Shackled City - Chapter I





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    Shackled City - Chapter I

    Life's Bazaar - Part I

    Built inside the mouth of a dormant volcano, the city of Cauldron is aptly named. The town's buildings, tightly packed and built from volcanic rock and wood, line the inner bowl of this nameless volcano. Cobblestone roads form concentric circles around a small lake of cold water, which fills the volcano's basin.

    A 50-foot-tall fortified wall of black malachite encircles the city, tracing the outer rim of the volcano. Four roads descend the outer walls of the volcano, becoming major thoroughfares that lead to other towns and distant realms. The districts nearer the rim of the city tend to be occupied by upper class families and elite merchants. The closer one gets to the center of town (and the closer to the pungent odors of the central lake), the shoddier the construction and the more dangerous the dark alleys.

    Of immediate interest to any newcomer in town, is The Drunken Morkoth Inn, located on Obsidian avenue, around the outer rim of the volcano. It is currently late afternoon and a steady rain has begun to fall. Frequent rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning permeate throughout the city. It would be best for those without shelter to find some as soon as possible until the storm passes.

    Map of Cauldron
    Last edited by Majin; Monday, 19th July, 2004 at 03:49 PM.

 

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    As Elyas enters Cauldron he heads for the nearest inn to shelter from the downpour.
    As he enters The Drunken Morkoth inn, he trys to shake some off the rain from his clothing.

    I should really get myself a cloak to keep some of this rain off, hummm I wonder if there is a spell that can keep me dry?

    As he reaches the bar he asks the bartender for a big cup of coffee and asks if there are any vacant rooms.

    Taking his coffee he heads for an empty table, and takes a new leather-bound book out of his back pack and starts writing on the 1st page.
    Last edited by Dhes; Monday, 19th July, 2004 at 08:31 PM.
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    Zeric's arms felt as if the skin on his arm had been stretched past its breaking point around his muscles as he unloaded the last of Gurnezarn's heavy crates off of the wagon and carried it to the back of the smithy.

    Trying to set it down as gently as possible, Zeric's grip finally failed him, and the crate, already slick with Zeric's sweat, slipped from his hands and landed with a loud thud in front of him.

    "Don't ye be thinkin' I didna hear that Zeric. I told ye a thousand times how fragile that cargo be before it got here. Why I let them priests talk me inta hirin' a mule headed, no account vagrant like you, I'll never to be knowin'.

    Resisting the urge to pick the crate up once more and truly test the fragility of the mystery contents within, Zeric knew that he should not be surprised at the mercurial temperment of his employer, especially after working for the dwarf for almost three months.

    ~Three more months and my obligation to the church is over...three more months until I can be free of their gaze...three months until I can put my payments to their proper usage...~

    His thoughts of freedom from St Cuthbert clergy's watchful gaze, as well as his freedom from the razor tongued dwarf sustained him through his final duties inside the smithy, and as the first peel of thunder rumbled from the west, Zeric felt the heavy steps of Gurnezarn approaching him and wondered what he had done now that the dwarf had taken offense to.

    "I know ye will be wantin' t' get t' yer room before this storm rolls in, and since ye proly done broke half of what be in those boxes, it'll be better for ye if'n ye ain't here when I muster me courage and look inside of them."

    Resisting the urge to smile in response to Gurnezarn's gruffness, Zeric took the dismissal for what it was almost out the door when Gurnezarn's voice called out to him once more, this time lacking the gruffness that Zeric was used to.

    "I'm not t' be understandin' why ye work for me like ye do Zeric, especially since there be no coin in it for ye, but a deal be a deal, and I aim t' keep my side o' it."

    Turning around to see what the dwarf was talking about, Zeric saw the dwarf holding a chain shirt in one hand and an equally plain looking morningstar in the other.

    "They're nothing fancy t' be sure, but the priests said that I was t' return these t' ya once ye proved t' me that ye could be trusted with them. Now, I'm still thinkin' that ye'll find a way t' hit yeself in the head with this thing, but that be your problem and not mine. Now get out o' here before the rain washes ye away...

    Walking up to the dwarf and taking his mended chain shirt, as well as his regripped morningstar, Zeric nodded his head in thanks to the dwarf and walked out the door and into the night.

    ~You may not know it Gurnezarn, but you just made sure these three months will go by much easier...~

    Slipping the chain shirt over his tunic as the first heavy drops of rain began to fall, Zeric looked up into the sky above his adopted city and smiled a feral grin into the pouring rain.

    ~Your priests made a mistake you arrogant bastard...you should have told them to make sure they finished the job, because I am coming for you, as well as any of yours lapdogs that would seek to keep safe, whatever it takes I will have my vengence, and not even your god can keep you safe...~
    Last edited by Verbatim; Tuesday, 20th July, 2004 at 02:39 AM.

