They found the cargo containers exactly where they were supposed to be. In a dark shadowy corner of the metal yard away from any main traffic routes. T’kk’tck watched the area for half an hour as the sun set and then moved up to the nearest box. Unlocking the padlock on the outside, he swung the doors open and grinned at the men packed tightly inside.
“Enjoy the ride?”
They cussed good naturedly at him and started to exit. The other boxes opened just as easily. The noise from the nearby forges covered the sounds of Clip and Clop’s boilers heating up and steam bringing their mecharcane brains into awareness. They stomped out and gave a scan of the area.
T’kk’tck waved his squad leaders over to him and pulling out a slow burning match gave light to a small hand held map.
“Alright boys, here we go. Like we mentioned in the planning meeting yesterday. Third squad, you take clop and position over here. You should have a good view of any guard wagons approaching with small cannon. Sic Clop on them. Second, I want you up here where the hill to the train tracks is. You’ll be able to cut down any troops from the wall towers that try and cut us off. Clip will be with you. Kelpy’s first mate will use the Essential’s guns to provide cover from harbor ships or soldiers from the fort. Remember, loiter nonthreateningly until you hear a fight start. If you are engaged hold if you can but head for the ship if you think you’ll be overrun or out maneuvered. Fire a green flare if you’re leaving me so I’ll know to bug out.”
The respective squad leaders nodded and moved out to put their troops and war machines into position.
“First you’re with me. Alpha you’ll go to the hotel and rent a room on the top floor. Then move up to the roof. Get in place and keep watch over the square. Bravo, set up in the alley by the stables. Stay low profile but be ready to rush in if you hear fighting. We’ll try and exit through the cobbler’s entrance to the temple. Kelpy, let’s go find ourselves something crazy.”
She grinned at him. Her stone cat shook its head and started off down the street.
The streets were quiet for the most part. Safe city streets usually were. A few guards patrolled, but for the most part they just carried truncheons and whistles. The main heft of the cities policing was done by these lightly armed police. The wall soldiers would send backup if the whistles were blown but they usually took five to ten minutes to arrive in force. Until they arrived all that would be trouble makers would have to deal with would be small groups of two or three guards. No guns, no mages.
T’kk’tck was counting on that.
The main doors to the temple were wide open, spilling light into the street and lightly packed with last minute supplicants, praying for miracles, health for the ailing, blessings for the morrow, things of that sort.
T’kk’tck’s little party made their way across the square as if they were headed to the residential areas on the far side. As they closed by the side doors of the Temple they were caught in the shadow where the light from the front was cut off by the corner of the building. As soon as they all were encased in darkness they turned straight towards the locked cobbler door. T’kk’tck pulled a wand and ran it over the door.
“No magic traps.”
Kelpy giggled at that. D’ng just shook her head silently and stepped up to the door. Quiet scraping sounds accompanied her inspection before she knelt. Pulling out a thin set of lock picks she went to work on the lock. As she worked she applied oils deftly when the lock eventually clicked open it did so with almost no sound at all. She gently pushed the door open and they were in.
<I can already feel it. The wrongness. It’s upstairs somewhere.>
She pointed towards a darkened stairwell as T’kk’tck heard her mental sending.
<This must be what that grog feels like to you. Only I didn’t have to act stupid to get this pain.>
He rolled his eyes at her joke and took point. D’ng followed close behind with Kelpy and the stone cat slipped into a corner to stand guard over their exit.
As they moved up the stairs and through the silent halls, D’ng guided him with mental directions. There were no acolytes moving around. Their intelligence from Kelpy had been solid on that front, most of the temple staff were at the fortress overlooking the city for a consecration ceremony.
On the third floor he stopped to take time to find a window. Once there he drew a rune with an onion juice concoction on the wall outside. It was a handy trick. He’d taken time to enchant spectacles for each of his squad leaders. They were designed to search for onions. That rune would show up like daylight to the squad but shouldn’t stick out, not even to mages scanning the building. Holding up his own pair of spectacles he saw Bravo’s response and then looked for Alpha’s. A bonfire like glow lit the hotel ground floor.
Someone had parked a cart full of, yes, onions. That whole building was useless.
Ah! But they had noticed that and moved over a few roofs. Their symbol shined three down from a chimney. Everything was peachy so far. In the building and undetected. He whispered back to Kelpy and D’ng.
“Everyone’s in place. Let’s get on with it.”
And then an unfamiliar voice asked clear as crystal:
“Get on with what exactly?”