Tanglestone

25 - Armigers and Gatekeepers

In which sentinels at the Gate prove quite vigilant, a pair of scavengers are in need, and the defender of the Armory is discovered to rest in state.

Two days pass. Peluma is absent on some mysterious errand, Dewlian rests and recuperates, and Hinge investigates the possibility of an approach down the Eastern Wall. The Battleman responsible for patrolling the wall as far as the Moat, Tyver Grommet, tells Hinge that nobody’s crossed the water since the order to fall back and entrench some 3 centuries ago.

The Trade Union meets, and agrees to explore down the Eastern Wall. Peluma is sent ahead to scout while the others wait in a different safehouse in Detritus. She notes signs of skirmishes along the wall, the smell of decay in one tower, and lights scattered around the central city. The wall entrance to the Armory is huge and solid, with no visible locks. She approaches an arrow slit to spy into the watch post in the Grand Gate, but is noticed, and slips away after the organized defense gives up (overhearing one say “Probably another fly-by”). She also moves down to street level, where she spies one of the albino cannibals stalking around, accompanied by a nine-foot brute (an ogre, the first Peluma has ever seen).

Once the Night Sweeper reunites with the others, they move down the next day and hail the Gate. The guards on duty do not let them nearer, stating that “the North is lost” and asking to see navels. The Trade Union seems to convince them that they aren’t abject liars or summonings, but must go around to the front portion of the Grand Gate to enter and speak to the commander, Jinra Targe.

The group retreats to the northernmost tower by the Moat and descends, discovering the corpses of two albino cannibals and a slate-skinned dwarf, all stripped of arms and armor and with black teeth. The three seem to have fallen side-by-side rather than fighting one another. A shout from outside draws their attention, and they witness a pursuit of sorts: a pair of mad-looking dwarves, another ogre, and a pale man-eater wielding javelins attempting to force their way into a building after an unseen crossbowman. When the cannibal spots them and attacks, they retaliate, winning a decisive (if bloodied) victory over the band (including a second ogre that was drawn to the fight).

With their opponents dead, the group meets Cassitus Glaive and Corvery Bolt, a pair of Central Battlemen from the Armigers division. The two were on a scavenging mission when they were cut off by the Remnants in question. The pair agrees to take the group back to the Armory, going so far as to note that Hinge is “like Hilt,” comparing him to the guardian of the Armory. Along the way, the two explain some of the situation, such as the presence of the Remnants, the Bestia of the Arena, and the Talons (harpies from the Artists’ Quarter).

Inside the Armory, the group meets with Taciter Plackart, commander of the Armigers. Plackart seems interested in the Trade Union’s story, and agrees to let them examine Hilt. The clockwork in question is built in the likeness of a sword-winged angel, and has been “asleep” for decades. Peluma discovers that she seems to have been powered by a large jewel of some sort that is now dull, smoky and flawed; the group determines that the Clock Tower likely holds the secret of crafting another.

Finally, the group agrees to meet their obligation to go speak to Jinra Targe, and heads for the Gate with an Armiger escort. They are met by a shaven-headed, proud-seeming woman (the Gatekeeper Slicer Kout), and taken inside.

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Barastrondo

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