Monday, March 30, 2015

City of Curses: Icons: The Prophet of Winds

Aspect: The Wind That Watches
Quote: "I can see the Path, all the twists and turns... it has already happened, and it will
happen again."

For the Tengu her name is held in reverence, but amongst the rest of Crux, she is a mysterious master of ninja and menial laborers.  The birdfolk rarely share any of their secrets, including who or why the Prophet is at the center of their community.

Common Knowledge
The Prophet of the Winds is the holy high priestess of the Tengu.  Like everything else, they tend to avoid talking about her.  The Tengu hold her in high regard, like the Church of the Twins and the Archbishop or the Ursyklons and their Archdruid.

The Tengu are everywhere to be found in Crux.  They take up menial labor for pay lower than even Android crews.  Tengu run foodstalls and other tiny shops are scattered throughout the City of Curses.  The Prophet seems to be queen of a empire of tiny exotic shops, low-paid labor or foreign wanderers that seem incapable of speaking any Tomish or Othish.

But there are urban legends.  That the Tengu can move throughout the city swiftly, that they can access secret portals to a mysterious spirit world they only know of.  Or that Tengu Ninja move from rooftop to rooftop, sometimes stealing, other times slaying political enemies of the birdfolk.  There is even some who claim that the Prophet of Winds is a child, but can see past and future so clearly that she knows all that will or could happen if asked.

Not all things could be true of the Tengu or their Prophet.  But the Tengu always refuse to share anything with "Gaijin."

Some Ursyklon archaeologists claim that the Prophet of Winds first appeared in Gruudl ten thousand years ago.  If true, that makes her on par with the Prince for mythic immortality.  The first true notice of the Prophet comes from fifty years ago, when Tengu started to appear in public.

The Prophet's influence on trade was the first thing felt in the city.  Despite competing with workers, the cheap labor presented by the Tengu boosted the economy.  Further, it led to open trade with the Jade Lands through Tengu merchants.

A more subtle influence the Prophet has presented is acting as a intermediary for some of the more hostile factions within the City of Curses.  Although it hasn't always been of use, the Prophet's agents often appear before conflicts begin to the rich and powerful.  They are information brokers, potential negotiators, and if true, assassins for hire.

But the Prophet has yet to directly speak with non-Tengu.  The bias against gaijin appears to still be strong among her and her people.  The Prophet herself, however, keeps an open eye for those who might prove themselves not simply be more of the same violent foreigners her people have come to regard non-Tengu as.

The Prince never has explained why he's helped to protect the Tengu, but most in the city believe he has long used them to help keep his criminal empire in charge.  The Prophet and the Prince both act like mysterious figures, so they sharing a equally enigmatic alliance makes sense.  So long as the Prince continues to think them of benefit, he doesn't let anyone interfere with the Tengu's homes in his city, despite what others might want to do.

The Archwitch has long respected the Tengu in the mutual way that only those in two minority communities could.  Despite the Prophet's warm relations with the Prince, the Archwitch has always hired Tengu to help where she couldn't afford even her own people.  Their labor and other efforts have long make the head of the Church of Shraxes feel at least assured of the Tengu's aid, if properly motivated.

Despite being a potential trade in Crux, the Spice Khan has a pleasant rapport with the Tengu traders.  The Maliphi trade as much with the Tengu, often using Crux as a place to negotiate agreements for shipments happening on far further shores.  So far, the Spice Khan has made a decent profit selling her spices to the Tengu in exchange for goods for her people.  But, new goods from Othebea and Ith threaten the fragile trade between Tengu and Maliph.  Should things grow more desperate, she might be forced to reassess her Tengu trade agreements for something more lucrative.

The Archbishop has long been a source of frustration to the Tengu.  The popular church of the Twins has drawn many young Tengu to 'turn Crow.'  Their betrayal and the Archbishop's unwillingness to recognize the problem, has long vexed the Prophet and her people.  The Archbishop is more than willing to shatter their worship of the winds if it will increase the size of his own flock.

The Tengu are discriminated against like androids, but even then, they are one of the most vocal about distrusting androids in the city.  The Tengu see them as machines and mockeries created by gaijin; all the Tinkerer hears is racial slurs by yet another group.  The Tinkerer doesn't return the racism, but she is always clear to point it out when the opportunity arises.

Foreign workers acting in the shadows unnoticed: to the vampires of Crux, this raises alarm bells.  Long have they lobbied the Prince to break up the Aerie-Towns so that the Medama and the Walridr might find a way to keep them under control.  But the Prince keeps them at bay, his words keeping the vampires from doing what they long to do: to contain and use the Tengu without interference by the so-called "Prophet of the Winds."  They understand how to operate from the shadows and fear what the Tengu might do to them if left completely unchecked.