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TheEyeOfNight

[Silver Harbor] Iron Queen

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(Paging any interested parties, including but not limited to: @Dizzy00 @Darling König @AngryCacti @Die Shize )

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Seeking an assortment of exceptionally dangerous individuals for purposes of extrajudicial injustice correction. Payment will be commensurate with personal risk to life, limb, and dignity.

Requirements are as follows:

- A sense of discretion

- An aptitude for violence

- A casual disregard for maritime property rights

If interested, please apply at the following address, in person, on the evening of the 29th.

Sincerely,

Avarice Lynch

 

* * * *

The Silver Hour faded, returning the waters of the harbor to their obsidian blue as the sun dipped behind the bluffs, casting long shadows towards the town. On the roof of Louie's bar, Avarice watched it set, his hands clasped neatly at the small of his back. He could sense his moment arriving, almost as if he could look past the horizon and see the giant smuggling ship approaching, oblivious to its fate.

That made him smile, the feeling of being a player in the grand game again.

A crinkled, hand-sketched map lay on a stained table, illustrating a crude but detailed image of Silver Harbor, from the city all the way to the sea. Random objects held down the four corners of the map: a kite coin, a doorstop, some broken glass, and a shoe that had somehow made it up to the roof long ago. Two hastily-carved small wooden ships, not to scale at all with the map below them, sat unevenly on its surface: one near the city, the other at the harbor's mouth. Any military commander might have laughed at the display, but it would serve its purposes: to impress on his visitors that the plan was thorough.

The absence of the magistrate, the Governor, or any authority figure at all should communicate that it was also unsanctioned and entirely extralegal.

From his position leaning on the edge of the roof, his gnoll companion grunted once, loudly. “Expecting anyone to show?”

Avarice inclined his head slightly and took a sip of his drink. “We'll see.”

 

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Edited by TheEyeOfNight
Fixed typos

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Reinhardt Relzion, a Vagabond and Noble from a Realm far from Valucre was normally a man of his word. He had intended to depart Silver Harbor weeks ago but after happening across a Human and a Gnoll. His plans had gotten derailed slightly. The Dhampir Steamwork engineer had set up shop in this sleepy little port and started working par time as a Engineer for the people and a Sell-sword whenever engineering was slow. He read through the letter and smirked. It was as  Avarice mentioned back in Louie's, that rickety old brothel that they had met. He rose his harbor front office and went to the meeting site.  

It must have been destiny as he walked to the entrance of the meeting site. Or perhaps Avarice was a man of little imagination. Nevertheless he leaped up to the roof of Louie's and sought out his contact.. A bit conspicuous for the Dhampir's taste but nevertheless this was the place Avarice had settled on. He said "Mr. Lynch and Roht. I do believe we have had the pleasure of making acquaintances previously." He walked over to Avarice and offered his hand to him to shake while he bowed his head to the Gnoll. Three weeks since Louie's Such a short and inconsequential amount of time for a Dhampir but for a humans...much could've changed in three weeks for them.   He said "I'm here about the letter. I suspect it's about what we discussed at in Louie's, Ja?"

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Edited by Darling König

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Ambience

Spoiler

Sound Presence: IC and OOC

https://tabletopaudio.com/

"Docks District"

The person you're supposed to meet is always somewhere in the docks district. Gather your party and venture forth!

Music

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

Image

Spoiler

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Tara

The Rising Star

The bar had been taking in a steady stream of incomers and outcomers that hour. The Silver Hour, Tara had learned upon first setting foot in the Silver Harbor; a time so named for the silver shine upon the sea where the evening sunlight danced upon the pale cliffs. Silver Hour. Silver Harbor. Silver Swan. Why is everything so damned silver? She shrugged the thought away as she chugged the shot down her throat and turned the glass upside down upon the counter. By the time she had turned around, the bar had more patrons than before she had walked in. No shocker there. What else are bored sailors and boring souls going to do in a town like this but drink the night away? For all her jest, Tara knew that she could so easily join them.

