Day 2 (continued)
We return to the party now, sitting in the Lonely Goblin and listening in on the conversation Lufus is having with an Azorious Guard as he tries to file the damage on his bar so he can get an insurance claim. Kwela takes their order, wincing occasionally. “Heya guys, anything else we can get for ya? I think Lufus said to give y’all enough drinks to get ya away from this mess, so I’m taking that to mean as much as you want.”
Mildred goes to Kwela to ask why she is wincing and if she is doing okay. Kwela responds that she just had a “rough night” at her other job and that the massage parlor isn’t exactly gentle. She reassures Mildred that it has nothing to do with abuse, and that she has a big burly guard outside her door at night.
The party chats about Lufus and his trouble and overhears them deductibles and charges. They can see Lufus fiddling with his rings distractedly.
Suddenly, a loud clap of thunder is heard outside and rain starts to pour down, beating on the windows and revealing holes in the side of the bar. The water gathers on the pane of the window and rolls down its crooked pane, pouring into the bar. Lufus swears and runs for a bucket and a mop. The Azorious man leaves. Lufus begins to mop up the water and catches the stream in the bucket.
Ralf approaches and freezes the water on the window so that the stream stops. Lufus empties the bucket and mops up the remaining water. Lufus confides in the party about the insurance he has through the Orzhov and how terrible they are about his policy. He says he’ll be doing paperwork for a lot of the day and tells them to ask Kwela if they need anything.
Milly goes to speak to Lufus about Kwela and almost reveals that she works a night job, which Lufus tells her is outside of her contract. She leaves the Kwela thing alone and decides to go visit Isaachi who is still unconscious. Sarah is tending to his bedside and confides in Milly that she shouldn’t be there. Her “friends” were part of the problem and so the Head Nurse had told her to stay out of it. Milly leaves a note with the Head Nurse and heads back to the bar.
The party debates for a while on whether or not to go to the Izzet, but Ralf reminds him that that is where he has the most connections, and that they can check in the Laboratory of Metallurgy. They head to Prism University, where Ralf works.
As they walk to the University, they see some people on the street who are continuing in the rain like they are used to it, and some still look frustrated and some even scared, looking up at the rain and back down at their feet while they huddle under stalls and building awnings. Vendors are pulling their items in from the rain and looking miserable as the streets empty.
The rain turns to snow as they walk, slowly filtering down like fairy drops, and the people they see all seem to be prepared. They pull out coats and scarves from their bags and don for the cold weather as quickly as possible. Some even have boots and gloves. Before the party can reach the Izzet, the weather is returning back to sunshine and the snow that had begun to accumulate quickly melts as if on someone’s tongue.
A female minotaur is behind the desk who asks how she can help. She tries to point Ralf in the direction of his own laboratory, but Ralf is obstinate. Before a fight can start, Mildred steps forward and convinces the minotaur that they are on a very important mission from the Selesnyan Conclave and they needed to get to Metallurgy right away.
The minotaur reads a list of the departments for them:
- The Laboratory of Arcane Geometry (counter-magic and redirection)
- The Laboratory of Pyrology
- The Laboratory of Storms and Electricity
- The Laboratory of Metallurgy
- The Laboratory of Alchemy
- The Laboratory of Orientation
- The Laboratory of Mimeography
- The Laboratory of Continuism
- The Laboratory of Gravitational Inversion
- The Laboratory of Plasma-Dermatology
The party makes a note of Storms and Electricity and heads to Metallurgy, where the minotaur has called ahead.
When they arrive, Ralf buzzes the buzzer for a long time. A human opens the door for them and they wait for a while in the waiting room. Ralf asks for Ron, his uncle, and Ron approaches. Ron is a grizzled old man, past retirement age. He has an itch on his neck that he continues to scratch as they talk. Mildred notices that it is pale around where the irritation from his scratching is. She offers some antihistamine cream and Ron gratefully accepts.
Ralf banters with Ron for awhile, both jabbing at each other, before Alfios manages to get the party back on track. He offers up the finger. Ron is thoroughly fascinated. He tells them that the metal is called LectoSteel. They worked on it about 15 years ago. It is an easily moldable metal – but it doesn’t heat or freeze. The only way to mold it is with electrical rods. They scrapped the project when their electrical capacity wasn’t enough to justify the work needed, and also when they found that the material seemed to warp when put into electrical parts.
Ron is disgusted however, that anyone would dare work on a person and give them this mechanical body part.
Ralf asks Ron if he knows anything about the Laboratory of Storms and Electricity. Ron is shifty, saying that he gets memos about the department every five fucking seconds. Ralf persuades, with 10 pieces of gold, and Ron to give them directions down the hall.
The party heads to Storms and Electricity, atop Nivix, the Lightning Rod. After a couple of failed attempts to persuade the guard, some smoke begins to filter under the door. The goblin lets them in and tells them to stay put. The party notices smoke all through the workshop and can see a few goblins waving fans and an Ogre cranking the crank on the wall, opening the spire to release the smoke faster.
