Acquisitions Inc Part 1 - The Cat's Paw - RPLOG
The back rooms of the Thieves' Guild are dark and a little dingy. The floorboards creak incessantly and the kerosene lamps emit foul, black smoke. A rather uncouth looking boar has led the way to a grime covered door, indistinguishable from any of the others in these tunnels under Mange Square. He knocks three times, then two, then four. A voice comes from inside. "Let them in."
Zuri peers behind the group when they pause by the door, instinctively seeking to ensure they're not being seen or followed. The salamander has dressed for the occasion, bringing along a less extravagant and more practical outfit for what is sure to be some manner of shady business. He waits for the door to be opened and slinks in, his sinuous tail trailing behind him. He offers the occupants a rather out-of-place friendly smile.
Serana flicks her tail softly, the female following after the salamander with her coat tied tight enough that her figure could easily be seen. On her chest was four pistols her waist had two, and her cutlasses. She taps her boot against her other to see how secure it was before wandering in and standing off to the left a bit leaning against the wall
Beyond the door is a strange sight. The room revealed is not another dingy cell in the underground complex, but rather a well furnished, well lit study of some kind! Sturdy shelves line the walls, filled with books and interesting objects and a small fire burns in an ornate fireplace with a pair of well upholstered couches placed before it. The main feature of the room, however is a sturdy desk, immaculately arranged with a sleek, black panther behind it, wearing fine clothes and a silver scarf. "Oh," he says, looking at Serana, "It's you." The panther's gaze is not especially friendly as it moves from the shark to the smiling little Salamander. "You are both here about my notice, I assume?" he asks in a low, rich voice.
Zuri peers around the room as he paces inside, his eyes coming to rest on the panther only after admiring the contents of the room. His smile never leaves him throughout, and he nods in response. "Yes sir. High risk, high pay are four words I simply cannot pass up. I assume you're in need of something done quickly and discretely? If so, I'm sure we can more than accomodate your needs."
Serana flicks her tail a bit "Of course." the Shark responds her gaze equally friendly, unsure if she remembers the panther before her. I assume you need an... 'aquisition?' flicks her tail some more, hands resting on her hip "Or something else entirely?" The underworld does know her rather differently, depending on the person.
The panther frowns and fingers a pin on his coat shaped like a red hand. "Acquisitions," he says, tasting the word, "Yes, that is a good word for what I require." He caps a bottle of ink and sets aside his quill, obviously in no hurry ro address the pair before him. "A certain item has recently come to my attention that is certainly in the wrong hands," he says, turning a sheet of paper around and sliding it across the table, "This is a drawing of a statuette affectionately dubbed 'The Cat's Paw.'"
The drawing shows a feminine figure in flowing drapery, sculpted in incredible detail standing just in front of a much more impressionistic male figure. It is beautiful and a little unnerving. "It is in the possession of one Janus Ashtera," he says, "A visiting. . . dignitary of Ishara. I am told that he never travels without the statue. I would like you to. . . acquire it."
Zuri peers over the table to regard the drawing. He crinkles his nose in thought. "Hm.. an Ashteran." He peers up at the panther. "Where are they situated right now? I assume Janus Ashtera will be staying somewhere well appointed." He looks back down at the picture as he continues to muse. "Wily Isharans like they are, they will be expecting trouble even where there isn't any. We'll need to figure things out to get in and out clean."
Serana humphs "Ishara." she seems to hiss the name "Alright. I imagine the mark is to be unharmed?" she sighs, flicking her tail some more "Especially considering the sensitivity of such an... 'Aquisition.' Of course, he could just reside on his ship, where his guard and such can be trusted and know their posts and locations."
"The shark is correct," the panther says, "Janus is most likely to keep the figurine on his ship, The Mamba, currently in the harbor." He carefully arranges a stack of papers and sets them aside. "I could not care less about how you go about getting the statue," he says, "But if you are caught, there will be no help for you. If trouble follows you back to me, rest assured, I will not be here and you will receive no payment. Are there any questions?"
