The Glory of Bastige

Goals and aspirations [Julain]

Julains goals are to make a legacy that will live on past his lifetime also to make that last as long as magically possible.
Short term goal:Get rid of marshal law. Make devils laugh strong again. Upset the balance of power into “our/his” favor.

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Revelations about julian
this little light of mine.

After the play julian walked homed avoiding anyone and everyone. Locking himself away at night and spending his days either at the library or on the roof of the spires. Today is the 3rd day since the play. Julian slices a portion of chicken liver patè and places it on rebe’s platter and then dresses himself for the day. Leaving his home he is dressed in a charcoal cassock lined with red. Locking the door he slips on his gloves and makes his way to the spires.


The sunset that afternoon is unremarkable, a dull, hazy orange.

“I thought you might be up here.” Iskanda’s voice carries from the steps to the roof of the Spires. “I’d hoped to speak to you before-” She pauses. “How are you? Do you feel…different?” She studies Julian, but almost seems to look through him, searching for something unseen.


Julian turns to iskanda without getting up. "I feel a great deal. Not quiet what I wanted to feel or how I expected to feel. Bittersweet if you must know. It showed me my sister as it died. It said I would feel pain like no mortal has ever felt if it tried to …tried to “join” me.
All my sins and guilt burnt by its flame. Yet I wish I could hear her voice again. "
Nervously he begins rubbing his hands together and Julian stares out again.
“You wanted to speak to me before what?”


Iskanda crosses her arms over her chest and looks out over the city with narrowed eyes.

“I’ll be leaving soon. Taking a trip. I can’t say how long I’ll be gone.” She turns her attention to him. “I wanted to make sure, before I left, that you can…that you will act righteously. That you don’t cause any more harm. The angel within you – can it help you with that?”


“I’m cursed from causing any living being harm. Have the essence of a divine being coursing through me and you want to know if im going to commit any atrocities while your away. …. "
Julian closes his eyes as he speaks. “Sweet mother of none what do you think of me. If i said yes would you believe me? I don’t even know how to work on what i’ve done let alone to focus on what ill do.”


She sighs. “Can you fault me? Think of all that you’ve done. I’ve known you since you were just a boy, Julian, I helped raise you, and if the only things keeping you from killing and maiming are the curses and limitations forced upon you, then I…”

She trails off and looks away again. When she speaks, it’s quiet, broken. “I can’t help but think I failed you.”


I’m an adult iskanda and I Can be held accountable for my own actions. I’ve tried to do good or what I thought was best for me At the least. I’ve taken short cuts and Ive been greedy. I’ve been a bad person.
But I am trying to attone which isn’t a quick prosses one you won’t even be here to see aparently. Why are you leaving there’s reasons for you to stay with our a parent victory.


“Victory?” She grimaces. “I suppose in this city, that is what counts as a victory…but…I have things to attend to elsewhere. I do not know how long I’ll be gone, but I will be sad to miss your progress.” Her expression brightens somewhat. “It’s good to hear you speak of yourself so honestly and without pride.”


“You don’t think jack assured the seat is a victory?” Pausing julian frounds. " People died. They would of died regardless in a much more pointless spectial. I know this brings little solace but it is an ugly truth. think of the alternative had she won I believe things would have gotten much worse for certain citizens."


“It’s certainly better than any alternatives, yes, yet still…” Iskanda shakes her head. “We struck down slaves, holy warriors, and an angel to make this happen. We will never be clean of that blood.”


“The dead live on in our actions regardless if they die fighting with us or against us. Had they died fighting with us as I think they would of wanted things would be much simpler. We can take a quick and bloody path to our goal or the high road and hope we don’t fall.
the problem is what if all you see is bloody path. Is inaction then the proper course?


“No. It never is.”

She steps over towards the edge of the roof and leans against the recently-repaired railing, peering down the length of the Spire.

“You really do seem changed. To be honest, I was…disappointed when you were the one to slay the angel. But if this is the result, perhaps there was an upside.” She looks over her shoulder at him. “And in doing so, you saved me from it. For that I thank you.”


“I was trying to let it posses me, it was hesitant. It said I would more than likely die.” Nodding julain seems to have some internal discussion.
“It seemed rabid at the end. No longer willing to talk and angery”


Iskanda nods. “When I struck it, I was trying desperately to make it quick. Put it out of its misery. Allow the rest of you to be free of that sin. But…that didn’t happen.”

She turns and rests her back against the rail. “Whatever I did made it speak out loud, and angels never do that.”


“Oh I didn’t even notice it spoke outloud. Maybe I was too far to hear it.”
Julian removes a glove and inspects his hand.
“Who knows ethereal beings are strange. You know you think this would be warm but it’s not. I thought it would feel like when you cast a spell.”


“Like me…?” She frowns, then realization comes to her. “Oh. The trip into Jack’s mind. How does it feel?”


“very hard to describe. It’s cool and seems heavy with purpose.
There’s a dull ache deep inside it like a muscle wishing to be exerted.”
Slipping the glove back on he scratches his shoulder.
“Flying …I haven’t really tried since then. I loved my wings. I’ll miss them.”


“Perhaps you’ll find other ways to fly.”

Iskanda looks upwards at the darkening sky. “Do you know what it wishes you to do? The urge to exert, that is.”


“No. But that’s not really the best description of it. the feeling of holding a loaded crossbow in your hands. like remembering a loved ones laugh.”
Julien pulls out a flask and stares at it. He unscrews the top off and the air is filled with a sharp odor. After a sip he speaks.
“it’s the emptiness you feel inside you when a loved one dies in your arms.”


