One Foot In The Grave

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A write up of a Curse of the Crimson Throne pathfinder campaign. Features the adventures of Charlotte Manse in the city of Korvosa.

Submitted: September 22, 2016

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Submitted: September 22, 2016

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The ship didn’t respond to signalling, it just sailed slowly up the river. Black sails to hide itself in the night, if it hadn’t been for the heightened guard presence after the riots it never would have been spotted. The guardsman signalled again, waving a torch in the darkness. Nothing.
 
The ship was sailing up the mouth Jeggare River which cuts through the city of Korvosa, it had already passed the harbour and was now approaching the bend in the river where it begins to head south. Old Korvosa stop on the opposite bank of the river to the guardsman, he could see torches waving, other people trying to signal the strange ship in the night. Nothing.
 
A flight of the Sable Company flew over head, their hippogriff mouths whinnying in the skies. They flew close to the ship, but seemed to give no sign that they had spotted a crew. The ship stopped, though the guardsman heard no sound of an anchor dropping. Within moments o the ship stopping it began to sink. Masts shattered, the hull collapsed and the deck cracked. The ship sunk and then there was nothing.
 

 
Charlotte fastened the laces of her waistcoat and adjusted her belt. Several new vials and syringes hung from it’s loops, she’d been working on these for a while. She dropped the flintlock pistol into its holster and then pulled on her long coat. Looking in the mirror she smiled. Her black hair had grown a little longer than usual, sitting on her shoulders, Jennifer would have hated it. She wore a white blouse under her corseted waistcoat and plain black trousers. The coat reached her ankles, a dark blue with gold trim, the coat had a lot of hidden pockets lining the inside where Charlotte kept small pouches of ammunition. She pulled on a pair of black walking boots and then left the room.
 
The office was a mess, it has been a mess for a while. Trinia tried to clean but Charlotte usually stopped her, “It’s organised chaos Trinia, I know where everything I need is.” Trina kept her dirty blonde hair short and was wearing her usual brown shirt and trousers. It was early in the morning but she was already covered in paint, acrylic Charlotte thought, she’d been painting a lot with acrylic recently.
 
"I tried to wake Kjell, but I think the excitement in the crypt wore him out a bit.” Trinia mentioned, gesturing to the shape under a blanket on the couch. Kjell always slept on the couch, ever since Charlotte had given him leave to stay with her after their fateful encounter with Gaedran Lamn. She’d offered to buy another bed, but the boy wasn’t one who liked to have money spent on him. 
 
“Kjell! Get up! We have work to do.” Charlotte said in a measured tone. The mound under the blankets shifted and began to rise. There was a thunk as Kjell’s wooden leg hit the floor, he sat upright and stretched. “There was a ship in the river a few nights ago.” Charlotte said.
 
“There’s lots of ships in the river, that’s where ships belong.” Kjell replied in a raspy voice. The boy can’t have been older than 18, but he spoke with a voice much older. Years of abuse and life on the streets had left it’s mark on him, the most obvious being the missing leg.
 
Charlotte smiled, “Not like this, word on the street is it had no crew and it sunk spontaneously. Bryce is already on his way here and we're meeting Selby in Old Korvosa to check it out.” Charlotte threw a pile of clothes at Kjell and then began making a pot of tea. “Get dressed. Tea?"
 

 
“So the ship just sunk?” Bryce asked, sipping at his tea. He was dressed light with an open vest and trousers. His tattoos were on full display as usual, an intricate weaving of arcane runes and depictions of spells.
 
“That’s what the word on the street is, the Sable Company are claiming they sunk it but I think thats an attempt to keep the population calm. After the riots I think they would do anything not to have people panic over a mysterious ghost ship.” Charlotte replied. “It could be nothing, but in the past months I’ve learned that coincidences don’t really happen in this city. Besides, this comes from the top, Kresida wants us to check it out."
 
“The Field Marshall? Are we even still working for her?” Kjell piped up.
 
“Of course we are, why wouldn’t we be?” Charlotte responded.
 
“Well you did shoot the queen’s royal executioner, you’d think the Field Marshall of the city guard would want to distance herself from you, or us as it may be.” Bryce said.
 