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    "Will you just come on?" the sodden bard asked his mule in a tone that suggested patience was not a virtue and in fact a derivative of convenience.
    The animal, equally wet and equally headstrong about its own opinions of virtues, stared back with a look of languid ignorance.
    "Fine!" he said with a wave of his hand and quick turn of his heel. "Don't complain to me when the wolves come biting at your hooves..."
    He approached the city's Eastern gate and hailed the guards to let him in, trying to gain as much shelter from the rain as possible from the porticos of the gatehouse. He identified himself as a weather-beaten traveler. His purpose: "Just passing through."
    As he prepared to enter the walls of Cauldron he felt a familiar nudge at the small of his back.
    "I guess you think I'm just gonna let you come with me now, huh?" he asked without looking back. He was answered with a sardonic snort from a well-muscled nose that's had a lot of practice.
    The two travelers made their way through the maze-like streets until they reached a tavern by the name of The Drunken Morkoth Inn. Phoebus, the mule, was sent around back to be kept in the stable, along with the usual stabling fees.
    Phoebus was a veteran. He knew how to pay.
    The taller of the two entered the common room and sat down at the bar with an air of one who's really good at making himself conspicuous.
    "Let's have a drink, barkeep," he said to the person providing such services.
    As the musician waited for his ale he gave the Inn a smug once-over and unstrapped his lyre from his back to dry it off with the inside of his cloak.
    He plucked a few notes idly.
    "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ~ John Lennon

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    A clean-shaven man who appears to be in his late 20's gets Elyas his coffee and Orpheus his ale. Taking 4 copper from each of them he watches as Elyas heads off by himself and turns back to the bard after accepting payment.

    "Name's Kellen. Haven't seen you around here in Cauldron. What brings you here stranger?"

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    The bard looks at the man silently for a moment before answering.
    "I'm just passing through. How 'bout you?" he asks, hoping his poetry isn't wasted on the young man.
    "Say...what sort of person did it take to found a city in the middle of an inactive volcano?" he asks, this time more sincere.
    "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ~ John Lennon

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    Kellen stares blanky for a moment at Orpheus' first question, then gives him a wry smile.

    "It is told that the town was originally founded by the Lord Mayor's ancestors. The real reason for why they picked a dormant volcano for their foundation is up for debate actually. Some say it was desperation for a place to settle."

    "Others say that some merchants had the mayor's ancestor's ear, and convinced him that this site would be the perfect central hub for trade in the area, as you can tell we have a road in each cardinal direction leading off to nearby towns."

    "Others still, speak of darker reasons. That something sinister influenced the founders decision to build here. Although I think thats plain hogwash. The city has been here for over a century and nothing has happened to us!"

    "It's my opinion that it was simply a guild of merchants his ancestor was close to. Prolly promised to give him a cut of their profits too!" the barkeep laughs.

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    Orpheus pays rapt attention to the barkeeper's words, going so far as to lean in a little closer. He especially finds the mention of hogwash to be to his liking.
    "We're all mates here, Kellen; who're these others and what exactly are they saying?" he asks, stoking the metaphysical fire with his mind's stick.

    (OOC: It probably doesn't matter, but just in case the right questions aren't being asked... Gather Information +6)
    "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ~ John Lennon

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    "Others? Oh, it's just word around town really. Most people don't pay it any bother. You prolly shouldn't either. Just a bunch of fip and fappery if you ask me."

    The barkeep pauses for a moment and looks at the bard, who no doubt will want more of an answer than that, and sighs. "Well, if you simply must hear what some are saying. The big event as of late that has the local constabulary in tangles is all the people being kidnapped. Now "all", mind you, is an indeterminate number of people. They won't say who exactly. Only those that know the kidnap victims know of at least one, namely their own that turned up kidnapped."

    "The church itself seems to know as well, but their tight lipped about it too, only trusting their own lapdogs with the details. All a lot of rubbish if you ask me anyway, and you did, didn't you? It's prolly all just some coincidence anyway, the list of people I bet isn't even that long. Nothing to pull your ears off for."

    Kellen chuckles to himself and adds, "Maybe it's like some people say, a magical disease has infected the town, causing people to vanish, just like that!"

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    After arriving at the Tipped Tankard Tavern, where he lodged, Zeric had opened the door to his spartan room and saw a sealed letter with his name on it upon his cot. Picking it up, Zeric saw the mark of St Cuthbert in the wax, Zeric and opened the letter, his eyes quickly scanning the contents within.

    Zeric,

    I would like you to meet with Headmistress Gretchen Tashykk of the Lantern Street Orphanage. She has reported the kidnapping of some of her wards, and the church would like her to know that we are taking the matter seriously. Please get the names and ages of the children that were taken and bring them to the temple tonight. While I can not force you to assist the church, it will help convince those who might still harbor doubts about your change of heart.

    May Cuthbert's grace watch over you in this task.

    Priestess Urikas


    Sighing deeply, Zeric knew that the church was once more testing him to see if he had truly turned his back on his old life, and while he could not fault them for their logic, it chaffed him that he was the one under the scrutiny.

    ~The faster I get this done, the better...~

    Managing to find his way to the orphanage, Zeric had knocked on the door and greeted by a graying halfling woman who introduced herself as Headmistess Tashykk. Wasting no time, Zeric told her of the church's concern over the missing children and asked if he could have their names and ages to take back to the temple.

    Nodding her head, she gave Zeric their names and their age, fighting back her tears as she did so.

    ~Three human children and one of dwarvish blood...I wonder if Gurnezarn knows of this last fact?~

    Repeating their names and ages in his head until he felt he had them memorized, Zeric thanked her for her time and started walking towards the church, never seeing the eyes of the older halfling following him until he disappeared in the darkness of the storm.

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