Josiah's Parlour

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You have been cordially invited, through underworld channels, to a meeting of the greatest criminal talent in the City.  The legendary Josiah Webb has returned, and promises to make you rich and successful beyond your wildest criminal dreams.  Only gentlemen and -women need apply.

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The rumours have been spreading for weeks now.  From the highest office of corporate pirates to the lowliest back alley dice game, everyone in the criminal underworld of the City has heard the news.  Josiah Webb, legendarily criminal mastermind, has returned to the City, and he's actively recruiting for a better class of criminal.

Whether you're an independant crook, an undercover lawman, or an agent of the dreaded Rosa Nero, you have recieved your invitation through your criminal contacts.  A place and a time - this place, and tonight - and a promise that you will form the backbone of a new, enriching criminal enterprise.  "Only gentlemen and -women need apply," the invitation read, but whether that description fits you or not, this promises to be an opportunity no criminal can afford to miss.

Josiah's Parlour would be impossible to find without directions.  In the Smoke Canton, in an alley running between disused warehouses, you are met by a servant, impeccably dressed in tails and tie but rocky face of scars and hard living.  This brutish butler studies you carefully before opening a locked hatch set into the stone wall, and leading you down a long, twisting flight of stairs through dark mazeworks, illuminated only by the thuggish servant's flashlight.  At the base of the stairs, he pushes open a massive hatchway, and gestures you in.  "Mister Webb will be with you shortly," he mumbles through crooked teeth, and closes the heavy door behind you.

 

You are left in a lavishly appointed parlour.  Gorgeous and comfortable Georgian furniture occupies the room, all in gold-painted hardwood with plush blood-red cushions.  The walls are dark wood panels, filigreed with gold and silver, and several bookcases are neatly filled, though not one book seems less than a hundred years old.  An oversized globe in one corner is opened to reveal a fully stocked bar.  Everything is beautiful and luxurious, but for one unforgivable oversight, the spider webs that crouch in the high corners of the ceiling.

It seems you are expected to serve yourself, and socialize with the other guests before your mysterious host makes his entrance.

Steinway Smith got out the cab, paid for his ride, and tipped his road guide.  He had gotten here in a reasonably quick time from the Night Canton.  As a bonus, she was a pretty girl with dark hair that had purple highlights.  Yeah, he'd be using her service again.

Out on the street, he fished out his pack of smokes and lit up.  Taking the time to try and case the joint before heading in.  Only seeing what Josiah Webb probably wanted him to see, which was nothing much, he headed inside.  He paused once more only to drop his cigarette and grind it out before the door.

He had no idea what Webb's interest in him were.  While he wasn't above blackmai- ahem, accepting reasonable compensation for his discretion; those people would only suffer humiliation otherwise and deserved to suffer a bit more for being such a waste of his time. Anyway, all in all, Steinway had a pretty upstanding reputation.  Maybe Webb needed something found.  After all, it's not illegal for a criminal to hire a private investigator.

Having to wait, he helped himself to the Scotch.  He had a passing thought that it might be poisoned in some manner, but with Scotch this good that'd be a sin.  He'd chance it either way.