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Malvoisin's Curse of the Crimson Throne, Chapter 1: Edge of Anarchy (IC)

Malvoisin

First Post



Korvosa, the Jewel of Varisia, has long sparkled on Varisia’s southern shore.
Established 300 years ago by Cheliax at the height of that empire’s expansion,
the city now commands its own destiny. A line of Korvosan kings and queens
emerged to rule the city, establishing an infamous seat of power—the Crimson Throne.
Rulers have sat upon the Crimson Throne for more than a century, and the city
has flourished. Yet the monarchy always seems on the brink of disaster. The
Crimson Throne is not a prize to be won—it is a curse. No monarch of Korvosa
has died of old age, and none have produced an heir while ruling. Even though
King Eodred II controls Korvosa more fully than any previous monarch, that control
remains tenuous, and many secretly count the days until their latest king falls to what
they call the Curse of the Crimson Throne
.

Curse of the Crimson Throne IC OOC RG
 
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Malvoisin

First Post
The Keep


A ray of early morning sunshine poked its way through the boarded-up window and danced across the face of Gadeann Fayne. The storyteller woke with a start, his hand reflexively reaching for the haft of his poleaxe which lay beside the hard pallette where he had fitfully slept. Gadeann sat up quickly, looking around the common room of the low-rent flophouse, but he was greeted only by the loud snores of his fellow tenants. With a soft sigh, the tall Shoanti pushed his lanky, copper-colored hair back out of his face, and reached down for his coarse woolen trousers. Gadeann's hand paused in midair as his mismatched eyes noticed a small object lying on the rumpled bundle that was his clothing and other possessions. Reaching out, the Shoanti picked up a card the likes of which he had not seen before. On one side was beautifully hand-painted the strange image of a keep walking on mechanical legs. Turning it over, Gadeann read the message that was written on the back of the card in dark, bold script. He read it a second time, then a third, as he idly ran his thumb across an old scar. Then, decisively, Gadeann dressed quickly, took a firm hold of his poleaxe, and exited the flophouse. It was time for one 'Little Lamm' to return to the flock...for a reckoning was at hand.

~~~​

The Wanderer

'Lucky' Edlin knew he had somewhere better to be. In the noisy, smoke-filled gambling den where all manner of vices were to be had for the right price, he was well known, though perhaps not well loved. The dice had not been kind to him that evening, and his few remaining coins lay on the table awaiting his throw. Wiping nervous fingertips on the hem of his well-cut jacket, he gripped the ivory dice tightly, and thought for a moment...just a fleeting moment...of Shiver, and how it would take the edge off his nerves. But, no. That was behind him now. Behind him for good. Edlin swallowed hard and tossed the dice. As a howl of laughter went up from around the table, Edlin didn't even need to look at the result of his poor throw to know that he had lost. Wordlessly, he scooped up his dice and, with one last look at his lost gold, turned from the table. The mockery and derision of his so-called 'friends' followed him to the door. Angrily, Edlin thrust his hand into his empty pockets...only they weren't empty. He drew forth a card, unexpectedly, wondering how it had come to be in his pocket. The card beautifully depicted a heavily-laden centaur traveling aimlessly along. With a furrowed brow, Edlin turned the card over. His breath caught in his throat as he read the words carefully printed on the back. Old memories, false pleasures and all too real pains, came back in a rush as he left the gambling den behind. It seemed that Edlin's luck was changing at last.

