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Nov NBR: The Family Versus the Undertaker's Lot I: Entrepreneurs


Thechosenone
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Here's another Bat rep. As usual its written using the unique take i have on the setting. My dita's sweet and my Lucius is living representation of unspeakable horrors. yippy. Please enjoy

The Undertaker’s Lot

:nicodem

Nicodem

Mortimer

Crooked Man

Bete Noire

4 Canine Remains

2 Night Terrors

2 Vultures

Strategy: Deliver a Message

Schemes: Grudge (Nino)

The Family

:perdita

Perdita

Abuela

Santiago

Francisco

Nino

Papa Loca

Guild Guard

Governor’s Proxy

Strategy: Reconnoiter

Schemes: Stake a Claim

Pre-Game

“If I may ask Mr. Secretary.” Investigator Flood nervously questions “What exactly are we doing all the way out here?”

The pair walk the dusty roads of one of the border towns in the bad lands. By her watch’s pace it took thirty-three minutes to reach this ramshackle graveyard of a town. Weather worn wooden buildings line a main strip. They all face each other with faded signs and sand darkened windows. Some announce their purpose clearly: Sam’s hardware, Brighton Inn, Winterdeep Bank. Others have no identification anymore. Their signs have been eaten by the long years and the entropic rhythms of the wind leaving only four walls and a mystery.

“This little hamlet is Winterdeep. It was a rather popular place for miners to spend their script after a bountiful harvest of Stone. But there was an accident in mine. Many died. Winterdeep was a casualty as well. The mine closed and with it the future of this place withered like a grape left too long on its vine.” Lucius Matheson informs her.

“I know the history sir. I’m well studied. Based on what Elite Intelligence says it was terrorism on the part of subversive Arcanists that caused the accident. What I mean to say is; what could useful to Malifaux out here in Winterdeep?”

“Many things Investigator. Many things. I have many skills that our benevolent Governor General appreciates. Finding uses for seemingly useless things is held in particularly high regard.” He turns and heads toward a derelict looking saloon with a sign outside that says “Whistler’s” Lucius begins toward the entrance.

“Things often refuse to die. They linger on far past their demise especially here in Malifaux. Just as creatures relentlessly ignore the call of death so too can a good business. Take Whistler’s for example. It’s favored patrons won’t let it expire.”

Lucius and Investigator Flood walk up the steps of Whistler’s. The stairs strain under any weight and beg for a return to dormancy. Inside a fire burns in the stone hearth casting warmth and soft illumination around a saloon that has seen better days. Many tables have become nothing more than kindling and their broken limbs stacked like charnel pit of corpses in the distant corner. Sand is left to blow over the heavily tread floor and collect against the walls along with bottles and debris.

But this place is far from unoccupied. The bar is host to several men all clad in desert brown dusters. They are a raucous lot clinking glasses together and speaking loudly in what Isabella Flood immediately recognizes as Spanish. The color of their skin and tone of their accents identify them as Mexicans or at least first generation immigrants from the American Southwest.

There is a soft rattling noise coming from the table nearest to Isabella. A woman sits there, a crone in wide brimmed colorful hat with a bright blue and red dress and shawl. Her seat is a rocker and she sways back and forth gently stirring a spoon in a mug filled with something hot. She laughs quietly to herself as Isabella and Lucius passes.

“Ugly little snake and his loyal mouse.” She laughs again, still hushed. Isabella can see a sawed off Shotgun resting on the woman’s lap. The noise of the saloon is loud but Isabella can swear that Lucius found something about her comment funny enough to laugh at as well.

four men sit at the bar, one as old as the woman by the front door. He sits there, his hair knotted and grey, his fingers covered in burn marks and plays with a thinning book of matches. The other is young, handsome and dark. His long hair hangs over his face and he keeps to himself and his drink. Isabella can see the hilt of a Guildsmen’s sword beneath his duster but its craftsmanship far superior to even her own. It’s beautiful, decorative and deadly. Another is a young man, skinny and no older than seventeen. He’s unremarkable in most ways aside from the huge gun that rests against his stool. And then there is the big man, his long hair tied into a tight ponytail and his face scarred by many old wounds. He’s the loudest but his brevity dies a sudden death. He swallows hard watching the Governor General’s chosen man stride in with no regard for the privacy of this place. He also scans over Isabella and he likes what he sees. She’s the sort of wholesome woman that Abuela always tells him he should be after instead of the harlots and drunkards that he usually ends up with. This is the only good woman to steal his interests so far.

