The Glory of Bastige

Terth's New Bodyguard
Luca's New Job

Iskanda was nice enough to bring Luca into Terth’s office. Luca was out of work, having retired form his gladiator days a few weeks prior. He had a decent condo (that was just paid off at the same time), his gladiator equipment and a little over a 1,000 gold to his name. But now he needed a new way to make his way in the city. He and Iskanda had talked a few times about her work with Jack Clemmens, and his anti-slavery stance. As far as Luca could tell Jack wasn’t as hard-line on the issue as Iskanda or himself were. Luca had seen the harsh treatment that slaves receive in the pit, and had even made friends with a few of them. This man Terth however, was a hero of the city, his exploits heard even down in the underground cages. And he was Iskanda’s companion. Surely he is an honorable man, worthy of the protection of an Aquila da Menegi .

Luca enters the office and extends his greetings, “Hello Mr. Valkir. Ms. Iskanda tells me that you might be looking for a new body guard.”


Terth glances up from his ledger at the man standing before him. He looks him up and down before returning to his work. “What’s your name?”


“My name is Luca Da Vale, sir. I have been a gladiator for the past few years. I recently retired from that life, and am looking for work work that would put my skills to good use. I understand that you are a hero of Bastige and have been in several different dangerous situations.”, Luca says in a matter of fact way.


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A Discussion of Dreams
(Namely Julien's crazy drug trip.)

Iskanda closes the door carefully, trying not to disturb Julien’s sleep. She sets the pitcher down on the bedside table, next to the rags and empty cup, and sits on the short wooden stool to its right. Practically a converted closet in the basement of the church – made even more cramped by the metal cage used to bring his beloved cat along – the room is generally reserved for the deeply wounded, but she’d been able to talk the High Presbyter into allowing Julien the privacy. The moonlight from the half-window at the top of the wall is barely enough to see anything by, and she squints to get a glimpse of his state.


Julian slowly tugs at his bonds, muttering to himself, then yanking hard and cursing.


Iskanda startles somewhat at his movement, but quickly regains her composure.

“You asked for those, remember?”

She lifts the pitcher and pours some of the water into the cup. “Thirsty?” The rim of the cup is at his lips before he can answer. “Best to flush your system out.”


Sipping and scowling, Julian looks at Iskanda. “I also asked for one of my mutagens, I think it would help its passing more than water.” He takes a long draw from the glass and sheepishly looks down at her feet. “But thank you.”

“You know, I saw a lot of odd things when on dredge, some I’m still trying to understand. Does it take from my mind or others? I swear I would say I have nearly forgotten the face of my father, but there he was. Not like the half-remembered dream I pictured him as a week ago, but clear and vivid to the point I swear I smelt him. And then I saw you, only not you. A younger you than I have ever known yet I bet it was you. Just as I’m sure that what my father looks like now.”


“Me? That’s…strange.” She frowns and pulls the cup away, setting it back on the worn table, then stands to light the lantern hanging on the wall. The candle flickers and casts long shadows. “How young did I look? Did I say anything?”

It was a fevered dream but you seemed much younger 10 or more years. Youthful and how can i put this.. less stern. I don’t recall what you said i think something about fire or shame.
Julian rubs his head and curses. "this is painful. I feel so utterly weak. I hate weakness. I heard people talk of addiction and i always looked down on addicts. I looked at them like frail man saying they can’t run or graceless fool trying to dance the five point. I saw them something i wasn’t. I seen addict before int he peoples. I walked by them and scoffed saying that would never be me. I’d over come it. I am above such vices. After a long pause and false start to his next sentence julian murmurers the words “i was wrong”.

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Threat of the Rose
Prevention of priest-induced sleepmurder

“So, this is it.”

Iskanda steps inside her home and gestures for the others to follow. It’s a modest studio-style affair, small but not lacking in furniture and decor. A wood stove at one end sits long-unused in the summer heat, then a butcher block with clean pots and pans on hooks above it. Nearby, a table and three mismatched chairs, then a dark wooden desk pressed against the wall, covered in books and papers. A large hutch serves as a catch-all for storage, filled with an assortment of mugs, plates, texts, trinkets, and bottles. A few tapestries hang on the walls and thick curtains cover the two windows, letting in only stray rays of midmorning sun. In the far corner, a tall folding screen serves to separate her bed and dresser from the rest of the room.

She walks to a window and pulls aside the curtains to let in more light. “I didn’t see anything else when I was here the other day, just the rose.” She nods to the bed.


“I wonder if this place would look different on dredge…”

Julian looks at the door and the windows for sign of forced entry. “You should lock your doors and bar your windows if you plan on sleeping here again. I’d advise you to also throw out any food or drink you may have as it could be poisoned. Was anything taken?”