 

Yet, her calling was from a different horn. Silver Harbor harbored more than hands that handled hammers, whether to drive home nails or a court case. There were those content with living their secluded lives in town to work each day away, and those government and corporate officials to make sure that they did, but then there were those whose hands were a tad more deft—hands like hers. The town catered to criminals as much as the next one, but what a criminal thing it would be to call Tara a criminal. She was just a woman working to keep her own, piracy aboard the Silver Swan be damned.

 

After forming two fingers into a V and gesturing how much pain they would cause if plugged into two leering eyeballs, Tara brushed past a drunken fool and made her way upstairs. Not many others did. There came a point where an invitation was required to climb any more steps so, expectantly if impatiently, she had produced the letter stamp and seal and was bidden entry to the roof.

 

Outside in the open air, a cool breeze immediately greeted her. The squarking of seagulls settled beneath the sun amid the crisp crashing of waves from a sea that sounded as sleepy as the harbor. Then again, a sudden guffaw bellowed from the ground below, likely another drunken fool who had just discovered the color of his own urine. Still, the distant sound was close enough to make Tara question the chosen setting for this little meeting. Then again, you’d have to be hanging from the edge of the roof to eavesdrop.

 

As if fate followed her every fiber, someone had just literally leapt upon the roof from out of nowhere. Startled, Tara heard her own weakened gasp before she caught herself and gawked upon the acrobatic man in the black coat who then proceeded toward the center table like he jumped atop roofs every other evening beside this one. Words were passed, and when they had ended it was clear that this was no assassin. Just some quirky lad here for the same reason as me.

 

On that note, Tara decided to spare no further moment on ceremony as she took in the other individuals who had already been waiting on the roof. From their stature and style, they weren’t there to take the job so much as to recruit for it. Tara had seen none of these souls before tonight, though she was sure to see more of them and then some. Pacing forward, she spoke no word, preferring to wait for the employers to first address Hops Upon A Roof.

 

For now, Tara settled for pulling a chair out from the table and sitting down to a glass of red wine like she did so every evening beside this one. She took a sip, sweet and sour, gazing down at the map that all but gazed back at her. She could make enough sense of it for the operation at hand, but there was something hidden within the map that made her heart beat. Score. A big one. I’ve certainly come to the right place.

 

“Whose shoe?”

 

Tara spoke after another sip, her eyes still on the map.

Edited by Die Shize

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The door to the roof swung open some time after the last arrival. A weasel of a woman dressed in greased black leathers skulked through the opening. She gave a skeptical glance at the assembled group. In an instant, she dropped her guard, stepping out of the shadow of the door, and flashed a yellow, toothy grin that never reached the cold eyes above.

“Sorry I’m late,” Tana drawled. “Nothing happened, I just didn’t care.”

Tana had a specific way of talking that made the words drip slow and oily from her purr of her throat. At the end of each phrase, instead of letting the last drops of sound fall away, she clipped the words in a sharp, enunciated sound that grabbed one’s attention and threw a sharp, dissonant contrast into the low melodic hum of her cadence. It was a voice that suited her appearance and it was a voice that suited her personality. It suited her way of moving as, even though she walked openly, a quirk in her posture, a hunch in her shoulders, or a deliberateness of step lent itself to the visual that she didn’t walk so much as slink.

Mr. Lynch,” she announced and paused at this. She gave a curious look between the two men on the roof. Her outstretched finger wavered between the two of them. “... You...” she pointed at Reinhardt. “No-“ She swung around again to face Avarice. He looked like an Avarice. “You. My employers at the Grey Feather Merchants are sending me free of charge to aid you in this scheme of yours. Of course,” she continued, “They do hope that you will remember them fondly in the future. You understand?” She ended the question in a way that implied she wasn’t asking.

She brought her hands together, one gloved and one ungloved, and bared the same unfeeling sharp toothed smile at the group. “Well.” She said. “With that out of the way, you can call me Tana.” Her eyes flicked over Reinhardt in a not subtle once-over before she winked at the dhampir. “And you can call me whatever you like.” 

Tana drew a chair from table in a slow, purposeful movement, letting the legs scrape against the wood roof below, and swung it around so she could sit on it backwards. With a cat-like lackadaisical grace, she settled herself over the back and blinked at the party. It was a quiet affair. While the men seemed to be somewhat familiar, the solitary woman drinking wine at the table gave Tana a sense of what kind of people this job would attract. If she hadn’t been ordered to do it, she might have taken the job anyway.