“Me? Shoot the royal executioner? That gunshot could have been any number of expert marksmen in the city who have a motive to interrupt a morally unjust killing of an innocent civilian.” Charlotte quipped. “The Field Marshall has no idea who fired that shot, all her men were too distracted by this Black Jack fellow to get a eye on the shooter."
 
“Right, we’ll just add this to the long list of things you’ve done that are going to make Kresida very unhappy one day.” Kjell said.
 
“One day is not today however. Come on, lets go get paid.” Charlotte put down her tea cup and made for the door. Kjell and Bryce followed behind. “Stay safe Trinia, I’ll be back by nightfall."
 
It didn’t take long for them to reach a bridge across the river and make their way to Old Korvosa. This part of the city had been hit the worst by the riots, burned out buildings and signs of clashes with the guard littered the streets.
 
They made their way along the river bank, stopping to talk with locals about the ship. Most hadn’t seen it, a curfew had been put in place the last few nights and most of the people had not been looking to the river. Those that had seen the ship repeated what they already knew, it sailed into the river at the middle of the night, didn’t respond to any signals and then spontaneously sunk.
 
“Bryce! Kjell, Charlotte! Over here!” The light voice called out to them. Selby was standing with some men in guard uniforms, she had a huge smile on her face. This wasn’t out of the ordinary however, Gnomes are notoriously hard to upset, even riots wouldn’t take the smile off Selby’s face. She looked up at the guards, who stood nearly 3 feet taller than her, and bid them farewell.
 
“Selby, good to see you in high spirits, any news?” Bryce said.
 
Selby shrugged, “Nothing much that Charlotte’s message didn’t say I’m afraid, the guards there were on duty that night and they swear they didn’t see a crew on board.” Even delivering bad news Selby sounded happy.
 
“Right, well I guess this might be a bust then.” Charlotte wiped her hands together, then made to walk back towards the bridge to the main city. “Let’s get back to the main city and report this to Kressida."
 

 
The group was walking down the high street of Old Korvosa, around them the people were going about their business. If it weren’t for the broken windows and random blood splatters on the ground, you never would have known there were riots here a few days ago. Selby stopped in a bakery and came out with a bag of fresh bread rolls and handed them out to the party.
 
As the group passed a street off toward a housing estate they heard a gruff voice call out to them. “Charlotte? Bryce, is that you?” the voice was panicked, but low and gravely. turning to look Charlotte saw the squat profile of Borif Powderson. Borif was a Sergeant in the guard and had worked with Charlotte and Jennifer on a number of cases before the current events in the city. He was sweating and panting as he jogged up to the group. “You have to help, please, it’s my daughter."
 
“Your daughter? Whats wrong with her?”, Kjell said.
 
“She’s sick, I’ve never seen anything like this, three days ago she just started coughing up blood and now she’s covered in boils and rashes. Please, I don’t know what to do.” replied Borif.
 
“Three days ago? As in after the ship sunk in the river?” Charlotte questioned.
 
“I… I guess? I don’t see how thats relevant right now Charlotte. Please can you just come take a look at her, maybe you or your friends could help.” Borif said frustratingly. He was wiping sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief.
 
“OK, take us too her.” Bryce said. Borif turned and began walking towards his home. It didn’t take long to get there, the house was a small two storey home, with wooden shutters covering the windows. Inside was like any house really, a small kitchen with the mornings dirty dishes on the table, down a hallway the group could see a small living room with a fire place.
 
“Brienne is upstairs with my wife.” Borif said.
 
“OK, I’ll have a look at the Borif. The rest of you stay down here, theres no need for all of us to potentially get exposed to whatever this is.” Charlotte said, “Speaking of which.” She adjusted the sleeves of her coat, twisting two almost invisible cuffs over her wrists, the magic within the cuffs responded and began to change the shape of her coat.  Within seconds her long coat had grown a hood and a long doctors mask which covered her face. Her voice was muffled by the mask, “Selby, it may be a good plan to seek out a cleric, they may be able to cure what ails the girl."
 
