Someone you loved is dead. Who? Have a look on your Myself tab, under Stories: you should have the quality "Tragedy: Death of a … "
Your quest for vengeance has brought you to the Neath. You have only two leads: the name ‘Scathewick’ and an envelope of dried flower petals. A Mumbling Bee-Keeper from Watchmakers Hill explains that these petals are from a cross-breed of Exile’s Rose and a flower from Hell. The honey produced from this cross-breed flower is ‘something special’, apparently. Searching his beehive, you turn up a key. Further investigation leads to another name: ‘Mackay’. (Instead of investigating, you can just beat the information out of the bee-keeper. That’s a typical feature of this Ambition: you usually have a Shadowy and a violently Dangerous option to get what you want.)
You find Mackay in a honey-den in Veilgarden. Whether you kidnap him, or sneak up on him in dreams, his information is this: 20 years ago, he was involved in a smuggling business of ‘Gaoler’s Honey’ to the Shuttered Palace. And he stashed a batch of the honey in a crypt in the Forgotten Quarter.
When you get to the crypt, a Deviless is already waiting for you. You can bribe her to look away, or you can kill her. I think this is one of only two passages in the whole game which describes a devil dying, so it’s worth a read. Anyway: the jar of honey is still in the crypt, but nearly empty. Only faint traces of a reddish substance remain.
Looking for someone who knows anything about this stuff leads you to a Junior Fellow of Esoteric Cryptozoology at the University. He finally tells you - again, through bribes or violence - what is so ‘special’ about Red Honey: "Get into dreams, memories of damned. Crawl around and enjoy them. No fun for the damned! Terrible pain. Ghastly. Fascinating."
If you’re very curious, ruthless or whatever, you now have the option to compel the Junior Fellow to ‘reactivate’ your honey-traces by way of a complicated scientific procedure. After this, naturally, you have the option to try the Red Honey yourself. This whole sidequest is completely optional though: you can bypass it and concentrate on your revenge.
⦁ If you still have one or two Traces of Red Honey, you should still see the Junior Fellow’s storylet at the University. Otherwise, you should see an Ambition: Nemesis! storylet in the Forgotten Quarter.
⦁ If you have a Drop of Gaoler’s Honey, you reactivated the substance but never used it.
⦁ If you have neither, you used it and have seen the Chambers of the Heart.
The Ambition’s main plotline continues with you following Mackay’s lead to the Shuttered Palace. You find the very woman who used to receive the honey deliveries all those years ago still among Palace staff. Every day she visits a walled part of the Palace gardens, secured by a triple lock. By use of more or less violence, you take the keys from her and enter. But inside, you’re asked for a password: ‘Taste is they key.’ You have either learnt this password inside the Chambers of the Heart, or from reading an Uncanny Incunabulum.
Finally inside the Cage-Gardens, you’re met by a Simpering Cage-Keeper who shows you around and tells you lots of things about Scathewick. A new name also comes up: ‘Permanent Surgeon Carrywell’ who apparently resides in the Tomb-Colony of Venderbight. Scathewick seems to be working for her. You can now strike the Cage-Keeper down and free the prisoners, but you don’t have to. Since the Ambition storylet at the Shuttered Palace doesn’t go away until you free the prisoners, it’s likely you played it at some point though. Go and have a look! :)
You can now take a regular steamer to Venderbight (it’s not exactly the same place as Scandalous Exile - you won’t see the Ambition storylets in Venderbight while you’re exiled!). Various investigations into Permanent Surgeon Carrywell finally lead you to the Grand Sanatorium. The place is a veritable fortress, and you either have to fight your way in during an epic battle (that’s just the last echo! Sadly, I’ve not found a single echo for any of the earlier parts) or turn into Spider-Man/Woman/Person and climb the walls.
Carrywell does not respond to being threatened, and she has her own private army of Tomb-Colonists (i.e. undead soldiers), so you’re forced to negotiate. She agrees to help your cause if you help her interpret some of the older ‘patients’. The first one is from the Elder Continent, an old colleague of Feducci. The second one is an old bodyguard of the Duchess. The third one turns out to be an assassin lying in wait for you. So much for working with Carrywell. (Here’s a rather more imaginative way for dealing with the assassin.) You can’t get through to her though, she still has her undead army. But she’s happy to let you go and sic you on Scathewick, who’s apparently run to "somewhere no authority can follow: the Iron Republic."
