When Ravens Sing

Children and brothels seldom mix

Wren, Skylark or whoever you are now… it’s been a long time. Why am I not surprised to see you here neck deep in trouble? Seeing Wren again immediately began to stir-up my memories of Irene. That was after I had already sniffed out that snake Giuseppe! All I needed was proof of his treachery, but whom did I have to turn to? Wren had the right connections but like everything else in Altdorf her help came with a price. That price landed us in a bit of a scrape but fortunately we pulled through it without any damage to the not so innocent residents of the docks. I remember it was late in 2017 when that annoying investigator asked us to help him find some third rate merchant’s missing brat. Hooks, Fish? What do I care about the olive and pickle business? Sigmar save me, I wanted the truth and if rescuing this child from the dock gangs would get me closer then so be it.

There are 2 things you can count on in the docks of Altdorf, the fog and the stench. I met Wren (I know Skylark!) at about 11am. It was then I had the pleasure of meeting Werner Griern. He was some washed-up investigator who was too busy helping the crime lords get fat on the suffering of others to be bothered with solving any real crimes. His manner was annoying particularly as he always seemed to distracted to focus on the issue at hand. I find myself especially perturbed when he describes a kidnapping instigated by one of the rival gangs against a merchant in his master’s employ. This innocent child is being held for ransom and we have a limited amount of time to save him. His name is Sigismund, and did I mention that our brave investigator is too busy to be bothered to help us. What is wrong with this city?

He thankfully directs us to a some flophouse (number 12 Wendenbahn). It has 2 floors and we meet him on the second floor. Wren asks him the plan and the plan is pretty simple… we are to stake out the bad guys (who are conveniently staying across the street in number 17). He’ll be back at midnight to discuss our plan of attack to get the child back. He does show us a nice spyglass he has setup to observe the kidnappers and then he quickly takes his leave of us. Because of my bulk, we quickly agree that Wren should take the outdoor scouting duties while I man the spyglass.

What follows is a fairly uneventful day of us watching gang members take naps, use the loo, and walk their large, intimidating dog. Wren gets to practice her acrobatics and we get the names of a couple of the gang members as well as their secret knock thanks to her skulking. Probably the most interesting part of the day for me is watching the large dog almost discover Wren and noting when the large, ugly gang member named Axel goes out to get some lunch. He returns with a basket and distributes the food to all of his comrades which piqued my interest. Nothing much happens after that other than the locals coming home for the evening. Wren scurries back and our magnanimous investigator returns to discuss next steps.

I can tell that Wren has hidden near the loo for some part of the day. I hold my breath and then we re-cap what we have seen thus far. From my vantage point I had a couple of open windows I could peer in. Wren was observing from the abandoned tenements behind the flophouse and near the loo just behind the house. Wren and I determine there are 6-7 kidnappers in the house (one we suspect but have not seen). Given the trip out to get food we decide to use this opportunity to slip in and rescue the child. We agree that it would be tough to gain entry into the home directly as the door is bolted (there is a cracked skylight but accessing it in daylight would likely draw suspicion). We ask Werner if he can get us 8 doses of a strong sleeping potion we can dose the gang’s food with. Drawing some inspiration from our surroundings, we decide to dress Wren up like a high priced prostitute and the plan is pretty simple… kill Axel in an alley (with Wren luring him in with her obvious charm) and I’ll take his clothes. Wren will convince the gang that she is from the local brothel and that Axel is paying a visit. We would then wait and observe the sleeping potion taking affect and before returning to rescue the child. Some of the gang members were quite large so the idea was to have Wren return to the house with me both in our fancy dress (Axel in tow) and quickly overwhelm anyone that was still awake. Werner agrees to our plan and we both get some rest before the next morning as a lot of preparations have to be made for Wren’s new outfit.

What followed the next day was a nearly flawless execution of our plan. Even I was surprised at how well everything worked out. Wren and I quickly overtook Axel and we gained entry into the home with no issue after the drugs took affect. Only 2 of the gang members were able to withstand the sleeping potion and being as groggy as they were it was easy for us to dispatch them. I did find out later that one of them was Claudio Carbonetti a gang leader associated with the Hook. I think some of the gang members we didn’t kill were his brothers so I’ll need to be careful if I ever return to these wretched docks. It was in the basement of the house that I found the child thankfully unharmed but very tired and scared. In the meantime Wren was able to lure the large dog into another room and lock it in which allowed us to escape expediently. I quickly pulled him from his cage and ran as fast as I could back towards our flophouse. Wren thankfully knew some folks that owed her a favor so we were able to hold up at a tavern while we waited for Werner to arrive and retrieve the child.

Werner and Wren both seemed pleased with the result but I really could care less about their status within this pathetic, criminal society. I fulfilled my end of the bargain now I had better get that information on Giuseppe. Irene is waiting…

Ulrich

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