Very Far From United - a Dynamite Caper

The cobblestones of the Stolen City shiver with agitation and discontent. The people march, and riot, and sing songs about angry men. There is a sentiment of anger in London, just as there is in Paris…Berlin…Moscow…Washington. The air is filled with the scent of revolution.

Liberation! Egality! Fellowship! goes the cry. Socialists and anarchists, suffragists and syndicalists, postluminalists and communists alike conspire against the tyranny of the Masters. Some wish to restore London. Others wish to reform it. And others, still, wish to destroy it. But all hold fast to the end of the Master’s reign of terror, and how it may be accomplished. Be it bombs, words, or antilaw, the Masters will fall and London will be freed. To this end, revolutionary groups all across London meet – in secret spaces, in public forums, through popular discourses – to accomplish their goals.

Beneath an abandoned church somewhere between this side and that way of the Stolen River, one such group meets to plot destruction most devastating.

They have come from all walks of life and all directions, each individual entering the church separately under cover of darkness that no other person may guess from where they came. They meet at the heart of the church, around a meeting table that was once an altar, and sit in backward-facing chairs to await the striking of the fallen clock. In the chairs, they are liberated by darkness: each as equally unknowable and uncertain as the other. But when they come to meet around the table, they will be illuminated by the soft glow of the false-stars that shine bright over a gaping hole in the church ceiling. When the fallen clock chimes midnight (or the lie that is midnight, down here), they shall come to meet. All this will ensure that those present are filled with a sense of Importance and Gravitas, for it is well-known that a proper secret meeting requires theatrical use of lighting and timing to be truly important.

Upon the altar-turned table, numerous sheets of paper scrawled with plans, diagrams, and idle sketches lay out the plot: a four meter tall brass statue of a Master (or at least, a Bohemian impression of one) stands in the center of a small square just off Elderwick. The statue’s robust and well-endowed form is symbolic of the Master’s supremacy over London, and to damage the Masters symbolically the statue must be destroyed…physically. But this is not an easy task: the statue is solid brass and resistant to mere toppling, the untended overgrowth that surrounds the statue is difficult to cut through, and the square is surrounded by honey-dens, bat-groomers, candied fungus bakeries and tobacconists – all noted haunts of the Bazaar’s agents. Only a sufficiently overwhelming application of explosives and gunfire will be enough to destroy the hated statue and provide a victory for the Revolution. Only a well-oiled team of professionals and enthusiasts will be able to pull it off.

Far distant, the midnight chime rings.


The first chair turns. The silence in the meeting-hall is replaced for a moment by the distant sounds of roaring and bestial howling and the sounds of impossible birdsong. Light glints off a mostly black pith helmet - cosmogone glasses – Dauncey’s-cut suit – an ammo bandolier. The figure rises and leans forward into the light, revealing himself as both a well-tailored and well-armed gentleman bedecked in ribbons and hunting mementos. Eyes filled with passion behind the emotionless glasses, he raises a fist upward and opens his mouth as if to give an impassioned rallying cry…and accidentally sends a number of derringers hidden in his tailcoat scattering across the table. As he fumbles to retrieve them, more guns spill out. Pistols and revolvers fly across the room.


(OOC: How hard can it be to blow up a statue, anyways? All interested for a short and sweet adventure about Revolution, Bombings, and Things Going Wrong are encouraged to participate. To join in, introduce your character in a suitably cinematic manner and describe the role they will publicly play in the powder-keg plot – will they bring extra explosives, bodies, a distraction, something else? Even more importantly, tell me [via a private message] something that Will Go Wrong during the execution of the plot – be it the Constables, a Clay Man uprising, a Master interceding, anything short of a major setting-affecting disaster – and at some point during the bombing attempt, it Will Go Wrong…
Interested parties have til the Sunday of June 25th to put in their characters and make plans/plots/collusion with each other. Come election season and the 26th, the bombing plot kicks off!)


The second chair turns with a solemn squeak. About halfway through its rotation, it becomes stuck. After hopelessly attempting to swivel it for seconds that feel like minutes in the tense silence, its occupant picks up the chair and rotates it manually.

Gideon is younger than one would think for a man in his profession, not that anyone is entirely sure what that profession is. His clean-shaven, boyish face is pale in the moonish light. Unidentifiable chemical stains cover the sleeves of his black suit, and he smells faintly of metal and gunpowder. He has the undeniable air of an accident waiting to happen.

His eyes dart around the room, taking in his fellow conspirators. His gaze is unsettlingly intense; he seems to blink far less than the average person.

“Goodness, you are a gloomy bunch, aren’t you? I suppose I’ll have to go first, then. Name’s Gideon Stormstrider. Renowned mad inventor. Ignore the ‘mad’ part; that’s just for PR.”

Gideon smiles, showing far too many teeth. “I was told you were on the lookout for experts. I believe I can engineer a suitable distraction to allow our more… hands-on… personnel to reach the target.”

At this moment a small black bomb rolls out of his sleeve, its fuse fizzing. Calmly, Gideon picks it up and throws it out of a hole in the church wall that was formerly a window. Shortly afterwards, a thunderous crack echoes from outside.

“I am known for being quite distracting,” says Gideon.



The fourth chair creaks slowly round towards the table. The man sat there unveils a small smile. His parabolan suit gleams strangely purple in the light and his hand is poised over his pot of Violant ink, ready to write the minutes of the meeting. However perhaps his most noticeable feature is the black velvet mask covering his entire face, apart from that little, impish grin and two piercing black eyes. Red hair is visible as he doffs his hat and places it gently on the table.

