For eight centuries, Westcrown was a bastion of civilization and a symbol of national strength in Chelish eyes. As the city served as the center of Aroden’s faith, all Cheliax deemed the City of Nine Stars to be Aroden’s next home in the mortal world. Westcrown rivaled Absalom as a destination of pilgrimages during the Age of Enthronement. Yet, with Aroden;s unexpected death, the once shining City of Nine Stars became the City of Twilight as Chelish citizens lost hope. Decades of bloody strife followed, and the only direction out of the chaos seemed to be the orderly tenets of diabolism. A city that once symbolized a people’s power now projects a people’s disappointment and despair. Hope has dimmed in the city, and shadow beasts walk the streets instead of Aroden’s clergy. Westcrown remains influential in its mercantile and military might, but also humbled by its lost faith and tarnished reputation.
One of the most varied and sophisticated cities of the inner sea, Westcrown is an enigma. By day, this city reminds many of any city or country they know, either because of the varied architecture or how because people from all across Avistan and Garund now call Westcrown home. The many religious sites whether active or debased, continue to draw the pious, the curious, and the devious. Even the ruins of the northern city draw interest among those looking for a less-than-legal materials or rare treasures amid the dangerous rubble. But once the sun sets, only the foolish walk out of doors in Westcrown, for the shadow beast prowl every darkened lane and waterway.
Lately things have not been good at the Shelyn temple. A recent explosion of thief activity has brought more and more injured people to the temple, almost to the point where the staff couldn't keep up. Phaedra headed for the streets to see if she could find the root of the problem, and soon met Janiven, a local half-elf guide and sometimes caravan bodyguard. Janiven saw great potential in Phaedra and after a couple of visits, the half-elf gave Phaedra a request. Janiven explained how she and some friends were trying to get a group of like-minded individuals together to try to bring the city back to it glory, by force and by rallying up the citizens for a revolt. “We would like for you to join us in one of our meetings” she said “Our next meeting is at Vizios Tavern in Parego Sperato (“Hope’s Altar”) tonight at 4pm” she smiled and started to walk out of the door of the temple. As she reached the door she turned around and said “I would love to see you there”
As Doran arrived in Westcrown, he'd quickly learned about a small group of citizens who are gathering together to bring peace and justice to the city. Doran’s research into the group soon brings him to a woman named Janiven, a local town guide. She sees potential in Doran, and shares similar views and tells him if hes interested in meeting some more free-thinkers like themselves, to come to one of her meetings. “Our next meeting is at Vizios Tavern in Parego Sperato (“Hope’s Altar”) tomorrow at 4pm” she says “Please come if you can, I feel you could bring a lot to the group”
One day while watching some thieves in the shadows of dark alley in Rego Cader (“Blood Sector”) , Dakka is approached by a beautiful woman, he has seen the human around before and knew she worked for the local merchants as a guide and sometimes bodyguard. Before, you can say a word, the trio of thieves Dakka was watching start to rob a small halfling. As Dakka lifted his musket, two arrows had already slain one of the theifs , and Dakka’s shot fatally wounded one other. The last thief ran away with fear. “I'm Janiven” the human said after catching her breath. ”This city could sure use some more people like us” she states “Infact, I am gathering a group of free thinking individuals to try to take back this city by force or diplomatic ways.” she then looks down at the still smoking musket. “And we could sure use a shot like that”. Janiven tells you if you are interested, the group has a meeting tomorrow at 4pm at Vizio’s Tavern in Parego Sperato. As she walks into the shadows, she turns around and says “Maybe i'll see you there?”