She blinks and her eyes widen. “That’s…I’m sorry that you have to feel that. It’s a terrible thing to go through, even for an instant.”

She pauses, brow furrowed, and when she speaks again, her voice is softer. “When had you held someone like that?”


“My sister died In my arms. I held her as she convulse. I heard her heartbeat fade as we laid there. she shouldn’t of died.”
shaking his head he looks up at iskanda.
“Let’s talk of something else ruminating about the past is something I can do on my own.”


“Oh.” She swallows. “I’m sorry. I…didn’t know.”

She takes in a deep breath and looks around, suddenly curious about the stonework on the rooftop. After a moment, she clears her throat.

“Have you spoken with Silla yet? Or anyone else who knows about angelic beings?”


“Only silla and he said he’d look into it he’s researching many things for us right now and I told him there was no hurry. I haven’t asked my colleagues yet… Didnt one of you say jack had something with angels?”
dabbing his glove on the sides of his face he continues.
“The laugh said they had made a deal with the angel maybe that’s what it wants? But I’m not a theologian.”


“Maybe.” Iskanda shrugs. “I’m not sure if the Laugh is really trustworthy in that regard. As for an angel with Jack? Hm….Oh, yes. When we were purging his mind of the nightmare demon, we lingered too long, and the wards reactivated. You were unconscious, but Terth and I saw the ward in the form of an angel.”

She purses her lips. “To be honest, my knowledge of wards is limited. It couldn’t hurt to talk to Jack about it. Have you met with him at all since the opera?”


“The man thinks of me as a monster I doubt his opinion has improved much. He’s see me as danger and liability. He won’t even speak to me in private anymore. Yet either I’m being lead on or he honestly thinks I can fix our dependant on slavery.”


“To be fair, you are a danger. Or were. Every action has repercussions, something we know all too well, and think of how you -” She cuts herself off and shakes her head. “I should remember that you’re trying to better yourself. Perhaps the slavery solution can be a part of that? I don’t recall if you’d ever told me what you had in mind.”


speaking very quickly.
“No. I haven’t with reason. I said _i _don’t_have_the_stomach for it any longer.” letting the words hang in the air for moment.“Many are against it ending. All I see is my way which would cut the population of slaves in half and maybe more if some nobles find it fashionable to hire servants. But it will make those poeple into brutes like me only ..more easily manipulated. It’s only idea I have other methods proved too costly a replacement. Bastige will bleed or starve. abolishing slavery will cause unrest. Which will lead to violence and death. If we put that many suddenly free they will starve as cost for staples peak. so all I’m left with is the cruel algebra. there’s still time..”
Julian grimaces as he prepares for a blow.


Iskanda narrows her eyes. “Turning men into beasts to use as slaves does not resolve the slavery problem. Bastige will never change unless it happens abruptly. The idea of using people for forced labor is abhorrent. Imagine if it was you, tattooed and enslaved, your entire life at the mercy of your master’s whims.”

She breathes deep and her expression eases. “Making it more fashionable to hire servants is an idea with potential. The nobility is obsessed with their image, after all.”


“I’m not saying my way is better but have you thought about the repercussions of abruptly ending slavery? projections that I have don’t even include people who will actively work against us. thete will be riots. and it will be as a grander scale than the ones that we have seen before.The cities response will be more amped. remember the bombings there will be more maybe even larger than that scale. freed slaves blamed for taking people’s jobs will be beatenin in the street. my way is monstrous totalitarian in way it saves more lives.” pinching the bridge of his nose Julian continunes. “I’m thinking of another way how can I contact you when your gone.”


“I understand that it will be difficult, but…sometimes you must break off and burn the chaff.” She frowns. “And it may be hard to reach me. I have a few destinations planned, but I will send word if I’m ever in one place for a good period of time.”


“The chaff? I’m talking about innocent poeple thrown into chaos who will die due to our actions. Which now will die due to my inability to come up with a solution.


Iskanda shifts on her feet. “It’s unfortunate that Bastige is so fearful of technology. From what I’ve heard, Varselon seems to have found a good replacement. But…what of magic-fueled golems? Not twisted living creatures, but statues of stone or metal or wood.”


“It’s not just the fear but cost. VarsElon has no love of bastige. Getting experts and materials would be costly without the bad blood between them. Also the powers against would have plenty of ammunition. We could force flesh craft on harpies or some other evil above or below. Also what is it were you a slave?”


What?” She scowls and narrows her eyes. “No. You don’t need to have lived as one to understand that it’s a horrific institution. And I don’t think enslaving harpies or the like is an answer.” She rubs her forehead, looking at him strangely. “I meant non-living constructions. Gargoyles are used throughout Bastige as guards, and we use wards on practically everything. Could a statue be infused with magic to be used as manual labor?”


“Well I just meant you’ve focused more on slavery than others is all… figured maybe you had more than altruistic reasons for your focus. A statue could be made for such a reason but only for very simple task and at a cost. It a gargoyle
is meant to defend. You can’t just tell it to till soil and start loading carts. What if we removed slavery and manipulation from it. Open the market of strength enhancement. There dangers of giving power such as that but we could make a profit and spend that profit on feeding and finding work for slaves who don’t enchant themselves.”


“I believe in freedom and justice. But if you must know…I was nearly married off to a man in my homeland when I was young. I cannot stand the idea of a forced marriage, and so then slavery…” She shakes her head.

“I understand your concerns. On my travels I will research what other nations do as an alternative to slavery, if anything. I suggest you do the same. There must be a good solution to this.”


