Deb's Cherry

We begin mid combat: The Silk Glove unarmed and unarmoured face off against a dwarvern hammerer, a human bandit and a human wizard. Pinch, badly hurt, is at the feet of the dwarf removing his boots as instructed, Abe lies stunned on the ground and C and Puff stand shoulder to shoulder in the midst of this mess.

Puff has a word with Abe and he comes around and scurries into cover at the end of the alley, from there he is able to cast without presenting a line of sight to the enemy wizard, similarly hidden at the other end of the alley. Both fighters pick up clubs from the fallen human minions at their feet and using action points and the warlord's Commander's Strike power, C batters the bandit into submission. At this point the wizard flees into the night and the dwarf, realizing that he is on his own, attempts a fighting retreat - unfortunately for him he is outpaced by the unarmoured party and easily brought to heel.

The guards arrive and the revived assailants are handed over - the guards request that the party members present themselves at the guardhouse the following day to help in charging these miscreants. The party return to The Three Feathers and bed.

The following morning, attending the trial of the two surviving attackers the party discover that they are being represented by Barrington Stutter of House Stutter. The more streetwise party members realise that this is an Ironshield House that has a reputation for organised crime. The trial is resolved in short order, citizens of Fortuna like the party members are well respected and in a trial where it is their word against that of a non-citizen there is little doubt of the outcome. The party are rewarded with 250 gold for their good citizenry and the dwarf is given a two year hard labour sentence, the bandit (as this is allegedly a first offence) is bound over to keep the peace for two years (on payment of 2000 gold as surety).

Returning to The Three Feathers the party discover that they have fallen prey to a scam known as the Debutante's Cherry and that it reflects rather poorly on House Lions because it implies that there is an informant in the housekeeping staff. Perhaps by way of an apology (though no fault is acknowledged) Stones is sent to act as a bodyguard and factotum for The Silk Glove for the next week or until they leave Fortuna.

The party also receive an invitation to attend Vanya of Lions at the docks the following morning, where a contract for some defence work is to be proposed.

Attending the courtiers of the Marshal's office the party are presented to Vanya who introduces them to the Storm Class vessel of which twenty have been refitted and four are ready to begin active sea trials on the evening tide. The vessel is designed to hide amongst regular merchantmen but carry a marine force, of which the Silk Glove is invited to form a part. The party is invited to speak with the captain of the Storm 14, Captain Tomlin Kreich.

The party are advised that in the past the fleets of Fortuna (and Caratia before her) have always relied on political neutrality or contracted mercenary force to protect her fleets. Merchant vessels would frequently carry a small detachment of fighting men to assist the crew in deterring pirates of course, but since the Great Betrayal the high cost (both in money and political risk) of funding a standing naval force has never been deemed an acceptable price to pay by the great houses of the city.

The fact that House Lions are taking such a radical move at this time is a sign that the delicate balance of forces (both within Fortuna and in her external relations to the other colonies of the Great Bear) is shifting to a new configuration. Many observers will be taking a keen interest in the outcome of this experiment.

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