Her eyes alighted on the map and she raised a brow. “Nice boat.”

 

Spoiler

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The ladies clustered by the crevice of the door. They invited fellows upstairs with them-if they payed the right price. 

Melt your worries away, honey. Come stay with me. I'll be so good to you-or bad-If that's what you want. Hey, I don't judge every man has their kink. 

And Karla stood among them.  

Not that she was selling, although she looked the part in a low cut-dress and a slight skirt hiking up to her thighs. It was a good way to attract marks. Men she teased and then robbed blind before they lay a finger on her. 

She’d adopted the girl's behavior and flocked to the men, but never close enough to have a shot at scoring a customer. Her eyes focused on the men and woman who strolled past Louie’s entertainment and revolting food to the meeting upstairs.  

She wanted to know what she would have to deal with if she accepted Avarice’s invitation.  

She counted two slight women armed to the teeth, and a Dhampir. She was terrified of vampires—as a child sleeping in the streets, she was haunted by vivid nightmares where she woke to find vampiros suckling on the grooves of her arm.  
 

She had shut up her childhood reservations and allowed him to room with her the night she’d met Avarice. He had recruited her for a hush-hush operation for her street smart, charming ways, easy lies, and sleight of hand. But petty thieving, cons, and fixed games of cards were a difficult way to sustain a person, and she did want to get out of Louie’s tavern.  

She pulled on a contraband blue naval jacket and headed to the roof, grooming her wild black hair, away from the pesky buttons as she did them. Only her slender brown ankles and a peek of her fishnet stockings from her previous outfit were visible. The inside garment was a tool and distraction, but the outside layer was comforting and familiar, brutish in appearance, and worn ragged. 

She crawled past the small hallway leading to the roof. 

“Long time no see,” she smiled and clipped the door closed with the side of her hip. 

 

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They were a satisfactorily odd group for Avarice's tastes. He already knew the dhampir and the grungy thief, but the other two women were new to his eyes. He hoped they were here to answer his letter, and not to shank him repeatedly in the lower ribcage.

“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for coming. For those I've met before, welcome back. For those I have not yet had the pleasure, my name is Avarice Lynch. The towering brute behind me is Roht. And this,” He settled a slender finger on the bigger of the two model ships. “is the Iron Queen. Symbolically, it is the flagship of the smugglers who have force this town to be their drop point for years. In a more literal sense, it is the largest, most well-armed, well-supplied renegade vessel in these parts.”

He clasped his hands at the small of his back, and a confident smile blossomed across his lips. “It arrives tomorrow night at the Silver Hour. When the sun rises the following day, we will have put it at the bottom of Silver Harbor. I do not want the symbolism lost on anyone: we gather here to break the chains on Silver Harbor, and put an end to a reign. If these stakes are not to your liking, please see Louie for a complimentary drink and be on your way.”

He waited a moment, letting the silence linger in the air. It wasn't a challenge, nor an invitation, but it served to drive home the seriousness of this plan.

"This ship, its crew, and its cargo are contraband and legally do not exist. Their ultimate fates tomorrow night do not concern me, and you may take any of the above as your payment for your assistance. As for my fond recollection," He bowed his head towards Tana. "you may all receive that free of charge. And the thanks of Silver Harbor, for breaking the yoke of brute criminals from their city. I only require the captain's logbook from the Queen, to prove their piracy so none of us face the pillory for answering the need for heroics."

He let out a slow breath, satisfied with his presentation of the situation. Surprisingly, it contained minimal falsehoods for one of his operations. “Now to the problems. Roht.”

The gnoll levered himself off of the side of the roof with a grunt, planting his axe head-down onto the surface, and jerked his head at the map. “Guns. Magitech cannon, rapid-fire gatlings on both decks. Lot of firepower, and all the waterfront will be in range.”

