The whole of Duskwall’s (Doskvol’s) newest gang, The Veiled Court, sits in rickety chairs around a weathered oak table. A single lantern flickers in the center of the table, playing shadows across the masoned walls of this cellar. As if the earthen stench and cobbled floor hadn’t already given underground locale away, water stains mark the stones in the walls.
Despite the current meeting, this cellar is used as storage for the tattoo parlor above. Even now, the misfits that make up the The Veiled Court can hear the buzz of the electroplasmic pens as artists ink patrons. It’s 1 p.m., the chosen meeting time and the busiest hour for the tattoo parlor, Den of Inkiquities. Outside, even now, Duskwall is dark, as always. The splinters of the shattered sun glow faintly in the black day sky.
Across the table from the ‘Court, a thin man in a rough tunic and heavy cloak rubs his shorn head. His face is plain and unremarkable, but his blue-gray eyes are piercing. Having asked through messenger to meet here, the ‘Court only know this man’s alias: Cross. Having confirmed Cross as an apothecary in the employ of the Dimmer Sisters, the ‘Court agreed to meet with him. But, in their investigation into Cross' background, The Veiled Court also learned of his scandalous reputation for exotic experiments on unwilling victims.
Cross clears his throat and puts his tricorn hat on the table. He plays with the edge of his hat with chemical-stained fingers. “Thank you for meeting. I asked you here on behalf of our mutual friends, The Dimmer Sisters. They have a job they need doing and they asked for you by name. I’ve been tasked as your handler for the job, should you accept. This job’s target is the Spirit Wardens. So, please understand the sensitivity of it. But, I must ask now before we go any further, is this something you’re interested in?”
The Spirit Wardens are a secret group who hunt rogue sprints, run the Bellweather Crematorium, and destroy the dead so they don’t turn into spirits. They are not officially part of Doskvol’s law enforcement. They serve the Emperor directly.
A cloud of smoke began to cough a dry sort of cough, the kind that only seemed to occur when someone decided to interject in a passive aggressive sort of way. Puffing away on a freshly loaded hookah, was the source of the cough. Wilhelmina Bithersee.
“Excuse me, but did you saw the Spirit Wardens? I’m of no concern regarding their content but I’ve thoughts on interfering with Imperial Agents, even on behalf of the lovely Sisters.”
She speaks openly, letting smoke roll from her mouth, her words shaping the cloud into a slew of amorphous shapes.
“Color me intrigued but I require more information to make a commitment of such magnitude. Comfortably. If everyone else here is willing to continue on, I’ll go along with it.”
She leans forward in the wing backed chair she’d hauled down the day previous just for this occasion, pointing at each one of her cohorts in turn. “What say you all?”
The golden masked figure was sitting at the table, his fingers steepled together as Cross informed them this newest potential job. There was a moment of silence as the figure looked towards their compatriots "I have no complaints with helping out the Sisters. They've aided us in the past." the voice was deep and masculine but unnaturally so. He waved his hand towards Cross "The Wardens deal in the spiritual side of the occult. Their items would make for an interesting study" he tapped his mask slightly for a moment "However, I also wish to express my reluctance to go afoul of the Emperor by interfering in the actions of his men. Should that happen, we'd find Doskvol a lot less welcoming than it already is."
Once more he looked at the others "On a more personal level however, we all wouldn't be here if we were determined to play it safe" the right amount of risk could pay off tremendously for them. Besides, underneath that mask was a man who really did feel indebted to the Dimmer Sisters. They'd helped out their little group when they wanted to get started, pointed them towards a nice little lair hidden away from prying eyes.
As the Golden One, he had to be all practical and not give anything away, to fit the image that his mask produced but underneath it was Myrke who just didn't want to disappoint the nice people that had helped him. He was also very interested in the kind of items the Wardens used for their own jobs. Spiritual magitech could enable them to do a whole host of good things for people. Spirits in general would be a lot of help because they could get into places where the average person couldn't.
So her very much wanted to know more about this job but he couldn't speak for the rest of the group though it already seemed like Wilhelmina was all for it. He liked Mina, she was nice enough and her interest in improving her own body nearly rivaled his interest in making magical technology more mainstream. There was some overlap in their aspects at certain times.
Fully swarthed in cloth, the Face steepled "his" cloved hands. (Dressed like this, Ashani-as-Mukhum considered it necessary to change thoughts as well as actions.) The gold paint around his eyes glinted as he looked between his fellows.
"I agree. Willie and the Golden One both are correct that further knowledge is needed before commitment," he said, his voice low and mellow, the accent elongating and softening vowels. "I would also like to learn more. Though it has great risk, the rewards are promising."
The Spirit Wardens no doubt had powerful secrets, and Ashani always found it difficult to keep locked doors closed. But there was a difference between being curious and being stupid: that depended on the danger involved in the undertaking.
Cross nods. "Indeed. I understand. I have been given consent to share more that you understand how sensitive this information could be. And that you will not share it. If you decline the job, the Sisters will watch you, day and night, looking for any slip up. Until this job is complete, you will be expected to keep totally silence on the matter."
Having said his piece on the matter, Cross clears his throat and proceeds. "Recently, the Spirit Wardens raided one of the Sisters' storehouses. It had previously been thought to be a secret location, but clearly not secret enough. They took with them several items that are valuable to the Sisters. We know that these items are scheduled to be shipped out in two weeks for study and destruction. But, we don't know on which ship. And we don't know the exact time.
"We have acquired information about a Warden safe-house near the docks that is running the shipping operation. We need you to enter the safe-house, obtain this information, discreetly, and deliver it to me. Payment for the job will be 6 coin. Any questions?"
"Is there any information on the safe-house? Security, guards, layout?" it was better to know these things going in but it wasn't paramount. Such information could be gathered on their own, but it was always preferable to get it from the person issuing the request. It would give them a better idea of how to get into and out of the building as well as an idea of what equipment to bring.
All in all, it was poor planning to go into a job with no prior preparation "I would also like to know what these items are that we will be retrieving. The wardens will most likely have a few other select items that we will be appropriating, partially to cover both ours and the sisters involvement." and partially for study, though he didn't say that part "Knowing what exactly we are meant to take will help us prioritize that first"
Cross clears his throat again. "Apologies. I had a long night last night. Let me be more clear. There are shipping manifests and schedules for Wardens' shipments of these stolen items. We need you to steal the manifests and schedules. The Sisters ask that you be discrete, but of course, if you manage to slip out with a few more prizes from the Wardens' safe house, that is none of our business." Cross smiles devilishly.
"Now, as to information. I will provide you with the location of the safe-house. But, part of the service we're paying you for is to put the job together—how to get in, your plan of escape, entrances, exits, etcetera. That is for you to figure out and execute on."