“I rather like the choice of enchantments that and finding work for those who don’t wish to go to those lengths to find a job. We could go about some great public works project. Other countries have a faceless waste or a living jungle to send the bold and desprate. we could see what the ruins under the city hold but I’ve never heard of anyone finding anything pleasant.”

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The Lady Cries Black, The Priest Laughs Red: Wardrobe
Gotta dress up nice before we all get murdered!

You’ve been given a character to play in “The Lady Cries Black, The Priest Laughs Red”, describe in full detail the costume (illusion make-up included) your character is dressed in. Describe which parts are your own doing an which are left to the designers. Give me detail!


Azrelia

After Iskanda’s initial requests for the seamstresses, makeup artists, and illustionists to make the Mother of None look like “an enormous, evil bitch” were turned down, the justicar spent time researching her options.

For the play, Azrelia is a tall, slim – nearly gaunt – woman, pale as moonlight with flawless skin, reddened lips, sharp brows, and dramatic eyeliner. Her hair is dark red, nearly black, tied back in a tight bun (although if dropped at any point during the performance, it falls past her shoulders in voluminous loose waves, a feature suggested by one of the ladies backstage). Her fingernails are long and sharp and, per Iskanda’s brainstorming, a blood-red ombre begins at her fingertips and fades up to her elbows. She insisted that the goddess appear barefoot with the same gradient from her toes to her knees.

The seamstresses handled the dress, for the most part: a long, layered sleeveless gown with a wrap-style bodice that flows gracefully with each step. Iskanda bypassed their color choices, however; rather than red, the dress is pale, similar to her skin, and crimson rises up from the bottom hem as if she’d stepped in blood. The red tone comes to an end at the base of her stomach where a red sash is tied in reference to her womb, once torn open to rip out the Faceless.

Accessories were selected with the help of the designers. A dramatic black choker sits around her neck, embellished with rubies and garnet made to look like thorns. Earrings mirror the design, red stones dangling down from her lobes. A cowl was suggested to draw the audience’s eye to Azrelia’s shoulders, but Iskanda chose to pay homage to the goddess’s whip with a stiff black leather-and-metal ‘rope’ that coils up her forearms and rests across her exposed shoulder blades. She carries a staff of similar material, sharp at the base to serve as a sword.

The Friend

As you approach the door to the dressing rooms, it suddenly bursts open and a harried looking assistant rushes out. You peer inside and see a large, dark skin man sitting in a corner. Between heavy browns and sagging jowls sit small, grey eyes accented with a dark eyeliner.He holds a folio of papers in his hands, deftly shuffling them back and forth in spite of his sausage-like fingers and the heavy gold rings set with diamonds, rubies, and onyx that adorn them.His lips, thin and moving as they whisper lines under the mans breath, are colored a dark crimson to compliment his skinAn empty tankard sits on the table next to him, a desiccated slice of lemon resting at the bottom.

He looks up at you and voice of Terth echoes forth like that of someone trapped at the bottom of a padded well.“Oh it’s you, please come in, you’re letting the draft in. Oh, them, yeah, I just sent them out for some more jasmine and ironbark tea, it makes your voice drop an octave when you drink enough, but it’s starting to wear off… as I’m sure you can tell.”
His outfit is a simple, open vest and loose trousers, bleached the purest white and trimmed with gold and crimson.Standing up to greet you, the sound of numerous gold and silver chains and amulets clanking fills the room.He feet fill red slippers almost to the point of bursting. “It’s amazing what you can do with some leather padding and a glamour eh?”

He walks over to a table and picks up some small brown paper wrapped packets and stuffs some in his pocket and some inside his chest, the air shimmers as he reaches past the glamour to the padded suit. He winks “blood packs, had them made special. Anyway, I have a rehearsal to get to, I’ll see you around” On his way out he picks up a staff which if you know anything about weapons (you do) looks very much like it has a blade hidden in it. As leaves the room and turns down the hallway you hear him shout “dammit Francois, where’s that tea?”

High Priest

Julian requested to look like a young man blonde crewcut. His face stern and frown lines betraying his age set at end a strong chin. He wants eyes bright and blue. He should be tall and broad with muscles hidden under a robes of white and gold. The robes outwardly show silk cloth of white and underneath a fine chain mail glamoured gold. A spiked thurible filled with smoke sticks. The other a staff of iron tipped with garnet. In the inside of his robes our his components and containers for his mutagens are kept much like his enlarged coat inner pockets. The robes were made by others but julian treated them with a enzyme that when mix with his blood turn the robes red and black.

He is unsure if he should bring a whip or a warhammer so he left the choice to others.

The Lover

I already know what I want my costume to look like. A pure black, silk open front petticoat and matching long skirt that is sewn into by the waist with maroon red thread that will dance around ever so slightly as I move. The overgown will be what is on display. Mainly crimson red velvet. The embroidery will be the shadows of roses with twisting interconnected stems and sparse leaves. When the light catches them just right they’ll shine like spilled blood.

This gown will be edged black frills on the sleeves and around the front opening. The frills on the front will resemble falling rose petals. When I move they will appear to be in motion, cascading to the floor but leaving nothing behind.

To complete it I will be wearing a rose gold choker with a tear drop ruby. "

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Night terrors.
dreamwarriors

With a scream Julian wakes up eye wide and bloodshot. Panting and covered in a visible layer of sweat he stares into the middle distance unblinkingly. Seemly deaf to any comment he stares till his eyes fill with tears that run down his face. Finally he closes his eyes and says in a whisper “no”.


Iskanda leans in from the chair beside his bed, brow furrowed. “Julian?…Are you alright?”

