It was just another day in Vinchopolis. With a newly-conquered island kingdom under its thumb, the city’s supply of wood was suddenly quite well stocked. There were also rumours of a new race called “Eladrin” who carried with them a terrible plague. Although these creatures had officially been confined in quarantine, word had gotten out that some had escaped, and vigilantes had taken to killing them on sight as a public health measure.
Penrhyn Firewing arrived for work at her miserable job in the Department of Fine Print Penmanship and Small Parcel Deliveries, where her gnoll boss yelled at her for being late despite the fact that she was on time. She went to her little cubicle and worked away filling out forms until she ran out of ink. She went to the supply room to replenish her ink, but there was none in the closet. In its place was a note instead saying “See boss about ink”. So she went to see her boss again (he was passed out from exhaustion) and got yelled at again (after she woke him). Eventually she figured out who she was supposed to see, and in exchange for the ink, she was required to deliver a few things, including a message to a certain police precinct.
Meanwhile, Markto left his basement for the first time to wander the streets in search of his father. He saw the semanet urchins above, and watched as one keeled over and died, splatting in the street. Another urchin took its place almost immediately. Markto followed the flag messages, hoping they might lead to his father.
Meanwhile, in a grimy bar in the anarchist district, Idril tried to gauge public attitudes toward the city, the system, and the rumoured existence of a Cult of the City and its purported messiah figure. Vicaun and Spire (in its female Tiefling disguise) were hanging out there and noticed Idril. They tried to run their usual 3-card monte scam, but she didn’t bite. Just as she was about to leave in search of the Cult, Spire called out to her.
Spire questioned Idril about her intentions, then offered to set up a meeting with a cultist in one hour. Idril agreed. Then Spire and Vicaun went off to the side to discuss things privately.
Vicaun didn’t think well of the Cult, and seemed unimpressed with his partner’s arrangement. But as soon as they were alone, Spire shapeshifted into Vicaun and started talking excitedly about this big score they could pull on Idril. Vicaun got all uncomfortable and asked Spire to shapeshift into something else. Spire responded by shapeshifting into Vicaun’s mother.
Spire reasoned that if Idril knew the locations of other islands that could be exploited for resources, the information could be extraordinarily valuable. It suggested a plan to earn Idril’s confidence and get her to reveal it.
Meanwhile, Sub-Patrolman Tomok Biter, the Orc watchman (who speaks with an Irish brogue) was sent on patrol as part of a new program with a really long, bureaucratic name, involving “cultural outreach” or somesuch. The program was primarily about pacifying and eliminating individuals who stuck out too much. His new partner was a stinky Troglodyte, Chegar, who enjoyed smashing things. Chegar was very pleased with himself, as he had made a xylophone out of the bones of a bunch of goblins he had killed the other night. Tomok sighed and humoured him, taking care to stay downwind.
Their patrol turned up very little, so they headed back to the station.
Meanwhile, the smog made it difficult for Penrhyn to fly, so she had to land. Lurching down the street toward her was a bizarre, complex, Rube-Golderg-ian robot. It had no standard parts, no serial number, no identification of any kind. This disturbed Penrhyn deeply, and she flew up to perch on its head.
It asked Penrhyn if she had seen its father. Penrhyn questioned the automaton about its serial number, origins and so forth, but it seemed unable to answer. So she decided they should file a missing persons report in an attempt to find the automaton’s “father”. Since Penrhyn had to deliver her message to the police department anyway, it would not require her to go far out of their way. In addition, she could stay perched on the automaton’s head and get a ride.
When they arrived at the station, message turned out to be for SubPatrolman Tomok Biter. The automaton (whose name turned out to be “Markto”) asked Tomok if Tomok has seen father. Penrhyn apologized for the strange machine and attempted to explain that it must be broken or something. Penrhyn and Tomok tried to ascertain Markto’s origins, but it was simply too strange to figure out.
Then Tomok’s partner excitedly announced they got a hot tip about the Eladrin quarantine escapee. Tomok decided to leave and deal with the missing persons report later (that would have had to travel to the department of Missing Persons Forms). Markto followed Tomok out into the streets, and Penrhyn rode along on Markto’s head, still searching for a registration plate somewhere on its body.
Meanwhile, as Vicaun and Spire prepared their Cult disguises, they got word from other cultists of trouble back at the dive bar. Apparently the Eladrin had been causing quite a stir, talking about how life doesn’t have to be like this, about how they have entire forests full of growing plants where she comes from. The treacherous duo rushed back to make sure their gravy train wouldn’t be derailed.
And so it was that our heroes converged right around the time a local unofficial official public health vigilante organization jumped out screaming “Kill the filthy plague bearer!” The bar patrons screamed, and the fight began.
Chegar just wanted to smash things, the goblins (vigilantes) just want to kill Idril, the duo wanted to keep Idril alive, Markto wanted to find his father and was convinced that Tomok could help, Penrhyn was disturbed at the continuing inappropriateness of Markto not having the correct paperwork, and Tomok… Tomok was getting a headache.
Idril took a serious beatdown from the vigilantes. The duo burst in and fought back. Tomok decided to arrest the vigilantes and restore the peace. The vigilantes resisted arrest. Chegar just wanted to smash something, so he smashed Markto.
Spire briefly switched to true form, admiring Markto’s beauty, then screamed in horror when Markto was struck. Spire then switched back to its cultist form (an intense Elf with male pattern baldness) and psychically assaulted the troglodyte. Only Penrhyn noticed this odd shift from a high window as she scorched the goblins with her magic. Under the combined assault, the vigilantes fell quickly, and as the last goblin standing surrendered, Idril teleported outside the building and fled. Moments later, Vicaun knocked Chegar unconscious.
The battle was over, and our heroes had won, but the chaos would be difficult for Tomok to explain in his report, Spire was apparently unhappy with Idril’s hasty exit, Idril would need to go into hiding, Markto was damaged and no closer to finding his father, Penrhyn was still perturbed at the lack of proper paperwork, and Vicaun feared the loss of yet another potential big score to bad luck.