Lynch motioned to a red circle drawn on the map. “For this reason, we plan to hold our attack until they're well underway offloading their cargo. Hopefully the presence of their own men on the docks will prevent them from indiscriminate shooting, but silencing those guns is a priority. Many of the ships at the pier represent Silver Harbor's livelihood, and I would prefer collateral damage be minimized.”

“And don't forget the evil twin.” Roht snarled in distaste, sizing up each of the visitors in turn from his position to Lynch's left.

“Quite.” Avarice nodded, gesturing to the second ship on the map. “The gunship Red Venom is the Queen's sister ship. She guards the entrance to the harbor while the larger vessel unloads. If alerted, she and all her firepower can reach the docks in ten minutes from a dead stop. We will need to either ensure she is not alerted, or someone will need to deal with her separately.

“As for the shoe,” He glanced downwards at the ragged, moldy item holding down part of the map and offered a light shrug. “I suspect it was here long before any of us set foot in this town.”

His keen eyes flicked between the four guests, inviting questions or concerns from each. A familiar rush was in his chest: the feeling of casting all of his chips into a single gamble, aided by outsiders and others he still did not fully trust. It was part of the grand game, and the only way he knew how to live.

 

@Darling König, over to you

Edited by TheEyeOfNight
Added next turn reminder

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:54 PM, AngryCacti said:

She brought her hands together, one gloved and one ungloved, and bared the same unfeeling sharp toothed smile at the group. “Well.” She said. “With that out of the way, you can call me Tana.” Her eyes flicked over Reinhardt in a not subtle once-over before she winked at the dhampir. “And you can call me whatever you like.” 

Reinhardt watched as the remaining members arrived and Tana's words brought a slight smile to the Dhampir's lips. Humans never fail to disappoint and impress him. Tana's actions were a reflection of countless others that thought the same thing. As he would say, If they didn't want to kill him. They would want to bed him. Nevertheless he had came here for Avarice and the Job. Perhaps there would be time later after they put these dastardly Smugglers to bed into Davy Jones' locker he could mingle. He saw the tension in Avarice's body as he spoke. He had lived long enough to know when a man was lying. And Avarice...well he wasn't saying everything about his plan. But it couldn't be worse than what His Fellow Marquises of Murder schemed back in Paris. He listened to the end goals and the complications. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a trinket.

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11 hours ago, TheEyeOfNight said:

“Quite.” Avarice nodded, gesturing to the second ship on the map. “The gunship Red Venom is the Queen's sister ship. She guards the entrance to the harbor while the larger vessel unloads. If alerted, she and all her firepower can reach the docks in ten minutes from a dead stop. We will need to either ensure she is not alerted, or someone will need to deal with her separately.

He placed it on the table he said "I think I have a plan for the Red Venom and it can serve as a signal for the Assault on the Main vessel. You see I'm an inventor of sorts of Myriad Items. This lovely little toy is a personal favorite of mine. Steam powered Explosives. As I don't actually need to breathe and I'm a rather adept swimmer. I could approach the Red Venom. Strap enough of these little guys onto the belly of the Red Venom and remotely detonate them. Once the belly of the beast is ripped open it'll take no time for her to Sink to Davy Jones' Locker. I can swim and join you lot on the  Iron Queen later." Reinhardt knew that none of the others were truly equipped to take on a the Red Venom single-handedly, nor could such a small team spare enough people to properly trounce the Gunship. But with the power of Explosions, they wouldn't need to. He looked at the Gathered faces as he asked "Any opposition to my plan? "

Edited by Darling König

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Ambience [Recurring]

Spoiler

Sound Presence: IC and OOC

https://tabletopaudio.com/

"Docks District"

The person you're supposed to meet is always somewhere in the docks district. Gather your party and venture forth!