She closes and sets aside a small leather-bound book and pen, replacing those items with a clean rag to gently dab at his forehead.


Without bitterness julian replies “why do you care?”
“You shouldn’t but you do. Why?” Before iskanda can reply julian looks around quickly. “And how did i get here?”


“Why wouldn’t I care?” She frowns and shakes her head. “We brought you here after the Spires. You were the only one who didn’t wake. Do you remember any of it?”


“Everything we do has a reason on some level. Some think slavery is right others wrong. Id agrue Both sides have people who are good. Why is there good and evil. Humor m.”
(maybe edit a response in here)


Iskanda sits back, tossing the sweat-soaked rag aside. “It’s human nature to have flaws. And to have reasons. Her Lady Justice teaches that impurity of spirit must be balanced with a desire to do good, and that-” She stops with a sigh. “You’ve heard all of this before. But in the Spires, do you recall what happened?”


“i dont recall any of ride over. I recall the fight with that thing. You falling into a pool of its blood and me falling into the same pool. I assume after that was a dream. It didnt seem like a dream tho i was in the ether i think. ..Hows jack.


“He’s…fine. Better.” Frustration flickers over her face but it’s quickly contained. “You must be parched.”

She doesn’t wait for a response before pouring him a cup of water from the pitcher on his bedside table, handing it to him. “Terth used my sword to deal the final blow. It’s had an…interesting effect, and we visited Silla to get his opinions.” She shifts in her seat. “I may start to experience what Jack had. Hopefully it won’t be so extreme.”


“In the spires i was looking for a debate not council, but i suppose your right we spoken about these issues.
listening to her statement and drinking the glass proves diffcult as julian coughs at her final statement. "What do you mean experience what jack did? You mean that nightmare creature altering your memories? "


“Yes, potentially. I’m hoping it doesn’t get to that point. But…it did try to absorb me when we were in the ether. I woke from it with a nosebleed, both there and in reality. I’d assumed it was from injuries, but…” She trails off and looks down at her hands. “That could be an early symptom of the alterations. And we could all be at some level of risk – we were all struck with Uliska’s sword at Ariadine’s estate. Do you remember seeing that?”


“Yes i recall being inside you.” julian says dryly.


The door to the room softly opens as Terth enters, followed by Luca. “I thought I heard Julian’s voice, is he finally awa…” Terth says as he enters. He glances between the sweating, bedridden doctor and the concerned looking priestess.

“I’m sorry, are we interrupting something? We can come back later.”


Iskanda shoots Julian a look for his remark before turning her attention to Terth. “No, not at all. I was watching him and he came to. He seems to be doing well enough. We were talking about the Spires.”

She frowns. “I haven’t gotten to the part with the Laugh yet, though.”


Terth sits in a chair opposite Iskanda and crosses his legs.

“Well if you want to finish getting Julian up to speed, we can wait. Otherwise we should probably start talking about costumes.”


“Were talking about deamons. The fact one or more of us could be infested with its taint. Yet costumes and the laugh are the current worries?”
Looking around the room again julian says
“Am i still in the ether?”


Terth leans back and rubs his eyes. “If only we were so lucky…” then he sits up and looks Julian in the eye.

“Look, we have come to some… conclusions while you were out. One of them is that some of us might still have a demon consuming our memories. Which is serious,sure, but so far no one has shown any symptoms.” Terth gestures at Iskanda “except maybe her nosebleeds, but that still remains unproven at the moment. Until then there are other matters to focus on, such as not being destroyed by the Ariadene coalition, in both senses of the term.”

“So the short of it is that we have made a deal with the Laugh in exchange for their backing in the coming election. They requested we perform in a play to atone for your sins against them and we need to start planning to make sure we aren’t slaughtered on… or off stage.” Terth glances around the room, his gaze lingers on Iskanda as he says the last phrase.


Luca is unable to hold back his excitement upon that last phrase “It’s going to be glorious. We couldn’t have asked for a better deal. You get to keep your life and we get to wade into the thick of combat in front of all of Bastige. Iskanda gets to publicly mock the patron goddess of this city. And Terth…well he’s there for the fun of it right?”. Luca glances at Terth, betraying a sliver of fear that his friend may not make it past the opening scene.

“But you won’t have to worry too much Terth. I’ll make sure you make it past the climax.”


“Yes, it will be wonderful.” Iskanda rolls her eyes at Luca, then looks to Julian. “It’s called ‘The Lady Cries Black, The Priest Laughs Red’ and hasn’t been performed in Bastige for…forty years, did they say? The reason for its rarity is in its bloodshed. It’s half an opera, half a massacre. And we are, of course, the stars of the show.”


" The exsitement of wearing costumes aside theres so much to comment on. One do we know we wont be fighting one another? Two who will we be fighting. Three my life was on the table? Lastly jack said he had nightmares along with the nose bleeds.. which i had a rather vivid dream which had a unpleasant and distrubing themes.."


Terth sighs. “Frankly, I don’t know. Like Iskanda said, the last time the play was performed was almost half a century ago, and I haven’t actually read the text of the piece. From the little bits I have heard of, I think we are on the same side, but if we aren’t, I suppose we should come up with some contingencies if we’re expected to start fighting each other. Blood spells, dull swords, that sort of affair. Barring any shenanigans we’ll be fighting slaves from the blood pits and probably a few stars recruited from colliseum itself.” Terth takes a quick breath. “Remember, it was either this, or we throw you to the dogs, or we roll over and let Ariadene have her way with us. So this is the least worst option we face, in my humble opinion.”