Iskanda frowns and idly wipes some dust from the windowsill. “No, nothing’s missing. And that’s the thing, everything was closed and locked when I got back. It was exactly as I left it, except for the rose on my pillow. I asked my neighbors and they didn’t see anyone. I’ve been thinking of moving because of it, honestly. If they can enter and leave and not disturb anything…It wasn’t some common street thug hired to leave a message. Then again, they’d be able to find me if I did move.”


“If the ease of entering wasn’t damning enough, not taking anything is a real mark of “professionalism”. I’m not sure if they wanted you dead, though – why leave a warning if you missed your mark? Well, we already know who paid to have a message left, the real question is if that’s all they were paid for."


Terth purses his lips and glances out the window across the Spires.

“This seems like a lot of work just to tell someone they’re going to be wiped from this plane of existence. Sneaking in and out without disturbing dust or locks sounds like either the best thief in the city or someone with magical powers.” He turns at looks at Iskanda.

“Has anyone done a sweep for magical wards or runes?”


((To clarify, her place isn’t in the Spires, just in some inexpensive area.))

Iskanda shakes her head. “No, but that’s not a bad idea. I could ask someone from the church but I haven’t told them about all of this just yet. Didn’t want to worry them, and ah, other related recent incidents have already been troubling enough for the High Presbyter to deal with. Anyway, magic would make sense. It’s a bunch of priests who have it out for me, after all.”


Julian looks up from studying Iskanda’s hutch. “Oh that’s what I meant by looking over this place while on dredge. Sorry I’ve never had that innate ability to read magical auras, I feel it’s similar.” He rubs his brow and looks slightly annoyed. “Did you assume I just wanted to get high and space out in your room!?”


“Well, that does seem like a bit of overkill. Like using a fireball to light a candle, you know?”

Terth pulls his hands out of his pockets and moves back across the room, waggling his fingers like a pianist about to perform.

“I actually have some skills in detecting magic. Maybe not quite on par with a professional practitioner, but I’ve got some experience finding mid market scrying caltrops.” A sly grin creeps across his face.


In a flourish, Julian steps aside and gestures into the room. “Well then detect! If someone magically moved throught here the aura may have been strong enough to leave some residue. Yet I don’t see the point of knowing how someone got in. We can assume who did it, and we may as well go on thinking they’ll give you more than a “warning” next they can. Are you trying to find who has the contract on your head in hopes of dissuading them personally?”


Iskanda arches her brow at Julian. “I don’t know if there’s a contract involved, or if it’s just a personal matter with Montblanc and any of the other priests. My main goal at this moment is to not have my throat slit in my sleep. And…are you well? You seem awfully-” She frowns, attempting to find the right word. “Animated.”


Pondering for a brief moment, Julian states with a grin, “I have been high spirited as of late. Much is going on and I see a glorious future before me. It could also be that I have lingering affects from dredge. No matter, if your main concern is safety why not just bunk up with one of us? Or move, as this place is below you now, isn’t it?”


“I wouldn’t say it’s below me, but yes, I do have funds stored away from our undertakings. Like I said, I was thinking of moving anyway…” Iskanda looks around the room with sad eyes for a moment, then straightens her expression. “No matter. I don’t want to sell it if it has some sort of ward or curse on it that’ll harm a new tenant. I want to be sure it’s clean first. Terth, by all means, do what you must to find anything.”

She steps back to give him room and glances at Julian, speaking in a lower tone now. “Be careful with dredge, will you? You might think you’re able to get through it unscathed, but no one is above addiction.”


“Addiction? I’ve only had it once and its not like we even have access to more, but I do hope to get more. As addiction does also mean withdrawal, I assume I could ride out its effects in my ascended state, that could perhaps prove unwise. I could set up a routine of flushing my system. Oh, that opens so many other questions; does a magical hallucinogenic even “flush” from the system?

“It might still be in my system…Terth, while you’re at it, could you “scan” me while looking about?”


Iskanda sighs. “Ride it out? Right, like however many people are hooked on it now. Your arrogance is showing…You’re smart, but you can’t think your way out of a drug’s effects. Don’t make a habit of frequent use.”


“Oh, maybe I’ll make a curative that removes addiction to dredge…That’d be entirely legal and highly profitable. We could also play both sides and double our profits. Speaking of which, we must meet with that man again. what was his name? Henri?"


“Henri, yes. But what do you mean, play both sides?” She frowns. “Peoples’ lives are at stake here, you shouldn’t be concerned with profits.”


“People are going to smoke and drink. People are also going to do so in excess. If money is to be made, make it. If the morality of the issue is grey, then we can offer it at a discount on what is affordable to those unfortunate enough, or those willing to help such as your church.

“But we’re far ahead of ourselves here. Henri – all the details we seem to have on this man marks him as a conspirator, murderer and, if my benefactors are correct, a budding drug smuggler and manufacturer. Some of which I feel were confirmed with Terth’s interview with the man. I hope this drug isn’t made with “people”, even more a reason to investigate its manufacturer.”