This is Mannfred Von Darken, of the Austrian Von Darkens, usurped heir to the Hapsburg throne, or so he claims. The face behind the mask is something of an open secret, as most folk in London have seen it by now, in or out of bed, but he still wears it, for the reputation if nothing else. Looking up at the other occupants of the room, he dips his quill and grins.

'Wonderful to finally meet you chaps, Von Darken’s the name, deposed count, renowned hedonist et cetera. He winks. ‘And, of course vehement supporter of the Revolutionary cause. I’ve been led to understand that you delightful gents might need some information gathered and documents forged. Well I’ll be happy to assist, helping to overthrown the horrific tyranny of the Masters and whatnot. Should be immense fun’. He pauses for a moment and frowns, as if thinking on a matter of great importance.

‘There doesn’t happen to be any wine at this meeting, does there?’

… the Grinning Informant! (He’ll bring the information, forgeries and expertly written minutes)
edited by Von Darken on 7/9/2017


“Oh. Is it my turn to speak?”

The fifth chair does not turn dramatically. It does not spin with a flourish. The occupant within does not gesture dramatically, much to the bored disappointment of the conspiracy’s members. The man simply looks up from his pocket watch, the glass cracked from years of mistreatment. His expression is one of polite restraint.

He’s an elderly man. Certainly nearing his mid-sixties, his impressive mutton chops a storm-grey, his eyes a dark brown that somehow glint in the limited light of the church, his clothing the old, tattered remains of a pre-Fall military uniform, with an open locket containing the face of a middle-aged gentleman hanging around his neck. His hands are a mass of scars. This is a man who has died again and again, and risen up once more to fight harder and faster.

“Corporal William Minsley, formerly of the 38th Staffordshire Regiment of Foot before its dissolution.” His expression sours. “What a disgrace the Masters have wrought to our beloved empire. Good men died in that field and our reward was to be left to rot, for our empire to fold against petty rebels and savages, for Her Enduring Majesty to be kept as a pet? No more! The sun may have set on old Blighty, but it shall rise again! God save the-”

A patriot, too. Wonderful. The conspiracy’s leader rolls his eyes and asks him what he actually has to offer besides rousing speeches. The Corporal has the decency to look a little embarrassed as he gets to the point.

“Yes, well, my former comrades will do what they can to help. Some of them have managed to secret themselves into rather high up positions in the Masters’ private army of goons and fools. They haven’t forgotten the disgrace dealt to Britain by these fiends. They’ll watch our backs.&quot

…THE EMBITTERED WAR-VETERAN! (He’ll bring the government and Constabulary contacts)


The sixth chair does not turn, but the figure behind it moves forward. A young woman steps out of the darkness, and surveys the other members of this conspiracy with a disapproving scowl on her face. A shoddy and evidently slapdash bun keeps the majority of her hair out of the way. The rest of her appearance is equally unorthodox. Workmen’s clothes, finger-less gloves, a pair of rather heavy of boots, as well as a fairly oversized coat. Her brows furrow even further.

“I didn’ expect to see such b___dy showmanship out of individuals with anti-Master sentiments,” she scoffs. “I would expect such things out of the toffs and dandies in Veilgarden.” She sighs bitterly. “I can knock teeth outta heads, I can keep lookout, and I can nick something if we need it nicked. And I’ve taken part in a few bombings fore’ this.”

Victoria Crow is a former urchin who has moved from pranks and petty theft onto larceny and general trouble-making. She is a pugnacious individual, who prefers actions rather than words. And a newly minted revolutionary with the principles and dreams of the revolution still fresh in her mind. She turns her chair and sits down in it arms folded. She begins impatiently tapping her foot waiting for the meeting to officially start.

…THE BRASH TROUBLEMAKER! (She’ll bring her Skills in matters that are Criminal in nature)


The seventh conspirator has accessorized their chair with a velvet drape and an overstuffed cushion, which they fastidiously straighten before they sit back down. Their face is hidden behind a veil of thirsty bombazine, and vanishes entirely in the dim light of the false stars. They steeple their fingers before they speak, their voice soft and cheerful. &quotLord Darken,&quot they say, &quotColonel, esteemed companions, permit me to introduce myself. I am called Gyges, and to this noble quest, I offer my patronage. You are Sir Landevale, and I am your Faerie Queen. If there is anything at all your heart desires, you need only ask, and it shall be yours. Price is no object.&quot

They remove their kid-gloves, and from the recesses of their dark, old-fashioned suit produce an ornate silver letter opener and a thick cream envelope fastened with burgundy wax. &quot500 echoes each,&quot they explain airily, &quotfor emergencies and incidental expenses. Any remainder is yours to keep, of course.&quot They place the envelope on the table in front of them, and twirl the letter-opener daintily between their fingers. The hilt is monogramed with a pair of feathered wings, the same as their cufflinks. &quotThe masters are an obstacle that must be overcome if mankind’s destiny is to run its course,&quot they muse, &quotThis is one step on a long path. But it is necessary all the same.&quot

… The ELEGANT CLERIC (They’ll bring an unconscionable amount of dosh)[li]
edited by Gul al-Ahlaam on 6/21/2017