Zuri looks back at the shark, nodding. "The ship is very likely, yea." He turns back to the panther and grins. "Alright, ship assault it is. I'd prefer to do it clean, slip in and slip out unseen, don't like trouble." He shakes his head. "No questions from me." He turns back to Serana, waiting to see what she has to say.
Serana flicks her tail "Be mindful of the guard, they know their ship inside and out. I'd attempt to assault from the water, crawl in through a hole we can make in the hull, or straight up walk through the front guards. Best we go in through the hull. Can you manage that?
Seeing that the conversation is over, the panther waves a hand, banishing the duo from the room where the unkempt boar waits to take them back to the surface.
Zuri paces back with Serana as they navigate the tunnels. "Through the hull? Like, smashing it or using explosives? That's probably going to be tricky, and not something I can do without preparation." He smiles. "Assaulting from the water seems like a good idea however, I like the way you're thinking. We should be able to easily climb over the side."
Serana shakes her head "There will be guards on the main deck. Very bad idea to crawl over the side." she hums "Easier to just attempt to cut through the hull with some sort of magic, or blow a hole and let the commotion take over. If we're going to be exploding anything, however, we'd need to blast a hole far enough in the front of the ship they won't notice us slipping in the back, preferably at water level, to give them ample distraction."
The boar leaves the pair at the trapdoor in the thieves' guild, leaving them to find their own way to the harbor. The Mamba is not hard to find. It is a fine, busy vessel, crawling with industrious sailors making cat calls at each other and hualing cargo. The ship's name is painted carefully on the side toward the prow, but it seems to be flying Shralestan colors!
Zuri spends the rest of the walk musing on the shark's words. As they arrive at the docks they pace towards a quiet area where they can overlook the Mamba without being spotted. He turns to his friend and speaks in a lower voice. "I'm afraid I don't really have the means to puncture anything into a ship's hull. Fire Mathemagic isn't my forte." He smiles. "I'm more subtle than that. But if you have an idea I'm all for it." He peers over at the ship, still considering.
Serana hums "I have water and air, but that's the extent of that. My sutlasses don't have the ability to puncture through a ship either." she hums, the shark, flicking her tail. Though, having a storm to cover our approach might be useful. That I can do, and it might do a bit more then just cause a storm. she hums "All in all, our best bet would be to get into the lower levels of the ship. Not wander through the upper wones. Easiest way to get spotted and stopped."
It is a beautiful, sunny day and the sailors of the Mamba seem to be finishing their unloading and heading off to do what sailors do while in harbor. There are a few obvious sentries on deck and any number of sailors and merchants wandering the wharfs, but this may be as quiet as things are likely to get until nightfall.
Zuri taps his chin, looking over at the ship. He reaches into his jacket and retrieves a small case. He opens it to reveal a series of soul gems, all neatly lined up. He draws one from within. "Well, I'm not the most proficient mage, but I could try to blow a hole.. really though, I'm thinking we should create a distraction somewhere and sneak inside. I think that would be better.."
Serana hums "Kinda the point of the hole at this point." she hums. "Blow a hole, as the distraction, sneak on the back, perhaps through the captains cabin while he's out directing the crew." she flicks her tail, nodding to the rear of the ship. "Or the other option we have is screw everything and use the storm to slaughter the crew on deck, cutting through them one by one using the darkness of the storm and the thunder to mask our movements."
Zuri shakes his head. "Too messy, we don't want to get tangled in a protacted fight, and if we cause too much of a mess it will attract unwanted attention. There's more than just them in this port, including the port authority guards." He smirks. "But you're right, the captain's cabin. Look, chances are the captain *is* his Janus guy. The Isharans are all about piracy and boats, so he'd be riding here as the guy-in-charge. Which means his statuette is in the captain's cabin, the safest place he knows. We don't need a hole or an explosion, we just need to make sure he's not in the cabin when we climb inside. All we need to do is cause a small amount of trouble. Maybe we can mess up the ship's sails and rigging? Or cause some ruckus outside? Anything that will be messy enough that the captain will have to get involved."
Serana hums "I'd need storm enough to cover while I ice sections, then the wind should be able to take care of those sections. If I do things right, I can free the mainsail and get the ship pulling against the dock that'd have crew scrambling to close it back, or free the moorings, Which puts them further in my element."
