Dogar returned to Cardinnia, in the hopes of finding out something about the mysterious assailant who came after him five months from now. He returned to the city of Haven, a port city near Cardinnia’s capital, which also has the dubious honor of being a hotbed of criminal activity.
Dogar sought out an old contact/flame of his, a City Guard named Arianna Blake. She was surprised to find that Dogar was in the city, as apparently the Thieves’ Guild master King John had put a considerable price on his head, as well as his gear. The two of them caught up and hooked up. Then, Dogar went looking for some more information, as the news that there was such a high bounty for him had upset him slightly.
Meanwhile, Masks had also found his way to this place and time, although moments before, he had been helping Orphan look for Marcos in the hills of Lotash. He asked around, and found out that Orphan was also here. He looked her up at the Golden Anchor Yacht Club, but he didn’t have a membership card. After a few tense moments with the bouncer, Orphan decided that the 7-foot masked man had piqued her interests enough for her to actually want to talk to him. She pulled some strings with the bouncer and Masks came in.
About three minutes later, Orphan punched him in the face for asking the Completely Wrong Question:
“Did you find Marcos?”
Another tense moment ensued as the security staff tried to defuse the situation by politely, but firmly asking Masks to leave the establishment. Masks eventually gave in. Orphan followed him, playing pranks on him with charmed and suggestioned passerby. Masks responded by killing some of them in creative ways.
Orphan decided that she needed to find out about this strange man. So she went looking for a friend that she had made (without resorting to charm person), a woman known as Jenny Pickets, and told her to find out about this man, emphasizing that he was weird and that she was really interested in him. Jenny was concerned that this man had done something… untoward, but Orphan assured her that that was not the case. Jenny agreed to have her sources look into it, and Orphan left- to go shake down people for enough money for Jenny to grease the wheels. She came back with about 2.5 times as much money as she needed and gave it to Jenny, and then went off.
A little while later, Dogar came around. He gave the secret knock that he knew from his last time in the city (some 10 years or so ago) and was rewarded with a crossbow bolt. It missed, but made him angry enough to yell about it. Jenny recognized him, but would not talk to him, instead running away (her posted sentry ran off too). Dogar, being much, much faster than even a fleeing ratwoman caught up to her and coerced her into meeting him the next day.
Masks found a place to stay by the docks that went by the charming name of the Puffer Fish Inn. He had pleasant dreams which infected the inn with strangeness and him with darkness.
Masks woke up feeling a little sick. He skipped breakfast, and met a pretty young girl with platinum blond hair. She identified herself as “Roba,” and Masks felt a powerful desire to be near this woman. The two of them walked for awhile; she asked him many questions about who and what he was, but got few answers that made much sense. Finally, Masks explained that he wanted to have relations with her while the two of them came within half a hair of overdosing on Silk. Roba decided to cut her losses and bid him adieu. Masks then tried to do Bad Things to the town’s water supply, but failed. He decided that he needed to do something about these feelings of illness, so he went and asked around about a healer. A few hours of Q&A later, he discovered that there were not as many active clerics in the town as there used to be, but there was a druid in the park who was offering healing services.
Dogar woke up lateish and went to meet with Jenny. While entering the park, he spied Masks. Not wanting to disrupt the Time Stream, he pretended not to notice him. Masks had no such qualms, however, and approached Dogar. They spoke briefly, and realized that they both seemed to know what had happened to them both before. They decided that they should meet at the Puffer Fish and talk later, as they each had Things to Do at the moment.
Dogar went to the meeting place where a cloaked and hooded figure handed him a note, then promptly fled. Dogar ran after them, and Jenny shifted to full-on rat form and tried to bite him. Dogar backed off, angered and dismayed.
Masks got to the druid’s tree and found 20 people waiting in line to see the healer. Masks knew that he would not have to wait in this line, as it was for people with normal problems, and walked to the front of the line…
Much to the dismay of the peasantry, some of whom had been waiting in line since dawn. Masks tried to reason with them, he tried to bribe them (one person walked off with one of his masks; I don’t remember the emotion) and while this was happening, the current patient was healed, and the door opened. The person who had been waiting tried to go in, and Masks killed him somehow, probably involving chains.
