Monday, April 18, 2016

City of Curses: Advice For Horses In Crux

The City of Curses and the roads that service it are old.  Older than me.  Older than even my aged, fire-vampyre father.  

Even though he'd never admit it.  He always acts like he's less than a century old.

One of my first acts of rebellion as a young dhampir involved one of the dubious carriage companies of Crux.  I thought some coin would get me travel to whereever I'd want in the city of curses without my father knowing about where I went.  It was a mistake.  A horrible mistake.

A few of the companies are reputable.  But not most.  Most Cruxites will never share their horse, or will rather walk than use them.  Travelers and out-of-towners, they often are the target of the carriage companies.  When I say target, I do mean criminal activity.

Most of the companies are run by feyborn horses, whose scruples are frighteningly less than legal.  Unless one intimidates the driverless carriage, the horses pulling it might do anything to take advantage of a passenger.

Horses, even feyborn talking ones, can kill a human easily.  They can bite off knuckles.  They can break bones with a well placed kick.  Feyborn horses know best how to move and attack within a city.

As such, they often will threaten their passengers.  Or, in the case of young teenage girls, kidnap them.  Sell them if they are unsorcerous to the highest bidder.  Of course, they always will just taxi someone if they are willing to pay the right amount of compensation.

I spent four days being passed along by a drunk, wicked feyborn Mare.  The creature didn't do anything purely criminal to me.  She treated me like some new trinket.  It wasn't until one of my father's own Fighters killed her that I was free.

My father told me I should've learned to listen to him.

Instead, I remembered that even something as intriguing as a talking horse could torture you.  Paranoia can be an excellent shield when choosing how you travel the City of Curses.

-Maralda Inculti, Goldrose 13th 1784


Most horse-drawn carriage in Crux are independent ventures.  There are no singular monolithic companies.  Most offer their services on the spot.  Travel via wagon, stagecoach, carriage, omnibus or cart varies from driver to driver.

Most drivers aren't human.  They are feyborn horses.  Mares specifically.  Their stables and herds service Crux.  Humans or others rarely can compete with the horses.  They seem able to drive their normal, non-speaking horses even faster.

For out-of-towners, Crux's large feyborn horse populace seems wondrous.  Although some Ainesian cities have feyborn horse carriages.   Most of the Feyborn horses practice some sort of graft.  They are willing to cheat any sorcerous customers.

A unsorcerous mark might find themselves taken somewhere they don't want to go.  Many Maliph slavers collect fresh product from the feyborn horses.  Given that any horse can easily harm a human.
Perhaps one thinks that a revolver and a knife might get them out of such situations.  Crux being Crux, many alchemical devices have been crafted that enable even the thumbless feyborn Mares to have their own firearms.  Rein-operated, they can counter a gun threat by revealing a contraption most would-be escapees have never seen before.

The carriages sometimes are stopped by the Prince's City Watch.  That doesn't mean they stop the practices of such dark horses.  If anything, the Families that run the City Watch have their own bribes and protection rackets in tandem with the feyborn nefarious steeds.