“Yes, people will give in to their vices. I have no issue with that, as long as it’s done in moderation. I do have an issue with charging money to those who wish to get help to escape an addition…And with those who drive the drug’s addictiveness up, and pressure others to get caught up in it. The…” She hesitates, in thought. “…growth of the substance within a person? Is it likely that they’re farming it that way? Henri could simply be a creep, we don’t know yet that he’s actually killed Vivian.”

From the opposite end of the room Terth calls out.

“Honsetly, it’s up in the air what makes this strand of drudge so potent. Harvested from a human, blood sacrafice maybe, who knows maybe it’s just a brilliant chemist with a macbre penchant for naming drugs after his fancies.”

Terth begins moving back towards the entrance.

“I think at this point we can really only say three things about Henri. One, he’s creepy. Two, he’s into some hard drugs. Three, chances are there’s someone above him who knows what’s going on. Anyway, I’m not detecting anything magical around here right now, just a faint buzz from Julian.

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The Day of Blood and Roses
The Adventure Continues...

As the suns rises over the glorious metropolis of Bastige a festive mood takes hold. Citizens are giddy with the coming of another Day of Blood and Roses, ready to celebrate their goddess Azrelia, Mother of None, coming into power and casting out the blasphemous followers of Thune. Though still summer the air seems crisp and lacks the oppressive humidity of previous months.

The people of the Towers have wreathes of bramble and rose hung throughout the quarter and are dressing in their finest regalia to celebrate this most auspicious day. In the People’s quarter the merchants ready themselves for a busy day of revelry, peddling their most patriotic of Bastigian wares, while the laborers enjoy a day of drink and relaxation. In the Silk, the Devil’s Laugh have major events planned in anticipation of the more welcomed atmosphere of mirth. In the morning, before the parade, at the Exalted Coliseum, there is to be a reenactment of the Battle of Tempest where the first Azrelian Sorcerer King drove back the Araanian armada. After the parade, a rendition of “The Red Lady’s Kiss” shall be performed at Queen Azcadelia VIII’s Royal Opera House.

In the Steeples, a noticeable melancholy hangs in the air. The priests of All Father Thune sit in solemn prayer among the crowded pews of the Clockwork Basilica. The civil servants of the Bastigian government who typically haunt the holy temple leave the faithful in place of festivity, adding to the tomb like atmosphere. On the streets, the evangelists, preachers and heralds to the numerous gods of Verasin fall silent, for they know that this day, above all others, belongs to the Mother of None.
-
Here we go folks, the Day of Blood and Roses! While Julien, Terth and Iskanda investigate the alleged plague we’ll have anything else go here or perhaps another appropriate thread.

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JCL-003 (Mama feathers)

Object Class:Elliptic Humanoid.
Description: Tall and eloquent woman of a ample build. Wings protruding from her backside. Surrounded in long white downy feathers but accented on her face with black. Lips of crimson and large eyes of solid yellow and small slit black irises. Somewhat alien appearance but aids them in locating food and material from high altitude. Their lips slightly fuller than a human’s as well, though the difference is small.. Legs are thick toned and end with 3 talons.

Capture protocol. Not immune to poisons a sleep poison is to be used in tandem with debilitating poison STR-D4. Then subdued with with a steel net and bounded and chained.

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JCL-002
The king in rags.

Item#JCL-002 (King in rags)
Class:Rex
location:The spires
Containment Unknown. Purposed means of capture? See attached document A.
Description:Tattered garb and many old tarnished rings on each hand. Standing at over 6ft he appears emaciated. Eyes that look deep and old with a unnatural purple/white mix. Speaking in rhyme and a courtly manner when approached. Appears undead but unconfirmed. Appears human but unconfirmed.JCL-002 is normally followed by a group of people forced into his “court”. They dance and sing in a hive like way and the JCL-002 seems to draw power from them. He is protected or surrounded by a arcane feed back field that hurts attackers and defends JCL-002 it seems to only affect melee weapons but not ranged attacks. JLC-002 seems to attack with sound or song as well as a “gaze”.

Purposed Capture or extermination plan.
Firstly subject should be confirmed if it is indeed undead to expand methods of attack. attacking form a distance all of his knaves/subjects should be taken out. Hopefully aggravating JCL-002 into attack. Without verification if JCL-002 is undead this rules out poisons to incapacitate or holy weapons/salves. Using the nature of the spires itself attempts should be made to collapse part of the structure onto JCL-002. Then covered in chemical 45-Tang. Hopefully weaken and immobilize JCL—002 can be subdued.

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How little Jimmy died.

Julien follows Terth to Her lady of justice’s temple with a coughing Jimmy in tow. Along the way he makes what passes for small talk. “Well since you don’t see it fit to leave him in my care i suppose we can see who else is seeking cures from the church, but if they cannot help him you must agree i should look over him.”


