24 minutes ago
Thursday, July 7, 2011
In the Financial District of the City an unconventional commodity exchange exists among all the mundane markets. A secret market open to a few of the rich and powerful is said to deal in fate itself.
Many thaumatologists prefer to speak of “probabilities” and view the whole idea of fate as a remnant of the unscientific past. Others point to the numerous pagan deities devoted to the concept and argue that the power of human belief must surely have made an eikone of it.
While the theoreticians argue, the exchange does brisk business. It’s members are few--likely less than 20--and are all powerful thaumaturgists, extremely wealthy, nonhuman entities, or some combination of the three. The exchange building itself is accessed from the second floor of a small insurance office. It can’t be found without an invitation or powerful magical aid.
The trading room is always filled with a low, periodic thumping sound. The story goes that its the slow beating of a monstrous heart: the heart of an alien chaos god stored in something like a rune-inscribed Leyden jar. The living heart of minor chaos (it’s supposed) keeps Management or some other in being of Law from shutting down the operation.
The exchange is somewhat misnamed. The goal is to manipulate fate, but the commodity exchanged is perhaps better termed luck. Wholesale theft of luck would attract unwanted attention, so the exchange only snatches small quantities of it---embezzling the “could have beens” rendered purposeless by random tragedy or miraculous fortune.
These loose strands are snatched from the weave of reality by three automata like four-armed women, seated in the lotus and made of brass and porcelain. These are likely of extraplanar origin. It’s said that (for some reason) the automata are only ever observed in operation indirectly, through the use of a mirror.
The traders buy and sell the strands collected by the automata. They exchange them with each other for other things of value from the mundane to the esoteric, but they also use them. Small changes to fate, targeted to critical moments, and over a long period of time, can have a profound effect. A poor man can be become rich (or a rich enemy poor), a wicked life can be extended, or an innocent soul corrupted toward damnation.
If the tales are true, the members of the Fate Exchange buy and sell nothing less than the power of gods--exercised over one seemingly inconsequential event at a time.