New Wicked Age: Chapter 1


Farren

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#21
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Dailian smiled in return and lowered her arm, allowing it to rest on her side. "As you wish," she replied before giving a nod to the conditions that followed her being allowed to leave the watchful eye of the cult. "Then I'm sure I will have nothing to fear. I would enjoy the company of one of the priestesses, I imagine Zengan and his men would be a little preoccupied to hod a conversation as we walked."
 

GargantuaBlarg

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#22
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Looking around the room, Lenka reconsidered. She knew Trota would know the Hound's boys better than she would - it was a much sounder plan to have him handle the spying she needed done, rather than trying to play spymaster herself. She wasn't a planner, after all - she had always preferred the "direct" approach. "What was Hadir thinking, having me mastermind a job as important as this..." she thought to herself.

She shook them off. She couldn't afford to have any misgivings if she was going to pull this off. Now, where would Trota be right now... Ah, that's right.

-----

"Trota! I need to know where that captain that's out for me will be two days from now, on Sacrifice day. Ashur. Him and his men." She leaned in closer and lowered her voice, just in case anyone was listening. The less people who knew, the better. "I also need to talk to someone we have in the cult."
 

BlueSlime

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#23
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lillian

Lillian sighs listening to Simta, she now tells her "I know what we're here for. I just wish, I could help people. Well there is nothing to do now, so would you like to go on a walk with me through the castle?"

"It's not your job to help individual people in the manner you're thinking of," Simta reminded the young princess. "As an Imperial princess, you will help people most by doing your duty. By avoiding potential war and all the strife that goes with it by solidifying your marriage to the young Lord Kurigalzu. You should consider yourself very lucky that your father found you a young, attractive man as your husband. Historically most political marriages aren't so lucky."

Simta fell into step with Lillian when the princess began her journey through the castle. The valkyrie would not do the leading, but Lillian was certain the woman would be using this opportunity to do her own scouting. Any potential exit that Lillian saw, Simta would notice as well, and probably have her guards positioned at them shortly after this walk was done.
 

Aztlan

Evard's Tentacles of Forced Intrusion
Feb 13, 2011
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#24
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

The princess and her guard, started walking through the castle. Lillian noticed every exit she could take, but so did Simta. They continued through the castle, just to know it's layout, until they came across across Kurigalzu. He hadn't seemed to notice them, and he himself seemed pretty secretive. He looked around carefully for others, Lillian and Simta hiding in a corner avoided his gaze. He walked around a corner, Lillian took this moment to ask Simta "do you think we should follow him?"
 

BlueSlime

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#25
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Dailian smiled in return and lowered her arm, allowing it to rest on her side. "As you wish," she replied before giving a nod to the conditions that followed her being allowed to leave the watchful eye of the cult. "Then I'm sure I will have nothing to fear. I would enjoy the company of one of the priestesses, I imagine Zengan and his men would be a little preoccupied to hod a conversation as we walked."

The old prophet nodded and stood up with the help of his staff, leaning upon it to get himself properly to his feet. "I will have Saahi join you. She is our newest priestess and only perhaps a year older than you. I'm sure she will appreciate walking and talking with you."

Nidintu-Bel left her then and several minutes later a large, muscular, and silent man with facial tattoos under each of his eyes and lips entered the room with a large falchion by his side. This was undoubtedly Zengan. Behind him slipped in a young woman in the dark robes of the priesthood, though hers were cut in such a way that her feminine figure was not lost amongst the clinging black cloth. "I am Saahi, honored one," the young priestess bowed respectfully. "His holiness said I am to accompany you today. I am truly blessed."
 

BlueSlime

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#26
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lenka

Looking around the room, Lenka reconsidered. She knew Trota would know the Hound's boys better than she would - it was a much sounder plan to have him handle the spying she needed done, rather than trying to play spymaster herself. She wasn't a planner, after all - she had always preferred the "direct" approach. "What was Hadir thinking, having me mastermind a job as important as this..." she thought to herself.

She shook them off. She couldn't afford to have any misgivings if she was going to pull this off. Now, where would Trota be right now... Ah, that's right.

