Now that the group apparently had some downtime before their next mission, Blayze sought to become more acquainted with the utter madness that was her new home city.
Awakening at what seemed a reasonable hour, based on the amount of activity evident outside, Blayze goes through her morning routine, a balance of devotions, and maintaining her weapons, before getting dressed and heading to breakfast. Afetr a meal that re-affirms just how good it is to not be trapped on an undead world, she slips on her duster and heads out into the bustling streets, seeking whatever her new home city held in store.
Blayze finishes a hearty farmer’s breakfast at the common room of the Copper Cauldron. Unlike many inns, the rooms above the common area are not for public use. The Silver Rose has a contract with The Allgood family for indefinite use of the third floor of the building. Blayze has a room of her own; small but cozy, with a dormer window overlooking the rear courtyard and Bess Allgood’s small herb garden.
The fare is comped by Renkar as well, which is nice because breakfast at the Copper Cauldron always calls for seconds. Blayze steps out onto Copper Court in the Before Peak drizzle, cinching her duster against the omnipresent rain.
Copper Court opens to Copperman’s Way, the mercantile heart of Sigil. One end is anchored in the Great Bazaar, the other at the beginning of the Lady’s Ward. Blayze joins the crowd steaming towards the Great Bazaar.
The mass of stalls that comprise the Great Bazaar are as vast as many prime cities. Merchants hawk their wares as Blayze threads through the narrow paths
“Leather! Fine leather! Skins from all around the Wheel!”
“Hot pies! Sweet, savory, sour!”
“Potions! Get yer potent potions here! Twice the kick for half the jink!”
The crowd contains examples of races Blayze never thought she would encounter. Derro, Githyanki, illithids, and even stranger folk wander by. A skeleton immersed in green fluid encased in a large glass jar trundles by supported by six metal legs. Two clawed metal hands gesticulate as it talks through a strange device mounted on its jar to a burly dwarf walking next to it.
Blayze can see the buildings of the Central Hub of the Great Bazaar rising high above the surrounding stalls like a volcanic island in a sea. The infamous Tivuum’ Antiquities building rears up into the fog, it’s cylindrical shape instantly recognizable. Near it is the Merman’s Fishmongery, a building well known for its many portals to ocean ports snd selling the freshest seafood in Sigil. It is the twin of Tivuum’s, but Blue rather than green and covered with frescos of sea scenes. The purple ziggurat of Pavallo’s Grainary sits near both, a line of people awaiting their grain allotment. Blayze’s path wanders towards these buildings, and the cluster of smaller permanent structures that crowd in the strictly-delineated Central Hub area. She spots a cheery tavern with the name The Bytopean Bean a smell of fresh gaveh scents the air nearby.
The myriad of sights, sounds, and scents, along with the wild variance of people and architecture, had Blayze's eyes and mind leaping from point to point, taking it all in observantly. Figuring that the best way to get to know an environment was exposure to the people, she heads for the tavern.
The Bytopean Bean is a warm friendly tavern. The inside is all rich paneling and small bistro tables. A large bar with stools dominates the back of the common area. A group of gnomes run about, delivering food and drinks to patrons. Their serving plates float independently of the servers, like miniature tensers discs. Behind the gleaming chrome and onyx bar is an immense mechanical contraption that bubbles, hisses and sighs. It constantly hisses, gurgles, and whistles. It dispenses hot drinks as gnomes in aprons pull levers and punch various buttons. The scent of gahveh is potent.
The clientele is extremely varied. Most are local merchants taking a break, but there seems to be a coterie of young Sigilians, most In Various faction garb
Succumbing to the wondrous smell, Blayze makes her way over to the bar, settling herself on a free stool, looking for some sort of listing of what was available. While she definitely wasn't hungry, a hot drink would definitely be welcome.
A chalkboard lists a bewildering number of drinks- hot and cold. Most seem to involve gahveh in some fashion, and there seem to be as many types of gahveh as drinks! A merchant sitting at the counter orders a ‘large full-rothé cream - double charged- Gnome pressed - Chult bean’. A steaming mug is soon placed before him
The common area is thronged with interesting people. Blayze sees a table of what look like fey actively discoursing. Another table hosts a collection of gnomes in blacksmith getup, their faces smudged with soot. A table near her is set with a group of skinny folk of various ancestries, most looking like that curious melange known as ‘plane kissed’ in Cager Cant. One striking female sports a crown of ebon red-speckled horns and a full set of radiant golden-feathered wings. A group of Dustmen hover over their gahvehs, looking morose. An odd being who looks to be an ectoplasmic entity encased in some sort of environmental suit sits with them.
