A Risky Business Proposal

Hello. My name is Arol and I have a business proposal.

I have a fun little hobby of kidnapping people of all makes and species. I like experimenting with torture, both mental and physical. It’s very exciting and informative to slowly carve away everything that makes a person unique, until they are nothing but a pile of flesh and half scattered memories. I’ve developed many tools and techniques in my quest to find just how to dismantle bodies and minds, so this isn’t just selfish indulgence. I always share what I learn with the world at large, though I don’t state how or why I came up with my information, as I don’t fancy a noose around my neck and a one-way ticket to the Tomb Colonies.

The thing is, there is one type of person I’ve never managed to acquire for my games. A Master of the Bazaar. And that is a shame, because unlike my other victims, I know nothing of their inner workings. I don’t even know what they truly look like under those cloaks. The most informative and exciting point in my life would be to catch one and subject it to the methodical vivisection of body and mind I’ve developed over the years.

I’d love to see how long it would take to dismantle and break a Master’s mind and body, or if it’s even possible at all. Do they even have minds? The only way to find out is to have one at my mercy, where I can prod, push and pry at my leisure.

There’s several obvious issues with kidnapping a Master and that’s not even counting what I intend to do with said creature. All the small bits of social and political clout I’ve managed to scrounge together will mean nothing if I’m caught trying to snag one of the most powerful entities in Fallen London. Then even if I do manage to succeed in capturing one, I might still be caught after the fact, which would be even worse, considering what I plan to do. And the punishment will most likely be more than a noose and exhile.

But I think I can overcome all risks if I find other people to work with. Together we can pool our resources and make sure no one can trace anything to anyone. And if anyone’s a little squeamish, I hardly ever murder my victims. I just leave them out in a street corner somewhere after I’m done.

If anyone’s interested, I’m willing to pay. As an accomplished thief, I can pay fairly well, but I’m also willing to pay in favors and scapegoats. If you have any enemies, wouldn’t it be great if they’re the scapegoats that end up framed for everything?

(Please don’t share this information. I don’t want it to get into the wrong hands.)

Darling, you had me at vivisection. I shall await your summonses with excitement, while I prepare my list of enemies. Do you have any objections to a fellow whose enemies are mostly cats who’ve beaten them at chess?

Hrrrrrmmmm…I’d be willing to lend influential help in suppressing this… but I’d like to make a rather dangerous request, the results of which I know not. Well, Simply put I would like you to note the effects of differing music and the correspondence, both separate and together, on said Master and send me all notes and research on such. The rest of the details of your…endeavor… you may keep, but all notes on this particular subject are to be handed to me, and you will do your level best to forget them and you will not act on any (unlikely) results. In return for this, I can suppress the information on this attempt, as well as if needed get whichever Master you intend to kidnap really, REALLY inebriated at the time to make it easier.
edited by Kylestien on 2/7/2015

Kidnap a Master, you say?

Help! Help! We need a Cheesemonger or two here! Someone is trying to kidnap a Master!

(If you are kidnapping Veils, I will point in the wrong direction instead.)

Kindnap one of the masters you say?? Ohohoho I must say this is quite an intriguing call for assistance, I accept! With out combined efforts we shall no doubt capture one of the cloaked creatures! Which one will we capture I wonder…

But, but, but! I do have a little bit of a request if you do not mind my boldness dear sir or madam; I would like to be present when to do… whatever it is you plan on doing, to whichever one of the masters you wish to capture, for research purposes, of course. I’d like to know how these things work. What’s beneath those hunched over cloaks I wonder…

The Foolsman
Not at all. Lots of people don’t trust cats, so they’d make the perfect scapegoats. And yes, vivisection is such an invigorating pastime. It’s like sculpting in clay, but with clay that moves and trembles and screams.

I would be happy to investigate the effects of music on whichever master I end up with. I exposed a certain master to music once and it reacted… oddly to say to the least. I’ve dealt with the correspondence in the past and am fairly sure that I can come up with enough information to satisfy you without going insane or coming to grave bodily harm.

Estelle Knoht
I have a feeling that most Cheesemongers are not overly concerned with the fate of the Masters, especially after what happened to the last one that got in the way. If you truly want to alert the authorities, I am prepared to offer you a bribe, or if that fails, make you my next human experiment.
(And Mr. Veils is too dangerous of a target. Maybe one day, but for now, I want a less spritely one.)

Saravina Vorcast
I will require assistance in this, as a Master is much more dangerous than my normal prey and I will need many hands making sure it doesn’t escape, alert those that would recuse it or horrible mangle us all. And I already know what’s under their cloaks. Flesh and blood and pain. It’s the same thing no matter what the package. And when I’m through, it will look like every other mangled body. My work truly is the great equalizer.

Also, if I may give advice, I think the trick to kidnapping a Master would not be to gain aid, though that will of course help, but rather to pick a master that noone, even other Masters, will particularly miss. Choose the right one and inquiries would doubtless be less… enthusiastic. And you should be sure to take some major precautions - I have reason to believe from the ravings of some who go on a certain mad quest that Masters may well be hardier then scalpel and vivisection will allow. Just my two echoes on the matter if it helps.