“No, I’m sure we’ll find someone to watch out for him at the church. They’re pretty helpful there. Besides, they know Jimmy there, no offense. I’m sure he’ll be more comfortable around the brothers and sisters of the church. Besides, I know you’re a busy guy. I can’t ask you to look after one of my own. Especially if you have a lot of research to work on.”

Jimmy coughs some more and looks somewhere between sullen and hating the world.


“Funny you should say that but the body of my research was taken by the order recently. So no my itinerary at the moment is clear. I would say these circumstances are alarming but i feel its more likely Jethro unleashed it when he threw the source of these spores out a window.” Patting jimmy on the head julien rubs his hair pulls on a tuff and then quickly examines his hand and pockets a strand of hair. “Yet id also appreciate a fresh pair of eyes on the matter.”


“They took your samples away from you? That’s intriguing… you’d think they would let someone with first hand experience with the matter do the original research. And I’d forgotten that Jethro had tossed spores out the Spires, maybe someone has been synthesizing something out of those in that area. If you’d like, after I get Jimmy squared away at the church I could help you look around that area for samples.”


“They have rewarded me for the find and will return the specimen in due time. I did argue just that but perhaps their avenue of research is outside my specialty or possibly a more senior member took interest in my fieldwork.”

Julien stares upward at the flying buttress as they round the corner to the temples entrance. “I haven’t been here in a great deal of time. Always loved the architecture here. Many troubled youth come here, I’m sure from one of them we can buy drugs. Do you recall the name, Jimmy?”


Jimmy stares back with wide eyes, as does the young wisp of a girl sweeping the front steps of the church. Broom firmly in her small hands, she runs back through the doors and comes out again a moment later, pointing at the trio.

“What did-” Iskanda pokes her head out, worried, but she sighs when she sees them. “Oh, it’s you. Of course. Run along, Kat.”

The girl nods and hurries inside again. Iskanda frowns and comes out onto the steps. “I thought you were going to see that foolish speech? Did it-” She catches sight of Jimmy’s sickly appearance. “By gods, are you ill, Jimmeno?” Jimmy almost seems to flinch at his very unstylish full name. Iskanda looks to Terth and Julien. “What happened?”


“He’s become infected with that mold we encountered in the Spires. Well, we’re not certain that’s what it is, but he’s showing signs very similar to yours. I wish…to find the substance which infected him, to be sure. Could we speak to some of your youths?”


“Ah, I see. Many of them are out now, to watch the…festivities.” Iskanda scowls. “It’s mostly just the young children here today. But…what substance? Something carrying the mold spores?”


Jimmy shifts uneasily. “Look we don’t have to do this. I can take you to my friends who gave me the Dredge. I-I’m sorry about all this. Hopefully you can heal my friends if they’re infected too. You can heal us right doctor?”

Jimmy looks to Julien with desperate eyes expectantly…


Bending down to stare into Jimmy’s face, Julien pauses and says, “I swear, Jimmy, with my efforts you won’t die painfully. Now, where can we find your friends?”


Iskanda promptly puts herself in between Julien and Jimmy. “Die? What are you talking about? What do you need his friends for? What do they have?”


Jimmy tries his best to keep from crying. “I’m sorry! I’ll take you to them right away! They should be at the commencement speech!”


“Uhg, of course.” Iskanda frowns. “Tell me what exactly is going on before you go there, at least. And-” She pauses and steps away, gesturing for Julien to follow, then continues quietly. “What makes you think he’s going to…that he’s that sick? And if it’s the same mold, what does that mean for me?”


“Oh, I don’t think you’ll die. I’d still treat it like I said, but you’re a healthy adult while Jimmy is a malnourished child. I haven’t watched anyone die of it yet so it may not even be fatal in and of itself. The bodies we encountered may just have been infected and died of other circumstances. Weakened in the spires, as you know one could fall victim to many hazards. Also, they may have been constantly exposed to the spores et cetera, so there are so many variables we cannot account for. In the meantime, we should find who producing this and why. If it is fatal, who would gain from that?”


“Someone who seeks to create chaos and paranoia by harming the lower classes. Just like the bombings…It’s certainly not meant to impact the people living in the Towers. At least not directly. How is it being distributed, exactly? Food? Water?” Iskanda glances at Jimmy, then looks back to Julien. “Or…he spoke of ‘Dredge’? A drug?”


“What Jimmy does in his free time is of no concern to others. We should focus on the task at hand, mainly finding who making this substance.”


Terth chimes in.

“It’s possible that if someone is trying to sow chaos like this, they might be trying to distribute it at the commencement speech, by “samples” or even just scattering into the air if it’s supposed to be inhaled… besides if we want to find out who’s behind this, talking to orphans and street dealers may not be the best way to go about things…"


“Ah.” Iskanda relaxes, oddly more at ease now. “Yes, it’s best to go to the source in such matters. I’d…best stay out of the public eye for a few days, but tell me if you find anything of note. I’ll ask around here to see if anyone knows anything at all. But a word of advice.” She focuses on Julien. “Be subtle.”