You can eavesdrop on a table, or go and interact. Perception to try and overhear, stealth to remain unobtrusive
Taking in the staggering variety of people around her, BVlayze's attention skips from table to table, eventually choosing to zero in on the table of "Plane kissed".
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Blayze manages to listen without being noticed
“It’s a Taker plot, I swear it! The Hardheads are claiming the zoning is off on Swap Square. They want everyone vacated in two ten days. Been posting broadsheets on every wall ‘twixt the square and Button Alley. We need to rally the Indeps”
“Yah rally the Indeps. Sure. As if Indeps can agree on the color purple. “
“I’m telling yeh, they’ll have Swap Square cleaned out and rezoned by cycles end. We do nothing and there’ll be new shops built there snd the Bazaar gets another bite taken out of it”
It sounded like the local tradespeople were worried about zoning annexing some of their territory. City planning was not something she had any experience with, even moreso in a place like this, but the sentiment rang true of powerful landowners oppressing those they deemed powerless to prevent it.
That was something she understood.
She continues to listen, her interest now peaked.
The talk goes on
“There’s something else. Raven has been spotted in the area”
“Raven, what is she doing around here?”
“Well, they say she’s a defender of the weak, maybe she doesn’t like the situation?”
“B&%%&s. She works with the Hardheads and Mercykillers “
“Sometimes. But only to bring bad cutters to the leafless tree. The Hardheads have wanted her in the Prison before too, remember “
“..yeah, but this is all legal smeagol Takery codswallop. What’s a vigilante going to do about the Sigillian Municipal Code?”
“Maybe nothing. I don’t know. I’m just reporting what my droogs have told me is the screed in Swap Square”
Finishing her gaveh, Blayze decides to take a look around the area the group were referring to, more out of curiosity than anything else.
On her way out she addresses one of the serving staff. "Would you happen to know how I could find Swap Square from here?"
The server nods
“Head towards the Guildhall Ward. It’s past the Debtor’s pole and near Ghundarvaal. “
Assuming you wish to head that way?
Blayze strolls out into the rainy Bazaar. She heads towards the Guildhall Ward. The Debtors Poles are a line of large poles posted with debts owed, and bounties posted for successful collection. A mix of seamy mercenaries pore over these, looking for an easy payday.
Beyond and s few minutes daily walk through the Bazaar the stalls begin to thin out. The Guildhall Ward begins to appear, a frenzy of construction amid older buildings. Guilds were once a much more powerful force in Sigil, but lately their influence has waned. Ghundarvaal is a district that has become an enclave for quadruped sentients. Centaurs, bariaur, weimics, and others less known inhabit the area.
In one of the last fringes of the Great Bazaar, Blayze comes upon Swap Square. The stalls are a bit shabby, and the canvasses patched. The main business seems to be recycled goods - old clothing, mended pots, and the like. The buildings surrounding the square are in disrepair. Several have work crews demolishing them. Blayze sees several broadsheets on walls near the square
By order of the Hall of Speakers, the area known familiarly as Swap Square has been districted as part of the Guildhall Ward. In accordance to SMC 116 § 23(B)(a), all mobile selling stalls will be disassembled and moved to the Great Bazaar no later than cycle 7 of the present year 131 FHR. Any stalls left in unauthorized areas will be forcibly disassembled. .
Shaking her head at the draconian approach to what is likely the livelihoods of those lacking the power to resist, Blayze looks around the area, watching the activity and getting a feel for those in the Square.
Blayze can see that this group is on the lower-end of the socio-economic spectrum of Sigil. Most look to be recent arrivals, trying to establish themselves. A group of lizardfolk in ornate robes hawk some fairly nice leatherware. Some ragged-looking cutters with feathers for hair and sharp teeth are peddling mended pots and pans.
