As the Five Finger Discount approaches Riverport, plumes of smoke are visibly rising. The party contact the Stellazzo by comms mirror and learn from Vito Stellazzo (no longer Panzo-Stellazzo, indicating that he has married into the family) that several days ago rioting broke out in the streets ahead of the rebels’ schedule when a Rose Knight by the name of Andrew Alderton (the party groan in unison) led an angry mob to a warehouse where the Stellazzo were stockpiling food.
When the Stellazzo forces restored order, they were split three ways about how to proceed, and the city is now deadlocked between three factions, each of whom control a portion of it. Vito Stellazzo wants Riverport to fully ally with the rebels; Roderigo Stellazzo (an old nemesis of Angela’s) wants Riverport to remain neutral, and Isabella Stellazzo wants to negotiate with the Empire now that Riverport is in a position of power.
Angela is confused as to why Papa Stellazzo hasn’t taken charge, and Vito is forced to confess a hard truth: that Papa is not well, and has not been well for several years. He has become senile in his old age; for the past few years, all of the instructions coming from ‘Papa’ have been filtered through his advisors.
As things stand, each faction controls about a third of the city and are gradually wearing one another down. If the situation deteriorates, then by the time the Imperial forces arrive to put down the Riverport uprising the city will be theirs to take. If two factions were to unite against a third, then the city could withstand the Imperial peacekeeping force.
The party propose to negotiate with Isabella rather than Roderigo, given his vendetta against Angela. On their way to the docks where Isabella’s headquarters are, however, they are interrupted by a runner, who declares that Roderigo offers her parley, and gives his word that she will be permitted to leave peacefully. They decide to check in with Isabella first anyway.
Rather than hostility, Isabella tries to argue the party over to her side. She wants what’s best for Riverport, and believes that she can extract better terms from the Empire than from the rebels. Moreover, she wants to clean the city up: to make the Stellazzo legitimate rulers, rather than criminal overlords who gain power by oppressing their population. She cites, to Angela, Zoe and Freddie, Roderigo’s involvement with the Blue Pearl — and Vito’s willingness to keep the place open — as evidence of their callous attitude towards women.
Angela and Freddie are able to convince Isabella of the imminency of Rebel victory, and that siding with the Empire will only get Riverport destroyed. They offer to split Riverport between Isabella and Vito, persuading her that Vito’s half will contain much of Roderigo’s former territory and thus be less of a prize.
Isabella eventually accepts, and the party now realise that the task of ousting Roderigo from his nest will largely fall to them. They decide to make their next stop the church Alderton is distributing food from, to try and dissuade him from causing any problems (or just to kill him; they haven’t decided.)