~~~​

The Empty Throne

Coldan Ciandra slammed down an empty tankard, the fourth such he had drained in the span of the last hour. A few nervous glances flicked toward the corner of the tavern where he sat alone; but they did not linger too long. Even the serving wenches approached Coldan's table very carefully. Perhaps it was the battered mail, the spiked shield, the veritable arsenal of weapons that rested near at hand, marking his former position in the Order of the Nail. Perhaps it was the measured force with which the knight moved, or the way his eyes coldly stared, taking in nothing...and everything. For all of these reasons and more, Coldan was a man not to be trifled with, but this night, his thoughts, as they so often did, turned to Shiana. Disappointed by the fact that he could still feel something...anything...Coldan turned his head and moved as if to signal for another drink. He stayed his hand as something in the bottom of his tankard caught his eye...a card? Coldan reached in and retrieved the impossibly dry card, as his other hand drifted toward his longsword. Hand-painted on the front was the image of a regally dressed figure weeping before a grave marker. On the back was a message written in dark ink that Coldan read quickly, then looked accusingly around the tavern as though daring any present to acknowledge responsibility. Something deep within stirred as Coldan absently dropped a few coins on the table, then rose and gathered his things. As the cold breeze of the Korvosan streets helped clear his head, he remembered...and ever-so-slightly smiled.

~~~​

The Peacock


Girri woke in a warm bed, and listened to the soft breath of the man beside her as his chest rose and fell in a gentle rhythm. She did not know his name, only that he was a member of the Korvosan Guard...she found it easier that way. But it was only barely spring, and still cold on the streets...too cold, she thought, remembering the horrors of winters past. With practiced silence, Girri slipped from beneath the blanket, careful not to wake the slumbering guardsman. She dressed quickly and quietly, eager to be gone from that house before the other awoke. She strapped on her piecemeal leathers, and slid fluidly into her colorful scarves, but as she slipped on a supple leather boot, she paused in surprise as her bare foot touched some object in the toe. Girri pulled forth the Harrow card in wonderment, recognizing immediately the cockatrice which represented The Peacock, for she had watched Mother Crone perform the Harrowing countless times. This was a card from a particularly nice deck, beautifully painted and gilt in silver along the edge. Girri mulled the traditional fortune-telling meaning of The Peacock...a sudden personal change...then flipped it over between her fingertips. With a soft gasp, she read carefully the words printed so carefully on the card's back. Her eyes widened as a flood of memories came rushing in. A sudden snort from the stirring guardsman interrupted her reverie, however. Quickly pulling on her last boot, Girri darted for the door and gave thanks to Pharasma. A sudden personal change, indeed!

~~~​

The Marriage​


At the Bank of Abadar, Karastro Quintel sat at a polished oaken desk, poring over an ancient tome of law. The young man was to be found here often, of late, perusing one volume after another in his search for elusive justice. This particular volume, an old work regarding the conscription of local militia to hunt down notorious criminals, was no good. Gaedren Lamm was certainly not considered enough of a threat for the Korvosan Guard to start drafting Korvosa's youth, even if the law was still in effect...which it wasn't. Karastro stifled a yawn and ran his fingers through his short black hair. The hour had grown late. Perhaps it was time to call it a night, come back tomorrow? No, not yet. Time still for a little more reading. Karastro reached for another dusty volume from the stack on the desk, and was surprised to see that someone had stuck a small card in the book, seemingly as a placeholder. He opened the book to the marked page, but his attention was quickly drawn by the card itself. The card was hand-painted and old, depicting the strange scene of the marriage of two elementals, one of fire and the other of water. Shrugging, Karastro wondered to himself why someone would use such an odd thing for a placeholder, and tossed the card down onto the desk. It fluttered to a stop on the hard surface, revealing a message printed carefully in black ink on the back. Karastro read it carefully, and whistled to himself softly. It seemed to good to be true, too hard to believe. But then again, he considered, books could not always be judged by their covers alone...he was living proof. Leaving the musty texts behind, Karastro pocketed the card and left the Church hurriedly, thinking of his father. Perhaps justice would yet be done!

~~~​

The Juggler

In the secluded courtyard of a large estate house, Orman Stahl thrust his rapier into the cloth practice dummy before him with well-practiced accuracy. While it was true that the courtyard wasn't as well-groomed as it had once been, Orman had larger concerns weighing on his mind at the moment. And, if the heir to the Stahl family's dwindling fortune riposted and parried his imaginary opponent's strokes with a greater ferocity than usual...well, he could hardly be blamed for that. He thought of his niece Diani's innocent smile, and the tears of grief shed by the child's mother, Susara. With one last rapier-thrust, the blade quivered as it stuck right through the 'throat' of the dummy. Orman could not help but imagine it to be the throat of Gaedren Lamm. Weary and dripping with sweat after the vigorous workout, Orman inhaled deeply, then turned to pick up his waistcoat from where it lay in the grass nearby. As he did so, something odd caught the young noble's eye. A small card lay upon the carefully folded coat...it had not been there just minutes before. Wondering, Orman picked up the card and looked at the hand-painted image of a titan striding over treetops and juggling several large objects. Orman flipped the card and held his breath as he read the words printed so carefully on the back of the card. Forgetting his weariness, the swashbuckler deftly withdrew his rapier from the dummy, grabbed up his coat, and left the courtyard.

