For some of you, this is home—a comfortable and familiar place you've known your entire life. For others, the city may only be a brief stop, perhaps one of many in your travels. But regardless of how you came here, you share the same streets.
Depending on who you are—and where you live—Sentra can be a beautiful city of wonder and splendor. Yet that perfect city is only what many people see on the surface. There are those that understand there is more to the city, that there are flaws in it that run deeper than what most will see. There are those that know what lies beneath.
Continued from Session 19: The Catch
The party had recently captured Unknown, a servant dressed in the colors of House Fournius but who was not hired to be there at the Fournius Gala. Amos seeks some Vigilant advice from his sister Laybeth and grandfather Eli. Eli offers to rough the suspect up a little bit, but Laybeth's approach is more by the book. Amos opts to follow his sister's suggestions. He, Ren, and Meriel take Amaro—now officially declared a person of interest—downstairs to the ovens. Tor'in joins them, but not before quietly leaving a note with Lit'ta's weapons asking for a parley with her later.
Amos suggests to Amaro that he cooperate. Even though his boss Salan Cornys gave him a way to contact his barrister, Amos pointed out that the barrister would only watch out for the interests of Salan, not for Amaro. Amaro wasn't an entirely happy participant in the questioning, but he did not cause any problems, either. Amaro said he was twenty-seven years old, and had worked at the Dark Horse Den for three years, usually waiting tables or tending bar. He did agree that he did the occasional side jobs to help make ends meet. Amaro was asked to lift his sleeves and show his forearms, to see if he was the shapeshifting murderer. He hesitated briefly, but complied. He had a few scars that are more common with fighting than waiting tables, but did not have any signs of cutting himself for blood magic.
Amaro explained that Lady Zara fae'Fournius came to him for help, and met him yesterday afternoon around 3. She paid him 100𝔊 to help watch her. She said that she was fearful for her life, and wasn't sure if she could trust anybody in her House. She wanted Amaro to keep an eye on her, and insinuated that others would do the same. The group remembered that the time Amaro said he met Zara was the same time that they saw Zara during the Solari speech. Amaro said that Zara was wearing a fine blue dress for the meeting, but was not wearing any of the expensive perfume he normally associates with nobility. He did remember she was scratching her forearms. He had seen Zara before at the Dark Horse Den, as early as last week. Amaro said he was supposed to meet Zara, or her proxy, again tomorrow afternoon at a tavern called the Welcome Chill.
While Amaro was being interviewed, Tor'in went upstairs to confirm that Lady Zara had not talked to Amaro previously.
After talking to Amaro, the group decided that they would also be at the Welcome Chill. Amaro mentioned that there would be a code phrase the proxy would use so he would know who it was. Tor'in followed Amaro back to his flat in Darin's Folly to make sure nothing happened to him along the way.
Amos spoke to Zara next. She confessed that someone matching Braelyn's description was attempting to blackmail her. When Zara did not immediately agree, threats were made that Zara would be followed and there would be eyes on her at all times.
House Ceasian is the current imperial family. Their reign began with Emperor Cessius er'Ceasian in 977 AE.
There are currently two brothers that are contenders for the throne, Princes Barnabus and Tobias. They are the nephews of the current emperor and their father Aleron er'Ceasian was the younger brother of Emperor Hadrianus. The emperor's only progeny, Prince Cephius died in infancy.
The Week of Remembrance is a seven-day festival, a time to celebrate and honor the ancestors and the respected dead, that falls on the last Sunis in the month of Aprivius. Although primarily an observance of the Keepers, many other religions and organizations follow the holiday. The Aldarites and Imperial family use the time to promote the great leaders of the past, Kolrehsans remember those that have fallen in battle, and the Elves build small shrines to their ancestors and loved ones no longer with them.
In Sentra, the first day of the festival is started with a family dinner, with extra portions being set aside for those that have died. As the sun sets, people stand outside holding traditional candles while a procession of Keepers walks through the city streets. They pray and chant and sing, asking that any spirits that come to visit over the week are benevolent and remember their loved ones with kindness, and that those still living honor the dead in return. This is supposed to be a time when the veil between the living and the dead is weaker, and although rare, it is not unheard of for a spirit to cause some havoc through the night. The Keepers are very quick and very firm about putting an end to any such occurrences, although there are always children and teenagers that put on a mask and run around as mischief makers that lay the blame on restless spirits.
The oldest part of the city lies between River Aniene and River Oenus and is known as the Palatial District. It's here where the city began nearly 1400 years ago. This district is the wealthiest, and home to the imperial government.
Tall towers, some nearly 250 feet in height, dot the district. Although they appear to be made of traditional stone, extensive magic was used for their construction, from lifting the heavy stones to strengthening the structure. Elegant spires and domes crown the top of many of them, while others hold pools or parks on the roof. Balconies and windows adorn the exterior walls. High bridges connect neighboring towers.
Reaching the tops of the towers is often done with magical levitators.
Although the towers are newer, this district is the oldest part of the city, but it has been rebuilt and expanded upon over the centuries. Newer construction spreads further south.
Vakandans are the worshippers of Vakandis. To the uninitiated, Vakandis is simply the goddess of thieves (and other unsavory occupations, of course). To such people, she represents all that is base and crass about society and mortals in general. To them, the goddess’s name is more of a curse (although they would never use her name in such a way, for fear of incurring her wrath or notice). Her worshippers are nothing but scoundrels and rogues, unfit for polite company.
But to those thieves that live by her codes, however, the goddess is playful, watchful, enticing, and seductive in all the dangerous ways possible. To them, she is not the goddess of thieves, but rather she is the patron deity of all those living by guile, cunning, and craftiness. When one of her worshippers courts danger, they almost treat it as if they are courting the goddess.
Her church is not very organized, and there has never been an organized central church dedicated to Vakandis. She has little care for ornate temples, elaborate rituals, or other trapping so common in other religions. Because the faith of the Lady of the Moons remains so loose and open (especially compared to those of other religions), it can be difficult for people to understand what she represents.
Surprisingly, there is a religious text called the Tome of Secrets. The book is not widely distributed or read, although there are no restrictions on who may read or possess it. What is truly unusual about the work is that only a cleric of Vakandis can actually remember what was read, and only such a cleric may memorize or recite passages. Others, even the most devoted layperson, cannot remember what he has read in The Tome. If he writes down a section of the book, even the transcribed version becomes immediately forgettable. Despite this, everyone who peruses The Tome of Secrets gains a deep feeling of fulfillment and spiritual well-being that remains long after the words have been forgotten. If someone recites passages from the book out loud, the audience gains a similar good feeling, but quickly forget the words they just heard.