As the parties participating in tonight’s conspiracy present themselves, the Debonair Sharpshooter quickly retrieves his assorted small arms. Each introduction is met with an appreciative nod, expression of interest, or soft whistle. What a group so far: a sharpshooter, an inventor, a pirate, an informant, a war-veteran, a troublemaker, AND a cleric! And someone even remembered to bring explosives

The Sharpshooter claps his hands together. &quotGreat to have you all here tonight! We’ve got bombs and ghosts and money and people who know how to give what they get (we have no wine, but I think the clergy stashed some gin away someplace), and when it comes down to bombing a statue that’s exactly what we’ll need! Citizen Blackburn’s the name, and I must say that-!&quot

He stops and turns to the Brash Troublemaker, putting his hands together. &quotNo, no, our colleague here is right. We did not organize this meeting to host a party, we came here to destroy a symbol of tyranny! Ladies, gentlemen, folks of fine and low character…gather 'round.&quot

He points dramatically at the papers scattering across the table, inviting all those present to take a closer look. A grainy photograph of the statue dominates, followed by sketched plans of the area, notes on supplies, idle doodles, and other sundry bits of information. The Debonair Sharpshooter’s handwriting flows across some of the papers, purple looping calligraphy denoting possible hiding areas, arcs of fire, and range measurements. The square in which the statue is located is estimated to be a shade under 2200 square meters - more or less, depending on the time of the month and the frequency of neathquakes. The statue is dead center. It would not be possible, Blackburn estimates, to shoot it with conventional munitions with anything less than a cannon. The notes also indicate cannon-finding operations have not been successful.

&quotThat’s most of what I have currently,&quot the Sharpshooter says. &quotApply sufficiently large boom to statue, statue blows up, the people cheer and another blow strikes for liberty. To be honest, I spent most of the recon time trying to find that cannon. Has anyone else found anything of interest before our meeting tonight?&quot

Mannfred finishes the final sentence of the minutes. Giving a rakish smile he says,‘Pity about the wine, but I do come prepared for such eventualities’ he pulls out a small flask, takes a swig and stands up. ‘Well as information is my area I suppose I should probably tell you exactly what my &quotfriends&quot and I have found out’. He reaches into the pocket of his coat and pulls out a small black book, tightly bound in an oilskin case. ‘In this book is all of the information I and my small circle of informants have been able to gather. Obviously I have probably missed just as much as I have found as there are so many avenues one cannot explore in such a short time, so feel free to pitch in with anything you have’. Another smile.

With a flourish he opens the book and turns to the first page. ‘Now, let me see. Ah yes, the statue itself. From what I can gather it was commissioned by Mr Iron and created in his foundries, even though brass is a little outside of his sphere. Whilst it appears to represent him I suppose it could be any one of the robed creatures, they all do look rather similar. It’s rumored that old Iron is rather fond of the statue, in so far as one of these creatures can be fond of things, so this could be a great blow to strike for the Cause’.

He turns the page, giggling slightly at its contents and then taking another swig. ‘The statue itself is constantly guarded by four constables, but calling them London’s Finest might be a bit of an overestimation. I know that their numbers include an incontinent old man, a lady of the narcoleptic persuasion and a man whose name is Reginald Nobbs. Nobbs. I think that this gives you a general understanding of their capabilities.’ Pausing to take in the audience’s reaction, the informant smiles again, before turning the page.

‘However it is also surrounded by all manner of shops and dens of generally low repute, a few of which I am a patron. Each could hide at least ten of the black clad fiends that support the Masters and as such we could be facing quite insurmountable odds. Or not. Either way I would rather go in with as much firepower as we can, but I’m sure that’s already the plan’.

‘One little convenient detail that I did happen to note was that a Flit walkway dangles directly over the square, currently under the command of the’ he looks at his notes’ Fisher Kings, I believe. They and their walkway could be of some use if we could persuade them to our side’. Mannfred takes a small bow and slumps back in his chair, wearing a satisfied grin. ‘That’s all I have of importance at the moment although I hasten to add that some of these details might have changed, and some of my other information may become important later’. He stops, then leans forwards once more. ‘Oh, if any of you want a sip, just take some. Believe me, I have plenty’. With which he throws the flask onto the table and slumps back, content.
edited by Von Darken on 7/9/2017

Minsley frowns, his grey muttonchops rustling like a disgruntled mouse. “Herr Von Darken, if I were you, chap, I’d refrain from besmirching the Constabulary of this fine city. They do their jobs well, and many are as devoted to the cause of Queen and Country as we are. Circumstance has merely forced their hand. They deserve pity, not scorn.” The corporal’s expression softens momentarily, before returning to its default state of scowling fury.

“Yet the same cannot be said of the ‘Special’ Constables. Traitors, one and all. Those vazey buggers will face the courts for their betrayal once the Masters are chased back to whatever frigid Hell they crawled out of, of that you can be sure!

“But for now, all we have to do is fight them. And fight them we shall have to, gentlemen, for Herr Von Darken is correct. The beetles do indeed have their eyes on the statue.”

He throws down a folio containing a list organised into two columns headlined with APPLES and BUTTER. They contain names, times, and dates, with daguerreotypes of uniformed men and women pinned onto the document. These are the identities of Special Constables assigned near the target. How on earth did this elderly man acquire such tantalising information?

“From my old pals in Her Majesty’s Army,” the corporal assures the conspiracy. “We’re looking at two five-man teams of Special Constables. The first team - Apples - is stationed at all times near the statue, in a flat over the pub, while Butter works their patrol through the square about three times a day, when Apple is relieved.