~~~​

 
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Legildur

First Post
"Ain't no good luck without bad luck," the man mutters to himelf as his pulls his collar up to provide limited protection against the night. And yet the fire in his smoke hazed eyes reveals that his sharp mind is focussed hard on the words on the card and turning over the many unknown possibilities that present.

Chewing the inside of the left side of his cheek, Edlin wanders the streets aimlessly as he unconciously rolls a pair of ivory dice over and over in his right hand. He continues until his mind settles from the strange invitation. Thinking a little more rationally now, Edlin finds himself somewhere convenient to sit and studies the card in more detail, looking for any clues that might betray its origins. 'Information is power,' he thinks to himself.

Eventually, Lucky Edlin decides to retire for the night and to control his investigative urges until the appointed meeting time.
 
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Rhun

First Post
Shading his eyes against the morning sun as he steps from the flophouse, the lanky Shoanti looks up and down the street. He had nothing to do this day, no errands to run; indeed, had it been a regular day, Gadeann would have spent his time looking for a job, something to pay enough to allow the lanky warrior to survive one more day.

But now, something stirred within the man's heart. It was a feeling that had pressed heavily upon his soul for some time. "Vengeance," whispered Gadeann hoarsely. While they say time heals all wounds, the vengeance that the Shoanti felt inside had kindled into a bright, deadly flame. And he would have his.

Turning, Gadeann walks swiftly toward the nearest marketplace, the haft of his poleaxe thumping heavily against the ground with each long stride. He was intent on finding breakfast...whatever he could get with the few coppers in his pocket. Perhaps a meat pie stuffed with rat and crow, or perhaps some stew, and a heavy ale to rinse it down. And then...then he would make his way to the address he was given, and find out just what fate awaited him this day.


I couldn't remember what color I chose for Gadeann's speech...so if I stole someone else's, just let me know.
 

EvolutionKB

First Post
Karastro Quintel

Karastro stands and smoothes out his fine clothes. The light blue shirt and black vest that he wore was beginning to show their age. His loose fitting pants were as well. The bottoms were starting to fray. He had been to some less than savory places looking for ways to get at Lamm. Before leaving the Church he stopped and talked to one of the priests that had grown accustomed to his prescence. "I think I finally have a break," he says. Seeing the priest roll his eyes, for Karastro has said this many times before only to come up empty handed, Karastro puts his hand on the man's shoulder and just gives a firm nod.

Karastro then left, not looking behind him. For a brief moment he thought maybe he should gather help, just in case, something did happen. What if this was a trap? Maybe Lamm had finally caught on to all my meddling and has gotten tired of it. No, this is my battle now. The law has shown their uselessness in capturing this felon. Time to take the law into my own hands. Justice will be done!

Karastro returns to the building where he and associates kept their business. He retreated to the tiny office that he had been afforded since his father had passed. With his father gone, much of the influence Karastro had, was also stripped away. Karastro spends much of his day working as usual, watching for the sun along it's path as the day comes nearly to its end. As the sky was beginning to turn pink, Karastro excuses himself from work and returns to the small apartment he rented. With the death of his father, also was revealed that his father had several debts of unknown origin. They were forced to sell the family manor and most of their belongings. That is when Karastro first noticed his abilities. He did what research he could, in secret of course, but they always turned up nothing of substance. Few knew of his ability to produce a destuctive ray of energy, and they were all friends at the church. Karastro put on the studded leather armor he kept in a chest at the foot of his bed, put a dagger in his boot, and strapped his crossbow to his back. He then pulled out the card once more, looking it over curiously before walking towards the address that was given.
 

CanadienneBacon

First Post
Flipping the fringed tail of a green pocketed scarf behind her left shoulder and tucking the end piece into the leather belt cinched at her waist, Girri fingered the harrow card a moment longer. The dry and winter-chaffed skin of her knuckles and fingertips had yet to heal, even with the balmier spring days, and the card grated against her coarse skin. Cursing the hard winter weather and its effect on the skin and health of even the hearty, Girri secreted the peacock card twixt silk scarf and bare breast. Turning sideways to shim past the only partially-opened bedchamber door into the house's hall, Girri gave last night's pasttime a parting glance ere gliding from the room and out a side door into the anonymity of the streets.

