To my sisters

Sent by Hensbane Norwich to all Hensbane

Subtlety and Tact are living up to all expectations. We should continue to send each other warning when they leave for one of our cities.

They accomplished Roger’s goals. They did it with the flair that earned them their name. And now they are going to try to re-stabilize the region. Possible, but this may be beyond their abilities: their usual approach is useless here.

First, a report of their success.

Arriving in Norwich 3 days ago, they immediately took up residence at the Rangers’ bar. They then approached the book keeper of House McKenzie. He is, as ever, a dupe. They got everything out of him that he had, but that wasn’t much. McKenzie gives him the mushroom treatment.

Then they turned up the dial. First they decided to contact Dace Connor. Not really sure why. Sure, he’s one of the Connor heirs, but they appeared unaware of this fact. They approached him because he was the Connor book keeper. What do they have with book keepers?

They quickly identified Dace’s not-so-secret lifelong dream to become a Ranger. They found him in their bar, and then Ashe was on him. As soon as the first broke out (we’ll come back to that in a moment), she caught his attention. She helped him recover all the horses in the Connor stables. Somehow she was “injured” (I suspect the quotes are appropriate) while extracting the last beast. Dace emerged from the stables just as it collapsed behind him, leading the last Stallion with one hand and with a beautiful, brave, and delicately smudged Ashe draped over the other shoulder. He made quite an impression on his people. And she made quite an impression on him. He had her treated by his private physician and walked her home himself.

So the fire. Apparently S&T wanted to break into McKenzie Compound, so they set up a distraction. This distraction included 4 targets, executed over a 30-minute period. First the McKenzie bar was destroyed. Utterly. In a completely inexplicable manner.

A giant fireball erupted upwards lighting the area – but this just served to attract attention to the main show. A tower of thorny vines erupted from the ground beneath the bar, rising hundreds of feet into the air. Suspended all over in the vines were chunks of the bar, its patrons, or others who happened to be nearby. All were ripped apart as it grew. And then the whole thing caught fire with an eldritch flame. It was a torch hundreds of feet high that burned in blues, whites, greens, and pieces of every other color. It took over 20 minutes to burn; when it was finished, all that remained was a scorched and foul-smelling stump of vine surrounded by parts of skeletons and pieces of stone.

A few minutes after it started, a fire broke out in Connor Compound. Just a normal fire, but clearly arson. This was the fire that Ashe used to meet young Dace. A few minutes after that, fire broke out in McKenzie Compound – as if the others weren’t enough distraction for S&T to sneak in.

And then Connor bar was treated to the same destruction as McKenzie had been. Unfortunately, many of Connor clan had gathered at the bar after the fire in their compound in order to regroup. Both of Dace’s parents were there, along with one of the other Connor leaders. So now young Dace is the newest Laird of clan Connor.

Meanwhile, the rest of S&T was not idle. They broke into Compound McKenzie, and into Morvin’s house. They apparently found his secret study – I have no idea how; they had only been in town for a day, so couldn’t possibly have cased the joint well enough to find such a hidey-hole. In any case, they came out with everything that the house’s various field agents had done about acquiring mercenaries and armaments abroad.

This was when they chose to call on me. Apparently they wanted some help dealing with the giant eldritch fires and vines that destroyed the city. Or at least with the political fallout sure to ensue. Their plan was not bad: two rival secret organizations. One to claim to have destroyed the structures and another to appear to be trying to stop the first. Obviously they had some information that they wanted to seed to the Rangers at a later date (probably the mercenary recruitments).

I helped them, establishing the clear presence of the groups with a variation of plan D-43.

End of day 2 in town. Yes, just 2 days & they’d already destroyed 3 buildings – two in a fashion that no one could explain. And stolen clan trade and control documents from the secret hole of one of the 3 sub-lairds of one of the top 5 clans in the city. They had enough information that I could have toppled the clan from there. But that was over a day ago; they’ve been more active since.

First, Thurgrim broke into Ranger HQ in broad daylight. I have no idea how. But he broke out by discovering / creating a secret passage from a nearby building. In one step, he just destroyed the security of one of the most secure buildings in the city. Until they find and seal that passage, any of us can come and go as we please.

Not to be outdone, Delilah did something. My agents still aren’t sure what. She walked over to a temple to Mystara. As she crossed the threshold, she twisted into a wave of smoke and disappeared. The priestess present heard the sounds of a forge for the next two hours, and felt a great presence. Then the sound stopped, she turned, and Delilah was leaving – with a clockwork rat that reacted to its surroundings as no clockwork could. Later, the priestess found a new holy text laying on her pillow. She has been unable to read it; apparently it is written entirely in runes and crafted of pure metal -f a kind we have never before seen. We have been unable to get a copy yet.

When Subtlety and Tact are in our town, set agents onto each of them. Use at least 2 agents each. And ask questions to anyone they talk with. Things happen around each of them.

And now it is the middle of the night. S&T just dropped by. Apparently they’d raided the private lobbies of 2 more of McKenzie’s Lairds. They did not do it subtly: they just took everything – every secret of the clan.

At this point, our prior plan to stabilize Norwich is destroyed. The clans will not continue with business as usual. But there is enough chaos that it will be simple to form a new plan.

I will start taking out clan McKenzie tomorrow. Expect a total destruction of their clan. Foreign business interests will be up for grabs; please settle them smoothly into good hands. And Ashe is going to try to rebuild Clan Connor under the Lairdship of Dace. He is a good lad, and strong. He will make a fine leader – if he can wrest control from his cousin. And if he can re-create the alliances that the bet has destroyed.

If this can be accomplished, Norwich will be controlled by 4 clans. It will be returned to stability, and imports and exports will return to original levels. But do expect the obvious problems to arise in Leeds and Canterbury.



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