-----

"Trota! I need to know where that captain that's out for me will be two days from now, on Sacrifice day. Ashur. Him and his men." She leaned in closer and lowered her voice, just in case anyone was listening. The less people who knew, the better. "I also need to talk to someone we have in the cult."

"Oh? Am I a mindreader now?" Trota said as he sat in his small den of oddities atop one of the pigeon farm rooftops in the central slums. He had a good view of the city from up here. Lenka thought that on the minus side, the man had to deal with a surplus of bird droppings.

"Or perhaps I've suddenly become a prophet? That I should know where the good and right honorable Captain Dem Ashur shall be two days hence?" The spymaster harumphed sourly. "He's not just after you, y'know. He's after Hidar and the whole Hound operation. Why so paranoid about one man? Every guard who sees one of us at the sacrificial grounds is going to be after us - if they recognize us. So why not wear a veil and be done with it?"

The man sighed and put back on his glass lenses. Lenka thought they were silly things that made Trota's eyes look huge and bug-like. He said they helped him see.

"As for the cult... Well, we do have one girl... her name is Saahi. Just inducted into the priesthood with flying colors. Truth is she's both a Hound AND a cultist. Religious but with family ties to those who've sought out Hidar's help. As long as you don't let slip what you intend to do, you can use her for information. She 'owes' us, if you understand my meaning. She checks in at her house near the market for dinner each night."

Trota described to Lenka the location of Saahi's family home. The thief had a good idea of the layout of the city, and had been through the particular neighborhood multiple times. She knew where to find this contact.

"Oh by the way, that boyfriend of yours left this for you." He patted a small scroll bound in string on the corner of his desk.
 

GargantuaBlarg

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#27
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lenka clicked her tongue. "Of course I'll wear a veil. I might not be a scholar, but I'm not a gods-damned idiot. Still, I'm not worried about the others, I doubt they know my face like he does."

And you know no one kills like *I* do, old man," Lenka bragged. "I don't want Ashur anywhere near that temple on the day. If 'e catches even a whiff a' the hot air that comes out when I rip that windbag to shreds, he'll know it was me. I just know it." Lenka bit her knuckles, looking lost in thought.

After a moment, she seemed to come out of it, and looked back to Trota. "Anyway, you've got your sniffers around the city. Can't you find anything out for me?" While she spoke, she slid her and across the table. When she pulled it back, they left behind a few golden coins. She really wanted this information.

---

"Saahi, hm? And she's a devotee... well, I'll go and see her. My thanks." An inner voice continued: "I'll have to deal with her later..."

She got up to leave, but Trota's last mention caught her off-guard. "My who?" She snatched up her note and unrolled it, muttering under her breath.

What is this... he wasn't talking about Zain, was he? That creepy...
 

Farren

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#28
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

"Thank you," Dalian replied to the prophet's offer as he stared to leave. The company would be pleasant, and if nothing else it meant there would be one other for the guards to keep their eyes on. She wasn't really sure how she might go about slipping away, it wasn't as if she wasn't well known in the cult. Something would present itself though, she was sure of it.

Zengan was pretty much as Dalian had expected him to be, and she knew that he would do his best to keep her from what she wished to do. He wouldn't be in his current position if he was any other way. She kept most of her attention on Saahi when the girl introduced herself, studying her. "The pleasure is mine Saahi, please, do not worry yourself greatly over formalities, I would like to enjoy your company as a friend, no just as one you need to respect."
 

BlueSlime

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#29
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lillian

The princess and her guard, started walking through the castle. Lillian noticed every exit she could take, but so did Simta. They continued through the castle, just to know it's layout, until they came across across Kurigalzu. He hadn't seemed to notice them, and he himself seemed pretty secretive. He looked around carefully for others, Lillian and Simta hiding in a corner avoided his gaze. He walked around a corner, Lillian took this moment to ask Simta "do you think we should follow him?"

"Would it not be better to be forthright about your presence? You are an Imperial Princess, not some sneak thief or assassin. What use have you to follow him in silence? Would it not upset him perhaps?" Simta seemed to be the antithesis of fun - at least in Lillian's opinion. There would be no following unless she could somehow slip away from the watchful guardian.
 

BlueSlime

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#30
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lenka clicked her tongue. "Of course I'll wear a veil. I might not be a scholar, but I'm not a gods-damned idiot. Still, I'm not worried about the others, I doubt they know my face like he does."

