Tanglestone

16 - The Gaol

In which a Chain-Warden offers tea and sympathy, blood flows in the Rebukes, and an oubliette contains far less solitude than advertised.

For several days, the Trade Union plans their next investigation, of the potential workshop beneath the Gaol. Sym researches necromantic rituals but is stymied when several of the most promising register as having been checked out to one M. d. L___. Hinge and Peluma search for potential alternate exits into the Gaol, but can locate only the principal waste sluice and (though Peluma does not share the information) the Night Sweepers’ secret passage inside. Dewlian interrogates the dwarf prisoner more, hearing much of the Grinding Depths, the Thornmaze, the Sawgreave Legion and the peculiar named gods of these outsiders.

Finally, the group travels to the Gaol to deliver the dwarf prisoner and negotiate for a tour of the facilities. Peluma, in shadow form, sneaks past the rank-and-file guards but is eventually detected by the clockwork Locksman Hasp. After a discussion with the peculiarly affable Chainwarden Paling, the Trade Union is taken on a loose tour of the Gaol.

However, when the tour reaches the Rebukes, trouble has broken out; several Gaolers are dead or missing, and a variety of prisoners are loose. With the assistance of Locksmen Hasp and Tarrus, the four quell a small mob of loose prisoners, as well as four veteran criminals who had apparently regained all their gear from the impound. (Honoring the wishes of the Gaolers, they mostly subdue the prisoners, save for a former Night Sweeper who pushes Dewlian past reason.) Investigating further, they find another corpse in the impound (killed by the same sort of bolt that slew Inendo pax) and signs that several prisoners’ gear has been taken, including that of a near-dozen “wolf goblins” that are also missing from the Rebukes.

Dewlian convinces the Locksmen that they must investigate the Oublia, where the Locksmith’s lair is most likely situated. The Oublia seem largely undisturbed, but a loose grate is detected on a particular well that turns out to contain a secret passage. Dewlian explains the full impact of the situation to the disbelieving Locksmen, and Tarrus accompanies them through the passage into what appears to be a lock-works and surgical laboratory for the Locksmith. It is guarded — by clockwork sentries, a pair of surgically altered deep-ogres, and a partially mechanical human with a crossbow in his arm and an alarming weapon in his midsection. This individual is taken prisoner, and upon interrogation, steadfastly claims to be the Locksmith — but his weapons are inconsistent, and the trepanning plate in his skull hints at s different explanation for his claim.

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Barastrondo

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