The crew discussed their approach to the apothecary. Should they talk to her or sneak in and have a look around? Should they use the password they obtained from the assassin? What do they want to achieve by talking? Is this just a power play by Tessa? Should they just send one or two of them? Do they let Jiim do the talking? All points discussed in great length. Eventually they decided that conversation should be their first course of action, and with that Bennett decided to pose as a customer wishing to purchase something. But he found the store locked. Knocking at the door was greeted with a firm “We’re closed”, however Bennett stated that he wishes to purchase two pounds of powdered bark, and a few seconds later the sound of bolts being retracted were heard and the door was opened.
Two guards greeted the crew and beckoned them in, leading them through the shop into the back to a well-appointed waiting room. One of the guards stayed with them and asked them to wait, whilst the other headed off to fetch the owner. A few minutes later, Zariska Galembar, a dark-skinned lady, entered the room and joined them.
Bennett greeted her with a cheery “Buenos Dias”, in a feeble attempt to trap her, but she merely looked bemused and responded with a cheery “Good day. How can I help you?” It was at this point that the lack of an agreed approach to their questioning became apparent. Jiim took the lead, largely due to the complete lack of input from any of his colleagues. The Dutch not being renowned for their diplomatic skills, Jiim took the blunt approach:
“Let’s cut to the chase, we want to know what you are doing”
Zariska was somewhat taken aback “I beg your pardon? I’m running a business.”
“We know that you hired an assassin called Giles Halmis to kill spies. What’s going on?”
“I have never heard that name before. Now, unless you are here to make a transaction, I would kindly ask you to leave” she replied, unsurprisingly getting annoyed.
And with that, the crew couldn’t think of a retort and were escorted out by the guards, the door locked once more behind them. Leaving Manuel to surreptitiously keep the place under surveillance and report any unusual comings and goings, the rest did what all pirates would, and headed to the nearest tavern for some food and drink.
Manuel kept an eye on the apothecary from the shadows for the whole morning, and did not witness anyone enter or leave the store. Reporting this back to the crew in the pub at lunchtime, he was promptly sent back to watch for the remainder of the afternoon, while the rest of the crew made themselves even more comfortable and ordered another round of drinks.
After dark, the crew returned to the apothecary and quickly scouted it out, including the chimney on the top deck, but they found that this had an iron grate across it and could not be used as a means of entry. It would seem that the only way in was through the locked door. Monroe and Tregellan acquired clubs, not wishing to needlessly kill people should it come to that once inside. Eventually Jiim expertly picked the lock, and him, Manuel and Robert snuck inside.
Manuel heard voices coming from the room to the east of the shop, which sounded like men playing cards. The three of them snuck past to the south, down the corridor and proceeded to explore the back of the apothecary; a series of store rooms, workshops etc. Only the faint sound could be heard of bickering voices in the street as Anton and Leonard argued whether it should be called ‘Pestle and Mortar’ or ‘Mortar and Pestle’.
Arriving once more at a locked door at the back of the building leading further in, the scouting party decided to return to the front of the shop and fetch Tregellan and Bennett before going any further. Manuel and deJong snuck over to the door of the guardroom, but as Monroe made his way across the shop floor, the scent of herbs and spices proved too much for him, and he let off a sneeze. One of the guards opened the door to investigate, to be met with Jiim clubbing him with the butt of his musket. The guard avoided the blow and tried to land a hit of his own with his longsword, which Jiin nonchalantly batted away. Manuel grabbed him from behind and put his hand over his mouth, and Monroe ran up and clubbed him unconscious. The other guard, now yelling ‘Intruders!’ attempted to come to his comrade’s aid. Jiim flicked his musket over and pointed the business end of it at the guard’s face, but before he could even surrender, Manuel had knocked him out cold with a well aimed punch to the jaw. The two guards were then bound and gagged.