Selby nodded, “Oky doky, I’ll see if there are any in the area” and she left out the front door.
 
Borif led Charlotte up the cramped stairs and to a bedroom at the end of the hall. Inside the room a middle aged human woman sat on a stool next to a small bed, upon which lied a girl no older than ten covered in blood red boils. The boils started on her forehead and traced a long snaking veil down too her neck. There was blood on the pillow and the girl was shivering.
 
“Interesting, You said she fell ill three days ago?” Charlotte asked. Of course, she wasn’t expecting a reply and began speaking again before Borif could respond. “These boils are filled with blood, not puss, that’s why they are so red. The breathing is laboured, she probably has fluid in the lungs. It’s strange, I’ve never seen anything like this, except… No, it couldn’t be that, she’d be dead already.” Borif’s wife gasped. “Oh, sorry. That’s a good thing, trust me. It looks like a disease known as Vorel’s Phage, but that kills in hours, clearly it’s not that."
 
“Is there anything you can do for her?” Borif said.
 
“Me? No, identifying diseases is generally easy, but treating them is outside of my area of expertise. However, it looks like whatever is infecting her should be curable with magic, we’ll get a cleric here as soon as possible and she can be healed. I’ll pay for it myself. Charlotte placed a hand on the dwarf’s shoulder. “She’ll be OK."
 

 
Selby opened the door and behind her walked in a man wearing the regalia of the Church of Abadar, Korvosa’s largest religion. As he walked the many gold and silver coins about his person jingled. “Ishani Dhatri, at your service. I was told there was a sick child."
 
“Yes, please, this way.” Borif said as he lead the cleric up the stairs.
 
Charlotte nodded to the man as he entered the small room, “Thank you for coming so quickly, the girl is quite sick and I haven’t been able to work out what is making her ill.”
 
“I am not surprised, this disease did not exist before now. This is the third such case int he Old City I have seen today, but this girl is clearly much further along. Yes, like the phage but less virulent.” He stepped to the foot of the bed and took out a large golden key, the holy symbol of Abadar. Clerics are spell casters, given power by the gods they worship, the holy symbol acts as a focus through which they can channel the energy of their deity. Ishani began to say a few words of prayer, to the uninitiated this may have sounded like any chant but Charlotte recognised the words of power hidden beneath that formed the spell. A gold mist grew from the clerics symbol and encompassed the girl. The boils shrunk and her breathing relaxed, Abadar had cured her.
 
Borif and his wife burst into tears and hugged Brienne, “Thank you your holiness, we will pay homage to Abadar for this.” Borif said.
 
Ishani bowed and turned to Charlotte, who was counting out platinum coins. She handed a small pile to the cleric and spoke, “You said you had seen others with this disease?"
 
Ishani nodded, “Yes, two others myself, though others of my order have reported sightings elsewhere in the city this past day. Whatever it is it’s spreading fast through the city."
 
“And so soon after that ship sunk in the river, maybe it’s spreading through the water?” Charlotte queried. “I should take some samples to test."
 
“Perhaps, or perhaps it may be something more sinister. For now however I must continue on my rounds.” Ishani replied. He bowed to Charlotte and the family and took he leave.
 
Borif stood and straightened himself, wiping the tears from his face with his sleeve. “Charlotte, I cannot thank you enough for this, there was no way I would have been able to afford to have a cleric heal her. I guess I owe you a drink at some point?"
 
Charlotte laughed, “A drink? Many drinks Borif, you owe me many drinks. But it was no trouble, I’m always happy to help a good friend. Look, we are going to have to leave, Kressida is going to want to know about this disease as soon as possible. If I’m right as this is connected to the ship the other night, then we might be looking at a deliberate attack on the city.” She removed the doctors mask, which vanished into thin air as it was detached from the coat, and smiled. Turning she left the room and walked down the stairs.
 
“Well, is she going to be OK?” Selby asked.
 
“Yes, the cleric healed her. I’m worried though, this disease isn’t like anything I have heard of before. We need to see the Field Marshall.” Charlotte answered.
 
“OK, we’ll head there now then.” Bryce said.
 

 


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