Saturday, May 14, 2016

City of Curses: The First City (Maralda's Notes)

#Crux piece from Maralda about Kaze Skysword, and the legendary First City that Crux had descended from.  The City of Curses evolved from it.  Kaze claims to have found it.  Maralda knows the ferret Archaeologist, and has some reservations on whether or not he is speaking the truth.  Has he found the legendary city, or is the ferret pulling a hoax?

The First City: Discovery or Hoax?

This essay was first published in the Newblood issue of the 1785 Ariast Times Magazine.

Kaze Skysword follows the footsteps of his grandmother, the founder of the Archaeologist class.  Yet his reputation oft makes his discoveries more question than certain.  His recent claims of many expeditions to the First City have yet to be borne out.  Yet the ferret continues to press for further expeditions.

I've had more than a few meetings with the feyborn adventurer.

I confess I think he's scum.  Ferret scum.

My most recent interview with the slippery weasel (my apologies to honest ferret readers) didn't bear much out to me.  He has little in direct evidence that conflicts with the Chancellor's own.  Kaze maintains his claim that he found the First City.

Did he?  Or is the little talking ferret trying to fleece the wealthy of the City of Curses for an extra Sphinx?

The First City is mythical.  Shraxes and the Prince used to date mythical.  The sort of thing you hear about as a child.  A story.  It isn't supposed to be real.

Then Kaze comes into the tale.  Is it true?  One would have to go.  But there is something else to keep in mind.

Kaze has a poor track record.  My distaste is warranted out of habit.  On at least one occasion, he managed to almost have me sold into bondage.  On another, I took a bullet he had earned.  Each time I fell for his claims of wonders or riches.

He has no home in Ferreton.  The feyborn suburb of the Wolf Quarter is host to all manner of feyborn Stoat, Ferret, Weasels and more.  Kaze owes every pub and tavern in Ferreton.  More than one resident had nothing but the worst to say for him.

But as a former student of his, I can attest something, despite his greedy manners. Even despite Kaze's history of wanton abandon in pursuit of enriching himself.  Kaze always knows what a relic or piece of history is.  He is an archaeologist, albeit the worst sort.

The First City.

Crux has no founding date.  This fact always surprises me.  I've tried to uncover it.

No such luck.

The founding myths of Crux describe notables we recognize.  Like the Prince and Shraxes.  But they also mention more.  Some mention the Aetheric Empire.  Other tales describe what must've been many more gods, heroes and monsters.  Many forgotten.  Yet stories say they are to be of the First City.

The seaborn Darin.  The living shadow Anton.  The Mourning Girl.  The blazing Red Sword.  The Exiled Wolf and his twin brother, the falcon-headed Ra.  Gods and legends there are few stories of.

They came from the First City.  A city from the golden age of the Aetheric Empire.  The Aetheric Empire conjures images of the spelleating Aetherblooded.  Those whom the sorcerous fear and others see as godlings.  The Skullmount itself came into being during the Aetheric Empire.

Yet we know next to nothing about the First City outside of stories.  All kinds of wonders and spells attributed to it.  Some claim that one must traverse some sort of hell to even reach where the First City lies beneath the Skull.

Kaze affirms parts of the tales.  According to the ferret explorer, there indeed are massive series of dark chambers.  Lakes of acid.  Bizarre creatures that live there.  Caverns that lie above where the First City is.  He admits to having navigated the area blind.

I don't doubt part of that.  Unlike Kaze's grandiose speak, I suspect the archaeologist feyborn ferret had gotten himself lost.  I'd see him take wrong turns more than once.  Especially when drunk.

Either way, he also affirms other myths of the First City.  Illusory images.  Walls and doors that move of their own accord.  Wonders not yet replicated by alchemy or industry.

I think some of it is Kaze's bravado.  But part of it, I recognize.

"I've seen it."  He insists.  The look in his eyes are too honest.  This is a ferret who has seen something he only dreamed of.

Claim Concerns.

I avoided Kaze's attempts to convince me to join him on a expedition.  A part of me wanted to see what the little archaeologist had seen.  But I knew better than to go off with Kaze.  Not a blind chase in the undercity of Crux.

"I'm surprised Kaze.  You think this is the genuine article?"

The ferret gave me his familiar toothy smirk.  "I found it M.  I've got people lined up for more expeditions down there.  It's a shame you aren't going to join me right away."

"I think I've got enough going on right now without joining you right now."  I made sure to ask him about other concerns this discovery might have.  "Kaze, what about the Chancellor's counter claims to it?  He says you have found nothing."

Kaze spat on the ground.  "I found it.  He can do whatever he wants to contest me, but I'll get back down there.  It's mine, he can't scare me off."

"You're saying he's wrong?"

"I'm saying the Chancellor needs a change of opinion."  Kaze's eyes brightened as our drinks arrived at the Wandering Star Pub.  "The First City is too big, too vast of a thing for just one group or person to control.  No matter how hard they might try to lock it up, I'm ferret enough to find my own way in."