“Team Apple’s got some bloody serious equipment too, from what I’ve heard. Rifles, pistols, a grenade or two. Perhaps even Infernal, devil-made.” He frowns. “And no hope of these blackboys turning a blind eye to our jolly attempt to score one for Britannia. They’re loyal only to those alien fiends.”

Minsley produces another piece of paper, and unfolds it. It’s a map of the area surrounding the statue’s square, with routes marked in black-and-blue.

“But if we time it right, my pals on patrol may be able to intercept team Butter before they make it to the courtyard, raid a poor whooperup’s flat for proscribed material they’ve been eyeing up and call them in to help. That leaves team Apple. They’ll only move when relieved. By halting Butter from patrolling, that gives us a window to strike that blasted abomination of a statue down, and make Britain’s enemies rue the day they thought they could pull the wool over our eyes!” The corporal thumps the table for emphasis, juddering Von Darken’s precious flask. Crystal-clear liquor sloshes over the top of the bottle.

Gideon pulls a selection of small dark bottles from the folds of his suit. Such hospitality on the part of Herr Von Darken must be repaid, after all. The labels are handwritten and thoroughly cryptic. “HECATONIC BRANDY – A SPIRITUAL PALLIATIVE”, says one. “STENOGRAPHIC GIN – FOR WRITERS”, says another. A third reads merely “PORT” with a large skull-and-crossbones next to it. It is not to be drunk under any circumstances.

The inventor pours a drink of Hecatonic Brandy for himself in a lead-crystal shot glass, and knocks it back in one gulp. “Explosives are a tricky thing,” he ruminates. “Power and instability often come hand in hand, and we’ll certainly need power to do any damage to a statue of such solidity. I may be mad, but I’m not mad enough to brew up high explosives in such quantities in my own shed, marvellous as the facilities are.”

He casts his eyes across the group again, as if seeing them for the first time. “I’m sure I’ve seen some of you at my shed-meetings before. For the Cause, and science, and all that. I don’t suppose any of you are fond of masks?”

It is unclear whether the blank looks he receives are from reluctance to discuss such matters or merely confusion. Regardless, Gideon forges on. “The channels through which I have procured the explosives are not strictly legal, but we all know that such petty laws are merely the tool of the bourgeoisie to keep the righteous from exploding whatever we please, as is our right.”

Gideon produces a series of plans of the square from his endless pockets and unfolds them on the table. Astoundingly, they are neither drawn in crayon nor scrawled with illegible annotations: they are pencil-drawn diagrams of suitable grenade-throwing arcs, notable stress points in the statue’s structure and the ideal position to plant bombs.

“I enjoy chucking a good grenade as much as the next man, but situations such as this statue call for explosives of a higher order. Each of you will get your fill of little fizzing bombs for dealing with the Special Constables, of course – we wouldn’t be the gunpowder faction without them – but the quantity of nitroglycerine required to blow up this statue is far too much for us all to carry.”

He points to one of the diagrams, which shows a horse and cart with an arrow pointing towards the statue. “I have taken the liberty of hiring a cart to transport the barrels of explosives we require. It will travel from the south end of the square to the centre, covered and disguised to avoid attracting suspicion. Once the horse and driver are clear – along with any of us who happen to be nearby – one of us can push the plunger, and BOOM!”

Gideon thumps his fist on the table for emphasis as he shouts the last word, sending a flock of pigeons scattering and flapping wildly in a far corner of the church. Von Darken’s flask falls over entirely after being juddered by the corporal’s exuberance, staining the corner of one of the diagrams with liquor.

“The matter remains of how we can get the cart close enough to the statue without attracting undue attention,” muses Gideon. “I will organise the distraction myself on the day. Herr Von Darken, you mentioned a gang of Fisher Kings resided nearby. I can make use of them. The distraction I had in mind involves copious quantities of fireworks, and urchins do love their sparklers.”

Gideon sits back, hands steepled. This may turn out to be a good day after all.
edited by JimmyTMalice on 6/25/2017

[color=#c2c2c2](OOC: The players are set, the plots are getting prepared, and the preparations are underway! We’ll wait for any other participants involved who haven’t responded yet to discuss plans and their own information until the 28th, and then the scene will shift to the square! In the meantime, of course, everyone involved is free to get to know their fellow colleagues…)[/color]

Victoria continues tapping her foot as the others explained the plan and their places in it. She listens and thinks of ways she could assist the conspiracy, but after Jimmy finished speaking she grows visibly irate. Victoria rises to her feet and stares directly into the ex-pirate’s face.

“Oh, b____r off! I’m not one of your “prim and propa’” ladies,” Victoria shouts indignantly at Jimmy, “and I know how to hide a b___dy weapon. I’d show you how “ladylike” I am with a shiv in yah’ if we weren’t working together, and I’m tempted to do it anyway.”

The Brash Troublemaker stands silent for a moment glaring at Jimmy, and weighing the benefits of acting on her words to the benefits of working together. She curses under her breath and sits back down. The room is silent for a few moments.

“I’m good at keeping out of sight, when I need to be, and I’ve handled bombs before. If you can keep the constables distracted, I can sneak in and get the bomb into its place without anyone knowing about it.”

Now that she had explained her part in the plan Victoria went back to tapping her foot and continued glaring at Jimmy.

