Thursday, March 19, 2015

City of Curses: Aerie-Towns, In Depth (Fate Core)

Aspect: Atop Windswept Towers

Connected To: Havershill (below it), Perdition Hill (to the North), North Crown (to the Northwest); Spirit World (numerous gateways)
Most Significant Icon: The Prophet of the Winds
Well Known For? Isolated Tengu Villages
Notable Sites and Locales: Yashi's Cafe; The Prophet's Temple; The Tengu Bazaar;

The rungs on the rope ladder up are nerve-wracking.  

The tall towers of Havershill are almost as high as the Skullmount or Perdition Hill; the fall would surely shatter my bones.  I didn't dare look down.  One must climb the spell-bound heights of Havershill's towers if one wishes to see the Aerie-Towns.  The height is only one way the Tengu ghettos keep themselves from mixing with the rest of the city of Curses.

As I cling to the ropes, I remember what I've read about the birdfolk.  A Tengu once claimed her people had lived atop Crux's buildings since the Ursyklon first conquered Necruxa ten thousand years ago.  There is little to substantiate that claim.  But just as unlikely are those Tengu who claim to remember those days before the City of Curses spread to the Cross and the Lock rivers. 

Reaching the top of the tower, my gaze shifts.  Hundreds of Tengu glide from rooftop to rooftop.  These are not barren ceramic tiles.  No, tents of all colors flap in the cold winds.  Gardens hang over to the streets fifty stories below.  Ravens, Crows and other birds nest near the tents.  Perplexing is the lack of straight lines in the makeshift rows and streets the Tengu's tents form.  Spirals, they always form spirals.

Dark eyes glare at me from Tengu in green robes.  Others move away.  I try to smile.  They have a singular word in the Aerie-towns for non-Tengu: Gaijin.  They have other slurs and words they spit at those who dare to intrude on their homes.  But there are places in the Aerie-Towns gaijin like me are welcomed, or at least tolerated.  I enter the Tengu restaurant, flashing my wands as I take a seat.

Later I would learn that there were stairs as well.  

Cruxite History
The Aerie-Town's origins are a contested matter to non-Tengu.  Some word from Tengu suggests the aerie-towns have existed in one form or another for thousands of years.  But most histories written on Crux on begin to mention the Tengu fifty years ago.  Even then, the first aerie-town observed in Crux came into being only ten years later.

The Aerie-Towns never were contested.  The Tengu appeared one day.  Surprised, owners of the buildings below tried to have them evicted, only to find that the Prince had decreed all the rooftops in Havershill as belonging to the Tengu.  The Prince and his organization have never explained why they gave the rights to the rooftops to the birdfolk.

Attempts to harass the Tengu ended with disappearances.  No one ever found the bodies.

Tengu Memories
The Prophet was the first Tengu to visit these lands.  Nations, people, faiths, all of these are dust on
the wind.  Her soul first gazed upon the Skullmount, and when she saw its war with the strange race from the sky, she knew her future was fixed up this place.

The Aerie-Towns have always been near the city.  We long lived on the cliffs and high places near the gaijin.  Never too many of us.  The Prophet ordered us to be unseen: for nearly nine thousand years we watched from our perches without being seen.  Our towns were something gaijin never even dreamed of.  It surprised them to find us.

They were primitive gaijin.  They tried to enslave us, but found only shadows.  The first of us became draw to the ranks of the gaijin, joining their Legions.  But we kept to the shadows.  The Path continued, and the gaijin seemed content to be ignorant of it.

We noted this.  The Gaijin of the city of curses are like most.  They are ignorant of their place in
history, unable to see the Path.  The winds push them, but they do not glide upon them.  Graceless.

In the last four decades, the towers of Havershill rose.  Tall, they were almost as tall as the
skullmount's clocktower.  Their vast height held a great vantage point, and one closer than the mountains or cliffs we had been living in.  The Prophet moved us to these towers.  Furthermore, she demanded we live openly.  We took down our illusions and magicks.  Our poorer folk took menial tasks within the city at large.

We pretend to be servants where the fake-men cannot be bought.  We do what others will not.  We listen.

We see everything the gaijin do.  Such ignorant and greedy fools they are.

Notable Locales
The Prophet's Temple: You do not walk into the Prophet's Temple.  The Tengu themselves do not know where it lies: only that it is not on this plane.  Through a cloud above the Aerie-town, one must glide into, but only when one is show the proper winds.  Without the Prophet's guidance, one will never enter the Temple.  The gateway opens to a mist-filled part of the Spirit World, a garden long-tended to by the Prophet and her closest acolytes, the Yamabushi.  Able to walk easily between the spirit world and the real, Prophet's Temple is a massive structure that would unnerve most non-Tengu.

The Pagoda is well-furnished, in a ascetic style unfamiliar to those in the Maru Sea.  Its rainbow-colored tiles cover a very humble and modest series of dragon, lion, turtle and raven statues.  Next to it is a small koi pond and very trim garden.  A series of paths can take travelers away from the Temple, perhaps to further reaches of the spirit world.  Such things the Tengu know better than those not of their Winds.
Aspect: Sacred Shrine of the Unseen

Yashi's Cafe: This Tengu Restaurant caters specifically to both Tengu and non-Tengu.  Thus it has two menus, the open one non-Tengu who climb the stairs see, and the secret menu Tengu can ask for with the correct word.  Yashi serves food toned down and geared for non-Tengu.  Tengu on the other hand, come to the restaurant to eat a bit of food, and most of the time, learn about how gaijin move and talk.  Yashi herself is a fat old Tengu, who doesn't care what anyone thinks about her.  She never speaks a word of anything other than her native tongue- but seems more than able to help customers and take their orders.
Aspect: "Don't Order The Chop Suey"

The Tengu Bazaar: For Tengu Shinobi, Ninja, Samurai and others, their own Bazaar is of utmost interest.  Supplies gathered here rearm and supply them, even if ninja or others are supposed to craft their own tools if needed.  Guns, poisons and a wide variety of illicit goods can be found in the Tengu Bazaar.  More than a few would be considered banned or restricted if found in other parts of the city, but the isolation of the small series of bazaar tents helps prevent interference from gaijin.  The Tengu clans here use Ithic dollars, but other coins of all kinds can be used, including favors from one clan to another.
Aspect: Ninja Shadow-Marketplace

Aerie-Towns Location Stunts
Blessing of the Kazi: When in the Prophet's Temple, a Tengu can spend a fate point to receive a blessing from the Kazi themselves.  On their next Tengu roll, they receive a +4 bonus.

Shadow Shopping: When in the Tengu Bazaar, Tengu of good standing receive a +2 on any Wealth roll to purchase or acquire weapons.

Diner With a View: When in Yashi's Cafe, diners can easily see things they didn't see quite before, in the city below or with the person sitting across from them.  Diners in Yashi's Cafe gain a +2 bonus on Notice rolls to discover, so long as their target is in the city below or is a person in Yashi's Cafe as well.

The Tengu are a race of Bird-folk I've given a heavy asian feel.  Isolationist and secretive, each Tengu is possessed of the memories of all their past lives- however, few non-Tengu are even aware of this.
Crux is the City of Curses, at the center of its world it is my "big" project at the moment, and I write big posts like this to support.  Questions are always welcome!