Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Crux: Urban Fantasy Campaign Seed (Part Three D-F)

The painter family most currently in favor both with the Son of Wreaths and Dragon Blooded collectors in the Blessed Isle. Their paintings demonstrate a level of supplication, fawning and flattery not found elsewhere. They specialize in portraiture and the casting of single figures or family in glowing artistic terms. The master of their trade and the one they have pinned their hopes on is Majest Daykane. He is perhaps twenty, but has a powerful hand.

Demdalis: Capital of Carta Mallus (Place)

Drinks of the Kingdom
Specialty agriculture is the lifeblood of Cascading Flowers. Beyond the many varieties of rice (and some other grains), many farmers grow small plots of specialized herbs, medicinal plants and especially flowers. Flowering plants and bushes have many symbolical and practical applications: dyes, luxury papers, perfumes, and flavorings among other things. Most people in the kingdom have at least a passing knowledge of herbalism, though often built on sympathetic or mythic properties. The spirits associated with these plants are among the most honored (and potentially spoiled). From these roots, a number of unique alcoholic beverages have developed in Cascading Flowers. 

  • Sake: while standard sake comes in a variety of qualities and refinements, as the most common drink in the region a low grade version can be found in nearly every tavern and rest house. A number of most aromatic and fragrant sakes are made with a variety of flower oils, giving them a rich aroma and flavor. The Floral sakes of the land have grown into a prized good and recipes have evolved into highly protected trade secrets kept in the families of small distillers. Because of their nature and temperament, these kinds of brews can only be prepared in small batches.
  • Wines: since nearly anything can be fermented to prepare wines, many new and interesting kinds, created from strange amalgams of base materials have come to be popular. Wine grapes are rarely grown here, except in the farthest south. This comes more from the nature of wine monopolies elsewhere than from soil or climate limitations. Over time the people of Cascading Flowers have come to see the wine of grapes as a foulish beverage, popular elsewhere among the undignified. Crux is the only major importer of this kind of wine.
  • Madak: the general preference among the people of cascading Flowers for alcohol runs in two directions: subtle, almost imperceptible flavors (such as that of the sakes) or else strong, nearly overpowering flavors such as that of Madak. Even this beverage has a complex aroma that drinkers patiently take in before consuming. People of the Kingdom prefer their beverages thinner and clearer, so stout ales and thicker fermented drinks are rarely served. Madak is a beer, filtered heavily and brewed with a mish-mash of spices and essential oils.all of them strong and potentially painful. Madak is not a gentle beverage and in its strongest forms becomes a trial of courage. Newcomers to Crux and the Kingdom are advised to carefully taste the beverage before taking it down fully to make sure that the locals have not decided to test their mettle.

Edge of Waking: Forest edge town in Carta Mallus (Place)

Falling Petals Market
While the Tilted Bazaar at the center of the Day Quarter is the largest, and the Weedwall Souk of the Dusk Quarter is the busiest, the Falling Petals Market is the one which has the most possibilities for adventurers. Due to an ancient law, the Market is the only one licensed to sell flowers and rare plants. This, once upon a time, was an important and honored thing within the Cascading Flowers Kingdom. However, other markets outside the city and a general decay in the spiritual importance of flowers have forced the marketers to turn to other sources of income. As a result, much of what vanishes inside and surrounding Crux can eventually be found for sale in this Dusk Quarter market. Every stall is required to have at least half of its display given over to flowers, plants and herbs, but these usually cover a fine assortment of black market goods, fenced items and rarities which shopkeepers might be leery of. The Market has remained because it has become a solid draw for those visiting the city, even those unaware of the secret dealings going on. As well, Falling Petals provides a significant income for the Guild and the local city masters.

