A Brief Interlude:
Constance assembles the Lampblacks and has Boots brief them on Ulstano’s description and suspected location. After talking privately with Prichard, Constance gets the idea to wait until after Ulstano’s friend has delivered his cash and he makes a break for it. That way they also get paid.
The Lampblacks stake out the area along Bell St, which is their former territory, so they know it very well. They and Constance are able to corner Ulstano and his friend at the end of the street by the canal. They scare off the friend and tie up Ulstano. Just at that moment there’s a Bluecoat patrol coming up the block, so Prichard gets them off the street and into the cellar of a nearby tenement building. Constance sends one of the Lampblacks to go hire a gondola, and send a message to The Lost.
The crew meets with Col Adams and Sgt Lynch to hand off Ulstano. Constance makes sure Adams sees her pay off the gondolier to forget he ever saw any of them. The Lost are from Coalridge, so Constance hits them up for information on the Strays. Adams is able to give her reliable information on where they are likely to be found. Constance judges this, along with the cash they got from Ulstano, to be fair compensation. The gondolier drops her off at the Temple, and takes The Lost back to wherever they want, with Ulstano in tow. Constance notices that the Temple is looking a little forsaken, so she hangs a doll part on the front door with a bit of string to let everyone know it’s still claimed.
Kidnapping for Fun and Profit:
The Strays (Tier I) are a culturally diverse lot, based in Coalridge, with a number of different concerns, but are known mainly for being fairly mercenary, doing various odd jobs for other larger gangs. They are in fact much like the Dolls in this respect.
Shade and Kamali head off to Coalridge. Along the way, Shade attunes to try and find Virgil, his ex-Bluecoat ghost contact. It takes a little longer than usual, but he eventually finds Virgil in Charterhall, in the middle of an errand. Shade and Kamali accompany Virgil to deliver a small wooden box to a fellow ghost, learning a bit more about ghostly abilities than they did before. Apparently, Virgil’s “sense of self” is still very strong, and this is both a weakness (he has to deliberately concentrate in order to be able to pass through walls and other solid objects) as well as a strength (he is easily able to manipulate physical objects, such as unlocking a door for them once he’s inside the building). After this, Virgil follows them to Coalridge.
Their detour in Charterhall gives Boots enough time to catch up with them and deliver the information from Col Adams. The Strays tend to hang out at the Red Lamp, a pub located in Brickston, the most densely populated section of the city (the streets are so narrow and the buildings so close together that carts won’t even fit between most of them). After renting a room for the night in a local flophouse to serve as a temporary hideout, Shade, Kamali, Boots, and Virgil stake out the Red Lamp and manage to locate all three of the individuals detailed in the report and follow them back to where they call home.
They grab the first gang member, Willie, in his flophouse apartment with no problems. Kamali shoots him with a drugged crossbow bolt and knocks him out, and Boots ties him up and carries him back to their temporary hideout.
The second, Vladimir, lives in what is actually a fairly upscale townhouse, relatively speaking. There’s even a guard on the front door. However, Kamali goes in via an upstairs window, and surprises him just as he’s coming out of the bathroom.
The third, Abdur, ends up being a bit of trouble. Kamali ends up spooking him just as he’s coming out of his room above a takeout Iruvian place. A chase ensues. He attempts to get back to his friends at the Red Lamp, but Shade, Boots, and Virgil are able to steer him in the right direction while Kamali gets ahead of everyone and sets up an ambush. In the end, the team is able to work together to bring him down. Once he’s tied up, they drag him back to where his two friends are still lying unconscious. Kamali takes off to inform Constance that she has some interrogations to conduct.
Shade has some ideas of how to better utilize Virgil’s particular talents. The primary obstacle to all this is that Virgil still has a strong sense of duty and honor (he was after all, killed for being an honest cop).
Boots’ player is no longer available, so for now we’re treating Boots and Gloves as Expert Cohorts, each with a Quality of 2.# dontmesswiththedolls