Zuri nods. "If you think you can manage it, let's do it." He smiles. "That's the sort of thing that will cause the crew to scramble." He peers up at the sky. "Hm.. well.. hopefully it will work eh?" He smiles at the shark. "Last one in's a rotten egg!" He giggles, rather childishly, and leaps into the water to start swimming across.
Serana rolls her eyes a bit, the pirate mixing together what she had to in order to create the storm, channeling for however long needed enough to get the sky full of roiling black clouds and winds like a gale, with thunder and lightning abounding. That was here her concentration dipped first, working that to completion before continuing on.
There is a general outcry from the decks of several nearby ships and a number of bewildered looks from the beings walking along the warf as rain heavy clouds seem to form over the Mamba alone and strong winds whip the ropes in the rigging about. "Captain Janus!" one of the reptilian sailors on deck calls, "Someat's afoot!"
Zuri has no trouble in the water, though the winds near the boat make it difficult to hang about there for too long.
Zuri swims just below the surface towards the Mamba, trying to keep underwater as much as possible to avoid being seen right away. He intends to reach the rear of the ship quickly, where he can hide next to the ship's bulk, and preferably near its aftcastle where the he figures the captain's quarters will be.
Serana frowns softly, "God damnit." she hisses, jumping into the water after Zuri, getting close enough to try and freeze over the ropes holding the mainsail in place. From that, she would then attempt to climb up with Zuri, letting him go ahead. before she makes her way up.
Zuri manages to find a hand hold above the rudder at the aft of the ship. It's not a place he can stay for long with these choppy waves, but it is somewhere to start from. Serana's magic manages to put a coating of frost and ice on the bound mainsail, catching sight of a serpent being striding from the captain's quarters.
Zuri starts clambering up the ship's aft. He pauses for a moment, closing his eyes and focusing to help direct the force of Serana's tempest with a little nudge from his Pegasus dedication. He resumes his climb quickly after, aiming to reach one of the aftcastle's windows.
Serana flicks her tail, letting the winds do the work as she propels herself along the water coming up to the stern and clambering her way up, or at least, trying to.
The dark clouds over the ship start to boil and spread and the waves start to crash more violently against the ship. There is a chorus of shouts from on deck and faces start to appear over the sides, looking toward the docks. "Send Foggy!" comes a barked order, "Get the men back here NOW!"
Zuri continues to push upwards, the little salamander clinging close to the ship to avoid being buffeted away. He peers down at the shark to ensure she's managing the climb.
Serana gives him a soft wave of her tail telling him to continue on, that she was fine. For the moment. She continues trying to climb maybe managing to pull herself up using the rudder.
After a short climb in the crashing waves, Zuri reaches the foggy windows of the captain's cabin, with Serana making her way up behind him. The commotion on deck has not calmed yet and a distant voice can be heard barking orders.
Zuri clings onto the outer frame of the aftcastle and turns away from the window to protect his eyes as he cracks into it with his elbow, trying to clear a hole big enough that he can unlatch and open it then climb inside.
Serana meanwhile was set well enough against the ship that all she had to do, really was keep her head against the ship to avoid the glass, This accomplished she would wait for Zuri to unlatch the cabin, before making her way iun after him.
With a crash of tinkling glass, Zuri opens up the way into the ship's interior. Amidst all the tumult, it seems like everyone is still busy on deck.
Zuri scans the room to ensure noone is around, then turns about to reach outside and help Serana inside. The salamander smiles at his friend in that playful manner of his. "That worked out pretty good." He returns to the room and starts looking about, trying to check first if they're in the right cabin, and second where the statuette might be.
Serana hums pulling herself into the room with a soft smirk "Well, this is definitely the place." she gives, speaking beneath the din outside "Look about in areas easy to secure, check for trapdoors or panels that are loose, or show signs of use unlike other panels." she gives, wandering over to the desk and searching through that. Looking for buttons and such that might open any secret compartments, and failing that, any important documents one could use to transfer funds or clientel from the Asharan.