The Falls: The waterfall formed by the tilt of the Day Quarter into the ocean. (Place)
Farspun Road: Road into Carta Mallus from Blossoming Pearl. (Place)

Fate’s Talons
A smallish mercenary company that has several barracks and agents in the South, with its primary station being Crux. The company, currently headed by Song of Sorrows, is one of a number of mercenary compacts who have a long but not necessarily illustrious history. Rolls among this group date the founding back nearly two hundred years. Mastership and skills are handed down from generation to generation, with the banner and rolls of the company being the only truly steady thing within it. The Talons have no more than a hundred fighting men at their disposal at any one time, with an equal number either under full employ or partial contract for administrative, supply and crafting skills. The Talons most recently served with Gem in a series of continuing skirmishes in the Scavenger Lands. However, their most lucrative employment comes from serving as caravan guards for Guild operations throughout the area. While several dozen of the Talons are usually occupied with these operations or else serve as garrison assistance, about a third are stationed at an old fortress a day’s ride away from Crux. Granted them by the Kingdom, in exchange they patrol certain key roads and aid in security during certain merchant festivals.

As well, they have agree never to serve under a banner which acts against the Kingdom. Members of the Talons may be encountered on leave in Crux; they also recruit from likely candidates there. While a small company, their skill and professionalism should not be underestimated
Fayt Abandoned
God-blooded and born to a distant relation of the royal house, Fayt early on had vast opportunities but tossed them away to travel. It is said from her tenth year on for another decade she followed the caravan trails throughout the South. When she finally returned to the kingdom, it was as a Caravanserai, leading a great train of exotic goods that had survived the challenges of man and spirit alike. From this wealth, she immediately turned around called together another caravan. After several of these journeys she began to draw the best to her: guides, mercenaries, other merchants who knew her reputation for care, safety and great wealth. After another ten years of this she returned to Crux. It is said that the Magister of the City himself spoke with her then, asking her to remain in the region to advise of caravan routes and preparations. She accepted and with his influence eventually gained a spot on the council.

Firewhite: Owner of the Counting Lodge (Person)

Flickering Knife, Enigma of Crux
Not so much a person as an event or incident, the Flickering Knife has been seen has been seen several times over the last two years, always tied with bloody events. In most instances, the Knife appears when someone has been violently assaulted or robbed in the Dusk Quarter or below. It appears from nowhere, a hazy figure whose only distinguishing feature is a long wicked knife. It strikes down the attackers and in some cases has killed one or more of the potential victims as well. This is according to witnesses, though a number of those rescued have survived. Some suspect that the Flickering Knife is a spirit, a rumor that has had Ghanai Wogus, the Immaculate Master in Crux, petitioning to be allowed to hunt it. Though not officially approved, he has sent Monks after the Flickering Knife, only to come back empty handed. Since word of this has gotten out, Ghanai has had to be more careful in his cause. There are others that believe the Flickering Knife to be a Dragon Blooded Exalt with a strange fetish or sense of honor. Still others believe it may be a Lunar outcaste who has made his home here and still hunts like an animal. The quietest suggestion is that it may be in fact an Anathema- something no one wishes- fearing both the danger of such a devil loose in the city and the Wyld Hunt they would have to call.

Forlorn: Capital of Khedaal. (Place)

Fourth Argent Way, Documentarian
Some might describe him as a scribe, but the objects of art produced by Fourth Argent Way make one loathe to part with them. Apparently originally from a Patrician family on the Isle, he came here nearly two centuries ago. Some say he fled the death or imprisonment of his family or his master. Others suggest that his skills, requiring extreme patience and time, served no useful purpose among the pedestrian scribes of the Scarlet Empress. Another rumor suggests that he made an error in a petition to be presented to the Deliberative and was sent here to perfect his craft and atone for his error.

Certainly in his time here, his has perfected that crafted: choosing the proper papers, the best inks, the most auspicious placements of seals and the precise brushwork necessary to carry out the document required by his clients. He refuses to copy books except for those which interest him. Instead he relies on commissions for announcements, certificates and legal documents. His services have been in such demand that on his last two attempts to leave the city, for a brief journey, he was bombarded with gifts, requests and some even say threats. In both cases he decided to remain in Crux.

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