And you know no one kills like *I* do, old man," Lenka bragged. "I don't want Ashur anywhere near that temple on the day. If 'e catches even a whiff a' the hot air that comes out when I rip that windbag to shreds, he'll know it was me. I just know it." Lenka bit her knuckles, looking lost in thought.

After a moment, she seemed to come out of it, and looked back to Trota. "Anyway, you've got your sniffers around the city. Can't you find anything out for me?" While she spoke, she slid her and across the table. When she pulled it back, they left behind a few golden coins. She really wanted this information.

---

"Saahi, hm? And she's a devotee... well, I'll go and see her. My thanks." An inner voice continued: "I'll have to deal with her later..."

She got up to leave, but Trota's last mention caught her off-guard. "My who?" She snatched up her note and unrolled it, muttering under her breath.

What is this... he wasn't talking about Zain, was he? That creepy...

Lenka unsealed the note and read the signature before anything else. Recognition dawned at once. This was a note from Kajal - an independent thief of amazing skill who for reasons of his own refused to sign on with the Hounds. She had never seen his face, for he kept it masked, but she had worked with him on several occassions, usually bumping into him while running from Ashur's guards. Grudgingly she had to admit she might well have been captured and executed long before if it weren't for him.

The note read:

Lenka,

We should meet. You are in danger. Come to the place we last spoke. Midnight. I will be waiting.

Kajal

Lenka rolled up the note. The last place they had spoke was in an alleyway not far from the temple district. She could meet with Saahi tonight and then wander over to that place not long after.
 

BlueSlime

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#31
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Dalian

"Thank you," Dalian replied to the prophet's offer as he started to leave. The company would be pleasant, and if nothing else it meant there would be one other for the guards to keep their eyes on. She wasn't really sure how she might go about slipping away, it wasn't as if she wasn't well known in the cult. Something would present itself though, she was sure of it.

Zengan was pretty much as Dalian had expected him to be, and she knew that he would do his best to keep her from what she wished to do. He wouldn't be in his current position if he was any other way. She kept most of her attention on Saahi when the girl introduced herself, studying her. "The pleasure is mine Saahi, please, do not worry yourself greatly over formalities, I would like to enjoy your company as a friend, no just as one you need to respect."

The girl, Saahi, was not noticeably older than Dalian, and she was a bit shorter and rounder than she was, though certainly still pretty in her own ways. She dipped her body in a token of respect when she entered and smiled radiantly. "Of course, Dalian, I shall speak to you then as I would my own sister. It is said that you would like to travel within the city, where shall we go?"

Dalian thought to herself about the many places within the city. There were many bazaars, but non so grand as the High Bazaar, whose bright colored banners and large stone halls and tunnels that mingled back into grand tents and clay shops, took up the whole of the northern temple district and spread outwards into the merchant quarter, where caravans from all directions came to unload their goods and wealthy tradesmen stayed in elegant taverns and dined at decadent halls. That might be a place where she could slip away, and foreign merchants at least would not recognize her.
 

Aztlan

Evard's Tentacles of Forced Intrusion
Feb 13, 2011
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#32
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lillian sighs once again. I guess it's not that important the. The princess and her guardian walked off, until they met a guard. The guard began asking Simta questions, like if they were getting used to the palace. Lillian waited for Simta to be more absorbed in answering the questions. Once that time had come Lillian snuck off, she knew she wouldn't have much time before Simta caught up to her, so she began her chase of Kurigalzu.
 

GargantuaBlarg

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#33
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

"Oh."

It was a small exclamation of realization, given as soon as she saw the handwriting.

It took her a moment to read the note. She'd learned the art of letters when she joined the Hounds - they were very useful for "keeping and stealing secrets", her teachers had said - but, truthfully, she had never really found the patience needed to master it.

Done with the note, she rolled it up again, talking as she did so. "Thanks." She put it back on the table. "Here. Go ahead an' burn this, keep those old bones warm."

She picked up her cloak, and picked herself up off Trota's table. "I'll be back tomorrow. You'll have what I wanna know by then, right?"
 

BlueSlime

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#34
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lenka

"Oh."

It was a small exclamation of realization, given as soon as she saw the handwriting.