“I think you all think me brazen and rash but i just reach the appropriate response much quicker than anyone else, but fine ill wait and allow someone else to take the initiative.
So to the festivities?”

Terth nods.

“Yes, if we’re going to try and solve this mystery, that may be the best place to start. Iskanda, is it alright if I leave Jimmy in your care? It’ll be just for the day.”

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Weekly Homework Update!!
For the week of 03/06/2014

Homework this week:

We are jumping forward in game a month’s time. Tell me what your character has been doing during the last month. What is their immediate goal after this time off? Post this on Obsidian Portal!


Month Timelapse

Jethreu falls to the ground covered in sweat. His bones ached. And now the familiar feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness flooded not just his mind but his body as well. Tee extension of himself had been dismissed and that left him vulnerable in more ways than one.

The month since he had awakened was increasingly harsh. Used to a comfortable life style, being hit with fireballs on a daily basis was almost the opposite end of the spectrum. His mind was reeling for the dismissal spell his mentor had cast. He lasted through 5 casting this time. But he was worn out on the 6th try and he wasn’t able to hold on any longer.

“Very good. Now summon it again.”

“I can’t. I”m too tired to feel anything right now."

“Well then I guess you’ll just be a pile of ashes in a minute then.” The old man wasn’t joking, he began invoking what looked to be a powerful fire based spell.

“Damn, I’m really going to die now. And I don’t care.”

WHAT! How dare you not care about yourself.”, his eidolon’s voice screamed into his brain.
“After all the the crap you’ve been put through this will be our end? I don’t think so. You survived your 5 day hangover. You’re the first D’llen mage in 10 generations. You’ve got that party tonight. AAAND you’ve got people to protect.”

“It’s too late though, it takes a full minute to summon our true strength, and that spell only takes half that time to cast. It’s going to be cast at me in a few seconds now.”

“Then cast one of your own”

The mentor fires his spell off and Jethreu instinctively casts his own. The smoke takes a second to clear and when it does, Jethreu stands, suspended in mid air inside his living armor.

His mentor just smiles and says “Well looks like you’ve passed stage 1 then. Only took you a whole month, party-boy”


That last comment stuck him the rest of the day. “It’s true, I did party for an entire week. But how could I not? The family has never been so happy. Even got that letter from…no musn’t even think of that. Maria couldn’t come but we did have some good times after.”

Jeth takes a moment to reflect on how long its been since he had seen Maria. It was before this week of intensive tests. After he had seen the group at the Cracking Whip. “I know she’ll be there, but I wonder if any of the others will show up. Its only a few days away. And we still have to figure out how we’re going to funnel the money out this time around. OH well, I”m sure gramps will come up with something again. He never misses an opportunity to sway some more people to our side."



((Posted this on Iskanda’s page, too, but here it is for easy access.))

After capturing the four terrorists who had bombed the public debate, Iskanda insisted that all must be turned over to the Anvilmen. Others disagreed, and she attempted a compromise by splitting the terrorists into pairs; she took her pair to the Anvilmen.

Upon discussing her activities with High Presbyter Aldric, the Church of Her Lady Justice bestowed upon Iskanda the Brooch of St. Augustine Prouleaux, slayer of Lasz’Ahjit, Devourer of Innocence. She began wearing it proudly, but didn’t let the glory get to her head; she continued working at the church, and even shied away from the public for her first week or so back from the Spires, in an attempt to avoid too much attention. However, Alix Morren came to her out of concern for Vivian, a courtier from the Silk District, who had recently disappeared, and that was enough to push Iskanda out from hiding. She has used some of her free time to search for clues regarding the woman, but thus far has only encountered questionable leads and dead ends. Although she encouraged Alix to remain optimistic, Iskanda had difficulty doing so herself.

Now officially an Anvilman, Iskanda began to spend more time at the docks, luring in new friends with tales of her foreign travels, vague as they might be. That added to her contact with Roland, and within their circles rumors had spread about a renewed relationship.

Some of her funds from turning in the terrorists had gone to the church, which drastically improved its appearance. Cracked tiles were replaced, new flowers and shrubs were planted in the garden, and the flame of the holy brazier burned brighter than ever – or at least in recent memory.

Iskanda also realized that her newfound fame was an excellent resource for spreading the holy word of Her Lady Justice. She has spoken to many people about her religion, and has been somewhat successful in increasing the church’s popularity. She has also been pleasantly surprised at the curiosity held for her origins in Ordahl, and has attempted to dispell negative beliefs about it and the outside world in general. Her efforts, however, have not come unchallenged; Severine Devers continues to refer to Iskanda as a dirty foreign whelp, and she’s received sneers and unkind words from like-minded Bastigians.



