreed, sending Thors with Elise.

Elise and Thors were admitted to Bianca’s chambers by her maid, who discreetly left once they were inside the room. When Bianca was told that she wasn’t to accompany the Heroes on the expedition to the island, and that Alfredo would be serving as the Captain of the voyage the blood drained out of her face. She knew what Alfredo was like and that because of Dräken’s earlier intervention, Alfredo would likely attempt to murder the Heroes once they had completed their mission on the island, then claim to Prince Caligari that they had succumbed to injuries sustained while looting the mansion. She begged Elise not to go, or to find a way to prevent Alfredo from traveling with them. Elise remembered that Caligari had only insisted that a member of his family must accompany them, not that it must be Alfredo. Elise believed that if the Heroes made Bianca’s presence on the expedition a requirement of their acceptance that Caligari would eventually relent and agree to their terms. Thors was sent to bring this information to the rest of the Heroes in Caligari’s throne room.

Once Elise and Bianca were alone, Elise began to whisper words of affection and love to Bianca in an attempt to seduce her. Bianca used her Sorté abilities to determine the truth of Elise’s words and saw the beginnings of a powerful Cups strand begin to form, joining the two women together. This knowledge, coupled with the impressions left on her by Elise’s selfless defense of her person earlier in the evening overwhelmed her and she yielded to Elise’s advances.

While Elise was speaking, among other things, with Bianca, Orfeo began to speak with Alfredo about the coming expedition, attempting to ascertain Alfredo’s motivations. Alfredo’s anger made his speech careless, and he dropped enough hints during the conversation to convince Orfeo that murder would indeed be attempted once the Heroes had returned from the mansion. Orfeo, in a moment of carelessness himself, accused Alfredo of such before everyone present. Alfredo immediately challenged Orfeo to a duel to the death. Caligari prevented the duel from occurring however, as he still had need of Orfeo’s services. Thors then arrived, informing all those present as to what had been agreed in Bianca’s chambers, Caligary relented and Alfredo then stormed out, swearing Vengeance against Orfeo.

The heros then wait for some time until a smiling Elise, and a blushing Bianca re-enter the room. The Fate Witches in the room react badly to Bianca’s presence, rapidly exiting as soon as they catch sight of her. As the Heroes no longer have a Captain they must first make a detour to the Caligari Merchant fleet’s offices to hire one for their voyage. Caligari’s support quickly finds them a new captain and the expedition sets out on its journey.

During the two day voyage the Heroes spend the time in very personal ways. At the start of the voyage the Captain offers his cabin for Bianca’s use, and she requests that Elise be allowed to stay in the cabin with her as her personal Swordsman. The two spend the initial voyage engaged in lovemaking and discussions of Philosophy. Bianca’s emotions lead her to be less guarded than normal and she hints that she is not only far more educated than even many Courtesans but that she also studied at the University located in Caligari territory on mainland Vodacce. During their conversations Elise hints at the existence of Sophia’s Daughters to gage Bianca’s reactions and interest in the society and it’s goal of improving the rights of woman in Vodacce.

The Castillian Don spent the majority of his time aloft, assisting the crewmen on watch, and seeing to the spiritual needs of anyone who seeks his consul. Additionally, when he caught the eye of two of the women in the crew he performed a more personal confessional service for each of them. Dräken spent the time assisting the crew as a deckhand, exercising, and practicing his fighting techniques. The repor he developed working with the crew caused many of them to take an interest in his conditioning exercises, and soon he began to instruct groups of off-duty sailors in the basics of hand to hand combat. Orfeo explored the ship and used his skills as a blacksmith to help reinforce and protect the ships supply of metal tools and goods, and he also saw to the crew’s small supply of weapons. Thors spent his days outside Bianca’s cabin, drinking huge amounts of Grog, and gambling with any off duty sailor who desired to.

During the evening of the second day of the voyage the Heroes ship approached the island on which the mansion is located, only to discover it guarded by a small Brigantine flying Villanova Colors. Although the Hero’s ship attempted to avoid action the Brigantine managed to close with them, and its crew snarled the Hero’s ship in grappling lines. Waves of boarders began to disembark onto the Hero’s ship, but the Hero’s managed to repel the boarder’s and when the crew of the Villanova ship judged the battle turning against them they cut the grappling lines and fled, leaving the defeated borders to the Hero’s mercy.

While the Heroes discussed what to do with the prisoners and examined the best way to approach the cliffs, Elise noticed that one of the defeated boarders had been only pretending to be unconscious. As Bianca crossed close to him he sprang at her, his belaying pin aimed to crack her skull open. Elise’s quick action knocked him off balance, and his strike connected with Bianca’s arm, rather than her head. The blow was savage enough to break her arm however, preventing her from being able to make the ascent up the cliffs. Elise quickly dispatched the assassin, and Dräken, sensing there could be additional boarders laying low on the ship, began a systematic search of the ship from bottom to top, locating an enemy sailor hiding himself among the rigging. Dräken escorted him to the brig with the other prisoners.

