Following an extended period of man-hours devoted to further dismantling Kell’s guild (including the capture of Machete Hill, one of his strongholds), the constables met at the Flint office on the morning of the 12th. Waiting outside for them was Nementah, a warrior from the Dreaming who had until recently been under Ekossigan’s sway. In her own roundabout way, she claimed to be present now to help the constables in any coming battles, proclaiming that she had “seen” their need for her help.
Qiyet took an instant distrust to her, though perhaps it was wise, considering how even Asrabey Varal hadn’t really aided them, despite being sent from the Court with that explicit order. Delft was annoyed at the wilden’s presence, and ordered the constables to take her out of the office immediately.
While deciding what to do about the newcomer, Hugo burst from his workroom where he’d apparently been up most of the night, doing research on the notes left behind by the Drakran terrorists: he’d discovered that the half-burnt plans they’d left behind were not just for any normal bomb, but a “doomsday device,” capable of wiping out entire districts of the city!
From bad news to worse, one Templeton’s new squad members reported in, leading Team 1 to a hostage situation at the grand opening of the city’s final subrail station. The terrorists had crashed the event, taking governor Roland Stanfield hostage, as well as Catherine Romana, and a handful of lesser city officials. They demanded to speak with a skyseer, and to have Nigel Price-Hill delivered to them in order to take revenge on him for defeating “their necromancer brothers.”
Taking advantage of the stalemate, a plan was hatched. Nementah would deliver herself willingly to the terrorists to see what she could pick up from talking with their leader, while Kida would use her power to burrow silently through the street, taking Hugo and Templeton inside an extradimensional space hidden in a painting gifted from Giovanni, back in the Vault of Heresies. Qiyet used her hard-earned spellcasting ability to turn invisible briefly, allowing her to sneak down another path to the other side of the station.
Nementah contacted Hugo via his telepathic headband, reporting that she’d spotted the bomb on board a subrail train. Battle was joined, with Templeton’s men spreading out to secure the hostages; luckily, the dwarves were slow to react, though Ms Romana was wounded in the initial scuffle.
Grundun Zubov started the train, activating the bomb in the same moment, which Qiyet realized would go off directly underneath Hotel Aurum, where King Aodhan was currently staying. Hugo got the bomb’s casing off safely, but realized he wouldn’t be able to make any further progress until all distractions had been eliminated. They had 26 minutes… more than enough time to handle a few fanatics with firearms.
The foot soldiers were easily dispatched, but Zubov himself proved quite formidable, wielding a mighty hammer that nearly knocked out Hugo in one hit, and calling on dark magic that threatened to bleed the constables’ souls from their bodies. But eventually, he was brought low, and his right-hand man was soon to follow. During the commotion, Stanfield impressed the characters by breaking his own wrist to get free of his cuffs, then jumping out a window with a hostage, saving his life.
Hugo started to examine the bomb, finding it to be one of the most complicated and deadly devices he’d ever seen. For anyone else, it would have provoked a hard choice between gambling on his life, or simply doing as much damage control as possible before the weapon inevitably went off, hopefully taking out a much smaller number of innocent lives than projected. But Hugo could read Drakran fluently, not to mention he was skilled in both the arcane and technological arts, and a master of disarming dangerous traps… and he had Xambria’s similar spheres of knowledge to aid him. He laughed (unsettlingly so) as he started to read off the bomb’s dangerous components, then started to cut wires without a care in the world. While everyone else’s blood pressure shot up, Hugo disarmed the bomb, having realized after his initial analysis that his unique skillset was perfectly suited to dismantling the thing: he could read the Dwarven labels, he was trained in both Arcana and Thievery, he had a longtime hobby of tinkering with technology, and he was resistant to the electified innards of the machine itself. And he had Xambria’s help, on top of all that.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Templeton went to see Morgan Cippiano, following up on a message left to him after shutting down Machete Hill. Arriving at a local fashion show, Morgan offered the constable some coffee, and proposed a deal: Morgan claimed he had a man in Kell’s organization who could flush the crime lord out into the open with some simple misinformation, letting the constables finally capture the man who’d played them for fools some time ago. In exchange, he wanted a moratorium on murder investigations in Parity Lake for a month (to clean up any stubborn individuals left from the Kell-Guild), and the release of a prisoner, mostly for politcal reasons.
Templeton took a sip of coffee, mulling over the merits of the exchange of favors. Upon being asked if he enjoyed the brew, he complained it was too dry—in fact, that it was literally dehydrating and turning to coffee grounds in his mouth.
The constable balked, baffled by how the man could possibly know he’d spoken with the demoness… it wasn’t until conferring with his group later that Kida surmised that the coffee must have been made with Clergy-blessed holy water… as a side-effect of entering the final room of the Vault without being accompanied by the Hierarch of the Clergy, all five constables were ‘excommunicated’ from a faith they’d never joined, and therefore could no longer drink water blessed by its priests. Morgan had to have known there was no way an outsider like Templeton could’ve been cursed in such a way without having ever been a true follower of Triegenes’ teachings.
Back in the moment, Templeton told Morgan the truth: that he had been referred to as a slayer of shadows by Ashima, and that no, she had not told him the details of a certain spell. Morgan held up his end of the bargain, and arranged to have Kell try to escape the city via a certain route that would take him along one of the bridges over Stanfield Canal.
The constables met him well-prepared for a fight, with a mounted mitrailleuse on a nearby rooftop, and a small menagerie of angry fey on loan from the Unseen Court. Unfortunately, the crime lord showed up in an armored carriage, and while his driver, Nick, met the full brunt of the bullet storm that ensued, Kell and crew were safe. A gunner opened up the hatch on one side, only to come face-to-face with an angry Qiyet, who then teleported inside and turned invisible, using the moment of confusion to open one of the doors and boot the man onto the street, where he was pounded on by fey.
Nementah made a rather poor showing in the fight, missing many of her strikes, but the veteran constables made up for her lackluster performance. One of Hugo’s more deceptive spells caused Kell to turn on his own healer, lopping off her head with his machete. Furious, he rounded on the constables, managing to gouge out one eye from both Qiyet and Kida before being brought down.