23:rd of Ascending Wood
We rejoin the River Serpents at the Golden Carp Inn, where they are discussing their future plans over a delicious meal. They agree that they must get rid of Counselor Ciro, but they can’t agree on method of removal. Shifty Dagger simply wants to assassinate the counselor and then secretly take control of the kingdom, but the others wanted to know more before they decided to act on it.
Steel Horizon and Blurred Mongoose wanted to visit the arrested city-guards and went to the tower containing their cells. Horizon bribed the guards and got to meet with Plovo former commander of the city-guards in the city of Arc. They discussed why they had been imprisoned and Plovo told them that he and the other guardsmen were wrongfully imprisoned and that something fishy was up with Captain Rajish who had recently taken control of the defending forces in the capital. When asked about people who knew more about politics in the kingdom, Plovo mentioned former counselor An’an who has been under house arrest for nearly a year since he misspoke about his opinions on the king’s rule. Horizon and Mongoose thanked Plovo and gave him some coins to pay of the guards so that they could messages out of their cells. In exchange for his help Plovo only wished that they would see to it that he and his men weren’t executed for the crimes they hadn’t committed. Horizon and Blurred then decided they would pay a visit to the former counselor and get his view on things.
Meanwhile Shifty Dagger and Callous Hornet were busy digging up more dirt on Counselor Ciro and Captain Rajish. Dagger got the location of Rajish’s home and easily broke in to have a look. He was amused to find that the dear captain wasn’t very secretive about his involvement in illegal affairs, in his (poorly) locked office Dagger found scattered papers connecting him to all manners of dirty work done for an unnamed person (most likely the counselor) which would be more than enough evidence to prove the captain was up to no good at all. Dagger grabbed the most interesting pieces of papers and went to meet up with Hornet at a nearby teahouse. While Dagger was breaking into Rajish’s apartment Hornet was looking for Counselor Ciro’s home, and thanks to her unsurpassed deduction and investigation skills she found the location of his secret apartment, a small room hidden away inside a noble family’s home with a secret entrance from an alleyway. Amused by her newfound powers she went to meet up with Dagger at the teahouse and due to the incredibly short time it took her to find Ciro’s home she managed to get enough time to drink a cup of tea and eat an apple before Dagger returned from his break-in.
Horizon and Mongoose found the home of An’an guarded by a lone and tired guard who was easily bribed to let them in. When inside they were met by an unnerving feeling that something was wrong and called the guard to find An’an. When they entered the private study of the former counselor they were met by an unexpected scene. An’an was lying on the floor, murdered, and the barred windows were open. It was obvious that a fight had taken place in the room not long ago and the assailant had been wounded in the fight before he managed to kill the former counselor. They decided that they would meet up with the other River Serpents back at the Golden Carp to inform them of this sudden turn of events.
Back at the teahouse Dagger and Hornet were discussing what their investigations had turned up. They decided that Dagger would break into the counselors house and then they would meet up with the others back at the Golden Carp. Breaking into the counselors apartment proved to be rather easy given that Dagger had previously pick-pocketed the counselors keys. Luckily the counselor hadn’t gotten around to getting rid of the latest evidence yet aswell. Dagger discovered a poorly hidden document in his room, a contract between the counselor and a woman named Winter Blossom. The contract was most likely one of assassination and the names of the victims were: Steel Horizon, Callous Hornet, Blurred Mongoose, Shifty Dagger, Ambassador Azure Sails, Former Counselor An’an, Priestess Waila and Nerman Ail. This information could indeed prove to be useful.
The River Serpents met up once again at the Golden Carp Inn to once again discuss what they were going to do. When all the evidence was laid forward it was quite obvious that the counselor had ordered the elimination of a large group of people, including the Serpents. When they started planning what to do next they realized that their opinions varied greatly and they split up into two groups of thought. Steel Horizon and Shifty Dagger wanted action, they were prepared to storm the king’s palace, expose the counselor and depose the king in one single move. Callous Hornet and Blurred Mongoose preferred a more cautious approach, finding more information, gathering allies and then exposing the counselor when the time proved right, they didn’t want to kill the palace guards just to stop the counselors plans. The Serpents were unable to come up with a unified plan so they decided that the thing they could do was to make sure that the people on the assassination list were safe. They left the Inn, ready to split up to protect those in need. But from here things took a new turn…
Outside the Inn the dragon-blooded assassin Winter Blossom was waiting together with her band of killers. Fortunately for the Serpents, Blurred Mongoose managed to detect the ambush only moments before the trap sprung on them. The battle was fast and deadly, Callous Hornet’s incredible speed and accuracy with her bow dispatched several of the assassins before they managed to do real damage to the Serpents. Shifty Dagger disappeared into the shadows and the only thing the enemy saw of him again was his sharp blades sticking out of their throats. Blurred Mongoose took care of the archers on the roof beside Winter Blossom, after a combination of powerful blows he threw one of the assassins into the other dispatching them both. And finally Steel Horizon engaged the leader of the enemy once again, his mighty hammer flew through the air past her guard and she retaliated with a well aimed arrow that proved insufficient to pierce his thick armor, then Horizon unleashed his full power upon her with his mighty Iron Whirlwind Technique which proved too powerful for the young Terrestrial Exalt.
The battle was over quickly and the Serpents had little time to regroup before a plan of action was decided upon. Steel Horizon grabbed the body of Winer Blossom and headed towards the Royal Palace. The palace guards tried stopping him but he easily intimidated them into stepping aside, once inside they were slowed down by even more palace guards. Mongoose handled them by activating his anima banner at totemic level, a brilliant ray of sunlight shone down from the heavens upon him briefly and then he was alight like a brilliant bonfire of solar energy, the guards backed aside and let them through.
The throne room was full of guards when they entered and the king was sitting on his throne, his counselor beside him. Steel Horizon activated his totemic power as well, making the gathered soldiers stand back in awe of his majestic glory. Horizon went straight up to the king and presented him with both the body of the assassin and the evidence they had collected. While the king was busy looking at the evidence before him the counselor tried backing away into the shadows but was stopped by Shifty Dagger who was already behind him disguised by magic. The evidence laid against the counselor and Captain Rajish was very effective and the king had the counselor arrested at once. When the king was thanking them for their help in saving his kingdom they decided to intervene on another issue.
They informed the king that he had to step down from the throne at this instant and that his tyranny was no longer tolerated. The king was chocked at this sudden turn of events and tried to grab his sword “The Will of Bodakh” but the intimidating presence of the Solars proved to be too much for him, he just stood there, frozen in terror, with his sword in it’s sheath. The Serpents told him that he would not be harmed but he was to be removed from office and banished from the kingdom. The palace guards were easily ordered to place the king under arrest as well.
Steel Horizon took the king’s sword and plunged it into the throne, declaring the rule of King Harrow to be over and that Princess Ami would be the new queen and ruler of the kingdom of Arc. This came as a huge surprise to all of those gathered in the throne room, not the least to the princess herself. She realized that her father had become a danger to his own people and took the rulership of the kingdom upon herself. Callous Hornet sealed her oath upon her ancestor’s sword under the watchful eyes of heaven, glowing runes swirling about as the heavy burden to rule was set upon her…
... then plans were really set into motion.