It took her a moment to read the note. She'd learned the art of letters when she joined the Hounds - they were very useful for "keeping and stealing secrets", her teachers had said - but, truthfully, she had never really found the patience needed to master it.

Done with the note, she rolled it up again, talking as she did so. "Thanks." She put it back on the table. "Here. Go ahead an' burn this, keep those old bones warm."

She picked up her cloak, and picked herself up off Trota's table. "I'll be back tomorrow. You'll have what I wanna know by then, right?"

Trota nodded his old face to Lenka, putting a hand over the note, scooping it up, then holding it to a lit lamp, letting it smolder in front of the girl's eyes.

"I will make no promises, but I will see what I can do, and perhaps some birds will tell me some things about our Captain Ashur." The old spy master closed the lid on the lamp and went back to shuffling about the chaos of cluttered papers and scrolls on his desk.
 

GargantuaBlarg

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#35
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

"Thanks." Sweeping her cloak back on, Lenka left Trota to his devices. Unable to think of anything better to do, she made her way over to the temple district, to refresh her memory of the streets surrounding the cult's sanctuary. Lenka suspected that, if she were lucky, she would be chased through those streets by the entirety of the congregation two nights from now. If she were unlucky, she might be forced to seek an escape through the the ghoul pit... she knew nothing about that place, nor the monsters that inhabited it, and while she knew she was far and above a match for any man, she was less confident in her ability to fight against those ghoul horrors.

As she climbed down the stairs from Trota's perch up on the roofs, she briefly entertained what possibilities lay before her to end that prophet's miserable existence. There were probably all manner of wondrous substances the Hounds circulated throughout the underworld she could use to make his death into the spectacle of a lifetime... but there were all sorts of things she could do with just a sharp blade, as well, and since Hadir and her boys controlled the trade in things like poisons and weapons, anything she swiped might lead them back to the Hounds.

She wondered... Hadir had said to make it seem like a noble had done it, hadn't he? Maybe one of them had something she could use... maybe a weapon from a smith that dealt with only one family, or... something...

I don't suppose the hounds or whoever have "magic exploding black powder from [whatever the setting's equivalent of "the Orient" is]?
 

Farren

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Mar 7, 2010
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#36
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Dalian studied her companion for the day, approving of the choice, though she had hardly believed she wouldn't. She seemed like a nice enough girl, close to her own age and willing to drop the formalities without a question. Perhaps she would be useful for Dalian in finding a way to evade her guards even.

The High Bazaar seemed like her best option, there would be enough of a crowd to make following her difficult if she didn't try anything. Most other places in the city would likely have members of the cult around that would recognise her, at least travelers would not know her face or her purpose. "I would like to take the streets to the High Bazaar, Saahi. It would please me to mingle in the exotic after showing the people my resolve, a last taste of this world before I dedicate myself to the next."
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#37
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Lillian sighs once again. I guess it's not that important the. The princess and her guardian walked off, until they met a guard. The guard began asking Simta questions, like if they were getting used to the palace. Lillian waited for Simta to be more absorbed in answering the questions. Once that time had come Lillian snuck off, she knew she wouldn't have much time before Simta caught up to her, so she began her chase of Kurigalzu.
Simta was onto Lillian just a fraction of a second after the imperial princess had rounded her first corner. Damn that Simta for being good at her job! The sound of the valkyrie's boots meeting stone came closer and closer, Lillian knew that she'd have to do an all-out run if she was going to escape now, and that meant that Simta would know for certain that she was deliberately sneaking off. If she was caught, she'd be locked in her room for the better part of her stay...
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#38
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

"Thanks." Sweeping her cloak back on, Lenka left Trota to his devices. Unable to think of anything better to do, she made her way over to the temple district, to refresh her memory of the streets surrounding the cult's sanctuary. Lenka suspected that, if she were lucky, she would be chased through those streets by the entirety of the congregation two nights from now. If she were unlucky, she might be forced to seek an escape through the the ghoul pit... she knew nothing about that place, nor the monsters that inhabited it, and while she knew she was far and above a match for any man, she was less confident in her ability to fight against those ghoul horrors.

