March 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[A BASEMENT SOMEWHERE IN FREEHOLD; MARCH 21, 2017 (WR)]

After Freydis the Whip snorted the Spice off of the table, her eyes rolled back and her body shuddered as the effects took her. Her half-empty goblet splashed wine upon her dress, her thrall-bodyguard and the meeting table even as her cup-filler thrall moved to ensure she never reached sobriety.

“Eve, my dear Chemist” She slurred when her vision returned. “Lucca’s lies, you’ve certainly outdone yourself this time!”

The candle flames shrouded the Silver Elf’s face in shadow, but her displeasure was known. She furrowed her brow and leaned upon the table before her. “Evestine, not Eve. Spice is for the ‘clients’ — not for you”

“Evestine is right. You indulge too much. What if your slaves revolt?” Valac’s right fingers curled and uncurled into a fist but his voice was even and firm, as it was to all folk he spoke to — superior, victim and underling. He kept his eyes on the door to their basement hideout. “I’d hate to have to clean another mess”

“Relaaaax” Freydis gestured with her goblet, staining the table and their plans with a dark crimson. “We have been pulling record numbers all moon, and even the moons before that. As for my *thralls*… they would. Not. Dare. A. Thing. Am I right, sweetling?”

Her bodyguard nodded, stoic and quiet at her question, then shivered and scratched at his facial brand when the slaver turned away.

Everyone, except heavy-lidded Freydis, jumped to their feet, weapon in hand, when the door slammed open. A tall tattooed human stalked in, his wrathful visage marked with a black dragon. A smaller figure followed behind him, the troll’s eyes peering cautiously at every shadow.

“Boss Dagmar” Valac nodded to his superior as he and folk at the table lowered their weapons. His deft fingers produced an alchemy stick and begin to light it with his flint-sparker.

The human took his place at the head of the table. The troll found his own on the opposite side, a place for the newer members of the leadership – such as Evestine.

As soon as weapons were sheathed and breathing was calmed, Dagmar let loose his wrath. The cup-bearer had not a chance to react as poisoned steel swept through him and added blackening blood unto the table and the reports upon it.

“Fucking Kingslayer!” Dagmar’s fury was far from sated and it grated on his voice like a grindstone.

“Dagmar, you butcher! These thralls are expensive!” Despite her words, Freydis spoke with the ease of one accustomed to buying and selling lives for little and less. Her sobriety returned to her with the death of her thrall, but only just so.

His eyes bulged and he lashed out at the Jotunbrud but her bodyguard got in his weapon’s path. The thrall fell at her feet, wounds darkened and blighted. She did not even look down.

“Fucking Brotherhood!” With a mighty slam, he broke the table in half. Candlewax, splinters and soaked papers adorned the ground. Candles died in pools of spilled wine and blood. In the wake of his rampage, silence and darkness hung in the air.

Valac’s face barely was lit by the burning ember of his alchemy stick. “They’re clamping down, Boss?”

“They’re clamping down hard” The troll answered for Dagmar, conjuring a light of his own with spellcraft instead of artifice. “They’re hitting all our ops they can find, from Northwall to Breakwater. Passing Port Dawson is easy, even for me – but there’s blood on the streets. Our people’s blood”

The meeting began to talk all at once, disagreeing, complaining and otherwise filling the room with the clangor of their discontent.

“Doesn’t matter!” Dagmar’s voice blotted out the rest of the discussion and echoed across the darkened basement. “Evestine, we double production! Freydis, we double profits! Valac, we start killing people in the streets! And you, Mule, keep the lanes open and help Valac bring in our own set of killers!”

His gaze quavered for a moment. “We do this right and we do this now! Before He gets involved!”

The quiet settled in again, a silent dread filling the space left by Dagmar’s words.

Evestine spoke, the Elf’s arms folded and her voice betraying annoyance. “Doubling production is easy with what we have. But what of the Brotherhood? The Freefolk? What of the King-slayer?”

“I can help with the last, I think” The troll, Zaalamon, smiled viciously. “After all… before he set his sharks on me, I used to be one of them”

Rumor (Anyone may read this)

The Brotherhood of the Sword and Cross, hired policing force of Freehold, were seen putting up wanted posters that seek out a reward for the death or capture of Syndicate leadership. These figures have been identified thusly:

Dagmar the Butcher – current leader of the Syndicate

Evestine the Chemist – alleged creator of “Spice”

Freydis the Whip – wanted for over a hundred counts of slavery

Valac the Fist – head enforcer of the Syndicate

Zaalamon the Mule – for possession and movement of illicit items and components

Furthermore, it has been revealed that — as of the moment, possession of any type of Spice and its derivatives has been declared illegal within the boundaries of Freehold and towns affected by the Treaty of Freehold. The Brotherhood intends to confiscate and punish those found with these substances.

 

Rumormonger skill only