Ravenhurst ST Posted January 26, 2016 Share Posted January 26, 2016 Largest and richest of the cities of Thule, Quodeth is known by many names: City of Merchants, City of a Hundred Bridges, City of Beggars, City of a Thousand Sails, the Peacock City, City of Golden Morning, or simply the Gateway to Thule. All of these names are deserved in their own way, even if some require a little poetic license and others are given in irony. Quodeth is a place of lavish opulence and crushing poverty, jeweled towers and sprawling slums. No other city in Thule bustles with such commerce and industry; gold is the very life’s blood of Quodeth. But wherever gold flows freely, so too do crime and corruption, and this truth is the origin of the most famous sobriquet for Quodeth: The City of Thieves. I The darkly attired man placed his foot gingerly upon the floor testing it for firmness. While the outside of the House tower was of ancient stonework, he knew from research that the interior had been gutted by fire a decade before and only rebuilt a few years ago with wooden materials. He could not afford to make a noise that could attract the Towers resident, that could prove fatal, so he had been warned. The Tower was located on the main estate of House Entata, and while he didn't know who lived in it he did know who the Entata's were and didn't want to cross them any more than he wanted to disappoint his employer. The floor was solid and no sound came when he put his weight upon it. The night was foggy and no moon or stars shown so the room was almost black, he would have to proceed carefully feeling with light touch for the chest he had been told would contain what he sought. A few minutes search and he found the chest and the simple lock was child's play even in the dark to open... Gidun knew something was wrong the second she opened the door and felt the salt breeze from the window which should have been shuddered caress her face, a gesture and an utterance which may have been a word drew a ghostly light into the room. She did not start or show fear and of course she did not scream as one her age and station would normally have done when she saw the twisted body on her floor her book open in it's hands. She was far beyond that. She strode forward, ignoring the body she picked up the Black Book and stared at the open page upon which was a crude drawing of a strange flower surrounded by six stick men and a host of undecipherable symbols. She slowly closed the book knowing that she was being called. II Dayse looked at the slight body lying on the slab, the dead girl, child really, had been badly used. “Why is she so pale?” The large man standing quietly shifted from foot to foot. “No blood. Probably why the crabs hadn't got to her 'fore they pulled her out of the canal.” Dayse cut her eyes at the mans nervousness. “Why did they bother?” “Barge man saw the tattoo, knew she was one of yours. Figured, you know.” He shrugged. Dayse looked at him squarely as she held her hand out behind her. A dusky hairless woman heavily made up and bedecked in gold and jewels and little else came forward placing a leather pouch into Dayse's hand. Dayse counted out some coin. “See that the body gets treated properly. But I don't want anyone seeing those marks. And get rid of the tattoo.” She counts out some more coins. “Give this to the bargeman tell him to forget what he saw.” She closes the bag and hands it too him. “The rest is yours. She was working for Yellow Paa. Paa doesn't know me and I want to keep it that way. He doesn't let this sort of thing happen to his girls. So find out why she is here and not on her back pleasing some man and making coin.” She looked back at poor lifeless Leeda at the places where she had been bound tight enough to rip the skin, at the obvious cause of the poor girls death a twisted neck that almost turned the child's head completely backwards, and at the numerous strange symbols carved into her flesh and finally at the unearthly flower cut into her abdomen. Dayse wasn't sure what these things meant but she was sure it wasn't good and that it was only beginning. III Eight square blocks of winding alleyways crowded with shops and stalls, open market squares, counting-houses, artists’ workshops, wine shops, street vendors selling grilled meat and sweet confections, hookah and opium dens, grocers, tailors, jewelers, and almost any other trade or diversion that one could imagine, this is the great Bazaar of Quodeth, and it is said that anything can be had in this place...for a price. The smell of close pressed bodies and various cooked meats caused Alberich's gorge to rise as it assaulted his nose and turned his stomach. Still he managed to keep the contents of his stomach in place as he Pushed his way out of the ally into a proper street, if it could be called that. He had drunk too much of the piss which passes for ale in this infernal city and was, in truth, still a bit drunk. I need food, He thought and let the smell of meat (which no longer brought on the urge to vomit) lead him up toward a market square. This particular square was already teaming with activity even though it was still morning. Dozens of stalls had been set up and the venders were hawking their good, one in particular caught Alberich's eye when he saw the hanging cooked roasts. He pushed through the crowd and waited for the vendor to wait on him. As he waited he looked around studying the crowd of humans, he saw no dwarves indeed had seen none of his kin in this foul excuse for a city. He was silently vowing to get away from here