The Firestarter hadn’t accompanied them in the end, much to Cassandra’s well-disguised relief, instead mumbling something about Union investigations before slouching off, gas can in one hand and lit cigar in the other with a distinctly hazardous proximity. However, the support she’d mentioned was there to make up the numbers. Fully eight feet tall and all gleaming brass and metal, the Arcane Emissary burned with a crackling electric fire that – to Cassandra’s eyes – seemed to be begging to be unleashed.
Their first destination had been the town of Highlonsome, a long-abandoned frontier town. The settlement had been erected some years back but hadn’t lasted long against the harsh nature of Malifaux, being overrun in a matter of months. To this day no-one knew what had slaughtered its inhabitants, but its ruined buildings served well enough as a cache for the Arcanists. One of Cassandra’s informants had told her of a big drop-off happening out at Highlonsome, and it seemed as good a place as any to start.
Upon getting there, though, they’d found Hihglonsome to be less deserted than expected. The village was swarming with Gremlins, interspersed with bad-tempered piglets the Gremlins were just about managing to keep under control. That had all changed the minute they’d been spotted, as crude guns were drawn and the diminutive creatures looked set to make a fight of it. Sighing to herself, Cassandra drew her sabre, picking out the largest Gremlin in the poncho and hat as the leader of the group. Unlikely, she mused to herself, but it’s probably worth asking a few questions anyway…
* * *
Cassandra ducked to one side as the Gremlin swung a banjo (a banjo, of all things!) at her, the improvised weapon smashing into the cobblestones with a sound like a Rail Golem falling over into a bandstand. Pirouetting to one side, she thrust her sabre through the little creature, pinning it to the ground. To her left, the Emissary was being swarmed by small pink piglets, the little creatures apparently being ‘encouraged’ by a bearded Gremlin with a long, pointed stick. The Emissary seemed to be putting up a good fight, at least, which was more than could be said of Amberley’s Mannequin. The construct had taken two full loads of buckshot in the chest, and the delicate dress it wore was shredded and torn, revealing the now-damaged clockwork body beneath. Despite the punishment it had taken it was still standing, though one set of arm blades seemed to have jammed and it was noticeably limping. Grasping her sabre in determination, Cassandra leapt towards the next group of Gremlins.
* * *
Well, that could have been worse, Cassandra decided. They hadn’t lost anyone, though the surviving Gremlins had managed to make off with Amberley, delivering a crudely-written ransom note that Cassandra had paid to secure her release. Her Mannequin seemed to have recovered, and the Emissary’s metallic body had healed as though it had never been hurt. Amberley was still looking a little shaken from her ordeal, but Colette picked her girls well, and Cassandra knew she’d be ready to continue.
She’d been able to get enough from the Gremlin leader to learn that they hadn’t encountered any humans before Cassandra and her group arrived, instead being intent on looting the cache of weapons they’d expected to find. Cassandra silently suspected that their frustration at finding anti-Guild newspapers rather than weapons may have contributed to their aggressive actions. Still, she had a good idea of where to head next. Finding Colette will be a lot easier via an information broker rather than just running around Malifaux like a headless Silurid, she thought, and I know just the broker to talk to.
* * *
After all that deliberating last week, I went for a rather different starting Arsenal instead:
The first game was good fun, with Cassandra cutting her way through Gremlins while the Emissary found itself mugged (and nearly taken out by!) piglets. I did pretty well in terms of scrip, and managed to avoid having to flip for any injuries after the game. Joining my search party are two Coryphee, as well as Cassandra’s unique upgrade Smoke & Mirrors. Next time sees my showgirls up against the might of the Ten Thunders clan, so hope to see you again when I report how that goes in a couple of weeks!
And finally, I realised I haven’t been putting up many shots of my painting recently despite how much I’ve been getting through, so here’s Cassandra herself. I’m pretty pleased with how her face turned out :)