Music [Recurring]

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

After Tara’s own entry amid the Hopper of Roofs, new players continued to enter the game. One of the latest had done more than that, though, and seemed quite intent on making this known. Anyone who says they just don’t care somehow cares enough to continue. The irony wasn’t lost on Tara, and she made that known via smirking lips. She allowed the other woman to give her speech, keeping her own eyes on the map whilst her ears listened. Grey Feather Merchants. Hmm. The name sure rang some bells, even if the familiarity was hidden away from Tara’s face. Of course, given their crest, they were also known simply as the “Grey Owls”. What are their words again? She remembered that they were more than a few. Ah, yes…

 

‘Ye hopeless, ye lost . . . Grey feather on an owl’s wing . . . Pain, fear . . . Fortune and riches . . . Fortune and feathers . . . Fly, fly, fly . . . Something something smugglers’. Well, her memory of the words wasn’t entirely solid, but she couldn’t be blamed. Tara had seen the fliers enough times to remember some of the words but, well, there were many words. And how many Owls? From what she knew, the Grey Feather Merchants weren’t exactly owls and they weren’t exactly merchants, though they were certainly grey as far as morals went. ‘No job is too hard and no cargo is too contraband’. Now that was a slogan that had stuck. They were, in any other sense, a guild of smugglers. Though I’ll keep my secrets to myself for now.

 

For now, Tara had to play her part. Whether this other newly arrived woman was a full fledged feather of those Grey Owls, or just some silly fool contracted by them, she had just then revealed her name. “Tana”. Of course.

 

“Tara.”

 

Tara held up her wine glass in place of a hand to shake, though a glance at Tana’s mismatched hands would have only made Tara’s own hesitate. A person who wore only one glove was not a person worth trusting. Not that anyone was really worth trusting, but one-gloved, black-leathered slags even less. Tara had caught Tana's wink toward the dhampir before losing interest in the former; an eye’s gesture that had betrayed this Tana for a harlot. I should know.

 

Of course, a leisurely sip of wine and a returned gaze to a treasure map was once more interrupted by the sound of a chair scraping against the floor. With a countenance flattened by you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me, Tara could only blink up at the lady of the night. She watched the woman the whole way, from twirling the chair to finally parking her butt on it to watching Tara herself. Tara’s own gaze never wavered, and her nose wrinkled at the smell of a challenge. Its rise was stunted at Tana’s words. Having already pointed out the shoe, Tara was at least satisfied that one of her would be partners was down to business enough to forego formalities and look straight at the map.

 

There was the sound of the door opening just then and the sound of another woman’s voice. Guess two tits just aren’t enough. Tara, however, hadn’t felt like turning around to behold the latest hired. There was a map that still required her study. Shoes were one thing, but boats were another. And as this Tana Tightpants had pointed out, it was a nice boat to boot.

Music

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

Once all things and strange beings had settled down, Tara heard the unmistakably cliché “ladies and gentlemen” intro and looked up from the map to perceive Avarice Lynch in all his employer’s glory. She knew that a long speech was going to follow, and rightfully so; the man had to spill the beans, serve the meat and potatoes and get to the bread and butter of this little outfit’s large operation. His type was nothing new: offer a full course meal here, but just some snacks over there lest the guests get too curious as to where the food came from. Bullshit was a bullshitter’s game, so Tara would listen out for it and do not much else but listen. With another sip of her wine, she rested her glass on the table, sat back in her chair, licked her lips and lit up a cigarette in between them.

 

Avarice had pointed out the gnoll. His form had been an unmistakable enormity since Tara had first stepped upon the roof, and she’d seen his kind before. ‘Towering brute’ just about cut it. She followed the speaker’s finger to the boat that she had previously been gawking at. The Iron Queen. Surprise, surprise. At the mention of “smugglers”, Tara was quick to glance a grin at Tana long enough in the hopes for her to catch the look before looking back at Avarice. Symbols weren’t all that very interesting. Well-armed and well-supplied, well, that most certainly is.

 

As Mr. Confidence relayed the Iron Queen’s arrival, Tara blew a cloud of smoke and pondered his ultimate angle here. Unlike hers, his game appeared to be more political, if not personal, than profitable. That was all well and good. As he stated stakes and mentioned Louie, who had already complimented Tara with her fair share of drinks, she could only shrug with nonchalance. She was here to get paid, not so much question why as to how.

 

Fate had just then dropped the answer into her lap: the spoils of war, if not necessarily her own war. Well-supplied. Tara recalled the words from earlier. A ship like that, what was it hauling? Smugglers knew how to haul as much as pirates knew how to plunder the haul, that was for sure. She had run with both. Still, he’s only offering us the booty. Why? Pockets too tight? Or fists too tight in his pockets? She’d remember to ask him later. For now, she listened on.