“You see handing me over as a worse option? Im touched. I figured someone would want to put me down like a dog at this point.” Julian says bitterly.
“Sorry for all this.” he quickly adds getting out of bed cutting off any response. “So costumes and stragiety then? What are our parts? What limitations are inplace as assume they’ll dislike me becoming 12ft tall beast as it may not fit into the theme of the play. I assume winning over the audience will be our main goal next to living to end.”


“I was taking the part of the priest’s lover. I believe Terth was going to be the best friend. They said you have to play the priest. Our current thinking is that there will be some powerful illusions in place so we’ll be able to go out in full gear…hopefully.”, Luca thinks for a moment.Qqc. A sad look covers his face, “If we do have to fight each other it may not be possible to take a dive. The Laugh may wait until the last minute to give us our scripts, to throw us off guard and not be able to prepare too much.”

He looks to his companions for their thoughts.
--
“Well i find we should think like the laugh and work at how to get an outcome we would want. The laugh wants power and me dead. I think these two goals are not up to debate and one i dont wish to happen. So i see three main outcomes to this play.
One we win. Two they win or three we both win.
The laugh owns many gambling houses i see no reason the rule of the house always win should not be their motto. If i die they win. If we all die they win. If we put on amazing show we both win. Now i wasnt there at this meeting but lets say the devil have not commited 100% to team jack. So if we die they can claim it as a gift to win favor with other parties. If i die they get a win and may ease up any attempts to kill the rest of you. Lastly if we put on a good show they’ll win and doing any harm to us would make them look bad. Think of some of the arena battles lucca where a slave has somehow taken down a star with a lucky shot. the crowd do not favor these men with flowers and praise but demand a beast or a new champion. I fear this outcome due to them choosing iskanda part. the laugh besides being entertainers are also brokers of information.”
Drumming on the nightstand julian reaches for his journal.
“so what did i get wrong?”



FOR THE FUTURE SO THIS IS TURNED IN
Luca:
“I already know what I want my costume to look like. A pure black, silk open front petticoat and matching long skirt that is sewn into by the waist with maroon red thread that will dance around ever so slightly as I move. The overgown will be what is on display. Mainly crimson red velvet. The embroidery will be the shadows of roses with twisting interconnected stems and sparse leaves. When the light catches them just right they’ll shine like spilled blood.

This gown will be edged black frills on the sleeves and around the front opening. The frills on the front will resemble falling rose petals. When I move they will appear to be in motion, cascading to the floor but leaving nothing behind.

To complete it I will be wearing a rose gold choker with a tear drop ruby. "

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Brunch at the Crossroads Cafe
What did we do last night?!??!

Luca

The past night was a rough one for Luca. Keeping his charges out of trouble, well really keeping them from getting into even more trouble then they were already in. He was almost certain that they would all be feeling quite rough this morning. After preparing himself with his morning routine of exercising he tossed his latest lover out of his small apartment.

“I bet they’re all still asleep. I don’t like us all being in separate places, we’re too easy to pick off like that.” He had walked Iskanda back first after she fell over for the 4th time, Terth was just sober enough to help hold her up. Terth was the next one tossed into his home. As Julian and Luca closed the door they were sure they heard the sounds of vomiting coming from the privvy chamber. Julian was sober enough to find his way back, but Luca didn’t trust him to head straight home, so he was escorted as well.

“I guess I’ll make the rounds and see if we can collect ourselves for a breakfast, or more likely brunch at this point.”

He gets ready and heads out, knocking on the door of his friend…


julian

“Lucca. Morning. Is anyone dead?”
Julian rubs his temple and gives out a sigh
“The last thing i recall is you and iskanda fighting and the shackle man coming. I think i pissed in an ally. Tell me is this common of drinking.”


Across town Terth startles awake in his bed, covered in sweat and sheets tossed everywhere in spite of the cooling weather. He looks around, a panicked look in his eye as he tries to piece together the previous night. Words like “brunch” and “another shot” filter through his booze-addled brain. He buries his face in a pillow and tries to go back to sleep.

Ten minutes later and no luck, Terth finally crawls out of bed, pulls on the cleanest jacket he has, runs a comb through his hair, and puts on a spritz of cologne to hide the booze smell. Pulling the door shut behind him, he pulls out a notepad and scribles a note before hanging it off a nail on the door.

“Gone to Crossroads. Gonna grab a table for all of us.”


“Whoa, watch where you’re – oh.” Amid the late morning bustle on a busy street, Iskanda squints at the man who nearly stumbled into her. “Terth?”

Her clothes are different and she seems sober – passably enough, at least – but dark circles under her eyes and a faraway look to her expression betray any sort of put-togetherness she might otherwise display.

“Oh. It is you. Hm.” She blinks. “Didn’t expect to run into you, I was just heading back from business at the church. Where are you headed?”


Terth blinks and runs a hand through his hair.

“Oh hey, Iskanda. Fancy running into you here. I was actually on my to uh…”

He blinks again and looks around. “…gods, it’s really out today. Uh, anyway, I was on my way to grab breakfast.” He checks his watch. “Lunch. Brunch. I think I remember us talking about it at some point last night. I couldn’t remember where we decided to meet though so I figured the Crossroads Cafe is as good as any, it’s pretty much in between all our houses anyway. I left a note on my door. Have you seen Julian or uh, Luca?”


Iskanda shakes her head, almost grimacing at the mention of Luca. “No. I was-” A yawn cuts her off. “-on my way home. But…you might be right about the meal. I think I remember that. Maybe. Hm.”

