Marktag 10th, Nachexen, 2529 IE
“I haven’t heard of who you’re looking for…”
The Guilded Rose begins their next job in the small, run-down hovel, talking to Tessa Berkhout whose lack-luster and often absent father seems to have gone missing for a longer period than usual. She isn’t offering much, but the Guild (in some cases begrudgingly) accepts the contract to help her.
From the off, they have a few leads – Rudolf, her Tessa’s father, was a Manaanite Priest (and a bad one at that), a suspected smuggler with the Guild We’ve Never Heard Of, and likely an opium addict. With this information under their wing, the Guild decides to waste no time by splitting up.
Emilio, Séraphine and Theodore go to the local Manaanite temple to enquire about the “Father”, and find him to be a veritable scum-bag – pilfering donations from the tin, slacking off on his rounds, and loitering around North Riddra. None of his fellow priests have a kind word to say about him between them.
Lyra, Siegfried and Warg headed to the Lost Lodge, a pub sympathetic to the Guild We’ve Never Heard Of – though they didn’t know that going in. There they meet with a woman named Helga, and a man whose name they never got. After a tense round of evasive questioning, the Man Whose Name They Never Got admits to Lyra that Rudolf was a Greaser for them, and that if he is missing it is a serious problem. They point them in the direction of the Riddra opium dens.
Lastly, Garfield and Rijkaard went to the Gull and Skull to talk to some opium users. As is expected from their usual shenanigans, the two of them partook of some opium themselves, and became insensible. However, before losing their wits, they managed to dig up the name Venk Kataswaran and the Golden Lotus Dreaming House – an opium den apparently frequented by the missing Rudolf.
Just a Whiff or Two
The Guild make their way, in dribs and drabs to “seem less suspicious”, to the Dreaming House. First in are Garfield, Rijkaard, Siegfried and Warg, as they are easily the most likely to be drug addicts
First, the four of them are extorted for 12 Guilders by a short and insanely quick Nipponese woman, and second they are threatened by a rather large, well muscled Nipponese man (that is, not before Siegfried pilfered the pockets of the coat room). They then meet with the rather slimy Venk Karaswaran, who manages to get Rijkaard even higher, and then leaves them be.
Outside the Dreaming House, Lyra and Séraphine manage to piss off the lounging Nipponese guard, who turns out to be a female martial artist – Toko. They get into a scuffle, and Emilio manages to knock Séraphine on her arse, and Theodore dons his Indiana-Jones-inspired hat and whip, only the be of little use to the tight melee.
Inside, Garfield and Siegfried go upstairs to talk to Herr Kataswaran, only to openly “admit” that they are trying to encroach on his turf. He secretly alarms his large Nipponese guard – Masahito, who bursts into the room and delivers two driving blows to Siegfried’s groin. Garfield jumps on his back, and only manages to knick his thick flesh before having the wrestler’s iron-corded arms wrap around him in a crushing grapple.
Outside, blow after blow is exchanged, with Toko narrowly avoiding death at every moment, but slowly whittling down the defences of the Guild until Emilo delivers a brutal unarmed punch to her ribs, cracking a few. Toko, knowing the battle is lost, runs down a nearby alley to escape and manages to expertly scale the wall of the building. Slowly but doggedly, the Guild attempts to follow her, but the trail runs cold and she is nowhere in sight.
Still held in the death grip, Garfield struggles madly and manages to push himself out and viciously draws his blade across Masahito’s throat, ending the man with a gargle and a whimper. At the sounds of commotion, Warg bounds to the top of the stairs, and the trio confront Venk.
They tear from Venk’s records mention that Rudolf was in fact here the night he went missing, and Venk himself lead him late at night to Groenewoud’s Fine Meats, Fresh Fish and Abattoir in Goudberg. He also relates that he has a deal with Bonifatius Groenewoud where in he “delivers” drug-addled men to the butcher’s doorstep late at night, and leaves them there. Garfield delivers a quick blow to his face, and the man is left unconscious.
The trio then wake up Rijkaard and begin rifling through Venk’s possessions. They come up with a number of gold rings, a safe filled with Guilders (which they crack open), and his ledger (which they steal). Then, in a fit of madness/“strategy”, they decide to fake a murder scene, and frame one of the below junkies for the murder of Masahito and Venk (who they kill in turn).
What is the deal with Goudberg Food?
The Guild, after discussing some of the previous events, and concealing others, head to Goudberg to talk to Bonifatius Groenewoud. At his shop, they discover that the above ground section houses the abattoir, yet there is clearly an underground section where “canal-borne deliveries” are made.
Whilst nothing is proven, the Guild’s suspicions are high!
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!