As she climbed down the stairs from Trota's perch up on the roofs, she briefly entertained what possibilities lay before her to end that prophet's miserable existence. There were probably all manner of wondrous substances the Hounds circulated throughout the underworld she could use to make his death into the spectacle of a lifetime... but there were all sorts of things she could do with just a sharp blade, as well, and since Hadir and her boys controlled the trade in things like poisons and weapons, anything she swiped might lead them back to the Hounds.

She wondered... Hadir had said to make it seem like a noble had done it, hadn't he? Maybe one of them had something she could use... maybe a weapon from a smith that dealt with only one family, or... something...

I don't suppose the hounds or whoever have "magic exploding black powder from [whatever the setting's equivalent of "the Orient" is]?
Lenka knew that the weapon of choice among the nobles was poison. Ulala powder in a drink, or Djinn Root extract mixed with a sauce in one's food were common methods. A small cut, not more than a scratch, from a blade coated with the venom of a White Spotted Scorpion could paralyze and kill in under a minute. These were the methods of the aristocracy for killing those they could not otherwise order their guards to arrest and execute.

There were several merchants who sold these items scattered around the High Bazaar. The scorpian venom could be quite showy, and it's death throes were known well enough amongst the rabble that poison and foul play would immediately be expected, and poison would certainly make people talk about the rift between the governor and the prophet.
 

BlueSlime

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Aug 12, 2010
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#39
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Dalian studied her companion for the day, approving of the choice, though she had hardly believed she wouldn't. She seemed like a nice enough girl, close to her own age and willing to drop the formalities without a question. Perhaps she would be useful for Dalian in finding a way to evade her guards even.

The High Bazaar seemed like her best option, there would be enough of a crowd to make following her difficult if she didn't try anything. Most other places in the city would likely have members of the cult around that would recognise her, at least travelers would not know her face or her purpose. "I would like to take the streets to the High Bazaar, Saahi. It would please me to mingle in the exotic after showing the people my resolve, a last taste of this world before I dedicate myself to the next."
Saahi inclined her head. "Very admirable of you to show your resolve in this way, Dalian. Let us go then, and we can buy all sorts of sweets and perfumes and trinkets. It is said that what you carry with you when you die, its spirit essence follows you into the realm of death. Along with whatever is buried with your body. That is why grave robbers curse themselves when stealing from the dead. The objects they rob have the touch of death upon them, and the Nameless One shall find them quickly, for such treasures belong to Him and His own."

Saahi and Dalian were shown out of the temple complex by the silent guardians in their dark robes. They formed a phalanx around them that did not break and pushed others out of the way. Their brawn and fearsome appearance convinced all but the most unaware or foolhardy to stand aside of their own accord. In the middle of this shield of watchful bodyguards, Saahi and Dalian were given enough room to walk and talk with ease, and through the gaps between their protectors, they were able to peruse the shops of the High Bazaar once they reached it - which was soon and without difficulty.

Many people craned their necks and stood on their toes to see the pair of women who would be protected like this. Rumor and commotion followed them. Dalian realized however that the silent guards, especially their leader, Zengan, always kept an eye on her. She wouldn't be escaping easily.

The High Bazaar is vast and one of the largest trading markets in the empire. You can assume that Dalian can find nearly any reasonable thing for this setting here, though obviously black market stuff will not be on the front shelves and Dalian is not the sort to know how to ask for such things. Feel free to describe places she might stop by. The market is labyrinthine and full of winding, confusing streets and stairways and overpasses, narrow and wide streets are passed by seemingly at random.
 

GargantuaBlarg

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#40
Re: New Wicked Age: Chapter 1

Ah, yes. Poison. A suitably underhanded weapon, for the "nobility". Lenka scoffed - greedy, deceitful parasites. The smiled a bit at the thought of them all pointing fingers and warring in the streets, blaming each other for the high priest's demise... but, they would no doubt would order their lapdogs to do their fighting for them, and keep themselves cloistered nice and safe in their fancy houses, built on the blood and sweat of other people.

Bah, she thought, no sense dwellin' on it before it even comes about. Lenka stopped, and changed her destination. She could go and scout the temple district any time - she wanted to make sure she had a source for that poison secured. She turned, heading for her home in the slums to get more coin from her stash, before making her way to the High Bazaar.