As Yukon arrived in Westcrown, he'd quickly learned why all of the citizens are not seen in the streets after dark. One night while wandering the streets without a light source, he was attacked by some horrible shadow beasts. Next thing Yukon remembers, he wakes up in a small room in a warm bed. A half-elf enters the room and is surprised to see him awake. “Ahh You have made it my friend” he says with a wide smile “My name is Arael, and if it wasn't for me and my comrades, you would be dead!” Arael gives Yukon some soup as he tells Yukon about the danger of the Westcrown nights , and to travel safely from the shadow beasts most citizens use halorans ( a 7-foot tall hooked staff, hung with bright lanterns) to move around at night. “Something must be done” the half-elf states with a serious look. “I am getting together a group of like minded and able individuals to try to figure out how to tackle this problem.. Are next meeting is in a couple days, you should be better by then.” He says retrieving the now empty soup bowl. “We meet at Vizio’s Tavern in Parego Sperato at 4pm, come by we could really use a brave soul like yours” He then gets up and tells Yukon that he has paid for a week at the inn, and to rest up. “See you around freind”
The House of a Thousand faces, gave Siliquai one name of a local guide in Westcrown, Janiven. Siliquai soon learned Janiven was friendly and very knowledgeable about the city. After a couple of days of small talk, Siliquai asked her if she knew of anything or anybody trying to bring justice to the fallen city. Janiven looks at him and smiled. “Infact I do, me and some friends meet every Moonday (two days from now) to discuss how to bring change to the city” She then points to the south. “We meet at Vizios Tavern in Parego Sperato (“Hope’s Altar”) at 4”. A group of people come up to Janiven and ask for directions to the Miratanza, and she tells them she will gladly show them the way. As she walks away, she leans into your ear and whispers “Hopefully i'll see you there.”
At first glance, Vizio’s Tavern seems to be vacant/abandoned. It’s once lavish sign, rots away on the side of the crumbling brick building, only a slightly open door and the aroma of pigs fat coming from within suggests any sort of occupancy.
The tavern is dusty and aged in the inside. A large table and chairs are flanked by an old abandoned bar and some broken tables and rubble. On a stove behind the bar, a human with green hair slowly and quietly stirs a big pot of stew, while a woman with black hair sits at one end of the large table, opening a bottle of wine.
The woman is Janiven
Let me know anything else you have done before making way to the tavern
Casually walking in to the bar with a grin on his face, Doran looks around for the woman who asked him to come. Seeing her sitting at the bar, the Taldan man approaches her.
"Evenin' luv', seems I'm the first'un to get here, huh?" Doran leans against the bar next to Janiven, his smile widening. "Bein' early ne'er hurt nobody, I always say!"
Pulling a barstool underneath him, Doran seems to smile even wider. "Don' mind if I do, lass. Wine 'n' I get along juuuuuuuust fine."
Yuron limped into the tavern, carrying a small rock in his hand. He looked around, trying to hide the pain that he still felt from his attack, but an occasional wince was unavoidable.
He looked over the tavern, and saw only a barmaid and a single patron. "Is this the place? Where Arael was talking about? I'm Yuron," He said, watching the pair.
Looking up to the newcomer, Doran looks momentarily confused, but then his smile returns at full strength. "Pull up a stool, friend, let's have us a drink!" He taps the top of the bar twice with an open hand as he turn that smile on the woman at the stove.
Dakka only nodded at the strange woman as she walked away, but he continued to stare thoughtfully in her direction for a while after.
Dakka arrived outside Vizio's early and spent some time scouting the environs, noting the comings and goings of patrons and watching the flow of activity in the area.
A few minutes after four he approached the entrance and slipped in as unobtrusively as he could.
"Out of respect for your actions yesterday, I have come." His voice is high and raspy.
He looks around and cocks his head to the side."Are these your free-thinkers?"
The door to the tavern begins to slowly open, a hooded figure enters the room and looks around. She removes her hood to reveal a young human woman.. she looks to Janiven.
"Hello, Janiven. Are these your... friends?"
She turns to look at the group, and gives a small smile. Then takes a seat at one of the tables available.
Follow Up - results from both for gathering information
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Shortly after Janiven speaks, the man with green hair behind the bar, shuts off the stove, quietly gathers his things and whispers something to Janiven on his way out, leaving the door open.
Janiven is a well known city guide and sometime body guard to local merchants. Many of the locals trust her and have nice things to say about her.
Vizio's Tavern recently was shut down a by its owners and rumors are it was sold to a half-elf man and a human woman.
"Name's Doran," the Taldan man speaks as he smiles broadly at the others assembled. "Swordsman an' gentleman. Nice t' meet all'a'ya."
The little tengu unlimbers his musket so he can sit and hops into a chair, weapon cradled in his arm. He looks around with birdlike rapidity, his gaze fixing and alighting from patron to patron.
"My name is Dakka. I am a son of the tengu rookery."
To Yuron. "If your time here has already been hard, I am sorry. Dread and fear walk openly in our streets."
"I am here because Janiven has said to me she would take back the city. I wonder from who?"
Dakka cocks his head to the side again.