Overall a lot of the merchants sport Indep symbols on their stalls and persons. Some even have them tattooed on. This seems to be a very militant spot for Indeps, since usually they are very low-key. Blayze can see a few harmonium walking among the ragged stalls. There isn't anything going on at the moment, but there is a tension in the air
As Blayze scans the denizens of Swap Square, a cry rings out. Blayze sees a young cutter in tatter cloth dodging among the stalls. A trio of red-armored Harmonium pound after, their mail clanking like a pile of pots tumbling from a shelf. One of the trio isn't dressed in armor, but rather a red uniform.
The non-armored Harmonium points a thin wand at the fleeing youth and a small white ball flies forth. It splats against a stall the young cutter was passing, spreading out into what looks like a small version of the classic adventurer's spell, Web
Something about the trio chasing after a kid in tattered rags rubs the gunslinger the wrong way, as always following her heart rather than her head. Without another thought she steps forward seeking to intercede.
"What's goin' on here? What trouble could one scrawny kid be that takes three armored roughnecks to chase him down like a pack o' wild dogs?" she asks, stepping up toward them.
Blayze sighs to herself quietly. This probably wasn't going to end well.
Taking a smooth step forward to directly interpose herself between the Hardheads and their prey she looks the armored officer directly in the eyes. "And if I decide to make it my business?"
Intimidate: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
The three come to a halt. The ragged youth disappears into the maze of patchwork stalls in the area. The three look wary, but hold their ground.
The robed Harmonium keeps her wand at the ready. The other two draw their longswords, but do not advance. The robed one speaks. She is a thin woman, with a plait of dark hair and sharp green eyes over an aquiline nose. Her Planar Common is of a much more educated standard than her beefy armored partners
"Citizen, if that is what you are. You are interfering with the lawful pursuit of a thief by members of the Harmonium. By doing so, you are violating Sigilian Municipal Code 342 sections 36(a) and 37(c). Violations of these laws can result in arrest and incarceration of up to 100 cycles in the Mercykiller's Prison."
The woman's eyes narrow.
"I am going to give you the benefit of a doubt and assume that you are a newcomer to our city. I will give you this fair warning. Stand aside and allow us to proceed on our lawful pursuit. If you do so, you will not be detained. Consider this your one pardon. You will not get another"
One of the armored men protests
"Bex! She bollixed up our chase! We needs to cuff 'er and bring 'er in!"
The woman snaps to the man
"Garm, shut your bone-box! Do you really want a hard fight right now? Over a bread-stealing git? Look at her kit, you addle cove!"
A tiny trace of a smile dances on Blayze's lips as she reads the woman's reaction, taking note of the exchange, and nodding slightly, as if to confirm just how hard a fight she would present.
"Well in that case, I should be thankin' you ...Bex is it? It so hapens that I am pretty new around here, so I appreciate the...warnin'" she says, arching an eyebrow at the last word.
"Just so I have it right, all three of you are set out to hunt some poor kid tryin' not to starve? Seems a bit much, no?"
Bex sets her face hard
“We preserve order. The Law is the Law. Chaos worms in with the little things. A stolen loaf, a broken window. Our job is to keep chaos at bay. That is our purpose, passion, and mandate. You would be wise to remember that. “
She twirls her finger in the air and points back towards where they were running from. She turns and walks that way, the other two following.
The crowd around had been holding their breath, but resumes their business once the Hardheads leave. A young urchin sidles up to Blayze
“Miss, beggin yer pardon, but I’ve got a note for yez “
He hands Blayze a sealed note. The drop of wax is imprinted with a signet ring impression of a bird’s head
Accepting the note, Blayze turns it over in her hand a few times before pressing a silver into the young one's hand with a smile. "Thank you!"
Once the child had run off, she looks around, checking to see if anyone were paying her particular attention before breaking the seal and reading the note.
Inside is a missive written in a graceful cursive script
Greetings. I observed your exchange with the Hardheads. You seem as if you are someone who appreciates Justice over Law. I am someone of that nature as well. If you are interested in perhaps assisting the cause of Justice, be on the roof of the Dravast Mercantile next Antipeak.
There is no signature, save for a small stylized birds head
'Well this certainly sounds interesting. Nice to know there are like-minded folk here too. Pretty handwriting too.'
Noting the symbolic signature, she tucks the note away in an inner pocket in her coat, and makes her way back toward the Copper Cauldron.