Heading down to the locked door, Manuel this time picked the lock and peered in, but awaiting him were two further guards at the end of the corridor with muskets levelled. They fired, but both missed their mark as Manuel was covered by the door. Jiim moved up and fired in return, stunning one, as Anton also ran in yelling “Tell the mistress of the house that Anton Tregellan of the War Pig is here!” One guard stabbed out with his bayonet at Manuel who was drawing his daggers, as the other took cover round the corner to reload. Bennett leapt in to Manuel’s aid with a well placed throwing knife that stuck firmly in his target’s eye socket. Monroe at this point decided that wielding clubs was probably no longer necessary, and drew his blades. The Spaniard ran up to the corner and stunned the reloading guard, and Bennett finished him off with another well-thrown knife.
Heading further round the corridor, Anton peered round to see a staircase leading up with a solid wood-panelled bannister. On the stairs were two further guardsmen, covered by the bannister, who shot at Anton, but missed. Manuel ventured in through the coal store into the kitchen, and found a way around to beneath the stairs without the guards being able to see him. Borrowing a grenade from Tregellan, he moved to beneath where the guards were placed, and just as Jiim was wielding a pillow on the end of his bayonet round the corner to distract them, the grenade was thrown with pinpoint accuracy, blowing both guards to bits.
The crew headed upstairs, and Manuel opened a set of double doors to find a former dining room, which had a couple of large holes in the south wall. Looking round past one of these holes, he was surprised to find a large white tiger prowling around the room, what looked to be a former library. He hurled one of his daggers at it, scratching it, and ran back, closing the door behind him. Tregellan meanwhile looked into the room to the south, to find Zariska in her laboratory. She started to run away to the west, and as Anton gave chase, he was confronted by the tiger who had doubled back. Tregellan was clearly momentarily distracted by the thought of all the wonderful accessories that could be crafted from this creature’s fabulous pelt, that he failed to defend himself properly and the tiger mauled him.
Bennett and Manuel both hurled knives at the beast, both hitting and wounding it, as Zariska continued to flee. Manuel finally finished the beast off, and Bennett gave chase to the apothecary as she disappeared into the next room. As he opened the door, he spotted a ladder being lifted up through a hole in the ceiling, as the captain was busy laying claim to the tiger skin.
Beckoning their captain away from his prize, Manuel and Bennett proposed boosting Tregellan up through the hole to give chase to the apothecary, whilst Monroe and Jiim engaged in a foot race round to the staircase up to block off her escape. As Tregellan was being lifted up, a small glass vial was hurled down through the hole onto the trio, breaking and spilling acid. Tregellan lithely leapt up through the hole escaping the blast, but the other two were stunned by it.
Zariska was waiting for Tregellan in the room above and lashed out with her dagger, catching him off guard and wounding him badly. The poison on her blade only added to his injury, and it was only thanks to the Cornishman’s hardy nature that he managed to stay on his feet. He in turn tried to push her back down through the hole, but she proved too strong.
Manuel showed his strength by boosting Lennie up through the hole single handedly so that he could join in the fray with Anton. Once up, Lennie kicked the ladder down through the hole for Manuel to come up and also join them, while Jiim and Robert continued their personal race to the stairs. Zariska, now faced with three opponents was starting to worry, as the three of them persistently tried and failed to disarm her of her poisoned dagger. As Robert and Jiim reach the top of the staircase, Manuel finally managed to knock the dagger out of her hand. A small click was heard and she dropped down dead.
Bennett expertly patched up Anton’s wounds, and then took the poisoned dagger for himself. Searching her body, they found an incriminating note. Written in invisible ink which Zariska had already unveiled, the note said “Silence is now key. Our plans will go into full force once our agent finishes his preparations. Destroy any remaining evidence, liquidate your network and sell your business. Report to the Duke of Seville for your next assignment.”
This would appear to be the proof that they were after for Tessa, and with a few accusatory glances towards Manuel, they prepared to deliver the news.