(What I did on my summer vacation by Terth Valkir)

The first two days after handing over the terrorists were quiet for Terth. Spent in bed with the curtains drawn and a block of Ele-Ice sitting in a copper tub in the corner, melting. On the third day, as the sun crept over the far horizon, Terth pushed the drapes aside and went out to open his stall.

The day was still cool and the threat of dew hung in the air as he walked to the Silk district. Already the sounds of the bustling squares began to drift down the winding roads and alleys and Terth hurried his pace. He turned the corner into the square where he worked to find someone already milling around his stall.

“Hello sir, may I help you?”

Ten hours later Terth collapsed onto the table of his stall as the last customer of the day walked off.
There had been new Anvilmen contacts to meet.
And then there were regulars to help and placate.
And all that between rubber-neckers trying to get a glimpse of the “humble merchant” and asking for advice.

“Gods I’m going to need to get some help.”

On the advice of Iskanda, he reached out to some youths from her church, inviting them to apprentice under him. Running the stalls and managing inventory while he handles customers. He contracted a crew of Anvilmen to improve and expand the stall. As the festival of the Blood and Rose approached the amount of business Terth was doing had almost doubled. No longer just silks and fabrics, but exotic wines and whiskies passed over his counter.

An increased profile means an easier target though. Old customers now spit in his direction as they pass to do business with his rival. Phrases like “up-jumped” and “savage” float around behind his back. Half-earnest accusations of treason reach his ears. ‘No true Bastigian would fail to turn terrorists over to the proper authorities.’ Circles and bags begin to form under his eys. Sleep always seems to come too late and dawn too soon. And now Terth is always seen leaving home with cane in hand.

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Research notes, JCL-001

Item#JCL-001
Class:Elliptic
Containment Procedures: JCL-001 is to be kept slightly moist with a mister can. A solution of 80% and 20% solvent #87(PH.07). RH should be at 70-85 degrees. Handling JCL-001 must be done with gloves and a mask. After interacting with jcl-001 you must be scrub with a acidic solution at a tempter of 135 degrees for 2mins. Any signs of infection must be reported to Dr.Clemont.
Signs include coughing, sneezing, baggy eyes shortness of breath and low fever.

Description: JCL-001 is a Green bulb resembling that in shape of similar to a heart. Tho in no means identical. A slight simmer is seen across is surface. Which is linked to the magical school illusion. Otherwise the mold itself is in appearance like that of Rhizopus lipism.
The blub has the beginnings of a flower like bud which is yellow and orange. Weights about 2.kg.

Test subject Ibiblio.
Test subject has been infected (Presumably) for 14 days. Cough and sunken eyes apparent.
No outward signs of magical infection or change in demeanor like that experience in the spires.

Test Subject: Zeen
Zeen is exposed to fungus day 1.
Zeen is showing signs of infection moments after being exposed. All signs are nearly identical to subject Ibiblio.
Zeen has professed tiredness and feeling hot.
day 4 no change in subject in the necessity of time Zeen has been terminated and exposed to JCL-001.
Day 5 Zeen, hence forth referred to as JCL-002 has shown growth of spores/infection around mouth and chest.
Day 6 JCL-002 has reanimated and has reacted violent to anything living. It has tried to bite or grab anything it can.
Day 7 JCL-002 has been introduced to subject Sloop. Sloop after being bitten and beaten to near death JCL-002 has ignored subject Sloop. Sloop begins to show signs of infection and is deposited in a bath of acid.

JCL-002 autopsy report.
JCL-002 has bud or core much like JCL-001 in chest cavity which was deposed of via acid.
JCL-002 also has small acid like creature located at base of spine which is unresponsive to stimli. Creature is highly acidic and while “solid” when sliced into two pieces quickly degrades into a viscus slime which becomes inert in 6 hours.

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Meetup at the Cracking Whip
The heroes unwind

A few days after the events in the spires the group meets up to discuss the fallout of their actions, both good and bad.


Iskanda shows up promptly, earlier than the others, and finds a corner table to sit at. When the others show up, she’s rolling her finger around the edge of a glass of mead, partially empty, with the bottle and three other glasses set around the table. Even in the dim light of the tavern, it’s easy to see an improvement in her appearance compared to her time in the Spires. She looks well-rested and fresh-faced, and her hair and clothes are clean. Her cough, however, is still present.


Jethreau enters a short time after. His cheery mood is easy to spot from from the way he almost skips while walking. He orders a glass of wine before finding Iskanda sitting in the corner.

He sits down across from her saying, "Looks like we’re all doing better than we were during our hunt. I’ve seen Julien around the Lab and I’ve never seen him in a better mood before. The way they tell it, the Masters gave him a whole wing of the school for his own use.