Their ship dropped anchor as close to the cliffs as possible, as there was no harbor, and seismic activity continued to cause sections of the cliff to fall away into the sea. Before leaving Bianca pulled Elise close and gave her a passionate kiss, bestowing fates blessings on her. She also gave Elise her Black Pearl ring for luck. Once the Heroes made their preparations they embarked in the ship’s longboat for the cliffs.

Once at the base of the cliffs, Thors used his bow to shoot a grappling arrow up the the entrance to the mansion, 100 feet above. The Castillian Don tied the longboat to the rope to prevent it from drifting away, and the Heroes made the long ascent up the rope, Orfeo leading the way. The only incident to occur happened to Elise, who lost her grip very close to the top, but was saved from a fall by the other Heroes close to her. The Heros discovered the Mansion in a ruinous state, tremors continually shaking the earth, dislodging sections of the building. The Heroes are currently exploring the building, hoping to discover a trove of Artifacts and wealth and escape before the building collapses around them. Their greatest find so far is a Syrneth device of metal clockwork contained within a seemingly unbreakable crystal sphere. Dräken currently carries the device, strapped to his back with rope.

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Session 1
A Meeting in the Dark

The Heroes of this campaign are a motley collection individuals, the group comprised of representatives from most of the nations of Theah. The individuals concerned were:

Orfeo Alberti, a Vodacce born blacksmith, returning to his homeland after an extended period living in distant Avalon.

Dräken Grüber, an Eisen born sailor, a citizen of the Pirate nations, on the run from a vengeful Eisen noble.

Elise Dupont, a Montaigne born authoress and swordswoman, passionately working to improve the rights of women.

The campaign begins with the Heroes scattered across the world tending to their various concerns. When each of the Heroes returned to their lodgings for the night they each found a letter and a package waiting for them. The letter and the package were wrapped in expensive black paper, and the writing of the letter was incised into the card in elegant script, and overlaid with gold leaf.

The letter cordially invited each of the Heroes to celebrate Carnivale in Vodacce at a house of well known repute The Courtesan’s Key, located on Villanova Island. The letter also hinted that the sender was aware of a secret each of the heros had in their past, and that failure to attend would, by necessity, result in the revelation of that secret to the world. The instructions within the letter also requested that the Heros wear the item within the attending package, as that would be the sign that their contact in Vodacce would recognize.

The package contained a Porcelain Bauta syle mask Incised with a purple lacquered rose on the right cheek.

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The Heroes then all make their journeys to Vodacce, many arriving early in order to spend some time within the city and familiarize themselves with its layout. On the appointed day and time, all the heroes began to congregate at The Courtesan’s Key, each of them wearing their masks to hide their identities. The Heroes began to spend a tense, though enjoyable evening in the establishment, many of them partaking of the various services available in the main lounge. Slowly the heros began to realize their contact was exceptionally late in arriving until, suddenly, the doors burst open, and a beautiful woman ran into the room, pursued closely by various rough looking characters.

The woman ran to the far side of the room, and when her pursuers attempted to take custody of her they found their path impeded by the Heroes. Orfeo in particular objected to the men’s attitude and language, and was the first of the Heros to react when the men attacked. While Orfeo and Dräken concentrated on putting as many of the kidnapers out of the fight as quickly as possible, Elise concentrated on guarding the woman’s person, throwing herself between the woman and anything attempting to harm her.

The battle was short and brutal, and though reinforcements arrived on the upper level with lassos and grappling hooks, the men’s attempts to kidnap the woman only met with failure, the Heroes putting the kidnappers down. About halfway through the fight the woman’s Vestenmannavnjar bodygaurd, Thors, arrived, breaking the doors from their hinges and hurling broken wood and furniture at anything that moved. Due to the confusion of the Melee, Thors was unaware who was friend and who was foe, and though the woman attempted to end the fight, her cries went unheeded, and Thors, Dräken, and Elise ended up brawling with each other until order was finally established by Orefo.

Once the immediate danger had ended the woman introduced herself as Bianca Caligari, and told them that she was the contact that the Heroes had been waiting for, and her lateness was due to her attempts to lose her pursuers before meeting them at the rendezvous. The Heroes learned from Bianca that she was the granddaughter of Vincenzo Caligari, one of the Merchant Princes of Vodacce, and that it was he who had contacted them. He desired to meet with the Heroes in order to offer them a commission, but that secrecy was of critical importance, hence the rendezvous on his enemy’s island, and the precaution of the masks.

In gratitude for the vigorous defense on her behalf Bianca gave a passionate kiss to the slightly build swordsman who had behaved with such distinction, discovering belatedly that her defender was Elise, dressed in men’s clothing.

Confused, her emotions in a turmoil, she realized that if they didn’t leave immediately they ran the chance of being apprehended by Villanova’s guards. She lead the Heroes out into the night, ending the first week’s session.

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