Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stories in the Naked City

Here's an eclectic sampling of people from the streets of Terminus, most distant outpost of the fallen Thystaran empire, in the south of the continent of Arn:

Kro One-Eye: Alcoholic, and possibly consumptive, swordmaster. He either lost his left eye to a rebel in the Dharwood, or to an angry whore, depending on how deep into the cups he his when he gets 'round to the tale. He's a fixture in dives along Wine and Tavern Streets, regaling fellow patrons with daring (and dubious) tales of his youthful adventures, and the occasional demonstration of his skills. For a cup of watered wine he'll give a few pointers on use of the blade. For a bottle of good Kael whiskey, he'll take on a student. For a small cask of vintage Trosian Red, he'll fight at your side--as long as it doesn't take him far from the River District. (Looks like: Sam Elliott (with an eyepatch) circa Roadhouse; and Sounds like: Gary Oldman).

Nari: Dancing-girl and part-time professional mourner, residing in Copper Court. When not performing, her demeanor suggests she's seen it all and found most of it excruciatingly dull. When dancing, she can be found at the Quivering Navel, and in her off-hours she's often found smoking djesha-leaf resin from a waterpipe at Gelv's House of Innumerable Pleasures (where the pleasures are far from innumerable--perhaps only in the single digits). She can be relied upon to have heard a good deal of gossip and rumor, though she's also guaranteed not to have found much of it particularly interesting. (Looks like: Caroline Munro circa 1973).

The Gate Street Players: Ten thespians--six male, four female--operating out of a small theater on Gate Street. The Players tend to perform daring reinterpretations of the classics. Their current production is a take on Teleganexes' The Fall of Iztlann, where the traditionally male roles of protagonist Dyzanarios and his sword-brother Tekromo are played by women, and tragic ending is replaced by the two heroes--heroines--entering into a ménage à trois with Yla, the villainous witch-seductress. Their next production is to be the infamous Llysan work The King in Tatters, written by a madman, and performed just once--for the court of the Llysan Emperor the faithful night the execution of a peasant girl for diablerie failed, and the Emperor and his court died weird, and horrible deaths. Superstitious rumor holds the play is cursed and its performance opens a gate to dread planes. The Gate Street Players are undeterred.

Hrasthus Nort: Vagabond, beggar, and ambassador for the Vagrant City of Lardafa, the shanty-Atlantis of the Great Marsh. Nort, dressed like a ragged courtier come forth from the tomb after a half-century, is most often found around the the government offices, but sometimes takes a drink along Tavern Street. He carries a ragged sheet of sheepskin with the crudely drawn seal of Lardafa as a sign of his office, and is always accompanied by his similarly dressed attache--a mocking-monkey called Jip. Nort panhandles for coin, proselytizes to the poor about the wonders of Lardafa, and waits for his never-to-come audience with the Governor-Prefect. Sometimes, after a few drinks, he hints of ancient, eldritch things discovered in the depths of the swamp, dark bargains struck by Lardafa's Burgomaster Jero Flistapp, and a growing, unspoken fear among the city's populace. (Looks like: "Gabby" Hayes; and Sounds like: Brian Cox as Jack Langrishe in Deadwood).

Yreel Dahyût: One of the few women in the city watch, and the only officer currently. Dahyût is tall, and beautiful, if somewhat severe, in her always polished armor and spotless uniform. The deference granted her, and her bearing and diction, suggest an origin among the minor noble families of the Tabeidonian or Vararian Towers. Cursory inquiries would reveal this to be false. Dahyût has no family--indeed she has no history at all. She simply appeared one day as a high-placed and respected member of the watch. The purpose of this subterfuge, and the means by which is was accomplished remain unanswered questions. (Looks like: Kristanna Loken).