It was a sunny, pink-skied morning in the City of Berwyn and Iirichi Ko, a spry young Crowfrom the surrounding forests make her way into the City on Oolice Day.
Oolice day is the names after Oolice. He saved everyone by eating the Fire Gem hundreds of years ago, consuming him in eternal infernal flames and casting him out into the infernal realm. Now Berwyn has a parade, wear novelty fire gems around their necks, and do a chilly cook off. Later on they get trashed. Tomorrow is the Day of Great Silence where everyone tries to keep it down and children are given small, quiet toys and told to stay in their rooms. But tonight, everyone feasts!
Around Iiri she smells tons of spices and ale in the air and everyone in the streets are wearing red pendants around their necks.
Barely into the main gate of the town, Iiri sees a thing she’s never seen before. Just before the growing crowd of the of people celebrating Oolice day on the main thoroughfare is a man with clouds for hair. He is tall(er) than Iiri and seems to be covered in an aura, an unnatural glow or sense that Iiri picks up on almost innately. She goes almost on autopilot to the man, trying to force a pleasant enough conversation about his hair.
“What is going on with the clouds on your head?” Iiri asks in a chirping voice.
“It’s me’ ’air.” The man replies. He turns to introduce himself and continue his explanation of his unique follicles when, from the air above both their heads a wooden mechanical creature falls out of a blue flash of light and clatters between the Iiri and the cloud-headed man.
All there creatures feel a pull, a sense of oneness or at least sameness. Iiri and the cloud-headed man felt part of this odd bond when they first saw each other but now, when all three creatures (people), see each other time seems to freeze. The eyes of the badger, stretched slightly in terror, meet the eyes of a concerned “bald” man trying to get out of the way while simultaneously Iiri looks cautiously first to the badger-robot then to the taller man. As they share this frozen moment, our heroes hear a word imperfectly through the void that echoes through all their minds.
“BRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEECKT!” The Content Not Found: bp-17 shrieks and sputters before landing on the ground in a lump.
As Iiri and the narrow man in drab clothes reacted to this unheard of turn of events they simultaneously noticed two thieves with hands in their pockets.
Reacting with a flash the cloudy man cast a spell upon himself making him dash impossibly fast towards the city gates. A half moment after Iiri unleashed her Tanto, a short sword of specific make kept sharpened to a razor’s edge. The thief’s hand, nearly out of her pocket, it severed and the wrist. Iiri attempts to catch her own glittering gold being released from the amputated hand in midair but missed. As the 1-armed bandit made a retreat towards the crowd 2 arrows flew from the large group of Oolice celebrants, and landed squarely in Iiri’s chest. Iiri reacted by siting two other bandits not previously noticed and firing her longbow at the closest. The arrow goes wide, plunging into an unsuspecting townsperson’s neck.
The wooden robot with a badger head stands up, pulling his rapier from his scabbard he plunges into the calf of the thief previously robbing the bald man. In a flash the robot whips around and points his weapon at the thief’s neck.
“This is… against the law?” The badger says through a voice that radiates not out of it’s mouth but from the center of it’s chest. His voice seems unsure of itself. Truly this setting is new to the creature but his sense of right and wrong makes him sure. “Stay right where you are, the authorities will be here soon… I assume.”
The thief, bleeding from his leg, begins to empty his pockets of all their contents onto the ground. “Sorry sorry sorry, I was just trying to make do. Please don’t stab me anymore.” Says the thief. He continues to ramble and apologize as the badger-wood hybrid watches intently. There’s a momentary pause as the badgerbot feels a presence behind him before being hit on the back of the head, knocked unconscious.
The bald man with clouds for hair, turning to see that all but the injured Iiri are left (and noticing he is 6 gold short), uses his magical speed to return to the scene of the crime. Looking over at Iiri notices she is picking up her coins as well as a severed hand.
They finally get to introducing themselves. The man with clouds for hair is names Pineapple Bees, and he says he’s part God. Iiri has never met one of them before but has more important things to worry about, specifically the random peasant bleeding to death just behind a teaming crowd of Berwynians. At first Pineapple attempted to stop the struck passer-by from yelling out, only to discover they were unable to speak. The dying stranger threw blood in an arrow shape at Pineapple to attempt to incriminate him as her last defiant act.
Before Pineapple even had a chance to even get back to Iiri she had already turned into her stand-by disguise for city environs, the old Crone. She walks in a feeble manner over to the now dead woman and quickly covers the signs of blood and struggle. If the people of Berwyn noticed they either didn’t care or were too busy celebrating to care.
Pineapple and Iiri decide to work together, first to dispose of the body and second to deliver the messages that Iiri is carrying. Looking around, Iiri notices an open crate across the street in the crook of an alley, a perfect place to tuck a body. Pineapple originally wanted to take the body to a local necromancer for resurrection and casts Gentle Repose on the body for it to keep. Iiri has heard some of those places use the resurrected bodies for slave labor and decides they can resurrect this person themselves.
Hatching a plan, Iiri and Pineapple tie a flagon of ale to the dead woman’s hand, put a scarf on her, and are able to successfully dance her through the growing throng of party-people. They deposit the body and move back through the crowd to where they first met. Pineapple agrees to travel with Iirichi Ko until her messages are delivered and then to get back to the body he feels responsible for.
