Iron Gods

The Makul assassination

Having infiltrated the palace and met with the Queen-consort, the party considered their next move. Whatever they did would have to be done without Elron, since the Mockery required his assistance elsewhere. There was still much to do before healing the Black Sovereign. For now, the party focused on the goal of killing Tek Makul. Makul was captain of the palace guards, and known to be a plant for the Technic League. Removing him would do a great deal to hinder the League's influence within the palace.

Makul was known to patrol around the palace while accompanied by a squad of robotic gearsmen. Shecks, Ghartok, and Rob planned to attack him in the public section of the palace. The party purchased several magical items in preparation for this and later missions, including scrolls of Heal and potions of gaseous form. Shecks elected not to trust Rob with the potions for the moment and instead distributed them between himself and the gnoll. Shecks magically silenced Ghartok's gun, turned his companions invisible, and sent them to opposite ends of a four way intersection that Makul had to pass through while he kept watch by posing as a normal bard. A pair of hill giants stood watch, generally failing to notice anything suspicious.

The party took their places just in time. Clanking steps announced the arrival of Makul and his guards. Right before Makul entered, Shecks used his magic to dominate one of the giant guards and tell him to hold a plastic ball as a "reward for being such a good guard". Makul walked right past the giants, through the room, and into the killzone. Ghartok opened the battle by firing a wave of shots, one for each target. Almost everyone hit, including Makul, was unable to speak above a whisper. Rob followed up by running forward and slicing at Makul with a knife. Shecks then sealed off the fight from any more interference by telling his dominated minion to go to the doorway and press the activation button on the ball. It expanded into an emergency shelter, muffling the sounds of battle further. The other giant spent his last few moments of free thought on being confused by his freind's behavior until Shecks took control of his mind too. Makul gave himself a set of mirror images to cover his escape down the hall, which Ghartok promptly shot. For their part, the robots snapped into an organized formation and advanced on the assassins. Ghartok and Rob struggled to fight back. Without Elron or either of the Lunas, they had nobody suited to a close melee like this. Ghartok's guns were as much of a liability as a help at this distance, while Rob's skills were suited toward ambushes and sneaky backstabbing rather than an extended brawl.

Makul extricated himself from the melee and ran to the end of the hallway. This was when he made his fatal mistake. Makul turned around and used his set of custom-built bombs to attack the party instead of escaping. The delay gave Ghartok the chance to line up shots. Makul fell, rapidly bleeding out with five holes burned through his chest. However, the robots continued to fight without him. Shecks entered the hall under cover of invisibility after ordering the giants to shut down his makeshift barricade and instead hold the door themselves. Shecks ran over to Makul and began searching him for valuables. Meanwhile, the gearsmen deployed their deadliest weapon. One of them extended a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and blasted Ghartok and Rob. Between that and the continual punches from the others, Ghartok was nearly killed. Rob saved his life with a Heal scroll and Ghartok repaid him by taking down a gearsman with a string of gunshots. The fallen gearsman was almost immediately replaced by four more from elsewhere in the palace. Rocket launchers were clearly visible on their shoulders. Victory was long since impossible, and the retreat began. Ghartok was able to escape with a potion of gaseous form after waiting a moment for Rob to grab one. Right after Ghartok escaped through cracks in the walls, the entire area around Rob erupted in flame from four rockets at once. Rob leapt under the fallen gearsman to use it as a shield. If he had been a moment slower or a bit weaker, there would have been nothing left of him but ashes. As it was, Rob was left barely alive by the explosion. He was just alive enough to drink his potion and disappear on the wind through the massive hole newly created in the palace wall.

The robots then turned their attention to the corpse of their master as he wiggled and slowly vanished from the legs up, almost as if an invisible gnome were trying to shove him into a portable hole. They were quickly persuaded to put their concerns and rocket launchers to rest when Shecks grabbed Makul's head and used him like a puppet to tell the robots that he was still alive and merely teleporting to safety in a oddly slow manner. Amazingly, this somehow worked and Shecks was able to escape.

Later, as the party was at their safehouse carefully skinning Makul to extract his expensive cybernetic armor, Rob got a call from the party's mysterious ally. She praised the party for killing Makul, although adding that they could have been a bit more subtle about it. Shecks and Rob seemed to deal with the call better this time, barely even fighting over the earpiece.

Perhaps they were simply in a good mood from remembering that Shecks hadn't bothered to tell the giants to ever stop holding the door, and the spell should last about two weeks.



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