The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules

Meeting

It was a difficult task to get the entirety of the Enforcers together, but Gorzak was up to it. He had done difficult things before. There was that incident with the ‘Lethi a few months back, for instance. Six dead, and not one of them an Enforcer or one of Kraleth’s sulfuric servants to show for it. All unaffiliated parties. Of course, the fight hadn’t been the hard part, nor was pulling himself into an old section of the fort and sleeping it off with half his blood splattered over upper Kelasho. Nah, the miserable part was being hauled out to Brise in that state and asked why a Researcher had been among those killed. Six dead in his district and only one gets so much as a question. They hadn’t liked his answer, either.

“I mean, statistically speaking,” he had said, “it’s a surprise none of them had died yet.”

Yeah, they hadn’t liked that. They put that blood back in him and sent him home with a new Rule. Gorzak didn’t like people telling him what the Rules would be, but he supposed, upon introspection, that it was inevitable that Brise would start to get opinions. They always did, on and off. In practice “Nobody touches Researchers.” was a Rule that needed little Enforcing. There weren’t many around to touch. Still, arguing with his employers was not something Gorzak liked to do. The Dreamer was intense, demanding, and all the while managed to make the massive orc feel like he was ignorant.

Well, ignorant to a degree he was uncomfortable with. Gorzak was content with a certain amount of ignorance.

What had he been doing?

Gorzak’s higher brain functions, suspended briefly as they worked on another task (he recognized it was somewhat of a failing that he could only handle a single task at a time, but figured it had been enough so far), reasserted themselves. He looked around. A great deal of people were watching him. Gorzak almost glowered at them, until he remembered that he had asked them to be here. Clearing his throat, which didn’t help with his accent but seemed somehow appropriate, Gorzak leaned back to address his Enforcers.

“Okay, shut up.” he said. It was time to be a leader, and that meant they had to be quiet.

The silence wasn’t immediate, but it was brisk at least. Only Enforcer Deegan chattered on, but a gold coin thrown with sufficient spin and at the right angle can get anyone to pay attention. When they finally settled down, Gorzak had the opportunity to look out over his Enforcers.

Six contingents, for eighteen floors of Kelasho. Gorzak only really thought of them in terms of their leaders. It helped to not have too many names and faces to remember, but he surprised himself by managing to remember exactly that more frequently than not. Melo, Nachrus, Telast, Rel, Mondor and Percival. The Enforcers themselves were a fair slice of humans and half-orcs, a few purebloods thrown in there, and a requisite handful of short things.

He really needed to figure out the difference between gnomes and halflings one of these days. They all wore boots nowadays, so it was impossible to go by the whole hairy-foot thing.

Gorzak had chosen to address the Enforcers from one of the empty shipping crates now that the drop that had just taken place was cleared out. Though the Govak had been forward about their intentions to gain territorial if not direct control over the drops, this one, nestled in the corner of the sixth floor, was still fairly safe. The Blue Glass boys that had been loitering around after the drop were probably unhappy to see the Enforcers arrive. When the entire contingent for the district showed up, they had exited fairly quickly. Gorzak only made a show of yelling at them. They left their shipment of bottles behind, of course, all full. Well, significantly less full now that the Enforcers had gotten into them. The room had the good cheer that most people would associate with the early stages of a party, but there wasn’t enough booze for any of that. Also it would be inappropriate. But mostly there wasn’t enough booze.

It occurred to Gorzak that may be the only thing that was stopping most of the Enforcers. Also they were watching him. Well, it was his Clan, time to get to work.

“A’ight, I’ve been working to keep you all appraised of what we’re dealing with out there. Can’t get to every floor every day, and I know y’all don’t talk to each other because if you did you’d be in the wrong territory, so I’mma try to summarize what the district looks like, uh…strategically.”

Gorzak titled his head to glance at the ceiling briefly, stroking the stubble that grew on his face, thickest around his small tusks. Nobody told Gorzak that his tusks were small, mind you. Mostly because his arms were not.

“The uh, pressure that many of you have been dealing with, especially ‘round Govak territory has a source, and unfortunately it’s one I can’t just go step on because if I could, I would. So here’s what we’re looking at. The Greater Clans have gone and allied again.” he said, raising his voice to start and then dropping it back down when the echo came back. Gorzak was not a public speaker. Well, by profession, at the moment he was.

Groans echoed throughout the assembled enforcers, and hands were raised in the air and lowered in bursts of exasperation. Gorzak did note that Percvial’s contingent seemed more surprised by this than the rest of them. Weird. They were the ones that really caught onto it. Or maybe it was the word ‘again’?

“We haven’t actually identified the problem players this time, though. We’re looking at a few suspects. Vethen, the Govak seneschal has been thrown around a lot, and I don’t think anyone’s gotten in to speak with Seindruc yet?”

Plenty of shaking heads met the question in response. Also a few bewildered gazes, probably from those not familiar with the Govak warlord.

“Well, given they’re the ones that seem to be leading things this time around, they’re the first lot we’re going to go talk to. I’ll be heading over there tomorrow.” Gorzak explained, rubbing the back of one of his hairy forearms across his face, momentarily introspective, he added “I don’t think I’m going to like whatever he has to say. Which is where you lot come in. We’re overdue for a sweep.”

The prospect seemed to excite some of the Enforcers, especially some of those that hadn’t seen a sweep before. Old hands, though, were less thrilled. A street sweep had never been performed, in anyone’s knowledge, without the loss of an Enforcer. The clan’s legends said that the specialist that Brise sent to train the first generation of Enforcers pioneered the tactic, which involved sweeping through a clan’s territory with speed, force, and very little mercy. If a clan was hiding something, or needed to be reminded that Criminals did not prosper in Kelasho, a sweep would flush it out or remind them.

Always seemed to get someone killed, though. Still, things seemed iffy enough to justify it.

“Let’s figure out how we’re going to go about this.” Gorzak said, and the contingent leaders began to speak up.

Which was good, because he didn’t really have a plan to offer.

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Zeral

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