you may find parts of what you are about to read sickening and I apologise for that. But I'm not in the habit of lying to you and you know yourself fully well what a dark place this world can be, so I am not going to sugarcoat what has happened.
The morning after we had returned from the fight at the inn, I received an invitation to the Judge's house. The rumours had finally attracted his attention and he wished to see me. Lucia insisted of getting herself hired as a servant at the house and was accepted even at such short notice. She planned to pass information to us over the day, but we didn't hear from her, not the best start for all this. Although it may have been perfectly possible that she just didn't find the time, she had been hired as a kitchen maid after all.
I arrived at the house in a carriage the Judge had sent for me and was brought inside where the judge and a tall, severe-looking woman were already waiting for me. It quickly became clear that the Judge did indeed believe in the rumours and thought that he had come across a kindred spirit. He took me to see his cellar where he has a well-equipped torture chamber. But a lot worse than the sight of all those instruments was Lucia, blindfolded and chained to the wall, along with two other women.
The Judge removed Lucia's blindfold and then turned to me, asking me in a hard voice what I wanted here. I was badly surprised by hearing du Doré voice behind me, very belatedly recognising the woman as him. He whined that he had planned to have some more fun with me, but if the Judge wanted to end it here, then Ramon alone would do nicely. They made as to grab me and I dodged them, pulling my rapier. The Judge ordered me to put away the weapon unless I wanted Lucia to die. The two women next to her slipped out of their bonds and removed their blindfolds, they were the two slatterns du Doré had with him at the Dean's party.
I shrugged and told him to do what he had to do. I said that I was here because I had heard intriguing rumours – it is rare for people with our interest to find like-minded people. And as to the fight in the tavern, I was merely going along with my partners. After all, I do need some protection and there's nothing better than the company of honest men for that. Lucia aimed a kick at me and called me a bastard, they all had trusted me. I replied that this is exactly what made it so easy to deceive them. I could see that Lucia wasn't acting or at least not completely...it seems I still am an excellent liar.
The Judge and du Doré believed me as well and asked me to accompany them. Before we left, the Judge told the two women to kill Lucia. I asked for a favour: Lucia may be a bit older than than my (or rather Don Gabriel's) preferred prey, but after the weeks we had spent together, I had actually planned to have her. The Judge agreed and ordered Lucia to be taken away. On our way out, I asked du Doré to let me have five minutes with Don Ramon alone when he had him at his mercy. I told him that I wanted to see Ramon's face when he realises that he had been lied to and deceived. I did hope that I wouldn't need those five minutes, but if Ramon had been captured, I would have had the opportunity to help him.
A short ride in the carriage later we arrived at the Black Lily Club. The Ussurian was there, as was the Madame. It seemed that she was not all that friendly with the Judge, but he had enough of a hold on her to order her around. The Judge took me to a billard room where we waited for a while. I had been spinning my tale further and I had no reason to doubt that the Judge believed every word of it. I had no idea where Lucia was or any of the others, but I hoped that they were close.
Sorry, Isabel gets called away and will finish reading the letter later.
Part 2 is here
Finally, Marcello can do what he does best: play a role, lie and deceive people. He loves that and despite the dangerous situation, he enjoyed himself...although he probably wouldn't admit that, especially not to Lucia. She really had her doubts about him, he was that convincing (rulewise, a 67...15 to 25 is a normal success).
Ramon had a great scene following the carriage over the roofs. If you have ever played Assassin's Creed, you know how it looked. The GM asked for a ton of rolls: balancing, jumping, swinging, running and Ramon's player mastered them all, ending the run by jumping into a tree next to the club and from there on the wall surrounding the inner courtyard. It was an impressive piece of dicework.
We had talked about using a cold start to get a game running: describing a situation to players and then asking them how they got there. I used that for my Endland campaign and it generated a couple of interesting stories. The GM decided to try it out. It went well enough for Marcello's start scene, arriving at the Judge's house and for a scene Ramon would have later with du Doré. But when he asked me to describe the Judge's torture chamber and Lucia's situation, I pretty much refused after some hesitation. I think this situation was ill-suited for the technique. It was a scene that had a lot of influence on what would happen later in the game and, even more important, it involved another player character. I don't think this should be left to a player, at least not without some preparation. But that was more of a minor glitch than a catastrophe. The GM went ahead and described the scene himself and we played on.
All in all, this is the most fun I've had at 7th Sea and that's saying a lot, it's one of my favourite systems ever and I always enjoy myself. But playing the side to Marcello's character that usually has to stay hidden, the liar and scheming scoundrel, that was brilliant. I do hope that the court of Charoux will offer more opportunities for that.