Far off, down continually darker and darker streets, a robot with a badger head springs to life. He is being dragged behind the thief who distracted him and his accomplice that had snuck up on him and knocked him out. “Unhand me at once you rogue and naive miscreant! You are clearly evil and I will apprehend you at once…” continues the badger-droid.
“Shit shit shit, I hope this works!” The deceptive thief, reacting to the badger-face waking up, pulls a rag and bottle from his pocket and holds it firm against the creature’s snout. Slowly the badger-wood-amalgam slips unconscious, the last thing he hears is, “That was a close one.”
Iiri and Pineapple make their way towards the Lower Rookery. As they walk the roads get narrower and narrower, darker and darker, as they descend deeper into the underbelly of the city. They notice almost at the same time they are walking in fresh drag marks that seem to indicate an incredibly heavy mass getting pulled by two other people. Soon they pass a point that looks like a struggle occurred with the dragged party, only to continue quickly after in the same direction.
As they approach their destination they see the drag marks go a door a few doors down from where the first message is to be delivered. There’s a small conversation where they decide to come back and investigate the drag marks after delivering the message.
Pineapple and Iiri make their way down the street to a seedy looking bar. Behind it, a huge pigeon looking bird shrugs at you. Iiri delivers the message and the Bird barely shrugs. On her way almost to the door, the Bird-Man behind the bar says, “Hey, you Iirichi Ko? I think you’re my niece, right?”. They recognize each other but the man behind the bar isn’t a toucher so they don’t embrace. “Yeah, I’m busy right now but come back sometime and we’ll catch up. I don’t see many Crows come back to the City.”
The pair now leave the bar and make their way to the dragged door and head inside. Down the hall they see the robot badger laying unconscious in the corner, lit by a campfire around the corner. On the wall to the left they see two shadows cast by shapes in front of the fire.
They sneak in, being as stealthy as possible but only get close enough to realize that the “bodies” in front of the fireplace are actually dummies meant to distract, and they do! Both Pineapple and Iiri are knocked unconscious.
All three awake in a dark room surrounded by thieves. A man in a satin top hat, red overcoat and tails, and velvet pants walks towards all of them. His skin is blue-black with a white curly mustache. He is obviously a Drow, though he’s smiling more than you’ve ever seen a Drow smile non-nefariously.
“Hello! I am Mr. Dip! I am an official of the Berwyn. I run the orphanages and part of my job is recruiting the tougher kids to an elite group of spies called The Orphans. It’s not just a cute name, they’re all actually orphans. Berwyn uses us to disseminate and discover the truth of things and keep the status quo. We aren’t funded by Berwyn directly however, but we are allowed to “tax” the people of Berwyn to fund our activities through small petty theft and odd jobs."
“What an odd way to introduce yourself, why are we locked up?” Barks the badger-headed bot.
“Oh, excuse me.” Mr. Dip gestures to the thieves around and they quickly undo the three captive’s bonds.
“And what is your names?” Asks Mr. Dip. The trio respond:
“I’m Iirichi Ko of the Crows, formerly of the Lower Rookery.” says the bird woman.
“My name is Pineapple Bees. I’m from all ’round.” says the bald cloudy man.
“My name is BP-27, and I’m… not from around here.” says the badger machine.
“Nice to meet you! I have to say, we don’t usually have our agents killed on routine resource-gathering missions. You might be quite useful to us. Would you be interested in employment? We are incredibly useful as friends and you do sort of owe us a person. Cecil, the poor soul whose hand you separated from his body has succumb to his wounds.”
Iiri produces the hand of Cecil from her bag. “Oh yeah, this guy. He’s dead. Can I wear his ring?”
Mr. Dip looks confused and saddened by this. “… yes, that is our ring of initiation. If you join or cadre of merry rable-rousers and spys you can wear his ring. (in game, it’s a Ring of Intensity +1 and gives you a bonus of +1 to any roll once per rest).”
The Group agrees and is given their first mission to prove themselves. A local bar is complaining of a terrible presence known as the Rat King in the basement. The three set out to remove the Rat King. On their way they begin discussing the feeling they had originally felt when they first saw each other, and as they say it out loud, “Hipsandip?” at the same time, they all experience a flash of an image.
A red ruby, surrounded solid transparent fire glows in their mind. Behind it, long oval eyes with squarish pupils glowing red. Every member of the party has enough magically awareness to tell that this message is being transmitted from another plane of existence.
“Well, that was odd. You all felt that, right? And saw it?” BP-27 asks, worried this plane might be more thoughtless and strange than where he’s from.
“Yes, we all saw and felt that.” Says Pineapple. BP-27 is relieved.
The Trio reach the door of the Leaky Bucket. Inside the Barman sees your ring and gestures towards the basement. It takes the group all of 4 seconds to “discover” the Rat King. He is standing in the back of the basement covered in rats and bandages.
“I AM THE RAT KING.” Battle ensues and the Rat King is beaten then convinced to just, like, go away to the sewers and quit being a jerk. He agrees and leaves through a grate in the corner.