Wednesday, 11 September 2019

THE CRYSTAL SEAS, Episode 14... The Bishophtu Bath House part One

After a week of rest and recreation in Romani, the remaining party members are seeking the favour of the local lord, Geta Shaoul. They are to carry out the assassination of the sorcerer Kharzan, at the behest of Geta Shaoul's second wife, Lila. The party spent the night in a massage parlour with a good view of the local bath house, wherein they anticipate finding the wizard Kharzan.
This instalment includes lots of material adapted or drawn directly from The Boswitch Bathouse by Arnold Kemp of Goblin Punch fame. Spoilers abound! 

22nd Sositi

At dawn, the party decide to get breakfast at the local noodle house. They are shocked to see that the proprietors are the fat men they were spying on from the massage parlour the previous evening. They did not let the fact that they had already seen the men naked ruin their breakfast of fine noodle soup.

Attempting to operate incognito, the party stake out the entrance to the bath house from their breakfast perches. Several figures enter, the last of whom appears almost wizard-like, being a befuddled young man in brown robes. He is neither tall or handsome, as the 2nd lady Lila had attested.

After some debate, it is agreed that Ursula shall follow him in, disguised as Donna Serafina for some reason. While she is inside, several more patrons file in and out, none of whom resembling a sorcerer. Eventually Ursula emerges shaking her head: she's not sure if this is their mark or not.

The hapless band of unlucky adventurers end up loitering for another three hours before a litter, carried by two bronzed western warriors with their hair in top knots, arrives on the corner of Piss Lane. A tall, handsome figure emerges, draped in colourful robes of the finest silk. The party once again equivocates, before agreeing that they should all just pile in.

A guard greets them on the interior, who is mildly irritated by the party's vagueness. He ultimately manages to extract the information from them he needs: they are in need of a bath. He instructs them to hand over their weapons: Horace suggests Bolg carries them back to Madam Palfrey's (and to send his cat down).

The three remaining party members- Analicia, Horace, and Ursula - ring the bell for attention, having passed into the front office. Analicia eyes the silver mermaid statue covetously: they are light on cash. So light,in fact, that they have to engage in a serious debate as to which one of them will be afforded a bath robe. It is agreed, finally, that Horace will make do with a simple towel.

The party have nearly spent all of their money.

The ladies proceed to their changing rooms and are attended to by the pleasant Antha. Analicia has successfully palmed her dagger, and possesses the sole means by which to inflict lethal damage on the sorcerer.

Horace is ignored by his attendant, Throt, in the slightly less salubrious male changing rooms. Throt is unresponsive to the sounds of some kind of violent struggle coming from beyond the exit... Horace is nothing if not curious and concludes, upon stepping into the hallway, that a couple are fornicating in the privy.

As if on cue, Ursula, Analicia and (from atop the dividing walls of the open air bath house) Bolg's familiar arrive and come to the same conclusion. Oblivious to to the adage concerning curiosity and cats, Analicia lobs the familiar over the 12 foot high wall and into the privy, resulting in loud reprimands and curses, and the door flying open to reveal...

...the elderly woman with the pendulous breasts, and a somewhat younger (though still mature in years) gladiator-type! the warrior begins cursing, before the smiling woman returns Bolg's familiar, exiting the bathroom.

"I'm finished, thank you Gothrug, I'll leave your money with the receptionist."

Gothrug pushes the door shut, and the old woman makes her way to the adjoining female washroom. After a few moments, Analicia follows, finding a washroom with a door leading to the baths she saw on the previous night.

An interrogation of Antha proves surprisingly fruitful: the attendant seemsnot remotely suspicious that they were on the look-out for Kharzan, their "friend", with whom they planned to celebrate his birthday. Smiling, she directs them to the door of a private room, but warns he will also be with another "friend" for an hour at least. After Antha wanders off, the party draw the attention one of the guards, who seems somewhat suspicious. They make their excuses and wander into the communal cold baths, within which they discover one Mamaroon the silk merchant.

"Welcome! Won't you join me in this delightfully cold bath?"

Aside from a silken turban upon his head, Mamaroon is entirely naked.

Taking a shine to his foreign guests, who reluctantly join him in the cold waters, Mamaroon explains his business (silk) and his proposition (smuggling silk worms back to the north). The party say they need some time to mull it over, before casually exiting through the usually locked staff door in the north wall.

The party wandered the halls until they find what they are really after: an unattended cloakroom! Analicia gleefully rifles through the coats, cloaks and robes of the bath house's patrons, retrieving the princely sum of twelve silvers!

Sadly, the party is interrupted just as Analicia begins to don a staff uniform (blue bath robe).

"Umm... what are you doing?"

The receptionist had appeared and, dissatisfied with the party's response, slowly edges her way to the door before cheesing it out as though she were the thief. The party immediately flees, but only so far as the cold baths: the three decide to argue over what to do next for so long that the receptionist returns with an armed guard. Protesting their innocence, and refusing to return the stolen money (which Analicia had thrown into the bath), the guard then calls for back up. He exits the room and a large gong is beaten repeatedly, reverberating throughout the bath house. Analica retrieves the coins from the bath tub; a smiling Mamaroon informs her that his offer is withdrawn.

The party pile out through the bath house and into the street, bereft of their clothing, and being pursued by a pair of angry guards.

Things are not going well for them...

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