The other 18 people fled, Masks felt a little fuzzy-headed after this last bit of exertion, however, the druid refused to see him. Masks left a parting gift, which was returned unceremoniously. He then fled town, seeking refuge in the next village over. He took a room in the only inn where a grandmotherly innkeeper offered to set her son on anyone who “might want to give him trouble” after she heard his version of the situation.
Orphan woke up and went looking for Jenny. However, the strange robed woman had gotten there first, and Jenny saw her first. They spoke briefly; the robed woman gave Orphan a few strange looks, and then went inside. A few minutes later, she left, and Orphan and Jenny talked. Orphan decided that she needed to find out who this person was, and spent the rest of the night tracking her down.
Dogar came to Jenny’s, saw Orphan leaving, and followed her through the rest of the night, well into the next afternoon, where she found Roba heading towards the Golden Anchor, taking the bouncer in with her for a chat. Orphan went into the back; Dogar crept in invisibly and in disguise. Dogar watched the two of them converse, and then started tailing Roba.
Orphan asked Scotty Dougal (the bouncer) who Roba was, and where she lived. Scotty didn’t know. She then asked if Roba was a member of the club. She was, but a “Special Member.” Orphan told Scotty to get her Roba’s membership information, but he refused. Orphan first found someone who could read, and made an agreement with him to meet the next day and have him read some stuff for her. Then, she waited as long as her patience would let her, then broke into the upstairs office, used eyebite on the owner of the club, and took all the Special Member scrolls (they were blue).
Dogar and Roba had a chat. Dogar gave the alias “John Connington,” and told her that he was new in town. She offered to take him to the Leprechaun’s Pot, a place that Dogar knew, but Dogar refused and ran away before she could change his mind. He then went to the Puffer Fish. Masks wasn’t there, but he rented a room and waited.
Orphan took the scrolls to her Guy Who Could Read. None of them had information on Roba. She was a little annoyed, but there was nothing she could do. So, she went to bed, deciding that when she woke, she’d take the scrolls to everyone’s favorite contact- Jenny Pickets.
Masks woke up wracked by spasms, his ears filled with a crusty, scabrous growth, and his mind filled with unpleasant dark thoughts (even for Masks). He could not stand to be alone, and felt compelled to seek out others whose sum of their experience was closer to his own. He shadow walked back to Haven, and began looking for Dogar.
While Masks had been out of town, an all-points bulletin had gone up with orders to attack first and ask questions later- the terrified townsfolk thought Masks to be some sort of undead or outsider in human guise. 4 City Guard rushed him and laid into him. Masks asked them why they were attacking him, and they told him that he was under arrest. He suggested that they arrest him, and then destroyed two of them with his chains. They activated some sort of magic items that they had and sped up, finishing him off with a lucky blow to the ribs.
Masks fell through darkness, into what could only be described as a closetful of himself. Unseen hands roughly fitted him for a new suit, stuffed him into it, and threw him unceremoniously back onto the street-
At Dogar’s feet. Some dialogue ensued about how each time Masks has died, he ends up with Dogar, but then the two changed the topic of discussion to the fact that they both knew Everything That Had Happened to Them Both, but Orphan did not. They didn’t have an explanation for that, but figured that they ought to go looking for her. The only lead that they had about Orphan’s whereabouts was everyone’s favorite contact- Jenny Pickets, whom, as it turned out, Orphan was just on the way to see. They were tailed briefly, but they managed to shake the tail thanks to Masks’ magic.
Roba was there first. Again. Roba ignored Orphan this time and just went in; Jenny reassured Orphan that she would see what Orphan had as soon as she could. The two of them talked for a bit, then Roba left, and Orphan went in.
Jenny was wrung out. Orphan didn’t understand. Jenny tried to explain The Way That Things Were. Orphan didn’t quite understand why Jenny was so afraid of Roba, who could read people’s minds, or the guy that she worked for, “the King of the Softies,” who controlled much of the city and more territory besides.
