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  #76  
Unread 27th of January, 2013, 23:27
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"Sorry, no," Malachi replied, leaning over to look at the substance. "Despite my many talents, I was never one for poison."
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  #77  
Unread 28th of January, 2013, 00:49
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Aleph was silently very impressed with the inner workings of the bank, but he realised that perhaps his eye could be put to some more direct use than simply watching their backs.

He nodded to the Baroness and approached to take a close look at whatever it was coating her palms.

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  #78  
Unread 28th of January, 2013, 00:57
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"More a problem of whether it'll eat through metal or stick around..."
She looked at Cornelius. "So what now? What did we just do, even?"
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  #79  
Unread 11th of February, 2013, 15:10
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Aleph considered the substance coating the Baroness' gauntlets, taking great care not to touch it even as he hovered an inch or so above her palm. He'd done contracts in the Sandwails and was familiar with the many venomous snakes, spiders and other crawlies that called that wasteland home, particularly because the natives were so fond of coating their weapons with poison extracted from said creatures.

This wasn't any of that stuff. No. It had a faint herbal smell - venom was typically musky or odorless. A plant, but which plant?

He found a bit of white cloth in his pouch and dabbed the substance gingerly off Sigrid's hand, then laid the cloth out on the floor closer to the lit sconce by the door.

He hissed and backed away. The cloth had turned pitch as coal almost as soon as he had placed it close to heat. Assassins typically used poison in combat to weaken or subdue their prey before going in for the kill, if only because the truly lethal stuff was so hard to come by, or had to be ingested by the target to be effective. There were two exceptions that Aleph knew of. Deathblade, named rather unimaginatively by the intrepid (and doomed) crusaders of Olem after encountering it coated on the blades of lich-knights. And black lotus extract, a flower so rare and hard to grow that only a few master assassins knew the secrets of harvesting it. Deathblade was ever so slightly more lethal, but it had to pass through a wound to be effective at all. The latter (and this was definitely the latter; sudden changes in temperature were said to make it as black as its namesake flower) could be coated on any surface, and to touch it was to take one's last breath within the minute.

Aleph had never heard of anyone actually using black lotus, if only because it was so expensive. Between the two crank wheels alone there were perhaps a lifetime's wages for an untrained laborer in poison. Whoever had been here really, really did not want anyone to flood the Vault.

All of this had passed in just a few seconds. Before Aleph could explain what he had discovered to anyone, Cornelius was already moving swiftly out of the room toward the groaning they had heard earlier. The others followed, perhaps a bit irritably. What was the point in taking a risky escort commission if their employer was just going to run off at the slightest provocation?

If there were other enemies nearby, they did not reveal themselves. The clanging alarm bells continued their discordant chorus unabated.

"I suppose I can tell you, I've already given you so much information about the Bank that we'll either have to permanently employ you all or kill you." He paused, the grinned. "Try to kill you. I am having my doubts about how that would go for us. Anyway, the defenses of the Bank are not what most people think. Yes, we have a lot of guardians on the premises, but the entire square is more or less ours. Half a dozen hidden barracks within a block, along with a few...specialists always within ear shot of the bells if they sounded, are supposed to allow us to contain even a real breach such as the one we faced today. The idea is that the defenders on site sound the alarm and stall as long as possible while our real defenses collapse inward, choking the foolish thieves regardless of the strength they've brought to bear. It's never come to that before today, but we should have been able to respond to all of this with overwhelming force. If we had sounded the bells." He shook his head angrily. "I don't know how they were able to kill the posted guards outside without setting off a panic in the square."

They had reached an open door while he talked. He stepped inside without hesitation, much to Sigrid's chagrin. Two more corpses slumped over desks - they appeared to have been clerks. Another body lay against the wall, useless sword in hand and a giant cut across the abdomen allowing guts to spill out. The body coughed weakly, and they all realized belatedly that it wasn't a corpse yet. Judging from the wound, it would be in mere moments. Cornelius kneeled at the man's side, frowning but showing no signs of becoming sick. He was remarkably solid for a pampered city-dweller.

"John. What happened? Only if you can speak. I don't think the priests will be here in time to perform last rites, but you have my word that they'll be done before sunset. And your family...John, I'm- I'm sorry. We'll look after them. I promise."

The sentinel looked up weakly at the sound of a familiar voice. He was obviously preoccupied with the painful way he was making his exit, but he managed a smile.

"You know my...name?" He was having to draw a sharp breath every few syllables. "Always did like you. Others thought you were a bit...aahhh!...in your own head, but I knew better. We were 'trayed, stood up as fools. Ogden. Fuckin' asshole. Give me my love. Make sure to-AAHH!"

John slumped forward with one final exhalation, the effort of speaking clearly having taken what was left of his wasted body.

Cornelius stood, his eyes only a little bit red. Whatever he had felt for this man was as clear as it ever would be on his face, or perhaps he was just now truly allowing the events of the morning to sink in.

"Ogden Larsh is the captain of our guard. He happens to be one of the most dangerous blades in the city, if not the coast. There aren't any other Ogdens here, and I don't know why John would lie. Also, I haven't seen him among the dead, so it seems likely, if impossible. Ogden's family isn't just associated with the Bank, they co-founded it. Why would he betray us?"

[DMO: Escort Cornelius to control room on 2nd level of the Bank of Korr. Reward: 1 character level; Bonus: patronage of the Bank - COMPLETE]
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  #80  
Unread 11th of February, 2013, 20:21
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"Sorcery, likely."
She frowned.
"The person behind this used that extravagant poison, soldiers that are at our level as fodder, and there were those sounds before. Your man was almost certainly taken in by sorcery."
She nodded back, towards the control room.
"All of this was likely in service to some specific artifact, an individual object. At this level, money leaves the picture as motivation or concern."
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