The attention is unexpected and Isabella smiles briefly. She and the big man hold a gaze for moment before she returns to Lord Matheson.

The men at the bar are all serviced by a chubby wrinkled old man dressed in faded finery. A thick mustache and grayed hair finish off the appearance for the bartender and owner of what remains of Whistler’s. He goes about pouring drinks and tending to the needs of his patrons while giving only the briefest and most impassionate nod to Investigator Flood and her master.

“Dita.” The quiet one at the bar calls to the piano.

“Hold on a damn minute Cisco! I’m gunna play song I just gotta find the sheet!” A girl sitting at the bench of the piano shifts through pages of sheet music, faded by time and stained by carelessly placed drinks, before settling on one in particular. Isabella watches the girl and remarks to herself that if she’s more than a year or so past twenty then it would be a shock. The desert wind blows through throwing the girl’s long hair into the breeze. She’s beautiful beyond any other woman Isabella’s known in Malifaux. Even more so than the stunning celebrities of the Star Theater. She has curves, the kind that Isabella dreamed of having when she was little girl. She has color to her flesh like few in this shadow swallowed city possess. And she smiles and it’s a genuine smile. Not the wolf’s grin that is so popular in the halls of the Pinnacle. At the Pinnacle people smile because something died or because things are going according to plan. This girl smiles because she fumbles with the beginning of the piece she’s trying to play.

“Miss Ortega.” Lucius greets. The girl snaps and turns around quickly, her delicate fingers fumble over the keys. Isabella realizes that they surprised her and wonders how. Even above the noise of the saloon she should have heard them coming. She wonders if the men at the bar noticed her because of the old woman at the door or because of the noise of their entry? Does Lucius swallow up even the sound around him?

“Oh jesus, Mr. Secretary you scared me.” She stands and Isabella can see her in full view. She’s a dark red dress with yellow flower print, her legs long and lean, her silhouette everything a woman would want to be. Her lips full and perfect and her eyes so sincere and so alive. She turns to the men at the bar and shouts “Hey everybody on yer feet! Secretary General is here!”

Lucius stays her command with a stiff hand. “Relax. Enjoy your time as it is. I’m here on a social call. I’ve heard Whistler’s is a fine establishment and that they carry some of the highest quality Whisky in Malifaux. But I suspect I’m in for a disappointment.”

“Ah, didn’t know you drank sir.” Perdita stumbles. She’s never seen Lucius without a mask let alone considered that he ever put drink to his lips. “But yeah sure it is.” She points to the bartender “Mr. Whistler can you get the Secretary some of the finest you…”

“No, thank you my dear.” Lucius dismisses the offer. “This isn’t really the saloon I thought it was.”

Isabella watches some of the men by the bar squirm at the insult to their water hole.

“The drink is still good sir?” Perdita smiles. “Bad seating maybe. But good drink. We had a lot of fun times here. Just not ready to call it quiets yet.”

“Understandable Miss Ortega. It’s that tenacity, that spark of life, that I’ve always loved about you.”

“Oh gees Mr. Secretary, that’s really kind of you to say.” Perdita Thanks his compliment. Isabella wonders why this girl treats him so amicably. Others, she’s learned, pay Lord Matheson respect born of fear, but Perdita Ortega seems innocently sincere.

“There is a spot in the Ram’s Rule district on Noir Road at the intersection near Sanction Row. Do you know it?”

She nods “Sure do. You have a job sir? It’s pretty close to Pinnacle. That’s usually your boys in the Elite’s territory. Don’t wanna be steppin on anybody’s toes sir. Ortegas are nothing if not cordial.”

“No nothing so formal. The lots there are empty. They need new tenants and what would bring good businesses in more than having an establishment as famous as Whistler’s there. The lot is yours free and clear. All you have to do is build. I hear the area could use some straightening up first though.”

“You have got to be jokin’ sir!” Perdita claps her hands and jumps for joy. “We get to move Whistler’s into Malifaux!”

There are few things that surprise the master of Malifaux. Few things he cannot plan for. It’s been a long time since he’s been caught unaware. Perdita’s hug is one such moment. The warmth, the beat of her heart and the wisp of life that all flow from her… the proximity is sickening. He wants nothing more than to be back in the oubliettes of the Pinnacle.

