Nodding, before wiping the tobacco track from his cheek with the back of a weathered hand, the man proffers a wooden chit "Take this to the Linen House two streets east of the Auction House up in Warehouse. They'll see you sorted" before another couple of glances and a nod showing the transaction complete.
The chit is a simple round in treated pine that has a crudely drawn sigil burnt into one side - a smudged image of a scythe.
Tordek watches, fidgety with unease, as Quillin concludes his transaction with the tobacco chewing man. His driftwood stick creaks in his hands as he clenches it. His eyes dart hither and yon, seemingly lighting upon everything and nothing. Every whisper, every clink, every breath seems to push his nerves further.
Blast it, being watched. Hate being watched. Hate it worse when I can't figger where the eyes are. I'd put one of Gozreh's own ice pricks into the eyes if I could suss them out. he thinks, attempting to will his mind to calmness.
When that fails, he seizes upon one of the pearls in a belt pouch, keeping his fingers clasped around it in the pouch while he silently prays to Gozreh. Gozreh, caller of waves, tempest of the seas. Grant to me the stillness of a doldrumic sea. My minds seeks the level like water in the glass or the glass-still water of a sea unbothered by he who is the wind. The prayer calms him slightly, and the fidgeting fades to nearly nothing by the time the chit is handed over.
Masterwork weapons and such are easily accessible.
Tipene manages to find a ex-Razor Coast colonial with a decent stock of tulita weaponry. One in particular takes his eye, wrought of a wood seasoned to a deep purple colour and inlaid with ivory highlights.
Finishing up the limited business at hand in the market, the group moves off to complete Quillin's search for sanguine infernal. The streets are crowded, but the people pass to your pressing and you make good time. Weaving through the streets you spy the Auction House looming in the distance and adjust your approach vector to the
Your sense of being watched does not pass, though you don't manage to catch any further glimpses of the watcher.
The 'Linen House' proves to be a combination sheet fabricator and laundry, with the air hanging sweaty and heavy from the steam near to it. Greeted at the door by a pressed and harried washerwoman, she initially has a dark and scowling look... but is cowed swiftly by proffered token. Gulping and turning respectful she wipes her hands on soaked and sweaty dress before ushering you in and through the steam to a staircase at the back of the warehouse. The door at the base of said case is guarded by a thuggish half-orc, who grunts and squints heavy lidded eyes towards you. He muses over the token a moment before motioning you to enter.
Once within you're greeted by a gnome with lank hair and blotchy whitened skin. The room itself is nondescript except for a spartan desk and chair that the gnome was seated at. Multiple tunnels lead back and into the darkness from the chamber, though the walls are bare and no signs are presented. He grins yellow and unkempt teeth towards you before venturing "Please, come in... no names are needed... but Granthen needs to know what you need. Sanguine? Bile? Ichor? Please to say" Somewhere in the depths of the basement behind the man comes a throaty grunted scream that runs the knife-edge between pain and pleasure.
The gnome shakes his head, but doesn't explain why - instead just gesturing for Quillin and any other interested parties to follow. He doesn't state any warning or forestalling words to those that don't join him though... probably assuming the cro-magnon-guardian above sufficient reason to forestall any attempt at theft.
Quillin and Anyone Else who Follows:
The gnome moves slowly but deliberately through the basement - passing a couple of heavy barred doors before twisting and turning to the chosen destination. While perambulating he explains "Easier to just cut and bleed when we need... little ones aren't much trouble once you break them in."
The fourth door you come to is pushed open with a creak and groan to show another spartan stone lined room. Hanging from the center of the chamber is a malformed gibbet cage that's been custom made to fit it's occupant... a lemure. The creature barely notices your entrance, focused as it is on a strange metal tube that's hooked up to a reservoir of sorts at the top of the gibbet cage. It appears to be industriously sucking on the tube, but doesn't seem to be making much headway.
The gnome steps in confidently, whisking a bright scalpel from within his robes and making a single incision on the lemure's heavily scarred side. The devil writhes in discomfort for a few moments, but continues to focus on it's manic suckling. As the thick black ichorous blood oozes from the cut into a presented vial held by the gnome he explains "Keep the bastard drugged up with rum and a few extra bits. S'long as we don't get greedy the wee pet's happy enough."
The gnome shrugs as he sees the last of the blood into the vial, applying a lather of unguent to the wound before turning "Much... but we are service to need. You have need, tell us... otherwise..." remaining a little cagey about divulging the largesse of their clandestine and arguably illegal operations to a group that he just met.