 

Tara mocked a blink of disbelief as Roht, who was of course named “Roht”, bouldered his body forth and lowered what could only have been his best friend of an axe. His words caused Tara to recall other words from earlier. Well-armed. No shit. Sounds like a bloody warship from Genesaris’ finest fleets. She followed Mr. Lynch’s finger back to the map, smoke escaping toward it before suddenly realizing her folly and quickly moving to swat the haze away.  She wondered how genuine Avarice was about that “collateral damage” part. Many realists, idealists and opportunists spoke those same words, and they always sounded so sweet. Of course, when the damage does then become collateral, it then becomes necessary in hindsight. Funny how that works.

 

The train of thought was interrupted when somebody mentioned an evil twin. Does Roht have a brother that I missed? She looked up at the gnoll, half-expecting an answer to her new thought. Her gaze was locked with his for a moment, and then she wondered if he could in fact read her mind. Jesting to herself though she might have been, her heart suddenly skipped a beat. Nasty business, gnolls. Nope, turns out that the ‘evil twin’ was the Red Venom. Tara glanced back at the map, being sure to blow cigarette fumes from a corner of her lip this time. The other boat. Indeed… All in all, these smugglers had a good thing going on. Shame that their lucrative operation would soon sink, if they themselves did not. Shame for them. Beautiful for me.

 

Suddenly, Tara’s entire attention was seized by Avarice Lynch. He had positively stunned her with his next words, enough to spread her lips in some admiration, if only for the amusing. An ancient shoe, filled with many moldy secrets. Now that’s a story to share on the seas. As Avarice signaled the end of his speech and looked around at his guests, Tara did the same. She considered her tongue, forming this and that in her head, while waiting for someone else to see if they might speak first. It always paid to know if your partners in crime were as dumb as doornails, even if they might be sizing her up in the same way.

 

Nobody spoke, but someone had certainly moved. It was the half-vampire-human-man who had produced some kind of a metal apple from his coat. Shiny. Tara considered blowing smoke toward it deliberately this time, though it took only a moment to realize what kind of an object it was. Smoke might not have been the best idea. As What’s His Name ranted on about being the greatest inventor this side of the Known World, Tara took a keen interest in the supposed power of such a small device. In retrospect, she was already liking this chap. He could prove quite useful tonight, tomorrow or the next day, and he had earned immediate points by wasting no time to pitch forth a suggestion for their mission.

 

There were four objectives, if in no particular order, for this mission that Tara spun in her mind while considering the dhampir’s pitch.

  1. Destroy the Iron Queen, or "put it at the bottom of Silver Harbor" as Mr. Lynch had happily stated
  2. Steal the captain's log book from the Iron Queen to prove that they're pirates, or smugglers, or pirate-smugglers, or smuggler-pirates
  3. Eliminate the armaments of the Iron Queen
  4. Eliminate her twin, the Red Venom

 

Tara took a deep sigh as she thought about it all, flicking ash into the tray, watching it flake and crumble into a heap of nothing. On that note, it seemed that the dhampir had volunteered himself to take care of number four on this list of theirs. It was the only objective that dealt directly with the Red Venom, and the only one that would require being furthest away from Silver Harbor.

 

“None from me,” she uttered plainly but firmly, as if to challenge anyone else to disagree, and further to interrupt her own speech. “This Red Venom is all the way on the other end from where the Iron Queen is. Main attention needs to be at the harbor itself, where our actual prize is.” She shrugged. “Could send someone with our half-vampire friend here, but I’d settle for him going solo.” She smiled up at him. “He seems eager enough, and I’ve seen him jump, never mind swim.”

 

That left three more objectives. Tara required a sip of her wine to get the juices flowing before she continued, looking at everyone and no one in particular. “I don’t know about you lot, but I’ve some experience with smugglers and pirates.” She paused only a bare moment to see what any of them might make of that. “They either need to be parleyed with—and only then if you have something to parley with—or hit so hard that they can’t sit up to take a shit.”