“I also hear Terth’s business is booming and that you became an official Inquisitor of Her Lady Justice.”


Iskanda raises her brow. “I’ve been a Justicar this whole time. Typical churchgoers don’t wield a sword and call upon divine magic. But-” She coughs behind her palm. Her voice is slightly scratched. “But it’s good to see you. I’m glad to hear the others have been doing well.”

She sits back, glass in hand, and takes a sip. Her coat is off, hanging on the back of her chair, and the sleeves of her shirt are rolled up to her elbows. A scar here and there from scuffles long ago, since faded to nearly match her natural coloring.

“And you? How have you been doing?”


Wordlessly, Julien sits down at the table and stares at Jethreau for a response. After a moment, he realizes attention has shifted to him.

“Work has been well. I’ve done some interesting studies on harpies and that fungi we found in the Spires. But do go on.”


Iskanda perks up and leans forward, forearms on the table. “The mold? What of it? What have you found?” She coughs.


“Well, it seems to infect mostly the respiratory tract, which we knew already. The infected person, it seems, has no apparent symptoms for several days after infection. Magically, at least. Outwardly, it seems like a mild illness. So far the subject – ahem – the fungus seems to cause minor irritation to the throat and chest area and causes bouts of coughing. It doesn’t seem infectious like a virus, however, and more like…well, a mold where spores do the infecting, so I feel it’s most likely only infectious when the host has died or has gone into the next stage of its life cycle. Once the host is dead, the spores rapidly spread from the lungs into the nervous system and reanimate the corpse. Once reanimated, the mold grows over the subject and in a sense consumes it, forming an odd acidic creature. Which is odd, as before this point the mold dies outside of pH of 7.5, and in that form it has a pH of 1. I’m unsure if you should worry yet, but I would like to monitor you further or I advise medical action outside of my means.”

Julian takes a long sip of wine before going on.“Would you like to hear about the harpies?”


Iskanda squints. “That’s…reassuring? I’ve been coughing still, and I don’t think it’s gotten much worse, at least. And I haven’t died yet, as far as I know.” Her lips curl briefly into a sardonic smile. “I do have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, I’ll try to remember all of that to tell them. Do you have it written down anywhere? That’d make it easier.”

She quickly finishes her glass of mead and refills it, then fills one of the empty ones and slides it to Julien. “And yes, what of the harpies?”


Terth chimes in as he takes the last seat and begins pouring himself some mead.

“Sorry I’m late, there’s been a ton of orders lately and I’m having trouble filling all them. What’s this about harpies?”


“Ah hello, Terth.” Julien sips the mead and smacks his lips. “I do have those details written, if you tell me the doctor, I’ll forward them along to him. Hopefully you’ll just need to be magically cured. I assume most we encountered died from other sources or had a weakened immune system…But yes, harpies. I’ve been wondering about them since the Spires.”

Pausing, Julien looks lost in thought. “A shame I’ve hit a dead end without a live specimen, all I have is testimonials and sparse evidence. The harpy queen and the King in Rags, hell, the library Girl all deserve more investigation and I think that I could get a grant from the order if we somehow captured or studied them further. But enough about my ventures and research. What are your plans for the future?”


Iskanda nods to Julien’s comment about the doctor, and seems even to look hopeful at his explanation, but a more serious expression returns at mention of the Spires. “More investigation, to say the least. If anything in there ever gets out…” She trails off.

“I’ll be working on increasing Her Lady Justice’s presence in Bastige, but I also want to keep an eye out for any further public debates. Have any of you heard anything? I imagine that if another one was held, the security would be high, but who knows what might sneak through. And what of the aftermath from our capture of the terrorists? I must admit that I’ve stayed away from busy areas for the past few days.”


“Yeah, maybe it’s time to look into convincing the city into granting those ward permits. If not to keep stuff out then to at least keep some of it in.”

“I haven’t heard of any debates recently though, but from what I have been hearing in the markets most people are focused on preparing for the Blood and Rose festival at the end of the month. Well that and the terrorists capture. It’s a shame you’ve been staying away from the squares Iskanda. I’ve had no less than three people come up to me asking if I know the “New Avatar of Her Lady” and if she’s accepting apostles."

Terth chuckles lightly and takes a dip drink of his mead.

“I mean I had my orders double over night with all the publicity from this thing. And that’s without the Anivilmen contracts that have started floating my way. I may have to build a second stall at this pace. Hell, by the end of the month I may even be able to start clearing out that old fort on the south docks and set up a warehouse there or something.”


Iskanda rolls her eyes – and smiles – at her new “title”.

“That’s great about your business. I know a few younger people through the church who might be interested in a job, if you do wind up opening a second stall.

“And do you spend a lot of time at that fort? I’ve seen it but never really paid much attention to it. Years ago it was a hideout for a local gang of thieves…well, not so much thieves as children with nothing better to do. They were chased out by the guards after they stole one too many lawn ornaments from the Towers. You wouldn’t think that little garden statues of Ellum would be so popular.”