The cabin is large and immaculately well kept. In some ways it is even nicer than the room in which the pair met their contact. There are no bookshleves, but there are several racks populated by fine wines and a glorious four post bed takes up one sizeable corner of the room. The statuette is not hard to find, as it is prominently displayed in a large display cabinet on one wall, along with a handful of other beautiful treasures. The cabinet, along with the drawers of the desk and the large chest at the foot of the bed are all locked.
Zuri peers around all the less obvious places before checking the obvious one - right in plain sight. He chuckles at himself and heads over to the display case, observing it carefully. He turns to Serana and nods. "This is it, I think I might be able to pick the lock, if we have a bit of time."
Serana hums softly, facepalming when she saw the display case. "Be wary of traps." the shark offers. "Unless he decides to just leave his stuff unlocked, untrapped and out in the open." she wanders over to the display case, then to the door, listening to the din outside, and motioning to Zuri to hurry should things start quieting down.
Without any direct urging, the storm outside has begun to disipate and the cries from above become less urgent, though none of them can be distincly made out through the heavy wooden door to the room. There probably is not much time before the situation outside is once more under control.
Zuri carefully inspects the display case for traps and hidden devices. He reaches into the breast pocket of his jacket to find a set of tools, and selects from them a pair of picks, as well as a few other select devices to probe the display case for traps. He inserts a thin metal rod onto the frame of the lid and starts running it gently, looking for any spring-lock mechanisms or similar devices that would trigger when the case opens.
Serana flicks her tail some "The storm is dying down." she gives in a hushed manner, still listening past the heavy wooden door, or at least, as good as she can listen past it. Still, she preparees one of her pistols barrel in hand, just in case the door should open, and she slips to one side, there to catch the man should he enter the room.
The cabinet seems very ordinary. Aside from the strange rainbow sheen on the glass if one looks at it from an angle. Good thing no one tried to just smash their way in! That stuff is undoubtably poison! The cabinet seems to have a separate lock for each cupboard and section, with the statuette taking up an entire space all to itself.
There is a clomp of heavy boots approaching the cabin door. ". . . that I hear the moment they find anything!" comes a harsh voice, "The captain will be furious if we get found out in this rat's nest port!"
Zuri fishes out the pick and hook from the selection of his tools, and starts tinkering with the lock to try and get it open. He peers at the door as the noise is heard from outside, and gives Serana a knowing glance before returning to the job at hand.
Serana nods, sets herself accordingly, preparing herself should the door open. She positioned herself on the side opposite the hinges preparing should someone wander in, she'd pull them to the side and use the surprise to deliver a blow to the head enough to incapacitate.
"No!" the voice outside calls in answer to some unheard question, "Captain wants them alive. Maybe get 'em to 'join up,' if you get my meaning!" There is a chorus of harsh laughter before the door unlocks with a click.
With an equally satisfying click, the cabinet door comes onlocked! Looks like the statue is ripe for the taking!
Zuri uses the pick to grip the cabinet's latch and pull it up, his free hand reaching inside to retrieve the statuette. He keeps an eye on the door, ready to dart away as soon as the statuette is secure.
Serana blinks, the door coming unlocked. Thinking fast she ices the crack with ice thick and strong enough it'll take a couple seconds to breach should someone find out she iced the door, quickly making her way to Zuri she gave him an urgent look that said "we need to go, now."
There is a grunt from the other side of the door. "I thought you fixed the sticky door, Mister Rinks!" comes the harsh voice from outside. Looks like Serana has bought a moment.
As Zuri wraps his hands around the statue he is suddenly and painfully made aware of a strip of short needles on the back side of the little figurine! Uh oh.
Zuri has already wrapped his hand around the statuette when he feels the sharp needles, wincing but keeping hold of the prize. He wastes no more time, tucking it into his arm for safekeeping as he bolts towards the window and climbs out, hanging from the frame briefly as he peers inside to make sure Serana is following him.
Serana watches the salamander wince, before she grabbed the sallymander, lifting the little bugger up and making her way to the window, leaping from it and into the water, with a 'hold tight' before she did so. She would then shift so their weight was distributed evenly, before kicking and paddling her way to shore with one hand and both legs.