She let’s go, still smiling. “Alright! Ya all here that! Whistler’s got a new home in Malifaux! Let’s clean it up!” She looks to Lord Matheson who’s taken several cautious steps back from her. Like the gates of Sonnia’s keep, the potency of this girl’s heart leaves him ill. “You comin’ with sir! You can be at the official ground breakin’”

“No. Just go, kill anything that gets in your way. You have my blessings in the matter and I’ll send the Chamberlain with to make it even more official.” Lucius steps a few more feet back as she beams with happiness. She might as well be the stroke of lightening or the lantern of lighthouse. She hurts to look upon. He can feel his eyes crack and bleed beneath the mask.

Perdita leans in to Lucius despite his all but obvious attempts to avoid her. “My cousin Santiago seems to have taken a liking to yer Investigator. Mind if she comes along to help on the clean up. It would make him mighty happy.”

Lucius quickly turns and begins toward the exit. “Whatever you like. Investigator Flood, you belong to the Ortegas tonight. They’ll show a good time.”

“Slither back to your hole. We’ll keep your mouse.” Abuela taunts the exiting Secretary.

“Oh shut up.” Lord Matheson rejoins the night. Isabella heads to the bar and orders a glass of this supposedly peerless Whisky.

“Pleasure to meet you sir.” She greets the grinning Santiago. The attention feels good.

Cisco watches the pair engage in a flirtatious little conversation. His mood sours even more. “Dita! That song please! I have conversation that I’m desperate not to hear.”

Turn One, Two and Three

Perdita’s ever present optimism is in short supply here. “This place is a cow patty.”

“But it has potential.” Santiago says. “I can see all the places that I’ll be passing out!”

“It just looks likes a fire hazard to me…” Papa mutters.

“So you like what you see dad?” Francisco walks along the ruins examining the details of the place. This is not at all what it looks like. Ram’s Rule has a zombie problem. The evidence of it is spattered across the wall in arterial displays.

Perdita notices it too. “Wow, we’re gunna need a lot of bullets to make this place work.”

“Bullets?” Isabella questions.

“Yes girl, bullets. Bullets and bold actions. Your Secretary might have forgotten to tell us about the infestation that’s dwelling here.” Abuela complains.

“He’s like that. Very… um…”

“Snake like.” Abuela says. She then calls to Santiago “Boy, keep close to this girl here. She’s gunna wander off into a walker’s mouth.”

“Yes ma’am.” He calls from across the ruin.

“And you,” She says quietly to the Investigator “My boy here will keep you safe. I suspect even at a cost to his own health. Don’t make me unhappy that you caught his eye.”

“No ma’am” She gets moving to Santiago’s position as quickly as possible.

“Papa!” Perdita calls to her father, who’s busy drawing charcoal smiles on his dynamite. He stops and walks gangly toward his daughter’s hiding spot.

She points to one of the ruined buildings along Noir. A pack of snarling dogs, their body a portrait of ragged wounds and rips, all tearing at some corpse meat. The Chamberlain watches with a subtle smile creeping across his face. They may be Resserectionist pawns but they are an art in some ways. Perfect reflections of life in Malifaux. Cruel, hungry and relentless.

“I got this!” Papa runs out of cover despite Perdita’s urgings otherwise. He scurries into the wreck with dynamite lit. The blast wakes the night and for a brief moment it rains dog.

“God damn that man.” Abuela mutters. “Let’s get out there and patch him up.”

Francisco draws his sword and walks into the darkest parts of the ruin. After the last wet slap of falling dog meat he turns his ears to the night. There are moans, worm eaten minds calling into the night for the only concern they have left. To feed.

Turn Four and Five

“Stay here, you’ll be safe.” Santiago says to Isabella. The noises from down the halls of this abandoned textile mill are unmistakable. The dead.

“Me safe? You’re going to wander into a dark hall alone and you’re worried about my safety?”

“Better me down there in danger than you down there with me in danger. Stay. Please.”

She gives in and holds the sewing room while he wanders into the warehouse. It’s there, under the pale of moon that seeps in from the broken roof that he sees them. A man loping into view, his neck bent and broken, his pick axe dragging on the ground. He strikes the floor with it and tremors run through the building till debris falls striking Santiago in the shoulder and head.