Thanks for your insight. It’s always valuable in situations such as this. Grabbing a less than liked Master would be prudent, though I am tempted to take one that would be best suited to my experiments. The Master I’m most interested in obtaining is Mr. Pages. His mind seems perfect for what I hope to accomplish. Scholars are much more suited to the rending of the mind than warriors or merchants. My second choice would be Mr. Wines, as a mind filled with indulgences is also a treat.

Of course, Pages and Wines are well connected Masters. But if I can find a way to fill the gap left behind from the one I choose, the other Masters might not be as eager to track down their missing compatriot. Or I could make sure that it isn’t tracked down, no matter how vigorous the search.

As for the hardiness of the Masters, I’ve been studying ways to physically carve the bodies of the Neath’s more immortal denizens. While I’m not anywhere close to the type of creature a Master represents and not anywhere nearly as long lived, I’m not exactly human. That has allowed me avenues of study normally closed off for most people.
edited by Arol on 2/8/2015

Dissect and torture a Master, you say? Well, I am rather well connected in the Brass Embassy and the Flit, and recenenly the Master have been cutting down on trades with hell (curse those idiots who want to stop the soul trade!)I am pretty certain I could arrange for some enthusiastic, if not overly skilled, bombthrowers to aid in the capture, and some devils to help with the torture and cover-up. In return I want some help with a few… annoyances.

That sounds wonderful! Devils are well versed in torture and having them assisting will help tremendously. I’m also a bit miffed about interference in the soul trade. Some of my experiments involve souls and also spirifing has netted me a nice little side income. And the more aid there is in the capture and cover up, the more likely this whole operation can come together without any unfortunate consequences.

I’d be delighted in helping with whatever annoyances you may have. I love getting my hands dirty, sometimes quite literally.


Hrrrrm… If you go after Wines I must rescind my previous offer. I find Wines to be one of the only likable Masters and since he seems to mostly be on the side of London it would be a shame to see him go. And with him having just given a job to my aunt it would also be a shame if I were saddled with her again. Pages I would be happy to aid in kidnapping however, as long as the …opportunity arises to steal some of it’s greatest literary works and banned artifacts if you catch my drift.
edited by Kylestien on 2/12/2015

Pages is my first choice, so that shouldn’t be a problem. And I’m sure there will be ample opportunity to snag some of its wonderful collection of secrets and scandals.

It looks like there’s plenty of people willing to help with this little endeavor. We should probably start on the plan itself. And how we’re going to keep the information away from unwanted ears.

Zeel’s six fingered hand placed itself upon Arol’s shoulder. &quotToo late for that&quot. A man of medium build and the blackest hair possible to man, if not for the aura of menace he exuded, one could momentarily be lulled into the idea that he was a regular Londoner. &quotBut don’t worry. I’m not going to tell the Masters. Just to leave you with a very simple warning. Cups is mine. Mirrors too, come to that. Any other Master, vivisection, torture, replacement, alliance, whatever you may happen to wish, I do not care. But understand if you so much as dull one of MY Master’s claws, I will inflict upon you things that would make the actions of your life seem charitable in comparison&quot. Zeel’s dark grey eyes stared deeply into Arol’s, before he listed his right hand, revealing an ice blue eye on the palm. &quotI have done and seen things you could not begin to comprehend without experiencing madness. This is your only warning&quot

Arol hadn’t expected anyone to personally come into his lodgings and speak with him directly. He wasn’t an excitable man, but the sudden intrusion on his personal correspondence caused Arol to leap up and whirl around.

He eyed the man with a slight smile and let him finish his speech. Arol also looked like a common London citizen, except for a few bits of red flecks in his green eyes, as if his irises had been permanently splattered with blood. His skin had a slight tan to it, although it obviously wasn’t a result of sunlight.

“You know,” he stated, his voice falling over his tongue like sweetened coffee. “It’s very rude to start a conversation without even the merest hint of an introduction.” He lifted his hand and motioned to himself.

“My name is Arol. You probably already know that, but there’s no reason for at least one of us not to be civil.” His smile grew, twisting into something that wasn’t quite human or animal, but almost like a worm, writhing on his face and revealing thoughts and emotions that couldn’t, shouldn’t exist.

“I have no intention of taking either Cups or Mirrors. They honestly don’t interest me. As for inflicting things that make my actions seem charitable, or seeing and doing things I would not be able to comprehend…”

The red in Arol’s eyes spread outward like a pool of blood, covering the whole of each until they were both two mini seas of churning red. It sloshed out from his eyelids and spread across his face and body, washing away the normal looking human appearance and replacing it with… something else.

His skin was a pale gray, like the pallor of the dead, but with a slight tint of red. It writhed and undulated with handprints, both big and small, as if thousands of lost souls were trying to push their way out of his body. His arms bent out in at an angle like those of a praying mantis, but they were covered in twisting appendages from shoulder to finger tips, each with a razor sharp claw of black. The head was a glowing ball of lightless black, with strange, impossible images playing in the center, things that tore at the mind and filled it with searing hot ideas that burned brighter than any sun.