The day is fair in Ciliawine Square, and the airs of London are light. Costermongers peddle their wares, shopkeepers clean out their carpets for morning opening, and urchins plot out their mischiefs for the day. Bunting in jet, crimson, white, blue and green fills the square as the election is underway. Posters of Feducci, the Detective, the Temperance-Crusader have been flung up onto the walls, and messenger bats with election news and fighting words flutter to and fro. In the center of the square, surrounded by a small overgrown fungal wood, the statue of what is supposed to be a Master flexes menacingly.

A fine day for a revolution!

The four coppers in the center scratch their noses and look around blearily. One of them looks over to the pub across the street with a longing look, and a well-built figure in workman apparel nods to them with the slightest of movements. They check the clock on the wall: fifteen minutes till relief.

The Debonair Sharpshooter stands near a hansom at the west end of the square, pasting campaign posters onto the alley walls. His cart is filled with posters, glue, and all other sorts of supplies: hidden in a box to his right is his weapon of choice for this mission, a curious long rifle custom-ordered and bat-flown in from Mexico. In between posters, he takes breaks to look around the square. Carts are given appreciative nods, pubs and honey-dens are given longing sighs, and the statue is given nothing more than a dismissive humph. After glancing obliquely at his pocket watch, the Sharpshooter makes a low whistle.

The signal is picked up. The Sharpshooter has not come alone: on roofs and gutters, under carts and carriages, the soldiers of Sturmratten Blackburn hide in wait. Armored with padded silk uniforms, tiny pickelhaubes bristling with anticipation, the rattus faber have with them a small armory of ratwork rifles, shotguns, and maxim guns collapsed and ready. Message runners are sent out, scurrying to where the other members of the conspiracy are arrayed. Their guns of choice have been provided for them as desired, and the square is covered. When the distraction is made and the package is on its way, the Sharpshooter and companions will provide suppression fire to keep the coppers heads down.

This should be simple. Should be.

The Embittered War-Veteran squats in an alleyway besmirched with filth and mold behind the pub loading high-calibre ‘devilhunt’ rounds into a double action pinfire revolver with the careless speed of a professional. Holstered at his hip is another single-action revolver; a monstrosity of ratwork capable of holding 30 rounds that takes a monstrous amount of time to load. Resting against the brick wall is a sheathed 1822 sword, a relic of Minsley’s father. It’s older than Minsley himself, and has seen the corporal through countless Neathy engagements.

They are not beautiful works of art, nor are they custom-made. Yet these weapons have seen the corporal through thirty years of constant conflict. The War-Veteran knows every inch of his chosen tools like the back of his hand.

A shrill cough attracts his attention, and he looks up into the face of a Sturmratt, crouching in the pub’s lead guttering. The corporal smiles momentarily, muttonchops twitching. “You didn’t need to dress up as a Kraut, you know; I am already aware they are all rats.”

“Ach, zere ist no time for jokes,” the mercenary replies. “You heff 15 minutes before ve engage ze enemy. Make good use of zem.”

The corporal tucks his pinfire away into his jacket as the rat bolts back to his master, and begins to walk away from the square. London passes him. Urchins squabble on the roofs above him, bohemians and criminals whirl past him in riots of honey and wine. Even, at one point, a very lost Rubbery Man, who burbles inconsolably as Minsley spits at its feet.

Eventually, Minsley stumbles across a patrol of blue-clad Constables, standing around a lamppost, led by an elderly yet brutish gentleman, built like a bull, with an impressively waxed moustache. The Corporal approaches them determinedly.

“Halt,” the youngest of the lot barks out. “You can’t come this way-”

A ham-fisted hand lands on the lad’s shoulders. “ ‘Pologies ‘bout ‘im, sah,” the moustachioed bruiser states. “‘E’s new.”

“Oh, I can tell that, Perkins. Sonny, what’s your name?”

The young Constable bristles. “Who the hell do you think you-”

The hand tightens. “‘E’s a very old, very loyal ‘friend of de Constabulary,’ and ‘e could snap young’uns like you in ‘alf. Don’t disrespect ‘im. Tell ‘im yer name, lad.”


“Well, Jonathan,” the corporal responds, “I have here a ‘tip’ about some ‘proscribed material’ belonging to a ‘seditious revolutionary’ that I do believe you and your ‘friends’ should investigate.” He hands a scrap of paper over to Perkins, who makes a show of analysing it.

“I also think the ‘Special Constabulary’ would love to receive a telegram about such ‘proscribed materials’ being present in this area,” he continues. “What do you think, Perkins? Would you and your lads make sure that you get your friendly blackboys in the action too?”

“Why of course, sah, be me pleasure. Come on lads, let’s go find fe Master’s lot, and, uh, ‘eliminate de potential freat dis ‘orrible traitor poses to de minds of our wunnerful society.’”

“…Yes sir.”

The Constables file out. Perkins hangs behind momentarily and clasps MInsley outstretched arm, bringing him close to envelop him in a hug, with all the masculine back-patting that entails.

“Hail Britannia,” he whispers into the corporal’s ear. “God save de Empire.”

“May the sun rise over the Masters’ bodies.” Minsley replies as Perkins extracts himself out of his former squad leader’s grip to return to his beat patrol. Minsley gives his former second one last look of fraternal, almost paternal approval before turning back towards the statue-defiled square.

(On wagons and waggons: the latter was the preferred spelling in British English until a century ago, so it is used here.)