Jethreu laughs as this, his own great grandmother loved her Ellum statues. And he was glad that the subject has gone away from harpies. His shoulder had begun to itch at the thought of them, he had a small scar left there as a reminder.

“It has been one of the more popular, fashionable, Bastigian statements in recent memory. A throwback memory to our original slaves I guess. I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well Terth, after all these years, your luck has turned around.”

His face grows a little more jovial, “I’m glad you’re all here through. There is supposed to be a fund raising just before the Blood and Rose festival. My family would like to invite all of you as guests of honor. The proceeds will be going towards the families of those affected by the bombing.”

He lowers his voice so only the table can hear “And to fund an investigation into the real people behind it. An investigation I’ll be part of and that I hope you will join me in.”


Iskanda’s expression sours at the mention of the original slaves, but brightens with the news of the fund. She leans in again and speaks in a hushed voice. “Yes. Whoever – or whatever – gave them the job in the first place is still out there. They could’ve left Bastige by now, or hell, they could’ve been outside of the city this entire time. It’ll be hard to track them down, but it needs to be done to preserve safety and order here.”

She looks up slightly, in thought. “Well…unless that crazy one decided to do it all on his own. The bombs, I mean. Marlow was certainly afraid of him. On the other hand, crazy is one thing, organized enough to set off explosives is another.”


Julien says, “Also, while the lone crazy bomber is a neat theory, they were being paid to incite unrest. Whether he acted above his instructions is debatable, but someone doesn’t want peace in the city. Who would gain from a weakened government or unrest?”


“Right, yes.” Iskanda nods, more focused now. “Maybe it’s time we check into Bastige’s political landscape at a deeper level.” She gets even quieter, nearly a whisper. “See if there are any figures who would benefit from an incident like this, and its aftermath. And we need to be careful, too, because if the debate bombing was just the first layer, whatever caused it could run very, very deep. We could be getting into dangerous territory, so we can’t be too…overt. Powerful people can tear your life out from under you when you least expect it.”


“Don’t forget that powerful people can also protect your life if you’re on their good side. As guests of honor we’d all be able to bump elbows with the rich and powerful in Bastige. And as it’s a masquerade you’d be able to do it as covertly as you wished.”

Jethreu finishes off his wine and pours himself a quarter glass of mead. He slides three envelopes onto the table. “I have to be on my way. I won’t be able to meet up again before the party. They are going to have me under observation at the Lab’ for the next week or so. Stay safe you guys, I don’t think our actions will go ‘unrewarded’ much longer.”

He gets up and gives the group a nod as he walks out.


“You know, now that I think about it…” Iskanda picks up her envelope and sits back in her chair, running her fingers over the paper. “I don’t follow the nobles intently, but I’ve never heard of them doing a fundraiser like that. Usually only churches deal with raising donations for victims and the like. The nobility in this city has never struck me as the charitable sort, unless something’s in it for them.”

She glances towards the tavern’s door to confirm that Jethreau has in fact departed, then looks to Terth and Julien. “He is…naive, yes?”


Terth reaches over and grabs his invitation, placing it in his inner pocket as he sits back.

“I’ve know Jethreau for years and he can be pretty astute when he knows it’s needed. You don’t have a clan last fourteen plus generations without having some innate survival instincts. Still, he may be a bit insulated from parinoia at this, as it is his family hosting the thing. We’ll see I suppose.

Clearly there are some things happening in the shadows though. I’m curious to find out what sort of government officials show up to a gig like this. You know there’s going to be a few at least…"


“Right, it’s – oh, uhg.” Iskanda sighs. “We’re actually going to have to dress up for this, aren’t we? And get masks. Where do they even sell those things?” She looks to Terth, figuring that Julien would be as clueless as she is about tracking down masquerade attire.


Excitement and joy that he can hardly contain passes over Julien’s face. Grabbing the envelope, he rips it open like a child on Thulemas. “Oh I can’t wait to wear my masquerade outfit!!” He smiles and glances at the others. “Whats everyone going to go as?”


Iskanda cocks her brow. “You have a masquerade outfit? But…what? And we’re supposed to go as actual things? Like a theme?” She rips her invitation open and reads it over.


Julien says, “Of course! Well..I have a costume, it will be nice to wear it outside for once. Ah, better yet, no one say what you’re going as, it will ruin the surprise! As for the theme or what to go as, pick what you like or what you want.”


“I…see. Interesting.” Iskanda turns her gaze to Terth, eyes hopeful for a more solid response.


Terth can only raise his eyebrows and shrug.

“Beat’s me, I’m sort of out my element here. Although I might know a guy who works between the Silks and Towers who can hook us up with something that won’t break the bank or get us spit on…”

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