"And for who?"
A young human woman walks a bit hesitantly into the tavern and looks about. Eyes fixing upon Janiven, her demeanor relaxes a bit as she walks over to her.
"Hello Janiven, hope I didn't show up too late. I was assigned to help clean up after the midday service so it took me a while to get out."
"Hello Janiven, hope I didn't show up too late.
Janiven smiles up at the woman, then glances at the front door.
"No problem my dear, I am still waiting for one other person myself. My partner, Arael should be here any minute, when he arrives we will get started . While we wait, everybody help yourself to some wine and some stew"
She reaches behind the bar, and pulls out some bowls, after filling one up she sits back down and starts to eat.
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Dakka scoops up some stew and begins to eat cautiously at first, then ravenously, he was truly not sure where his next meal was coming from. Wine presents a greater challenge for a tengu, requiring him to awkwardly dip his beak into the cup.
*Bawk!* -- The tengu equivalent of a burp is a kind of high pitched squawk.
"I appreciate your generosity. Full bellies are rare in the rookery these days."
That's strangely cute, Dakka.
Doran laughs at the Tengu's voraciousness, and helps himself to some stew and wine. Noisily eating the food, he says, "Ah, 'is right here really hits th' spot." He wipes some errant food from his cheek and continues, "That fella's a right good cook, hope we'll be seein' more'a him!
"I guess I'l have some of that as well," Yuron said, setting the rock down on the bar and helping himself to a bowl of soup and a glass of wine. He nodded in appreciation at Dakka. "My family came from Westcrown, though I grew up in Andoran. I came back to. . .well, I'm not sure, I guess to see if the stories my parents told me were true. I had no idea about the beasts until they attacked me."
Janiven mumbles something under her breath , before standing up and closing the door.
"I will now start our meeting, because I have no intentions of keeping anybody past sunset, to deal with the shadow beasts. My partner Arael is running late and should be here any minute"
She makes another worried glance at the door
"First off, thank all of you for agreeing to meet with me here. I have chosen each of you for a singular reason--everyone here, myself included, has suffered, whether we realize it or not. I have lived in Westcrown my whole life, and although I love this city, I must admit as must you, that despite peace and prosperity, we continue to suffer. Fear should not be an expected part of life, and yet each night brings fear to our doorsteps. Yes, Westcrown has been safe from war and famine for nearly seventy years, and yes, our businesses has prospered- but this safety and prosperity has been bought in the coinage of fear and prayers to hell. Other lands live free from tyranny. Other cities do not fear the night. Other governments do not cede the streets to monsters of infernal shadows. Other cities don't have a mayor that cares about his personal love of theater , more then the welfare of his people."
She pauses and take a drink of wine
"We all have personally been affected by this city."
She looks up to make sure she has the rooms attention.
"As many of you know, I am Janiven. The shadows of the city have took many friends from me, I am harassed by the dottari and Hellknights daily, and thieves threaten my ways of means by making the streets an unsafe, unapproachable place.That is how this hellish city has affected me, lets take some time to go around the room, introduce your self to your fellow Wiscrani, if you have not already, but more importantly let us know what unjust the city has personally objected against you!"
Janiven mumbles "Damn you Areal"
Perception check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Doran grins as he stands, glass of wine in hand. He begins speaking, not letting on he heard Janiven's mumbling. "'m Doran. Wanderin' adventurer 'n' graduate o' th' Aldori swordlords. I was jus' passin' through when I heard all about wha's goin' on in these parts." The swordsman takes a sip of the wine and smiles broadly at the gathered members. "I know what it's like t' be held down by forces y' can't control, and I wouldn't wish it on me worst enemy, let alone a whole city!" He pounds a gloved hand against his chain shirt-clad chest, and pronounces loudly, "You got me arm and me blade!"
Phaedra finishes off her glass of wine and then stands up to take her turn at speaking.
"Greetings and salutations all, my name is Phaedra Valerius and I and my sister hailed from Krovosa. When she and her ship's cargo went missing I wasn't able to get any answers from anyone about what happened to her. I got myself transferred to the Shelyn temple in the city and have been looking for her with no luck for over a year now."
Perception 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Still sitting at the table Sili begins to speak...
As I have said, my name is Siliquai. I have travelled to this city because of the oppression its citizens endure. I am here to do my part in returning this city to the glory of its former years.