'Hush! Hush!" Smudge calls. Quillin shrugs and carefully counts out 20 gold coins before securing the little vials of blood. "Fair enough. Hey, you hear anything about the Sweet Dreams Gambling House?"
Business with the lemure complete, the gnome leads you back to the entrance to conclude the transaction and take receipt of the monies.
As you walk through the corridor you catch an idle glance through a closing door of the contents of another room... that of a man sized serpent creature laid out naked upon a slab of marble.
For those that remained behind, the group re-emerges from the passage to exchange four small vials of black liquid for 20 in gold. The gnome sweeps the coin into one of the drawers on the desk and responds to Quillin's query on the Gambling House "Helkerna's place over in Scurvy? Not my sort of place, but it seems dishonest enough. A few come out it's doors with coin... not many... few enough. Half the 'Towners have an interest in it one way or another." you take his meaning to imply that either people of the district work for, are related to or owe money to the proprietors of the establishment.
Quillin's pats the breast of his velvet jacket where the vials are safely stowed. "Well, that takes care of me. No real need to find the Black Mark unless we're just curious. 'course, if you can buy devil blood near off the street, I'm not sure that I WANT to know what's illicit..."
"We could see about cashing these chips. I've heard Scurvytown is a bunch of racist foks though. What do you think?" he asks the newcomers who appear a bit put off by the gnome's morbid curiosities.
Tordek shudders slightly at the implications of the transaction that just occurred Not quite my style, but nothing abjectly against Gozreh's desires. his mind still uneasy at the thought of being followed. As soon as they get out front, he taps Tipene on the shoulder.
We were definitely being followed on the way here. Not sure by who or what, but definitely by something. We should certainly try to stay a little active on the lookout while we parade around. I figger you should keep eyes out, look imposing and such. he says quietly to the larger man before looking around furtively.
Making their way back out of the basement and through the wash-house under the watchful eye of the half-orc slab of muscle the group looks skywards and sees a sun yet still working towards ascendancy in the sky. While the gambling house might be open this early, the cautious traveller might aim to meander that way closer to sundown. A hearty repast might be in order? or at the least some kind of coagulated meat product obtained from a slightly reputable foodcart?
Well, I wouldn't say no to a bit of roasted rat or a plate of peppered fish, especially not on my coin. Tordek says with a chuckle. I'd check for magic m'self, but I'm afraid it's not quiet my ken, ya catch my drift? Still unsettled, he lets his eyes drift over the folks wandering the streets.
Hah. In a former life, days long past, rat was about the only food I was able to scrounge aboard ship after the doldrums took us. Not the best eating, I'll agree with you there. But compared to wasting away, a juicy, spitted rat seems palatial. he says with a snort. Plus, with a bit of finger wagglin', purifying it isn't too hard.
The key itself is devoid of distinctive markings, having been wrought of pig iron and bearing a austere and workmanlike mien. Quillin's attempt to fathom if it holds any magical aura finds that it is devoid of arcane emanation.
The group needs to move back onto a cross street heading to the Auction House to find any vendors plying their trade. The through traffic is steady and present, but not to the point where shouting to be heard or the tactical deployment of elbows is required. Tipene picks out a likely vendor and buys a hand of stick mounted flame kissed mackerel. Pepper (for those that wish for it) is shaken onto the skewered piscine treat before getting handed over covered with a folded flatbread - so as to ease the inelegant task of it's consumption.
Tordek's attempt to pick out any sign or skerrick of continued observance is also frustrated by a lack of success... it 'feels' almost as though the watcher has moved on to other parts and purposes.
Aye. A ship'd be better than the land. Unfortunately, my knowledge about this particular port is a little thin. The rest of you have any thoughts on the matter? Tordek says as he licks his lips in between bites of savory fish.
The time is near to midday, give or take a couple of hands of hours. You wager you've enough time to scope out the docks and then leisurely make your way towards Scurvytown to prepare for the evening's night of gambling... and whatever other activities that might fall out...
Wagering that it'd fall into the 'nice to have column' to have a nascent means of fleeing the city... just in case like... the group makes their way back towards the docks to see what ships might be at port and gauge whether any of them might have berths.
There's the usual cosmopolitan menagerie of floating lumber - from the sleek and predatory green sailed Dirty Swan, the floating fortress of Freeport herself Fell Thrust and the mercantile Asasan... but your interests would likely trend towards the smaller of the crafts with less storied names. The docks heave with workers, sailors, pirates and other ne'er do wells, leaving the question of how you might seek knowledge of those willing to traffic in human cargo... or hire on crew.