She stares off for a moment, tapping her chin, then seems to remember that she’s talking to someone. “Oh, um. Food does sound good about now. Can’t promise I’ll stick around after, though. Shall we?” She nods towards…a direction. Whether it’s the right way, she isn’t quite sure. “What time is it, anyway?”


Luca

Luca betrays a laugh at Julians question. “Yes its quite common actually. I’m quite used to saving people from themselves after drinking. Don’t tell me this is your first time drinking though!?! And no no one is dead.”

Luca studies his friend, as Julian displays all the signs of a first time drunk. Thinking back to the previous night, Luca remembers the barman mixing him special concoctions, and quite a few of them. He also thumbs the coins in his purse, the ones he won from the other patrons and will now buy breakfast for his freinds with.

“Come on Julian, I went by Terth’s place earlier and the note said he’d meet us at the Crossroads. Hopefully Iskanda remembers as well. I hope I didn’t bruise her ego too much last night. It might be best not to mention the fight to her until after she’s had her meal.”

With that Luca turns and begins walking to the cafe.


julain

‘Well ive drank before just normally at home and only a bottle or two. Its odd dredge seem to give one more senses or alter ones i had. That cocktail seemed to rob me of some and make others simpler. I did scibble some poems before bed."
At the comment of iskanda Julian smiles.
“It was nice to see her loose control. WelI guess she doesnt have that much to begin with but this seemed a different kind of control. Not that im one to comment on her prudence. I wouldn’t worry, she shouldn’t hold anything against you. We were in no shape to face anyone and more so we cannot afford to make any more enemies."
Scratching his forehead he gives a long sigh.
“We need to be making more..friends. I acknowledge my actions are partly to blame but im open to suggestions. Iskanda certainly doesn’t want to break bread with either Elizabeth’s family or either church shes linked too. Terth seems open but at a dead end. The only party they’d both seem fine with is connected with the laugh. Which i think doesn’t want anything to do with me. No wait they want plenty to do with me just—none of it good. Did they ever tell you why i have this blood bound curse? What i did?”


Luca

“You’ve taken dredge before? Awful stuff, leaves you disconnected from your body. I knew a few fighters who took it because it ‘enhanced’ their senses or they just wanted to dull the pain of that life. I don’t recall any who are still among the living.” Luca idly fondles the pommel of his sword.

“You’re right though, her losing control was a nice change of pace. I don’t know how well I could have held her back if you had decided to help her, so thanks for not doing that.”

As they enter the cafe, a decent enough place that serves as a sort of neutral ground for the different classes, Luca spots Terth and Iskanda sitting at a corner table. “Good table”, Luca thinks to himself, “We can sit facing the windows, a nice high back so no one can sneak up, and a good view of the entire place.”

Purposefully he starts the conversation back up with Julian as they sit down, “I’m not sure who we could ally with in the city Julian. I don’t think a whole faction would be that great right now, too many politics. We should start smaller, contacts for information, an underground one for special equipment, and maybe set up a few safe houses too.”

“Good morning guys. You two look worse off then when I dropped you off last night”


Terth glares at Luca over a cup of coffee.

“Luca, If you are going to insist on being so chipper and start talking about business out of the gate, let me finish my coffee first. Otherwise I will not hesitate to dock your pay for the next week.”

Terth takes a sip of his coffee and turns back to Iskanda “…I was thinking of ordering the eggs Bastige, but the hollandaise sauce always seems to be hit or miss in this part of the city.” He pushes some menus towards the new company. “What are you guys going to get?”

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Local Legends Launch Lagging Location
-by Émile Zola.

Bridge District, Bastige
Chicago_world_s_fair__a_century_of_progress__expo_poster__1933__2.jpg
The Bridge District. Once a phrase used to denote the life and types of those who, the floating detritus of our society, washed up on it’s shores. Beggars, homeless, thieves, and worthless foreigners often found themselves living in this squalor filled district.

Hiding under bridges or high amongst the ruins of the Spires, for who knows how long the area around the Grand Bridge and Spires have been a hive of scum and villainy. But now thanks to the efforts of some of Bastige’s local hero’s and politicians, this part of the city is once again becoming livable for the rest of us.

In particular the driving force behind this urban renewal project has been one Jack Clemmens. Many of you may recognize him as one of the candidates in the upcoming parliamentary election creeping up on us. However, in addition to his political aspirations, Jack has also revealed his civic minded nature as well in this project.

Often seen working at soup kitchens in the Towers in his time off, this renewal project has seen the standard of living the Bridge district rise substantially over the last few months, as well as numerous construction, retail, and other jobs as new life flourishes in the area.

While the effort to revitalize the Bridge district has been lead by Jack, much of the ground work has been handled by a small group of local heroes originally know for their work in apprehending the civic terrorists from the early summer attacks. Terth Valkir, Iskanda Narrah, and Julian Clemont have been instrumental in helping see the Bridge district, and specifically the once blighted towers known as the Spires, rebound into a new a prosperous district for the mighty city of Bastige.

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HELLISH HARPY SPOTTED IN SKIES, THEN SPIRES
Fiend flies free in Bridge District.

harpy.jpg A foul monster that had been banished from the Spires by upstanding landlord Mr. Geralt Argent has returned.

The harpy was spotted in the sky mid-morning yesterday above the People’s Quarter. It soared aimlessly for some time, then turned towards the Spires after being shot at with arrows and bolts. As of press time, just over sixty courageous citizens and members of the military had stepped forward to say that they had fired upon the beast.

“I was up in the Bridge getting my hunting crossbow re-strung when I saw that thing,” said Mr. Paul Rene of the Theater District. “Just stepped out of the fletcher’s and there it was. I did what any good Bastigian would do and had at it, and saw it fall towards the Spires.”

