The Leviathan Coast

Breaking the strike-breakers

Viola discovers the enriching pleasures of political terrorism

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I woke up on the morning of the 6th in a full pique. I had decided that my friends, while well-meaning in their ideals of “nonviolence” and “peaceful protest”, were painfully naive about the political limitations of such strategies. Nonviolence is great—-if the people in charge also fear that you could turn violent. When the threat of a little insurgent activism lurks behind the placid faces of the nonviolent, the powers that be are a little more willing to work with them to keep them nonviolent. While there’s clearly some what you might call “racially charged” fears of half-orcs getting violent, right now, I feel that the powers that be are complacent that the dock strikes will never truly be a threat and it’s only a matter of paying them off to work until this all dies down.

That, and I discovered this lovely cartoon from another plane of existence that someone left on a table downstairs.

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Convinced that targeted actions of terroristic violence will convince the lords and capitalists of Waterdeep that the Common Alliance meant business, I concocted a plan to disrupt the the initial attempts to break the dock strike. The Open Lord had announced that they were paying 10 gold to anyone who crossed the picket line to work that day. Well, what if that money never got to the scabs? The fact that the line was 40 deep when we got there—-which I will return to—-shows that the Common Alliance’s plan to pay 2 gold to anyone who refused to work was not going to work. A targeted act of violence to disrupt any attempt to pay scabs would, in my opinion, go much further than the nonviolent strategies concocted by Ges and Val, who are charmingly guileless, but perhaps lacking in the stony-eyed realism required to make this fight work in the long run.

And so I presented my plan to my companions at breakfast: We show up at the docks and steal the money they were going to use to pay off scabs. This would sow distrust in the Open Lord’s ability to keep his promises and discourage any further attempts to buy workers off. That it would also enrich us dramatically was a nice bonus, but certainly not my main goal here and I disliked some hints proffered around the table that it might be.

While I felt my arguments were sound, as I feared would happen, some of the more goody-two-shoes amongst my companions (cough Val) immediately started to express disgust. Sometimes I believe they are more worried about their personal honor than the success of this struggle. Ges, who has been spending a lot of time with Val, was also against it.

I was about to repeat my arguments about the value of targeted violence, when Carric dropped the bombshell: While he was all for stealing this money, he had learned, at the party, that the Common Alliance was a front for a larger plot to blow Waterdeep off the map completely. They had killed or kidnapped the Blackstaff and were going to do something awful to get the rest of us.

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Well, that was unexpected.

His buddy Rydell was working with Garlan Arundel to destroy Waterdeep, which they believe to be too debauched and corrupt to continue existing. And while Carric didn’t know how they planned to do it, they were going to wipe Waterdeep completely off the map through an act of what they imagined to be cleansing violence, but to the rest of us is just plain violence-violence.

Look, I realize I was just arguing for the value of violent protest. But that’s targeted violence, aimed at enriching myself putting the people in power on notice. I don’t truck with killing a million people and destroying a city to make some kind of point. A point that is dumb, no less: The debauchery of Waterdeep is what makes it so awesome.

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So no, I am not down with this plan and I will do what I can to help stop it—-thought if push comes to shove, I’m out of this city before it goes ka-boom. But in the meantime, we had some strike-breakers to rob.

Because Val and Xavi think they’re too good for the likes of us, they went to the Blackstaff Tower to, despite Carric’s objections, try to explain to the Moonstars and Larealra what kind of awful things were coming. But Clara and I were down with Carric’s argument that we should pretend to still support the Common Alliance—-hey, I think it can be wrested away from the corrupt conspirators and turned into a grassroots movement for justice. But either way, there was a bunch of money that I felt belonged way more to me than a bunch of picket line-crossing scabs. We talked Ges into joining and were on our way.

On the way, Ges stopped at the Temple of Lathander and learned that a red dragon egg had been smuggled into the city and was being kept at the City of the Dead, possibly to be turned into an undead dragon. (And destroy the city?) We put a pin in that, figuring we would have to wait for nightfall to go kill zombies and recover this dragon egg.

Once we got to the docks, we discovered both that the money was under heavy guard and that about 40 dock workers were lined up to get their 10 gold pieces. By heavy guard, I mean heavy: About 12 City Guard, 4 Eldritch knights, and some lady with a dragon hilt sword.

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Clara and Ges balked. I was confident we could do this, if we could distract the guards. Carric convinced Ges that we could, at least, get the dock workers away from the money. The plan they came up with was to have Ges rave about how the money was cursed and then to have Carric prove it by conjuring a couple of giant spiders to attack the line.

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The giant spiders certainly worked to bring the guards out to help quell the chaos of having a bunch of spiders running around biting people. But it wasn’t enough to reduce the protection around the money to a manageable size, so Carric and Clara started throwing Molotov cocktails at the building that held the money, hoping to scare the Eldritch knights away from it. That certainly caused them to run out the back door.

I was not about to let this booty go, so I insisted that we somehow try to get it away from these Eldritch knights. Clara then decided to announce who she was and argue that she and I were just there to help. The knights bought that line and we trotted along, with Ges and Carric hanging back, out of view. Once our party got to a secluded area, Carric then cast a spell to cause vines to grow up around everyone hauling the money. Two knights and Clara got entangled. Then he set the spiders on them.

For a moment, Clara and I pretended to be on the knights’ side, as long as they were trying to help Clara get free of her vines. But as soon as she was free, it was on. Clara and I, along with Carric’s spiders, started to attack the knights. Carric threw himself into the mix. Eventually, Ges, seeing the writing on the wall, joined the effort.

Carric, unfortunately, took most of the beating by the knights, mostly because they had no idea until late in the fray that Clara and I were even behind this. He was on his last legs, but he did manage to save himself by turning into a bear. It was awesome.

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While I had no intention of killing anyone when we started this caper, Clara panicked about these men remembering who she was, and so we ended up killing them all.

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It was a reminder of why I usually work alone and undercover. But this was such a big haul—-and such an important political moment, of course—-that I really did feel the need to enlist this help. Which lead to these deaths. That is unfortunate, but hey, it’s impossible to rewrite eons of economic injustice without spilling a little blood.

Just as long as we can avoid spilling the blood of all of Waterdeep, that is.

The profit from advancing the cause of the burgeoning labor movement: 300 gold pieces for me.

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I now have enough to buy that fancy cloak I’ve been eyeballing since we first got here. If I can live long enough to get it.

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