Mese Dark fantasy, with low magic and some grit; points of light, all that.
Mese There's been a mysterious... illness, possibly of magical origin, that's been creeping across the land. People don't die from it, they just go into a sort of stasis.
Mese Political tensions are running high due to the imminent death of the Empress.
Imana Imana is a ship's captain; she's tough, shrewd and salty. Professes to be a simple trader, but you know there's darker stuff going on below decks. She lost her husband to the last succession war.
Imana Faerano is a highborn elven rifleman who served in the last Succession War. He returned to his kingdom only to find soldiers being shunned and spat upon. His people have gone onto other worlds, and so he is one of the last of his kind.
Imana Alaina is the face and the force behind the guild presence in the town, famed for her casual indifference to the common man's plight, if only there is a profit to be made. She disapproved of the Succession War as it interrupted the flow of trade, but there are rumors that she made a huge personal profit off of it.
Faerano Faerano strolls into town, his shimmering boots betraying the cloak of a commoner draped over his person. He pulls the hood back, nervous about revealing his heritage but thankful for the rain to have finally subsided into a pleasant mist. Long fingers wipe the rain from his alabaster skin, running through his steel grey hair. As he drifts into the outskirts of Sailer's Brook, he stops near the Brollin Docks, both to take in the sights of the sh
Faerano "...ships he used to call home, and to overhear the stammerings of two locals, hoping to learn about the town and its' folk."
Imana "I'm saying eighty and not a drop less, Alaina."
Alaina "Eighty? Eighty??" The woman speaking to Imana is dark-haired and dark-eyed, extremely well-dressed in a mid-length dress and an embroidered cloak that the mist beads on and rolls off between the boards of the dock.
Alaina "You must think me a fool, Imana, to accept such a bid. Forty, if you have any sense about you."
Imana "Seventy-five." A crunch behind her, makes her spin her head. "YOU COCKSUCKING WHORESONS BE CAREFUL WITH MY CARGO! IT'S WORTH MORE THAN YOUR SORRY HIDES!"
Alaina "Hmph. Forty-five, and I'll start to think about it." She does not seem phased as Imana starts hurling invectives at her crew, though she is rather surprised to see the stranger that the sailor is yelling at instead of them. "Well well."
Faerano Faerano scoffs quietly, approaching slowly and careful not to tread too heavily on the dock's creaking boards.
Imana "Alaina, honey, if I wanted to be insulted I'd have dealt with the Tallia." She spits on the floor. "You think I can get premium grade from Aeigyr and haul it round to your sorrry burg within three days for free? Seventy-two, and my crew goes hungry."
Imana notes the stranger which has captured Alaina's attnetion. "Who's the faekin?"
Faerano Faerano pulls his eyes away from the distance, eyeing the stranger as he referenced Faerano's heritage.
Faerano He strides towards the arguing women slowly, still saying nothing for the moment.
Imana has green eyes of narrow pupil, and short brown hair cut ruagged to just above th shoulder. She dresses practically, shirt rolled up to the sleeves, hard-wearing yet patched trousers. Some sort of jewellry, blue and green, adorns her hair, held on like a headband.
Imana "Faekin in the Brook. Now there's a thing. Mind you, faekin anywhere's a turn-up, these days."
Alaina looks the stranger up and down, "Fifty, out of the generosity of my heart," she says absently, "I haven't seen one in this town since before the Wars."
Faerano takes a deep slow breath. "Certainly appears that way. I was hoping there'd still be a few of us lingering at the docks. Your expression suggests otherwise." He looks back across the water with narrowed eyes. "So much have changed..."
Imana "I saw one, up in Aeigyr. Sixty-six."
Imana She sniffs. "Hanging from a tree, he was."
Alaina strides forward a few paces to meet him. "Well met, and welcome to Sailer's Brook. Much indeed has changed, and not for the better... I am Alaina, Guild Mistress of this city."
Imana rolls her eyes.
Alaina casts a nasty glance over her shoulder at Imana
Faerano extends a hand in courtly greeting. "I am Faerano Celebrindal, rifleman for the High Courts of Avarill's ardent militia." He glances around the docks he had known as a boy. "Does the Farbrand family still reside here? I had deployed with their eldest son, and had hoped to see him upon my return..."
Faerano He looks at the new styles of dress, realizing just how long it'd been.
Alaina returns the gesture, which, though equally courtly, is subtly different from how it used to be. A sneer begins to cross her face at the mention of militia, but curiosity wins out and she smiles politely. "Farbrand, Farbrand... Ahh yes, they live in the Shambles.
Don't you have that last son of theirs on your crew, Imana?"
Imana "Depends. Who wants to know?"
