Titus closed the dance hall early this night – there were important matters to discuss. Tables were rearranged and chairs dragged up. Around the room were the extended members of the Children of the Ash – Titus and Bug, Gaian, Keldor and Rexus, Rufus, Lentius, Brother Vaelus, the Varisian performers, and the men recently rescued from the salt works. Notably absent was Pavo, whose whereabouts nobody was certain of; the group assumed he had fled the city. The loss hung heavily upon the rebels, though Gaian seemed to sneer “told you so” every time the bard was mentioned.
The tour guide had undergone a slight change, adopting the persona of Nightswarm to carry out his seditious activities. Bug had also changed, for the first time in his life he had a goal more than simply surviving another day. He was forming a network of spies and informers across the city, which fed him news from the people and government. His old potato sack had been replaced with breeches and vest; although he still dressed simply, his belt was heavy with coin to distribute among his followers.
“Let’s go over the information once more,” Lentius said. “Alaria is being held in the Holding House. It’s been recommissioned since Barzillai’s arrival, and a mid-ranking cleric of Asmodeus named Sabo is in charge. They call her the Spider, though we don’t know why. The Holding House is a strong, stone structure, heavily guarded.
“Our best opportunity may be to rescue her in transit. Alaria is due to be escorted from the Holding House to Veritas Plaza. That only gives us about a quarter of a mile of Old Kintargan streets. The escort will stick to the main streets. If we choose to attack the escort, we could use the side streets as cover.”
Rufus interrupts. “Usual prisoner movements requires a squad of six dottari as an escort. Important prisoners require more, possibly Hellknights.”
Lentius continues. “The Hellknights have set up scaffolding in front of the old court house at Veritas Plaza, where Alaria is due to excruciated – we don’t know how. Likely, she will then be sentenced to slavery, the place determined by what condition she is still in. We could attempt a rescue at the excruciation. There is likely to be high ranking officials present, and a crowd, which could play to our advantage. It will certainly be publicity.
“Finally, we could risk waiting until she is sentenced to slavery and then rescue her from wherever she is sent.”
Rexus clears his throat and takes over as Lentius takes a long draft of ale. “We always have the frontal assault option, but we could also try something a little more covert. Perhaps some kind of ruse. We could approach this Sabo, perhaps, see if she can be bought.”
Rufus nods. "We could try to forge prison transfer papers, I’ve seen them before, but approaching a professional to forge them would be better.”
“I don’t like our chances,” Lentius grimaces. “Somehow I don’t think it will be as easy as walking in and walking out.”
“Well we’d best decide quickly,” Rexus exclaims. “The longer we wait, the more chance there is that Alaria has pointed her finger at us. Although she doesn’t know about the Children of the Ashes, she would have to be blind not to realise something is up. At the very least, she could implicate us simply by association, or perhaps to help clear her own name.”