Before going to the Iron Republic, you want to know what you’re getting into. Back at the University, there’s a Dreaming Scholar who’s supposed to be an expert about the place. Unfortunately, she’s also honey-mazed most of the time. She agrees to show you the Iron Republic in dreams, as a sort of preparation for visiting the real thing. This works out eventually, but you have a very weird and different dream about a key first. She later tells you that this was "one of the true dreams" and that "it is entirely possible that this key will be your salvation in the Iron Republic", which is certainly true since you won’t be able to continue the story there without this key.
All things considered, you need a Ship, an Iron Republic Safe-Conduct, the Stone-Tentacle Key from the well on Hunter’s Keep and 2 Portfolios of Souls to successfully continue Ambition: Nemesis! at this point.
Inside the Iron Republic’s prison, your hunt for Scathewick finally comes to an end. He’s happy to talk to you. It turns out he wasn’t just paid to kill your loved one, but to lead you on the very chase that brought both of you here. Now his contract is fulfilled, he’s written down everything he can remember about the methods of whoever employed him. And he still has the knife with which he killed your loved one. He offers it to you.
You can now use the knife to kill him, "if you’re feeling poetic." Or you can let him go. After all, he’s just another stepping stone. You’re still after who commissioned him. Unfortunately, there’s no way to find out what you did if you didn’t echo it to your profile at the time. Killing him only increases A Bringer of Death, a quality which can also be earned in other ways. There’s no unique quality tracker.
You can choose to keep the Blooded Knife (Weapon, Dangerous +6, Dreaded +1) or leave it behind in each case.
Your return voyage affords you the opportunity to interrogate Scathewick’s accounts. They yield three crucial leads and one vexing fact: whoever paid him to kill your loved one commissioned six other murders on the Surface.
As far as you can tell, the victims have no connections and nothing in common. Why them? You cannot say. For now, you turn to a more urgent matter: who ordered it.
The three crucial leads are: two more names, ‘Gloriana’ and ‘Cumberbold’, and a scrawled attempt at a Correspondence sigil. You have to investigate the first two by working Cases. There is a risk of running into a Complication: Jasper and Frank, the Masters’ Unfinished Clay Men enforcers, might get involved. You can deal with this Complication by hiring an army of dockers with hammers and pickaxes. If they wound Jasper and Frank severely enough, they will retreat and need to heal for a while.
Or you can lead Jasper and Frank to the Forgotten Quarter while the Devils are out hunting.
Your Criminal connections put you on the trace of Cumberbold, aka ‘The Mute’. The Mute is another Unfinished Clay Man. Once again, Jasper and Frank turn up as possible obstacles at every step of your Case-work. Whether you find The Mute alive or not, the most important thing you find in his possessions is the remnant of a seal: a fragment of the Bazaar’s motto, ‘All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’.
The ‘Gloriana’ is a river barge which used to be the home of a spy known as the Purveyor of Names. You track her down. If you have Complication: Jasper and Frank, you’re too late: they’ve already made sure she sacrificed her memories at a Shrine of St Joshua. In this case, you track down the Midnighter who presided over the ceremony.
Each way, what you find out in the end is this: when the Purveyor of Names furnished Scathewick with new identities, he always paid her in crisp one-Echo notes, fresh from the press.
The Echo-notes and the seal (plus Jasper and Frank) already point to the Masters being involved. You then translate Scathewick’s Correspondence sigil as ‘A thing which is empty, whose purpose is to be filled.’ Among the Masters’ names, this could apply to both Cups and Mirrors.
For the next part of your investigation, you’ll have to visit the Bazaar itself. Fortunately, the Copper Door opens to tales of blood and peril. You’ve got no end of those at this point.
Creeping your way through the corridors, you finally make it to "the tallest mezzanine of the Effulgent Galleries", where the Masters keep their appointment calendar, called the Daybook. A careful inspection of its pages reveals these pertinent pieces of information:
Mr Cups only receives visitors between Sunday and Wednesday. Among its most recent engagements were Jasper and Frank.
Mr Mirrors, on the other hand, only receives visitors between Thursday and Saturday. And it has a regular appointment every Friday: with ‘Lilac’.
Cups and Mirrors seem to be the same entity. And I can’t wait to listen in to its next conversation with Millicent Clathermont!
edited by phryne on 1/13/2020