 

Tara chewed on her lip as she recalled some past experiences. “We can’t blow the Iron Bitch up until we get this precious manifest, and we can’t get said manifest until we get inside her.” Her eyes roved about again, as if wondering if she was the only one who wasn’t an idiot. “I don’t know about you lot but, minus He Who Hops on Roofs, we are, what, three and then some against a whole crew? Two crews if the dhampir slips up? Shooting our way in won’t work. At least, not at first.”

She started nodding to herself. The more she nodded, the more sensible it all sounded. “We need to sabotage those guns without anyone seeing us. We need to take that log without anyone knowing it.” Now, she couldn’t help it. She was smiling wide and showing it. “Give me some hands and some climbing spikes, as the saying goes, and I’ll impregnate the bitch.” As smoke parted her lips, she snuffed what remained of her cigarette into the ashtray, twisting it till the fire went out and her gaze matched Avarice’s. Then you can put her at the bottom of the harbor.”

Edited by Die Shize

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Tana listened impassively to Avarice’s speech, moving only to tip her hand in a casual salute when he referred to their agreement. The four goals he presented were a good foundation for a plan. Silence the guns, destroy the backup, retrieve the log book, and sink the ship. She appreciated the simplicity. Personally, she would have rather slit the throats of the crew while they were sleeping, but this approach worked too.

She could tell he was being less than transparent with the group. It was subtle, but there was something in the way a few details never lined up or in the way he spoke that tipped her off. Tana didn’t care. In a meeting like this, it was expected that some truth would get left out. Besides, she herself had not been truthful with him.

She made no reaction at the mention of smugglers except for a slow, lazy blink. This was not the first she had heard this information nor was it the first time she had heard of the Iron Queen. Any smuggler wishing to operate through the port did business with the Iron Queen’s captain at some time in their career.

And thus the reason behind Tana’s involvement.

It does not pay well to compete with the leading trust in the smuggling business. Tana’s boss had made her position on working beneath the Iron Queen crystal clear. The thief had paid little attention to the lecture- something about a “power vacuum“ and “good riddance”- so much of the politics fell on apathetic ears. She took what she needed to know to complete the job and moved on. Now, seeing the objectives of the group laid bare, Tana took interest at the mention of the log book. There was scant detail, but her employers had been emphatic about Tana’s retrieval and/or destruction of certain documents kept aboard the ship. The log book sounded like a good place to start. Of course, she would give the book to Avarice. Most of the book.

Out of the corner of her eye, the thief caught a glimpse of the wine woman smiling at her. She had introduced herself a Tara. It was a tragically common name to fit the woman’s tragically common face. Her interest in Tana’s entrance had not gone unnoticed. While a glance and smile from a girl usually meant good things for Tana, the smug, knowing undertones of this grin caused her to rethink her earlier assessment of the alcoholic. Dangerous? Yes. Wise enough to keep to herself? Apparently not.

She turned her head to meet Tara’s glance with eyes that remained sharp and cold. Tana didn’t much care if Tara knew too much, but if she was foolish enough to think that it would be funny or advantageous to use said knowledge to interfere with Tana’s goals... There would be problems. Problems that could be easily resolved with a sharp enough knife. The glance lasted only a fraction of a second before Tana schooled her countenance into a playful smirk and blew a silent kiss to Tara.

The rest of the speech passed without incident. The dhampir took care of the Red Venom problem and Tana waited for Miss Pirate Mysterioso to finish stating the obvious.

Tana slouched in her chair, running a finger along the grain line of the back. These people weren’t idiots. She might even deign to call some of them intelligent.

“I have no objection to any plan so far,” she started in her usual drawl. “Now if- Tara, was it?- can actually stand on the claims she served us, then by all means, let her take out the defenses alone. However,” She paused and swept a glance across the meeting, “Two heads are better than one, especially pretty little heads like ours. We take out the cannons in twice the time and get an extra person on board in case anything drastic happens.”

It was a courtesy suggestion. Agreed or not, Tana would be on board that ship. She preferred not to have to fight two parties.

“If there’s someone else who’s good at not being seen, a third person would be beneficial as well.” She glanced at the other woman in the room. “If not, we’ll need a diversion at some point.”

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