Through whatever means necessary.
Perception 1d20 ⇒ 9 + 8= 17
-- To Siliquai --
"I am from here, or at least from our little part of it. tengu often inhabit the spaces humans abandon. Many tengu live in the Shackles and the Sodden lands, but those places are in many ways worse than this one, so we have migrated around the Inner Sea. This is easy because in the Shackles it is believed tengu absorb bad luck, and so sailors take them on as mascots. And so tengu came to Westcrown and established a rookery, just a few clusters of abandoned buildings."
--To the group at large--
"Only in human settlements are the tengu tolerated, but often only barely so. We remain outsiders here little seen or thought of. Our small size, small numbers, unfamiliarity with the city, and endemic poverty make us targets for criminals and corrupt officials alike. In another place that could be dealt with over time. but here there seems no end to the crime, to the corruption, and the creeping darkness. The tengu will be swallowed up on our own, and no one will remember us. I am convinced there must be a head to the snake that constricts this city, and I need help to cut it off."
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Yuron stood, looking around the room at the others gathered there. "My name is Yuron Issen. My parents were sailors, both of them born here in Westcrown, though they left before I was born. Now that they are gone I decided to come back, and learn what I can of the past without them, though after being attacked by shadows, I can understand why they left. I think I owe it to the people that helped me recover to do what I can.
After Yuron is done introducing himself, Janiven puts her glass down on the table and stands up.
'"As you have all heard from your fellow Wiscrani, each and every one of you has been screwed over, or been done wrong by the city. If you were to hit the streets, I am sure each and every citizen has many more stories about the horrors and injustice to tell of the city"
Janiven walks over to the bar and climbs on top.
"And that is really what matters in Westcrown. Its Citizens. Westcrown was once a great place, and she wants to be a great place again. Westcrown is not only her buildings and canals and docks and history--she is also, and most importantly, her people. Westcrown is our friends and neighbors, our mothers and fathers, our siblings and cousins, our sons and our daughters! With but a small group of supporters and dedicated brothers and sisters, we can earn the trust and admiration of those people. A Westcrown free of these shadowy beasts that stalk our streets is one step closer to a Westcrown free of the devil that is the Thrice-Dammed House of Throne!"
Janiven's words are treason.
Sense Motive check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Doran's smile falters momentarily, but he begins to applaud softly, regardless. "'Ere 'ere."
As Janiven get down from the bar she address the group. "Dakka, there is plenty of evidence all around this excuse of a city"
"I truly believe that a small group of like-minded people can improve the lives of the people of this once great town of Westcrown, but we must take care not to appear as rebel or rioters. We must gain the trust of the people, through good deeds and providing what aid we can."
She looks around to make sure she has everyone's attention.
"Westcrown has long been ignored by the rulers of Cheliax. As long as we win the hearts of Westcrown's citizens by doing good deeds and avoid as many direct entanglements with the government as possible, the House of Throne will continue to ignore what they interpret as "petty squabbling" in the old capital."
I know this isn't an easy choice to make.."
But before Janiven can finish her sentence, there is a loud bang on the door.
THUD THUD THUD
Janiven grabs the hilt of her sword while getting up and moving to the window, slowly and discreetly peeking through the curtains at the knocking outside. She then quickly makes her way to the door, and opens it, and in stumbles an out of breath and frighted looking teenager.
"Th-The-They've Got Arael" the boy cries out before immediately doubling over in wheezing and coughing fit.
Janiven locks the door and knells down to aid the young man, a look of panic on her face.
Doran stands bolt upright, a worried look coming over his face. "'ose 'they'? What happened?" The man nervously checks to make sure his blade is sheathed on his back where it always is.
Morosino catches his breath and begins to speak.
"The dottari have nabbed Arael and the Hellknights of the Rack are trying to get custody of him!" I barely escaped, but I fear they have caught onto my trail!"
The boy puts his head down in shame.
You hear the sound of clanking armor outside
Perception check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Suddenly, Doran hears the sound of clanking armor coming from outside the bar. "Abadar's scales, i' sounds like 'ey did. We should get the Hells outta this place, right quick!"
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
"Yes if it is dottari they must not find the boy, but they must not know conspiracy was occurring here either. They should be deceived if possible, fled otherwise."
Dakka looks sideways at Janiven.
"That will depend on why they have apprehended your friend, and whether they can tie him to you."