as soon as possible when he saw an astonishing sight. Theera muscled her way through the crowd, she was hungry and hungover and by the nine wanted some meat. The men and women parted as she passed many staring openly not at her dress or the amount of luscious flesh she displayed (indeed many of the women wore even less than she), but rather at the size of the warrior woman. She found herself standing at a stall where a vendor and his assistants were busy hanging various roasted meats. Her mouth watered and her hand clutched her purse, feeling it's lightness she cursed herself for giving most of her coin to her tribesmen yesterday. As she licked her lips she notices a short man almost as wide as he was tall with bulging arms, a long full beard and slightly pointed ears. A dwarf? Her mother had told her of them of course but she had never seen one before. And here was one standing right next to her staring at her breasts. She kept her weapons concealed and moved carefully through the forest of humans. She was uncomfortable in this place. She missed the trees of the jungle, the freedom. She missed her home that was no more. Her search had led her here to Quodeth and she knew she was close. She could almost taste her quarry. That was when Aridha saw her. The woman, Girl really didn't not notice her, or if she did, she thought her just another child running in the crowd. The manner of dress showed her to be Dhari and her markings revealed her tribe. The girl was of the Katjaa, and like herself a long way from home and alone. A pang of homesickness and heartache struck Aridha, and without thinking she began to follow the Dhari Girl. So much to do so much to see, so many stories and songs all in one place. In the months since she had left the tribe she had seen so much lived a dozen , no a hundred stories that would amaze her tribe when she returned home but none had prepared her for Quodeth. It's size all the different types of people even seeing the seamy side of this so called civilized life here, there was so much she found marvelous in all its variety. And the music. By the gods so many different ways to make song, the sounds delighted her. Neeva had been on the way to find some new clothes she had found in the few days here that her youthful figure and her tribal dress brought unwanted attention. So she had set out this morning to find some more modest clothing but she had become distracted upon entering the market square by the sound of music. The trio of musicians played intricate melodies one flute, drum and some sort of stringed instrument she had never seen, while a duo of dancers, both very young boys wearing little but jangles and bells danced and frolicked. Passers by would listen for a few moment and toss a coin into a wide mouthed bowl and give a bow to the tall woman playing the stringed instrument which she alternately plucked with fingers or stroked with a long bow. The sounds she drew forth from the instrument amazed Neeva who had never before heard such. Suddenly Neeva was jostles by a large man pushing past her to throw a coin into the bowl, aside from being push Neeva noticed an interplay between the man and the Musician, the two exchanged a subtle hand sign that only Neeva's nearness to the man allowed her to see. Neeva also didn't miss that the woman noticed her noticing either. The man made no pause but pushed on through the crowd, Neeva looked and the woman who was watching her and then back at the man who was passing by a meat seller. As the man passed from view Neeva's jaw dropped for there standing next to a hairy short fat man was Theera also of the Katjaa and a very long way from home. Yngvar felt naked even though he was fully clothed, too fully clothed for the heat of this place. No he felt naked because they could see his face. The mask would have given his presence away was safely tucked away, he just hope his god were not offended. He had tracked the thieves here to Quodeth, arrived before them and with magic and coercion discovered that at least one of them would be in this market this morning to attempt to deliver one of the relics stolen from the temple. Yngvar finds a spot out of the way but with a good view and waits knowing that he cannot fail his gods. Eingar opened his eyes thinking he was having a nightmare, but no the foul taste of last nights beer and the clinging girl proved that he was awake. That and the laugh that he shouldn't be hearing not this far from home. He rolled out of the well used pallet that had served as abed and dragged his still drunken self to the shuttered window overlooking the busy market square. looking at the throng of people he heard loud voices again speaking his tongue including that of his hated enemy Yoran and chief rival from his tribe and the woman who his father had wanted him to marry Hildas. Finally he found them a band of six Northmen pushing their way through the crowd with the huge shield maid, Hildas, towering above the rest of the men. As he watched the group led by Yoran stooped near a vendor they were laughing at what may have been a dwarf and a beautiful woman taller and at least from this far as well built as Hildas but unlike Hildas, this woman was beautiful and revealing a great deal of her charms. No matter the how or why of them being here this is not going to end well. Spoiler go forth and post, make sure to read all of the post above everything in section III is happening pretty much at the same time Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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