What with the release of Shifting Loyalties and its campaign system, I’ve organised a Malifaux campaign at my local club. Rather nicely we’ve got someone representing every faction, and the first game will be this week. I’ve gone with my beloved Arcanists (no surprises there!), and felt like a bit of a narrative touch was in order…
* * *
Cassandra thrust her sabre through the Performer, allowing herself a slight smile at the gasps of the crowd. The performer, a young woman called Amberley, did an admirable performance as she dropped to the floor, what appeared to be blood pooling around her and staining her dress. But just as the first few members of the audience started to rise from their seats, she vanished in an explosion of blue-tinted smoke, stepping out from behind the curtain of the top box, her dress immaculate. The crowd roared its approval, on their feet now not with outrage but with applause. As Amberley stepped back into the Star Theatre, Angelica’s voice rung out above the claps and cheers, announcing the next act.
Cassandra had stepped back into the wings, watching the show from the sidelines. She couldn’t see the audience from here, but could hear their cheers and applause as the showgirls danced across the stage. Above her, the ornate chronograph clicked twice, signalling the next act. Angelica’s voice rung out again.
‘And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The Star Theatre is proud to present the master magician of Malifaux, the spellbinding sorceress of the Star – Miss Colette Du Bois!’ At her words, the farthest curtain rose, brilliant white smoke billowing forth. Three intricate mechanical doves flew out of the smoke with a whirr of clockwork gears, and every man in the house found himself unconsciously holding his breath in anticipation. But, as the smoke cleared, all that was revealed was an empty stage. Where was she? Quizzically Angelica looked at Cassandra, whose face had taken on a worried look. Colette didn’t just miss shows. Cassandra glanced around before making a cutting motion with her hand to Angelica, and the curtain fell back into place. Cassandra hurriedly turned away into the depths of the Star to find her, as behind her Angelica addressed the audience. ‘We would crave your indulgence just a minute more, ladies and gentlemen, as we have a very special act this evening as our Coryphee dance with our performers! Yes, gentlemen, the blades will be bared tonight in this dance of death…’
* * *
The Star was empty now, the show-goers having departed in high spirits despite the absence of Colette. Cassandra, Angelica and the girls stood around a bulky contraption made from wood and brass, delivered by Ramos’s hulking henchman a few weeks ago. He’d called it an ‘TransVox’, allowing people to communicate over great distances. Cassandra had seen Colette use it a few times before, and as soon as the show was over she’d brought it out to the auditorium and fired it up.
Ramos’s voice came through tinny over the TransVox, though Cassandra could still hear its usual authoritative, unemotional tones. ‘No, I haven’t been in contact with Miss Du Bois.’ He paused. ‘She is an important part of our organisation. It is imperative that you find her, and quickly. I’ve tasked one of our more… pyrotechnically-gifted members to assist you.’ Cassandra glanced across at the newcomer – a man who’d only introduced himself as ‘Firestarter’, a scarred and wild-haired figure who was sitting on the edge of the stage with a complete lack of interest, idly snapping his fingers and creating tiny puffs of flame with each click. She turned back to the vox as Ramos spoke again. ‘I trust that this matter will be resolved quickly.’ The vox went dead.
Cassandra was more irked than she would care to admit by Ramos’s callous approach; talking about Colette as though she was nothing more than a cog in one of his infernal machines. She was too professional to let it show, though, keeping a composed mask through long years of practice at disassembling her true emotions. She turned to the assembled girls, taking in their worried faces. ‘I know. None of us expected this, but it’s happened, and all that matters now is finding Colette. And that’s what we’re going to do. Angelica, you stay here and look after the Star. Daphne, Josephine, you stay too. Amberley, you’re coming with me. As are you, apparently’ she said to the Firestarter. To his credit he looked up at her, though his only response was a lazy shrug.
‘Where will you start?’ asked Daphne, looking at her.
‘You’ll need some more support’ Angelica cautioned. ‘We all saw the Governor’s mansion – things are worse than ever out there. The Guild’s getting pushed back, and the Resurrectionists are getting stronger and stronger.’ Cassandra smiled in reply.
‘Oh, I’ve got something in mind. Trust me.’
* * *
Cassandra (Arcane Reservoir)
For my last few scrip, I’m torn between the Arcane Emissary for a solid, hard-hitting model, or a Coryphee and Mannequin for added scheme marker shennanigans.
Hopefully that will be diverse enough to deal with the first game, and from then I can go on to hire more models to bulk up the arsenal. I really wanted to take the Mechanical Rider, what with Colette’s love of clockwork horses, but it seems like it’d be really broken in such small games and I’d rather the campaign was fun for everyone.
With regards to my hopes for the arsenal, I’d like to try and stay around the theme of Cassandra leading the showgirls in search of Colette with some M&SU support being delegated to them by Ramos. The first game will be against Gremlins, and the weekly event is chain gang, so I’ll get a report up next week.