Planning shit out is a tough business. Frustratingly hard to do by yourself and nigh impossible for a group. Devising a complicated plan among my crew takes a miracle, sly bribes, and molasses rum; lots of molasses rum. We instantly become a crew of whiny contrarians or even worse a bunch of antsy noncommittal limp dicked cowards. We go around and around until something sticks. An exhausting process. Goddamn, it makes me angry just thinking about it! I gotta hand it to bank robbers and criminal masterminds around the world. Bravo! Give those guys medals. Let them keep the gold. Just think of the thousands of hours they spent arguing – I mean planning. Don’t get me started on the Gray Dragons. It probably took them millions of hours to plan the stinking pakthryxl. Plus they failed once and were undeterred. Begads, I don’t know if I’d have it my stomach if I were them. I barely had in my guts to sit through our Infernal Line planning.
That being said the value of a good plan is priceless. It’s worth the investment and struggle. Searching for the right plan to crush the Infernal line was a necessity. Westcrown was behind enemy lines, we had no allies, no ship, precious few cards to plan, and a tight deadline. We had been short on resources in the T-Rex’s mouth before but this time it felt vastly different. Apsu had raised the bar and was watching. Cracking open Vira Grulios was going to take more than a wink and wiggle from Lorenz. Unfortunately, we worked through the night to come up with the perfect plan. We constantly analyzed, tweaked, and refined. Drew inspiration for legends of old and contemplated modern arts of war. It was terrible work that turned my brain meat into gravy sauce. What was our perfect plan? I will tell you. The plan was to have Goethe knock on Asad’s door and demand an audience. Nailed it!
We had other plans. No one liked my idea of breaking down the manor door and putting a gun to Asad’s head. We thought about having Liamond send word up the food chain that the Deep Sea Current had arrived and was ready to rouse Lirovilex. Of course, we didn’t have our ship or dragon with us. We thought about reporting Asad to the Westcrani government, but he probably had the right officials in his pocket. Tunnelling, teleporting, trojan horsing, and thieving were all out. All that was left, staring us in our dumb faces, was leveraging Goethe’s delicate family ties. Goethe was the key! God help us.
We still had a few messes to clean up before going to Vira Grulios. Interrogations of Liamond and Hily revealed some interesting tidbits. Murk was a contract devil, the dragon waking occurred at Vira Grulio, and devils from the second layer of Hell were required. I disliked dealing with enemy survivors, so I gave the pair the standard offer. Join up or get exiled. Liamond, the greedy tool, was bought with the promises of riches. The busty beauty Hily was persuaded by Goethe’s powerful revelation.
“I am, Goethe Grulios, the first son of Asad Grulios! I return for what is mine. Come walk through the fires of Hell with me. The path leads to justice”, elegantly said Goethe. He dropped his disguise revealing his true form. Hily gasped. She started running his fingers across Goethe’s smooth horns. It looked very sexaul to me.
“You have his BIG horn! Is it really you Master Goethe? I will follow you anywhere, Master”, replied Hily with yearning. The lustful obsessed look in her eyes was scary and alarming. Goethe didn’t seem to mind it.
We rode out the night in the Miratanza warehouse. The mysterious shadow beasts scratched the doors every so often. Goethe teleported back to the ship with our newest crew members. In the morning, he returned with Hexa in tow. We all took some time to map out the Rego Laina canals with our folding boat before making it to Vira Grulios. The Vira Grulios estate was the most rundown noble mansion I had ever seen. The exterior had wild ivy growth up the walls, broken shutters, chipped paint, weathered bricks, and missing roof tiles. What a dump! Compared to Lorenz’s family ivory castle it looked like an outhouse. We approached the dilapidated main gate. It was time for the rubber to meet the road, could Goethe do this!
First came knocking. Nothing. Next came banging. Nothing. Then came screaming. Nothing. Lastly, came the Condottari.
“Halt! Who goes there?”, demanded the guard captain.
“Is this place abandoned?”, asked Goethe.
“What is your business? Do you have an appointment?”, said the guard.
“I need no appointment! I am, Goethe Grulios, the firstborn son of Asad Grulios. Do you dare insult me peasant?”, intimidated Goethe. He was really amped up, but it worked.
“My apologies, Master Goethe. This mansion is always locked down tight when not in use; which is why we patrol frequently. Please let us escort you to the private harbor in back. You may find a servant there”, bowed the guard.
The private harbor was large and well maintained. We came around on to a small peninsula with a few out buildings that oversaw the main dock. The wooden dock was long and study, lined with a heavy steel track from end to end, and at water’s edge an impressive crane sat at the ready. On the other terminus, the tracks led to an enormous basement door the size of a dragon!
The harbor was unfortunately deserted. We all hopscotched over some slippery rocks to the the main dock to take a closer look around. Goethe slipped. To save himself, he activated his magic and shifted out of existence like one does. He never reappeared. So much for our way in!
A few minutes later, a tall munthrek figure shrouded in purple robes appeared behind Hexa and embraced her. A caught a glance before the figure and Hexa disappeared. He looked like Goethe if you aged him forty years and he learned how to smile.
“Was that Asad?”, Lorenz asked.
“Lord Grulios is home. We will leave you in his care. Please excuse us”, said the Condottari captain. The city guards left us to wait. Lorenz, Mr. Finn, and I sat down.
“I wonder what they are talking about?”, I said.
“By the look of fatherly love on Asad’s face, I say emotional healing”, cracked Lorenz.
“ayeisaytemptation ”, garbled Mr. Finn.
“This plan was shit! Fuck, we can’t leave them in there by themselves. There’s no telling what will happen next with Goethe!!!”, I shrieked.