Grasping at straws, Jenny asked Orphan “what do you live for? What makes you happy?” Orphan wasn’t sure, but she did like candy. Jenny explained that she liked helping people (many of her clients might not have been able to make any money if it were not for her services, and she really liked her son, that she loved him. She admitted that she liked Orphan too, even though she always yelled at her when Orphan failed to use the Secret Knock, but she liked her a lot. She explained that she knew that things must have been hard for her (as evidenced by her scarring) at one time, but she hoped that Orphan found something that she liked, something that made her happy.
Orphan didn’t quite get everything that Jenny told her, but she decided to try this “helping other people thing,” by helping Jenny. If Jenny could help her find out where Roba lived, then she could take care of her for Jenny.
Dogar and Masks showed up, each under a different guise. Dogar tried to get in, even lifting his disguise briefly so that Jenny could see that it was him, and Jenny told Orphan to get rid of him; that he was a guy that she used to know who was bad news. Orphan went out and started talking to them. They revealed themselves, and explained that they needed to talk to her about stuff. Orphan agreed, but only if they would take her to The Golden Whore, an upscale trendy strip club/bar/techno dance party.
The party finally convened and began forming some sort of plan to do stuff. Kind of. Orphan was unimpressed at first, until Masks explained to her that Dogar could Travel Through Time, and that was part of the reason that King John feared him and wanted to kill him. Dogar wanted to capture Roba and talk to her. Orphan came up with the idea of overthrowing John, and then Roba would work for them. Masks (I think) turned it into just taking over the city. Dogar revealed that he was Dogar, and a bouncer overheard. Orphan charmed him, and he told them (after making a huge Knowledge: Local check) that while John wanted Dogar dead or alive, what he really wanted was his bracers. If they could get Dogar’s bracers and bring them to John, they’d be living like kings. Orphan managed to dissuade him of this idea. Somehow between Masks’ urgings and Orphan’s willingness to believe, Dogar became something of a mythic figure at their booth in the Golden Whore. Finally, the plan became that they would overthrow John with their new gang. Orphan laid some ground rules: Jenny had to be set up proper once the coup was done; they weren’t going to hurt kids, and one or two other things that I don’t remember.
Masks, Bui the Bouncer and Dogar retired to the Puffer Fish while Orphan went into the night to collect gang members.
Orphan came back the next day with a sizeable amount of Goons, something like 28. The four ringleaders sat around discussing how to go about taking on King John’s criminal empire when a voice began speaking in Dogar’s head.
It was Roba. She first asked politely that Dogar just give up the bracers. Dogar refused. He then asked her to come work for them; why would someone as powerful as her work for John anyway? She said that she was paid well enough, and she enjoyed the work. Besides, Dogar couldn’t afford her. This back-and-forth went on for a little while, until Roba hung up, and Dogar turned to the others, saying that they were probably about to be attacked.
They were. Roba, a pair of powerful warriors and a smallish mob of grunts teleported in as Dogar finished speaking. Roba channeled her psychic power to tear through the party’s minds, killing Bui the Bouncer instantly and dealing large amounts of damage to Dogar and Masks. The Minions stepped up to Dogar and attacked him.
Dogar’s adrenaline kicked into overdrive (thanks partly to Steve’s initiative count bungling). In a fantastic blur of motion, he cut down the nearest three Minions, then rushed over to the smaller of the two mercenaries and tore him apart before he could react. He then danced around the room, narrowly evading the other mercenary’s massive hammer and Roba’s psionic attacks. Dogar leapt out the window as a finish.
Masks fled the room, and Orphan turned ethereal. The mercenary jumped out the window, landing with a great thud, and slammed Dogar with his hammer. Roba leaned out the window and reached into Dogar’s mind, showing him all the greatest pains that he had gone through in his life, and forcing him to relive them. Twice.
Dogar was completely alone. His mind frantically ran through options, but could not find any that included him walking away from this fight. It was a gamble, and he was about to lose it all.
Perhaps it was the pressure of so clearly facing his own mortality, perhaps it was a lingering effect of the psionic attacks; perhaps it was always there. But Something Shifted in Dogar. He understood that had always been at his best when he stood on his own two feet without anyone at his back but the wind. And now, more than ever, was this true.
Dogar fought with doubly renewed vigor and skill, weaving and ducking through the assailants and cutting straight for Roba’s heart. He might have killed her if she had not prepared a contingent power and teleported away before the killing blow could land.