Faerano "I suppose... I suppose by now, you would be talking about his son."
Alaina "Exactly how long did you say you'd been gone?
Faerano "This... Shambles... would that be the old shop district?"
Faerano "I was a prisoner of the Third Succession War. To be completely honest, I'm not sure how long I've been travelling. I swam the channels of Northwick, and followed the stars across the Inverthan Empire, though most of the cities were wont for a resident." He laughs. "Looked like a plague had struck, ridiculous as that must sound."
Alaina "You could say that. The district burned to the ground in, oh, 54 or so. Now it's all beggars and wastrels in their tents - no one will build there anymore, due to the curse." She tilts her head to one side, considering, "The Third, hmmm? Has anyone told you what number we're on now?"
Faerano shudders. "I suppose not."
Imana spreads out four fingers on either hand, and grins.
Alaina "She may not be able to haggle, if her life depended on it, but she's got the number of wars right." Alaina nods at Imana. "Now, what's this about a plague?"
Imana "He's talking about the Bind."
Alaina "That's nothing but an old wives' tale."
Imana "Yeah?" She regards Faerano. "Didn't see any people on the streets, huh? Go into any houses? Doors would be locked, of course..."
Faerano "By the Gods..." Faerano runs his fingers through his waist length hair, the world suddenly making more sense. He takes a few sharp breaths, then focuses himself. "I've been in most of them, I suppose. You could say I took my time coming home."
Faerano "How long ago did the Elves vanish from this land? And you say you are a merchant? How about you, fair lass?"
Imana smiles nastily. "That's me, I'm always fair."
Imana "Ask anyone who's ever dealt with me and lived."
Alaina "Not long after the 5th, wasn't it. All dire predictions and noble savagery and whatnot."
Imana "Elves left and left the Bind behind 'em, so they say."
Imana "Like I said. Those cities still had people in 'em. You just didn't see 'em. Reason of, they weren't much for moving any more."
Alaina eyes the elf suspiciously, "Are you sure they weren't moving BEFORE he got there?"
Faerano furrows his brow, puzzled. "I... I'm afraid I don't much understand. Is this the eleventh century of Merserus? I... tried to hard to watch the moons..." Faerono closes his eyes tightly, tears forming at the corners.
Imana "You needn't look so misty, faekin. It's not been so long as you think."
Imana "The fourth and the sixth were pretty much minor skirmishes anyway. History types just get excitable."
Alaina "I like to think of them as being highly efficient."
Faerano regains his composure, furling up his cloak to reveal mithral fineries of ancient make. His sword and armor are easily historical artifacts, and his mithral longrifle is like one of its' kind by now. "So, tell me of this Bind.
Alaina sniffs dismissively. "They say it creeps on you when the skies are dark, steals into your dreams and binds you there."
Faerano Faerano looks puzzled, his eyes widening. "A disease of some sort?"
Alaina "Nobody's ever woken up once they're Bound, but they don't die either."
Faerano "How terrifying. When did they first encounter this curse?"
Alaina "It started the Sixth, when the Empress and her retainers didn't wake up."
Imana "All hail her drowsy majesty."
Alaina "You watch your tongue, Imana"
Imana clucks her tongue. "'Course, SOME people say it's just a few, that there's no plague of it, just a family curse. But I've seen and heard better."
Alaina snorts. "You've also seen and heard the Sea Dragon's end at your blade."
Imana grins. "What I've seen and heard would chill your blood, you crotch-sniffing beauraucrat. Incidentally, offer still stands at sixty-six."
Imana regards the faekin again. "My grip of matters historical's never been the most scholarly," she says, running a hand through her hair "but I reckon it's been, what, four, five hundred years since the Third Sucession? But a moment for a faekin, I'm sure."
Alaina "Bah, I know how to keep my blood warm, unlike you and your cold-blood lovers. Fifty two, and just remember who you pay your permit fees to."
Faerano blinks. "A long moment, nonetheless." He takes a few steps and half-sits, half-falls, staring back out into the harbour.
Imana "However, I'm thinkin' the Farbrand I know's a bit more distant of the descent than merely the son of the one you had the knowing of."
Imana "Fifty five for this batch, sixty five for the next." She spits into her hand.
Alaina nods, grins and spits into her hand, clasping Imana's to seal the deal. "Done."
Liaze Character sheet: Liaze is a gambler and self-professed worthless layabout, ambiguously employed by the local top dog aristocrat (who is rumored to be her father). She killed someone in a back-alley fight recently, but it was hushed up.