The covered waggon trundles along Snodgrass Street like an engine of glorious liberation, weighed down with enough explosives to level a medium-sized bistro. Its white-and-green-striped canvas stretches tightly over a man-high frame, concealing the stacked wooden barrels of explosives within. The canvas carries a painted slogan on the sides: MALKIN & SONS STATUE REPAIR.

Gideon sits alongside the driver, a stolid middle-aged man named Malkin with a penchant for labourers’ rights and a purse full of Revolutionary gold, and chats idly about his plans for a steam-powered horse. He does his best not to glance nervously at the unstable cargo.

The clattering of the twin horses’ hooves and the rumbling of the waggon wheels fill the air, cutting through the hubbub of the crowds. Ciliawine Square lies just up ahead.

The inventor reaches behind him for his tasteless floral-patterned umbrella. “What d’you need that for?” asks Malkin. “It ain’t rained all week.”

“This is no ordinary umbrella,” says Gideon with what he hopes is a suitably enigmatic smile. “It’s unflippable.”

“Ah, alright then.” Malkin’s concerned expression indicates that this is not, in fact, alright.

“Wait here for the time being, my friend. On my signal, get the waggon over to the statue, unhitch the horses and retreat to a safe distance, as we’ve discussed.”

Malkin nods. It seems the easiest way to get out of the conversation.

“Good! I’ll meet you at the usual place afterwards with the rest of your payment. You’re doing a great thing for the Cause today, comrade! A great thing indeed. Oh, one more thing…” Gideon pulls a gleaming silver whistle out of his pocket. “Blow this three times if you’re in need of assistance. It’s not audible to most people, but I’ll be able to hear it thanks to this little contraption.” He taps the miniature horn protruding from his ear. “And be careful of dogs when you blow it. They tend to go a little mad.”

Without further ado, he hops down from his seat as the waggon comes to a stop on the edge of the square and makes his way to the rope-ladder dangling down from a nearby roof. The Fisher-Kings are a pugnacious bunch, but when suitably bribed they always follow through on their arrangements. He just hopes they didn’t let off all the fireworks the night before.

The rope bridge sways gently in the light breeze as Mannfred crosses it, high above the statue, creaking with each footstep. Two Fisher Kings, sat on an opposite roof, point and giggle as he occasionally slips and stumbles. Athleticism has never been his forte. Grinning and waving to the urchins Mannfred slowly makes his way to the center of the bridge, determined not to give them the satisfaction of falling.

Stopping just above the statue, he takes out his watch and flips it open. Almost time. From this vantage the entire square can be seen, the four blue blobs of the statue’s guards, a group of gentlemen singing outside a pub and what appear to be the parasols of several ladies hurrying out of the square. The glints of several snipers and their rifles can also be seen around the square, as well as a group of black Special Constables rushing towards a building a few streets away and, of course, a slightly suspicious waggon trundling towards the square. Mannfred sighs and takes off his mask, letting it fall to the square below. ‘I shan’t be needing that tonight, I suppose’.

Reaching into the confines of his cloak he pulls out a rather large bat with a cylinder strapped to its back. Ignoring the bat’s attempts to bite his fingers off, several sheets of paper, rolled up and and sealed with black wax, are carefully placed in the cylinder. The minutes of the meeting, with a few minor alterations made for tension and drama.

‘Now make sure these end up in the right place, little fellow. Wouldn’t want them falling into the wrong hands’ The bat simply glares evilly and yawns.

‘Come on now, just deliver this to my friend’s house and you can have extra crickets tonight. Go on, heaven knows you can’t miss it’. Suddenly invigorated by the thought of food, the bat flies of eagerly south. Now aid should be coming in time. Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.

After a quick swig of the cocktail provided by that delightful scientist, Mannfred checks the contents of his cloak, just to be sure everything is ready. Smiling, he draws his rapier and begins to stalk off the bridge, looking for his fellow revolutionaries. After all, tonight is no night to be alone.

Gyges nervously cleans out a dirty glass behind the bar of the Ciliawine pub. Their disguise fits uncomfortably, and smells of alcohol, but at the very least distracts them from the itch of their mustache. If all was going according to plan (and for once things seemed like they might be) all the pieces should be moving into place. The urchins, the cart of bombs, the gunmen, the runner, the inside man. Finding a cart and a horse had been cheap and easy. Finding a driver with revolutionary sympathies who wouldn’t attract more attention than he was worth was significantly more expensive. There were a great many indigents and workmen who could drive a cart, who could be paid to keep their mouths shut and their eyes closed, who held the right combination of burning ambition and cold resentment to lend their heart and hands to the Cause. But pawns of that kind have the masters’ hands reaching right out of their mouths. Taking them brings a hundred knights to bear against you, turning corners out of sight until you’re taken. But the oblique application of force is often the most effective distraction. Poisoned letters delivered under rivals’ names, unsourceable rumors, the testimony of malleable clergymen, a tangled web with a credible patsy at its center. With the Masters’ ire directed at the Acerbic Operative, certain suspicions could be settled, names redacted from dangerous lists. And the operations of certain ermine mercenaries could go relatively undetected.

