Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Episode 1, Letters to Rosalyn

Dear Rosalyn,

I have reached Phexcaer and am well. I haven't much time to write as we are... well, I shall try to lay it all out as quickly as I may under the circumstances.

Entering the city, I was able to inquire as to the whereabouts of Mirebelle. She is as merry, as portly, and as helpful as you had said she would be -- and she speaks well of you (though who could otherwise?). I am afraid I came on her in the middle of some business, which after a few inquiries I found I was able to help with. As you know I can be rather persuasive when I need to be, and my white robes and yew staff speak volumes about what I can do if pressed. It turns out that Mirebelle had a... a niece of sorts, a thief in the service of the Foxes (one of the thieves' guilds which run this strange city) and this girl, Phenja by name, though she goes by the sobriquet Vixen, had lost her friend (and I think perhaps lover? For I know too well the pain of love to not read it in another's face) Anvar. Anvar was also a Fox, though recently initiated and unproven, and he had stumbled across a plot which... Well, to understand something of this plot you must first know something of the customs of this strange town.

In Phexcaer, city of thieves, the whole city is run by a number of Thieves' guilds -- the Foxes are the huntsmen and guides into the Orclands, the Otters are the well-diggers, the Daggers are the town watch, and etc. I do not know quite how you can have a city of legalized thievery, but the general effect is, as you might imagine, rather anarchical. Each year at an annual festival to Phex, god of thieves, a race is held amongst the various thieves' guilds, a sort of contest is held to see who can get the "idol of many hands" -- an ancient marble head of, I am given to understand, one of the old emperors, to one of five waypoints before setting it on the altar of Phex. The winners of this bloody minded contest (for although no weapons are allowed, essentially anything else goes, and there are a number of traps which are usually set since the final route of the race is always predictable) essentially get to choose the magistracy for the coming year. Thus Phexcaer may be said to be a sort of "kleptocracy," run by rival gangs, choosing its magistracy through bloody sports rather than right of lineage or the will of the populace.

Ah, but I am a long way from the Middenrealm.

In any case, we engaged to aid Vixen in her quest to locate Anvar. I say "we" because it was at this point that I was joined by two others: a surely Firnelf named Ilcoron, and a very... sharp-witted young Aranian girl (I believe she is an entertainer of some sort) who had also come to Mirabelle looking for work, or perhaps patronage. Both of them proved worthy companions, as you will see. We began our search outside the Phex Mead Hall, a popular hostelry and tavern, where we learned much that was of interest to us. This tavern was the last known whereabouts of Anvar, and was the place where he had overhead some kind of nefarious plot on the part of the Daggers, whom Vixen suspected to have taken Anvar.

The Aranian girl, Delilah by name, struck up a conversation with a Coalpelt by the name of Gratash, who had a workshop across the street from the Mead Hall. By all accounts Gratash (a craftsman in marble) was a slow-minded fool, and Delilah was able to extract a great deal of information from him. Ilcoron and myself conducted a more orthodox investigation outside, managing to find both Anvar's eavsdropping perch, as well as signs that he had been dragged away after a struggle. Eventually Delilah returned from the Coalpelt's workshop with the news that Anvar had been taken by a Dagger named Rikell, and that the Coalpelt had made an duplicate marble head at the behest of the Daggers. Apparently there was some sort of conspiracy afoot to switch the two during the contest. I must confess that Delilah was a good deal rather more useful than either Ilcoron or myself in all of this. She seems to posses what I have sometimes heard called "street smarts" in great supply. But you will be happy to know that I acquitted myself well later on, as you shall see.

After a bit of investigation we were able to find our way into the "Boneyards," an old derelict district of the city. It seems kleptocracies do not lend themselves well to regular municipal upkeep. With Ilcoron following the tracks left by Rickell and his men, we stole in upon the Daggers unawares in a cellar where they were torturing Anvar. Listening, we overheard much of their plot: Something within the duplicate head, which had already been switched out at the Otter hideout, was planned to desecrate the altar of Phex. This was to be done in the service of the Nameless One. Suddenly aware that the conspiracy went much deeper than the mere intrigues of feckless rogues, I revealed myself in power and let forth my magics.

I will not bore you with the tedious details of the battle. Suffice it to say that I lay waste to Rickell and one of his men with the arts and skills which were taught to me at the Gareth Academy of Sword and Staff, while my companions managed to handle the third cultist of the Nameless one (though not before Ilcoron was badly injured). Now we accompany Anvar back to the Fox hideout, in the hopes of being able to stop the desecration of Phex's altar before it is too late, and the whole of the city is given over to the Nameless One. (though not before Ilcoron was badly injured). Now we accompany Anvar back to the Fox hideout, in the hopes of being able to stop the desecration of Phex's altar before it is too late, and the whole of the city is given over to the Nameless One.

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