In the aggressive race for absolute power and wealth in Toiltown, two contestants have prevailed over the rest of the would-be contenders: Joseph Sedge and Rudyard Brome. Sedge controls nearly all the manufacturing in Toiltown, including twenty cotton mills in his own private section of the city, Sedgetown. Brome owns almost ten new slaughterhouses, utilizing new techniques to gain efficiency in his production of meat for Castorhage. Each man is constantly seeking new methods to speed up his operation to pass his adversary in financial prestige and influence. Trusted engineers and workers are in high demand in both organizations, often making the difference as each tyrant tries to outdo the other.
One such man is the last surviving fleshgineer working for Sedge. A member of the four-man team that developed the new cotton-splitting machine, Grazle Adamsby recently found himself as the lone survivor after the other three contributors died in freak accidents. Grazle’s nervousness about the situation has led him to make mistakes, and although he has not yet fallen victim to a bizarre accident or strange illness, he has been placed on “probation,” a fate often viewed as worse than death. In probation scenarios, Sedge places a magical manacle upon his target until he gains all the information he needs to either better control the individual or to dispose of them.
Adamsby foresaw the day when he would eventually be viewed as disposable and set in motion a plan he developed years ago. He would hide out in the slums of Toiltown, avoiding his family and loved ones to keep them from Sedge’s minions. He also would contact agents close to Rudyard Brome, knowing that his knowledge and abilities would be eagerly accepted by Sedge’s rival. Hoping that Brome would eventually rescue him and his family from Sedge’s hunters, Adamsby would be freed of his miserable existence in Sedgetown.
Grazle’s wife was well aware of the plan and expected to hear from her husband as he hid waiting for Brome’s instructions. However, rumors in Toiltown suggest that Brome isn’t interested in making a deal but instead wishes to abduct Grazle by force and lock him in one of his slaughterhouses until he builds a new machine. Grazle’s wife has no choice but to hire mercenaries to rescue her husband from the slums near the cotton mills and bring him home.