Other creatures shamble into view and the surround a tall gaunt figure dressed impeccably in a long coat and top hat. This gentlemen with cane and squawking bird directs the actions of the dead. Immediately the big man pulls his peacebringer and wades into the danger. Bullets ripping across the dead.

“I got first kill!” He hollers. Shadow crawls from the dead walker rising up and taking the shape of a woman. Santiago’s heard stories about the Lady in Black. The ghost of Malifaux. He points his gun and fires till the still forming shade slithers back into the darkness that gave birth to it. “Second kill too!”

The man with the cane points his finger toward Santiago and unleashes a billowing cloud of grave gas that leaves Santiago choking and gasping. He collapses on the floor of the mill, his last words before unconsciousness takes him are simple. “Run Isabella!”

His warning echoes down the hall and back into the mill. She hasn’t time to flee. A screeching pair of cries fills the sewing room as the emphereal night terrors flitter in and swarm her. She takes a defensive stance and holds them at bay as long as possible but the relentless creatures stalk her no matter how desperately she tries to escape. She looks to the hall where Santiago disappeared down and curses herself for having to flee. “Please be alive.” She mutters before leaving the ruins entirely; her destination is the Pinnacle and to get support from the Elites.

The Chamberlain opens the door to the warehouse section of the textile mill. Nino covers him, laying down fire that scythes apart the dead. The Chamberlain walks in defiantly. “By order of his most beneficent Governor General you are here by sanctioned! Kneel! Obey! Submit!”

The man beside Nicodem, fat and piggish, can see his master squirm at the sickening oppressive presence of the Chamberlain. His proclamations are as potent as spells and they stiffen the bonds of reality. Mortimer swings his shovel hard and catches the impish little Chamberlain in the face. Teeth rattle across the floor shortly before a hard thump. Mortimer and Nicodem look down on the crumpled man.

“Got him boss.” Mortimer holds his lantern closer to his victim but as the light illuminates the true nature of what his shovel struck he shivers. “Oh damn! I just struck a proxy of the Governor! Oh damn is he dead?”

“Either way Mortimer I’m pretty sure this is rather illegal.” Nicodem gestures to the lump of bleeding dignitary with his cane.

“I’m out! I ain’t going to the gaols for this!” Mortimer flees the scene taking his bloody shovel with. Nicodem groans. “Oh well… back to work. We need to find Ms. Ortega and enlighten her to the true nature of what she believes she serves. Or kill her and add her to our numbers. Alive or dead… either way she serves my purpose.” He allows his tainted essence to infect the rotted corpses here. They twitch and moan. They stir and stand. But as they do another noise interrupts his castings. “What now.”

The howling scream becomes deafening. The door to the mill opens and Papa loca rushes in. “Mr. Ortega…” Nicodem steps back as the madman hurls his explosives.

“Do it boy!” Papa screams to Nino. The young Ortega takes aim and his bullet flies true. It strikes one of the hurled sticks and the entire room is claimed by fire and thunder. Papa is blown through the mill wall and lands in a pile of debris. The dead are vaporizes and Nicodem thrown to the floor. He scrambles in an undignified manner to the safety of the Bete’s shadows. She creeps from the darkness near the door and closes it to prevent more of the Ortega’s rounds from claiming her or her master’s creations.

Turn Six and Seven

Francisco and Abuela cover their exit from the building with a hail of gunfire. Francisco shouts for Perdita and Nino to take their place.

“Hold the site girl! Don’t let these rotters have it!” Abuela demands as they flee the street for the safety beyond this intersection. They’re forced from the building by vaporous cloud after cloud launched from the Undertaker’s gloves hand and ebony cane.

“Yes ma’am” Perdita moves with the grace she is legendary for. She covers the distance, opening the door immediately watching the ghost of Malifaux snarl and raise her daggers. Before they can come anywhere near her unthouched flesh Perdita raises her peacebringer and fires a round into the pale face of Bete. The phantom returns to the night and she takes her place back in the mill and staring down Nicodem.

“Get. Outta. My. Saloon! Now!”

Nicodem tips his hat and wraps midnight around himself. Perdita breathes a sigh of relief before poking her head back out the door.

“Guys! We’re entrepreneurs now!”

The Results

:five::perdita

The Family: Reconnoiter 0 and Stake a Claim 2

The Undertaker’s Lot: Deliver a Message 0 and Grudge 0

Edited by Thechosenone
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