Men and women rushed up the steps of the towers, hoping to take down the creature once and for all. Those first to the rooftops caught a glimpse of it but were unable to get close before it plummeted off of the roof. Witness accounts of the disappearance are conflicting and the harpy has not yet been found.

According to Miss Danielle Garnier, who was working at the the Higher Grounds Cafe at the base of the Spires, the monster fled quickly. “It was horrible! All I saw were its wings as it dove off. They were all red – I think it was covered in blood. Oh gods, I hope it was all its own. Just the most hideous thing.”

No injuries were reported other than a young woman fainting upon sight of the beast.

The Spires, once a crumbling ruin that only housed criminals and crooks, had recently been revitalized through the efforts of Mr. Argent and parliamentary candidate Mr. Jack Clemmens. Mr. Clemmens was unavailable for comment immediately following the event, but Mr. Argent appeared on the scene soon after the harpy fled.

“Safety is my utmost concern for the fine tenants of the Spires,” said Mr. Argent. “I assure the people of the Bridge District, and of Bastige as a whole, that this will not happen again. Jack Clemmens has provided us with a powerful warding system for the rooftops, which should be fully in place within a month once cleanup and construction of the higher floors has been completed.”

Curious crowds lingered long after the creature disappeared, hoping for a second sighting. Most agreed that they had in fact spotted a harpy, although there were one or two dissenting opinions.

“Wasn’t no harpy! Was a man with wings!” claimed a foreign bystander, but his mad theory was quickly drowned out by sensible Bastigian eyewitnesses.

“There’s only one thing that looks like that, and that’s a harpy,” said Mr. Jean Moreau, who had recently purchased land in the Bridge District. “I know it for a fact.”

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Varselonian Sourge Found Walking Through Bastigian Streets
Foreign Blood Stains

Yesterday morning around 10am, around the same time as the harpy sighting, a terrifyingly foreign sound was heard in the People’s quarter. It was a sound normally only heard in the debased Varselon city. The sound of a gun.

I was on the scene moments after the shot rang out. Propped up outside, against the alleyway wall of local merchant, Pierre Bontoole’s, shop was the fiendish, Varselonian man, Alex ?. A man only allowed within our great city by his affiliation with the foreign ? agency.

Many in the area had rushed to investigate the source of the sound they heard. At first most kept their distance from the staggered man. His hair was reddened and caked in blood from a head wound he had received. No doubt from some brave, noble Bastigian before being scared away by the gunshot. Someone shouted “He’s got a gun!”, and the next moments consisted only of chaos.

Some ran away, some ran to get guards, and the rest descended upon the invader in a righteous wrath that would make Azrelia proud. It took 10 guards to pull the mob off of Alex. In the aftermath he was left almost lifeless, suffering countless bruises and cuts. I was close enough to hear what excuses he was muttering.

“Roland, it’s Roland. You have to let me get him.”, he kept repeating over and over again. “You don’t understand, its my job. I’m allowed to hunt him.” The guards, displaying their fine Bastigian training, didn’t listen to any of this ranting. He was taken to the local stockades and placed under watch.

That afternoon the chief of the ??? agency talked with the captain of the guard to negotiate Alex’s release. It is unknown what the details for this deal was, but Alex is now free to roam our streets again. How could our leaders allow such a foul agency of bounty hunters to exist with our grand city? Who’s to say their aren’t dozens or hundreds of such men in our neighborhoods? I, for one, will be taking every precaution to ensure the safety of myself, my family, any upstanding Bastigian citizens around me from this foreign menace.

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What is best in life?
Or, what sweet gear do you want?

Homework: Post a list of three items your character would like to own at some point. These items could be upgrades to your current gear or brand new items entirely. Please post them on the Obsidian Portal by Wednesday August 27th if you want Prestige.


Iskanda

  1. Well-crafted scalemail or chainmail that she could wear underneath a coat, or a lighter, more subtle armor enchanted to provide greater protection.
  2. A shield emblazoned with Her Lady Justice’s emblem. Based on a celestial shield or something similar.
  3. A gift from the people. Vague, yes – can be anything.

Julian

  1. To crush his enemies. To split bone and blood. Torture in fighting. Id like julian to be able to use his medical knowlege to inflict great nonlethal pain.
  2. An item that allows me to share spells or buff others much like the one i emailed you.This could also be an upgrade to my mixture vail.
  3. blood curse/blood magic related hijinx.

Luca

  1. Bloodlust (this would be a made up power) or Keen Khopesh
  2. Magic items of protection (rings, bracers, etc.) – heirlooms stolen from him when he was put into servitude, we can flesh out the stories on these if you want
  3. Sash of flowing water

Terth (is bad and terrible)

  1. A piece of jewellery or trinket that creates an aura that deflects projectiles (or at least mitigates their effect)
  2. Some dirt on Pierre Bontoole
  3. A boat
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The group travels to all new lows.

The soft footfalls echo into the dark as the group makes their way down the stairs. The passage of time and distance seems untrackable on the monotony that has become their world.
Staring off into the middle distance julian looks at the inky abyss and smiles. “Do you think there’s a faster way back up?”


The question hangs in the air for what seems like hours. Steps without end stretch before and behind the group, each worn unique by the passing of time. A dark eternity later, Terth replies.

“No. Probably not.”


The voices echo a few times coming from both above and below. The natural and unnatural lights dance on the walls, filled with worn etchings, graffiti, and the occasional hole. Luca studies it for a whole on the way down.