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone, leaving Arol’s human body in its place as if nothing had happened. He smiled his twisting worm smile. “You have no idea what I’ve seen or done, or what I can comprehend.”
edited by Arol on 2/14/2015
edited by Arol on 2/14/2015

Doctor Wolfram marched up to his flit-top shack, which he had been loaned by the Underground Commune as soon as he had said the magic words &quotkidnapping a Master&quot. It was to be the meati… err… sorry, meeting place for the group of rebels/psychopaths. Although it would end up a meating house, as in &quotturning a sentient being into meat&quot. Anyway, the door creaked open after much cursing, a lock so rusted the key wouldn’t work, a generous application of oil and several broken lockpicks, and the good Doctor walked inside. There was much to do: knives to sharpen, chains to put in place, plans to arrange, and a Master to kidnap. Wolfram hoped it would be Pages. Until recently, Pages had been banning Church works for Hell, but now, under many pleas by concerned citizens (and a threat of boycott) the blighter had decided to change sides: unbanning Biblical passages and banning the Devils’ pamphlets. In addition, he was one of the most obvious symbols of oppression by the draconian regime of the Masters! Or something like that.

The Foolsman wandered through the little warehouse, recently borrowed from a man who had displeased them. Stamping machines and crates of cheap wine had been disposed of, clearing the centre of the rundown building for several heavy tables. Bandaged folk sorted through a small armoury; pistols, rifles, swords and thick-bladed knives from the Iron Republic; lead boxes filled to the brim with ammunition; a Gatling gun, slowly forming itself from a pile of components; poisons strong enough to keep the Stone Pigs long asleep. The deal had been done. The Foolsman would be supplying the weapons for this insane hunt.
By the far end of the warehouse, near the little opening that served as a dock, a longboat had moored. Weathered Zailors were dragging out a huge box, its strange metal surface shimmering like dull quicksilver. A scarred woman stood at the head of the little group.
‘Captain.’ The Foolsman pressed a quickly forgotten kiss upon Captain Falselight’s hand.
‘You have no idea what I had to do to get this…’ she said, attempting to sound rueful, though to The Foolsman it barely hid her twisted pleasure at the result.
‘Is it strong enough?’ they asked her.
‘Strong enough for what?’ Captain Falselight dared to inch a little closer to the conspiracy.
‘Strong enough to hold a secret…’
The warning in their voice was enough. She gave in all too quickly. ‘It’ll hold the worst secrets this or any other Fallen City ever knew…’

‘Marvellous. Your reward is well earned, my darling.’
‘What now?’ she asked.
They pointed to their Valet, a bandaged man who seemed to form The Foolsman’s entire shadow. ‘Ask Odysseus.’
‘Madam-’ The Valet – whose name had never been Greek – began.
‘Sir, for today.’
‘Sir. I cannot leave you alone.’
‘I’m not alone. I have our Pale Dancer.’ The Foolsman pointed to their second henchman, a woman with skin like ice, who was presently walking on her hands and giggling like a child.
‘Send her, instead.’
‘She doesn’t know the right words.’
‘I’m not doing this.’
‘You will, because I have asked you to. Understand?’
The Valet could do nothing but nod.

Up on the shacks’ roof, invisible to all but the most piercing of gazes, Doctor Wolfram sat, clutching a scoped rifle. It was a nice rifle, brass fittings, bronzed wood, loaned for the duration of the kidnapping operation by the Brass Embassy. He was keeping watch for the crates of weapons that would soon be brought up.

Arol walked up to the shack, wearing a black suit and red cravat, looking more like a business man than the psychotic criminal he actually was. Since he hadn’t actually met any of his fellow compatriots in person, Arol figured this would be a good time to finally meet those he’d be working with beyond secretive letters.

He carried a leather satchel filled with all the notes and he had gathered about the Master’s movements and possible ways to capture one. It also had a small jar under the papers, that held a single eyeball swimming in pale yellow fluid. The jar was his good luck charm, a silly little trifle that meant nothing and held no power, but always made him feel better just for having it around.

“Impressive,” he muttered to himself as he looked at all the activity. Maybe this really would work out.

It was a little store in the Flit. It had to be little, to avoid the gaze of The Masters. He entered the store with trepidation.

“You have the item in question?” the shopkeeper said.

“One well song, as requested. Keep it safe.” He replied.

The shopkeeper, with great care and yet great haste, pulled out the sealed book from the hiding place below the floorboards. “Sealed with a lover’s kiss. Do not be caught with it.”

“Here you go. The payment as agreed.” He left the Well Song there and left.

A Sealed Copy Of The Crimson Book was contraband of the highest order. To be seen with it was to invite death - or worse. But he has some connections with Masters of note, and he was certain that Pages would be… personally interested in a clandestine trade for such a rare book. All he had to do was make the arragements, and have him meet in a place of his choosing.

The others would take care of the rest.