|| High Concept
| Chadsworth Edgewater
|| Summoner for Hire
| Hans Sengelmann
|| If you can name it, I can mix it
| Rutherford A. Sterling, Esq.
|| Wealthy lordling seeking adventure!
| Shen Li
|| Wushu Master, working on the Railroad
You meet in a bar …
Looking to begin gathering intel for his coming job, Chadsworth makes his way to San Francisco. He decided that the best place to start looking for information is a watering hole near the railroad warehouses. He enters Miller’s Saloon, where it happens that Hans is the bartender. Chadsworth tries the “make like a buffoon” approach to information gathering, and immediately lands on Hans’ bad side.
Soon after Chadsworth orders his second glass of absinthe slurry, Rutherford bursts into the saloon, chasing after a butterfly. He catches it, slamming it flat between the pages of a collection book, but in the process spills Old Pete’s beer. Before the old drunk can work up to a fight, Rutherford buys a round for the house.
Rutherford introduces himself as a “Gentleman Entomologist”, and shows off the collection in hist book. Chadsworth notices that a couple of the specimens trigger his second sight, and casually inquires about a few of the samples. This leads into a monologue that Chadsworth illustrates by summoning a White Rabbit, which he uses to taunt Old Pete, before it knocks the drunk out cold.
The three pass a few hours at the bar, which has generally become more crowded as the day turns to evening, and Rotherford’s generosity is taken advantage of.
You can buy anything at this bar …
Shen-li and a number of rail workers have been given a few slips of company script, and sent north to San Francisco for a few days of their monthly leave. Huang Xiaojin leads Shen to a bar near the rail where a number of herbal remedies, tonics and elixirs may be acquired on the sly. Xiaojin is particularly interested in acquiring some “dragon’s breath”.
They enter Miller’s, and while Xiaojin and some of the other celestials are conducting business with Hans, Shen and Chadsworth learn that they are compatriots in Culloden’s scheme. Still standing at the bar, they begin discussing the plot, speaking in Mandarin.
Rutherford sends his injun manservant, Tuesday Afternoon, to begin preparing his carriage.
No-one Expects the Inquisition!
A hush falls over the bustling saloon when three men of the cloth enter. One, a particularly large monk, stations himself in front of the door, while the other two approach the bar, in order to address the room.
The lead slams his staff three times on the ground, and announces himself as Cardinal Ramires, agent of the Third Inquisition. He is here to confirm reports of Demoncraft, and to take the heretic in for questioning.
The cardinal questions, roughly, those around the bar. His attention turns to Rutherford and Chadsworth, eyeing the large bug-tomb suspiciously. Hans attempts to mollify the priest by providing him with a mug of wine. The Cardinal takes the wine, murmurs something in latin and takes a sip. When he slams the cup back to the counter, blood splashes out onto the bar. The cardinal dips to fingers into the blood, and plants them direction on Chaddsworth’s forehead.
It sizzles and burns, and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Of course, there’s a barfight
Acting on instinct, Hans smashes a cudgel into the Cardinal. Rutherford picks up his stool and strikes at the other priest at the bar, and Shen knocks the staggered inquisitor to the ground. The patrons, nervous, know one thing for sure: Shen and the daemonist were talking in a language they did not understand. They immediately start brawling with the other china-men in the bar.
The priest guarding the door draws a pistol, and fires at Chadsworth, who has already dropped to the ground and begun a summoning. Soon, the bar is filled with small flying daemons, adding to the chaos.
As the fight progresses, Hans, Shen and Chadsworth manage to sneak out the back. Chadsworth sights a priest guarding the back alley, and shouts to him: “Your brothers need you inside!”. The priest leaves the alley, and bursts into the tavern, knocking the door-guard off balance. He shoots a gas-powered chandelier, and the bar, covered in spill spirits, lights up almost immediately. The daemons vanish in a puff of sulfurous smoke.
Chadsworth flees the scene, attempting to convince gathering onlookers that the Inquisition set the tavern on fire. Hans re-enters the burning bar, looking to retrieve some of his more valuable stock. He witnesses the priests carrying off an unconscious Huang Xiaojin.
It’s a chase!
Shen takes off at full speed after the burdened inquisitors. Hans and Rutherford follow behind in the wagon that Tuesday Afternoon has shown up with.
They’re forced to leave the wagon behind when the pursuit veers through a narrow alley. They quickly pass by the priest left to block the way, but are stymied when they exit the alley into a crowded market.
They split up and question market vendors looking to find out where the inquisitors may have taken Xiaojin. Shen learns that many celestials have gone missing over the last few months, though no-one knows where they may have been taken, nor are they sure why those particular men were taken.
Hans has better luck, and learns the direction his friend and regular customer has been taken.
The three set off again, and catch sight of the priests, way at the bottom of the hill. Before they can catch up, however, they are ambushed by a group of black-clad asians. “At last, we have caught you Shen Li”, gloats the leader, Sao of the Nine Fists. Shen pleads solidarity, that they are chasing a captured countryman, and promises on his honor to face Sao in single combat the next morning, if they can be allowed to rescue Xiaojin.
Sao signals his companions, several of whom disappear. Moments later, the group sees the priests at the bottom of the hill fall in an assault. If Shen Li’s word is not enough, the Circle of Nine Fists has his friend now.