“I just hope we can make it down without another incident. I’d hate to damage this history any more than it has been”


Julian gentle rakes a claw along the wall. Not damaging it but making a light scraping sound.
“Yes the great history of the stairs. Built by someone in the year something. I never understood the idea that something old makes something venerable. Granted i do like some old thulain style buildings in the peoples. I feel like we’ve been at this forever ..Hey dont you have a watch? How long have we been going down?”


“Ages, it feels like.”

Iskanda taps the blade of her feebly-lit sword and the pale yellow glow renews. “You’re being awfully talkative today, Julian. Afraid of the dark?”


Terth’s mouth spreads into a shit eating grin.

“Are you not? You know things like grues enjoy hiding underground in the dark and preying on distracted travelers.”


Luca’s faces contorts with displeasure to Terth’s comment.

“I’d be more afraid of what those cultists have been unearthing down here, than grues. Who knows what they could find down here. Long forgotten magic, artifacts, or creatures that would be best left forgotten.”


“You’re quite curious about history and artifacts, hm?” Iskanda tilts her head. “I wouldn’t have guessed, given your…professions.”


Luca responds with a grim look, “History is the only life after death. There is some solace knowing that at least some part of those that have fallen before me are preserved. Even if their names are forgotten, the events they participated in won’t be.”


“Ah.” She looks to him for a moment. “Have you always had such an interest in the past? It’s not a common trait for one so devoted to fighting and taking orders.”


“Voice of experience? What do you base that on?” -julian


Iskanda sighs. “No, from observation. Forgive me for trying to have a conversation and learn more about my companions.”


With a dismissive shrug julian leans near luca and says “I just thought she was calling you uneducated.” returning to his pace on the steps julian looks at iskanda. “No need to be so testy iskanda. Im a chained dog now, hardly a man worth fighting with. As we saw upstairs that may be more dangerous than i was.”


“I was asking him if he had – Oh, nevermind.” She shakes her head.

“Anyway, yes, the men up there seemed very devoted to their task. No telling how many there will be down below. I do wonder if Jack knew more about this place than he’d mentioned…”


In a somewhat detached voice, “Julian, I believe she may have been implying as such, but it’s an easy mistake to make. Most warriors are little more than machines made to clumsily swing any blunt, spiked, or bladed object that is put into their hands.”

Luca’s voice picks up, “My training, however, involved countless lessons on forms, their individual histories, why they were invented, who uses each one, which ones counter others, how to switch and combine them. It was always the ‘why’ that intrigued me.”


“I fear this may hurt your standing in the group, but i’ve decided i like you. With spells or blades no one ever questions “why” when they’re so happy with the results. Like iskanda’s light. Does it fill the metal with light or is it more plated with light. Does it have a weight?
What if she casted it on a mirrored box? Would it still reflect the light? If it were cast on ice and we melted it what would the results be? Where does the light come from? God? If so where would terth’s come from? No one questions it as they are just happy with having it. The order questions why, but even then only when it fits their needs. ON that note. Jack didn’t say anything to me, maybe to terth? Maybe he wants us to find this knowlege and use it as some kind of blackmail? Maybe hide his own family history? Maybe having me burn from the inside saving one of you. I mean hemorrhaging hurts, but the blood boiling that stays with you. Does her lady have a “Curse”? I should of shopped around for my penance, but i didnt have the time really.


She purses her lips at Luca before glancing towards Julian. “Yes, we do have our own mark of justice. Chances are you would’ve liked it less than Azrelia’s method, as it’s a bit…stronger. Someone of my rank can’t generally carry it out, though. Usually it’s a High Justicar, and there aren’t any of those in the city. And the High Presbyter here isn’t really one for making a scene, so I doubt he would’ve approved.”


“Stronger? How so? Does it out right kill you, or is it more binding in the sense one can’t even think of harming another? Also i thought you were the highest ranking Justicar here. Doesn’t that make you defacto High Justicar? Who issues that edict? Granted i’m assuming your church operates much like a army. Speaking of armies who trained you luca? You know..i just realized how ignorant i am of all of you. I have no idea what made any of you come to this city. Not that you need to justify it.”
The edges of a landing come into view and fade behind them.
“I think that was forty or forty one. Has anyone been counting?”


Iskanda shakes her head. “No, I’m afraid I’ve lost track. And I’m from Ordahl, as you must know. It’s not the best place for a woman to live, so…” She trails off.


“Ah yes im told its very hot there. But why her lady of justice? Not a officer of the law, not a preistess nore a knight. But then im assuming you decided this. Sometimes such things are thrusted on us.”


“I believe Miss Iskanda was referring to how women are treated there. Perhaps she took up the cause of Her Lady Justice in order to raise her station, or perhaps ", turning to Iskanda, “to raise the station of all those she saw being mistreated.”


“Oh.” There’s a pause before Iskanda nods. “Er, yes. I didn’t become a part of the church until I came to Bastige…I hoped to make some sort of difference here, to rid it of the horrors of slavery. Ordahl was only my home in my youth.” She gives a small shrug.

“And what of you, Luca? Bashara, right? What brought you here?”


“Failure brought me here. Bashara is where I was trained. Though I can no longer call it home. Bastige has been hospitable enough, but I do not plan on staying here forever.”


“Hospitable?” She snorts. “Weren’t you indentured as a gladiator for over half a decade? Curious definition of ‘hospitable’…”


“Yes forced to fight fuck and drink one self till raw. How ever did you deal with the horrors?” Julian rubs his forehead and winces. “Then again its hard to enjoy anything when forced, hard to look ahead when you can’t decide the path i suppose.”

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