How will you approach getting the info? - via harbourmaster, runners, dockworkers, sailors, others?
Quillin or Tipene, you've been here a touch. Know of any good sailor dives down here? A friendly coin and an appetite for ale can earn a few tips on ships that may have open berths. Or soon to be open, if sailors are offered enough rum to delay their return. Tordek says as he looks around the docks. Barrin' that, lets just grab us a runner, see if they know of anyone looking for a influx of trained hands.
First thought is to check out the bars where sailors dump their coin as soon as they make landfall. Gives a good idea of what may be lucrative or who may be in need of extra crew. If not that, pick a runner and see what we can get.
Deeming the potential run around one might get from sailors at drink too risky... as well as thinking they might do their best talking come evening when they're actually getting to their cups you pay a visit to the harbourmaster's office. Not getting in to see the man himself, you instead deal with an aid - who when he has his palm crossed with a couple of skulls gives you what seems a fairly straight steer.
"You don't look much like merchantmen, so I'm guessing it's a more interesting life aship you're after? There's a privateer from Razor way looking to head out with the daylight come mornin'... half full o' savages like your man there" indicating Tipene "Turtle's Wake's the tubs name... aside from that there isn't much at dock that would take you unless you're desperate and looking for a berth only. You'd need to be paying for that sort of trip though."
Turtle's Wake, eh? Does sound a might slow, but if they be taking privateers, I could see myself on a cruise in her. I'd rather a ship of purpose than only being along for a ride, personally. Tordek says, somewhat gruffly.
The harbourman shrugs "Don't know him personal like, somethin 'eathen maybe Puruhi? Seems a straight enough edge, don't hear me boss cursin' him or anything." and with that the man looks up to a call for his attention, moving on to leave you with your thoughts.
On towards the casino? - or do you want to walk the docks to the ship? - or something else?
Moving along the wharf as the sun continues it's gradual descent through the sky and towards the horizon you notice that the particular scent of the docks is clinging to you more and more. A delicate and fragrant combination of salt, sweat and rotting fish guts.. it's an acquired scent. Dodging in and around the other dockworkers you make steady progress along the piers.
After a short walk the sight of the Turtle's Wake starts to loom up in front of you. A low-running and relatively wide and squat beast it lacks a prominent forecastle, the deck flat ahead of the aftcastle standing proud. A three master it's free of much activity, with just a few sailors (one tulita and the others weatherbeaten shackles-men) lounging around near the gangplank. Canvas covered lumps sit amidships on either side and two larger ones forward of the foremast.
As it becomes clearer that your path is straight t'wards the vessel, one of the Shackles-men challenges you "Ho there... what's your business?"
The man looks a bit puzzled as he sizes you up, pursing lips and turning to his companions to share a glance before responding "Cap'n ain't here, an neither is the bos'n or the first mate. We're for sailing tomorrow, so they're all aboard getting some of that 'work' you're not here for. Not much else I can say except there are a few bunks empty..."
The tulita greets Tipene with a raised chin before adding "Best chance come back daybreak... bring rum... ask for Taumamua."
Moving away from the vessel you take a note of the growing dimness, and the reduction in the press of people upon the waterfront itself and figure it's high time to proceed t'wards the casino in Scurvytown. With due precaution and the presence of a surly outward disposition you're able to dissuade and dismiss what beggars or snake oil salesmen look your way. Your path heads straight down the docks the long way before taking a sharp left and cutting through the heart of Scurvytown quickly to come on the casino proper.
Once within Scurvytown you take a bit more notice of baleful eyes and narrowed slits cast your way. Toothsome and soiled persons lurking in alleys with unpolished steel worn freely at their waist. That said there seems to be enough incidental traffic through that order is mostly maintained... but you get the feeling it'd be the wrong place to either loiter or take a shortcut.
When it comes into view the Sweet Dreams Gambling House can be seen as a large, wellkept mansion, in reasonable contrast to the relative run-down squalor surrounding it. There is no sign designating its name or purpose, just a small statue of the Goddess of Luck that overlooks a barred iron gate. The gate, though open, is manned by a few burly looking thugs and any foot traffic bound for the door is frisked and asked to surrender their weapons. A stone wall, topped with a foot-high spiked iron fence, encircles the property and you can spy glimpses of patrols a wandering the grounds.