1. Events

The Arcstone Plot

6 Nundinus 1210 AE


"I know why you're here. You heard of Arcstone. Everybody has. It makes the arclights up in the towers for the nobles, and fancy little doodads the Magewrights make. It's like there's a little bit of magic inside a crystal. You probably even heard the rumors that they were what powered the Automatons. That's why arcstones haven't been used so much 'til recently. Nobody wants that to happen again, am I right?

"But did you hear where the arcstones come from? The Empire keeps a tight grip on who gets the arcstone. Mighty tight. It comes from some far off mine, and the slaves that work it never return. It's loaded up on boats, and the Army runs them along the river under heavy guard, straight to the Imperial Docks. That's why the Emperor's great grandfather took control of the docks and kicked out all the merchants, so that the arcstone would be secure at every step.

"Now, what if I told you that was all wrong?"

The Pay

"Before we begin, I know many of you are eager to talk payment. I know none of you are working for the betterment of the Empire. You are here for the coin. If you'll look under your chair, you'll find a rather heavy bag. As promised, ten percent up front in imperial gold crowns. Now, I suppose I can't stop you from taking that money and running. I also can't stop you from bragging to your friends about this 'big score.' So I will also direct your attention to the scroll beneath your chair. Please open it up, and take note of the names listed.

"If you run, or if you talk, or if you do anything that I think jeopardize this mission, I will go down that list one by one. I will find that person, and make them suffer for as long as possible before they perish. And then I will find you, and I will throw you in the deepest dungeon, where you will beg for death before I tire of your irritating mewling.

"Do we understand one another?


The Crew

"With that out of the way, it's time to introduce everyone. Of course you all know me. Even the likes of you have probably seen an Imperial parade or two. So let's start on my right.

"Goteg is our muscle, in case you can't tell by his height and orcish tusks. Word on the street is that he practices forbidden Blood Magic, using the blood of his enemies to make himself supernaturally stronger. He will tear off your limbs and beat you with them if you piss him off. So don't piss him off.

"Next is, our magewright, Iroma. She'll verify the arcstone. She also has a few gadgets that will help us access the more secure areas.

"If any of you are feeling especially religious, you can talk to Vakandan Judara. She has made many assurances that the Mistress of the Moons will support our cause. For her sake, I hope she's right.

"Finally, we have Filch. He calls himself a ruse artist, and he'll be the one to help us get in. Yes, I know I can get us in, but we don't want my involvement to be known. But I can get us the uniforms of the Imperial Army and Filch can get the credentials so we can walk right over to the docks."

The Plan

"We'll be arriving at the docks by boat, of course. I can't control the schedule, so they'll be a little suspicious when we first arrive. Filch and I should be able to smooth talk our way out of any problems there. And just in case, we'll have the uniforms.  Filch, I want you two working on those. I've got the real uniforms here, but we need them to be better. Give us an edge. Concealed throwing daggers? I like the way you two think. Goteg, it's not going to matter what sort of Imperial uniform we put you in. You're going to look like an orc no matter what we do. I'll get back to that.

"Our boat will be loaded with a little something Iroma has made for us. It's like the water purifiers in the sewers, but Arcstone powered and it works in reverse. We're going to make a giant poison cloud that will take care of every guard along the docks quietly. Yes, we're using arcstone to get more. Just remember we're going straight to the source: we'll have it while the rest of the Empire is floundering without it. You all think about the coin instead of what the real result of this heist is going to be.

"And I can see that none of you care about that, only your purse. Once the guards on the docks are out of the way, we will be able to make our way to the main warehouse. Judara will make sure that we have plenty of shadow and darkness as cover. It should be easy from there."

The Complication

"Well, where's the arcstone?! This is the warehouse! It should all be here! I don't care, find them! Goteg can't hold off a whole squad by himself, and if you don't hurry, you'll be just as dead as Filch!!

"A levitator!? What are you talking about? This isn't the Towers, where would it go?! ... What? How far down? Can you get it working?

"You better work faster than that. Get the blast stones if you have to! From the sounds of the fight outside, we don't have a lot of time."

The Aftermath

"Thank Aldar! I'm so glad you got here when you did. I wish I could be more help, but I don't remember much after they kidnapped me. I don't know how those miscreants got through the Palace security, let alone thought it would be a good idea to kidnap the Emperor's brother. Why would they target me in their scheme? I don't have any special way to get to arcstone shipments, but I guess they didn't know that. They're all dead now, though? You're sure? I want the Vigilants to mete out their justice of course, but I wasn't expecting that. The Vigilants lost one of their own as well? I want to make sure her sacrifice will not be forgotten. She has served the Empire well.

"I want to thank you all again for your help. It's the fine folks like you in the Vigilants and the Watch that protect us from people like that. Who knows what horrible things they were planning to do? I for one will sleep easily knowing that our Empire is safe again."

"Yes, we can all rest easy now..."

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Art by Edikt Art with modifications by the author.

Created by scanime 7 months ago. Last modified by scanime 2 weeks ago