Her thoughts turning to something with which to break her fast, Girri quickened her pace, conscious of the feel of the card against flesh.
 
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stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
An hour before sunset finds Coldan down the street at a corner, standing purposefully. His gaze was fixed at 3 Lancet, watching. Anyone who got close to him got "the look"---a dispassionate stare that suggested they find a different way. In his mind, he turned the card over and over again in his head, mulling what it could mean. "An empty throne." A ominous sign, or a promise. But he tried not to think too much about it, because Harrow meant Varsian. And thoughts of Varsians lead to....

Clamping down hard on that thought, the ex-knight kept silent vigil through his fiendish helm. Waiting. Watching.
 

Malvoisin

First Post
3 Lancet Street

As the sun sets, Lucky Edlin is first to arrive at the address offered on the back of the mysterious card. He stands outside 3 Lancet Street in the heart of the Midlands disctrict, and looks at the small house before him. Relatively nondescript, the flat has little to distinguish it from its neighbors on either side of the street...just some colorful curtains which sway in the chilly evening breeze. With a shrug, Edlin tries the door, and finds it unlocked. Cautious, but undeniably curious, he steps inside.

The cozy chamber within the small home is filled with a fragrant haze of flowers and strong spice. The haze comes from several sticks of incense smouldering in wall-mounted burners that look like butterfly-winged elves. The smoke itself seems to soften edges and gives the room a dream-like feel. The walls are draped with brocaded tapestries, one showing a black-skulled beast juggling men’s hearts, another showing a pair of angels dancing atop a snow-blasted mountain. A third tapestry on the far wall depicts a tall hooded figure shrouded in mist, a flaming sword held in a skeletal hand. Several brightly-colored rugs cover the floor, but the room’s only furnishings are a wooden table covered by a bright red throwcloth and seven elegant tall-backed chairs. A basket covered by blue cloth sits under the table.

The diviner's eyes stray to a simple parchment note on the table, weighed down by a stone paperweight. Looking more closely, he reads:


