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 15: The Chase.
Constable Amos and his superior officer, Watch Commander Surt went to the Dark Horse Den in Darin's Folly. There, Surt hoped to talk to the Imperial Watch about the investigation of Allan's murder so that the Vigilants could take over the case. They met Captain Trevithick of the Watch, who was already on the second floor of the gambling hall with a few other men. The captain didn't seem to have any problems with the Vigilants being there or doing any investigation. He said that they had already been examining the crime scene upstairs, and when asked about the arcane circle the captain recalled the case of Goteg, an orc who used Blood Magic. He was captured three or four years ago and was currently imprisoned at the Keep of Order. He also mentioned that they had gathered a few potential witnesses that saw Allan with Braelyn last night, but the Watch had not interviewed any of them yet. Surt and Amos looked over the crime scene, and Surt found a note, presumably written by Allan to his friend Kennick:
Old friend, I am sorry that there is a need for me to write this, or you to read. But it seems that my time nears, and there is no procrastination in the hands of She Who Keeps. Do not let unfortunate circumstances prevent you from your calling. Speak to the people, even if they do not listen. And take care of Kith; she will need a strong soul to look after her. Tell your friends that I tried, but could not find the person behind their troubles.
Surt said that he would continue the investigation at the Dark Horse Den so that Amos could return to the Seat of Law in Tradefair and meet with the rest of the group. Once Amos was reunited with Tor'in, Meriel, and Darrenstinian. They shared what happened while they were separated as they made their way to Oldkeep to listen to Kennick's speech. Meriel recalled Kith's divine gift of music that they heard about, and wondered if had any connection to what Mordenkai said about the Listener and the Singers.
After arriving at the plaza in Oldkeep, Tor'in and Meriel scouted around for possible dangers. Amos gave Allan's note to Kennick, who said he would read it later because he wanted to focus on the upcoming speech. In a line of carriages commonly used for public taxi services, Tor'in noticed one that stuck out. Other carriages were plain and painted in standard black, but one looked like it had been been modified from a much fancier and upscale carriage. Amos made the pretense of examining the carraige driver's legal documents and paperwork, and then recognized the driver as the same one that arrived with Lady Zara fae'Fournius two nights ago. After they had a brief conversation, Lady Fournius invited the constable into the carriage. She explained that she was curious about The Solari and wanted to her the speech. She was thinking of extending an invitation to the Fournius Remembrance Ball.
Shortly after their talk, Kennick began his speech. He talked about how he heard of Solarian after the Battle of Viterbo against Akkad, but had a vision of him before news of the battle had reached the city. As he was giving his speech, Nestor Soranus, owner of the Gilded Stage, arrived with a small mob and interrupted. Nestor had lost a son in battle against Akkad's undead, and the mob with him had also lost loved ones or were injured or maimed in battle. Nestor angrily felt that they were forgotten and excluded while Solarian was lauded a hero. While the others took up defensive positions around the crowd, Amos approached them to magically Soothe Nestor's emotions. This calmed him down, although his followers were still wound up, and Tor'in noticed a few simple weapons amongst them.
While focused on the crowd, Artellus Prusun had climbed on the platform near Kennick and began to speak out. He offered words of compromise, and like Amos, used magic to soothe the rest of the crowd. He approached the mob, all smiles, and although not welcomed by them, they were not hostile. Nestor seemed open to talking to Artellus, and the priest led Nestor and his followers away.
Mordenkai is an old man, with eyes growing cloudy, wispy white hair, and layers of wrinkles on his face. He was found wandering the streets of Sentra by some of Kennick's Solari and was taken to the Giving Hands for help. Once there, he asked to see Meriel Ravenstone.
Mordenkai claims to be several centuries old. He served in the Imperial infantry, but defected before the Battle of Byroad in 873 AE during the The Calamity. During that time, he knew Meriel's ancestor Orien Afar.
Mordenkai, along with his friend Harold, explored old ruins. It was around that time he encountered the Singers. He says that they were voices in his head, like layers of a chorus, that told him what to do. They called him a Listener: they prolonged his life, and gave him supernatural gifts. He does not remember what sort of things he was asked to do, and it doesn't seem that he wants to remember. He never saw the Singers, only heard their voices. He says they have since selected a new Listener, which freed him from their control. He has a sense that the new Listener is somewhere in the city.
It was Orien's magic that allowed him to find Meriel once Mordenkai was free of the Singers.
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 inhabitants of Rattlestone are poor, but most of them have jobs at the Bazaar. What Imperial Watch patrols are here are mostly made up of local residents. The housing here is mostly tenements, many of which are worn by time and vandalism. There is a large elven population living here, many of them in poverty.
Places of Interest
The Dream Lily is a recently established den for wondercaps, a hallucinatory drug.
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.