When the dust settles, a frustrated human scientist, Bruno (who is missing his ring finger and wearing a disheveled wig) arrives and asks them what their business is. Their attempts at disguising their reason for being there fail, as Bruno recognizes the Selesnyans.
“Really, of all things. Why the hell do the Selesnyan care? They just want to lay in their sleepy bungalows and make us join them and their worldsoul.”
Alfios begins to be offended and tries to threaten Bruno, who scoffs at him that he missed his nap. Milly begins to seduce Bruno, who gets flustered and tells her that they’re working on what they always work on: electricity, but that the rest is supposed to be a secret. “Why is it a secret? Because the Orzhov always want insurance money, the Azorious want to regulate the shit out of it, the Boros want to turn it into a war machine somehow… on and on. When we don’t even know if it works yet.”
“It’s not like a new idea to harness the elements for electricity. We’ve used dams, wind, and so much more. But now we’re trying to capture the very atmosphere itself. Mother Nature doesn’t like it when you grab her by the tail, but she’s always been a bitch.”
The party is satisfied with the information and starts to leave when they fire up the machine again. They turn around to see the spire of the room opening slightly to create a large bubble-like net that starts to suck in the nearby clouds. Before much more can happen, the bubble pops and the clouds spill back out.
By the time the party is back outside, it has started to hail.
Molander points out that while they’ve finished the task they were supposed to, they have a million more questions. “There’s no way the Worldsoul is happy with what is going on.”
Mildred goes back to visit Isaachi, who tells her that he’s considering getting a prosthetic made. He points out that while the Izzet have better tech, the Simic are the only ones who will work the biology. The Fin Clade is the one that makes prosthetics.
Meanwhile, Alf helps Lufus, who is hammering boards over the side of his bar. Lufus and Alf plan a show for a week from now (Day 9), and Lufus says he’ll make flyers for it.
Milly comes back into the bar and tells them the information that she’s gleaned and goes back to Isaachi with a question: “did you have all 10 fingers before?” The answer is yes. His pinky turned to metal. The party decides to exit the bar and examine the sewer, but find that the pipes inside are far too small for any of them to fit into. However, while they’re examining the area, Molander and Mildred hear a scratching noise and jump back. Alf & Ralf both are surprised, and Ralf gets scratched on the shin by one of the creatures, who have just appeared from the drain.
The battle ensues, with Alf taking a small hit from the other creature before both are quickly dispatched by the other three.
Ralf immediately goes to shock one of the creatures, and smells burning flesh. Alf, meanwhile, examines the other creature, realizing it is the same metal as the finger and notices the fleshy inside poking through the seams and holes of the metal.
Milly picks up the creature and carries it to the Healer’s Hut. She cracks open the exoskeleton and pulls out the slimy mass of flesh, which now droops. The flesh is greenish-pale, and blue veins can be seen from the outside. Once cut into, the fat, muscle, and veins can be seen. Inside, there is a clear nervous system, but no obvious brain that controls the creature.
Alf is thoroughly bothered that they killed living creatures, but less so because of the threat of the fight. They return the bar after a short rest and order chili for dinner from a cheerful Lufus. Lufus has already drafted a flyer for their show. The party can clearly see now that he has frayed string where some of his rings used to be.
Lufus then tells them that not everyone in Simic is enhanced and explains the difference between a normal hybrid and a Guardian. He is wistful about the mermaid, Ursula, who caught his eye, but he got injured on his second mission and moved to owning a bar instead. He tells them about the Upwelling celebration coming up in two days and says that he’ll take them.
The entire guild congregates at Zonot 3, the deepest of the 9 Zonots. They eat seafood, enjoy the company of the elusive merfolk, share bread, dance, and each and every guest must present a creative. These must be works of their own hands and minds to show the evolution, grace and continuation of the world through the ages. Each creative or account of a creative is placed into their deep underground Library of Innovation.
If they intend to go, they should spend the following day making something so they can participate.
After resting overnight, the party goes about a couple of random tasks. A haughty courier comes by who is unimpressed by their work. He says he will return with information as to whether their intel on the creatures is a problem at all for “the Worldsoul and Trostani.” Alf points out that strong electricity seems to be needed for the molding of the metal on both the finger and the metal creatures, so the weather (lightning) might be related to the creation of the creatures.
They pop in on Isaachi who is beside himself: his hand is back, and it is now all metal. The nurse, Sarah, clearly slept with him the night before and hadn’t noticed anything then. She is shocked by the news as well.
Isaachi tells them that three days before yesterday he was working in the Sewers, assigned by the Simic and needed papers signed by the Golgari. He encountered some sewer merfolk, fish, cats… but doesn’t remember any injuries to his hand of any kind. He tells them that it burned and itched for a bit, but that’s all he remembers.