Liaze The Silver Fox Tavern is a place for people with plenty of money, like Alaina. It's not clear who let Liaze in or told her which private booth Alaina was in, but she's tilting her head around the corner anyway. She gives a passably genteel cough and lifts her eyebrows, clearly seeking an invitation to sit.
Alaina looks up from her ruby wine with a polite smile that sours when she spots Liaze. "Yes, what is it?" she demands impatiently.
Liaze beams as if she heard a warm invitation and slides into the seat opposite Alaina, swinging the slender sword at her belt out of the way and tossing back the folds of her cape; like her silver-trimmed vest and high boots, it's pretentious a little above her station but not quite enough to get her in immediate trouble.
Liaze "I've missed you, Alaina. I wanted to talk to you again."
Alaina "I'm sure you have," she replies neutrally. She then takes a slow, savoring sip of her wine, obviously enjoying it more than the company of Liaze.
Liaze "Oh, and the landgrave wants to know what you know about the latest pretender to the risky position of imperial heir," she adds, studying her fingernails casually.
Alaina "Young and stupid, like the rest of 'em. Only difference is that this one's not dead yet."
Liaze A server comes by, looking down at Liaze with faint incredulity, and she says to him, "Get me a glass of what she's having, that's a peach."
Alaina "Separate checks, of course."
Alaina "After all, I wouldn't want to impose on you to pay for my drinks of course, Liaze." She smiles sweetly.
Liaze "Really?" she says to Alaina, leaning back and looking comfortable as the man moves away. "Because a little bird, or something along those lines, said that this particular green twig on the family tree has been equipping troops for a few months now. What with your local connections, it's hard to believe you hadn't heard anything about it."
Alaina "Mhmmm." Another sip. "And that's why he's not dead yet."
Liaze "Ooh." Liaze's eyes go round as the man brings her wine. She eyes Alaina over the glass as she takes an appreciative sip. "Alaina, oh heroine of the people including myself, are you discussing violence to a member of the imperial family?"
Liaze "Well, sort of member," she amends. "With tenuous connections that are even now being madly shored up, no doubt."
Alaina sniffs, "of course not, no profit in assassination. Well, no continuous profit at least. I was merely making an observation." Her eyes glitter.
Liaze "Next thing you'll be saying there's no profit in war, and then I'll know you think I'm an idiot, and it'll break my heart."
Liaze "So then, there's no truth to the fascinating rumors that someone high up in the guilds has arranged for transport of any of those troops through Sailer's Brook? And paid handsomely for the favor?"
Alaina "Not much to break, is there." She sips her wine again and smiles. "Of course there's profit in war... but when half the population's dead and rotting they don't buy anything." She tilts her head slightly. "And where would you be hearing false rumors like those?"
Liaze "You wound me terribly when you say things like that," Liaze sighs. "And I don't hear anything about politics; it's far too dangerous. It's just that the margrave was troubled about something HE'D heard, so I thought to myself, Liaze, if there's anything to it, Alaina will know."
Liaze "And if she doesn't know, and it's true, it's certain to be of interest to her that someone in her guild is going behind her back on it."
Liaze Now it's Liaze's turn to sip and smile with glittering eyes.
Alaina rubs her finger along the rim of her glass a half turn, making it sing. "You may tell him that I will be looking into the matter, and that I wil inform him personally if there is anything that he ought to know."
Liaze "If you'll forgive me for saying it, it's not /completely/ in character for you to promise anything so quickly. Is there something you need in return, my lady of impeccable taste?" Liaze taps her wineglass with an appreciative finger as she sets it down.
Alaina "Oh, darling Liaze, he already knows what my price is." She passes the girl a small, engraved vial. "Do be a dear and give this to him, will you?"
Liaze "I live to serve," Liaze says, tucking the vial into her vest with a practiced lack of curiosity. She straightens as if preparing to go, then pauses a second. "Is it true there's a faekin in town?"
Alaina goes thoughtfully quiet for a minute or two as she considers whether or not she could get people to pay for private showings of the handsome elf. "Is this a personal question or are you asking on behalf of your master again?"
Liaze "I should lie just to see you imagine the angle," Liaze laughs, "but I'm afraid I'm asking out of purely personal curiosity. So it's true."
Alaina "Hnnh. Perhaps. Information like that will cost you though."
Liaze "Oh Alaina, haven't you heard I'm broke? I'll have to associate with all manner of lowlife characters to hear all the rumors, now. Fortunately, I hear some of them play poker." Liaze finishes off her glass of wine in a toss of her head.
Alaina "At least you'll be among your own kind." she sniffs.
Liaze "It's true," Liaze beams, standing up. "Sometimes I think you must be very lonely." She touches her head in a mock salute and strides away, saying something to the unhappy server about a 'tab' on her way out.