Mentally, Gyges adds up the operating costs, keeping half an eye on their clientele and and the rest on the exchange between Minsley and the constables. Blackburn would be unlikely to want to return the gun, so the supplier would have to be additionally compensated, to mollify him after he realized he had been lied to, which also meant additional postage to Mexico. Bomb components were not in themselves expensive, and Gideon had his own facilities, with surprisingly limited operating costs, but the purchasing intermediaries presented an extraordinary hazard. Assassins would have to be procured, one for each of them, and the assassins’ silence then purchased. The firecrackers could be passed off as supplies for a feast day celebration, regrettably stolen by an artful pickpocket, but the Bishop was a teetotaler about that sort of thing. He had family ties that could be exploited though, a sister sympathetic to the cause who might be able to divert his attentions. The constables nod to Corporal Minsley, move away from the statue, turn the corner. The rooftop shack they’ll be heading to is a good distance away, close enough to the Flit that both entering and leaving will be an ordeal. The constable in charge recommended it himself. The young woman inside is a real revolutionary, or close to one, selected on the basis of paranoia and aptitude with firearms. She believes she’ll be purchasing a case of proscribed engineering texts. Hopefully her suspicion leads her to come heavily armed, and not to abandon the rendezvous altogether, though it hardly matters. It should only take a few minutes to demolish the statue and escape, and the trip there and back should delay the patrol long enough. Gyges adjusts their collar, mops their brow, straightens their wig. “’Scuse me, gentlemen,” they say, ascending the stairs to the flat above the pub, “I’ll only be gone a minute.”

The special constable takes a long time to open the door, and he looks Gyges up and down thoroughly before gesturing for them to speak. “It’s a couple of the boys downstairs,” they say, in a well-affected baritone, &quotThey’re fine chaps, and I hold nothing against them, but they’ve been getting… odd, I suppose you’d say. Talking about “sorrow-spiders&quot this and “mother’s things&quot that, when they think no one can hear. And today they brought a cage with an enormous spider in it, misshapen like a pair of them got smashed under a cart wheel. It’s foul to look at, and the other patrons don’t want to stick around, but I can’t get them to get rid of the b____y thing, and I’m no fool you know, wouldn’t touch it with the back end of a broom, and now I know you’re busy, of course, but I figured since this was a matter of interest to—“ The special constable sighs resignedly and claps a hand on their shoulder. “Fine. But don’t say we don’t earn our keep up here.” He steps out into the hall, closes the door behind him, and turns for the stairs. A few steps later, he looks down to see the tip of a silver letter-opener protruding from his throat. It slides expertly through his flesh, cutting his larynx first, then severing his vocal cords. A black handkerchief fills his mouth before he has time to gag.

Ten minutes later, he knocks on the door of the flat. Again, there is a long pause, and then another constable, younger, with sharp cheekbones and an alarming stare, cracks open the door. “Ah,” she says, “Macalister. Not held up so long just for a spider, I hope?” “Nah,” officer Macalister says, fixing his collar, “had to talk down the gents who brought it in. Alright lads, really.” The constable snorts as she opens the door for him. “Just make sure you keep both your eyes in your head. Anyway, come on, you’re already behind. We got tired of waiting and played a couple rounds without you.” The Elegant Cleric’s mandibles twitch nervously beneath their stolen face. “Well,” they say, as confidently as they can muster, “I’ll just have to hope luck is on my side.&quot[li][/li][li][/li]
edited by Gul al-Ahlaam on 7/2/2017

The foot traffic in Ciliawine Square is not particularly heavy, although it isn’t scarce. When there are large crowds it’s usually easy to move in and out unseen, but this would not be an issue. Victoria had handled conditions that were much more inconvenient than this one. She readjusts her cap. The workman’s clothes that she had pinched yesterday fit her well, and she does not look out of the ordinary to those, who would be paying attention. She leans back against the wall behind her, and looks over to make sure the empty sack she had is still there. Everything was in place.

Victoria goes back to watching for the sign that the explosives had arrived. She begins to smile. These are always her favorite parts of these things. The planning was as usual a chore as much as a necessity. Excitement and worry followed by purpose as she would do her part in the grand scheme. Of course the conclusion was also enjoyed, and the earthshaking explosion followed by a sense of accomplishment were always the perfect end.

The sound of hooves upon the pavement as well as the Mad Inventor on the waggon tell Victoria that it’s time to do her part. Grabbing her sack she walks over to the waggon. She takes her time inspecting the waggon until she can tell that no one is still looking before climbing into the waggon. She gingerly places the explosives into her sack one at a time. The sack now full of explosives is packed in with clothes and rags to cushion it against any blows. It’s best to not rush this part of the plan if she wanted to come out of this unscathed.

Packed to Victoria’s satisfaction the sack is hefted onto her shoulder as she makes her way out of the waggon and back onto the street. She continues at a leisurely pace along with others visiting the square closer and closer to the statue. When she is in place, she will need to act fast. No, she will be fast. Another victory for the cause will be made today.

Jonathon plays with the hilt of his truncheon with one hand as he knocks on the backdoor to the Ciliawine pub’s kitchen. He fidgets and looks around waiting for someone to respond, casting long glances down the alleyway on both ends to see if any of his squad have come looking for him. Rats, garbage, and empty honey-pots fill the alley’s narrow confines – but none of his squad yet. Thankfully.

He didn’t like to lie, especially to his commanding officer, but Johnny could tell something was wrong. The first day he’d been assigned to this patrol he’d carefully written down a list of notes on the schedule and the neighborhood – for personal review, making a good impression on his fellows – and too much of what this Minsley fellow was suggesting didn’t fit with what the squad was supposed to do. The little pocketbook he had been given when he signed up clearly stated that the appropriate response to an Anarchist Plot was to lock down their local area and let the Special Constables deal with rooting them out. They weren’t even taking the route that would link them up to Butters – why was Perkins avoiding their route?

