Sunday, May 20, 2012

Volant Playtest #3, Part 1

This is a very long post, so I am splitting it into two parts.

I forgot to note that last week, Sanjay heard that Tomar Shan was expected to arrive any time now by stoneship from the south. Obviously, their news was a bit old.

The session started with Kumar and Sanjay getting into the palace as porters. They had no trouble getting themselves in for several trips, but each time, the guards searched them. The last time they went to the palace, they hid small weapons and potion and poison vials on their person and in their cargo, and attempted to get them past the guards.

Sanjay sailed through the inspection with no difficulties, but Kumar's dagger was not too adroitly hidden. Sanjay, knowing where Kumar hid his dagger, intervened as the guard reached to search that spot. The liquor importer had included a case of Giran, the holy spiced liquor that is obligatory for ritual use by Kalabists, and forbidden to casual use. Kumar was a follower of the Heavenly Path, but Sanjay was a Kalabist, and immediately launched a tirade about the blasphemy, distracting the guard and allowing Kumar to shift his dagger to an area already searched.

This did, however, focus the guard on the case of Giran, in which Kumar had hidden the poison and potion of Invisibility. As he bent to examine the case, Sanjay thrust it over shouting "Blasphemy! Blasphemy!" Two bottles smashed on the pavement, and the guard shouted at Sanjay, pushing him back from the liquor. Meanwhile Kumar set the case back and pushed aside the broken bottles, using the opportunity to pocket the vials. After a stern lecture from the guard, they were in the palace, and armed.

Meanwhile, Arjuna and Nadila entered the palace by the front door, showing their invitations. Their search was cursory - the fact that they were searched at all indicates the level of paranoia and fear in the land - but the guard used the search as an excuse to grope Nadila. Since she had hidden her knives in just such places she screeched and the guard let her go.

As they walked away, Nadila said to Arjuna "Are you going to let some pissant guard grope your mistress? I thought you were a prince of Daktari?" Arjuna went back, and Menacing the guard, got him sacked by his supervisor. Just to note, Nadila is not, in fact, the mistress of Arjuna, merely playing the part.

Kumar and Sanjay caught a servant about Kumar's size, and knocking him out, took his livery and tied him up, secreting him in a storeroom under a blanket. Sanjay turned his vest inside out, revealing a richly embroidered side, and told Kumar "I have one kill already. You take out Timo Tomah and I'll back you up from the shadows." He handed Kumar back his dagger, and they went to the reception ballroom.

Kumar circulated about the room, looking for Timo Tomah and noshing on the food. All of a sudden, something grabbed him by the collar and hauled him off his feet. Timo Tomah was staring him in the face, flaming red mustachios bristling in fury. Now Kumar was a big man - six foot four and 250 pounds - and no one had ever lifted him off his feet before, but Tomah held him up with one hand like a kitten. Timo Tomah was huge - over seven foot, and with biceps the size of Kumar's thighs.

"What the heel kind o' sairvant are ye, ye gormy cloon? A sairvant doon't walk aboot whistlin' an' gawkin'! Git yersel' a tray and sairve th' guests as ye ought!" Shaken, Kumar went to get himself a tray of drinks, remarking as he passed Sanjay "I had no idea he was so big!" Sanjay nodded. "He looked much smaller on paper in that sketch."

Kumar kept an eye on Tomah as he circulated about the room. He carried a bottle with him, and a glass, and drank only from them, setting them down only as he was talking with a guest. He tried to get in position to slip poison into his glass, but Tomah spotted him and glared him off. In the back room, he swallowed the potion of Invisibility. He looked at his hands and noted no difference. He sidled up to Sanjay "Did the potion work?" Sanjay started. "Apparently it did. I can't see you."

Reassured, Kumar worked quietly into position, and slipped the entire vial of poison into Timo Tomah's drink. Tomah knocked it back in a gulp, and shook his head. Kumar went out of sight as he lost his invisibility, then watched in growing anxiety as a half an hour later, Tomah was still laughing and chatting with the guests. Finally Tomah brought out a huge handkerchief an mopped his bad head. "I'm no feelin soo swell. I thin' I'll take a wee breath o' air." and headed out onto the patio.

The stone railing about the raised patio was waist high on most people, but only mid thigh high on Tomah. He leaned down with both hands on the rail, panting. Kumar and Sanjay followed. No one else was there. With a gesture to each other, each took one enormous leg and heaved Timo Tomah over the railing, pitching him head first ten feet to the stones below.

Kumar discretely circled out of the palace, but several other servants were there when he reached he body. None of them wanted to report it, or even touch the body, so Kumar felt for a pulse. There was none. He walked back inside.

Arjuna and Nadila were chatting with various of the high and mighty when Kumar indicated to Nadila with a sign that Timo Tomah was dead. She turned to Arjuna. "I love those chokers they wear here, the ones that circle the neck like this..." She drew her finger across her neck. "You really should get me one while we are here." Arjuna nodded in comprehension. "We'll be leaving soon."

Just then they saw a lackey slip up to Willa Doss, who nodded, and placed her napkin on her plate, making her apologies as she rose to leave. Arjuna and Nadila rose as well, angling to cut her off before she reached the door. A flunky moved to intercept them, but Nadila practiced her wiles on him, distracting him with flirtation as Arjuna reached Willa Doss' side. He attempted to engage her in a discussion of trade as he reached to touch her on the shoulder. She jerked as the poison pin in his hand slipped into her skin. Arjuna mimed a static shock and shook the pin from his hand as she made her apologies and her lackeys interposed themselves. As she left the room, she slumped suddenly, and her flunkies barely caught her before she fell.

Arjuna turned and collected Nadila, and moved to the musicians. There was one about his height, who played a huge brass instrument called a shumhorn. Arjuna inveigled him aside, knocked him out, and dressed in his clothing. Nadila he packed up in the shumhorn case, to her complete fury. He dressed the unconscious musician in his very expensive finery, to confuse things further.

Sanjay and Kumar got out before things got weird, and Arjuna and Nadila got out dressed as musician and instrument. They rendezvoused at the arranged spot. Rumors were sweeping the city that Timo Tomah had fallen to his death after drinking heavily, while Willa Doss had a heart attack. While Kumar could confirm that Tomah was dead, confirming Doss' death was another matter. Arjuna went back to see what he could find, while Nadila Faked an entry in the documents Sanjay had captured from the merchant, which now told of how how had murdered Willa Doss and Timo Tomah.

Arjuna climbed the walls of a nearby temple, and watched as both the musician - wearing his finery - and the rich merchant who had gotten his and Nadila's passes were hung from the balconies of the palace. He returned to the others. "I am very confident she is dead, though they could be disguising it. I know they are watching for Nadila and I. We had all best leave the way Sanjay came in yesterday. Sanjay, lead the way!"

They crossed the city walls where Sanjay had gone the day before, dumping the document pouch off the wall where it would be quickly found, and went back to the hills. They watched as messenger birds left the city in all directions, mostly to the north, then left the city, flying north to the region of Straum.

End Part 1

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