Episode 4 – Welcome to Nexus

After carefully moving through the Underworld, Carlos, Maximoff, Marik, and Harlock made it to an exit that spat them out in the city of Nexus. Unfortunately, before they could really do anything else they had to move through customs. While stuck in line, they spotted Bravo also in customs also trying to enter the city. He showed the rest of the party a small discus shaped artifact that he took from Rathess. Carlos tried to examine it, but couldn’t figure it out. They proceeded through customs and waiting for one of them specifically on the other side were Marik’s minions. Marik gave them some orders before setting out to do stuff with the party.

Carlos headed to his great uncle Esteban’s house to say hi before joining Marik and Maximoff who were headed for the city’s underground markets. Harlock went to the regular markets to buy some new equipment, he was quite pleased to find some firedust grenades. Bravo went to the house where his younger sister lives to check in on her. She wasn’t home, but the house was suspicously cleaned up and her umbrella was still by the door despite the fact that she never leaves home without it in this season. He suspected she might be in danger and went to find Harlock.

Bravo found Harlock still hanging around the market and asked him to help him. Using his keen sense of smell, Harlock lead Bravo to the west side of the city where the harbor and wearhouses were. Harlock was lead far from the main street to a ordinary looking wearhouse. He used his familiar to scout around the area and saw a man sitting on the roof staring back at his bird. Bravo climbed onto the roof to confront this man. This man was wearing a white mask with long brown hair, he claimed to have kidnapped Bravo’s. If he wanted her back he would have to return what he had stolen, the artifact he took from Rathess. He told Bravo to return here at midnight with the artifact to make the exchange. Harlock tried to find further trace of the smell, but the trail had ended at the wearhouse as though something was blocking him. Bravo left to find Carlos who still had the stolen artifact.

Meanwhile, Carlos, Maximoff, and Marik were attempting to find the cities underground markets. They started by trying to interrogate a shifty looking ferryman into taking them there. But he denied such a place existed until Carlos slipped him a bit of coin and berated his companions for not understanding how these things work. The ferryman took them to a more shady part of town and directed them to the back room of a restuarant there. While Marik browsed a catalogue of artifact weapons he couldn’t afford, Carlos asked to see an appraiser to have the discus examined. The appraiser told him that it was a rather odd artifact and although it didn’t do anything on its own, it was meant to be used in conjunction with another artifact and judging by the detail in its design a rather large one. Satisfied with this information, Carlos and company returned to his uncle’s home.

Bravo and Harlock ran into Marik, Maximoff, and Carlos outside of Uncle Esteban’s house. Carlos decided to have Esteban take a look at the artifact. With his years of experience, Esteban was able to tell Carlos that it was an artifact meant for disrupting the functions of a Warstrider and judging from the Soulsteel core in it, it was meant to be used on a Soulsteel Warstrider. Esteban found that odd since those were not often seen and the only one he knew of was one stored in Lookshy.

With night falling Bravo tried to negotiate with Carlos to get the artifact to trade for his sister. Carlos wasn’t willing to part with it, but agreed to help rescue her. Bravo proceeded back to the warehouse at the appointed time with the rest of the party following him from behind. Carlos and Marik stayed out of sight near the warehouse door and Harlock waited on a nearby roof looking in from a window. Bravo went in through the front door with Maximoff who had Blinded the Boar. Inside were five people, two dragonkings, one small and one large, a woman in robes towards the back and the masked man who he talked earlier who was now with his sister. Bravo engaged the masked man who named himself Balrog in banter trying to get more information and distract him.

Waiting on an nearby roof, Harlock had been observing and waiting for this Balrog to relax his guard. He saw his moment and activated Instinct Driven Beast Movement several times. He took a running start and charged off the roof and leapt through the window at Balrog. He landed in front of him, grabbed Bravo’s sister and left a bomb in his place when he dashed away. The bomb exploded and threw Balrog into the back of the warehouse and Bravo charged after him and began to maim him. Balrog took the first two attacks, but used his Gauntlet of Distant Claws to pull himself away to dodge. Harlock took advantage of Bravo’s sudden charge to hustle his sister out of the warehouse and to safety. Marik stayed outside to activate a charm to make two chains made of bone sprout from his body and Carlos shot an ineffectual arrow at the large dragonking. Maximoff still hidden from fate shot the woman in the back with his laser beams. The woman in the back drew several needles from her robe and threw them at Bravo. The needles moved unnaturally as they tried to strike him, he dodged but they still managed to scratch him. The skinny dragonking pulled a revolver from his belt and scorched Carlos with a stream of fire, and the larger one drew a large club and commanded the earth around him to armor himself. Bravo then chased after Balrog and dropped him with another slash of his claws while Maximoff blasted the woman with another heat blast.

Harlock couldn’t decide who to attack in this chaotic melee, so he decided to attack all of them. He dashed into the center of the room, took as many firedust bombs from his cloak as he could hold. He planted one foot firmly in the ground, spun rapidly around, and tossed bombs all around the room damaging both enemies and allies alike. No one but Bravo and Marik, who were still outside, were safe and the woman with the needles fell. Carlos knocked another arrow and shot the gunner who retaliated with another stream of fire. Marik had grown tired of watching people fight around him and steal kills he could have had. He used his two bone chains to strike the gunner and dropped him, but not without getting burned by counterattacks.

All that was left was the large dragonking who was covered in armor of stone. He made a mighty downward swing glancing off of Harlock and making a large crater around him. The party concentrated their attacks on the final foe. Marik tripped him with his bone chain, Bravo blinded him with frost breath from his warform, Maximoff and Carlos shot him with lasers and arrows, and Harlock finished him off with a large bomb.

Bravo checked on his sister to make sure she okay and then he took her to see some of his contacts so she could be placed under protection to prevent this from happening again. Marik took Balrog’s mask and head, as his prize and began interrogating the dead soul. Balrog came here under orders from Chulainn and that an ally by the name of Katanashi had tracked the party here. Before the party looked for an inn for he night, Maximoff got a message from his boss, a powerful Sidereal from Gold Faction had entered the city, be careful.