Before Edlin can react further, he hears footsteps outside. The steps are followed quickly by the entrance of a tall, dishevelled-looking Shoanti man who stoops as he enters.

~~~​

Outside, Coldan watches in the failing light as the long-haired Shoanti with the poleaxe enters the small house, just after the slightly built younger man.

OOC: I've taken the liberty of having Gadeann and Edlin enter the house, but CB and Evo, please introduce Girri and Karastro to the scene on your own as well. And, of course, stonegod, you should have Coldan continue his observation, or enter the building, however you see fit. I'm going to write up an intro for Voadam's character next, so he'll be last to arrive. In the meantime, please take this opportunity for roleplaying and introductions.
 
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Legildur

First Post
'Convenient,' Edlin thinks to himself that the occupant would be away. The scrawny young man places the note back down and he briefly ponders whether it might be a trap when his thoughts are interrupted as the newcomer enters the house.

Edlin's gambling habits cause him to instinctively size up the shoanti, and he recognises that this man is not the occupant of the house, nor seeking trouble for Edlin - for the moment.

Playing it cool, the sallow-faced and sunken-eyed man ignores the newcomer as he reaches underneath the table and pulls out the basket, placing it in the centre of the table and removes the blue cloth. Sitting down at a chair where he can watch the front door, Edlin commences to prepare and eat a small meal to pass the time.
 

CanadienneBacon

First Post
Still munching on the last of the bread she'd lifted from a vendor, Girri slows her pace as she nears the appointed address and spies a cross-armed Coldan standing mute vigil outside the flat. With a low whistle, Girri purrs half to herself, half out-loud, "Trouble."

"What's this, Love? Bit early for standin' guard, I'd say. Bit of bread for you, Love?" Girri slows to a halt a safe six feet from the angry cross-armed man. Sizing Coldan and offering a nod of unabashed approval, Girri affects a lilt to her tone. "Fresh, even. Warm." Pausing to curl the corner of her mouth in a smile, Girri extends a heel of bread to Coldan.
 

EvolutionKB

First Post
Karastro Quintel

Karastro strides up to the house. He saw the man and woman outside, they didn't really seem all that interested in what he was doing. If the person in the house knew of Lamm's location, then the armored man probably was posted to guard the house, in case something happened. Then again, he could be one of the others the card spoke about. Either way, the girl was probably just a streetwalker, judging from her curvy frame and the way she was smiling.

Upon entering, Karastro wipes his eyes, the smoke from the incense bothered him a little. He looked to see the table and chairs set up as well as the large shoanti man and the another man sitting at the table. "Evening gentlemen, you have business here tonight as well? My name is Karastro Quintel," he says, his voice pleasant. His eyes scan the note that was left. He taps it gently, and speaks again, "that wasn't very gracious of our host; leaving their home and not giving us a proper welcome." Karastro sits and looks at the tapestries, trying to decide on their origin and if they might be significant. He then helps himself to some refreshments, he didn't have time to get anything to eat before he came.
 

Legildur

First Post
The man with the sunken-eyes nods silently in greeting as Karastro greets them, but he doesn't offer his name, deciding to wait until 'they' are all there before making introductions.
 

Malvoisin

First Post
Edlin finds within the covered basket a loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine. The bread is a bit stale, but still wholesome. The wine, while certainly not a fine vintage, nevertheless tastes good and is refreshing.
 

stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
CanadienneBacon said:
Pausing to curl the corner of her mouth in a smile, Girri extends a heel of bread to Coldan.
The helmed head turns to take in Girri, and under the mask, eyes widen... then narrow. Unconsciously, the man's right hand clenches. After a moment, he waves her off.

"Save it for someone who needs it." He looks her up and down a moment, a fiendish-like glare from the flared helmet. "Which may just be you. Best get yourself taken care of." He catches himself, then shakes his head, fighting away ghosts in his head. "Be away with you. I'm sure you have business... elsewhere."

Go away, Shiana. Stop haunting me!
 

EvolutionKB

First Post
Karastro Quintel

Karastro continues to snack on the bread. He pulls the card he received from his pouch and sets it on the table in front of him, trying to match it up with anything in the room.
 


CanadienneBacon

First Post
"Have it your way, guv'na." Giving up on Coldan, Girri's smile widens. Biting off half of the remainder of her loaf and chewing with relish, Girri flips Coldan a wink then turns and ambles into the flat. Tiers of coloured silk scarves yield a view of Girri's legs--long, perhaps, but pinched and unhealthily thin.

Once inside, Girri's thoughts quickly flee from her would-be paramour outside. Cirri's large blue eyes fly wide at the sight of three men sitting and standing inside the flat. Frowning and suddenly finding it to her advantage to cling close at hand to the door, Girri falls mute, her fingertips playing at the edge of a silver-trimmed scarf the color of winter persimmons.
 

EvolutionKB

First Post
Karastro Quintel

Karastro looks up as the girl enters, and is surprised to recognize her from outside. His emotion is the twin of her own, and he knows that she cannot be the one that summoned them here. She must be one of the others as well. "Come and sit down," he says, his voice is strong and pleasant, but not demanding. "I assume we are all here for the same reasons, have some bread and wine if you wish."

[sblock=ooc]I am working 16 hrs tomorrow at work, so I will be posting late, after midnight probably.[/sblock]
 

CanadienneBacon

First Post
Girri's eyes dart lustily to the wine, but she shakes her head. "No. All yours, I'm a'feard." Not moving from her place adjacent the door, Girri flicks her eyes from the wine to the fellow who just addressed her, then to Gadeann. Taking in the Shoanti's tall form, then his accoutrement, Girri's eyes betray unvoiced questions. Dissatisfaction takes over and Girri frowns.

Settling in for an uncomfortable wait, Girri crosses her arms.
 

Rhun

First Post
Gadeann moves to stand against one wall of the flat, protecting his back from the others. He eyes them warily, his right hand clenched around the smooth wood of his poleaxe. He unconsciously traces one of the scars on his face with the fingers of his left hand as he glances about. Finally, he speaks, his voice low. "What have you with Lamm? If you too seek vengeance, know that you'll have to stand in line."
 
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