Squad Apples had to be notified at least before the patrol could just leave. It was their job to be aware of seditious activity in the area, after all.

He knocks on the door again, hammering on it until it opens up and a haggard cook answers. Jonathon pushes past immediately, flashing his badge as a way of greeting before hurrying from kitchen to bar, from bar to stairs, up the stairs to the door of the flat. He bangs on the door with his badge. “Constable Jonathon reporting to Special Constables on notice of potential revolutionary activity! Notice of seditious material in the area! My superior…” he stops to catch his breath, “My superior wants Butters to hook up with us…Wanted to let you know…”

Inside, the Special Constables playing cards with the disguised Elegant Cleric look up with serious expressions. “Really?” one of them states, throwing down her cards, “We’re supposed to be off in fifteen, and some beat cops want to draw off our relief?” Another takes the opportunity to stretch and yawn. “Don’t like it. Who tipped you off to this ‘activity’?”

Jonathon frowns. “Didn’t catch his name. He knew Perkins…um, my superior. Just said he got a tip and that we should go and investigate. And get the Specials as well.”

Silence. A few coughs. At last, one of the officers says, “Regular folks don’t call us to respond to a ‘tip’.” The others nod. “We better not be stuck here because the other b******ds got ambushed. Better make sure they’re alright.”

They stand reluctantly, one by one. “Alright, constable, we’ll take it from here. Tell your squad to hold tight and we’ll take over…once the other squad gets here. Hopefully they’ll only be a few minutes out. Macalister, grab the messenger bat?”

From the rooftop opposite, nine children survey the waggon through a shared pair of pilfered opera glasses. Their noses are wiped mostly clean, their clothing is mostly washed, their buttons are brassy, and at each of their sides rests a stout stick and oak catapult: Regimental urchins.

They were originally here for scouting missions only. The Regiment held the walkway of Ciliawine Square before they got forced out by the Knotted Sock over a month ago, and even after the Sock got forced out by the Fisher Kings they were looking to retake it. Ciliawine was of vital strategic importance: not only did it act as a defensive bulwark against other routes from Veilgarden into Wilmot’s End, but it also had a widowed pie-seller who had a soft heart and delicious eel-pies. The Regiment hadn’t gone hungry when they had Ciliawine.

But something unusual was going on this morning, something interesting. The Debonair Sharpshooter and his Sturmratten were surrounding the square and being unobtrusive, and that usually meant someone was getting shot soon. A couple of other figures were hanging around and being sneaky, and a lone copper had been banging around in the alleyway behind the pub. But most interesting of all…was the waggon. The Masters hadn’t cared about that old statue in years, and none of the shopkeeps had cared enough to spend their money to take care of the undergrowth. Why Statue Repair? And why did that guy have an umbrella with him?

The oldest, Tommy-Boy, took the opera glasses from his second in command and looked across the scaffolding. A small unit of Fisher-Kings were sidling from a distant church-steeple to the east. “Look sharp, lads. Loser-Kings five minutes out. Looks like – s**t, I think they got fireworks with them!”

His second, Clara, shakes her head. “They can’t have seen us. Something must be happening soon. What should we do?”

“Stay for the moment. This could be our chance to take back the square.”

“But Colonel Molly said-”

“I know what she said. Look, if they’re distracted by something, we can call in some more kids and ambush them! Take back the square, get some of those pies for ourselves again.”

Clara and the other urchins nod at the mention of the eel-pies, though her and their faces are still doubtful. She is about to say something when a movement at the waggon catches her eye.

“Tommy-Boy, lady’s at the cart. She’s stuffing a sack with something. Who’d want to steal – how do you even repair a statue?”

The senior urchin shakes his head. “Glue or something. Probably just a criminal. C’mon, Clara, let’s get into position. See what the Fisher-Kings do, maybe give them a whooping.”

One by one, the urchins slink into the corners and shadows of the rooftop, reading their catapults for an ambush when the Fisher Kings arrive.

From far distant, the sound of clean, strong, and thoroughly sanitized singing comes through Ciliawine square.

White pennants wave sluggishly in the weak Neath breeze. Signs proclaiming “Down with the Vine and Hop!”, “The Poison that Kills Society!” and “Honey Rots the Mind and Soul!” are hoisted high. The smack of sandalwood clubs on palms and the glint of light shining off hatchets emanate from the temperance march slowly, but surely making their way to Ciliawine Square. The Dauntless Temperance Campaigner will not win the election, but temperance does not stop for election season. The marchers – around eighty in total – stand united in white robes and porcelain face-masks, each of them wearing the emblem of a broken honey-jar on their left breast. At their front stands an imposing figure, seven feet high in white robes and porcelain featureless mask, holding aloft in one hand a speaking trumpet and in the other hand a chain of broken jars and assorted bottles: Madame Shatter, the leader of the extremist London Abolishment of Depravity League.

She gestures her chain of broken glass toward the square and rallies the League to bear on the square. Shouts of “Down with the murderers of children!” and “Down with the killer of wives!” fill the air. Eyes turn to the bars and dens thronging the square; people on the streets scatter or duck out of their way. In approximately five minutes, eighty marchers will be streaming into the square ready to break some barrels and trash some honeydens.

From his vantage point, the Debonair Sharpshooter curses. “The ADL? Today? Now?”