Year 124 FHR, 2nd day of the 3rd rule, in a state of Serenity
“I believe in its denizens. From a hundred, hundred worlds they have come....””
- beginner’s cant.In the room behind the bar we found the blood gate on the killing floor. It was a rusted old grate atop a ramp. Ludvik tied a rope to an exposed strut in the wall, and Cy removed the grate. A step down, into the hole in the floor was a ramp that was black with dried blood and detritus. Ludvik stepped in and sat on the step. Svanna handed him a package, saying his mother wanted him to have it. The bundle was wrapped in an embroidered handkerchief. Svanna kissed the top of his head, and went home.
Ludvik shimmied down the ramp and soon saw the bubbling ooze at the bottom of the slide. 5' above the ooze, his heels snagged on a crack. The chute was made of finished stone, and this crack seemed as gummed up as the chute itself. After a brief discussion, I made my way down the chute and over Ludvik, into the crack that was now between his feet. I came out inside some sort of mortuary. In my time it was illegal to house corporeal remains in the city. The dustmen dealt with the dead as there were just too many people and not near enough land in the Cage. But here was a room filled with dessicated bones. I was up on a shelf - about 6' off the floor. There were between 100 and 120 bodies in this n shaped room. Along the top of the n was floor of waste from the butcher shop, dried bones, blood and gristle.
I helped Ludvik down, then began exploring. To my left was a shelf with rocks on top. When I unpiled the rocks I found an opening beyond that had a plank running across an abyss to a stone tower.
The n shaped room alternated between an alcove filled with shelves of bones, and a solid plate of stone. The stone had long lists of Hellenic names, a date I didn't recognize, and the phrase "taken by the Earth quaker". At first we thought these stones were capstones; but later we realized that very few had room for bodies. We spent some time puzzling over the graves, before electing to move through a gap in the northern wall. I made a note to come back and explore the entrance in the southern wall, but that's a story for another time.
As we made our way up a street-turned-tunnel, we were attacked by a man-rat who jumped out of the shadows and flung his javelin at Cy. Cy managed to strike back and the man-rat ran away, squealing all the way. Eki gave chase, and threw his dagger, but missed. I gave the man-rat's fallen javelin to Cy so she'd have a weapon. The man-rat tried to harry us, but we pushed him back along the street-turned-tunnel, and beyond. Ludvik gave chase but the floor collapsed out from under him. He fell into a midden pit and landed hard about 9 feet down. Meanwhile the man-rat scrambled up a flight of stairs and onto a raised walkway.
As Eki was trying to help Ludvik out of the midden pit, a pustule covered half-orc emerged from one of the doorways we passed in combat. This rotting jack tells us to get off his turf. He carried a crossbow. Then we hear Miska call out from the alchemy shop. He was quickly silenced.
Cy helps Ludvik out of the hole as Eki charges, took a bolt to the shoulder and still managed to hit and stun the rotting jack. Cy follows Eki and the two convince the rotting jack to run for it rather than continue to face their onslaught.
Meanwhile Ludvik unwraps the item Svanna gave him. It was a nice sliver-plated dagger. He then follows me into the old alchemy shop. After a bit of snooping, another rat-man steps out from the shadows and threatens us. Ludvik attacks him and he seems scared of the dagger. Eki and Cy join us and it's a long fight. Even when Ludvik hits him, it seems to do little or no damage. Da's trapped in the corner near the hearth, and hard-pressed even to talk.
I take watch near the door, and notice the berk coming back. I call for Cy's help and she defeats him, and the berk is dying. Just then Eki calls for Cy's help. She leaves the berk, and I heal him! Don't ask me why, it just ... seemed right at the time. I peeked in on the fight and Ludvik was down and the man-rat was boasting again; saying he could fight all night, but we'd fall one by one.
I asked Cy if I should go up top for help, she concurred and I went. I learned later from Eki that after I left the man-rat wanted to negotiate. It comes down to us letting him leave and he not kill Mika. He leaves, finds his berk still alive and carries him off. Bloody plaguers - he said his kind flourished in plagues; yes - he and the berk were doomguard and yes, they'd blocked the sewers; but stop getting ahead of me here.
Anways - I come back down and Ludvik is pulled and prodded up the chute so that Ismine can see to him. He awakends on the killing floor of the butcher's shop. Down below the rest of us explore the old chandlery. We find a few odd things, mostly proving these rooms were once proper shops facing the street. One even had a privy.
We find the blockage around the corner.
After some discussion we rig some ropes and send them up through the grate between Hinrik and Yougros' homes in Corssguard. Cy climbs out and gets more rope. We tie ropes to the blockage and the folk above pull out the supports. When they finally come free (after a good hour of fussing) the plumbing system is restored.
The rest of us got out of the sewers via the chute.
The folks in the street shovel away the green slime and clean up the place. Over the next few days - banners are hung - various Hellenic folk from the Hellenic temples begin turning out. Things pick up and the festival is organized.
The festival begins in the Lady's ward when a priest of Hephaestus reenacts striking Zeus in the head with an ax and a priestess of Zeus lights a torch using divine power. The relay race is at sunset through the lady's ward. Boys pass the torch back and forth. Both Eki and Castor are part of that years race.
The torch is brought to applauding crowds in Crossguard. The weather cooperates as the night is clear and blown free of smog. People gather around Eki and light their own lights from the torch he carried. A city fair becomes an all night party.
A procession brings forth Athena's new dress. It's carried around the neighborhood like a sail on a tall mast. Cy bears the mast and follows Sophia and Ismine through the neighborhood. There's flowers and food for sale everywhere and everything smells so good, and so clean!
Gifts of olive oil are given to the temple. Many yearly tithes are paid in olive oil and the church in turn sells it back to the faithful. The night is full of drunken revelry.
The very next morning however ... Svanna is gone. She was seen enjoying the procession, but come morning her bed's empty and not been slept in. No one knows what's happened. Ismine asks the priests of Apollo (Prognostication). They can't say where she is. They know only (after speaking to the priests of Hades) that she's not in the Elysiums fields.
Ismine found the information about the catacombs interesting. There are rumors that every place is the original settlement for the Hellenic peoples in the cage.