December 16th, 2007

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In the aftermath of Dalgeard's failed appeal to the Stargazer's Guild of Quno, the hall is plunged into supernatural darkness. An unknown number of attackers burst in, using the confusion to cover a kidnapping attempt on the old prophet.

As one thug holds a sword to Dalgeard's back, Gaius makes a run for the door in an attempt to get help. He shouts for the watch, and is immediately fired upon by an archer on the rooftops. The first shot is deflected by his armor, and he dives for cover. He attempts to escape down the street, but is unable to make much progress in the face of a well-positioned sniper (a man in a straw hat, spotted atop the roof across the street).

Gaius pushes his luck once too many, but once is enough. Though he escapes several well-aimed arrows by dint of good armor, and is merely grazed by another, the last punctures his lung, and Gaius Fenius Clodius falls.

Meanwhile, Dalgeard attempts to delay his capture by feining feebleness and age, but is not successful. The attackers march Dalgeard out into the street, while Atruma and Marcellinus give chase (from a respectful distance). The archer and a second companion are called down from their posts, making the total number of the attackers to be six men. They make haste down the street, passing Gaius' body in the gutter without a second glance.

Atruma and Marcellinus give chase; once free of the darkness enshrouding the Stargazer's Guild building, both are able to bring their sorcery to bear. Atruma blocks the escaping bandits' path with a storm of fire; while they stand stunned, Marcellinus disarms several and Dalgeard runs screaming from the flames.

Gaius' body is then found; he lives, but only by a thread. The watch arrives, and rushes him to their barracks, where a surgeon is able to extract the arrow. But that is the limit of his skill, and Gaius looks likely not to live out the night.

Dalgeard runs seeking a Tarsuli temple to petition for aid, while Atruma does the same at the Order Arcanis chapterhouse. The latter is able to find a sorcerer who can speed recovery afterwards, but there is nothing he can do right now. The dwarf, however, finds a priest of Hades, who recognizes Gaius' name and agrees to help on that account. With a night of prayer, Gaius' wound miraculously closes; he is out of immediate danger, at least. The priest leaves a letter for the wounded man to read when he regains consciousness.

  • Gaius received a B10 - mortal - wound from that arrow. Surviving such a thing required the following:
    • spent a Persona point on Will To Live
    • Ob 5 Surgery test to stop the bleeding
    • Ob 7 Surgery test to treat the wound; this was impossible, so an Ob 5 Faith test was substituted. I also determined that, as this was the first mortal wound received by anyone in Burning Wheel, I wouldn't let Gaius die from it; the only question was how much more complicated his life would become.
    • A series of decreasingly difficult Health tests to recover, starting at Ob 6. Gaius failed the first one, but opted to take the Frail trait instead of dying. The other health tests will occur over the coming months, as the wound slowly heals.

The next morning, Brutus, Shamir, and Viad return from their inland journey to discover Gaius barely alive and Marcellinus wallowing in drink and failure. Shamir rages at how he failed his master, storming off into the city to seek vengeance. He attempts to bind a mighty spirit of fire to find those who dared touch his master - too mighty by far. Brutus, sent to keep an eye on the lizardman, is worried enough to train an arrow on Shamir's head as the ritual proceeds.

  • Shamir attempted to bind a spirit far too powerful for him (Strength 9 Fire spirit). Its retribution is inevitable.

Brutus and Shamir begin combing the city for the mercenary attackers. The tracks at the site of the attack itself are too confused by crowds and investigating watchmen, but they are able to find the fletcher who made the arrow taken out of Gaius' chest. Numerius, stopping by the party's lodgings on his usual business, discovers what has occured and begins taking his own steps to investigate; he discovers the name (Decimus) and a common haunt of the mercenaries' leader, and shows interest in transacting some business with the fellow.

Dalgeard chases after Shamir, and attempts to console his overwrought apprentice. Finding this impossible, he instead declares that Shamir cannot be his apprentice until the lizardman stops beating himself over the head with his failure and learns to "tame his inner fire". Shamir's fury at himself is undimmed; he is convinced that he must earn his master's forgiveness (and a Belief was changed to reflect this).

When Atruma discovers that Brutus was ready to kill Shamir, she is furious. Brother and sister argue, and it quickly escalates into a question of which of them has authority over the other. Brutus puts forth his status as the elder of the two and his greater field experience; Atruma counters by citing her higher rank and her brother's inability to think clearly where lizardmen are involved (due to a past bad experience with troglodytes, the subcanopy-dwelling variety of that race). In the end, she exacts an oath from Brutus not to kill Shamir, and to generally defer to her for the duration of this expedition.

  • (Brutus was crushed in a Duel of Wits, able to exact only the most minimal compromise).

Gaius briefly regains consciousness after nearly two days, long enough to ensure the rest of the group is seeking his near-murderer and to discover that he owes the church of Hades his life. He seems likely to live, but the road to recovery is long and he may be crippled for life. Alcibiades and Viad are asked to keep an eye on the wounded man, in case another attack should come, while the rest of the party pursues the investigation.

Atruma and Marcellinus are interviewed by a Lieutenant of the watch and a mage of the Order Arcanis, both of whom have also been investigating the attack. Information is shared, and descriptions of the men in question are passed around to all of the city gates. Brutus returns to the fletcher, this time with the weight of a watch sergeant on his side, and is able to extract the name of the straw-hatted archer: Elias.

Numerius, meanwhile, has been waiting for Decimus in a tavern the mercenary leader is known to frequent. He's nearly given up in frustration when the man himself stumbles in, ragged and desperate looking. The two speak, and it becomes clear that Decimus has been betrayed by his employer; those "damned reptiles" killed his companions when they met to report their failure, and now he needs to get out of the city. Numerius convinces him to take passage on his ship, and is paid in the very gems Decimus was given by his employer for this service.

  • (We've discovered a new twist on Numerius' Belief about honoring deals: he'll keep them to the letter, but no farther.)

The merchant then adds another twist for profit. Having promised Decimus safe passage, he will not himself help capture the man; but he is quite willing to sell the information about where he will be to Marcellinus, who can do the capturing himself. Decimus is surrounded on the docks as he approaches Numerius' ship; he is taken into custody by the party. When Marcellinus discovers whose ship Decimus was headed for, he also tells the mercenary just who it was that sold him out.

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