Zeitgeist

Crowd Control

Where the heroes ferret out troublemakers determined to spoil the celebratory launch of Risur’s new warship.

THE WARM SPRING day finds Leocamp Assurgent cell amongst a restless crowd who have gathered en masse at the Flint docks to cheer King Aodhan’s christening of the RNS Coaltongue, the first Risury warship powered by steam rather than sail. Along with a squad of local police, the Sea Lions coordinate their strategies to provide security during this very public, and potentially volatile, event.

Utsusemi and Talus use their accumulated familiarity with potential troublemakers to create a threat assessment that the cell, and their police allies, can use to assess the crowd of hundreds. Misguided war vets targeting the ship’s tiefling designer, disgruntled dockers angry at the government, druidic extremists unhappy with the nation’s turn toward industry, and Vekesh terrorists, are all potential threats to the celebration. Lethe, the skyseer, relates aspects of a dream she had the night before, for it’s elements might prove prophetic and useful for flushing out suspects.

It does. The Sea Lions mingle with and observe the crowd and quickly isolate several potential threats, and narrow it down even more to a handful of potential wrongdoers—a trio of dockers dispersed throughout the celebrating throngs. Attempting to question them reveals only belligerent attitudes, so the heroes change tactics. Lethe and Talus continue their vigil at the entrance to the bridge, where the police are preparing to gradually admit spectators to the royal dock. Meanwhile, Nex and Utsusemi shadow one of the dockers. He soon links up with another one of their flagged suspects. As the stealthy constables hover nearby, the docker agitators whisper furtively to each other about their plans.

It seems that while these two planned along with another to simply create a ruckus, a forth man, whom they refer to as Dafton, wants to assault Roland Stanfield, Flint’s governor! When Nex and Utsusemi rendezvous back with their other teammates, the police are already letting people trickle past the barricade onto the bridge. The constables describe the three docker rabble-rousers to the police, thereby preventing their egress to the royal dock, but they have no idea what this Dafton character looks like.

A hard-bitten longshoreman named Thames Grimsley approaches the Sea Lions. Upon introduction, Utsusemi recognizes the man as a leader among the dockers, infamous for his scuffles with local police— and for trying to establish a dockworker’s union. Recalcitrant at first, the grizzled sailor agrees to describe Dafton if the constables deliver a message to Governor Stanfield demanding that the police ease off the docker community. Deftly handling the negotiations, Utsusemi promises to relate Grimsley’s concerns personally.

With a solid description of the tricorne-wearing war vet, the constables push their way past the crowds across the bridge in pursuit of Dafton. Finally catching up to him, Nex ineffectively implores the docker to stand down while Lethe dazes him with a sudden flash of magical light. The brawny veteran charges toward the elf while Nex quick-draws his pistol and fires. Utsusemi sneaks around behind the docker thug as Nex’s shot goes errant. A blunt arrow from Lethe’s bow pings Dafton’s shoulder, just as Talus wades into the fray to deliver a few glancing blows. Dafton, an accomplished pugilist, responds by hammering a massive callused fist into the gearman’s faceplate.

The fight continues amid the parted crowd, who begin to cheer openly for Dafton—an unarmed man holding his own against four armed Royal Constables. Finally, and suddenly, the docker thug drops from the pain of a well-placed slice to the hamstring courtesy of Utsusemi’s short blade.

In short order, the Flint police arrive to remove the handcuffed and bleeding Dafton to the mainland. Immediately recognizing their overly-aggressive mistreatment of their prisoner, Utsusemi challenges the cops. The fussy crowd turns favorable, falling just short of applause, swayed by the dromite’s impassioned demand that the police go easy on the docker and provide him medical attention. Nearby, a silently respectful Thames Grimsley nods his head in approval.

After getting their bearings, Leocamp Assurgent head up the bridge through the deferential crowd to the royal dock. Their next move is to rendezvous there with their boss, Chief Inspector Stover Delft, for the rest of the day’s assignments.

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